.All Trips / Arizona / North America / Southwestern USA

The National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas — unlike any other

03 National Atomic Test Site (10)

I’ve been to Vegas more times than I can remember.  It’s always been a decent weekend getaway  destination and is a good place to meet up with friends as it’s easily accessible, has reasonably priced accommodation and great restaurants.  And if you want you can explore the desert, catch a live show, gamble, or go to a night club.

I’m not much of a gambler or a nightclub guy, but I do like to visit an interesting museum.  The National Atomic Testing Museum (NATM) certainly is different than most and if you have an interest in science and military history, is well worth a visit.  The museum opened in 2005 and is operated by the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation.  It’s …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Nova Scotia

Halifax’s Legislative Home — Province House

01-IMG_6296

During my travels I often find myself visiting sites of government.  Not sure why this is so because, as a rule, most governments really annoy me.  Perhaps it’s because the buildings in which they’re housed are often grand and opulent and their landscaping beautiful, covering many acres of prime real estate. 

So a visit to Province House in Halifax was a pleasant change from the norm.  When we first spotted the building during our exploratory walk through the city, I thought it must be of some significance because it was old and looked important, but it is not at all large, occupying only a small city block.  Perhaps, I thought, it was a courthouse or library?  Turned out this was Province …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

Exploring the Arc de Triomphe

Paris._Arc_de_Triomphe._Postcard,_c.1920

Paris’ Arc de Triomphe rests at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, near the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and is at the hub of twelve radiating avenues.  It is a war memorial honoring those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  The monument is decorated with war scenes, symbols and the names of French victories and victorious Generals. 

Beneath the vault rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (from World War I, interred in 1920).  This grave was visited by President and Mrs Kennedy in 1961.  Rumor has it that after JFK was assassinated in 1963, Jackie requested an eternal flame be placed at her husband’s grave in Arlington Cemetery because she’d liked the one under the Arc de Triomphe.

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

Closer view of the Arc de Triomphe

The design of …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Across Dubai Creek

01 Dubai Creek (61)

Dubai Creek is the main geographic landmark of Dubai.  The Creek, 14 km long, divides Dubai into its two original neighborhoods – Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai.  The Creek has played a major role in the history and economic development achieved by Dubai beginning in the days when desert nomads first settled on its banks in the 19th century.  Dubai Creek has been a center for the traditional pearl trade and now for international shipping and trade.  The Creek was dredged and widened decades to ago to allow larger ships ease of entry.

Abras on Dubai Creek…

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Visiting Alberta’s Dinosaur Country: 1) The Royal Tyrrell Museum

006 Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller.  Albertosaurus 69,000,000 yrs ago

At first glance, the small city of Drumheller seems an unlikely place to find a superb science museum – one of the finest in Canada and one that is very family-oriented.  The museum opened in 1985 and was given “Royal” status in 1990 by Queen Elizabeth, a sign of high distinction.

I live in Calgary and when I have visitors who are inclined to see a museum, I always suggest they drive to see the Royal Tyrrell.  Alberta is the dinosaur capital of the world and this museum houses one of the most interesting and diverse collection of fossils and related items you’ll find anywhere.  The Royal Tyrrell has a collection of over 125,000 fossils, mostly vertebrates.

Entrance to Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

The Museum is located in …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / Nova Scotia

A Visit to the Citadel, Halifax

00 Citadel, Halifax (9)

Halifax’s roots lie in its proximity to the sea, and its large natural harbor.  When the town was founded in 1749, among the first buildings constructed was a guardhouse atop what would become known as Citadel Hill.  The Citadel, because of its hilltop location, offered a strategic defensive position.  As the harborside town grew and changed, so did the fort which overlooked and protected it. 

The Citadel was completed in 1856, the fourth and last in a series of forts built at this site.  Its official name is Fort George (after King George II).  It has a distinctive star shape, strategic for allowing optimum defense of the structure.  Fortunately these defenses were never put to the test as the city was …

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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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.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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