.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Space View Park, Titusville, Florida

00 Titusville (8)

Situated on Florida’s east coast, 15 miles from the Cape Canaveral launch pads, is the small town of Titusville.  Titusville sits on the Indian River and has a lovely park on its waterfront called “Space View Park”, wherein we stopped while making our way to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for some bird-watching.  The park is a lovely shaded spot with some wonderful views towards the Kennedy Space Center and, to our delight, had a great monument to the earliest American astronauts, the Project Mercury team. 

I was a schoolboy during the great era of space travel that President Kennedy’s challenge spawned in the 1960s.  “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things not

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Visiting the Mall of the Emirates

08-Mall-of-the-Emirates

Where does one go on a hot summer day in Dubai when the temperature is up around 40oC?  It seems everyone goes to the mall!

Dubai has many beautiful (and wonderfully air-conditioned!) shopping malls, most filled with the kind of shops you find on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  Among the first of these built was the Mall of the Emirates which has more than 560 shops selling most everything you could possibly need or want.  There is a large theater complex, a massive food court and many restaurants scattered around the mall as well.  There are two adjoining five-star hotels — Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel — very convenient if you’re a …

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.All Trips / England / Europe

The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, London

00 Albert Memorial, Hyde Park (14)

The Albert Memorial is located in Kensington Gardens across the street from the Royal Albert Hall.  Once seen, you’ll never forget this Memorial.  Extremely ornate, built in the high-Gothic Victorian revival style, it commemorates Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who died of typhoid fever at the young age of 42 in 1861. 

The monument was commissioned by Queen Victoria and unveiled in 1872.  The happy marriage between Victoria and Albert is well known, so the creation of a beautiful tribute to the prince should not surprise anyone.  The memorial is 176 feet (54 m) tall, took over ten years to complete, and cost £120,000 (today the equivalent of about more than £10,000,000). 

Albert Memorial, London

Albert Memorial, London

It is officially titled the “Prince Consort National Memorial” and …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Visiting the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, India

Khajuraho temples and town (97)

Khajuraho is a co-mingled grouping of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India.  The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the temple collection is especially well-known for its erotic sculptures and architecture.

Most of the temples in Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 AD during the Chandela dynasty.  It’s thought that the grouping consisted of 85 temples when the region reached its peak of activity in the 12th century; currently only 25 temples remain.   These temples vary tremendously in size from tiny to enormous!    The most visited temple, Kandariya Mahadev, has an area of about 6,500 square feet and a spire that rises 116 feet.  The temples all face the rising sun and are built near water.

India …

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.All Trips / Chile / South America

A Mountain with Horns: Cuernos del Paine, Chile

Paines Massif, Torres Del Paine (132)

I’ve been a lover of mountains for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the painfully flat plains of Manitoba (and I mean f-l-a-t, like a pancake), and still vividly recall seeing my first mountains when I was a toddler of about 2 or 3 years old. These were the amazing Alberta Rocky Mountains visited on one of many family vacations to Banff.  I was fascinated by mountains then and remain so to this day. 

I have seen many beautiful and interesting mountains in my life and have a list of favorites — the Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Ama Dablam, Mt. Assiniboine, Cascade mountain, Mauna Kea, and so on.  But there is no mountain formation I find more interesting than …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Visiting the Al Ain Zoo

02 Al Ain Zoo (1)

I never expected to find a pretty and interesting family-oriented zoo in the middle of the desert, and was pleasantly surprised by my visit to this fine zoo in the city of Al Ain, about an hour inland from Dubai. 

The Al Ain Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, 30% of its 180 species considered endangered.  The zoo is spacious (990 acres) and like most modern zoos has enclosures designed to resemble the animal’s natural habitat.  Special demonstrations are held at certain times and activities like a petting zoo, giraffe feeding and camel riding let people interact with some of the animals.

The zoo has a large African animal section and offers “safaris” to explore wildlife like lions, giraffes, zebras and …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo

01 Seema Malaka Temple, Colombo (4)

One of the most beautiful temples in Colombo — even all of Sri Lanka — is Seema Malaka.  It’s a Buddhist temple situated on calm and peaceful Beira Lake, not far from Gangaramaya Temple Seema Malaka was designed to be a place for meditation and rest, rather than worship.  It’s a quiet spot from which to retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo.  

The temple you see today is a replacement for one constructed in the late 19th century which sank into the lake in the 1970s.  In 1976, famed Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa (the father of “tropical modernism” style), was hired to redesign and construct the temple.  Bawa’s design was said to be influenced …

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California / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, July 6, 2018: Flying A Service Station, Truckee

04 Truckee Ca (36)

I’ve previously discussed my visit to the small town of Truckee, which rests on California’s eastern Sierra Nevada slopes and which you can read about at this link.  The town has a nicely preserved historic core, with lots of buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

My favorite building in Truckee was this old Flying A Service Station, which brought back memories of many like it I’d see when I was much younger, under a variety of banners like Texaco and Sinclair’s.  Most of these old buildings have been torn down and replaced by large self-serve fueling outlets, each with an attached convenience store.  These new structures may be efficient but they lack the intimacy …

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