Author Archives: Karl

.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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“Pic of the Week”, July 24, 2020: Lake Agnes, Banff National Park

01 Lake Agnes

One of the most popular day hikes in the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park is to visit Lake Agnes.  A 3.5 km trail through the forest on the north side of the lake gains 400 m (1300 ft) from Lake Louise’s shore to reach the hanging valley containing Lake Agnes.
Lake Agnes is beautifully framed by rugged snow and ice covered mountains.  It sits at 2135 m (7005 ft).  Lake Agnes was named after Canada’s First Lady, Agnes MacDonald, wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister.
One of the highlights of visiting Lake Agnes is to enjoy a snack or meal at its tea-house.  Established in 1905, the Lake Agnes tea-house serves a large assortment of tea but also home made …

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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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