.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Buenos Aires’ Jardin Botanico. A urban oasis

039 Buenos Aires Jardin Botanico 2014.  Fountain

Situated in Palermo, in the heart of Buenos Aires’ urban sprawl, is a lovely oasis of green, the Jardin Botanico.  The garden covers more than 7 hectares (17 acres) and brings together a large diversity of plant species (over 5500) in a setting that includes massive shade trees, many broad walking paths, fountains, statues, and places to sit and relax. Designed more than 100 years ago by French-borne architect and landscape designer Carlos Thays, in whose honor the garden is named, Jardin Botanico is a little run down (like much of the city is). Despite the need for repairs and more upkeep, the garden is a pleasant refuge on a hot day when you want to get away from the …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Mercado San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

San Telmo Market 2014 025

Markets are popular destinations for travelers and I’ve visited many of them during my travels.  Today I’d like to share with you the Mercado de San Telmo, a large and historic market in Buenos Aires.

One hundred and fifty years ago San Telmo was the most upscale barrio in Buenos Aires but it was mostly abandoned by its wealthy citizens during a yellow fever epidemic in the late 19th century, its residents moving more inland to neighborhoods extending from Recoleta to El Tigre.  Poorer people moved in to the abandoned homes which were usually subdivided into apartments and rented out.  Today, San Telmo is a state of “elegant decay” — beautiful crafted old buildings which are neglected and in need of …

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.All Trips / Argentina / Travel Talk

When Debit and Credit Cards aren’t your best choices on the Road

Argentine currency

Decades ago traveler’s checks were the “king of the road”, but now are obsolete.  With the revolution of software and personal computing, financial transactions at home and abroad have moved largely to an electronic format.  Today most people travel with just an ATM (debit) card and a credit card – perhaps with a spare credit card just in case your main card is lost or stolen or doesn’t work properly.  In Europe and most other countries this makes a lot of sense where the currency and exchange rates are stable, and there are many places you can use your cards.  The fees for ATM withdrawals can be significant, as both the foreign bank and usually your domestic bank will charge …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A visit to the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

kennedy-space-center-florida-2013-004

The Kennedy Space Center is one of my favorite attractions in the United States. It highlights some of the greatest technological achievements of our species and is testament to one of the most significant advances of human civilization — mankind leaving its earthly home to travel to the moon. It was President John Kennedy’s challenge to the nation to get a man to the moon and return him safely to the Earth before the close of the 1960s, a goal accomplished by the landing of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969.  I was very young during those halcyon days of space travel but remember vividly the great successes (and some heart-breaking failures) of the Space …

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.All Trips / Arizona / North America / Southwestern USA

The Desert: a Garden in Spring

001 California, Spring 2009  209 Joshua Tree National Park

I’ve been intrigued by deserts ever since I first visited one as a teenager.  The first impression I remember having is of a lifeless, harsh and barren place.  It’s certainly a hostile environment but I couldn’t have been more wrong about it being lifeless and barren.  Deserts are teaming with life and have a flora and fauna that’s incredibly well adapted to their challenging environment.  Temperature extremes, strong winds and little rainfall all necessitate hardy species.  Examples such as the cactus, with its protective spines and thick skin, are illustrative.

I love visiting the desert in the spring almost as much as I hate visiting the desert in the summer.  The reason for those who’ve lived in the American Southwest is …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

La Boca, Argentina. Colorful, gritty, tough.

La Baco 2014 007

Having just returned from a 3 week vacation to South America, I saw and photographed many fascinating places which I hope to share with you in the coming weeks.  I thought I’d start with the very last but most colorful place we visited.  La Boca (or Boca) is among the oldest “working class” neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.  Settled in the 19th century, mostly by poor Italian immigrants from Genoa, it was built adjoining the city’s old harbor on Rio Riachuelo.  As with much of Buenos Aires, it retains a distinct European flavor, but Boca has resisted gentrification — it seems to enjoy being the tough neighbor.

The immigrants homes in Boca, cobbled together some 150 years ago of wood and sheet metal and painted …

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.All Trips / Central Canada / Manitoba / North America

Everyone loves a parade! The gathering — Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

007 Winnipeg  parade

My father lives in Winnipeg and I visit him several times a year.  During these weekend visits we mostly relax and catch up but we both enjoy going out to explore and see things.  Never know what you might find when you do!

Like most North American cities (and maybe even more than most), Winnipeg is a rich mosaic of people from different countries.  This cultural and ethnic diversity is highlighted in a series of festivals throughout the year the most notable of which is Folklorama, an annual 2 week celebration.  Immigrants and their descendants set up “Pavilions” around the city (often in school auditoriums or community centers) in which the traditional food, song, dance, and artifacts from that country …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum — a fascinating collection of fine cars!

Tampa Bay Automobile Museum 2013 244 1936 Panhard Dynamic

One of the great pleasures of traveling is discovering those special places — gems that aren’t necessarily very famous or perhaps are off the beaten path, but still so very worthwhile visiting.  So it was with the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum which I had the pleasure of discovering during a recent visit to Florida.

Situated in a light industrial area just outside of Tampa in Pinellas County, the museum abuts a factory run by the owner of the wonderful car collection I’m about to share with you.  The factory is Polypack (manufactures packaging machinery) and its owner is Alain Cerf.  Mr. Cerf is an immigrant from France, a man with obvious exquisite taste in cars and the means to indulge his …

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