Like so many American kids, my first trip without my family was to Washington DC, the Nation's Capital. Our bus ride was a long one from the Midwest... two full days. It included a stop in some college town where we spent the night in college dormitories and, in general, got into innocent trouble.
(Of course there was the kid who also wandered away from the group, supposedly spent the night drinking, and was too late to catch his bus in the morning. His mom was a chaperone for one of the groups and she stayed behind as the officials planned to drag the river. I'm glad I wasn't him. Of course, I'm glad I wasn't the mother either.)
So after a long, eventful trip out East, we were pulling into Washington DC. Who could forget it... the freeway with 8 lanes in each direction. Growing up where I did, most of my travel was on winding two-lane roads. I had never seen anything like this expressway. The leaders said that our first stop was at the Mall.
I was in the back of the bus and generally we weren't paying attention. Some kid asked where we were going. My friends and I said we were going shopping.
This is a great picture taken in Alaska to show the difference between water generated from a glacier (on the left - filled with sand and dirt from the glacier) and the clear water generated from snow melt on the right. In both cases, the water was sooo cold. Like the cold when your woolen-mittens-get-wet-but-you-still-play-in-the-snow kind of cold.
Here's a picture of the silt that remains after a glacier has receded. It's this fine sand that is carried so easily by the runoff, but you can see that much is left behind waiting for the first brave plants to seed the area. (I learned that Fireweed usually takes this honor.)
And this picture shows how clear the water is in the lakes in Alaska. I remember there was a bear on the lower-left side of the lake grabbing a quick drink, although I can't find him in the picture now.
I had previously mentioned a trip to Vienna, Austria here. But this "room" is the whole reason for the trip. I was desperate to get to Austria once I was this part of the Schoenbrunn Palace on a TV show. In the show, this room was filmed at night and the light had a beautiful amber glow. I remember thinking it was like I was on the inside of a wedding cake. Ha!
Given the people walking around the edges of the space, you can start to get a feel of the scale. This area is actually open to the outdoors and was used as an entrance to the palace. You can see the gate where horse drawn carriages or cars drive through even today.
And although they have netting up to discourage anything from resting on the ledges leading up to the ceiling, it doesn't obscure the opulence of royal construction from the past.
I highly recommend visiting a site just because you saw an amazing photograph or TV show. It might just introduce you to a completely new place or culture. Vienna is an amazing city and I am so glad I went.
labels: austria, vienna
location: schönbrunn palace, schloss schönbrunn, schönbrunner schloßstraße 47, 1130 vienna, austria
Galway, Ireland is a great city on the western edge of Ireland. We traveled over to visit some family friends and see the sites in Ireland and England. Our trip was in the early spring, and we encountered three seasons in the first hour of our arrival. A warm breeze was quickly followed by hail and then rain.
The cities in Ireland are everything you expect them to be. Warm. Comfortable. Gracious.
My favorite story of Ireland actually took place in Dublin. I was traveling up to Bangor, Northern Ireland and took the train from Galway through Dublin. Of course I arrived in one train station and needed to transfer to another. There was a bus to aid in the shuttle of passengers, but I was confused and got off the bus one stop too soon. Obviously not in the right place, I asked someone on the street if he could explain where the train station was. The directions were simple. Walk to the next corner, turn right and you'll see it at the end of the road 2 blocks up. He then proceeded to walk me to the station to make sure I got there. I just remember thinking there are so many cities in the world where that wouldn't have happened. So gracious.
This week is a big one. This week I could use a little luck of the Irish. This week I want to be warm, comfortable and gracious.
location: galway, co. galway, ireland