Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Z"-Zambia

The Republic of Zambia is a land locked nation in southern Africa.  The capital city  is Lusaka.  I know what your thinking, I can't believe I am learning something new during the A to Z challenge of 2013.  Regardless, my travels to Lusaka included a trip to a near by lodge to have a day at the Safari.

It is about an hours drive outside of the city of Lusaka.  My host was kind enough to drive, considering I do not know my way around the country side.  The cost includes a full day of activities, food and drinks.  I do not drink alcoholic beverages myself.  Its a lifestyle choice I made when I was very young.  My host and friends however, do enjoy and occasional cocktail.  While sitting on the porch of the lodge we place our order.  I receive the same drink as everyone else.  A rum and diet Pepsi.  It was very weak so I had no problem with the drink.  I guess that is what you get with open bar.


This particular lodge kept the dangerous animals in fenced 2 or 3 acre areas.  It was a wildlife preserve.  The lion you see here was waiting for the rest of the pride to bring him lunch as we walked up to the fence.  One of the workers had just thrown a piece of an antelope over the fence.  you not only hear the growls, you can fell them in your bones.

It was an amazing trip.  I was able to go horseback riding through the park and on a jeep safari.  The staff was extremely friendly and hospitable.  We took advantage of the one day option, however, there are cabins to rent and places to sleep.  I think this area is a little less expensive than the big safaris in South Africa.

Other fun facts about the country, the population is about 80% literate.  With all my travels in Africa, this is a high number.  Education is free until the 7th grade.

Well, this is the end of another A to Z Challenge.  I want to thank everyone who stopped by and left comments.  The frequency of the posts will decline, however, Sunshine and I love to explore, so I will continue to make suggestions and other comments.  I have found several new pages for myself to follow.

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Y"-Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia was a country started in 1943 at the end of WWII.  The country split up in 1992 after internal ethnic troubles persistant and the area was at war.  I have had the opportunity to visit a couple of locations from the former Yugoslavia.  Zagreb, and Sarajevo.


In 1984 the town of Sarajevo hosted the winter olympics.   On one of my free days, some colleagues and I headed to the Olympic resort.  Located just outside the city, we had to drive up the mountain to enjoy the snow capped mountains.  Since the end of the war, sarajevo has been struggling to get tourist back in their country, so we were heading north to see what there was to offer.  Sarajevo itself was in various stages of rebuilding and during the civil war, was the center of fighting for much of the time.  I believe the city was under siege for a couple of years.


As we pulled into the Olympic village and found us some parking we headed to meet our guide for the day.  Our party consisted of about 9 people.  We had different intrest for the trip.  Some wanted to ski, some wanted to snowboard and some wanted to snowmobile. (Snow machine for you folks in Alaska).  From the top of the mountain, everything looked very peaceful.  For me, this was a new kind of cold.  Really, a new kind of cold.  Our guide explained the snow was about 12 meters deep when we picked up our snow mobiles.  In addition, there was a local news team to cover the tourists that come to visit the city.


I am someone who has never owned a motorcycle.  I grew up in Northeast Florida.  This was my first time on a snowmobile.  And I crashed it.  You will see from the left, several folks assisted me in the recovery.  I think there is some of my pride still sitting on the old mountain.

Overall we had a wonderful time of fun and fellowship.  I was able to see some really cool sites and crash a snowmobile.






The A to Z challenge is coming to an end.  Keep up the blogging even after the challenge.  I have had a great time and look forward to following new people until the next A to Z.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"X"- Xenia Ohio

I have been to a lot of locations, for both work and pleasure.  This is one of the most difficult letters to identify for a place to explore.  I have done it.  You can go to Xenia, Ohio.  I have been there myself.  It dose exist.  It is 21 miles outside of Dayton Ohio. I stayed in Xenia on a work trip to Dayton.  In my spare time I was able to visit the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton.

The Air Force museum if a fantastic place to visit with the family.  If you have any intrest in the history of flight or the Air Force.  Here they will walk you through the early years of flight.  The Wright Brothers were from Ohio, although not Xenia, when they built their airplane.  They went to North Carolina to fly the plane because of the sustained winds.

