In Normandy, France, we visited the Overlord Museum near Omaha Beach. The Overlord Museum has displays and dioramas including a variety of equipment used by both the Allies and the Nazis during D-Day and the subsequent month-long battle of Normandy, in which the Allies succeeded in pushing back the Nazis to liberate the north of France.
Operation Overlord (code name for the D-Day invasion) was a tricky operation that was difficult to coordinate due to the complexity and variety of troops and equipment, the expanse of the beach heads, the different countries and companies involved, and the need to catch the enemy by surprise. Paratroopers (the first to deploy) jumped from planes and drifted far off course. Heavy equipment like tanks and trucks had to be unloaded sometimes in 4 feet of water and then brought up cliffs. Of course, the Germans soon realized what was happening so that all this was taking place under fire. They had also put up barriers and mines along the beaches.
Each part of the operation was timed, coordinated by generals far from the beaches. After the naval ships were in position and ground troops on the beach, fighter jets flew overhead to provide cover for the men below, dropping bombs onto Nazi bunkers and strongholds.
We spent three days in San Diego after our Panama Canal cruise a few years ago. The first day we visited the USS Midway Museum. The USS Midway was another World War II relic – a huge aircraft carrier which saw action in the Pacific, and there was a lot to see.
Sound is all around us, both delightful and bothersome. For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Cee continues with her series on the senses. This week it is sense of hearing. I hope you will imagine hearing what I heard when I took these photos.
Music – the most wonderful sounds of all…
Can you hear the pure harmonies sung by these young performers?
The singing was sweet and the performers, all high school girls, were very talented.
The photo above was taken at a concert of a barbershop chorus here called The Arlingtones. They often invite high school vocal ensembles to perform a few songs. The Arlingtones also have several quartets made up of different members of the group. My brother-in-law is in one of these groups (he’s the short bald guy). Every year on February 14, he and his quartet do singing valentines. They go to businesses, homes, and senior communities – like the one that we live in! (My sister and brother-in-law live here too!) This year, they were hired to sing for a couple on a special wedding anniversary.
Can you hear the blend of men’s voices singing a love song?
The quartet sings Let Me Call You Sweetheart. As a special touch, they always give the ladies a rose.
I have seen – and heard, of course! – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing live at Ravinia last summer…
Do you still hear the music playing in your head during intermission?
I took this during CSO’s break – at that moment, the instruments were silent, but soon would be tuned and played once again to the crowd’s delight!
…and after the quarantine started, on closed-circuit TV in our home.
Can you hear the vigorous bowing of the cellos during Beethoven’s 9th Symphony?
There are always big crowds at Ravinia (they’ve cancelled their entire season this year 😦 ), and before gatherings of more than a few people were banned, on warm summer evenings, many performers did concerts outside – often free of charge, like this one, last July. The performer was Wynona Judd, and she did a wonderful concert of upbeat songs in a park in Elk Grove Village.
Can you hear the twang of country music sung by a woman with a big voice?
We weren’t up close but could hear perfectly well from where we were sitting with our friends. Long gone are the days when I wanted to be as close to the speakers as possible!
Besides the music, when the Wynona and her band weren’t playing, there were the sounds of the crowd.
Can you hear the cacophony of voices?
A few times during the concert, airplanes flew overhead from nearby O’Hare Airport, drowning out the music and the crowd chatter for a few moments.
Can you hear the plane’s loud whine?
An airplane taking off from O’Hare traces the trail of pink clouds overhead, which were made by an earlier jet!
Besides music, crowds and airplanes, there are the sounds of nature. When I walk outside, I don’t put on headphones and listen to music; I prefer to experience the outdoors with all my senses! Mostly what I hear these days are birds.
Can you hear the trill of the redwing blackbird and the pecking of the woodpecker?
A Canadian Coast Guard rescue helicopter in flight during daylight approached our Alaska Cruise ship, where a man had to be airlifted after a heart attack on board.
Over the ocean on our way home from Israel: looking out from the plane in flight at the sunlight on the ocean below. This flight was from Frankfurt to Chicago, and I took this photo to show all the ice breaking up in the North Atlantic. I’m not sure exactly how far north we were, but the blocks of ice floating on the water reminded me of the breakup of the glaciers around Greenland, a sign of climate change!
Dale and I took a flight from Chicago O’Hare Airport late on Dec. 22, arriving in the morning in Frankfurt, Germany, where we had several hours and time for lunch at Goethe restaurant in the airport.
