.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Visiting an Ancient Spanish Monastery — in Florida??

00 Ancient Spanish Monastery (36)

How could an old Spanish Monastery be located in North Miami Beach?  Herein lies the interesting background of this story.  

This Monastery was built between 1133 – 1141 A.D. near Segovia, in Northern Spain.  It became known as the Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux. — St. Bernard was a Cistercian monk and influential church leader, and the founder and abbot of the Abbey of Clairvaux.  Cistercian monks lived in this Monastery for nearly 700 years.  After a social upheaval in the 1830’s, the Monastery‚Äôs Cloisters were seized and converted into a granary and stable.

 Ancient Spanish Monastery, North Miami Beach

Ancient Spanish Monastery, North Miami Beach

Enter legendary American publisher, William Randolph Hearst (of California’s Hearst Castle fame).  In 1925, Hearst purchased the Cloisters and the Monastery’s outbuildings (the church was not part …

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.All Trips

The Ljubljana Botanical Garden

Unknown Photo – Copy

One of Ljubljana’s less visited sites is its Botanical Garden.  Situated about a half hour’s walk from the historic heart of the city, the garden is an interesting green diversion.  The walk  to the gardens takes you past some lovely scenes, like the ones below.

The Ljubljana Botanical Garden was established in 1810, making it the oldest botanical garden in southeastern Europe.  It’s affiliated with the city’s University and as such is a formal part of this scientific and educational institution. While it is quite small (just 2 hectacres — about 5 acres), it has a surprisingly large diversity of plant life and plant environments, with more than 4,500 different species, a third being native to Slovenia.

Ljubljana Botanical Garden

Ljubljana Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden plays an …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

A Day at Niagara-on-the-Lake

00 Niagara on the Lake (112)

I like to stop at the pretty and historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake when I’m in the Niagara Peninsula region because it’s such a charming community.  It’s located where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario. 

Canada is a new country with only a relatively short period of recorded history.  Still, Niagara-on-the-Lake is considered to be of historic significance.  It was founded in 1781 and was originally known as Butlersburg, later renamed as West Niagara.  The town subsequently adapted it’s current name to avoid confusion with Niagara Falls.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

British Loyalists fled here from the south in the aftermath of the American Revolution.  It was the first capital of the Province of Upper Canada (the predecessor of Ontario) from 1792 to 1797.  During the …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Enjoying a Bicycle Rickshaw Ride in Chandi Chowk, Delhi

00 Chandi Chowk Market (51)

It seems as though any type of transportation is acceptable on the streets of Old Delhi.  Very common are bicycle rickshaws — a three-wheeled bike with a bench that holds two passengers.  I’d never been on one of these contraptions until visiting Old Delhi where they are very popular because they are reasonably mobile on the crowded streets.   And they’re quite cheap to hire (more so for locals than to tourists).

We spent the better part of an hour in the rickshaw, although given how bad traffic was, really didn’t get as far as you might think.  Cattle roam the streets freely, although some are used to pull carts.  The streets and sidewalks are absolutely filthy and smelled as bad …

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.All Trips / England / Europe

Rambling to the British Museum

00 The Theater District (2)

After finishing our visit to the National Gallery in London, my brother and I still had about half the afternoon left so we decided to walk to the British Museum, less than a mile away.

It was a pleasant fall afternoon and we enjoyed the walk — so much so that we started exploring side roads so as to see more sights and extend our stroll.   This was the kind of day where you avoid the Underground world of the Tube.

The famous Odeon Theater, London

The famous Odeon Theater, London

The first part of our walk was through the theatre district, always a fun and colorful place to catch a play and always full of people.  Many of these marquees are likely familiar to you.  Street entertainers here are common …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Experiencing Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Delhi

00 Chadni Chow Gurudwara (27)

A visit to Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib was my first to a Sikh temple.  I was very impressed by what I saw — especially by the kind hearts of the people who spend substantial time and money serving others. 

Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib is one of the nine historical Gurdwaras (places of Sikh worship) in Delhi.  It was originally constructed in 1783 by Baghel Singh to commemorate the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, who was beheaded here by the Mughal emperor in 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam.  After some back and forth about whether the site was Muslim or Sikh, the British colonial government ruled in favor of the Sikhs, and the current facilities were …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Rambling through Colombo’s Fort Neighborhood

00 Old Fort District, Colonial era buildings (8)

Columbo’s Fort District is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.  Developed extensively during the British Colonial era, a visit to many areas in the Fort seems like stepping back a century or more.  Many of its hotels, shops and offices date to this period.  To this day it remains the city’s center of business and is home to the Bank of Ceylon headquarters and Ceylon Stock Exchange.

The Fort District was built around Colombo’s fine harbor and it is here you will find the Maritime Museum, lighthouse, and Naval barracks.  The area is also site of the country’s Presidential residency and some branches of the country’s government offices.  The area is not exclusively a slice of old England.  For example, the Old Dutch …

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.All Trips / Food / North America / Pacific Northwest / Washington

Spokane’s Pig Out In the Park

00 Pig Out In the Park (2)

For six days every year, ending on Labor Day, Spokane’s Riverfront Park fills with food vendors, music stands and people.  This annual event is known as “Pig Out in the Park”.  It marks the end of summer, the beginning of the school season and fall.  It’s a popular event that’s been around for almost 40 years.

Admission is free for those who just want to listen to one of the dozens of musical acts performing on the concert stage.  But the reason most people come is to enjoy great food.  This year there were 47 food vendors selling everything from lemonade to teriyaki to sausage dogs.  Seems everyone was carrying around several food items as they looked for a cool shady …

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