Sunday, January 31, 2021

On the Coast of Maine


Many years ago, I took a short road trip along the coast of Maine.  I followed the southern coast and roamed around in the Kennebunk region.  I remember passing through several towns and many of them had lighthouses to admire.  I felt like I was stopping every few minutes to take in another view.

Harbors full of boats of all shapes and sizes were especially appealing.

Living most of my life in the western half of the United States, getting a chance to see The Atlantic Ocean was a special treat.  The fact that there were so many harbors and lighthouses was just a bonus.  

One of my goals on that trip was to watch a sunrise over The Atlantic.  I had seen so many sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, I was craving what I thought of as the opposite view.  It wasn't the most spectacular sunrise but, it was well worth getting up early and walking the beach trail in the dark to see it.

These photos have all been scanned from prints.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The American Bellagio


A little over a year ago, I posted photos from Bellagio, the wonderful city in Italy that sits right on beautiful Lake Como.  Today I have photos from its American namesake, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  They couldn't be more different.

The hotel is heavily adorned with Chihuly glass creations from this amazing lobby ceiling to the gorgeous center piece in one of the casinos.  

The property features its own botanical garden filled with gorgeous blooms, singing birds and artistic water features.

There were even carefully crafted works of art made completely of flowers like this beautifully framed masterpiece.  Standing in front of it, you can smell the perfume of all those flowers.

Flowers loomed large inside the hotel too.  There were elaborate floral displays in every corner of the various lobby areas.  

Besides slot machines and poker tables, there were other things to tempt people.  The Jean-Phillipe Patisserie had the most incredible display of tempting pastries and desserts.  I can't remember if I purchased one but I'm guessing that I did.

In Bellagio Italy, the view is of a vast blue lake and the mountains surrounding it.  At the American version in Las Vegas, the view includes a much small span of water and a look at the Eiffel Tower.  Still, for a weekend getaway, it isn't half bad!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Special Attention


When I was in Italy a year and a half ago, I stayed for a week on Lake Como where I used the reliable ferry system to get back and forth across the lake to visit the different towns and villas.  The ferries carry both cars and passengers and when they arrive at a dock, the cars leave first followed by the passengers.

Depending on which side of the ferry I sat, I would sometimes have to exit through the area where the cars were loaded.  It was kind of like walking through a floating tunnel.

On one of my trips across the lake, I was waiting for the cars to exit when I noticed this snazzy red Ferrari in line to exit.  I wasn't the only one to notice it.  Many people admired its sleek lines.

What I didn't expect was the special attention this car and driver got from the ferry crew.  When the Ferrari  approached the exit ramp, the ferry crew brought out a set of ropes that they laid down over the dip between the ferry ramp and the dock.

Here you see him standing on the ropes to hold them in place.

Here he is is checking the clearance under the car as it crosses the ramp.

And, here he makes sure it crosses the bump with no problems.  It looks like if you drive a sleek, new Ferrari, you can get very special attention when using the Lake Como ferry network.  

The ferry system worked beautifully with ferries coming and going all day long.  And, while I was visiting Lake Como, crowds of people were using them all the time.  But, watching the Ferrari was a highlight.  It was fun to see that if you own a fancy and expensive Italian made car, you get special treatment when you use the ferry.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Town With the Macabre Name


In northern Arizona, about 17 miles west of Prescott is a town called Skull Valley Arizona.  

You might just call it a blip on the road because if you blink you might miss it.  Skull Valley  is a very small, rural ranching community with around 750 residents by one count.  

If you happen to pass through this small place, you will see a general store on one side of the road and a gas station on the other side.  The School house sits behind the tall grass in my first photo.

But the land in this part of the state is quite beautiful with huge, old cottonwood trees dominating the scene.

This gate that appears to go nowhere adds to the mystery of the place.

My favorite view in the small town, is across the railroad tracks and over to the entrance to a local ranch.  I love the way the those trees line the driveway.

There is just something so appealing about traveling through a tunnel made of beautiful trees.  

I've stopped at that general store in the photo above and found the owner to be very friendly and informative.  So in spite of its grim name, I'd say that this little town is a pleasant stop along the road.  It's a friendly, informal place with some stunning scenery.  

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A Closer Look


On past visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I've always concentrated on the paintings. When I visited two years ago, I spent some time in the sculpture room and I found lots to make me curious.  The detail in this statue fascinated me. 

The draping of her dress was impressive but I thought the toes in her sandal were amazing.  Her foot in that sandal is incredibly natural looking.  This sculpture is called "Sappho" and it was created by Count Prosper D'Epinay (1836-1914), a French sculptor.  Apparently many of his clients were nobility and royalty.  When I looked him up, I learned he has a sculpture of Joan of Arc in the Reims Cathedral.  I wished I had seen it when I was there all those years ago.

The expression of fear and anguish on this fellow's face is what drew me to this sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875).  It's called "Ugolino and His Sons".  There is a story here.  Count Ugolino was a victim of political intrigue and was locked in a tower along with his sons and grandsons without food or water.  

Carpeaux was known for his ability to create amazing expression in his sculptures.

The title of this sculpture is "Winter" and it was created by Jean Antoine Houdon (1741-1828).  What makes this one so unique is the use of a beautiful woman to depict winter rather than an old man as most artist do.  

You can almost feel her shivering in the cold.

Her flimsy shawl is certainly not enough to protect her from the frosty air.

It was the title of this one that caught my eye.  It's called "A Hypocrite and a Slanderer".  The Artist is Frans Xaver Messershmidt (1736-1783).  This Austrian artist produced nearly 70 headpieces exploring the shapes and expressions on faces.  

However, the artist's story is a little deeper than that.  Apparently he suffered from mental illness and one observer said he sculpted heads to ward off evil spirits.  This one made me wonder how "mental illness" was defined in the 18th century.  What was intended by the name of this sculpture remains a mystery.  

Diving into the history of these pieces proved to be truly fascinating to me.  I'm glad I took a closer look.