Category Archives: Travel

Not Irish

I’m not Irish. Not even a little. When I was a kid I would forget to wear green on this day and get pinched on the playground, a custom I’m still not really fond of.

But as a musician I am getting more fond of St. Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to play fun music.

Playing at the Belmont Farmers’ Market

We were in Ireland last summer as part of our trip. One of the places we visited in Dublin was Christchurch Cathedral.

ChristChurchCathedralDublin

The cathedral’s choir had its first performance of Handel’s Messiah in April of 1742. There is an electrical box on the grounds painted in Handel’s honor.

Messiah

The oldest geocache in Europe is also in Ireland. It was placed on June 3, 2000. Here I am, finding it:

OldestGeocacheinEurope

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (Please don’t pinch anyone . . .)

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Thursday Doors: Edinburgh Pubs and Eateries

After some time on the continent, we were off to the British Isles. These doors are from our first day in Scotland, where we stopped in Edinburgh. I have heard that Edinburgh is the model for Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series. In the spirit of Harry Potter, I thoroughly enjoyed the names of some of these establishments: 

BlackCat

DirtyDicks

Lots of flowers and nice places to sit, but it was a little early for lunch, let alone a drink.

Or live music. 

It was a very pleasant walk to the park and university, though, and we followed a virtual geocache to see other sights. Scotland was also having an unusually warm and sunny summer, which benefitted us tourists!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

January 31, 2019: Luxembourg II

January 24, 2019: Luxembourg I

December 13, 2018: More Brussels

November 29, 2018: Brussels, Part II

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Thursday Doors: Luxembourg II

When I was in Luxembourg I knew I would eventually blog about it for Thursday doors. So I took pictures of a lot of different doors. Last week it was old-fashioned doors under arches. This week it is some business establishments and restaurants:

There were often stairs leading to the doors. We didn’t have time to eat at any of these places, but they looked nice. Even the graffiti in Luxembourg is tasteful.

 

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

January 24, 2019: Luxembourg I

December 13, 2018: More Brussels

November 29, 2018: Brussels, Part II

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Mundane Monday: Nurse Log

This week’s Mundane Monday theme is “Nurse Log.” That means I learned something new this week. nurse log is a fallen tree which, as it decays, provides ecological facilitation to seedlings. Broader definitions include providing shade or support to other plants. 

hongkongkaren

I have seen these many times while out geocaching and hiking, but I don’t often take pictures of them. However, I may have something that’s at least close in my travel photos from Hong Kong a couple of years ago. It’s very humid there in the summer and there is a lot of growth. This tree is almost completely covered in moss.

nurselogpanorama

The heat and humidity make a lot of trees like this. Here too you can see the rough moss covering on the branches silhouetted against the sky.

victoriapeak

For Dr KO’s Mundane Monday prompt #196.

Thursday Doors: Luxembourg I

Leaving Brussels, we decided to visit Luxembourg by driving through. It isn’t hard to drive through all of Luxembourg in a relatively short trip. I was there once before, when I lived in Germany for a summer as a student. I took a cheap bus trip to Luxembourg, which turned out to be a chance for the tour company to try to sell us fur coats on the bus. My German wasn’t good enough to be able to pay attention, so the hard sell was lost on me!

This time I was more interested in geocaches and doors. These doors were close to the center where the parking and the monuments were.

 

They didn’t all look like that. Some were more modern and painted.

lux5

And then we went to look for a geocache in some back alleys.

lux6

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

December 13, 2018: More Brussels

November 29, 2018: Brussels, Part II

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Mundane Monday (on Tuesday): Gulls

Do you take pictures of gulls? asks Dr. KO of the Mundane Monday challenge.

gull5
Enquiring minds want to know

Surprisingly (since I don’t live particularly near a beach): Why yes, yes I do!

gulls2
Carmel Beach City Park, Carmel CA

I read and was a fan of Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach in high school, and perhaps because I didn’t grow up near a beach, I still have a romanticized view of these opportunistic scavengers.

Gulls following a cruise ship in search of food they can grab off passengers' plates
Gulls following a cruise ship in search of food they can grab off passengers’ plates

I am a very amateur photographer and I don’t use any special equipment other than my phone to take pictures, but if there is a gull flying around, I seem to be unable to resist trying to capture it in flight.

gullsinarowsunset
Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove CA

A few years ago I went to Carmel, Big Sur, and Pacific Grove for my birthday, and there I hit the gull jackpot (and probably drove my husband crazy), taking pictures of gulls flying silhouetted against the pink sky of sunset.

gulls4
Make them fly in formation!

Traveling, I have found gulls to be a world-wide phenomenon. They, not bluebirds of happiness, fly over the White Cliffs of Dover.

gullsdover

And across the English Channel:

And even in deep mid-winter, there they are:

gullslaketahoe
Lake Tahoe, near the CA-NV border

They don’t need skis to fly!

 

Thursday Doors: Year in Review

This will be the last Thursday Doors post of 2018. Norm is encouraging us to recap our year in doors. I have been recapping my trip each week as I post a new set of doors, so I will gather all the trip postings together here:

European Trip 2018, Thursday Doors Posts

ThroughTheGate

December 13, 2018: More Brussels

November 29, 2018: Brussels, Part II

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

I have 15 Thursday Doors posts from this trip already, and it’s barely half done. I wasn’t kidding when I got home and said I had Thursday Doors for the rest of the year from the trip. I can keep going until the next trip!

