Author Archives: Karl

.All Trips / Chile / South America

First Hike in Torres del Paine National Park

00 Hike around Torres del Paine (1)

The Torres del Paine are three distinctive towering granite peaks of the Paines Massif (see above photo).  Extending up to 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level, these towers dominate much of the landscape of the park, as does the horned part of the mountain known as the Cuernos del Paine.  The Patagonian steppe abuts the mountains.

We arrived in Torres del Paine in the afternoon and had only a few hours to spare that day for a hike.  I had hoped to hike to the base of the towers, for there is a lovely glacier and lake there, but did not have the time.   Among the feasible options, we decided to hike along the hilly steppe and take in the views …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 19, 2018: Grafton Street, Dublin

Grafton 5a

Grafton Street is a popular pedestrian walkway in downtown Dublin, with many historic buildings and a variety of shops, restaurants, hotels and bars.  It is the main shopping street in Dublin.  The street is lovely and the ambience conducive to window-shopping and a leisurely stroll. 

Grafton Street begins at St Stephens Green and runs north towards Trinity College.  It’s at the northern end that you find the statue of Molly Malone.   The area is popular with street performers and has become renowned as a launch pad for musical acts, such as U2 front man Bono.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

 

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

A visit to the Celestial Seasons Factory, Boulder

52CelestialSeasoningsTeaCenter(36)

My younger son is a PhD student at UC Boulder (astrophysics of all things) and visiting him has given me the opportunity to explore this pretty little city recently.  It’s got some nice attractions, especially it’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains and a great summertime farmer’s market But there are many Americans who think of tea when they think of Boulder. You heard that correctly — a tea factory in America’s heartland.

Celestial Seasons may not be the biggest distributor of tea in the USA but it unquestionably has the most devoted following and is the country’s largest supplier of herbal teas.  I know several people who would have trouble going to …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 12, 2018: Pigeons at the Mosque, Delhi

00 Jama Masjid, Delhi (149)

Built more than 350 years ago, Jama Masjid remains the largest mosque in Delhi and is able to accommodate up to 25,000 for prayers.  Situated on a hill in the old city, it’s one of the more popular tourist attractions in Delhi.

One of the people taking care of the mosque also looked after the large population of pigeons that flew around the minarets and dome.  He provided a large amount of grain and water to feed them, and carefully looked after their grain with a hand broom, keeping it in a neat pile.  

Pet-keeper of the mosque, so to speak.  

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

St. Mary’s in the Mountain, Virginia City, Nevada

‘s in the Mountains

Virginia City is an interesting destination, being one of the best preserved “Wild West” towns I’ve ever visited.  Once a prosperous mining city, it was one of the largest communities in northwestern Nevada during the late 19th century.  Thousands of people flocked here when silver and gold were discovered in the Comstock, including many Irish Catholic immigrants.  Those of you who remember the popular television series, Bonanza, will remember that the Cartwrights frequently visited Virginia City to conduct their business.  They were not alone, as Virginia City provided services to local miners, ranchers and timber men. There’s lots to see in this old town, still a center of commerce but now catering mostly to tourists rather than locals.

I thought the …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 5, 2018: Prairie Sunrise, Alberta

00 Prairie sunrise

One of the things I enjoy about prairie winters is the soft diffused quality of the sunlight.  The sun is far to the south during the winter months and with cloud cover over the Rockies and its foothills the light is often filtered. 

Recently while making an early trip down the Cowboy Trail highway I enjoyed this lovely sunrise, which I thought I’d share with you today.

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

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Signs of Delhi

01 Signs of Delhi

There’ s no place quite like Delhi!  A large sprawling city with a population of about twenty million (itself more populous than many countries!), it is bustling with commerce of all types but mostly of the small street vendor to consumer variety.

As many of you know, I collect “signs”.  Delhi was a little challenging in this regard.  Many of the signs were crafted in Hindi, which I can’t read, but there were a fairly large number that were bilingual or created in English (with tourists and expats in mind, I assume).  It is these I tended to photograph. 

As with most things about Delhi, like its noise, traffic, crowding, filth and smells, the signage can be overwhelming to the senses.  Often …

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.All Trips / Hawaii / North America

Black Sand and Green Turtles

‘u Black Sand Beach (5)

I love visiting the Big Island, my favorite of the Hawaiian Islands.  I think the main reasons are because of its active volcanoes and large stretches of undeveloped land.  The volcanoes especially fascinate me and draw me to see them again and again.  It’s because of its volcanoes that Big Island has so many black sand beaches — black sand is only formed by the breakdown of lava rock, often when hot lava encounters the ocean, solidifies, then shatters in the powerful surf.  White sand generally is due to the breakdown of shells, corals, and other organic matter. 

An excellent example of a black sand beach is Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park, located on the southeastern Kau coast.  Since black sand …

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