These remnants of the Columbia River Highway’s history echoes a time of great adventure, slow travel, and mesmerizing views. The Columbia River Highway once came through these cliffs back in 1921. There were 2 tunnels that originally were built through this high rock point to allow for travel. It was a popular highway then turned byway, then turned trail. It gave fabulous views of the Columbia River and the Gorge. The architects of the tunnels took their inspirated from the Axenstrasse along Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. But regardless of the sound design, these tunnels were plagued with troubles, especially rockfalls and automobile accidents. In 1954 they build the replacement road at water level along the river, and these tunnels were abandoned and fell into disrepair. The replacement road became Interstate 84. In 1995 the tunnels were re-opened for tourist byway access, and then converted to the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail, completely restored. It was opened to hikers in 2000 as a 4 1/4 mile hiking trail. Panoramic scenic overlooks, picnic tables, and paved trails appease the regular day-visitors to this hotspot along the Columbia. Great views of 18 mile island can be seen very nicely from several vantage points along the trail. THere is an etching of a message scratched into the rock past the sencond window in 1921 by a hunting party that was trapped there from snow fall in the past.
* Columbia Riverfront Park * Columbia * South Carolina * National Register of Historic Places, No. 79002392 *
Interlaced within the heart of Columbia, South Carolina is a series of canals built in the early 1800’s by indentured Irishmen formed to provide direct water routes between the uplands and the lowlands along the fall line. Utilizing the Congaree River and Broad Rivers, it centers in the Columbia Riverfront Park where the canal is used to generate hydro-electrical power for South Carolina Electric and Gas company. Officially built in 1820 as a means for navigation and transportation along the rapids of the Broad River and Saluda river where they merge together to create the Congaree River. The canal was built in a natural ravine that existed between the city and the rivers, beginning between Lumber street (Calhoun street) and Richland street. It followed the Congaree for approximately 3 miles ending across from Granby Landing just north of the railroad bridges. Completed in 1824 it was 12 feet wide and 2.5 feet deep north of Senate street, and 18 feet wide and 4 feet deep south of there with a 8 foot wide towpath on either side. It had 4 lifting locks and a guard lock for the 34 ft descent of the river with a diversion dam across the Broad River to allow access from the Saluda Canal. Three waste tiers were built to prevent the canal from flooding, and this all linked into a separate canal called the Bull Sluice just north on the Broad River which had its own lock. By 1840 the state decided to drop its subsidy of the canal, and with the introduction of the 1842 railroads, its use declined. During the Civil war its hydro-electrical power was used to make gunpowder as well as for a grist mill run by the state penitentiary as well as a saw mill. By 1888 it was re-designed into a industrial power supply – revisions starting at Gervais street and extending 3 1/2 miles north along the Congaree and Broad Rivers, 150 feet wide and 10 feet deep with a new diversion dam, entry lock, and waste weir. In full use by 1891. Columbia Mill depended on it for textile production and was then utilized by the Columbia Hydro Plant built at its southern end producing power for the city, street railway system, and local industry.
* Ireland *
A suburban sea-side town in Country Dublin that is properly known as Dublin’s Port for it is a central gateway for ferries travelling to Dublin especially since it is only 12 kilometers south of the city centre. Historically it was a major port of entry from Great Britain and therefore from 1821-1921 was called “Kingstown”. The town was named after the 5th century High King of Ireland Lóegaire mac Néill combined with the Irish word for “fort” (Dún) after the fortifications that lined up this coast in the past. The current town dates from 1820 atop an earlier village located around where the Purty Kitchen pub is currently located originally boasting of a coffee shop, a salt mine, and a small cove atop a craggy, rocky pasture overlooking the sea. After the 1807 tragedy of the catastrophic loss of troopships, Prince of Wales, and the Rochdale being driven upon the rocks between here and Blackrock estimating a loss of over 400 lives – a re-vitalization of the area was set into effect making it a new harbour with safer constructs put into place creating the West Pier when it took on the name of Kingstown until Ireland became a free state. By 1844 a “Atmospheric Train” was constructed to connect Kingstown to the Dalkey. A railway later replaced the train connecting Dublin and transforming the area to a seaside resort. After the British 59th Division marched up the road to Dublin to crush the Easter Rising, road changes took place connecting the village to its surrounding area. During World War II, stray German bombs struck the area. Its a popular little village and seaside shopping center frequented by many from Dublin. It is also the main ferry transportation hub from the UK to Dublin directly. Dún Laoghaire was its own borough and was the only town in Ireland to have its own Vocational Educational Committee even though its part of the Greater Dublin region.
