Greetings from Scotland! (Part 1 – Edinburgh)

So the big adventure in 2016 was a trans-Atlantic sailing from New York to Southampton, England, and then eight days driving around Scotland.

We spent a half-day in New York and saw ‘The Humans’ on Broadway.  It won the Tony for Best Play and I can certainly see why; it was extremely compelling.

The sail-out from Brooklyn provided another postcard-perfect view of the Manhattan skyline…

 

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Manhattan, New York – 8 September 2016

The crossing was eight days, with a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  There was some rain, but no heavy seas; it was generally uneventful.

On our arrival in the UK, we flew from Southampton to Amsterdam, then on to Edinburgh, Scotland.  After picking up the car – an SUV, actually which was NOT fun to drive on tiny country roads – we made our way to Linlithgow Palace.  This medieval palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Like almost all the castles, monasteries, and palaces we visited, it was mostly in ruins.  But it was an outstanding example of Scottish gothic and medieval architecture.

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Statue – Mary Queen of Scots – Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland

 

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Courtyard Fountain, Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland

 

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Architectural Detail – Linlithgow Palace, Scotland

 

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Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow Scotland

I think the highlight of the three days in the environs of Edinburgh had to be Holyrood Palace.  As I’ve always been fascinated with Mary Queen of Scots, it’s been a must-see.  It did not disappoint.

 

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Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

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Statue of David Rizzio, Holyrood Palace Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

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Fuchsia – Holyrood Palace Gardens – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland

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Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

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Architectural Element – Holyrood Abbey Ruins – Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland

After we finished at Holyrood, we walked up ‘Arthur’s Seat’ for some spectacular views.

 

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Arthur’s Seat from Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

 

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Ruins of St. Andrew’s Chapel – Halfway Up Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

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Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat

After Arthur’s Seat, we walked to Edinburgh Castle.

 

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Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

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Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

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Soldiers’ Dogs Cemetery – Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland

 

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St. Margaret’s Chapel – Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland

The following day, we took a trip to Inchcolm Abbey – a 30-minute boat ride into the Firth of Forth to get to this medieval monastery.

 

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Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland

 

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Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland

 

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Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland

 

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Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland

Next up – Aberbeen and Inverness…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings from San Francisco, California!

Two weeks ago, I was in San Francisco for a Department of Labor conference.  It was interesting to go from 100 degrees and 1,000 percent humidity to 55 and sweater weather.  I had a free day and Brian did up a walking tour for me.  I added on, so it ended up being about a 12-mile walk in all.

Walking Map

This is what I saw.

SF - California Statehood

California Statehood Monument – Market Street – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Embarcadero Sculpture

Sculpture on the Embarcadero – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Embarcadero View

View from the Embarcadero – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Embarcadero Boardwalk

On the Embarcadero Boardwalk – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Transamerica Pyramid

Transamerica Pyramid Building – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Labor Monument

Labor Monument – Market Street – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Cafe Sculpture

Café Sculpture – Embarcadero – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Coit Tower Climb

On the climb to Coit Tower – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Coit Tower View

View from Coit Tower – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Coit Tower

Coit Tower – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Lombard Street

House on Lombard Street – San Francisco – July 2016

SF - Chinatown

Chinatown – San Francisco – July 2016

Greetings from Washington, DC!

I had two trips to Washington in January and February.  The first one was the day after ‘snowpocalype,’ so I was stuck at the hotel most of the time.  The weather was much improved for my second trip in February.

White House

The White House – February 2016

Lincoln Memorial - February 2016

Lincoln Memorial – February 2016

Mall Silver Sculpture

Sculpture on the National Mall

Bronze Coat

A Bronze Coat – the National Mall – February 2016

National Gallery

Jan de Bray – Portrait of the Artist’s Parents Salomon de Bray and Anna Westerbaen, 1664 – The National Gallery

 

Greetings from Albuquerque, New Mexico!

Two weeks ago, I attended a Department of Labor conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I’ve driven through northeastern New Mexico many times on my trips home to Texas from when I was stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, Montana.  And Brian and I spent a long weekend in Santa Fe at the opera several years ago.  But this was my first trip to Albuquerque.

I went out a day early so I could get some sightseeing and hiking in.  I started the day at Petroglyph National Monument, which offers several desert hikes.  I began with the Rinconada Canyon Trail hike.  It’s a fascinating mixture of desert landscapes, ancient lava fields, and Native American petroglyph carvings.  There were lots of small finch-like birds in little colonies among the rocks.  And I actually saw a tarantula, but it hid before I could get a photo.

Lava Field - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Lava Field – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Asters - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Asters – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Petroglyphs - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Petroglyphs – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Desert Wild Flower - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Desert Wild Flower – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Shamanic Petroglyph - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Shamanic Petroglyph – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

This one is very interesting.  It was carved on an angle of the rock to give the face a 3-D effect.

3-D Petroglyph - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

3-D Petroglyph – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Lava Rocks - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Lava Rocks – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Fantastical Figures - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Fantastical Figures – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

After I finished at Rinconada Canyon Trail, I did the 5-mile hike at Three Sisters Volcanoes, also in Petroglyph National Monument.

