Thursday, December 31, 2009
Before our 1999 vacation, if someone had mentioned the South of France to us, the town of Narbonne would not have come to mind as a star attraction of the region. However, we thoroughly enjoyed walking there admiring the many beautiful old buildings. They are a testament to the importance the town as an administrative centre and port until it fell into decline in the 14th Century.
In 1999 we visited Montpellier in France. It is one of the most attractive cities we have seen. There is an old medieval city which is very nice, but what impressed us most was the new development. The buildings, as you can see from the two photos of the Antigone Commercial Centre, are very stylish but what made Montpellier special for us was the attention that had been given to urban design.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
These two beautiful buildings in Toulouse were photographed in 1999. The first is the Hotel d'Assezat, the first Renaissance structure in the city, and the second is the Basillic St. Simon.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This circle of 30 houses, photographed in 1984, is a very famous example of 18th Century innovation in British architecture. It was planned and developed by the Prince Regent, hence its name, the Royal Crescent. The architect was John Wood the Younger.
Powell River is located on the coast of BC opposite Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The town began when a pulp and paper mill was opened in 1908 and grew until the mill was one of the largest in the world. When we visited in 2003, there was a lot of unemployment in the area, as the mill had been down-sizing its production. The photo is taken from the municipal campground, one of the nicest we had ever seen, located directly on the Pacific Ocean which you can see in the photo.
Monday, December 28, 2009
In 2002 when visiting Morocco, we were taken to the medina, or old city, in Fez. Here, members of our tour group with our tour leader, Marc, in the centre, have been having a good time trying on the traditional Moroccan garment called a djellaba. I have a very beautiful one that has been hanging in my closet ever since, because I have never had occasion to wear it. Perhaps some day....
Sunday, December 27, 2009
These photos of Notre Dame in Paris were taken in 2008 when the cleaning and restoration of the cathedral had been underway for 17 years. This has enabled us to greatly admire the beauty of the sculpture. Featured in the first photo is the beautiful tympanum of the central door of the cathedral's west front. It dates from the 13th Century and depicts the last judgment. The twelve apostles, six on each side, have been given individual facial features. These as well as the carved figures in the second photo look real enough to be people who actually existed.
This photo, taken in 2004 from the roadside on Crete, shows a typical Mediterranean landscape with lots of olive trees - very dry but beautiful.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
One of the most intense joys of traveling is experienced when you come upon something wonderful that is totally unexpected. This is what occurred in 1982 when my mother and I were walking in the Shambles, a district in the oldest part of the City of York. We rounded a corner and suddenly the facade of York Minster was immediately before us, so close it was impossible to photograph from that vantage point. This photo is from 1982. Later, in 1994, my husband and I visited York and had an extensive tour of the Minster including the crypt where you can see Roman remains in an underground area created in the 1960's during an excavation to stabilize the central tower of the cathedral.
Tofino was wonderful. It is located on the west side of Vancouver Island quite a distance from Victoria. Because of its remoteness and the frequent rain, I had never visited the area, though I knew how beautiful it was. We were blessed with gorgeous weather for the three days of our visit in 2003. We walked on the beach, fished, and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.
Friday, December 25, 2009
These photos from 2004 were taken at Karnak near Luxor in Egypt. These are two examples of the inscriptions which were carved on the 134 massive stone columns you will find there.
Here, in 2004, are members of our tour group walking towards Hatchepsut's Palace in the Valley of the Kings. The palace was built by a female pharaoh who ruled between about 1473-1458 BC. Inside, are beautiful coloured inscriptions.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
In 2007, we climbed all the way to the top of the huge 15th-Century Kumbhalgarh fortress in Rajasthan and enjoyed the spectacular views from the top.
These photos, taken in 2007, show the primitive but effective way this farmer is irrigating his fields. You can see the stream which is the source of water just below the water wheel. Because of its dry climate, Rajasthan agriculture must depend on irrigation.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The photo, taken in 2004 at Abu Simbel, is an example of the beauty we saw in Egypt that was such a pleasant surprise. This is also where UNESCO, in 1960, coordinated an international effort to move an entire temple complex to protect it from the rising waters of the Nile following the construction of the Aswan high dam.
In 2004, when I visited Edmonton - always regarded as my home town - I was impressed with Sir Winston Churchill Square. The pool which sits in front of City Hall is surrounded by other attractive private and public buildings such as the art gallery, the Citadel Theatre, the main library and the City Centre Mall. Development of the square as Edmonton's main public space was envisioned in the city plan as early as the 1950's. If you look closely at the left of the photo, you can see that the improvements undertaken to celebrate the 100th birthday of the city are underway. These included a waterfall and an amphitheatre.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Here we are near Fethiye, Turkey in 2001 following a wonderful swim. Nothing on vacation can top this! The salt water is warm and buoyant, the sea is a deep blue, the swim is refreshing, the other tourists are friendly. What more could you ask?