Its East Pier is aligned along one of Ireland’s largest harbours and is where the ferry route to the UK is based. The piers are made of granite and is a popular location for people to visit, walk, and contemplate the universe. This was also the setting for the movie “Michael Collins” (1996). This harbour took over 42 years to build. The obelisk at the old ferry port terminal is the monument commemorating this feat.
Columbia Riverfront Park
* 312 Laurel Street * Columbia, SC 29201 * USA * 803-733-8613 *
A beautiful downtown walkway and city park in the heart of historic Columbia, South Carolina. The park is centered between the Columbia Canal and the Congaree river, with concrete walkways spanning many river views of the three rivers area. A great place for jogging, bicycling, skating, walking, picnics, bird watching, and relaxation. It is only a hop and a skip from downtown and the city center, USC campus, and the business district. Numerous benches, picnic tables and overlooks have been installed. There is also available shelters, playground, an amphitheater, walking paths, wheelchair trails, paved bicycling trails, access to the Palmetto trail, fishing spots, drinking water, restrooms, and historic sites. It blends with the Broad River, Congaree River, and the Columbia Canal. Free admission. Along the extent of the park is a long flat easy walking paved trail following the old towpath of the Columbia canal. Originally used in the 19th century to tow boats along the path via horses and carriages. This became obsolete with the arrival of the railroads. The trail extends 2.9 miles one way. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Headless Horseman Bridge
* Sleepy Hollow Cemetery * Sleepy Hollow, New York *
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is responsible for the fame of these two bridges. The original bridge, that Washington Irving used in his Headless Horsemen Legend, is long gone collapsed and/or disappeared. The main street / highway concrete bridge lays claim to fame to being the Headless Horseman Bridge, as does the wooden recreated bridge within the cemetery that has more picturesque charm of the tale. The town was originally “North Tarrytown” but name-changed to the village of “Sleepy Hollow” in 1996/1997 to memorialize the stories and Washington Irving. The picturesque bridge in the cemetery was built in honor of the tale and connects the old cemetery to the new cemetery. It is believed to be the actual spot where the tale reflects. This is the site where Ichabod Crane purportedly tried to cross the Pontantico River to escape the Headless Horseman, and is the site where he reputedly disappeared. The public bridge, on Route 9 – the main highway through town, that passes in front of the church also claims to be the original Sleepy Hollow Bridge location.
photos 09/11/12 125-145
Spring Hill Zoo, Roswell, New Mexico
Spring Hill Zoo
* 1306 E. College Blvd., Roswell, NM 88203 *505-624-6760 *
Spending elementary, middle, and high school in Roswell, this was our local “Disneyland” outside of Carlsbad Caverns. A nice sized park for picnicking and outdoor activities, a free zoo, a petting zoo, duck ponds, cycling/jogging/walking trails, and green space. A five mile hard surface recreational trail that runs along the Spring River from west to east. The zoo is the only one of its kind and the only free zoo available in New Mexico. It also has its own youth fishing lake (age 15 and younger only can fish). There is an antique carousel and miniature train that runs through the park. The zoo features a prairie dog town, longhorn ranch, and children’s petting zoo. There are also exhibits of native and exotic animals, birds, and critters including bobcats, foxes, bison, owls, raccoons, antelope, deer, mountain lions, and black bear. Fun filled for children, its quite dusty and hot to visit. On more than once when I’ve visited, I’ve found it a bit unsanitary which is sad as I don’t remember it being that way. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Columbia, South Carolina
Through the heart of Columbia, South Carolina runs a short but wide river called the “Congaree”. Flowing for approximately 47 miles, it was an important river in South Carolina and civil war history. It serves as the final outlet channel for the entire Lower Saluda and Broad river water sheds, before they merge with the Wateree River north of Lake Marion where they turn into the the majestic Santee River. This river is formed in Columbia where the Saluda and Broad rivers meet near the Piedmont fall line, and is usedd as county boundary lines for Richland, Lexington, and Calhoun counties. It is a very navigable river along a great length of it where its high water level allows barge traffic coming upstream from Charleston through the Santee and Cooper Lakes. It flows through the Congaree National Park where boat recreationists, canoes, and kayakers enjoy navigating its river streams and swamps. The River shed is popular for boating, biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, botany, and bird watching.
