Friday, June 8, 2012

I visited Greece from 25 April to 10 May 2012. Recently I created a photo album on Shutterfly and posted it here on my blog. I hope all viewers enjoy!

Greece 2012

Shutterfly allows you to customize your photo book just the way you want.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brussels, Ghent, and "The Glass Menagerie"

After a two-month hiatus, during which time I hosted visitors from Belgium, Brazil and Germany, I've traveled again.  Belgium was the first stop for a pleasant 10-day visit, characterized by great autumn weather (mostly sunny blue skies every day).

A day trip to Ghent proved very interesting and charming. Ghent was an important medieval city (the center, that is) with canals, beautifully restored buildings, including the Castle of the Counts. Ghent's new, virtually silent trams snake through the center of town, transporting the crowds to and from the numerous venues, and it's happy outdoor cafes, pubs and restaurants. In many ways, Ghent is more interesting and more appealing than the popular town of Bruges.

Here is the Ghent Castle of the Counts as photographed from the canal boat tour.

Here is the Ghent Castle of the Counts from its ramparts.

This is Ghent's monument to a war actually won by the Belgians !

This is Ghent's Belfry. Luckily there is an elevator to take you most of the way up.

This is one of Ghent's "gondolas," imported (the driver too) from Bangladesh! Yes, the canal water is a little murky.

Expensive dock-side cafes in the sun at the point where the canal tours begin and end.  You can order a tasty lunch for a mere 37 Euros !!

At Brussels, I've been to a couple of museums, walked the City Center numerous times, and especially enjoyed The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History.

The Aeronautic exhibit at the Armed Forces Museum was especially interesting. Here are a few photos of it. This exhibit compares favorably to the outstanding exhibit of airplanes at Seattle's Boeing Field.

One of the highlights of the 10 days in Brussels was attending the opening night of a performance by the ATC of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie."  This event was designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mr. Williams' birth. It was held in the Studio Theater of the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The performance was excellent, leading to a standing ovation at the end for the 4 actors by the sell-out crowd of 200-300 patrons. An excellent evening it was, though if you know the play (set in St Louis at the end of the 1930's), you understand it is a bit downbeat, though terribly funny at times. It remains one of the finest examples of American play writing.  No photos available, sorry.

More later.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lake Tahoe, California

There are few places in the USA which are more beautiful or more lovely on a pleasant summer day in early August than Lake Tahoe and its surrounding area.  For about 17 years, my family and I owned a cozy cottage on the California side of the Lake (the other side is in Nevada). I sold the property in 2003 and had not returned to Lake Tahoe until 1 August 2011.

Our Tahoe cottage summer and winter views

The motivations for the 2011 visit to the Lake Tahoe area were my being a happy host of a friend from Europe and desiring to show him California's showcase lake.

Lake Tahoe was formed by glaciers eons ago and rests in a basin surrounded by Sierra Nevada mountains. The elevation of the lake is 6,225 feet (1,900 meters) above sea level. It is the largest alpine lake in North America and the 2nd deepest lake (after Crater Lake in Oregon).

Emerald Bay is a sparkling small arm of the larger Lake Tahoe, and it is encircled by a spectacular roadway. Eagle Falls rushes down into the Lake at Emerald Bay, its little river starting at Eagle Lake, about a 1 mile uphill walk. Little Eagle Lake is located in the Desolation Wilderness Area and rests at 6,675 feet (2,035 meters) above sea level.  At each turn in the trail through the forest, across huge boulders, and alongside the stream are fantastic views and awe-inspiring vistas.

A short drive later, off Highway 50 after passing westbound over the mountain summit when departing the Tahoe Basin, is located a truly spectacular alpine experience:  the Echo Lakes, lower and upper. What you do when you reach the lake shore is pay the fee and ride the Echo Lake Water Taxi, from one end of Lower Echo to the other end of Upper Echo (where the trail begins for backpackers trekking into the wilderness). It is a one-hour visual alpine fantasy.  The Echo Lakes are 7,414 feet (2,260 meters) above sea level. On the smooth granite rocks that form the lake shore are perched little summer cabins, which can be reached only via the water taxi (or your own boat).

The entire Tahoe experience, even after having done it many, many times, is almost overwhelming.  My European friend was simply speechless, and the visit to Echo Lakes proved to be his single-best experience in California. Who could ask for anything more?

Lake Tahoe at Hurricane Bay

Lake Tahoe from Meek's Bay Beach

 Chambers Landing, Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, Eagle Falls

Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe

On the trail to Eagle Lake above Lake Tahoe

Eagle Lake near Lake Tahoe

Water Taxi at Echo Lake, California

Connecting Channel between the 2 Echo Lakes

Echo Lake, California with Cabins at the Lake Shore

I hope everyone has the opportunity to visit these beautiful places.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Deep Philosophical Question

Today is Saturday, 23 July 2011

Okay, here is the puzzler:  "If you do nothing, how do you know when you are done?"

Thanks to National Public Radio's "Car Talk" program today for the question.

Comments welcome!

Since the NPR radio program originates in Boston, we honor Boston with this picture I took in June when enjoying a "Duck Tour" of Boston. This photo shows one of their other vehicles as our amphibious vehicle was also "swimming"  in the Charles River.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Photo-Geography Water Quiz

Today is 16 July 2011.

Another easy quiz for all you photo-geography wizards. Can you name the precise location where my camera recorded each of these photos?  Are you also able to name the body of water shown?  Okay, here goes!  (NOTE: To enlarge any photo, left click on it once and then again. To return to the original screen use your back arrow once.)

Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4

Photo #5

Photo #6

Photo #7

Photo #8

Photo #9

Photo #10

Photo #11

Photo #12

Photo # 13

Photo #14

Photo #15

Okay, now for the answers.

1. Rio de Janeiro, View of Copacabana from the Gondola to Sugar Loaf. Atlantic Ocean.
2. The Town is Stinson Beach, California (near San Francisco). Pacific Ocean.
3. Belem, Portugal (Lisbon), Torre de Belem (Belem Tower). Rio Tejo (Tejo River).
4. Bruges, Belgium. Bruges Canal.
5. Misty Fjords National Monument, Alaska (near Ketchikan). Inland Passage, Pacific Ocean.
6. Hong Kong. Victoria Harbor, Pacific Ocean.
7. Florence, Italy. Arno River.
8. Iguazu Falls, Iguazu River, Argentina. Brazil is Behind Me on the Opposite Shore of the River.
9. Boston, Massachusetts. Charles River.
10. Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Sound, Pacific Ocean.
11. Cabo da Roca, Portugal. The Westernmost Point in Continental Europe. Atlantic Ocean.
12. San Francisco from the top of Mount Tamalpais. San Francisco Bay on the Left, Pacific Ocean on the Right.
13. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Bartolome Island, Pacific Ocean.
14. Annecy, France. Lac Annecy.
15. Mykonos Town, Mykonos Island, Greece. Aegean Sea.

You got them all correct, yes?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Brief Note about and Photo of Shanghai

If you ever wondered why Shanghai's emergence -- as perhaps the major urban center in China -- is so remarkable, just take a look at these two photos, ostensibly made a mere 20 years apart. The top photo is 1990; the bottom photo is 2010.  I have not "fact-checked" the veracity of the year that the 1990 photo was taken, but I assume the date is accurate. I doubt that any other city in the world has undergone such a dramatic change in a mere 20 years.