If front of the museum is the Park, out back they keep several retired airplanes.  There is ample parking and the walk is very pleasant.







Another exhibit in the back is a complete mock up of one of the airfields that defended England during WWII.  There is a tower and several out buildings showing what life was like on the front lines of the air fight keeping the Nazi Germans out of England.








The picture to the left will show you a briefing room for the pilots who were flying from the base.  A large Map, Chairs and a stove pipe heater in the middle of the room.









As I mentioned earlier, there are several planes located in the back of the museum for you to take a look at.  Some from WWII through modern aircraft that have been retired.  In front of each of the planes is the history and the use of the aircraft during its service years.







Xenia is the most populated city in the US that starts with the letter "X".  Its a fun fact.  Comedian Dave Chappelle is from the city of Xenia.  It is a very easy drive from Xenia to the Air Force museum.

So friends, keep exploring and enjoy the A to Z Challenge.  We only have a couple of days left.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"W"- Wall.... The Great Wall of China



The Great Wall of China.  They began construction as early as the 7th century BC.  Most of the wall was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty.

 It started off as a series of walls to protect China from nomads and raiders.  It was later connected to form the Great Wall.  Some surveys using modern methods, have estimated the wall to be about 13,171 miles long.  This distance includes some natural protectors such as cliffs and lakes.

I visited the Great Wall while working in Beijing during the weeks leading to the Olympics.  We took a short drive to the wall.  It kills me that I cannot recall the exact section I visited.  I suggest for your travel junkies to start keeping a journal when you travel.  So when you look back, you can recall the great times.

There are your typical tourist stuff at the wall, you can have you picture taken with people in costume and at different sections of the wall.  Each of the "actors" request a little money to pose with you. It isn't very expensive and probably less so when the olympics are not in session.

Several sections of the wall are very steep.  We took a ski-lift from the base of the mountain to the top.  We got a good workout walking between a couple of the watch towers.  Most of the wall is not rebuilt.  But several sections have been restored to allow tourist to check them out.  Our decent was in a bob-sled.  You had a break and road down the hill.  My friends and I had a great time at the wall seeing such a magnificent piece of construction.  Realizing how old it was and how much they have restored (which isn't very much) was also very interesting.  Our day on the hill was clear and warm.

Beijing has a lot to offer for you to see. If you are already in China, you should make the trip out to the Wall.






The A to Z is almost done.  Keep up the good work and come back and visit anytime.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"V" - Vacation

While I was growing up, we never took real vacations.  We would go and visit my grandparents and one time, my grandparents took my Disney as a kid.  However, we never went far from home.  When I started working, I never really took vacations other than to visit family.  Because that is what I know from growing up.  However, once I met Sunshine, all that changes.  We have taken a major vacation every year since we were married. (Once before)  Now we look for opportunities for vacations.

So I wanted to share a few idea with you all for vacation suggestions.

Disney is always fun, for kids of all ages.  It is important to realize, that the Disney corporations is proud of everything they offer.  However, the customer service is excellant.  They will take care of you.  They also offer many options.  Shop around.



Plan a weekend away from home, and drive a couple hours and get a hotel room.  Call it a Road Trip Weekend.  We like will drive about 5 hours to hit a weekend trip.  Three day weekends are easy for time off from a government job, but usually the tourist sites are also busy.  So take a Monday some time and extend a weekend.

So let me tell you some of our weekend trips.  Niagara Falls, Toronto (NHL Hall of Fame), Baltimore for a baseball game and a tour of the old city.  If you are in the Midwest, there are a huge amount of national parks and state parks to visit.  Mount Rushmore was one of my favorite stops, so was the Bison sighting.



If you are close to a beach, an early or late season trip to the beach could be just the thing for a vacation.



The Challenge is moving forward and we are almost to the finish line.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"U"-Union Station Washington DC



Ok Fans, it looks like I am getting back on schedule.  I hope you enjoy this little story.  As my job has allowed me to travel a lot, I really miss my sunshine.  Although I fly most of the time, I have been known to drive to the work city.  Well, I can't ask sunshine to do the same, and short flights are just not worth the money anymore. (Or the time)  So we take the train.  From DC, you have Union Station.