Our journey started at O’Hare Airport in Chicago on the night of Dec. 22.
Selfie at Frankfurt airport
We each ordered a different type of sausage!
In the afternoon, we walked through the maze of the Frankfurt airport – down hallways, past duty-free shops, down escalators, more hallways, up escalators and finally a shuttle to the terminal where we would catch our flight to Cairo! Seriously, I walked an entire mile just in the Frankfurt airport!
Whew! We finally reached our gate! Our flight was already getting ready to board when we arrived.
There was a full moon! This is a view I took from the airplane shortly before our arrival in Cairo.
We were met at the Cairo airport by an OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) representative, who accompanied us to our hotel on El Gezirah Island in Cairo – the historic Marriott Hotel. This hotel will be the subject of a future post.
On our way to the hotel, we were told about the chaos of Cairo traffic. Drivers in Cairo, especially, seem always in a hurry to get somewhere in this city of 20 million people. So a four lane road may contain eight lanes of traffic!
Crossing the Nile from El Gezirah Island to the mainland: On this road, designed for two lanes of traffic going each way, there are actually four lines of cars going one way and at least two going the other way alongside our bus!
Egyptians say that the lines delineating each lane on the road are “only for decoration.” Furthermore, speed limits are merely “suggestions.” Drivers are constantly honking at the perceived slowness of the cars ahead of them, although it rarely does much good: it’s bumper to bumper and no one is going anywhere fast. Except maybe the motorcycles, which zip past lanes of cars and weave their way through traffic.
Murals from taxi on the way to our hotel – notice the dent and scratches in the red car closest to the photographer: nearly every car, it seemed, had suffered dents and scratches in Cairo! (Photo taken by group member Lola Pazos).
The most alarming habit of Egyptian drivers is an unwillingness of many to turn on their headlights at night, because they think having their lights on “offends the drivers coming the other way.” Apparently they are not aware of the purpose of brights!!
At the hotel, we were greeted by our guide, Mohamed, who would accompany our group for the entire tour. All of the other group members had arrived earlier and by the time we arrived had retired to their rooms for the night.
Cee is back this week with all her challenges! Today’s Fun Foto Challenge is to use the photo she has posted to find a subject, topic or theme. She writes that this week’s possible topics are black and white, mirror, reflection, air plane, jet, cloud, vehicle, building, power lines, frame in frame. If you see other topics, you can use that too. Just tell us what your topic is.
Seen through a rear view mirror The picture I am currently using as my profile picture was taken in December 2015 in Monterey, California. I took this selfie using the rear view mirror next to me. I was standing outside my car with my back to the coast.
While at Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2018, I experimented with this idea again, this time showing the scenery both in front of us and in back of us through the mirror.
Just to be funny in a political context, I’m including this photo I did NOT take! 😉 Airplanes and jets View from the window of a small airplane from Serengeti to Arusha, Tanzania, Feb. 13, 2018. Ngorongoro Crater is visible in the background.
The jet that would take us from Chicago to Amsterdam, August 2015 Black and white On a rocky beach in Alaska, August 2016
Chicago skyscrapers, 2017 The foliage of summer hides most of this house, but like Cee’s picture, there’s a roof in it!
Our last day in Tanzania was spent in transit. We had a nice breakfast at Ang’ata Camp and bid farewell to the staff. A group photo was taken, while the drivers packed the vehicles with our luggage.
Group photo including some of the staff at Ang’ata Camp, Serengeti NP
Our drivers were very efficient packers – both vehicles were loaded to the hilt!
Our expert drivers from High Peaks Expeditions, Livingstone and Elias!
We were headed toward the Serengeti NP Visitors’ Center and the airport, where we would catch a flight back to Arusha (one hour flight vs 9 hours by car!).
Along the way, once again on the dirt roads in the park, we saw more animals:
Lovebirds in an acacia tree
Male cheetah – he’s filled his belly so he’s not hunting now!Lots of impalas, including this beautiful maleTopi and zebraVervet monkey in an acacia tree
The tree the monkey was in was full of puffy white seeds or blooms.
Time allowed for us to observe another hippo pond. There were two males either fighting, or play fighting.
We arrived at the Visitors’ Center with a little time to look around. The Visitors’ Center is built around a kopje (rocky outcrop), so that we saw hyraxes very close up (not only in the rocks – they ran along all the paths and sunned themselves on a deck). From there, we also had a view of the Serengeti Plain beyond.
