.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Exploring Historic Segesta, Sicily

02 Segesta

When we visited Sicily a few aspects of our time there surprised me.  1)  The food was even more delicious than I expected.  2)  The landscape was far more hilly and mountainous than I thought it would be.  3) The large assortment and general good state of preservation of the country’s archaeologic sites.

Segesta (also known as Egesta) is close to the island’s most populous city, Palermo, and is even closer to its airport.  It is easily accessible by car, the Autostrada only minutes away, so a car rental is the easiest way to get there (bus connections are said to be slow and difficult).  Unlike Agrigento in southern Sicily, there is no modern city nearby — just beautiful hills, farms …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Montana / North America

Signs of Butte

21 Signs of Butte

Often in my travels I wish I could see a destination as it was years before I’ve gotten there — that I had access to H.G. Wells’ Time Machine so I could select exactly when to drop into a city or town.  In the case of Butte, Montana, I would set that Time Machine for circa 1900.  What a grand city I’d find when I arrived!  One of the largest, most developed new cities of the American West, with beautiful lavish hotels, elegant restaurants, theaters and other attractions, Butte was the place to be!  Funded by the wealth harvested from the mines of the “Richest Hill on Earth”, Butte was booming.

Jump forward a century and what you find is quite different.  Most …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance! A Day at Calgary’s Ukrainian Festival

Calgary Ukranian Festival 06-2016 (20)

One of the many things I enjoy about summers in Canada are the large number and variety of ethnic festivals held around the country.   Like the United States, Canada has derived much of its character from its many immigrant groups.  People are encouraged to celebrate their heritage, culture and traditions, while become part of the national melting pot.

If you’re interested in learning more about the culture of a country, visiting one of these festivals is an excellent way to take a “mini-trip” to that destination.  This year I wanted to explore somewhere I’d never been to before, so decided to stop by the Calgary Ukrainian Festival.  Over a weekend, the large Ukrainian community of the city presented a great celebration …

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Some Faces from India

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The people of India are as varied as those of any other land.  Most are Hindu, some Muslim, some Christian.  Some tall, some short, some thin — you get the idea.  It’s true most have darkly pigmented skin, but the facial structure and especially its ornamentation were fascinating to me.

Here’s a sample of what I encountered during my visit….

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance the slideshow)

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Backpacking to Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

Ostrander Lake, Yosemite National Park

From time-to-time I enjoy looking at some of my older photos to remember bygone adventures.  It’s from one of these periods of reflection that today’s blog germinated.

When I lived in Southern California, I enjoyed spending time each summer exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains — John Muir’s Range of Light.  While much of California is hot as an oven in the summer, these mountains offer a pleasant climate and excellent backpacking opportunities.  In the summer there’s enough water in the lakes that you don’t need to carry more than a day’s worth — very different and much easier than what’s required when backpacking in the Mojave desert.  The weather is warm in the day, cool at night, and almost without …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

Catania’s Fabulous Market

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Besides the sight of Mt. Etna looming not far away, perhaps the most famous landmark in Catania is its lively fish market, La Pescheria.  There’s more to the market than seafood, but I’ve never encountered a more diverse selection of fresh seafood anywhere.  And the operative word is fresh as much of the merchandise was still flopping and flipping about.  The fish mongers are a lively bunch, trying to entice everyone passing by to purchase their fish, which are said to be the best and/or cheapest in the market.

Given that it’s situated on the Gulf of Catania, it’s not surprising to find that seafood is so popular with the locals and a key ingredient in local cuisine.  You’ll find massive …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Escoles de la Sagrada Família (Sagrada Familia School)

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Situated beside and overshadowed by the vast and magnificent La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona is a small schoolhouse built more than a century ago.

The Sagrada Família Schools (Escoles de la Sagrada Família) building was constructed in 1909 by Barcelona’s favorite son, architect Antoni Gaudí.  The school was made for the children of workers building the cathedral, although other children from the neighborhood also attended.  When construction of La Sagrada Familia cathedral began, it was at the outer edge of Barcelona making it hard for the worker’s children to walk to school — hence, Gaudi’s motivation to built the school near that cathedral during its first phases of construction, as you can see from these photos in this …

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.All Trips / D.C. / North America / Southeastern USA

Washington’s National Cathedral

22 Washington 501 National Cathedral

The idea of a National Church was first mentioned by the great General and first American President, George Washington, but this dream did not begin to take fruition for more than a century.  Like all great projects, it takes time and lots of money to make the dream a reality.  Today the completed church plays an important role in its nation’s history having hosted many national days of prayer and several presidential funerals.

The National Cathedral is a beautiful NeoGothic church situated on the highest point in the District of Columbia.  It’s built in the style of the great European cathedrals and has a tall central tower (30 stories high), 231 beautiful stained-glass windows (one of which has a moon rock …

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