Union Station opened in 1907.  When the three major railroads operated in the area had their own stations.  It is a great place to visit while you are in DC.  Now there are several passenger trains serviced through there and many bus companies as well.


Outside Union Station there is a replica of the Liberty Bell.  I did not know that until I saw it myself.  I have been to see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (with Sunshine) and that was really great.

On a side note, I was watching Sentinel  the movie, yesterday after work.  There were several scenes from different places in washington.  Things have changed since they made that movie, but inside union station was close to the same.  A truly historic site that is a great visit even if for only a few minutes while you are in town.






Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"T" - Thailand

Oh my, Oh my.  This challenge is going by fast.  I have been late on my daily posts because of a slight technical difficulty.  Have no fear, I have another great and exciting place to talk about.  This time it is in Thailand.

My visit to Thailand included a layover for two days in Bangkok, but many people visit that city, I was in Chiang Mai.  The city is not as big as Bangkok, but a very busy city.  It is the largest city in the northern part of the country.  They host an annual water party, where everyone gets wet.  According to WIKIPEDIA, 4 or 5 million or so tourist visit the city every year.  news to me.  Regardless, about 15 km outside of the city is the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.  Its a temple located on top of mountain by the same name. 
To get to the temple, you have to climb 309 steps from the parking area. If you get a stop right next to the steps.  Not likely.  Once you reach top, even if you are not a Buddhist, you can appreciate the beauty of the temple.  As an evangelical Christian, I was a little uncomfortable visiting on Easter, however, it was my only day off on the trip.  The site requests that you dress appropriately fo r the temple.  If you are in shorts or something, they can provide you with a wrap so you can look like a monk when entering the holy places.


I had a really great time in the city.  I also saw a traffic jam because of an elephant.  That was pretty cool.  Every night the street my hotel was on, turned into a market. You could buy anything from knives to sheets on that street.  

Keep up the exploring friends.  We will see you tomorrow.

Monday, April 22, 2013

"S"-Snow

The challenge moves forward.  I had plan for another location.  However, I cannot find my pictures from the place, so you will have to wait.  I thought I would share something that has thwarted at least one road trip for Sunshine and I.  Snow!!

Living in Northern Virginia, we do not get much snow.  We get a dusting here and there, but this was more than we were accustom to receiving.  This storm was predicted.  We were not surprised.  With the exception of the actual snow fall amount, we knew it was coming.

There were no snow plows on the way to clear the roads.  It was going to take a while to get out of this one.

Believe it or not, there is a driveway under all that snow.  It was very pretty until all the ATVs got out.  This was on a weekday and the federal government was closed.  Along with 90% of the rest of the area.  So Sunshine and I took a walk down the street and just enjoyed the view.  Not o mention a got a good workout clearing most of the driveway.

Many of you may be located in areas where snow is a common event.  It really is fun in the DC area.  Too see what schools cancel and how bad our weather guessers (I think they call themselves meteorologists everywhere else).

The first time it snowed while I lived in this location, the only tool I had to clear the driveway was a couple of dust pans.  I would have left it alone, but we were out of town when the snow came, and I had to clear the driveway so we could park in the garage.

Have a great day and keep blogging.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"R"-Rome


One of our trips took us to Italy.  Being that close to Rome, we had to make a stop there.  What a city.  The historic markers and buildings are everywhere.  Any construction project has to have someone there looking for history.  They were working on the subway when I was there a few years ago and it was slow process, because they keep finding artifacts.

They path Sunshine and I took to get to Rome was from a Cruise.  We loaded the ship in Barcelona, and Rome was our third stop.  You do not actually dock in Rome, but Civitavecchia Italy.  It is about an hour bus ride from Rome.  If you decide you want to take a tour of Rome from a cruise.  You will have a choice to make.  You an either take a tour of the city, or of the Vatican.  I would suggest take the tour of Rome.  You will see much much more.  What I learned from the cruise was that every cruise line pulls into the area on the same day, and a trip through the Vatican is very crowded.  I must admit, if you think you will never be that close to the Vatican again, take the tour.  Just realize, you will not be alone.

