Author Archives: Karl

“Pic of the Week”, September 21, 2018: Views from Ushuaia

09 Ushuaia 2-2014

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world.  It lies on the tip of Tierra del Fuego, off the Beagle Channel, and is surrounded by the Martial Mounts. This excellent location allows you to enjoy dramatic scenes of the sea, mountains and forests of southern Patagonia.

We spent a few days in Ushuaia after completing a memorable cruise through the Patagonian fjords.  The weather was quite changeable and scenes of the city were often dramatic, especially when viewed from the hill where our hotel was located.

Ushuaia has a modern international airport and is the closest deep-water port to Antarctica.  The last photos below are some of my favorites, with “Godbeams” of light penetrating the heavy cloud of a clearing storm.

(Click on …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

The Grand Hotel: A Step Back in Time

02 Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya (31)

If you love visiting and staying in hotels built during the British Colonial era, a great stop is The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya.  The hotel is situated about a mile above sea level in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, in the heart of the tea-plantations and fields of vegetables.  The Grand Hotel was built in the style of an Elizabethan-era manor house.

Nuwara Eliya was a popular vacation destination for the British and Scottish citizens who took care of the Empire’s business in Sri Lanka during the 19th century, so much so that the region was fondly known as “Little England”.  Much of Sri Lanka is steamy hot year round, but the cool days and nights in the mountains reminded the …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 14, 2018: Floralis Genérica, Buenos Aires

02 Floralis Genérica, Palermo

Floralis Genérica is one of the best known and most impressive monuments  in Buenos Aires. It’s a sculpture of a massive flower (18 tons, 23 meters high) made of stainless steel, aluminum and concrete.  Floralis Genérica is located in a beautiful 4 acre park at the Plaza of the United Nations in Recoleta.  The park has walking paths that allow you to view the sculpture from different angles.

This impressive artwork was donated to the city in 2002 by architect Eduardo Catalano. It has a mechanism (which may or may not be working) that opens and closes the flower’s six gigantic petals, depending on the time of day.  When all is in working order the flower closes …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Visit to the Al Ain Palace Museum

02 Al Ain Palace Museum (6)

The Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum (a.k.a. the Al Ain Palace Museum), is located in the oasis city of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.  The museum is located in the home/family palace of former U.A.E. President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918–2004).  The palace was built in 1937 and Sheikh Zayed lived here until 1966.  As you would expect, local building materials were used including adobe, clay, stones and palm trees.  It features rooms for the royal family, official meeting chambers, and quarters for visitors. 

The palace was converted to a museum in 1998, opening to the public in 2001.  The museum does a good job of creating an atmosphere as existed here when the Sheikh called it home.

Al Ain is …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 7, 2018: Reminders of a Wildfire, Patagonia

01PainesMassifTorresDelPaine77

Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Preserve and is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.  The area has had several significant wildfires in the past few decades, the largest in late 2011 which burned into 2012 and destroyed 16,000 hectares (about 40,000 acres) .   All of these wildfires were caused by careless human behavior.  While it is somewhat shaky, this short videoclip shows the magnitude of these fires and just how scary they are when you’re in the midst of it all.

The area doesn’t have the dense forests or taller trees one sees in coastal Patagonia, but the scrubby dead bush that remains is definitely a reminder of these fires. I …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 31, 2018: Galle Face Green, Colombo

15 Galle Face Green (2)

Situated on the Indian Ocean, just north of the historic Galle Face Hotel and south of Colombo’s business district and old Fort region, is a public park known as the Galle Face Green

The park covers 5 hectacres (12 acres) and is a popular place for people to gather, especially at sunset when the beautiful light of the setting sun and cool ocean breezes draws folks in.  The Green has in the past, also served as a horse racing venue, golf course and sports field (football, cricket, rugby).

During my visits to Colombo I enjoyed walking along the Green’s oceanside path just after dawn — one of my ways of dealing with jetlag.  The walk …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 24, 2018: A Disappearing Prairie Icon

elevator 1

Grain elevators, prairie sentinels, prairie cathedrals — all synonyms for the large structures that have dotted the Canadian prairies for more than a century.  I recall when traveling across the plains as a boy, you could spot these wooden towers at great distances — often 20 or more miles away — providing welcome relief to the otherwise flat landscape.  Each elevator was a storage facility that marked the location of a prairie town; the larger and more plentiful elevators were in a given location, the larger and more prosperous the town.

The business of the prairies is agriculture and mechanisms needed to be developed to get the bountiful grain crops to world markets.  After some experimentation with bagging the grain, it …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Delhi’s Largest Mosque. A visit to Jama Masjid

01 Jama Masjid, Delhi (16)

The great mosque of Old Delhi, said to be the largest in India, has a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 worshipers.  Construction on the mosque was begun in 1644 by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who also built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort; it was to be his last big architectural project.

The mosque adjoins the market area of Chawri Bazar.  It rests atop a small hill has three entry gates, four towers, and two 40 m-high minarets (one of which you can climb for a small fee).  The mosque faces west, towards Mecca.  It is constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble, and more than 5000 artisans worked on it.   The roof of the …

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