.All Trips / Europe / Italy

A visit to the fascinating Frari Church, Venice

05 Frari Church, Venice (8)

One of the great places to explore when visiting Venice is the Franciscan church of Santa Maria dei Frari (St. Mary of the Friars, commonly known as the Frari Church).  
As with many things in Venice, the Frari Church is an old building.  The church was originally constructed between 1236 and 1338, then rebuilt in Gothic style two centuries later.   It’s considered a minor basilica and is dedicated to the Assumption of St. Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Exterior, Frari Church, Venice

Exterior, Frari Church, Venice


While the church is well known for its spacious architecture, it is best known for the many fine monuments and terrific works of Venetian Renaissance art it displays.  This beautiful art is still situated exactly where the artists knew it would be placed and where it …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa (89)

The medieval ruins of Polonnaruwa are located in east-central Sri Lanka.
During my last trip to Sri Lanka I revisited Polonnaruwa as I’d only been there on one prior occasion.  During that prior visit, Polonnaruwa was at the fringes of the front in the country’s lingering Civil War, and not considered safe, so we didn’t stay any longer than necessary to visit the highlights of the ruined city.

UNESCO Marker, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

UNESCO Marker, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka


This trip was done at a more relaxed pace.  We spent two nights in the Polonnaruwa at a charming small hotel adjacent to the ruins, got to celebrate Sri Lankan New Year with the hotel owners, staff and guests, and I had a leisurely day to explore the ruins. 
Polonnaruwa is part of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, …

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Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

“Pic of the Week”, July 31, 2020: Centennial Flame, Ottawa

Parliament Hill (9)

The Centennial Flame is located on a walkway leading to the Central Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.  It was officially lite by then Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson on January 1, 1967, to commemorate Canada’s 100th anniversary.
The Flame is fueled by natural gas.  It’s surrounded by a ledge which contains the shields of the 12 provinces and territories that formed Canadian Confederation in 1967 (the shield for the Nunavut territory was added recently), and it in turn is surrounded by a fountain.  Coins tossed into the fountain are used to fund a government Research Award.
Intended to be a temporary monument, the Centennial Flame proved popular with tourists and glows to this day.
(Clock on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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.All Trips / Central USA / Food / Kansas / North America

Danna’s Bar-B-Que and Burger Shop, Branson

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Danna’s Bar-B-Que and Burger shop is situated in a charming building that serves exactly what the sign says — BBQ and burgers
Everything at Danna’s is fresh.  Larger cuts of beef and pork are smoked for 12-14 hours over local hickory wood; smaller cuts of meat and ribs are smoked twice a day for 4 hours.  The result is food that tastes terrific!
Burgers and a variety of sandwiches are available, but most people seemed to be enjoying the plates of BBQ. Plate meals are served with Memphis rolls, delicious cole slaw and the tastiest baked beans I’ve ever had.
Missouri and its neighboring states are known for fine BBQ, and Danna’s won’t disappoint.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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.All Trips / Central USA / Kansas / North America

A visit to the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, Oakley, Kansas

05 Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, Oakley (14)

It’s not every day you get to visit a small town that gave birth to a legend.  But Oakley, in western Kansas, was where the legend of Buffalo Bill began.  The legend was to grow from that of a skilled scout and hunter to that of the world’s first great showmen, owner and star of Wild West Show which toured in America and Europe more than a century.
Most legends have humble beginnings, as does Buffalo Bill.  William F Cody was working as a hunter in 1868, killing buffalo to feed men constructing the Kansas Pacific Railroad.  Even then he was recognized as a skilled hunter and was challenged by another to see who kill more bison.  This contest lasted 8 …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Visiting a Boy’s Home in Delhi

00 SBT SHELTER WALK

One of our tour group’s activities while in Delhi was to visit a Home for Boys, which we did early one winter morning.   The air was cool and crisp as we stepped off our bus and most of us zipped up our jackets.  We were met by one of the older boys from the home.  He greeted us and gave a brief history of the home before guiding us through the streets to visit it.   While I think the purpose of the walk was largely to let us see what life on these streets could be like, it would be impossible for any vehicle larger than a tuk-tuk to have navigated the maze we entered.
The Salaam Baalak

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Central USA / Missouri / North America

“Pic of the Week”, July 17, 2020: Titanic Museum, Branson, Missouri

00a Titanic

I was surprised by many things during a recent visit to Branson.  I was surprised how much I liked the town and its residents.  And I was also surprised that my favorite attraction (of the ones we visited) would be the Titanic Museum.
At first blush the Museum seemed a little too corny.  A museum about a ship sunken in the Atlantic located in a mid-western American city?  And the museum is shaped like the ship itself, complete with the iceberg that sank it?  Really?
Fortunately I overcame my original instincts to avoid the place and am very glad I bought those entry tickets, as this was a fascinating 3 hour visit.  The museum covers two floors and gives …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Near the MALBA, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires 002 Palermo Malbec Museum

While visiting Buenos Aires, my wife and I wanted to see the MALBA, a museum of modern Latin-American art that came highly recommended.  It was a rainy day and when our taxi dropped us off at the steps of the MALBA we were disappointed to find it closed for the day.  So it goes — should have called ahead before coming.
Not wanting to waste the morning, we decided to walk around the upscale Palermo Chico neighborhood in which the museum is situated.  It’s a safe neighborhood — not all areas of Buenos Aires are recommended for tourists — and we had no firm plans about where to go.  We just wanted to explore a little.
A few blocks south on Ave …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Magnificent Mt. Shasta, California

00 Mt. Shasta 13

One of the most memorable drives I’ve done in recent years is the road that stretches between Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Mount Shasta in Northern California.  Route 97 heads southwest towards the ever looming presence of majestic Mount Shasta, one of the prettiest mountains anywhere.  
We did this drive last month and the views of that beautiful peak were one of the highlights of our trip.  It was a clear day and Mt Shasta was visible for more than an hour. We stopped frequently for photos because we were worried the peak might disappear the closer we got because of hills obstructing our view, but that was not the case; some of these images are interspersed with this narrative, each subsequent …

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