Author Archives: Karl

“Pic of the Week”, January 25, 2019: Bow Valley Provincial Park

04 Bow River PP

Alberta has a fine network of provincial parks (analogous to American state parks).  One of these is situated just east of the Alberta Rocky mountains on the banks of the Bow River as it makes its way from Banff to Calgary and ultimately to Hudson’s Bay.
 
The park has several campgrounds which are very popular during the summer months.  It provides excellent access to Banff and Canmore, and is also not that far from Calgary.   The park also offers some easy hiking trails that provide a nice way to explore the terrain of the Rocky mountain foothills.
 
We parked at Middle Lake and explored many of the trails in the area — Middle Lake, Moraine and

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

A Day of Mosaics: Visiting Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily

24 Villa Romana del Casale (189)

I like to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites when travel allows because they are uniformly interesting.  Villa del Casale is no exception as it has some of the best preserved and most extensive Roman mosaics anywhere.  The place is situated off the main tourist path in the central hills of Sicily and was a little hard to find, but the lovely well-preserved floor mosaics make it worth a little effort to get to.  It’s about 3 km from the town of Piazza Armerina.

Villa Romana del Casale was built in late Roman Empire, around the middle of the 4th Century AD, as a hunting lodge for a wealthy Roman (whose name is unknown).  The overall architecture is similar to many villas …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 18, 2019: The Metropol Parasol, Seville

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It’s hard to miss the massive Metropol Parasol, which is said to be the “World’s Largest Wooden Structure”.  Not sure how to verify such a claim but it certainly is large.  It measures 150 x 70 meters (490 x 230 ft) and is about 26 meters (85 ft) tall.

The structure was designed by German architect Jurgen Mayer and was completed in 2011 as part of the revitalization at Plaza de la Encarnacion.  It consists of 6 interwoven large mushroom-like structures built of birch panels which provide welcome shaded relief from the warm Spanish sun.

Metropol Parasol is one of Seville’s newer structures and is becoming an icon.  It’s home to a museum (with Roman and Moorish ruins displayed), a market, restaurant …

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.All Trips / Europe / Germany

Berlin’s unique Museum Island: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

03 Berlin Museum Island (2)

Situated on an island in the Spree River, Berlin’s Museum Island (Museumsinsel) is home to five world-renowned museums.  The space is shared with Berlin’s great Cathedral, the Berliner Dom.  In 1999, the Museum Island complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage. 

The five museums on Museum Island are:

1) Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum):

Opened in 1930 — the last museum on the island to open but also perhaps the greatest of these museums.  This museum alone attracts around one million visitors every year and is currently under refurbishment. Its collection includes the Pergamon Altar and  Ishtar Gate.

Bode Museum, Berlin's Museum Island

Bode Museum, Berlin’s Museum Island

2) Bode-Museum:

Opened at the northern tip of the island in 1904 and with a renovation completed in 2005.  It has an …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 11, 2019: Grand Oriental Hotel, Colombo

00 Oriental Hotel Colombo (4)

The Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH, previously the Taprobane Hotel) is a heritage property located in the Fort district of Colombo.

The building was formerly a barracks for the British Army and was converted to a hotel in 1875,  with 154 rooms.  Ads at the time claimed it was “the only fully European owned and fully equipped hotel in the East”; also, “the hotel is lighted throughout by electricity and all the public rooms and bedrooms are kept cool by means of electric fans”.

It was an elegant place to visit in the 19th century.  It had a tropical garden, was illuminated at night by colored lights, and had its own orchestra which performed daily.  The hotel underwent a thorough a refurbishment in …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Day in the Dubai Mall

07 Dubai Mall (69)

On my last day in Dubai I thought I’d connect with a few world records.  I visited the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and with the world’s highest observation deck, and the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall (by total area).  These two structures adjoin each other, so it’s quite easy to see both in one day.  I’ll soon publish a separate post on the Burj Khalifi, but today I’d like to focus on some of the sights and activities of the Dubai Mall.

Generally speaking, I’m not much of shopper and definitely not a Mall guy, but the Dubai Mall was an interesting and pleasant place to visit, especially as the outside temperature soared to 40oC (105oF), and …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 4, 2019. Old Fire Truck, Gold Hill

00 Old Fire Truck, Gold Hill

Situated in the high foothills of the Rocky Mountains is the town of Gold Hill.  This is a fascinating living relic of Colorado’s mining past and an interesting place to visit.

Sitting by the town’s main road is a large rusting and faded truck that was worth exploring.  On closer look, it became clear that this was an ancient Ford fire truck, circa 1940 or so.  Most of the lights and equipment have been stripped and it obviously hasn’t been used for many years, but it definitely fit into the landscape of Gold Hill.

I love finding old vehicles like this during my travels!

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Signs of Sri Lanka

01 Signs of Sri Lanka

As many of you known, I like to collect photos of signage during my travels.  It’s a bit random to see what will strike my fancy, but I find these photos usually tell a story about the destination beyond what you’ll find at major attractions.

Sri Lanka is trying to to transition to a modern economy; we’ll see if it’s successful.  I’d did notice increased numbers of more modern signs while i was there during my last trip, as commerce is becoming more westernized.  These were often in both English and Sinihalese.

Here’s some of what I saw during my most recent travels on the island nation.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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