Sunday, December 20, 2009
These 2007 photos were taken from the car on the way from Udaipur to the 14th Century fortress of Kumbhalgarh. It was a very cold December morning with near freezing temperatures. The photos are a fairly good indication of the poverty of small farmers in India.
As we made our way closer to the desert in Rajasthan in 2007, we saw more and more camels. They continue to be a major means of transportation, particularly in rural areas. Having nearly finished Arabian Sands, by Wilfred Thesiger, about his travels in Arabia with the Bedouin in the 1940's, I have learned a great respect for the camel.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I'm not sure what these folks at Concarneau in 2008 were collecting, but we assumed it must have been some sort of shellfish, perhaps clams. It seems a popular pastime in Brittany, as we frequently saw people busy collecting at low tide. We liked Concarneau and walked there for a long time along the sea front.
These photos of two sculptures by Folon were taken in 2008 in the grounds of the Folon Foundation at La Hulpe, Belgium. My cousin, Robert, took Paul and I there to see the exhibits of the work of Jean-Michel Folon, an artist, illustrator, painter and sculptor who was born in 1934 and died in 2005. We had not heard of him, but when we saw examples of his work, we recognized their style from many illustrations we had seen over the years in magazines and advertisements. The exhibit is very nicely put together and well worth seeing. Walking in the extensive grounds was also a pleasure.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I love this photo of the tidal flats below Mont St. Michel. It was taken in 2008 from the citadel far above. If you look closely, you will be able to see three tiny people, allowing you to appreciate the great distance between us as I took the photo. Don't you wonder what they were doing or looking for down there?
In 2006, when we visited Cyprus, we spent four days at Paphos, which the Lonely Planet Guide described as a beautiful and interesting place. We were very disappointed: no beach, whatever charming old areas had once existed had been replaced by nondescript post-World War II urban sprawl, scarcity of parking, no transit, little Greek food in the restaurants but plenty of bacon and eggs and shepherd's pie, and great heat. Roman Paphos was the exception. We love to explore ancient ruins, and it was fascinating, as in the photo, to watch archaeologists working at such close range. There are also beautiful Roman mosaics to see at Roman Paphos.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Taormina is one of our very favourite resorts. We spent three or four days in the town in 2000. Each day in the late afternoon when we had finished with sightseeing, we went to this beach for fine swimming and sunbathing.
Etna is an active volcano that is in an almost constant state of eruption. We considered taking a tour of the mountain, but didn't feel up to the exertion or what we considered to be the risk. We read in our guidebook that residents of villages near the mountain continue to occupy their homes even while Etna is erupting. Etna is almost 11,000 feet high and dominates the skyline for miles around. It is shrouded in cloud on the left of the photo.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
In Rajasthan in December the temperatures fall at night to below the freezing point. Here on a cold morning in a remote village between Udaipur and the fortress of Kumbhalgarh, men are wearing the woolen shawls that we saw everywhere. By the time we reached Jaisalmer, the night time temperature had become even colder, and our hotel, located within the old fort, had a very poor heating system. Fortunately, for around $7.00 I was able to purchase a beautiful multi-coloured woolen shawl. I fought the cold by wrapping myself into its lovely warm softness.
This painting is a beautiful example of the miniature paintings for which the Rajput period in Rajasthan is famous. Photographed in 2007 at the City Palace, it shows the Maharana of Udaipur crossing Lake Pichola.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
In 2006 we spent the better part of a day walking at a leisurely pace and looking at all the interesting things to see in Rhodes Town. Often, it is people who are of most interest, perhaps because there is comfort in sharing an experience with others, particularly when you are far from home.
These rock tombs were photographed in 2006 at Dalyan on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. They are the burial place of the kings of Caunos and date from 400 BC. The tombs were carved on a rock face high above the town.
Monday, December 14, 2009
We visited Turkey in 2006 and had unusually bad weather. On other vacations we had been able to depend on calm sunny days perfect for swimming in the sea. From Kas, a quaint seaside town with no beaches, surrounded by mountains, and not much changed since 1988, we took a boat to a beach not very far away. It was too cold and windy to swim, however, and by the time we returned the seas had become very choppy. On the boat trip back, although we were not in any danger, the rough seas you can see in the photo made for a very uncomfortable ride.