We took our first cruise in 2015, on the Baltic Sea, stopping at interesting historic ports, such as Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as some of the major Scandinavian capitals. I captured this wonderful scene in the town of Sigtuna, Sweden, which has a renowned boarding school and is often a destination for church retreats. The name of Sigtuna comes from an old English word for town (tuna), which was originally a Viking word.
After a wonderful lunch and a tour of the historic parts of town, learning about runic stones and mythology, visiting a 13th century church, and seeing a scary-looking contraption that was put on people who were jailed for drunkenness at the Town Hall, we were free to walk around on our own. We strolled down the street with lots of souvenir shops. Then we headed down to the lake on a sloping street past picturesque houses (some quite large) with pretty gardens. Along the lake was a park, including a spiral path with a faux runic stone in the middle, a miniature golf course that used tiny versions of local buildings for the holes, and many ducks who hoped for tidbits from an old couple sitting on a bench. There were lots of ducks in the lake as well, and this little girl on the lake shore trying to attract them. She was the picture of innocence and inquisitiveness of childhood and I loved her black hat! She is just one person (with many ducks!) in Sigtuna.
These whimsical animals were part of a sculpture garden next to an elegant restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala, and I think they are perfect for Becky’s April Bright Squares.
Antigua was part of an optional tour during our 2017 cruise through the Panama Canal. We crossed from east to west, and made several stops along the western coastal ports of Central America.
After touring the historic center, our tour bus took us on a narrow winding road up a hill, past the rich part of town. At the very top of the hill was a cultural center, Santo Domingo del Cerro, and restaurant called The Golden Fork. This is where we had lunch and afterward had some free time to shop at craft vendors or wander the grounds which contained interesting artwork by local artists, including various colorful animal sculptures – a rabbit, monkeys, snails, crocodiles, horses, and merry-go-round horses.
For Ludwig’s Monday Window challenge, I am using his post as an inspiration to present windows of Savannah, GA from our trip there in 2014. These windows are from grand houses (some are mansions) we encountered there.
Speaking of the book “Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil,” Lady Chablis is a main character and she was still around, at least in 2014!
I haven’t been on my blog for a few days – I’ve been busy! Which is why I’m late this week for Melanie’s Share Your World. Better late than never, though!
So here are the questions and my responses:
What was the last TV show you binge-watched? If you don’t watch TV (congratulations by the way) what’s the last thing you binged ON? We don’t “binge watch” the way some people do. If we watch more than three shows in a row, it’s probably things we recorded and want to delete from our DVR (to make space for MORE shows!). So I guess I will have to say MSNBC on a weekday! When there is “big news,” we have been known to watch several MSNBC shows in a row. Sometimes we are only half paying attention and then realize we’ve watched every show from Nicole Wallace to Lawrence O’Donnell! (For those unfamiliar with these programs, Nicole Wallace comes on at 3 pm CT and Lawrence O’Donnell ends at 10 pm! We are trying to cut back on this, though – confine ourselves usually just to Rachel Maddow and then watch something else.
That said, our biggest “binge” with recorded programs is either Call the Midwife on PBS or Anne With an E on Netflix. And I have to say, when we finished all of those, we felt lost…what will we get hooked on next??
What’s your most prized possession and why? This is a tough one. But it would have to be something connecting my hobbies with travel, so I will say my photo albums/photo files and my camera. (I know this isn’t all one thing, but they are interconnected.) Some time before digital photography, someone said that the cheapest and most important thing you can bring home with you is your photos. What better way to make memories of an amazing trip?! For as long as I can remember, I have loved making photo albums. I took after my mother in this regard – she always made albums of her trips and of each year, at least after her grandchildren were born. I have done the same thing, but got woefully behind and so some “photo albums” are just pocket pages in a binder with the photos stuck in the pockets.
Some of my albums, however, I am very proud of – pre-digital book of my trip to Cuba in 2001 and 2 volumes of my month-long stay in Costa Rica come to mind. To do these books, I spent countless hours at scrapbooking workshops or carved out a little space for myself at home picking out the best background papers, stickers and other embellishments for each page. I spent hundreds of dollars on books and supplies. (The time and money were worth it!) The best albums I made were with the company Creative Memories – their photo books are high quality and relatively easy to add extra and mix types of pages.
I haven’t done many photo books digitally – only 3 so far, and I’m working on a 4th. I only got started about a year and a half ago with Shutterfly on my trip to Israel. That book came out pretty well, but there were a few mistakes – it was a learning experience, and as a result, my 2-volume trip to Egypt came out much better. I’m now working on France.
Since I generally don’t get around to starting and finishing these books until well after the trip is over, I have to rely on my memory, aided by the photos in my files, to put them together coherently. Besides the photos, I usually go to web sites about places I went to where either I didn’t take notes, couldn’t hear the guide very well, didn’t remember what the guide said, or didn’t even remember exactly what the subject of the photographs was! But that is OK, even advantageous, because a lot is lost whenever you go on a guided tour, and refreshing my mind about a particular site we saw using information from the Internet is a great way to fix it in my mind and immortalize it in the photo book! I learn even more about and appreciate those places than I had before!
And finally, my camera is part of all this. I often snap photos with my cellphone camera, which is light and easy, but I do endure the hassle of carrying around my Sony camera and lenses, because the quality of the photos taken with that are in general much better – plus I can take photos of details close-up that are too far away for a cellphone to capture a good image of. It was especially helpful on safari in Tanzania – which is why I bought a camera with a good telephoto lens initially.
If you had the time and inclination, what would you volunteer for? Habitat for Humanity or projects in poor countries – such as teaching literacy or modern hygiene to people in a village, building a school, or something else they need. I have a friend whose travel itinerary was most often with Earth Watch – she would participate in projects in different countries, as well as take time for sightseeing. I wish I had done that. One of my cousins was in the Peace Corps, another great program where you are really immersed in a culture and people.
Also, I would love to participate in an archaeological dig. In southern Illinois, there is an ancient site called Cahokia, where people belonging to the Mississippi culture built mounds and henges as part of their communities. Cahokia accepts volunteers of all ages. I saw an elderly man there whose task was to sift through dirt for pot shards, etc.
Do you think that humans will ever be able to live together in harmony? Being an optimist and an idealist, I still have that hope. I think it can happen if all the countries of the world join in a effort to solve a global problem that affects us all – dealing with climate change. This is an urgent issue that needs addressing, but its components are so vast and diverse that people in different areas are affected in different ways, all of which could be part of the global project. There is a lot of politics involved on every level and in every country, social and economic disparities and needs, scientific knowledge, business considerations, and understanding why saving a particular species, say, benefits us all. All creatures need to be respected and considered, and included in the plan to solve the overall plight of our planet.
Gratitute section: Share something uplifting with everyone. It can be some writing or an image or photo you like!
Yesterday was Earth Day, so I’d like to share a few inspirational quotes – “food for thought.”
On Monday, Ludwig hosts his weekly challenge Monday Window. I looked in my archives and kept coming across window pairs. Here are a few of them, taken in Brazil, Mont St-Michel (France), Amsterdam, and Germany.
Becky posted a gorgeous sunrise for her Bright Square today, but I’m rarely up early enough for that! Even so, I have these beauties in my archives – a sunrise in Tanzania and a sunset in the Baltic Sea. In my (limited) experience, sunrises tend to be more subtle than sunsets, but beautiful nonetheless.