.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Nova Scotia

A Visit to the Citadel, Halifax

00 Citadel, Halifax (9)

Halifax’s roots lie in its proximity to the sea, and its large natural harbor.  When the town was founded in 1749, among the first buildings constructed was a guardhouse atop what would become known as Citadel Hill.  The Citadel, because of its hilltop location, offered a strategic defensive position.  As the harborside town grew and changed, so did the fort which overlooked and protected it. 

The Citadel was completed in 1856, the fourth and last in a series of forts built at this site.  Its official name is Fort George (after King George II).  It has a distinctive star shape, strategic for allowing optimum defense of the structure.  Fortunately these defenses were never put to the test as the city was …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

The Grand Hotel: A Step Back in Time

02 Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya (31)

If you love visiting and staying in hotels built during the British Colonial era, a great stop is The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya.  The hotel is situated about a mile above sea level in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, in the heart of the tea-plantations and fields of vegetables.  The Grand Hotel was built in the style of an Elizabethan-era manor house.

Nuwara Eliya was a popular vacation destination for the British and Scottish citizens who took care of the Empire’s business in Sri Lanka during the 19th century, so much so that the region was fondly known as “Little England”.  Much of Sri Lanka is steamy hot year round, but the cool days and nights in the mountains reminded the …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Visit to the Al Ain Palace Museum

02 Al Ain Palace Museum (6)

The Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum (a.k.a. the Al Ain Palace Museum), is located in the oasis city of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.  The museum is located in the home/family palace of former U.A.E. President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918–2004).  The palace was built in 1937 and Sheikh Zayed lived here until 1966.  As you would expect, local building materials were used including adobe, clay, stones and palm trees.  It features rooms for the royal family, official meeting chambers, and quarters for visitors. 

The palace was converted to a museum in 1998, opening to the public in 2001.  The museum does a good job of creating an atmosphere as existed here when the Sheikh called it home.

Al Ain is …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Delhi’s Largest Mosque. A visit to Jama Masjid

01 Jama Masjid, Delhi (16)

The great mosque of Old Delhi, said to be the largest in India, has a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 worshipers.  Construction on the mosque was begun in 1644 by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who also built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort; it was to be his last big architectural project.

The mosque adjoins the market area of Chawri Bazar.  It rests atop a small hill has three entry gates, four towers, and two 40 m-high minarets (one of which you can climb for a small fee).  The mosque faces west, towards Mecca.  It is constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble, and more than 5000 artisans worked on it.   The roof of the …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Space View Park, Titusville, Florida

00 Titusville (8)

Situated on Florida’s east coast, 15 miles from the Cape Canaveral launch pads, is the small town of Titusville.  Titusville sits on the Indian River and has a lovely park on its waterfront called “Space View Park”, wherein we stopped while making our way to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for some bird-watching.  The park is a lovely shaded spot with some wonderful views towards the Kennedy Space Center and, to our delight, had a great monument to the earliest American astronauts, the Project Mercury team. 

I was a schoolboy during the great era of space travel that President Kennedy’s challenge spawned in the 1960s.  “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things not

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Visiting the Mall of the Emirates

08-Mall-of-the-Emirates

Where does one go on a hot summer day in Dubai when the temperature is up around 40oC?  It seems everyone goes to the mall!

Dubai has many beautiful (and wonderfully air-conditioned!) shopping malls, most filled with the kind of shops you find on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  Among the first of these built was the Mall of the Emirates which has more than 560 shops selling most everything you could possibly need or want.  There is a large theater complex, a massive food court and many restaurants scattered around the mall as well.  There are two adjoining five-star hotels — Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel — very convenient if you’re a …

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.All Trips / England / Europe

The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, London

00 Albert Memorial, Hyde Park (14)

The Albert Memorial is located in Kensington Gardens across the street from the Royal Albert Hall.  Once seen, you’ll never forget this Memorial.  Extremely ornate, built in the high-Gothic Victorian revival style, it commemorates Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who died of typhoid fever at the young age of 42 in 1861. 

The monument was commissioned by Queen Victoria and unveiled in 1872.  The happy marriage between Victoria and Albert is well known, so the creation of a beautiful tribute to the prince should not surprise anyone.  The memorial is 176 feet (54 m) tall, took over ten years to complete, and cost £120,000 (today the equivalent of about more than £10,000,000). 

Albert Memorial, London

Albert Memorial, London

It is officially titled the “Prince Consort National Memorial” and …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Visiting the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, India

Khajuraho temples and town (97)

Khajuraho is a co-mingled grouping of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India.  The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the temple collection is especially well-known for its erotic sculptures and architecture.

Most of the temples in Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 AD during the Chandela dynasty.  It’s thought that the grouping consisted of 85 temples when the region reached its peak of activity in the 12th century; currently only 25 temples remain.   These temples vary tremendously in size from tiny to enormous!    The most visited temple, Kandariya Mahadev, has an area of about 6,500 square feet and a spire that rises 116 feet.  The temples all face the rising sun and are built near water.

India …

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