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 Mac 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.  

Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Look of Old Tucson


Whenever I make the trip south to Tucson, I always make a point of wandering through the historic parts of the city.  That's where I find the true looks of the southwest.  

I love this part of town. This area is full of very old houses that have been restored and yet still maintain the weathered look of age.

I could spend hours just walking through these streets and admiring all of these colorful buildings.

Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, I'm looking forward to making another trip to Tucson.  I'm sure a drive through the historic neighborhoods will be part of that trip.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Hotel Laguna


On one of the nights I was in California, I had dinner with my friends at the historic Hotel Laguna located right in the heart of Laguna Beach.  

This hotel was built over 125 years ago.  The original structure burned down just 60 days after it opened but it was rebuilt in 1888.  

In 1928, the hotel was demolished when its original construction was suspected to be a fire hazard.  Work started right away and in 1930, this new building was dedicated.

The restaurant called Fin is at the back of the hotel with a dining patio right on the ocean.  We couldn't ask for a better view.  

I shared a salad with my friend Julie and then had the mussels for my main course. I paused every now and then to snap a photo of the setting sun shining through my wine glass.

By the time we reached dessert time, the sun had set and there was a pinkish glow on the horizon.  It was a perfect spot for a relaxing meal by the sea.  

Sunday, October 30, 2022

California Critters


Even though I was only in California for three days this last August, I did manage to spot a few "critters" living close to the ocean.  The first one I encountered was this cute little rabbit who emerged from the shrubbery to say hello.

Next was this hawk who quite literally, flew right over the top of my head and landed in this scraggly tree. He was a good sport and stayed put long enough for me to take several shots of him.  

I zoomed in to take a photo of this rock that sits out in the ocean and attracts lots of birds.  I nicknamed it Pelican Rock but it appears it is the cormorants who are in control here.  There is just one pelican in this whole flock.  

There is a restaurant in Laguna Beach that has this colorful, mosaic globe on its patio and on one occasion I passed by when this seagull was using it as a perch.  Since diners take their food out on this patio to eat, I'm pretty sure he was eyeing anything he might steal from and unsuspecting diner.  

This seagull found a great spot where he could hunker down in the warm sand while keeping an eye for any activity in the water below.  

This fellow is the resident tortoise who resides in the greenhouse at Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar.  I usually see two of them in this little indoor pond but on this occasion only one was in sight.  

This isn't a wild animal (as far as I know) but he was happy to smile for me as I approached.  He and his human were out for a walk along the beach when the two of them sat for a brief rest.  

It's always fun to run into "critters" when I'm out enjoying the views.