a.k.a. Photo of the Week

“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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“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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“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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“Pic of the Week”, April 16, 2021: Tapestry shop, Brussels

IMG_4595

Brussels (and surrounding Flanders) was historically a center of excellent tapestry production, especially since the time of the Renaissance. Many castles in Europe were filled with tapestries from Brussels, providing them with color, warmth and sound insulation.
This tradition continues to this day. We visited a large tapestry shop while rambling around the streets of Brussels which seemed to specialize in tapestries of famous paintings.  The prices, while not cheap, were not extravagant and another item was added to our checked baggage for our home journey.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)


 

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“Pic of the Week”, April 9, 2021: Etoile D’or Catania, a Sicilian Cafe

03 Cafe Etoile D’or Catania

It was surprisingly cold and damp when we visited Sicily a few Februaries ago. After walking about Catania for a few hours, it was always nice to stop for a cup of coffee and a pastry, to rest and warm up some.
A most pleasant finding was this fine bakery/cafe/snack bar in Catania, which we visited daily while in that city. The place exuded elegant 19th century charm, like so many in Europe. Here we met a wonderful cafe employee who was very kind to us but whose name currently eludes me. He treated us like welcome members of his family. 
The place specialized in a large variety of fresh-baked pastries and snacks (like pizza and buns with meat). Everything looked great …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 2, 2021: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Red Deer

03 St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Red Deer (7)

The small prairie city of Red Deer is not a place one would expect to find great architecture, but St. Mary’s Catholic Church is a notable and interesting exception.
The design of this church was the first project of Canadian architect, Douglas Cardinal Born and raised in Red Deer, Mr. Cardinal is Metis.  Today Cardinal is best known for designing the memorable Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC.
Planning for the church’s construction began in 1964 and it was completed in 1968. The entire structure is curved — the walls, roofline, even the roof.   There are no windows — light enters …

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Rambling Around Moose Jaw

01 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (26)

There aren’t many large cities on the Canadian prairies, and these are often separated by hundreds of miles.  While far from large, with less than 35,000 residents, Moose Jaw is the 4th largest city in Saskatchewan.  When driving across the TransCanada highway, Moose Jaw can provide a pleasant stop and diversion as it’s about half way between Winnipeg and Calgary.  
On my last drive across Saskatchewan, I spent a half day in Moose Jaw.  The city has more than 50 interesting murals which provide a glimpse of the city’s history, which I’ve shared in a prior blog on TravelGumbo.   I spotted most of these while wandering around the historic core of the city and that’s what …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 26, 2021: Kungsträdgården, Stockholm

06 Kungstradgarden (1)

Kungsträdgården (the King’s Garden) is a popular park and public space in the center of Stockholm, not far from the Royal Palace.  It dates to the Middle Ages and, just like the city in which it resides, has changed a lot over the centuries.
This place is popular with the Swedes and you’ll likely find it busy, especially in the warmer summer months when a covered stage hosts many popular events such as concerts.   There are rows of benches for sitting and a variety of cafes and restaurants you can enjoy.
In the colder weather you can explore a popular Christmas market on December weekends, or a skating rink.
I was especially fond of the following fountain, by Johan Molin. It was originally …

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