I have visited Rome a few times.  Each time I have seen something different.  The squares and the parks are great.  For those of you who live in Rome and southern Europe, it might be easier than those of us who live on this side of the pond.

I believe Sunshine would like to visit again to see some of the other sites.  I cannot blame her, it is a great city with so much to see.



Okay bloggers from the A to Z Challenge,  We have just over a week left, keep up the good work.




Friday, April 19, 2013

"Q"- Queen

This was a difficult letter for me on this challenge.  I have not been to a place with a "Q" start.  I know they exist.  There is Queensland, Quebec, Qatar, and I am sure a few I have missed.

I could have talked about "Quick Trips".  Places close to home that Sunshine and I have gone too.  There is Great Falls, Mt Vernon, The Smithsonian, and many other locations.  I must say I will skip the places with "Q" names.

Although I have never been in the presence of the Queen of any country, although Sunshine is the Queen of my heart. I have seen the princess of Thailand once.

No, I am going to talk about a "Quick Trip" we took when we were in Ft Lauderdale FL.


It was on the Jungle Queen IV.  basically it is a dinner cruise through the waterways of Ft Lauderdale.  They take a route and share some information about the city and the homes you may pass by when you cruising.  Sunshine and I had such a great time.  The serve a dinner, which is okay at best, but the environment is fun. They claim the island they are taking you too are isolated and loaded with exotic animals.  We saw some birds and a few others.  Then there is show after dinner and then they drive you back to the pier.

A great time was had by most of the people of the little boat.

Keep Exploring

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"P"- Parade


Good Morning Bloggers,

Todays letter will be "P", and all though I have visited a few places which begin with the letter "P" I wanted to spice it up a little bit.  Those who have been following this blog through the month of April know that I love to travel. To some far off lands, and some that are not so far off.  One of the activities you can always participate in is Parade Watching.



 On our recent to Greece, they were celebrating their Independence Day.  The Greeks put on a great parade showing their First responders along with many other units in the military.  The people who attended the parade seemed to have a real good time.  The units that marched in the parade were regular military units.  They did not seem to have the performance down for the marching.  They marching bands from the military as well.  Unlike the parades you see in the united states, there were no floats.





The picture to the right is from one of the three Cherry Blossom parades I have attended.  These parades have many different sponsors.  In addition to community groups, floats, and performance marching groups, we also have high schools that get to march in a lot of our parades  The colors and the people are always fun.  Normally the Cherry Blossom Parade day is more pleasant than the Fourth of July Parade.  In our fine city, there are many parades throughout the year.  Two days ago there was a parede in Washington DC, however, I had to work. (So did Sunshine)

When we travel to the Disney parks, it is always fun to catch their parades.  They have professional dancers and singers, and you can normally good a seat along main-street.  During the summer, the Parade is pretty late.  I have not seen the Parade of Lights in the fall or winter. I think that would be really cool.

Some advice for you before going to a parade.  Do your homework and know the route.  Also when it will start. Then try to find a good place and get there early.  Know the time when the parade will start and carry some water with you.  Especially for the July parades.

Keep on Exploring!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"O"-October

Well we have hit a letter I cannot find a destination for, really, one simple little letter, and I cannot think of one place I have been that starts with an "O"

I have decided to share a time to travel instead.  October is great time of year.  It is a little chilly by this time in Northern VA, but not bitter cold yet.  Sunshine and I like to be outside.  So October seems like a great time to do it.  Growing up and living most of my life in Florida, October is just late fall for me as kid, however, in northern VA, it is the time when leaves are changing colors and God is painting the landscape.

 Now this may be a great site to look upon, and to admire the way the colors always enhance themselves in the mountains.  I do want you all to realize, those leaves have to land somewhere when the fall.  To me, most of them land in my driveway.  Regardless of the resting place for a summers leaves, they are still very admirable.

