The Journey Begins

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Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller – Ibn Battuta 


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The Best Travel Destination Might be in Your Own Backyard

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge
 A Photo a Week Challenge

My friends and I like to walk in the morning. We’ve been doing this for 25 years, and though our start time has gotten later and we’re pretty wimpy about walking in the cold these days, we still get out there. Lucky for us we have a beautiful area to tramp through.

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Our favorite walk is the canal road located a couple of blocks from our homes. It’s a fun place to watch the seasons change, and get a glimpse of the local wildlife.  Over the years we’ve seen muskrats, blue herons, snakes (!) and my personal favorite, lots of ducks and ducklings.

I took these photos in early spring, and kept meaning to post them, but how the time gets away . . .  suddenly fall is here and the baby ducks are all grown up.  Time’s a-wastin’!  I’ll hurry and post this before the snow flies.

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We walk through several neighborhoods to get to the canal. It helps to have blue sky and lots of gorgeous flowers to start the day.

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Duck families live all along the water’s edge. My dog Lucy would love to make friends.

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I doubt the ducks return the sentiment. In fact, I know they don’t as this next blurry picture is the result of trying to hold the dog in check while taking a picture of ducks fleeing the scene to avoid her.

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The wildlife here is pretty tame, but that’s how we like it. Thre are lots of birds in the area – we love the quail and their mad dashes across the path in front of us. We also see hawks, and one year watched the progress of a nest of baby owls perched high in a tree.

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This is a blue heron, he was shy, so I had to keep my distance.

The Summer’s almost over now and it’s darker in the mornings.  The late bloomers are coming into their own and it’s time to break out the jackets. Over the years we’ve walked in rain and snow, sun and shine.  We’ve made some good friends on our treks and lost a special one.

Our long-time walking buddy Melinda Arnold succumbed to cancer a couple of years ago. She was always cheery and told great jokes, and insisted on coming out with us until the day she could no longer rise from her bed. It was hard to go on after she passed, but we knew in our hearts she would want us to. Now, whenever we see something special we find ourselves saying,  “Wouldn’t Melinda love this?”.

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The world is truly an amazing place, but sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day frustrations, we forget to open our eyes. Whether you live on a country road, or in a busy metropolis, whether you’re far from home or tucked safely in the bosom of your family, I challenge you to take some time, be it a week, a day, or an hour and go exploring. You never know, your favorite travel destination may be right in your own backyard!

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Do you have a favorite place to walk?

For more fun fall posts check out :
Cees Fun Photo Challenge
Nancy Merrill Changing Seasons

Salt Lake City – A Fabulous Library with a Puzzling Past

Despite a pipe bomb explosion, 5 suicides, and a dramatic hostage situation, the Salt Lake Public Library is a peaceful place which welcomes refugees and cares for the homeless.

20190916_112924The recipient of multiple architecture awards, this modern marvel of steel and glass is surprisingly warm and inviting thanks to the creative use of light and space. It rises out of the surrounding city in a wedge shape with a reflective glass exterior and a curved accent wall.

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The grounds make a splash with gardens and a waterfall. This is the perfect place to enjoy your lunch hour or read a book on a sunny day.

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On entering the building, all eyes are drawn heavenward. Soaring ceilings, balconies, and walkways steal the show, as glass elevators glide between 5 floors in a smooth almost sci-fi type setting.
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Ronda – a Small Town with a BIG Bridge

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Photos by Pixabay

A Spectacular Sight

Puente Nuevo bridge is one of Spain’s most photographed sights, and after visiting there on our tour of Spain, it’s not hard to see why.  This medieval masterpiece towers 390 feet above the canyon floor. It’s an amazing feat of engineering made even more so by the primitive tools available at the time. Construction began in 1759 and took 34 years to complete.

A Bridge Too Far

The first attempt at building this bridge was in 1735. It had only one arch, was poorly constructed, and was thrown together in just 8 months. In 1741 it collapsed killing 50 people. The architects Jose Garcia and Juan Camacho, were no doubt out of business after this debacle.

The current bridge was built with longevity and safety in mind. With three upper arches and a lower-middle arch, this structure has stood the test of time.

The Puente Nuevo crosses the Guadalevin River, which flows down a deep gorge. This gorge effectively splits the city of Ronda in half, and while this was a great deterrent to enemy armies, it made it nearly impossible for citizens to get from one side to the other.  Completion of the bridge must have been a godsend to the inhabitants of the town.

A Gruesome Past

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While Puente Neuva bridge is a glorious edifice, it has a dark side. The square chamber located in the middle of the bridge was once used to house prisoners. Understandably, few if any escaped.

