North America / Western Canada / Yukon

“Pic of the Week”, January 24, 2020: Sam Steele, The Lion of the Yukon

05 Whitehorse Street Art (7)

There are times in history when one man can make an enormous difference to the lives of thousands of people.  Sam Steele, known as the “Lion of the Yukon”, was just such a man.  His formal title, in time, was to be Major General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele.

Sam had a distinguished career as a soldier and officer in military and in the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP),  which today has morphed into Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  Sam was head of the Yukon detachment of the NWMP during the Klondike Goldrush.  What was a sleepy outpost initially turned into a challenging position for Sam and his Mounties.

He established Custom outposts atop the Chilkoot and White Passes, and the Mounties did …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

02 Souk Madinat Jumeirah (2)

There are many great markets in Dubai, with no lack of opportunity for shopping.  Some markets, like the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall, are modern and could be found in almost any city in the world.  Others are uniquely Arab, including the original and traditional outdoor markets, like the spice and textile souks.

The Souk Madinat Jumeirah is sort of a hybrid of these concepts, a re-creation of an Arab market but with modern amenities, set by the sea, adjoining the lovely Burj Al Arab hotel.  The place is quite lovely, with traditional wind-towers and sand colored construction.  Shops and restaurants of a great variety are available, …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Buenos Aires’ unique Barolo Palace

00 Barolo Palace, Buenos Aires

There are many old and interesting buildings in Buenos Aires, but none caught our attention quite like the Palacio Barolo (Barolo Palace), situated on famous Avenida de Mayo. 

The Barolo Palace was designed by Italian architect, Mario Palanti.  He was given this commission by the original building owner, entrepreneur Luis Barolo, an Italian immigrant who made his fortune in wool and cotton textiles.  When the Barolo Palace was finished in 1923 it was the tallest building in South America.   It is 100 meters (330 ft) tall; subsequently a taller but similar appearing sibling was constructed, the Palacio Salvo, built by the same architect in Montevideo, Uruguay.  And, of course, today’s Buenos Aires skyline contains many taller structures. 

Graf Zeppelin Palacio Barolo 30 June 1934. Courtesy Wikimedia and National Archives of Argentina

Graf Zeppelin Palacio Barolo 30 June 1934. Courtesy Wikimedia and National Archives of Argentina

The Palacio Barolo’s design was …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Barcelona’s Other Cathedral

11 Barcelona Cathedral (29)

If you’re in Barcelona, then you absolutely MUST visit the still unfinished Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Gaudi’s masterpiece.  It’s a church unlike any other and must be experienced in person.  But if you have time, then by all means you should also visit the historic and beautiful Barcelona Cathedral.  It’s also a busy place, with many people waiting in line to enter.

Main entrance to the Barcelona Cathedral

Main entrance to the Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is a lovely Gothic construction. The site where the Cathedral currently sits has been home to various Christian temples dating to the fourth century.  Construction of the Cathedral you visit today began in 13th century and it was mostly completed by the 15th century.  …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

A Few Photos of Life in the Everglades

07 Shark Valley 12-2018 (47)

The slowly flowing, warm, River of Grass is teaming with life, although at times it’s hard to see it.  A recommended place to spot wildlife within Everglades National Park is in Shark Valley.  There is a lengthy elevated bike path in the area, which is shared by a tram.  You can rent a bike and cycle around, stopping to see the alligators and birds, or you can sit back in the tram and let a biologist/guide educate you about what you’re seeing.  Both options are very rewarding.  There is no better place to immerse yourself in this UNESCO World Heritage ecosystem.

We visited Shark Valley a few months ago and had a wonderful experience.  I previously published a …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Staying at Rawla Jojawar, India

05 Rawla Jojawar (12)

One of the joys of traveling in India is to indulge a little and spend a night or two in one of the country’s Heritage Hotels.  These are historic accomodations, often nicely refurbished, each unique in some way.

Rawla Jojawar was once a small fort whose construction dates to the 18th century.  Rawla means ‘abode of the local chieftan’;  Jojawar is the name of the town in which it’s located.  This fort was converted into a Heritage Hotel and is run by the family of the Chieftan who lived here in the late 1700s.  The hotel opened in 2001. 

My room in the Rawla Jojawar

My room in the Rawla Jojawar

The Rawla is quite lovely, and a calm and relaxing place to stay.  The grounds are beautifully and carefully landscaped, and the Rajasthani cuisine served …

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.All Trips / Belgium / Europe

Brussel’s Amazing Market Square (Grand-Place)

17 Brussels. House of the Dukes of Brabant

Grand-Place (Grote Markt in Dutch) is the central square of Brussels which is know of its beautiful and decorative architecture in a variety of styles (e.g. Baroque, Gothic).  The square is lined by City Hall, Maison du Roi, and a number of guild houses. In 1998 it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Many famous events in Brussels’ history occurred in the Grand-Place, including the martyrdom of protestant leaders Hendrik Voes and Jan Van Essen, and a brutal attack by the French in 1695 targeting the façade and tower of City Hall, resulting in extensive damage to many buildings of the square. Obviously all has been repaired and today many of the buildings house museums and tourism-related shops.

Some of …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

St Francis Xavier’s Church, Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya St, Francis Xavier Church (1)

When I last visited Nuwara Eliya, situated high in the mountains of Sri Lanka’s tea country, I made a point of seeing some of the local sights.  One of the my friends and traveling companions, a devout Catholic, wanted to visit St. Xavier’s Catholic Church, which I’m glad we did because it is quite lovely. 

The church’s construction was begun in 1838, and it was completed over a 10 year period.  It’s still a lovely building, a brown color with colonial architecture, so it fits in well with the overall appearance of the town.

St, Francis Xavier Church. Nuwara Eliya

St, Francis Xavier Church. Nuwara Eliya

The interior  of the church is bright and cheery, and has some interesting mementos of the Saint it’s named for. 

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge and right arrow to …

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