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Showing posts from April, 2013

"Z"-Zambia

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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 w…

"Y"-Yugoslavia

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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 diffe…

"X"- Xenia Ohio

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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 durin…

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

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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…

"V" - Vacation

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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 wee…

"U"-Union Station Washington DC

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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 wa…

"T" - Thailand

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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 …

"S"-Snow

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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 locat…

"R"-Rome

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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 b…

"Q"- Queen

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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…

"P"- Parade

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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 atten…

"O"-October

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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…

"N"-Nafplio Greece

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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 Ottom…

"M"-Monte Carlo

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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…

"L"is Las Vegas

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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 aro…

"K" is For Key West

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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 vi…

"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.

"I" is for Indianapolis

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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 believ…

"H" Hydra,

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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,…

"G" is for Gettysburg

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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 anoth…

"F" Florence Italy

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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.  T…