.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka

00 Gal Vihara (2)

One of the most amazing sites in Sri Lanka is the Gal Vihara, which is located within the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I thought the Gal Vihara was unusual and interesting enough to warrant a more detailed blog.   During my last visit I spent a full hour here, studying and photographing details of the carvings and just watching people.   
This has long been a site of Buddhist worship and teaching.  Gal Vihara (meaning ‘Rock Temple’) is an amazing collection of beautifully sculpted Buddha images carved from a massive granite boulder.  The scope of the carvings and their beautiful detail never cease to amaze me.  Hard to imagine the time it …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Majestic Yosemite Falls!

00 Yosemite Falls (2)

At a height of more than 2,425 ft (739 m), Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park and even one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. It can be seen from many vantages in the park. I’m especially fond of this view from across the valley, although the perspective from Glacier Point is also pretty terrific.
Yosemite Falls is a popular attraction, especially in May-June when it’s at peak flow from the melting snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, as it was when we visited this past spring.

View of Yosemite Falls from Valley Floor

View of Yosemite Falls from Valley Floor


Yosemite Falls is actually made up of three separate falls:
1) Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet) comprises half of the fall’s vertical drop.   The upper fall is formed by the waters …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Catania’s Great Cathedral, Sicily

00 Catania Cathedral (4)

Catania Cathedral faces the city’s main square, and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As you stand in Catania’s main square and look at the exterior of the cathedral, you’ll be impressed by its beautiful Baroque features.  The many lovely marble figures decorating the exterior and grounds of the building add to its uniqueness.  It’s easy to see why the cathedral is one of Catania’s most popular buildings — both during daylight hours and at night.
Catania Cathedral is also known as Saint Agatha Cathedral in honor of a young Christian martyr named Agatha who was killed at this site in the third century.  Agatha was said to have been a beautiful and pious young girl born into a good family.  …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 23, 2020. Audience Hall, Red Fort, Delhi

00 Hall of Audience, Delhi

The Diwan-i-Aam, or Audience Hall, is located in Delhi’s Red Fort.  It was here that Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (best known for building the Taj Mahal) and his successors meet with citizens to hear their grievances and requests.
The Audience Hall is covered with a roof but is open on three sides, with a back wall and weight-bearing pillars and arches made of red sandstone.  The hall measures 100 x 60 feet.  Apparently at one time its ceiling and columns were painted with gold — that would have been quite a sight.
It’s an impressive and beautifully constructed space, highlighted by place where the Emperor would sit —  a magnificent elevated white marble throne inlaid with semi-precious stone (a technique later perfected in …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, October 23, 2020. Audience Hall, Red Fort, Delhi

“Pic of the Week”, October 9, 2020: Bow Falls, Banff

00 Bow Falls

Bow Falls is a wide but relatively short waterfall (<9 meters) which, because of it’s location, is often visited.  When the Bow River is filled with spring thaw it really roars, but in the drier summer months its flow is significantly reduced and the falls are less impressive.
Bow Falls is located less than a kilometer south of the Banff townsite, near the Banff Springs Hotel.  You can access the falls from a parking lot immediately downriver from them or from Banff by following a trail adjoining the Bow River (there are trails on either side, but the best views are from the west side).  If you continue further downriver, past Bow Falls, you’ll quickly hit the junction of the Spray River …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, October 9, 2020: Bow Falls, Banff
.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Da Vinci’s Magnificent Last Supper, Milan

00 Last Supper

One of the main reasons we picked Milan as a travel destination was our desire to see Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest work, the “Last Supper”.
It’s not easy getting the opportunity to see this masterpiece in person.  There are a limited number of timed tickets issued for viewing of the Last Supper, so it is vital that you try to reserve your tickets just after they are issued because they sell out  quickly — often within a day or so of being released.  I got up in the middle of the night to buy ours — successfully, thank goodness.  If you can’t arrange the purchase of your tickets in advance, it is likely you can take a city tour in Milan …

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.All Trips / Europe / Poland

St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow

00 St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow

There are a lot of old and interesting sites in Krakow, which was spared bomb damage in the World Wars, but St. Mary’s Basilica is a special place.  Second only to the Wawel Cathedral — which is considered Poland’s National Cathedral — St Mary’s is one of the city’s most important churches.  It’s situated on the city’s large central Market Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The exterior of the building is impressive, both by day and at night.
A church has been on this site of St. Mary’s for over 800 years, but the current building was constructed in Gothic style on the burned ruins of the prior Romanesque church, that church having been destroyed in 1241.  This …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 4, 2020: Reflections of the Alpenglow, Lake Louise

Plain of Five Glaciers Hike with Evan and Sami (110)

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to be at the right place at just the right time.
We’d been hiking in Lake Louise, doing its famous Plain of Six Glaciers hike.  The weather had been pretty nice — some threatening clouds but mostly a pleasant day.  We enjoyed a tasty dinner at the Chateau Lake Louise and as we getting ready to leave stopped for one final look at that iconic scene of Lake Louise framed by Mount Victoria and its glaciers.
We were looking west, and Mount Victoria faces east, so it was in shadow.  The clouds above the mountain were catching the pretty light of the distant sun as it hit the Pacific horizon, the so-called “Alpenglow”.
The lake was so …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, September 4, 2020: Reflections of the Alpenglow, Lake Louise