“Pic of the Week”, February 5, 2016 : Exploring Vancouver’s Waterfront

10 Vancouver Conv Center

One of my favorite cities in which to go for a long walk is Vancouver, BC.  It lends itself to walking because its setting is incredibly beautiful, its architecture interesting, and there’s a lot of fascinating street art you can enjoy.  I especially like exploring the harbor area around the new Convention Center and Canada Place.

Pixel Orca, near the Vancouver Convention Center

Pixel Orca, near the Vancouver Convention Center

Situated just outside the Convention Center are several interesting works of art, including Pixel Orca, a massive outdoor piece that definitely catches your eye, partially because it’s framed by beautiful North Vancouver.  It’s a reminder that many Orca pods live off the coast of the city (which you might see if you take a guided boat tour).

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop  resembles a raindrop, but is made of …

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.All Trips / Europe / Ireland

A Visit to Ireland: Part 5) the town of Dingle (An Daingean)

Dingle Town 2013-011 Harbor

Dingle (in Irish, An Daingean) is the main town on the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry, with a population of around 1500 people.  The Dingle Peninsula sits on Ireland’s west coast just north of the Ivernaugh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry), about 71 km (40 mi) west of Killarney.  Dingle is in the Gaeltrecht part of the country, where maintenance of traditional Gaelic language and culture (eg. music, hurling) is encouraged by government subsidies.  Historically it was an important trading port but today it’s a great town for tourists to visit. 

Colorful storefronts in the small town of Dingle, Ireland

Colorful storefronts in the small town of Dingle, Ireland

 Ireland has many beautiful small towns and Dingle ranks among the finest (and was my favorite of the ones we visited!)  Built along a beautiful sheltered harbor and spreading up the slopes of a mountain to the …

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“Pic of the Week”, Oct. 18, 2013. Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland

2013-041-Oct. 11a

Dominating Reykjavik’s harbor, Harpa is its new Concert Hall and Conference Center.  It’s impossible to miss this massive structure, with its interesting and unique three dimensional multicolored glass facade.  Home of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera, Harpa can seat up to 1,800 in its largest room.

Harpa’s construction was plagued with problems, some technical but mostly money-related.  Half completed when the country’s financial crisis hit, it was almost abandoned.  The final tab was US$250,000,000  (in a country with just over 300,000 people, that’s almost US$1000 per citizen).  I hope the investment pays off.

It’s a fascinating building to visit, not just because of its size and physical presence, but because of the interesting use of angled …

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“Pic of the Week”. July 5, 2013. Statue of Liberty

new-york-harbor-012

I thought it would be nice to feature photos of the Statue of Liberty on this Independence Day Holiday (USA).

I don’t think there’s a symbol of America more iconic than the Statue of Liberty.  Situated on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it offers wonderful views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey and Ellis Island.  A gift from the people of France, the statue has greeted immigrants and visitors to America for more than 150 years.  It’s now under the protection of the National Park Service as National Monument and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The statue was closed the past few years, partially because of internal restoration efforts, but more recently due to the sequelae of Hurricane …

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.All Trips / Europe / Iceland

Back in Iceland!! A reacquaintance with Reykjavik

Reykjavik 05-2013-001 intro Harpa

As our Icelandair flight descends through the clouds towards Keflavik airport, the rugged cliffs and shoreline of the Reykjanes peninsula begin to emerge from the mist.  The sun is just peaking over the far horizon and its warming light is magical and welcoming!  The peninsula’s dark rugged lava fields remind me somewhat of landing in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, although the massive bulks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are distinctly absent here.  We breeze through immigration and customs and make our way to the Flybus, a comfortable and convenient way to do the 40 minute commute from Keflavik to Reykjavik.

We’re tired after our red-eye flight, but to me it feels familiar and good to be back in Iceland.  The last time I made this journey I …

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.All Trips / Africa / South Africa

Cape Town: Grand Dame of Africa

Cape Town —  Grand Dame of Africa

It’s hard not to love a visit to Cape Town, a grand old city, one of the finest anywhere. It’s the oldest city in Southern African and has been captivating tourist’s hearts for centuries. A blend of old colonial charm and modern amenities, Cape Town has much to offer a visitor. I was very impressed not only at the beauty of the city and its setting but also at its multiculturalism and how, even though only 20 years had passed since Apartheid ended, the country’s racial groups have make great strides at integrating into one culture. This city was our first destination in Southern Africa, after the exhausting 20+ hour flight from New York (and connection in …

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