Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas in London


I've been to London twice during the last week of November and have enjoyed all the holiday decorations that are up all over the city.  I took quite a lot of pictures from those two trips. So many that I've been posting London at Christmas photos in December from 2014 through 2019.  I still have few left.  The decorations on Regent Street are always pretty spectacular.  From some photos I've seen on Instagram, they are even more elaborate than these were back in 2013.

My favorite place to shop in London has to be Fortnum & Mason.  I shop there every time I go to London but it is especially fun around the holidays.  The windows are always beautifully decorated.

The inside of the store is equally festive.  I've brought home gifts for friends and family from this store as well as Christmas ornaments and a few other treats just for me.

Looking at these photos makes me long for another holiday trip to London.  I need to start thinking about packing my winter coat and heading that way once again. There is so much to enjoy in London during the holidays.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

For the Love of Cats Everywhere


This is an unusual post for my travel blog however, I found that I had a number of photos of cats that I've observed on my various travels around the world so I thought I'd share some of them.  This sleek feline was observed sitting in an upper story window above a canal in Venice.  He was watching the boats float by below him.

The calico above was lounging on the sofa at one of the Willamette Valley wineries in Oregon.  

This beauty was enjoying a stroll around Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar California.

In Buenos Aires Argentina, a visit to the famous Recoleta Cemetery will assure any visitor the opportunity to see numerous cats.  The cemetery is known for housing many feral cats.  Local volunteers provide food for these cats and ensure that they are spayed or neutered.  Visitors will see them curled up by a grave marker or reclining on the cool marble of an elaborate tomb.  

In Uruguay I saw this trio lounging in the window of a home as I walked by.  They were too busy napping to pay attention to me and my camera.

In Costa Rica I visited a shelter that cares for animals that have been confiscated by border agents.  It seems people try to sneak some exotic species out of the country and the animals are sent here to be checked for health and to determine if they can be released back into the wild.  

In some places I've found little tributes to special cats.  This little cat mural was found outside a business in Bolzano Italy.  I wondered if it was in memory of someone's beloved cat.

In London I found this little tribute to Dick Whittington's Cat.  Richard Whittington was Lord Mayor of London back in the 15th century and a bit of folklore has been written about his hard working cat.  

I've enjoyed finding all these cat photos in my archives.  

Sunday, December 11, 2022

My Friends Went to Bordeaux


My friends Julie and Dave went to an event in Bordeaux France last September and while they were there, they texted a few photos of things they saw.  To the right is my favorite photo.  They spotted the hot air balloon and stopped the car so they could get the photo.

It was such a perfect scene that they shot it twice from two different points of view. 

Here is another view they took while visiting a chateau in the area.

Dave took this one on a foggy morning when they were about to visit another chateau.  

Julie took this one and I thought it looked almost like a painting.

So, I took the liberty of playing with the photo to give it some artistic treatments.  Here is my first try.

And, here is another version.  

This photo of a lane leading to a chateau is truly inspiring.  

It looks to me like they had a wonderful time in the Bordeaux region of France.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Things To See in Arizona


The state of Arizona has much to offer a visitor so I thought I'd take a spin around the state and point out the places that are great to visit.  I'll start in the northern half of the state and the obvious first choice is The Grand Canyon.  You can see more of this magnificent place here and here.  

After visiting the Grand Canyon, make a stop at Bearizona, the drive-through, wild animal park.  The bears roam freely along with some buffalo, wolves and bobcats.  It's a great place to see bears up close while you are safe in your car.

Another interesting spot in the northern half of the sate is Montezuma Castle National Monument.  Just a very short walk from the visitor center and you are transported to the 11th century.  The sight of this cliff dwelling will take your breath away.

Not far from Montezuma's Castle is Sedona Arizona and the spectacular red rocks that cradle the city.  The  mountains and rocks around Sedona create a red-hued vista that is well worth seeing.

While you are in the Sedona area, take in the wine growing regions around Cottonwood and Page Springs.  

After trying some wine and admiring the vineyards, you might want to stop at Out of Africa Wildlife Park.  It's a different kind of zoo where you can get close to the animals and even kiss a friendly giraffe if you want.  

Just to the east of the Phoenix area is the town of Fountain Hills where the centerpiece of town is one of the tallest fountains in the world.  The fountain sprays water high into the sky for fifteen minutes on the hour.  If the wind is blowing, you can feel the spray as you stand on the shore of the lake.