I spotted this colorful lizard basking on a sunny patch of rock.
There was a collection of animal bones, which David (our guide) identified for us.There were also metal sculptures of a lion and a dung beetle.
The airport was practically next door to the Visitors’ Center and this is where we parted company with some members of our group who were staying in Africa and visiting other places. We saw the plane the rest of us would be returning to Arusha on – an 18-seater!
The pilot greeted David warmly – old acquaintances, apparently. When she boarded after we were all strapped in, she warned us to expect a bumpy ride, as it was very windy that day. I had been nervous about this flight, so this news didn’t calm me down!
In fact, though, the ride was unexpectedly smooth and we were able to look down at the places we had traversed – the landscapes were beautiful!
Serengeti – wooded areas with rivers
Mountain that was once a volcano (not Kilimanjaro)
Lush green – looks like the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, although that was off to the right.
Arriving in Arusha, we were taken to the Kibo Palace Hotel, where we were assigned day
Arusha clock tower
rooms – this was a luxurious hotel, unlike the accommodations we had been used to! Our safari lodgings had better views though! Even so, we were greeted the same way as we had at each accommodation: People saying, Karibu! (welcome) to us, giving us hot towels to refresh ourselves and small glasses of fruit juice.
We had a three course luncheon on the patio of the hotel’s restaurant. Service was not fast – which was not expected, but I was getting antsy: I was anxious to take a shower and have time to spend at the craft market as we had been promised.
Dale and I, along with two others from our group, walked to the market, about six blocks away. We had a very successful shopping trip! I bought a skirt, a “dashiki” shirt, pants with an elephant print, and another pair of shorter pants. We also bought Tanzanian coffee and souvenirs for our kids.
The market was large, with a labyrinth of alleys lined with shops. At each one, whether we went in – or even showed interest – or not, the vendors called out to us, “Lady, please come in! We have just what you are looking for!” Some of them were more aggressive than others, and I felt bad having to say no to any of them! But actually, many of the shops had similar merchandise, so once I’d bought something, I didn’t want to buy more of the same thing. The vendors would observe what we’d bought at the shop next door and immediately hold up a similar item from their shop, waving it at us and imploring us to come in and buy something at their shop, too! We were always polite and smiled, as David had reminded us to be; sometimes we’d stop and chat with this or that vendor. I noticed sewing machines at several of the shops that sold women’s clothing. When I was looking at a pair of pants that was gathered at the ankles, I expressed that I didn’t really want that style. Immediately, the vendor would offer to take out the elastic and before I could refuse, she was hard at work removing stitches!
Back in the hotel room, we both took showers and charged our phones and tablets. We logged into the hotel’s WiFi to update our friends back home on our travels, posting photos on Facebook.
Although I took several pictures in Arusha, I lost them all when I lost my phone! Late in the afternoon, a driver was hired to take us to Kilimanjaro Airport, an hour’s drive away. One other couple from our group was with us, because they were taking the same flight to Amsterdam, where we would part company. We had a quick dinner/snack with them in the airport, and they rushed off to the waiting area, even though they had more than two hours before the flight was due to board! Dale wanted to follow them, so I grabbed the food I had just been served “to go”, gathered up my camera bag, mini purse, and backpack and followed him.
It was an overnight flight and I didn’t notice until we were about to arrive in Amsterdam that my phone was missing. We searched the whole area around our seats and the flight attendants did an additional search as they were cleaning up, but it was not found!
in Amsterdam we had a long layover, so I went online on my tablet. There was an email from Sprint to confirm that I had changed my password on Feb. 13 in Tanzania, which of course I had not done! I called Sprint and had the phone blocked so that whoever picked it up would not be able to access my data. Theft of cellphones is rampant in Tanzania, but I don’t think it was stolen – I think in my rush to leave the restaurant at the airport, I left it behind or it fell out of my purse and someone picked it up.
Usually Google uploads my photos automatically so they can be accessed anywhere, but for some reason, it had not done that the entire time I was in Tanzania. So I lost a lot of photos. Fortunately, my best photos were on my camera and I was also able to retrieve the ones I had posted on Facebook.
I bear no ill will toward Tanzania or the Tanzanian people due to the loss of my cellphone (and my Fitbit, as I noticed later also). I LOVED my time there and would gladly go back. In fact, I’ve already done research on other safaris in Tanzania and other countries in southern Africa!
