Author Archives: Karl

.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Nova Scotia

Halifax’s Legislative Home — Province House

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During my travels I often find myself visiting sites of government.  Not sure why this is so because, as a rule, most governments really annoy me.  Perhaps it’s because the buildings in which they’re housed are often grand and opulent and their landscaping beautiful, covering many acres of prime real estate. 

So a visit to Province House in Halifax was a pleasant change from the norm.  When we first spotted the building during our exploratory walk through the city, I thought it must be of some significance because it was old and looked important, but it is not at all large, occupying only a small city block.  Perhaps, I thought, it was a courthouse or library?  Turned out this was Province …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 12, 2018: The Waterfall at the Dubai Mall

10 Dubai Mall (48)

One of the most impressive works of public art I’ve ever seen was in the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall.  Located close to the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifi) and with views of it, are two cylindrical waterfalls that extend the full four story height (24 m) of the Mall structure. 

All that flowing water seems out of place in the desert, but the sight and sound of it is beautiful and mesmerizing.  To enhance the waterfalls are dozens of fiberglass figures giving the illusion of synchronized divers.  This art work can be viewed from each level of the mall, and the perspective changes so take the escalator up all the floors and take it all in.

The fountains are …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

Exploring the Arc de Triomphe

Paris._Arc_de_Triomphe._Postcard,_c.1920

Paris’ Arc de Triomphe rests at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, near the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and is at the hub of twelve radiating avenues.  It is a war memorial honoring those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  The monument is decorated with war scenes, symbols and the names of French victories and victorious Generals. 

Beneath the vault rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (from World War I, interred in 1920).  This grave was visited by President and Mrs Kennedy in 1961.  Rumor has it that after JFK was assassinated in 1963, Jackie requested an eternal flame be placed at her husband’s grave in Arlington Cemetery because she’d liked the one under the Arc de Triomphe.

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

The design of …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 5, 2018 : Space Shuttle, “Discovery”

04 Discovery

When the Space Shuttle program was discontinued in the early years of the Obama administration, museums around the world scrambled for the right to receive and exhibit one of the four remaining shuttles.   It seems highly appropriate that one of these unique spacecraft should find its final home at the prestigious Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (located in Virginia, close to Washington Dulles Airport, about a half hour’s drive from downtown DC).  

Situated in a separate wing of the Udvar-Hazy Center with other relics of space travel (including an especially an impressive collection of satellites), the Shuttle is one of the Center’s prized exhibits.  The shuttle Discovery is parked so that you can walk around it …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Across Dubai Creek

01 Dubai Creek (61)

Dubai Creek is the main geographic landmark of Dubai.  The Creek, 14 km long, divides Dubai into its two original neighborhoods – Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai.  The Creek has played a major role in the history and economic development achieved by Dubai beginning in the days when desert nomads first settled on its banks in the 19th century.  Dubai Creek has been a center for the traditional pearl trade and now for international shipping and trade.  The Creek was dredged and widened decades to ago to allow larger ships ease of entry.

Abras on Dubai Creek…

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Visiting Alberta’s Dinosaur Country: 1) The Royal Tyrrell Museum

006 Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller.  Albertosaurus 69,000,000 yrs ago

At first glance, the small city of Drumheller seems an unlikely place to find a superb science museum – one of the finest in Canada and one that is very family-oriented.  The museum opened in 1985 and was given “Royal” status in 1990 by Queen Elizabeth, a sign of high distinction.

I live in Calgary and when I have visitors who are inclined to see a museum, I always suggest they drive to see the Royal Tyrrell.  Alberta is the dinosaur capital of the world and this museum houses one of the most interesting and diverse collection of fossils and related items you’ll find anywhere.  The Royal Tyrrell has a collection of over 125,000 fossils, mostly vertebrates.

Entrance to Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

The Museum is located in …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 28, 2018: Dubai’s Textile Souk

00 textile souk, Dubai (2)

Situated in the Bur Dubai, adjoining Dubai Creek, is the Textile Souk.  This is a pretty market district located within a restored traditional bazaar, its buildings and walkways shaded by a wooden roof (the shade providing welcome relief from the almost unbearable desert heat). There is a main central lane to the market, with side alleys leading to smaller shops.

Most of the shops are now operated by Indian (rather than Arab) traders and the merchandise sold varies from the colorful bolts of cloth (cotton, silk, some embroidered), dresses, blankets, slippers, and assorted Dubai souvenir items.  Bartering is expected and often lively.  Many of the shops have tailors who can sew you a dress or shirt and have it ready before you depart …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Nova Scotia

A Visit to the Citadel, Halifax

00 Citadel, Halifax (9)

Halifax’s roots lie in its proximity to the sea, and its large natural harbor.  When the town was founded in 1749, among the first buildings constructed was a guardhouse atop what would become known as Citadel Hill.  The Citadel, because of its hilltop location, offered a strategic defensive position.  As the harborside town grew and changed, so did the fort which overlooked and protected it. 

The Citadel was completed in 1856, the fourth and last in a series of forts built at this site.  Its official name is Fort George (after King George II).  It has a distinctive star shape, strategic for allowing optimum defense of the structure.  Fortunately these defenses were never put to the test as the city was …

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