South of the Phoenix area, another interesting stop is Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.  It's the site of another ancient civilization that occupied this desert region and built this four-story complex.  They also built canals to bring water to the area.

Continuing south past the city of Tucson, a stop to see the San Xavier del Bac Mission is always a fascinating experience.  The mission was completed in 1797 and still operates as a church to this day.

A little further south is the ruins of another mission at Tumacacori National Historic Park.  This was another beautiful mission in the desert and although it is in ruins today, it is still worth some explorations.

If you are in the mood for some old-west entertainment, stop at Tombstone Arizona, the town too tough to die.  You can witness a gunfight at the OK Corral, take a ride in a stagecoach, or have a refreshing drink at the local saloon.  

My last stop on this tour of Arizona is the old mining town of Bisbee.  Bisbee is located almost to the border with Mexico and what was once a rowdy mining town is now a place full of artists and galleries and restaurants.  You can even stay at a haunted hotel in this town.

This is just a short tour of a few of the things worth seeing in Arizona.  The state offers so much more to explore.  

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Ancient Mysteries


Last week, I watched a two-part documentary on my local PBS station called "Tutankhamen, Allies & Enemies".  It was created to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut's tomb.  The show inspired me to look through the photos I took eight years ago when I visited the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose California.  

Visiting that museum is almost like taking a trip to Egypt.  It's probably an idealized version of an Egyptian village but it is quiet and peaceful and just plain beautiful.  

The documentary follows Egyptologist Dr. Yasmin El Shazly and photographer Mahmoud Rashad as they examine the mysteries around Tutankhamun's life and death.

The museum has a replica of an ancient tomb and a guide will help guests explore the meaning of the paintings on the wall.

Outside the tomb, King Tut stands watching over the entrance.

The documentary also talks about the young king's father Akhenaten and his religious and cultural revolution.

It also discusses Nefertiti, King Tut's mother.  At least one other Egyptologist disputes the king's parentage but most are convinced that Nefertiti was indeed his mother.

If you like exploring ancient civilizations, I highly recommend the the documentary.  They visit places in the show that I had not heard of before.  They also have some wonderful Egyptian views.

And, if you are interested in this museum, you can visit my previous posts about it, here and here, and here.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

London Street Art


There is quite a lot of street art to be found when wandering the streets of London and I've photographed quite a few of them.  This huge anchor and chain is located at Butler's Wharf right next to the river Thames.  It's a reminder of the industry and trade this area used to support.

These brightly colored numbers are located outside the Willis Building in the City of London.  This is the part of London full of many iconic skyscrapers.  

Nearby the numbers above is this sculpture called "Gilt of Cain" by Michael Visocchi and Lemn Sissay.  It commemorates the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

Some of Antony Gormley's standing men statues can be found in another City of London location.  This one is called "Parallel Field".  

Not far from the parallel men is this sculpture called "Optic Sphere" by Petroc Sesti.  The reflective nature of this one catches the eye along with the swirling water in the center.

Not far from the famous Gherkin building is this old church and that large, shiny sculpture to the left.  The sculpture is made up of bits of chrome plated pipes and joints.  It's amusingly called "Really Shiny Things That Don't Mean Anything".  It was created by Ryan Gander.

Husband and wife artists Rob and Nick Carter are the artists who created this colorful, neon target.  There are actually two of them located inside the lobby of a building that can be seen from the outside.  They are color changing light boxes and they certainly attracted my attention.

Back in the Southbank area again, I came across this beautiful horse at the center of a development called The Circle.  The horse is surrounded by apartment buildings clad in bright blue bricks.  The horse was sculpted by Shirley Pace and it is called "Jacob, the Dray Horse".  It's a tribute to the working horses that were stabled here in the early 19th century.  I read that "Jacob" was dropped into place by helicopter.  That must have been something to see.

These lovely ladies are sitting outside the The National Theatre of London and having a lengthy conversation.  They were sculpted by Frank Dobson.

The tree sculpture above can be found just outside of London City Hall next to the Thames on the Southbank.  It was created by David Batchelor and the bright green lights up at night.  

This is just a sample of the art that can be found along the streets of London.  I love a city that enjoys art in all shapes and sizes.