JA Volcano - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

JA Volcano – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

'Starfish' Cactus - JA Volcano - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

‘Starfish’ Cactus – JA Volcano – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Vulcan Volcano - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Vulcan Volcano – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains, from Black Volcano – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

Black Volcano Caldera - Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Black Volcano Caldera – Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

New Mexico Vista - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

New Mexico Vista from Vulcan Volcano – Albuquerque NM – October 2015

After the Sisters, I changed terrains completely and hiked the “Five Hills of Death” trail in Tijeras, about 20 miles east of Albuquerque.  Isn’t that awesome?!?  How could one not want to hike something called the Five Hills of Death?  Luckily, I lived to tell the tale…

Fall Foliage - Five Hills of Death - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Fall Foliage – Five Hills of Death – Tijeras NM – October 2015

Five Hills of Death - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Five Hills of Death – Tijeras NM – October 2015

Trail - Five Hills of Death - Albuquerque NM - October 2015

Trail – Five Hills of Death – Tijeras NM – October 2015

Greetings from Washington, D.C. and Virginia!

So I had two back-to-back trips to D.C. and decided to extend the second one, so I’m in Virginia for the weekend.  I’ve been to D.C. many times, but this is my first time to Virginia.  I spent some time in Great Falls Park – the ‘Great Falls’ being the Potomac – then on to Monticello, and then to the ‘historical triangle’ of Yorktown, Jamestown, and Colonial Williamsburg.

Near Monticello, I stayed at Keswick Hall and in Williamsburg, at the Williamsburg Inn.  Last night, I ate at Shields Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg – probably the best pot roast I have ever had in my entire life.

Tomorrow I’m at Mount Vernon and then back to Austin.  It’s been a great couple of days.  I love colonial American history and architecture, so this was like nirvana for me.

National Archives Prologue - August 2015

The National Archives – ‘What is Past is Prologue’ – August 2015

National Archives Study - August 2015

The National Archives – ‘Study the Past’ – August 2015

Great Falls of the Potomac - August 2015

Great Falls of the Potomac – August 2015

Great Falls Park - August 2015

Great Falls National Park, Virginia – August 2015

Monticello Observatory - August 2015

Monticello Garden Observatory – Monticello, Virginia – August 2015

Monticello Observatory Inside - August 2015

Inside the Monticello Garden Observatory – Monticello, Virginia – August 2015

Jamestown Fort - August 2015

First Jamestown Settlement Fort (1607) – Jamestown, Virginia – August 2015

Jamestown Original Settlement - August 2015

Jamestown Old Settlement – Jamestown, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg - August 2015

Colonial Williamsburg Garden – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg House1 - August 2015

House in Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg Governor's Palace - August 2015

Governor’s Palace – Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg Governor's Palace Gardens - August 2015

Formal Gardens – Governor’s Palace – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg Governor's Palace Gardens1 - August 2015

Formal Gardens – Governor’s Palace – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg Governor's Palace Finial - August 2015

Finial – Formal Gardens of the Governor’s Palace – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg Field - August 2015

Meadow – Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg House3 - August 2015

House in Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg House2 - August 2015

House in Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015

Williamsburg - Shields Tavern - August 2015

Shields Tavern – Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia – August 2015 (Get the Ale-Potted Beef; you won’t regret it!)

Greetings from Chicago, Illinois!

So I was at a Department of Labor conference in Chicago.  I wish I’d had more time to explore the old neighborhoods, since my grandfather and his family are from Chicago.  I was able to get in a six mile walk the first afternoon I was there, starting at my hotel, the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, then down Michigan Avenue, across to Lakeshore Boulevard, then back up along the lake.  The weather was in the low 60s – actually wished I’d brought a sweater!

Here’s what I saw:

Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Chicago River - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Chicago River – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Stone Planter - Michigan Avenue - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Stone Planter – Michigan Avenue – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Old Water Tower - Michigan Avenue - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Old Water Tower – Michigan Avenue – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Millennium Park - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Harris Theatre - Millennium Park - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Harris Theatre – Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Graces - Millennium Park - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Graces – Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Silver Horse and Rider - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Silver Horse and Rider – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Lion - Michigan Avenue - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Lion – Michigan Avenue – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Theodore Thomas Memorial - Grant Park - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Theodore Thomas Memorial – Grant Park – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

City Skyline - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

City Skyline – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Profile Sculpture - Millennium Park - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Profile Sculpture – Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

'The Bean' - Millennium Park - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

‘The Bean’ – Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Pediment - Michigan Avenue Bridge - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Pediment – Michigan Avenue Bridge – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Shoreline - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Shoreline – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Sculpture - Millennium Park - Chicago, Illinois - July 2015

Sculpture – Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois – July 2015

Greetings from El Paso, Texas!

So last week, I was at a conference in El Paso.  It was the first time I’d been back since I was a six-month-old baby.  My grandparents moved from Gießen, Germany to El Paso, Texas in 1959 when my grandfather was transferred to Fort Bliss.  Compare and contrast…

Gießen

Gießen, Germany

El Paso - June 2015

El Paso, Texas

Ever the optimist, my grandmother took it as an adventure to create a green oasis in what was obviously a desert.   Apparently she was very proud when the ‘grass’ started coming up.  Then the next-door neighbor asked why she was watering the tumble weeds.

Anyroad, this is the house my grandparents built, that was later home to my parents after they got married and where I was ‘born.’   Although you can’t really tell, there are six cars parked in the front yard, one being a white and lime-green Cadillac El Dorado – awesome.  ‘Pepe,’ the chihuahua that came out to bark at me seemed à propos.  To paraphrase Thomas Wolfe… sometimes, you shouldn’t go home again.

Old Home El Paso - June 2015

The old homestead – El Paso, Texas – June 2015