Sunshine and I take a couple weekends in fall and head to Skyline drive.  The Northern entrance is in Front Royal, VA, about an hours drive from our lovely home in Manassas.  I would always suggest that you bite the bullet and get up early and hit the park as early as possible.  I tell you this because you will not be the only one with a wild hair to go and check out the new colors.  The entrance into the park is two lanes, and the drive is very nice.

About 2 miles into the park is the welcome station.  There is parking there for about 30 cars or so and it is a good point to get the information on the park.  Every couple of miles there is an Overlook to stop and look into the Shenandoah Valley.  Some have historial markers with some history to enjoy about a particular area.  I would also suggest a sweater or lite jacket most of the time.  You are at a higher elevation and the temperature can change rapidly from the cities and areas below.
 
Above is an image from one such Overlook. Sunshine and I always pack in lunch and pick one of the overlooks to eat a lunch.  It is a great way to spend a fall afternoon.

If you listen to any local radio station they will keep you abreast of the prime time to head over to Skyline drive for the best colors.  If you can take a day from work and go during the week, there wont be as many cars on the road.  Many local motorcycle clubs, and car clubs take the opportunity to go for a drive.  We have seen the local Corvette Club, Rolling thunder, SMART Car and Mustang Clubs on our various trip to the mountains.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"N"-Nafplio Greece

If you have been following the blog, you may have realized, Sunshine and I have recently returned from an adventure in Greece.  It was a 7 day trip and we were concentrated out of Athens.  On the weekend, our hosts took us on a little road trip, about 2 hours from Athens, to the Port City of Nafplio.  It is an old city in the Peloponnese area.


Most of the old town is a peninsula jutting into the Argolic Gulf.  This particular city seems to be a place where a lot of greeks go to take a relaxing get away.  I think because of its easy access and inexpensive hotel rooms.  We were able to get a room with a view of the inlet for 60 euros.   The inlet has a fort/castle names the Bourtzi.  This little island has a restaurant, however, it was closed while we were visiting.  The area also has a castle on top of the hill called Palamidi.  That fort/castle whatever was used as a prison as recently as 1800s.  Because of its natural fortifications, and the location, it was a stronghold of the Ottoman Empire.


The view from Palamidi of the old town is breathtaking. There are squares and shops to walk around and tour.  Many Cafes for a stop of coffee and a bite to eat.  Seafood is abundant in these eateries.

Another great place stop if you ever find yourself in Greece, and a great get away from Athens.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"M"-Monte Carlo

A couple of years back, after saving a couple nickels to rub together, my Sunshine and I decided to take a western Mediterranean Cruise.  One of the ports we hit was the Port of Monaco in Monte Carlo.  This is a great place to visit for movie buffs, and history buffs alike.  Iron Man has had a scene done here, and I am fairly certain there has been a few scenes in different James Bond flicks.

I am neither Tony Stark or James Bond, but I can appreciate a beautiful location.

 Monte Carlo was founded in 1866 and names for the prince Charles III of Monaco.  The city is located at the base of the Maritime Alps.  The are is pleasant and there is lot of stuff to see and do.  If you like to gamble, you can go to the world famous Casino and try your luck.  Sunshine and I had signed up for a short excursion to the top of the hill to witness the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace and a tour of the Palace as well.

The bus ride to the top of the hill is well worth the price, seeing as this was our first stop on the cruise, and we slept in a little bit and darn near missed the "Tour Group umty squat meet in the lobby" call that morning.  We loaded on the bus with our fellow explorers and off we went.  While on the ascent the tour guide informs us we can be dropped off half way down the hill for further township exploration before the ship leaves.  Sunshine ans I discuss this option and say, that will be great.

After touring the Palace and seeing the sites there, we headed back towards to port.  There we can see the area where the Formula 1, Monaco Grand Prix.  Walk along the docks and see a bunch of yachts.  Just to be clear, it is almost always easier to walk down a hill that to walk up one.

We stopped a local market, like 7 eleven, and picked up a couple of supplies for the stateroom back on the boat, and then had a quick lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Headed back to the ship for dinner and a show.