In fact, earlier in the year, before I left for Europe, I was still blogging posts from my 2017 Asian trip on Thursday Doors, such as these.

Asian Trip 2017, Thursday Doors Posts

14ZhujiajiaoRed

Seoul Walk

Downtown Seoul

Changdeokgung Palace

Hutong

Beijing City Wall

Palace Museum in the Forbidden City

Chinese Coke

Great Wall Shopping

Shanghai, Xintiandi

Shanghai, the Bund

Zhujiajiao, water town, Part 1Part 2Part 3

Lamps

Tokyo National Museum

While travel posts are fun, and I like looking at everyone’s from around the world, I also enjoy the posts that just show a little something from daily life, like my new Little Free Library, or the prosaic stretch of El Camino Real that winds through the town where I live.

I’d like to wish everyone Happy Holidays, with a picture of the door to our old house, and our dear departed snowman!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

Thursday Doors: More Brussels

I thought I was done with Brussels for Thursday Doors, but I’m not!

GrandPlaceSign

Our last night there we went back to the Grand Place and I took some more door pictures. These are of the Guild Halls and the Town Hall. For most of these, I liked what’s over the door as much or more than the door itself.

The Guild Halls:

This looks more like a church than a Town Hall. And this particular door is 3 in 1:

IMG_3896

I don’t have a lot to say about these doors. They speak for themselves.

IMG_3899

I was there in the summer, but just for fun, and because it’s Christmas time, I’m going to show this video of the Grand Place lit up for Christmas. It’s not Mountain View . . . but what a show! Enjoy!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

November 29, 2018: Brussels, Part II

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

Thursday Doors: Brussels Part II

Last week I showed some doors of the Grand Place in Brussels. That area is truly stunning, but it’s touristy, and it’s not everything that the city has to offer. Here are a couple of decidedly different doors, each with a sense of fun. A party store, with a minion inside.

 

And in the spirit of noting, and honoring, the gate/door relationship (as I did with the Brandenberger Tor earlier in this series . . . Notice the resemblance?)

 

I would like to show the Arcade du Cinquantenaire, a magnificent triumphal arch in the center of Cinquantenaire Park, built in 1880 for the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence.

06Cinq

One of these pathways leads to the Royal Army and Military History Museum. For this, I’ve got a real door:

07Military

They were also filming a movie in the park while we were there. There was fake smoke being generated from these sausage-like balloons, and people milling about in costume.

04Cinq

At one point someone signaled, and the whole crowd ran through the gate, yelling and pushing this cart that looked like a draped coffin. The cameras were close enough not to get the crane in the background. That would have spoiled the effect!

05Cinq

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

November 22, 2018: Grand Place, Brussels

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany

 

Friday Doors: Grand Place, Brussels

This blog normally participates in Thursday Doors but yesterday was a holiday in the US and I took a break from blogging. (Which followed my >2-week break earlier this month, but who’s counting?)

I’d first like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! This is a picture of me, my husband, and our 15-year-old son, taken by our friend who was a guest at our table this year. This shot shows the persimmons from our backyard, the candles, and has the least amount of teenage eye-roll. It also demonstrates conclusively how I have become the shortest one in the family in recent years! Our college-age daughter is visiting a friend on the Oregon coast.

Thanksgiving

And now on to the doors!

Belgium is not the first country we think of when we think of Europe. I’d venture when asked to name a European country, most US Americans would say France, Germany, Spain, or England (not necessarily in that order). And maybe the Netherlands. Because, you know, windmills. But, our visit to Belgium had some of the most beautiful European architecture around. And Brussels is the de facto capital of the EU.

On our way to look for chocolate and beer, I still didn’t fully realize what I would be seeing in minute. The alleyways are narrow . . .

If you only have a limited time in Brussels, the Peeing Statues are fun (and there’s even a dog now), and the 1958 World’s Fair site is pretty cool too, but I’d still recommend the Grand Place before any of that.

I’m including a panorama from wikipedia because I don’t have the photographic skill or equipment to do it justice. If you think back to the Middle Ages, or even the Renaissance, this square would be the most amazing thing that most people of that time period would ever see in their lifetimes. There were no IMAX movies, no National Parks, no World Heritage Sites, and no planes, trains and automobiles to get you to them.

The Brussels City Hall was built between 1401 and 1455, and made the Grand Place the seat of municipal power.

06CityHall

Around the square there are many very detailed doors with different features, such as a swan or a trumpeter:

And there was even a geocache puzzle that asked finders to identify different features of buildings around the square. When solving the puzzle, I was happy to have already been checking out the place for Thursday Doors!

It’s not hard to find somewhere to eat Belgian food, either:

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time), on the linky list at Norm 2.0’s blog

ThroughTheGate

Follow my European trip with this and previous posts:

November 1, 2018: Belgian Beer and Chocolate

October 27, 2018: Dutch Whimsy

October 18, 2018: Nordrhein-Westfalen

October 11, 2018: Landschaftspark

September 21, 2018: Pattensen

September 6, 2018: Birdhouse Cache

August 30, 2018: Achtung, Baby!

August 16, 2018: Ku’Damm

August 9, 2018: Berliner Dom

July 20, 2018: Berlin Walk

June 13, 2018: Thursday “Tors”: Brandenburg

June 7, 2018: Germany