* Abercorn street * Savannah, Georgia *
Along the downtown district lies historic Reynold’s square in the heart of Savannah, Georgia. It is located between Bryan and Congress streets, on Abercorn street. Reynolds Square alongside Reynolds Ward were laid out on Abercorn street in 1734, later renamed after John Reynolds in 1750, the least popular and the first colonial Governor of Georgia. In 1754, John Reynolds first arrived in Savannah after the Trustees had turned Savannah’s colony over to the Crown, and where this park now sits, was the center of the colonial government, the central business district, and was where the House of Assembly first stood. It was here that the first reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in Georgia. A dance for president George Washington’s honor was held here in 1791. Because of all the activity that took place through time around this Square and it being central to all activity, it suffered from Savannah’s ill-founded urban renewal projects as well instead of the more historic preservation angle that later followed. However, many of Savannah’s most historical buildings are located in this area so in a way the square is a passage through time. The Filature for silk making was located here, though the silk worm cocoons wouldn’t mature properly due to the humid climate, leading to a failure of the industry and the filature was later converted to a meeting house. It then became the city hall and meeting hall until 1845 despite fires and re-building that took place continually through this section. The building fell into ruin and did not survive to present day. The Pink House or “Habersham House” built in 1789 (23 Abercorn street) in Georgian style as well as the Oliver-Sturgis House from the 19th century did survive. Habersham house was built for James Habersham Junior and now stands as the Pink House Restaurant (formerly the Planter’s bank, First State bank of Georgia, home of the Habershams, the Boltons, and Alida Harper’s tea room to prevent if from being destroyed. The Oliver Sturgis house (1813) (27 Abercorn street) was the home of Oliver Sturgis, one of the planners who crossed the Atlantic in the Steamship SS Savannah. In the center of the square are fabled old Spanish oak trees and a bronze memorial statue of John Wesley (1969), the founder of Methodism and one of the first rectors of Savannah’s Christ Church. The statue was done by Marshall Daugherty to honor him because of the visit he took for mission work in Savannah from 1735-1738. He was also the founder of the first Sunday School in America. It is believed that his home was on this very spot. Just off to the side of the park is the infamous 1921 Lucas Theater (22 Abercorn Street) and the Leroy Myers Cigar Building (18 Abercorn Street). The Lucas theater used to show vaudeville acts and silent films. The Cigar building built by Henrik Wallin in 1911 and was done in Mediterranean style with arches and overhanging eaves as well as a tower. Today its used for the Christ Church administrative offices. Legend has it that one of the buildings nearby was used as a hospital for malaria patients and a makeshift crematorium once stood in Reynolds Square for those that did not recover. Bodies were believed to have been wrapped in sheets, then burned here to prevent spread of the disease. Legend has it some were burnt alive that were thought to be dead, but were just in a coma-like state. Some ghost hunters say you can hear their cries. Others say photos of the Square and statue cause strange colors and hazy patterns believed to be the ghosts burnt alive.
Manly Beach, Queensland, Australia
Every sunday the Manly Creative Markets spreads out its presence in the Little Bayside Park along the Esplanade of the beaching and boating resort of Manly Beach. It runs from 8 am to 3 pm offering a wonderful assortment of hand crafts, Australian local gifts, food, snacks, handcrafts, and farmer’s produce. Lots of Food, fruits s, vegetables, plants, and crafts are available. On the entertainment side offered are kid’s rides, a coffee shop, massage services, performances, and a dog wash. Great place to get gifts!
Manly Beach, Queensland, Australia
Manly Harbour is a popular resort location, especially for boating. It is also home to Manly Harbour Village which supports the community of boaters and recreationists who utilize the docks. Sheltered from harsh weather and the sea, Manly Beach and its harbour is conveniently locaed 20 minutes outside of Brisbane and is Brisbane’s only bayside village. Manly Beach Harbour is also Australia’s east coast’s largest man-made marina giving a docking home to over 1,500 boats and vessels. Surrounding the marina are many restaurants, coffee houses, galleries, accomodations, and entertainment/recreational venues … and its a portal to many islands such as Moreton Bay and historic St. Helena Island. In addition, it is home to an annual Harbour festival and weekly arts, crafts, and farmer’s markets. With a long stretch of esplanade to walk, completely bounding the marina, is a great panorama of the boater’s world. Inset into internationally recognized wetlands, even the bird watcher can come here to view over 43 species of wading birds.
