.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Catania’s Carnival is for Kids!

00 Carnival, Catania

My wife and I visited Sicily during an especially cold February. Our visit began in Palermo, followed by a one week road trip around the island, ending with several days in Catania. Unbeknown to us before we arrived, our visit to Catania coincided with Carnival.
Carnival dates to the Roman Empire and, although it is not a religious celebration, occurs just before Lent.  It’s most commonly celebrated in Catholic countries so it makes sense it would be popular in Italy.  The most famous Carnival celebration in Italy is in Venice; however many smaller celebrations can be found throughout the country.  Carnival is popular in Sicily and is celebrated in a variety of ways — special food, parades, …

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“Pic of the Week”, May 7, 2021: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Banff National Park

01 Rocky Mountain Bighorns

It’s not often that I’ve seen bighorn sheep traveling in family units — father, mother and youngster. But that’s exactly what we saw when visiting Banff National Park.  Usually, in my experience, if you encounter bighorn sheep they travel in larger herds, often females and their young stick together, as do groups of males.
But this family unit was standing in the snow on a rocky outcropping overlooking a group of human admirers. The small one — probably almost a year old — was especially cute hanging out beside dad, before deciding to wander off.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


 
 

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.All Trips / Alaska / North America

A Visit to the Historic Gold-mining town of Hope, Alaska

00 Hope Alaska

The village of Hope lies at the northern end of the Kenai Peninsula, on the south shore of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. You can reach this community by driving the 17-mile (27 km) Hope Highway, a branch off the Seward Highway, so it’s a place you need to make an effort to visit. But the drive is nice and you’ll find a pleasant town at the end of the trip.
The first gold rush in Alaska happened right here in Hope — a few years before the Klondike and Nome goldrushes.  News of the gold find in Hope reached Seattle and in 1895 some 3,000 stampeders arrived to make their fortune, many of them rowing part of the way …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Scenes from Banff National Park in Winter

06 Banff area winter

While the cold weather and especially the long winters can be a drag in Canada, there are some days when the beauty of the scenery almost makes it worth while.
Banff National Park is one of my favorite places in the world. My wife and I headed out there with our dogs a few weeks back (dogs on leashes are welcome in Canadian National Parks), and were rewarded with beautiful mountain landscapes.
Most of these photos were taken around Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in the park, which was frozen sold. Lots of people were walking on the ice and, it being Canada, a hockey game was being played on the lake. The building in the middle of the ice is the …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 30, 2021: Green Heron, Everglades National Park

00 Green Heron, Everglades

We spotted this pretty bird while hiking on a boardwalk in the Everglades. We almost passed by because it was absolutely motionless, watching for small fish in the shallow waters. A few seconds later its head darted below the surface of the water quicker than you could follow it, and it emerged with a small minnow, which it swallowed whole.
I’d never seen a green heron this close before and did a little research later. The bird is small for an heron (less than a half meter — about a foot and a half — long). Their range is quite extensive in North and Central America. They are characterized by a greenish-black cap and a greenish back. The bill is long, …

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.All Trips / North America / Western Canada / Yukon

MacBride Museum, Whitehorse

00 MacBride Museum, Whitehorse

I’ve visited the MacBride museum twice, first in the late 1990s and again 20 years later. The museum had changed a lot. The building that houses it had expanded significantly (growing some 15,000 square feet) and its collection and display space have also grown.
The MacBride Museum has been collecting and documenting the Yukon’s history for almost 70 years.  The Museum was founded by the Yukon Historical Society and later named for W.D. MacBride.  Mr. MacBride was born in Montana, was orphaned as a child, and moved to Alaska in 1912.  A few years later he relocated to Whitehorse where he lived, married, raised a family, and worked for almost 50 years as an employee of the White Pass and Yukon …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 23, 2021: Crowfoot Glacier, Banff National Park

00 Crowfoot Glacier

Crowfoot Glacier is located in Banff National Park, off the Icefields Parkway, about 32 km (20 mi) northwest of Lake Louise. This hanging glacier rests on Crowfoot Mountain, with Bow Lake nearby (see photo below). Its meltwater drains into Bow Lake, then on down the Bow River and ultimately to Hudson’s Bay.
The glacier was originally named for its appearance of three claw-like ‘toes’.   The glacier has retreated since the end of the Little Ice Age and lost one ‘toe’ by the 1940s, but the name remains.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


 

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Street Murals of LaComb

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LaCombe is a small town of around 13,000 residents in central Alberta, between Calgary and Edmonton. It has a charming historic core and an interesting collection of street murals.
Lacombe is named after Father Albert Lacombe (1827–1916), a Catholic missionary who served as peacemaker between the Cree and Blackfoot tribes and facilitated the Canadian Pacific Railway construction of Canada’s transcontinental railway.
LaCombe’s mural program is unusual in that the murals are located BEHIND the buildings, often in alleyways or facing rear parking lots, and are hard to see from main roads. You really need to look for them, but I found them worth seeing. The murals feature historic scenes from the city’s past and incorporate the building’s design into the mural itself.
Most …

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