Safaris get into your soul. Seeing all those animals in the wild and getting close up photographs of them was amazing. Taking the time to observe animal behaviors in their natural environment. Admiring the beauty of the land. Appreciating the welcoming friendliness of the Tanzanian people.
I don’t think I can go to a zoo again for a long, long time.
My husband and I returned from a 12-day cruise on the Baltic Sea last Wednesday, our first cruise ever! Since the Internet on cruises is expensive and not very reliable, I kept a hand-written journal, and over the next few weeks will edit and transcribe here. Getting ready to leave was nerve-wracking, particularly because I was switching health insurance and had some problems getting my medications before we left. Fortunately, the night before we left (Aug. 4), I got a good night’s sleep!
August 6 (Thursday) air travel and arrival in Copenhagen
People talk about how awful air travel is today. As far as the airport security & check-in is concerned, it wasn’t bad. In security, you have to remove your shoes (unless you are 12 or under – I guess they figure children aren’t likely to be potential shoe bombers), and walk through a chamber where you have to stand with your legs spread a little apart and your hands over your head – similar, I guess, to your stance if you are put under arrest on the street. A few people (not us, thank God) are picked at random to go through a more rigorous screening – the people right behind us had to go through that.
We boarded this KLM plane to fly from Chicago O’Hare airport to Schipol airport in Amsterdam.
The worst part of the trip was being on the plane. The space we had at our seats was very confining, very cramped. Dale and I were in the very last row – 44 – which was against a back wall, so we couldn’t put our seats back. The people in front of us could, of course, which restricted our space even more.
Dale and I actually weren’t seated next to each other. Dale was on the aisle of the middle section and I was in the middle seat between two (unrelated) young men. The guy next to me on the aisle patiently got up 2-3 times so I could go to the bathroom.
We were traveling with my sister Mary and her husband, Elmer, but they weren’t sitting near us; they were in row 33 (also up against a wall, it turned out). I imagined Mary in one of these seats. It was barely large enough for me, I couldn’t imagine how such a seat would be adequate for her, because she is very heavy. I checked them out during one of my trips to the bathroom – Mary was lucky to be sitting next to the only empty seat on the plane! So, effectively, she had 2 seats. When I saw them, Mary was sleeping sprawled over the two seats with a blanket over her head.
I hardly slept on the 7-hour flight. I tried the inflatable pillow I’d brought with me, but had a hard time blowing it up – I’d fill it with air, but then was unable to stop it up before much of the air leaked out. Finally I succeeded but when I put it around my neck, it left like it was about to choke me in the front. I got used to that but still found it uncomfortable.
In the flight magazine, there was a list of entertainment options. One of the movies being offered was Far From the Madding Crowd, which I’d seen advertised on PBS and thought it looked interesting.
When the headphones were passed out it took me some time to untangle the cord and figure out how to fit it over my ears. I had to look at the guy next to me to see how it worked. They weren’t very comfortable and the sound wasn’t great so I missed some of the dialogue but figured out what was going on for the most part.
We passed through some heavy turbulence and I got scared. I exited from the movie to follow the flight path, and prayed. The captain made an announcement but it was too soft to hear what he said.
I noticed that our altitude was remaining steady and gradually the turbulence ceased. I turned back to the movie, but it started over from the beginning so I had to search for where I’d stopped it. I watched the end, but had missed some important scenes so I had to back track again.
Finally I was ready to sleep. I took off my glasses and put them in the inflatable pillow’s cover, and I put an eye mask over my eyes. I couldn’t get comfortable, though, and the straps pulled the mask unevenly. I twisted and turned and finally pulled the mask off. Then I couldn’t find the cover with my glasses and groped around on the floor trying to find them but I had no room to maneuver. I told myself not to worry, that I would find them in the morning but I became anxious, thinking what if there were an emergency and I couldn’t find my glasses? Or what if someone steps on them trying to get out?
I groped around some more – still no luck. I forced myself to be still – I’d be fine and the glasses would be found, I told myself. I dozed off.
Eventually I found myself awake and groping around for them again – and this time I found them! I managed to doze off again by making myself be still using meditation breathing techniques.
In spite of the minimal sleep I’d gotten, I didn’t feel tired during our two-hour layover in Amsterdam. We tried to get international phone cards but found out something: the ones being sold in the airport were for Holland only. Later we’d find out this was true in every country we visited. Warning to any Americans wanting to stay connected in Europe (especially if you’re going on a cruise): Don’t tamper with your phones! Just rely on WiFi and hot spots in Europe. Cruise lines will sometimes offer a WiFi station on the dock near the ship at ports of call. You probably will not be able to make phone calls, however.