Every day during my gig as a tour guide for the HMB Endeavour, I would walk through Reddacliff Place. Reddacliff is also known as Brisbane Square. Its a great little market square located between the Victoria Bridge and Queen Street Mall, at the base of Brisbane Square across from the Treasury Casino. Wednesdays it is home to a farmer’s and crafter’s market, and other days of the week have various other activities taking place in it. Modern art dot its landscape with giant metallic balls giving light in some humor that “Brisbane has balls”. It is strictly a walking square, as bicycles are not permitted, though now has some bicycle racks provided.
One of my favorite little hotspots in Brisbane’s City Center was the Brisbane Square, as it was often frequented by markets and sales. Brisbane Square is a small city block square at the foot of a high-rise building called “Brisbane Square” which rises 151 meters tall with over 38 floors which is primarily used for office spaces, the lower floors for commercial retailers, and the underground hosting upwards of parking for 350 vehicles. This is also currently the home location for the Brisbane City Council and Suncorp. The square is bounded by George Street, Queen Street, Adelaide Street, and William Street. It faces the Treasurey Casino on Queen State as well as the Law Courts Complex on Adelaide. The building and square was designed by architect Denton Corker Marshall. The skyscraper was completed in 2006. The square is home to many different markets from produce vendors, home-made crafts, to giant yard sales, and cultural events. The square has numerous modern art sculptures and monuments. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. ~ Leaf McGowan.
In the Eastern part of the state of Victoria Australia lies a man-made channel that connects the Gippsland Lakes to the Bass Strait that is an abundant hotspot for tourism, fishing, and watersport recreation. A small village of just over 4,000 residents, “Lakes Entrance”, formerly “Cunnighame” was first inhabited in 1870 and given its current name in 1915. The area is known for its panoramic views and its fishing. It is also very popular for caravan park camping as well as its “free” camping spots in its bordering Colquhoun State Forest. Lakes Entrance served as a “entrance” for us coming from Melbourne urban wanderings to begin our trek into nature and the coast for camping and fishing. We pulled over into the harbour where we were greeted by boaters, fishers, and lots of giant pelicans.
Along Australia’s Murrumbidgee River that travels through Canberra and the Tuggeranong is a Nature Reserve called “Pine Island Reserve”. It isn’t really an Island persay, but a seasonal “island” during flooding and is named after the Black Cypress Pines that grow within this particular natural area of the Australian Capital Territory. Originally occupied by the Aboriginee, it was taken over by the British Man named Charles Throsby who in 1820 while exploring Canberra and searching for the Murrumbidgee River decided to settle here at Pine Island as this was where he came across the river in April 1821. Pine Island is a popular swimming location for locals. Activities include hiking, kangaroo and bird watching, and picnicking. The “Murrumbidgee River Corridor” running from Pine Island to Kambah Pool is one of the more popular bushwalking paths in the park. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
In the heart of Brisbane, along the river, is a cute little waterfront precinct called the “Eagle Street Pier” that is known for its fine dining, River cruises, and entertainment. This is one of the little less known place downtown to enjoy the river views and Story Bridge. Some of the popular restaurants in the area are “Matt Moran’s ARIA”, “Jude”, “The Coffee Club”, “Shingle Inn Cafe”, “Grill’d”, “Nagomi”, “Stellar”, “Jade Buddha”, “Bavarian Bier Cafe”, “Stellarossa”, “Il Centro”, “Cha Cha Char”, and “Sake”. Each weekend the Eagle Street Pier has a arts and crafts market where local artists come to sell their wares.
