Author Archives: Karl

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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“Pic of the Week”, April 19, 2019: Easter Week in Batticaloa

01 St. Mary’s Cathedral, Batticaloa (5)

During my last trip to Sri Lanka, I spent some time visiting with my friend, Dottie, Sir Arthur C Clarke’s personal secretary.  I got to know Dottie during my travels to Sri Lanka decades ago and we have kept up our friendship and correspondence over the years; it was nice to reconnect in person for a few days.

Dottie is a devout Roman Catholic and wanted to visit the Catholic churches in eastern Sri Lanka, which gave me the opportunity to see places and observe religious customs I otherwise might not have.  One of these places was the Cathedral of St. Mary in the small city of Batticaloa, an old church dating to 1808.

The church is simple but nicely maintained.  I …

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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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“Pic of the Week”, April 5, 2019: Union Point Church, Manitoba.

03 Trip to Morris (11)

Sometimes it’s good to stop at places you’ve driven by hundreds of times and actually explore them.  Such was the case with my visit to the Union Point Church south of St. Agathe in southern Manitoba.

The church is situated between the north and south-bound lanes of highway 75, the road that connects Winnipeg to southern Manitoba and North Dakota.  It’s a fairly important road, so thousands of people drive by the church every day but I suspect hardly anyone ever stops for a visit.

Union Point church was originally built in 1887, destroyed by fire in 1939, and rebuilt in 1940. There’s a small cemetery beside the church with tombstones dating to the late 19th century.  There was once also a …

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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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