Alberta / Central Canada / North America

“Pic of the Week”, April 26, 2019: Downtown Calgary

Returning to Calgary from Whitehorse (17)

I’ve always thought Calgary had a pretty skyline — and I’m not alone in that opinion as it’s been featured in several movies.  Rising from the prairies, a modern city that seems to be optimistic about its future.

Downtown Calgary is about 12 miles southwest of Calgary International Airport, so  you often see it as you fly into the city.  Usually it’s too dark or I’m sitting on the wrong side of the plane or there’s some other reason not to pull out my cell phone and snap some photos, but recently the conditions were perfect.

My plane approached downtown from the west, looped south of downtown, then to the east and north up to the airport.  From my seat in the …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse, Niagara Falls

02 Niagara Parks Floral Showcase

The Niagara Parks Floral Showcase is only 500 meters south of Horseshoe Falls. Greenhouses in the area date to the time of Queen Victoria, but the current complex was built the mid 20th century with several subsequent additions, including a large central atrium.  The complex includes space for storing bulbs, planting and growing new flowers for the Floral Showhouse (and elsewhere in Niagara Parks), but that is a behind the scenes activity that you won’t see.  What the visitor experiences after walking through the lovely grounds (enjoyable in the summer, less so in the winter) is a series of greenhouses that contain lush tropical vegetation, making it especially popular during times of cold weather. 

Plants you’ll see include orchids and cacti, and many …

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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

The S.S. Klondike, Whitehorse

00 SS Klondike Whitehorse (3)

One of the most popular attractions in Whitehorse is this sternwheeler which sits on the banks of the Yukon River in the heart of the city.  It’s one of only two surviving sternwheelers which plied the waters between Whitehorse and Dawson City — a relic from the time when waterways were preferred transportation route , before roads and railway provided quick access to the heart of the Yukon.

Whitehorse exists in large part because it of its proximity to the Alaska panhandle (and as such was a passing-through point during the Klondike Goldrush), and because it was the furthest city upstream on the Yukon River that could be successfully navigated by these flat-bottom boats. (Just upriver from the city, the Whitehorse …

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Alberta / Central Canada / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

“Pic of the Week”, April 12, 2019: Flying to the Land of the Midnight Sun

Flight to Whitehorse from Calgary (19)

I left for a 2 week vacation to the Yukon and Alaska last June 29th, just 8 days after the summer solstice.  My flight departed Calgary at 9:45 pm just in time to enjoy a pretty sunset, which you can see below (photos are in sequentially arranged).  There had been heavy rain that day and the clouds were starting to break apart as the sun dipped below the Rockies.

As we flew further north, the daylight seemed to be increasing, something I expected but still surprised me by how relatively bright it was.  Soon the sun was above the horizon again, illuminating our plane’s engine.  It only grew brighter the further north we flew.

We were scheduled to arrive in Whitehorse at …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A visit to the Top of the World — Dubai’s Burj Khalif

04 At the Top (11)

It seems fitting that the last major post in my series on visiting Dubai should highlight what I thought was its most spectacular attraction, namely the lovely Burj Khalif.  It is the world’s tallest building, with the world’s highest observation decks.  How could any traveler resist adding checkmarks to those bullet points on their bucketlist?

The Burj Khalifi has 1.85 million sq ft of residential space and 300,000 sq ft of office space, in addition to the Armani designed hotel and residences.   Here are some additional interesting facts about the building and its construction:
– It contains 11.6 million sq ft of concrete
– It took 22 million man hours to build over 6 years.  There were 12,000 people working on the building …

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.All Trips / North America / South Carolina / Southeastern USA

A Visit to St. Michael’s Church, Charleston

15 St. Michaels, charleston

Sitting prominently on the corner of Broad and Meeting, across from the old Post Office building, St. Michael’s is the oldest church in Charleston.  Today’s church stands on the site of the first Anglican Church built south of Virginia.  It’s a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

In the 1680’s a small wooden church was built on this spot and named St. Philip’s. By 1727 the church had become too small for the growing congregation and a new larger church was built on Church Street, but it was destroyed by fire in 1835 and had to be replaced.

St. Michael’s Church, Charleston

By 1751, St. Philip’s was again too small for its flock so a larger structure — named St. …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Remarkable Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park 6-90 017. Congress Trail

Going back through my travel records, I was surprised to find that it’s been almost 20 years since I last visited Sequoia National Park — my, how time flies.  I’m glad I spent a lot of time exploring this park during the 1980s and 1990s because it’s a special place.

Sequoia NP was about a 4 hour drive from our home in Southern California (under ideal traffic conditions– often more like 5 or 6 hours) and was one of the easiest to reach natural destinations near us, so we visited it almost every year.  The park spans over 400,000 acres so it’s impossible to see it all.  It’s part of the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve (1976).

What’s so special about the park?  Lots, to be sure …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Palermo’s Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico)

01a Orto Botanico

While Sicily itself is green and lovely after the rains, Palermo doesn’t have many spacious parks or gardens.  This is in part why exploring Orto Botanico di Palermo (Palermo Botanical Garden) was a treat for my wife and I.  It covers about 30 acres and has a large and interesting variety of plants that are pleasant to stroll through.  Orto Botanico also conducts research for the Department of Botany, University of Palermo. 

The garden dates to 1779 when the University created a chair of “botany and medicinal properties” and dedicated a plot of land for a botanical garden.  The goal was to grow and study plants that useful had medicinal properties.  The garden was moved to the present site in 1786 when …

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