Another grim chapter in the bridge’s history was during the Spanish Civil War, 1936 – 1939. At this time the prison was used as a torture chamber and captured opponents were tossed off the bridge to a watery grave below – very far below.

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Today Ronda is a sublime and peaceful place. It is reached by a steep road which winds through olive and lemon orchards and past gorgeous old homes. Seeing Puente Neuvo is an unforgettable experience, so if you’re ever in  Malaga make sure and include Ronda in your travel plans.

Have you been to Spain? What was your favorite destination? I’d love to hear from you –

For other great bridges see Calmkate’s Friday Fun.

For more of Library Lady’s travels in Spain see “The Mysterious Caves of Drach“.

Valldemossa Monastery

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Valdemossa Monastery – Picture by Pixabay.

What’s more fascinating than an ancient monastery? Ghostly footsteps echo in the halls and vestiges of mystery and intrigue waft through ancient corridors.
                                                        (Name of the Rose, anyone?)

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One of my all-time favorite monasteries is Clon Mcnoise in Ireland, but today we were visiting the village of Valldemossa on the Spanish island of Mallorca.  The monastery was originally a royal palace but became home to a group of Carthusian monks in 1399. It’s known for its picturesque bell tower and gothic charm.

As we rounded the corner and the monastery came into view, I tried not to melt into a scenery induced puddle. (I’ve been told I’m an overly excitable tourist, but what’s the point of traveling if you’re not blown away by the sights you see?!)

The first glimpse of this ancient edifice was like something out of a movie set. Perched on a hill, the tower dwarfed the surrounding buildings, its white stone walls glowing in the morning sun. This was definitely my kind of place.

View of the village from Valldemossa’s heights.

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Cobblestones and rock walls. Photo by Pixabay

We followed a  winding road up into the hills and enjoyed the views of the local neighborhoods.  Upon arrival, we purchased tickets to tour the monastery for 8.50 Euros. Continue reading

Doors of Spain

Spain was never on my bucket list, but it should have been. I recently spent 10 days there and have at least that many stories to tell.  My husband and I love traveling, but my favorite part is coming home and writing about all our adventures.
Midevil yet modern, Spain is a country that percolates with positive energy – think  Flamenco dancing and Spanish guitar, yet it’s steeped in ancient and often controversial traditions like bullfighting.
We visited Madrid, Malaga, and the island of Mallorca (Majorca). We ate suckling pig at the oldest restaurant in the world, saw a medieval pharmacy at Valdemossa Monastery, and gaped at the magnificent bridge in Rondo. So much to talk about, but first . . . the doors!
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I spotted this Spanish jewel in Madrid. What would it feel like to walk through this door every day? Who lives here and what are they like? Doors make me wonder what goes on behind them.
As for this one, notice the lovely ironwork on the top and the mailbox on the left. This is not actually the door into the house, but into the courtyard which leads to the house.
In addition to this wonderful door, the roughed up surface surrounding it has a look that many people with new homes pay big bucks to achieve. Chip and Joanna Gaines are you seeing this?

 

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Here’s another residential beauty, I’ll call it Blue 22. Similar to the first, with the look of the middle ages, this has a nameplate which I could probably read if I enlarged the picture. Wait, I’ll do just that and now you can see it too. The name is still a little blurry, but the title says Notary Public, so this may be a home or a home office. Hmm . . . while this door is admirable – well-worn and rustic, if this is a business entrance it could use a spit shine. Continue reading

Doors of Tangier

20181002_110743I’ve always thought my passion for old doors was a little weird, an odd personality quirk best not discussed in polite company. I’ve gotten used to it over the years, and so have my friends. “Wait,” they say screeching to an exaggerated halt. “Geanie’s taking another picture of a door.”

I love doors. Unusual doors, battered doors, doors that look like they’ve been around since the beginning of time.

An open door is an invitation into someone’s home, their life, and their story. A closed door is the opposite, but I find them equally intriguing especially in an exotic place like Tangier.

We’d signed up for a last-minute day trip from Malaga Spain to Tangier Morocco. I hadn’t had time to do my research so didn’t know what to expect. I was in for a nice surprise.

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Questionable Food?

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I am a voice in the wilderness, a lonely tree falling in the forest, a distant bell tolling in the wind – oh, sorry, I got a little carried away. What I  meant to say is this: I am one of the few people I know who will admit to liking airplane food. There I said it.

Just look at that picture. What’s not to like? I wish the food that came out of my kitchen looked half as good. To be perfectly honest, since my kids are mostly gone, I rarely even cook anymore and if someone wants to hand me a plate of attractively presented, yummy, hot food, that’s usually O.K. by me.

