Trips and travel thoughts Archives

August 21, 2007

Oh the places I've seen...

Get Your Own MapView Larger Map

RED = I live here
BLUE = I have been there
GREEN = I want to go there

This is so cool! I first saw this on Leslie's blog (or rather topcat's blog...) and then on Kim's. So natch, I had to try it for myself. When marking places I've been, I did not include all the states we drove through on route from NS to Florida when I was a teen, just the overnight stop (Washington DC) and Florida. Ditto when we drove over to New Orleans, I just marked Louisiana.

I'm not entirely sure how this works on an ongoing basis, but hopefully I will be able to keep it updated as I see more of the world...more, more and more muahahahahhahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

November 3, 2007

Just who's on this journey anyway?

"The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too. "
- Saint Teresa of Avila

I came across this quote recently while contemplating my travels and my mind filled with images:

...lying in a grassy park in Burano with leaves rustling in the trees and waves shushing nearby
...the joy of unexpected early morning birdsong in Florence
...the soul-deep reverence I felt in St. Francis' crypt
...the grace and glory of Duccio's Maesta
...the radiant swirl of Titian's Assumption of the Virgin
...gazing upon Michelangelo's David...sigh
...attending a worship service in England
...swaying with the vaporetto over the choppy lagoon waters
...lying back on the steps looking up at Santa Maria Della Salute and the sky
...walking around Venice under dark and moody clouds
...the sound and smell of the sea in Marina Grande
...standing alone, all alone, in the middle of Stonehenge just after sunrise
...walking the labyrinth at Norwich Cathedral with my daughters
...standing outside San Miniato listening to a woman inside singing Ave Maria for a wedding

Continue reading "Just who's on this journey anyway?" »

March 27, 2008


The Rock of Gibraltar...conjures up an exotic mental swirl (deserved or not) of pirates, monkeys, British Tea Rooms, and one massive piece of stone looming overhead!! I don't know much about Gibraltar, but was just googling some information as I armchair travel along with my mother and aunt as they tour Spain and Portugal. I have a copy of her tour itinerary, but it says only this:

March 27 Gibraltar: We take an excursion to Gibraltar. "The Rock", as it is commonly called, remains very British. On our tour we will see St. Michael's Cave, the Ape's Cave and more. During our free time you may want to enjoy a pint in a typical English pub before returning to Torremolinos.

Well...not much there to give me a feel for this distinctive destination. Let's see what Wikipedia has to say. Ok, so the name derives from the Arabic for "mountain of Tariq", one of the first Moorish invaders from the sounds of it. And it was one of the Pillars of I could have forgotten that little tidbit is beyond me! What a rich history this place has. There have been settlements or occupations by so many cultures over the years, including: Neanderthal man, the Phoenicians, Carthinagians, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, the Moors, Spanish, and British!

The New York Times is full of news articles, and this travel article.

Oh, I just found a ton of information on this unofficial homepage. And also the Gibraltar Government website.

I'm not a monkey fan, so their presence doesn't attact me at all. This blurb about the cable car has me drooling to visit:

From this spot one has uninterrupted views southwards across the Strait of Gibraltar to Africa; westwards, of the City of Gibraltar and across the Bay to Algeciras; a birds eye view of Gibraltar airport and Spain to the north; and the blue expanse of the Mediterranean and the beaches and cities of the Costa del Sol to the east.

How awesome does that sound?!?!? I can't wait to see Mom's photos when she returns...unfortunately that won't be for another ten days or so. I'll have to make do with online photos in the meantime - I wonder if there are Gibraltar photos on Slow Travel, I must go check!

June 19, 2008

My new issue of NG Traveler is here

And the cover story is "Real Rome, Inside Italy's Eternal City"


I loved Rome on my one visit. I cannot wait to read the article, although hopefully it won't make me yearn too much for the Eternal City since I am going, not to Rome, but to Florence in October.

Aw, now don't be jealous, July/August '06 issue, you'll always be special to me...


June 21, 2008

Gelato connections

I was browsing through various sites regarding Florence and came across an interesting entry in a blog called A Life Worth Eating. There are some great recommendations here for gelato, and how nice to have them all in one place. As I read the Florence section, I came to this sentence:

I read about this chocolate shop and gelateria on Borgo Albizi 11r called Vestri in my guidebook, and then later on the Divina Cucina site (which is a great Florence resource, by the way).

I did a double take "Divina Cucina? Hey, I know who that is!"

I know, this is a pretty loose connection since I "know" Diva only from the Slow Travel forums, but, still...I get a kick out of these "it's a small world" moments, even when tenuous at best.

Continue reading "Gelato connections" »

December 1, 2008

Venice flooding

Dave just sent me a couple links about the severe flooding in Venice: this article on BBC and this one on CNN.

I hope the extreme flooding doesn't seriously affect Annie's travel plans. Annie, as soon as I read these articles, I thought of your impending departure. But time in Venice is magical no matter what the weather, so am sure your journey will still be all that you need it to be!

According to CNN:

"Venice has suffered its worst flooding in 22 years, leaving some parts of the historic Italian city neck-deep in water, reports said Monday.

Water burst the banks of the coastal city's famed canals, leaving the landmark Piazza San Marco -- St Mark's Square -- under almost a meter of water at one point, news agency ANSA reported.