If you are stopping by from the A to Z Challenge, welcome and take a look around.  We appreciate all the visitors we get.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

"L"is Las Vegas

The first Hangover movie was based in Las Vegas.  Las Vegas is considered Sin City.  It is a very entertaining town.  I think the least expensive entertainment tickets can be had in this town.  Outside of the casinos, there is a lot of things to do in Las Vegas.  I do not drink or gamble.  So I will discuss a few of the other things you can do in the fine city.

There is a race track there is you are a NASCAR fan, you can catch a race.  I am almost positive there is a NHRA track as well, for all you quarter mile junkies.  One of my favorite places to visit was the Shelby Museum and factory.  Say what you will of Carol Shelby, his work on Ford Mustangs is AWESOME!!!

 I was able to see the history of Carol work, and see some of the new stuff he is putting together.  This was before his death.  I had such a great time.  I was not there for a vacation, but for work. Because you can pretty much fly to Las Vegas for very little money, I flew my Sunshine out there to meet me and show her around the town a little bit.  In addition, she has a cousin that lives there, so we met with her and she showed to some of the Pinoy hot spots.




 The Venetian Hotel and resort has a grand canal inside.  The replica is amazing.  Just walking through it is an experience.  If you want more, you can ride a gondola with a singer.  You can even get married on one of those things.  There are shops and restaurants on either side.  I think this is a must see in Las Vegas.

There are two Las Vegas strips.  The old and the New.  The Venetian is in the new.  The old Strip is pretty cool too, and I hear the payouts are better at the older casinos.  Very nostalgic part of the town, and not as crowded.
So if you like to gamble, or like to be entertained every night, check out Las Vegas.  The construction of the city in and of itself is very interesting.

We used is as jumping off point to go to the Grand Canyon.  And there is some great shopping, but you will have to ask my wife about that part of town.

On a side note, for all you Filipinos out there, there is a Jolly Bee in one of the grocery stores.

Have a great Day and keep Blogging.

Friday, April 12, 2013

"K" is For Key West

Okay friends, you may or may not know, but I am a US Navy Veteran. Many of my travels as a younger man involved being assigned to a US Navy worship.  When I decided not to re-enlist, I had decided I would not go on any other cruises.  Well, many years later I meet my great wife, and she wanted to take a cruise.  So we decided we would take a little three day cruise on Carnival.  This is how we learned a few things about cruising.

Our first stop on this cruise was Key West.  I thought that was great, I had never been to the most southern point of the United States of america.  This first stop gave me the opportunity.


The weather was great, it was late April, and we were able to walk around the small port town of Key West.  Ie also took a Glass Bottom Boat ride, but the seas were a little choppy, and we really did not see much on the trip.

The Key West Hard Rock Cafe was open, so we caught a bicycle basket ride from the picture above to the hard rock for lunch.

It was a short little visit, I think I want to go back and see more of the island.  If you have a chance you should check out Key West.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"J" for Justified

Well as the challenge move forward, I could not find any pictures for today. So I thought I would discuss my favorite current TV show Justified

It plays on FX and the US Marshall has a life similar to a train wreck. I find myself waiting for each opportunity to catch the missed episodes.

Does anyone else do that?

Keep posting.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"I" is for Indianapolis

What a city.  I had the opportunity to work in this city in summer a couple of years back.  We arrived in the city the day after the Brickyard 400.  Which is one of the races in the NASCAR circuit.
July is a great time to visit the city, with its mild climate.  I was just doing some research and the Indianapolis means "Indiana City"  I thought that was interesting.

The downtown area of Indianapolis is very people friendly   What I mean by that is there are plenty of places to eat and entertain yourself, no matter what entertainment you are looking for.  There a restaurants at all price points, movie theaters and hotels.  The city was easy to navigate.  Which is odd, considering the person they called to help design the city.

Alexander Rolston was the designer, who assisted L'Enfant with the design of Washington DC.  By contrast one of the more difficult cities to navigate.

The city has also hosted the NFL combine for the last couple of years at Lucas Oil Field. (I believe that is the proper name).