But on our last plane excursion, there was a bit of a hitch.

My husband and I were traveling to Norway, and it was approximately Three A.M. my time –  heaven only knows what time it was by the airplane clock, but it was dark and everyone else was asleep. Since I have yet to master the art of sleeping on a plane, I’d been sitting for hours, reading, knitting, and doing crossword puzzles until my eyeballs were fried.  Out of the darkness loomed a stewardess who handed me a tray, presumably breakfast, and I mindlessly began to consume the pocket bread sandwich thing which was offered.  As I slowly came to my senses, I turned to my husband who was looking at me.

“What is this?” he said, mid chew.

I consider what I’m swallowing. “I don’t know.”  I scrabble through the litter on the floor and come up with the wrapper. “It says, Cheese Salad – shredded cheese mixed with mayonnaise and onions.”

We exchange a dubious look and threw away the remains of our sandwiches. Have you ever eaten something where the taste just won’t go away, no matter how much gum you chew? This was one of those times.

After disembarking and meeting up with our friends who were also on the flight, we began to compare notes.

“Did you eat that sandwich thing they brought us?” said my friend.

“Kind of,” I replied, ” It was gross.”

“I know, cheese salad.  Eeeew.”

I still like airplane food but,  wiser now, I carefully examine all offerings before eating.  Cheese salad, it’s out there.  Beware.

Do you love airplane food, or am I the only one?

Travel Blunders

The Library Lady Raises Her Voice!

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I thought I’d change things up a bit today. The following was originally published on my other blog, The Library Lady Writes.

DISCLAIMER  –  Lest you get the wrong idea, I never have, nor do I intend in the future to write articles or blog posts that focus on the topic of . . . Urine.  I was reluctant to do so in my very first Library Lady installment, but I think you’ll agree if you read on, that the following post simply HAD to be written.

I like my job, it’s what I call a, yes I can job, which means that most requests for my help can be answered with a hearty, “Yes I can”.
Can you check these books out for me?
Yes I can.
Can you find my lost CD?
Yes I can, (providing you actually turned it in).
I can also shelve your books, place holds for you, explain that nasty fine on your library account, and share my current list of favorite books.
Very rarely do I come across a situation that requires a negative answer.
Can I get a library card even though I’ve failed to bring in photo I.D. or a proof of address? Is one of those. Another slightly less common but equally important, ‘No’ question goes like this:
Can I urinate on my library items and return them through the automatic book drop in hopes that no one will notice my transgression?Now watch, here it comes – this is the library lady raising her voice –
ARE YOU KIDDING ME! IN THE ENTIRE SEVENTEEN YEARS THAT I’VE WORKED HERE I’VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF SUCH A THING!
I will now pause to catch my breath and give you a chance to recover from my outburst.

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Weird and Wonderful Libraries

Cool and unusual Libraries from around the world – Published on Listverse

Think libraries are boring?

Well, think again. Today’s libraries are a delightful combination of old school and high tech. Of course, libraries will always have great books waiting to be plucked from the shelves, but at many locations, you can also find free Internet, downloadable media, 3-D printing, and more.

Unfortunately, there are some parts of the world with no libraries at all. These people have little access to books, and you can forget about high-tech add-ons. So, what to do if you’re a bibliophile who lives in Burundi or on the plains of Mongolia?

Continue reading here Listverse.com to find out.

Here’s another amazing library story
Read more about self service libraries here .

 

Uber Blunder

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It was September 2018.  My husband and I were looking forward to a dream trip to Spain but we almost missed our flight. Here’s why:
We’d decided to be cool and trendy and book an Uber for the drive to the airport. This was a new experience for us, as we’d previously relied on kids, or friends and neighbors for transport, but this time we had to leave at 5:00 A.M. and hated to bother anyone.
uber photo“Uber’s a great idea.” said our kids.  “Here – we’ll help you set it up.”
After a group effort, (John and I require help with this kind of thing) we were able to download the app and even schedule an early morning ride. We felt very high-tech.
Fast forward to the day before our departure. My husband was chatting with our good friend and across-the-street neighbor, Paul. When he found out we were paying someone to take us to the airport, he said, “You should have asked me.  I’d take you.”
“No no,” my husband assured him. “It’s all set up. We’re good.”

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The next morning we sat outside waiting for our ride. It was cold and dark and very lonely. 5:00 A.M. came and went with no sight of an Uber. Concerned, John double-checked the reservation and to our horror, we discovered our ride was scheduled for 5 P.M.!
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