Strong winds pushed waters to a high of 1.56 meters (5 feet 2 inches) at 10:45 a.m. local time, prompting the city government to issue warnings to the public, the agency said.

The flood level began to drop soon afterwards, prompted by a change in the direction of the wind.

Previous highs include 1.58 meters in 1986 and 1.66 meters in 1979, the news agency said.

Photographs showed people wading through inundated piazzas and waves lapping over waterside cafe tables. "

December 14, 2008

Connections...a tau cross, St. Francis and Mark

When I was last in Italy, I was poking around in a little monastery shop and came across some handmade (by the monks) olive wood pendants on knotted cords (amid a plethora of packets and bottles of natural remedies for various ailments!) One of these pendants was larger than the rest and in the shape of a tau cross. I immediately thought of my friend Valerie's husband, Mark, who is an Anglican priest and whose church is St. Francis by the Lakes. The connection being that the tau cross is the symbol of St. Francis. Even the Franciscan habit forms the shape of the Tau cross when outstretched. Francis' own tunic is on display in the crypt below the Basilica in Assisi, and is very patched up and worn looking, as I suppose is to be expected of the habit of one who has taken a vow of poverty. (Also on display is the original Franciscan Rule of 1223 approved by Pope Honorius III, which marked the founding of the Franciscan order, and the Blessing to Brother Leo* written in St. Francis' own hand. I really found it cool to see these documents up close and in person.)

* the Blessing to Brother Leo is the very familiar:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May He show His face to you
and be merciful to you.
May He turn His countenance to you
and give you peace.

Anyway...I bought the larger pendant for Mark, along with a smaller tau cross, a dove, and four fish...I just love these simple items and would have bought more but that was all they had in the shop. I gave them all away except kept a fish for myself.

I noticed Mark wearing his tau cross the other evening when I was picking M up from their house, and suddenly remembered that I had taken a photo of the tau cross on the lawn in front of St. Francis Basilica when I was in Assisi.

The Basilica itself:

Tau cross and word PAX (peace) "written" on the lawn in shrubbery:

Continue reading "Connections...a tau cross, St. Francis and Mark" »

February 4, 2009

Slow Travel

I read Kathy's entry about Slow Travel, and got thinking about what a difference belonging to the ST community made in my life last year. I would never have made my October solo "pilgrimage" to Florence had it not been for the knowledge and encouragement of that community. The women who have gone on their own solo journeys and shared their experiences on the ST board, and on their blogs were an especially wonderful inspiration!

Kathy is going to post a single word and photograph that captured, for her, the Slow Travel experience. Those who know me will know that I cannot contain myself to one word when writing! So I will not copy her example exactly, instead I will sort of borrow her idea but adapt it to my own style. What follows are a few words and photos that reflect the difference Slow Travel has made to my travel experience...

Continue reading "Slow Travel" »

May 19, 2009

The closest I will ever get to Bermuda... vicariously through my friend's photos! It is highly unlikely I'll ever get there in person, unless somehow I too can go on business. I gather it's a very expensive destination...think I'll save my travel dollars for Italy! But it looks like a really cool place to visit...

The colours of the beaches are absolutely gorgeous!!


Someone looks like she's enjoying herself!

Continue reading "The closest I will ever get to Bermuda..." »

March 6, 2010

Guess where...

Inspired by Candi's recent post Guess Where in the World, I decided to post a few mystery photos of my own! And, like Candi, I'll start off with an easy one too...this image popped immediately into my mind after reading the comments on her photos of Siena. you know where and what this building is? (Bonus points if you can also identify the statue that is partially shown in the bottom of the photo!)


March 9, 2010

The most colourful river in the world...

My choir director passed this item along to me. I'd never heard of this river before, but I would love to see it in person. The colours are brilliantly spectacular!!

"This is incredible.

The river shown in the photographs is the Cao Cristales, which is located near the town of La Macarena in Columbia, South America. The river, world famous for its colorful display, has been called "the river that ran away to paradise," "the most beautiful river in the world" and "the river of five colors."

During Colombia's wet season, the water flows fast and deep, obscuring the bottom of the river and denying the mosses and algae that call the river home the sun that they need. And during the dry season there is not enough water to support the dazzling array of life in the river. But during a brief span between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just right, the many varieties of algae and moss bloom in a dazzling display of colors. Blotches of amarillo, blue, green, black, and red - and a thousand shades in between - coat the river.

The part of the river where the colorful blooms occur is quite isolated and is not accessible by road. Adventurous tourists can now fly into La Macarena and then make their way to to the river site on foot as part of guided tours. The site was effectively closed to tourists for several years because of guerrilla activity in the region along with concerns about the impact of unregulated tourist traffic. However, the site was reopened to visitors in 2009.

So far, some 1,000 people have visited Cao Cristales, including around 100 foreign tourists. The tours will follow four clearly marked and authorized paths and one is no longer permitted to stay overnight or cook, as this was ruining the area previously."



More photos...

Continue reading "The most colourful river in the world..." »

March 31, 2010

Wednesday wanderings...

Travel teaches how to see.
~ African Proverb

Words of wisdom...when we travel, we do learn to see in new ways, our eyes are open to wonder. We experience new places, new cultures, new rhythms of life.

We look up

...and find wonder in works of art and architecture

...and are awed by Creation...

Continue reading "Wednesday wanderings..." »

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