MORE INFORMATION, PHOTOS, AND LINKS:
Vermijo Community Garden
* http://www.ppugardens.org/community_gardens * Vermijo Park on Vermijo Ave and 26th Stree, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs, Colorado * To rent: firstname.lastname@example.org *
A beautiful community garden, on the edge of Vermijo Park, downtown Old Colorado City where residents teamed up with the PPUG and funded by the Colorado Home and Garden Show/Care and Share have developed this small unused parcel for a community growing space. It was founded by community member Larry Stebbins who put it all together. Residents in the area can rent plots up to 400 square feet where they can garden and grow vegetables. Community gardens take more committment than a garden in one’s own yard, as the gardener has to visit a couple of times a week with their own tools and supplies rather than step out their back door. However, a perfect solution for the green-thumb types that want a garden but lack yard space to have one. I had the pleasure of seeing this nice space when I visited the wonderful garden as one of the resident Garden Faeries gave a deluxe tour of the plots and invited wanderers from the 2010 Colorado Faerie Festival to come in and offer the nature spirits a rock that they could paint. Very creative constructive idea that added blessings to the garden as well as the festival. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Near Kildare and Naas, Ireland
It is said that in 480 C.E. Saint Brighid came to the area to found a monastery in Kildare and had approached the King of Leinster and asked for land for the poor and on to which to build it. He laughed a her and told her that if she lay out her cloak, whatever space the cloak covers is hers to keep. She laid out her magical cloak and thus claimed almost 5,000 acres of land in County Kildare which is known as “The Curraugh” (a.k.a. “An Currach”). It is a flat open plain that is common land for the Irish. It is used for Army maneuvers, Irish Horse breeding / training, horse racing, sheep herding, and public recreation. Ireland’s largest Fen, the Pollardstown Fen is also located here. There are many rare species of plants that grow on the Curraugh so it is a hot spot for botanists and ecologists. The Curraugh also has a sandy soil that was formed after an esker deposited a sand load on it thereby creating excellent drainage characteristics. In early Irish history, the Curraugh was a central point for legends and lore for thousands of years. The hill north is called the “Almhain” or “Hill of Allen” where the mythical Fianna used as a meeting place. The Fenian tales talk of much mythology here. The Curraugh is littered with prehistoric ruins, ring burial-mounds, and the Race of the Black Pig which may have been an ancient cattleway. In 1234 C.E. Richard Marshal, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke lost a battle here against a group of men loyal to King Henry III of England, he was wounded, and died at his castle at Kilkenny the same year. The Curraugh was also a common site for the mustering of the armies of the Pale. They held a Rebellion in 1798 here that resulted in a massacre of 350 unarmed United Irishmen at Gibbet Rath. This location is now where the Curraugh Camp is hosted where the Irish Defense Forces train. On March 20, 1914 the Curraugh Camp saw an incident called the “Curragh Mutiny” while the Camp was the main base for the British Army in Ireland. As in 1912 the Liberal coalition British governmen of H. H. Asquith had just introduced the Third Home Rule Bill for Ireland which proposed the creation of an autonomous Irish Parliament in Dublin. Numerous Unionists objected to the inclusion of potential rule by the proposed Dublin Parliament and founded the Ulster Volunteers paramilitary group in 1912 to fight against the British government if necessary on this point. In 1913, Lord French and Henry Hughes Wilson with a number of senior officers expressed concerns to the government that the British Army would find it difficult to act against the Volunteers since they were all there to defend the British Empire. To combat this the Curraugh base commander Sir Arthur Paget was ordered by London’s War Office in March 1914 to start preparations to move troops to Ulster in order to deal with any violence there that might break out by occupying governmenet buildings and to repel any assaults by the Ulster Volunteers. He misinterpreted his orders from a precautionary deployment to meaning an immediate order to march against the Ulstermen. At this point he offered his officers the choice of resignation rather than fighting this battle. 57 out of 70 of the Officers, mostly Irish unionists resigned or accept dismissal rather than enforce the Home Rule Act of 1914. When Paget reported this to London. This caused Asquith’s Liberal Government to back down claiming an honest misunderstanding and the men were reinstated and the Army would not be used to enforce the Home Rule Act. A month later, the Northern Irish Ulster Volunteers covertly landed about 24,000 rifles at night in the “Larne gun-running” incident without discovery or arrest. This event led to Unionist confidence and the growing Irish separatist movement convincing nationalists they wouldn’t have Army support in Ireland which in turn increased nationalist support for the Irish Volunteers and a growing concern for an Irish Civil War. The Home Rule Act was dropped after the start of World War I. The plains were also used to film the battle scenes in the film “Braveheart”. A famous Irish song called “The Curraugh of Kildare” is dedicated to the plains.