I found the city to be very clean for a downtown.  The entire city supports the different events that happen there, even in my hotel, there were racing items.

These tires were in the lobby.  Right across the street there was a food joint called Bodacious Bar-B-Que.

The city hosts an Indy Car race also.  Maybe you have heard of it, The Indy 500.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

"H" Hydra,

Okay folks, I was going to write about Hershey Park.  A great family destination in Pennsylvania.  But I wanted to share another adventure from my recent trip to Greece.  From Athens, there are many destination available.

One of the methods for getting to one of the destinations is by boat.  Sunshine and I took a one day cruise.  We were required to be at the docks at 7 am.  So when we arrived on the dock, a I saw the boat above, I was not sure if we made the right decision.  It turns out this was not our ship.  The one day cruise was scheduled for three port of calls.  The rough weather and choppy seas forced us to skip the first port of call.  But then we arrived at Hydra.
The island is small island with a port city.  There are no vehicles, except rubbish trucks, allowed on the Island. The island was instrumental during the Greek Independence.  Well its fleet and sailor population was instrumental.  Causing problems for the Ottomans through out the Aegean sea.  During its high time, there were some 16,000 residents.  Now there are about 6,000.  

The port shows this monument, the Greek Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, he guards the port now.  During the War, he led the fire ships which inflected heavy damages on the Ottoman fleet.

Now the island is supported by the tourist, mostly from the Athenians, and some Americans who visited Greece this year.

Keep Exploring.


Monday, April 08, 2013

"G" is for Gettysburg

Gettysburg PA, the site of an important battle from the United States Civil War.  Living in Northern VA, not all travel destination require us to get on a plane.  The Gettysburg National Military Park is a prime example.  This park has been featured in several movies, including Gettysburg, as well as Remember the Titans.  If you are a Civil War buff, or American History buff, this is a place to visit.  I believe the military study of this battle has been extensive.


The battle of Gettysburg ended Robert E Lee's second invasion of the North during the Civil War. It was the bloodiest battle in the a war, with somewhere around 51,000 americans being killed on the field.

This year is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  There are several events planned.

The park is located in Gettysburg PA.  It is about 90 miles north of DC, located in central southern Pennsylvania.

My wife and I had some friends over last year and we took a road trip to Hershey Park, (A post for another day) and on our way home we stopped at Gettysburg.

According to the National Park Web Page , the first shot fired was a miss.

Keep blogging, and keep Exploring.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

"F" Florence Italy

Continuing with the theme of World Exploration, Today I want to discuss Florence Italy.  Florence is the capitol City of the Tuscany Region of Italy.  In  my opinion, it is one of my favorite places in Italy.  I have had the opportunity to visit the city twice in my lifetime, and both were very enjoyable experiences.  If you are ever on a western Mediterranean Cruise, this is a place for a walking tour.



David, considered one of Michelangelo's masterpieces is housed in one of the many museums in Florence.  During our walking tour, we were only able to see a replica still on display outside.  Located in the Palazzo della Signoria.  This square is full of famous replicas.

Another Piazza is the Piazza de Santa Croce, which is right in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce. (pictured to the right).

The walking tour that Sunshine and I took, lasted about 2 hours and we hit all the major spots in town.  A brief history was presented to us about the city and the different sites we saw.  The city is crowded on the day the Cruise lines are there, however, it was still an enjoyable experience.

  Another famous spot in Florence is the Ponte Vecchio.  This bridge covers the river Arno.  Apparently the people of Florence have had kind of a love/hate relationship with the river.  It has been a key part of the history, provided a path for commerce which has helped the city to grow and become wealthy.  At other times, it has flooded and caused damage to the city.

The bridge is loaded with shops, for gold mostly.  This is a must see in the old town.  This bridge has been flooded out many time.  But the people keep coming back.


The A to Z challenge is moving right along.  Some visitors may be wondering all the pictures I share do not show more wide angle shots.  It is because all the photos I share, I took myself.  While walking around the different places.  It is more likely what will be seen while you are there, unless you take a helicopter tour.

Tonster