It made me look through my own photo collection to find beautiful abandoned places I’ve come across. Here are my top five. How about you? Have you taken any photos of desolate yet striking locations that you’d have to share? If so blog about it and link back – which I guess would officially make this my first-ever travel theme post! Read the rest of this entry
As someone who grew up in Poland, I’m no stranger to snow. LOTS of snow. But in DC a significant snowfall that sticks is a rare occurrence. A dusting now and then, sometimes an inch or two of accumulation that lasts a few days, maybe just one or two big snowstorms during the season – or none at all. As the Northeast is being pounded with a serious blizzard, we have been spared this time. But even though it’s a dry and sunny day here, watching dramatic images from up north makes me think of snow-covered Washington. This is a collection of photos from different years and different snowstorms, including the mother of them all – February 2010 “snowmaggedon.” Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
“It’s the grandest thing I ever saw!” exclaimed Adolph Francis Bandelier standing at the rim of New Mexico’s Frijoles Canyon in 1880. He was born in Bern, Switzerland but his family emigrated to Illinois when he was eight. Fascinated with the history and culture of American Indians in the Southwest, he became one of the foremost anthropologists and ethnologists of the Pueblo people. Today the Bandelier National Monument, named after him in 1916, remains a witness to the native people’s ancestral history on this land and a testimony of one man’s determination to bring that history to life.
In 1890, Bandelier wrote novel titled The Delight Makers, a fictional tale in which he re-imagines the life of pre-Columbian Pueblo Indians. The novel opens with a description of the Frijoles Canyon as Bandelier saw it. Over a hundred years later that was exactly the view I was taking in on a cold January day and my reaction was the same – it’s the grandest thing I ever saw!
Frijoles Canyon was formed following the eruptions more than a million years ago of a nearby volcano, now collapsed into a giant Valles Caldera. The eruptions were so powerful that they produced volumes of ash 600 times greater than the eruption of Mount Saint Helens. Soft compressed volcanic ash, or tuff, formed steep and easily carved walls of the canyon. Read the rest of this entry
Tampa is not necessarily on Florida’s A-list of destinations. It doesn’t have the vibrancy of Miami, history and natural charm of Pensacola, or Orlando’s Disney World (ok it has Busch Gardens but it doesn’t quite measure up). When I was there is also felt in a large part under construction with street closures and cranes dotting the landscape. So to me the highlights were a few special, memorable places rather than the city as a whole. Read the rest of this entry
Just a short drive of 50 miles northeast from Portland, Mount St. Helens may as well be on a different planet. On May 18, 1980 – exactly 32 years ago – the mountain’s 9,677 ft (2,950 m) tall summit blew its top off and became reduced to 8,365 ft (2,550 m) with much of its northern face replaced by a mile-wide crater. Eruptions are nothing new to this mountain. In fact, local Native American tribes gave it names that clearly indicated a history of violent outbursts, such as Lawelatla (“One From Whom Smoke Comes”), Tah-one-lat-clah (“Fire Mountain”) or Loo-wit (“Keeper of the Fire”). The first European to see the mountain was British Captain George Vancouver. While on a mission exploring the Pacific coast in 1792, he spotted the peak from his ship Discovery as he sailed past the mouth of the Columbia River. He named it after his friend and the British Ambassador to Spain at the time, Alleyne Fitzherbert, Baron St. Helens. Read the rest of this entry
If Miami had an old town, it would be Coconut Grove, its oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood. It was originally settled in late 1800s and annexed by Miami in 1925. And even though little of the frontier character remains, Coconut Grove still has its unique village-like feel (if you can tune out high rise hotels). Fortunately, it’s easy to find places where the past comes alive.
One of them is the Barnacle Historic State Park with the oldest house in Miami still in its original location having survived several murderous hurricanes. Just like a barnacle clinging to a sea rock, the house has stuck to the edge of the Biscayne Bay since 1891. It was built by Ralph Middleton Munroe, originally from New York, who bought bayfront property among the wilderness of Florida hammock (tropical hardwood forest) for… $400. Ok, it was quite a bit of money back then! Read the rest of this entry
Japanese cherry blossoms were planted around Washington’s Tidal Basin in 1912 as a gift of friendship between the two nations. Actually, the initial batch of 2,000 trees arrived two years earlier but became infested with pests and had to be destroyed – fortunately the second attempt was successful. Ever since every spring cherry blossoms draw crowds of enthusiasts and photographers to DC, myself included. Each year they also inspire dozens of haiku writers to capture the special moments courtesy of the delicate blossoms. I have to say given what’s going on in here this one (submitted to the Washington Post by dmor) is my favorite:
Pretty and ephemeral as
This year the timing and the weather didn’t quite work out for the optimal peak blooming viewing of the cherry blossoms – at least for me. So instead of trying to scramble for miserable shots of half-fallen blooms, I hereby present my best of collection from the last few years. Following in the footsteps of past generations… Read the rest of this entry
- 1. Frida’s mother was of Tehuana heritage (from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec area). Frida looked exactly like her, unibrow and all.
- 2. Her father was born in Pforzheim, Germany, changed his name from Wilhelm to Guillermo when he moved to Mexico.
- 3. Arlington, VA and Coyoacán in Mexico City are sister cities.
Frederick is older than the United States. Founded in 1745 by German immigrants, the city quickly became an important intersection of trade routes. In 1804, it was the staging ground for Lewis and Clark’s expedition West (known as Fredericktown back then). Later the city’s location put it in the center of Civil War struggles, with both Union and Confederate troops passing through on their way to the bloodbath at nearby Antietam in 1862 and to the fateful battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Read the rest of this entry