Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Venice, Italy, August

Ah, Venezia.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World Trade Center, NYC Evening, 2000

For some reason, one evening I sat down and took this shot from my NYC apartment (which I still have, btw).  There wasn't really any reason to, and it wasn't planned at all - completely spontaneous.  I think I may have just been testing my camera.  Anyway, I really like this photo now because, there on the left are, yes, the World Trade Center Towers.  This is looking West, toward New Jersey, little slices of which are probably visible.  I don't have a whole lot of shots of the WTC, so the ones I do have are kind of special.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

V1 Rocket, Auckland, New Zealand

This is in the royal military museum just outside of Auckland, New Zealand.  Lots of cool stuff there, including a massive number of old planes.  Well worth a visit if you ever are in the neighborhood.

The picture, obviously, is of a V1 rocket of the type that the Germans fired from the French coast at London during the closing stages of World War II.  How and why it got to New Zealand I haven't a clue.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Istanbul, the Blue Mosque

Istanbul, the Blue Mosque, at sunset.  One of the most beautiful buildings in the world.  Best seen on a late summer's evening as you wander around down near Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia.  If you are ever in Istanbul, make it your first stop and you won't be sorry.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

A Rainbow

A nice rainbow shot to start the day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sea Turtle, St. John

I spent days trying to find a place that had sea turtles.  My dream was to get some pictures of them.  They avoided the usual beaches like the plague.  Finally, I asked someone, and they said turtles only like to hang out in bays with lots of sea grass.  So, looking at my map of St. John, I picked a bay that was far away from any tourist beaches.  I had to walk over a mountain on a dusty trail to get there.  Once I was there, there wasn't another soul in the entire bay.  It was deserted.  I spent the day there, snorkeling and taking pictures.  This is one of the fine fellows I met.  Don't worry, no sea turtles were harmed in the creation of my photos.  :) 

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cologne Cathedral

One of my first stops after landing in Brussels - well, after a day trip to Brugges - was a stop in Cologne.  It is a big city, but I was able to see what I wanted without too much trouble.  It had an old-world feel to it that is missing in a lot of other big cities.  Anyway, here I am outside the Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria, English: High Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Mary).  It was mid-August, so the town was pretty quiet, everybody out on vacation.  Best time of year to wander around a European city, pretty much all you see are people wandering into the big tourist sites.  That leaves all the odd little places off the beaten path quiet, which is how I like it.  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pikes Peak from the roof of my house

I was up on the roof of my house last summer doing some work and stopped for a few minutes to take some pictures.  You can tell it is summer, no snow up there.  That's certainly not the case right now!

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Baby Birds

I was over at a friend's house last summer and found out that a bird had built a nest high up in their garage.  While mama was out, I climbed up and took a few pictures. They had just hatched, and were hungry.  Their mother returned shortly with some food, and eventually, when they got old enough, they all flew off.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vienna, Austria, the Kunsthistorisches Museum

I breezed into Vienna without any plans, so just wandered around.  While a major European capital, the historic section is fairly compact inside a ring street (the famous.Ringstraße).  This is me at lunchtime outside of the famous
Kunsthistorisches Museum (English: "Museum of Art History", also often referred to as the "Museum of Fine Arts") in the center of town.  To tell the truth, I can't even recall if I went inside.  I think I might have - but if I did, I don't remember a thing about it.  But then, I've been in a lot of European Museums, and museum memories can run together.  Fortunately, I still have my daily diary which I would write out every night on the train, so I could look it up there.

To be truthful, Vienna wasn't one of my favorite stops.  It is large and, well, just a big city.  I prefer smaller, more intimate towns where you can feel as if you've experienced it and not just passed through it.  But it was fun walking around in the sunshine, so I enjoyed myself.  I may have left my big green pack at the train station, you could still do that then, but more likely it was what the camera was resting upon.  Pretty fountain, don't you think?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ceremonial Barge, Bangkok, Thailand

How to Sail in Style in Old-Time Bangkok

I was just wandering down by the river in Bangkok, Thailand one day, minding my own business. I do that, just wander in new cities. Sometimes I just get hot and tired and hungry - go figure - but more often than not, I stumble upon something wonderful that I never otherwise would have known was there. This was one of those times.

River scene Bangkok Thailand

Along the river, I noticed many homes built on stilts. I was surprised that people actually lived in houses like that so near the city center. They were doing their wash and so forth in the river - a river that flows right through the heart of Bangkock.  Try that in the East River of New York City and your clothes would probably disintegrate.

River scene Bangkok Thailand

Just walking along, I stumbled on this boat house that didn't look like anything special. There was nobody around, it wasn't fully enclosed, just a bunch of boats sitting there. To be fair, it is probably in all the tourist books, though it sure wasn't in mine. This was a long time ago, so who knows if it is still there, or you have to pay admission now, and so forth. I just walked right in.

Ceremonial barges Bangkok Thailand

Somewhat startled, I took a few pictures. You can see one with what looks like a cannon sticking out from under the god.  I'm sure there is something deeply symbolic about it all, and that this was the height of luxury whenever it was from, but I was just struck by how ornate and colorful it was. What made it most special to me, though, was simply stumbling upon a treasure by happenstance. That's why I wander off. Since people in general don't get that sort of curiousness, usually I am better off travelling alone, which I think is better for all concerned.

Ceremonial barges Bangkock Thailand

Ceremonial barges Bangkock Thailand

Ceremonial barges Bangkock Thailand

Byzantine Fortress, Rhodes, Greece

I was bumming around the Mediterranean in September of a long ago year, and happened to find myself on Rhodes. I  say "happened to" because anyone who has spent time there knows that if you want to visit different islands, you are at the mercy of the ferry schedules.  I just happened to catch a ferry from Kos to Rhodes, and had some time to kill before moving on to Crete.  After touring the city of Rhodes, which is spectacular in its own right, I decided to be adventurous.

So, I rented a Vespa and headed inland.  That's my routine when traveling, just wing it and go off where most rational tourists don't.  I often find hidden gems that way.  I wouldn't call this site exactly hidden, but I doubt it is the most visited tourist attraction, either.  It is a lonely, almost delicate Byzantine fortress stuck up on the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere.  Why they thought they needed a fort there, well, I suppose you'd have to go back to 1200 A.D. and ask them.

It was delightful.  The fact that it was an unseasonably cloudy day probably kept a lot of visitors away.  As a student of Byzantine history, I had great fun just being there, though there wasn't much more to see than there is in this picture.  That's me standing there all alone.

After enjoying the view for a while, I hopped on my Vespa and headed to an archaeological dig.  And then it started to rain....

Venice Beach, Christmas Eve, 1989

I had a one-day layover in Los Angeles right before Christmas in 1989.  I rented a car and drove to, where else, the beach.  I was living in Greenwich Village at the time, and the ambiance of Venice Beach made me feel right at home.  These fellows would have fit in perfectly at the water fountain in Washington Square Park.  They drew quite a crowd.  I had tremendous fun just walking around, taking random pictures, and enjoying one last day of freedom before the flight back to New York and reality.