The airport in Amsterdam has many of these little shops where you can buy tulip bulbs and flowers.
At Copenhagen airport – a very welcoming sign!
There was a Lego store in the Copenhagen airport. Legos are originally from Denmark!
I didn’t sleep on the flight to Copenhagen either, and I was excited looking out the window of the bus and snapping pictures on the way to our hotel.
Thorvaldsen art museum murals
Scandic Palace Hotel, Copenhagen
By the time we got to Scandic Palace Hotel, I was finding it arduous to do simple things, like climbing a flight of stairs. Once we got to our room, I read a little and wrote in this journal, but soon got sleep. I lay down for a nap and fell asleep in no time!
At 3:30, I woke up and we called my sister’s room. Elmer had just gotten up and he was going to wake Mary up. We said we’d meet up with them downstairs in a few minutes. Meanwhile, I took some pictures in our room.
I was delighted to find something like this in Copenhagen! In the hotel room, a recycling wastebasket!
View from our hotel window – there was a noisy bar below but we were too tired for it to disturb our sleep for long!
When we met downstairs at 4 pm, we decided to go on a canal tour. One of the canal tour companies I’d heard of was about ½ the price for the same tour. It wouldn’t have been too far to walk, but it would be for Mary, so we took a taxi.
The driver was a Lebanese Danish citizen, and although he charged a lot, he was entertaining – very talkative. He spoke several languages but was fully bilingual in Arabic and Danish. Although he didn’t know which company was the one we wanted, he happened to drop us at the right one, whose name I recognized as soon as I saw their sign.
The tour was relaxing and I took lots of pictures, although I didn’t get what the guide was saying half the time – by the time I’d begun processing his remarks, he’d switch to another language and seemed to be saying a lot more in Danish and German that he did in English!
Nyhavn from our boat cruise
People all over the city were taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather, which Danes do not take for granted.
Domed greenhouse and Copenhagen residents on foot and bikes
A young man enjoying a sandwich on his boat
The Little Mermaid statue is dwarfed by the swarm of tourists that come to see it.
Copenhagen Opera House
I loved this building with all the windows. It is the Danish Architecture Center.
Old Stock Exchange (Børsen)-until 1974; one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen – situated on the island of Slotsholmen and built by King Christian IV (1577-1648) in 1619-1640. He wanted Copenhagen to be a financial & trade center.
Tower on the Old Stock Exchange
This bridge dates from Feb. 1459.
This is one of the oldest bridges.
Elmer, Mary & Dale enjoying the canal tour.
This tower has a spiral staircase going all the way to the top.
The smoke stacks visible in the background are no longer in use – it was a power plant but Denmark is converting to wind and solar energy.
After the tour, we went to have dinner in Nyhavn. There were many restaurants lining the canal, but there were people everywhere, enjoying this beautiful afternoon! I decided to choose the first restaurant that a.) had an empty table outside and b.) had a bathroom. There was a public toilet but it was down a flight of stairs and Mary couldn’t manage it. So we ended up at Fyrtojet, where our server accompanied Mary and Elmer to the bathroom while Dale and I saved a table outside. What with wine and our selections from the dinner menu, the meal was very expensive (and we didn’t even have dessert) – over DKK 1,000! But we spent a couple of pleasant hours relaxing among the thousands of other diners. After all, we were at a sidewalk café in Europe on a perfect summer day!! Something I’d been dreaming of for years!
On return, Mary and Elmer got a bicycle taxi for a bit less than the taxi we’d taken to get there – and it was more fun! Dale and I walked back, mostly through pedestrian streets lined with modern stores, restaurants and cafes. He stopped in one of the few still-open stores to find out about international phone cards. I waited outside and spotted a Lagkagehuset right next door! I knew we were very close to the hotel. The famous pastry café was closed but we could return in the morning.
Back at the hotel, we just hung out in front, enjoying the last rays of sunshine and warmth of the day – it was 9 pm, and across the street a clock chimed the hour. Elmer had gone to get Mary ice cream, returning with an individual sized contained of Ben and Jerry’s brownie chocolate ice cream. Mary shared some with me.
I slept pretty well, in spite of the noise at the bar below.