Florence Mountain Park
* South on Hwy 67 to CR 15, to the end * Florence, Colorado *
Outside of the easter edge of town in the wilderness if the city of Florence’s 200-acre mountain park that is bordered by the National Forest and a private Ranch. The park hosts picnic and restroom facilities as well as an outdoor amphitheater. There is a host resident on the Park grounds. The Park is along the Arkansas River and has launching sites for rafts, canoes, and kayaks for entrance onto the Arkansas. Newlin Creek Trail on National Forest lands is just down the road from the Park taking hikers up into a little canyon with waterfalls and a creek as well as a historic lumber site with an old steam boiler, flywheel, and chimney from a sawmill. The Park is often used by re-enactments, community groups, and sometimes music festivals. Stunning panoramas of the mountains and some very beautiful grounds. Rating: 5 stars of out 5.
‘Ahanalui Hot Pond
a.k.a. Pu’ala’a County Park * Highway 137 * Puna district * Hawaii, Big Island, Hawaii *
Located off of Highway 137 is Pu’ala’a County Park – a free park with pavillions, picnic tables, and a warm pool where the cool ocean meets the warm water from a natural hot spring. It is on average a perfect 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a balanced combination of fresh and salt water. Believed to be Pele’s special pools, this one is part natural and part man-made, heated to 90 degrees. The bottom of the pool is sand and mud with a slight sulphur smell, water is brackish but very clear and fish can often be seen within the pool. A small inlet separates the pool from the ocean and allows fish access to the pool. The pool is surrounded by palm trees, green grass, and is manned by a lifeguard. There are restrooms, showers, and a picnic area. Rated: 3.75 stars out of 5.
Wakiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
I had the pleasure of spending my first night in Waik?k? which is a neighborhood of Honolulu, on the south shore of the island of O?ahu, Hawaii. I spent my time there on the beach and in the Wakiki-HI youth hostel. Wakiki means “spouting fresh water” in Hawaiian, named as such for the streams and springs the fed the wetlands that once sat in this area (now pretty much paved over by the concrete jungle that is Honolulu. The area known as Wakiki extends from the Ala Wai Canal (which was dug to drain the former wetlands) on the west and north, to Diamond Head on the east. The area is known for the magnificent views of the Diamond Head tuff cone. Wakiki Beach is known for its humidity, warmth, and cloud-free climate as well as its surf break. The area is very commercialized, planted with high-rise hotels and condos. The beach is small, half of which is reserved for surfing. While the beach is sandy, the water is shallow, and quite rocky underwater. The area was originally a retreat for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s who also enjoyed surfing these beaches. In the 1880’s a few hotels opened up and in 1893 the Greek-American George lycurgus leased the guest house of Allen Herbert calling it the “Sans Souci” making one of the first beach resorts. Present day Wakiki hosts popular hotels today like the Halekulani Hotel, the Hyatt Regency, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the Sheraton, and some earlier historic hotels like the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana Surfrider. There are many surfer and hula competitions, festivals, and events that annually take place on Wakiki. Because they destroyed wetlands to build Wakiki, erosional problems have plagued the beach for years, whereas jetties, groins, and beach replenish projects have been abundant. Sand has even been imported in from California in the 20’s and 30’s to fix the beach. Also found here are Kapi?olani Park, Fort de Russy Military Reservation, Kahanamoku Lagoon, K?hi? Beach Park, and Ali Wai Harbor. Also, the infamous free movies on the beach called “Sunset on the Beach” are held here displaying on a 30′ screen on the beach. Beautiful place … Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Garden of the Gods
1805 N 30th Street (at Gateway Rd) * Manitou / Colorado Springs, Colorado * 719.634.6666 * http://www.gardenofgods.com/
Garden of the Gods, is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. A great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … Garden of the Gods has it all … and a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop. With 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advanced, its a great place for hiking and exercise. A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home in the Garden of the Gods and finish his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. Even though he didn’t succeed with his rails to the Springs, he did make a summer home in 1879 by purchasing 480 acres, though he never built on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be. Rating 5 stars out of 5.
New Amsterdam Free Walking Tour
Rain or shine this tour meets every day at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm in front of Centraal Station, and Starts at 11:15 am and 1:15 pm at Dam Square in front of the National Monument. It is Free.
Again, I’m not a big fan of tours, but this tour is spectacular and quite informative – best yet it’s free. This is one of best orientations you could take of the city. Our tour guide was Kevin, a humorously fun and knowledgable man who guided us on a three-hour free walking tour through the history of Amsterdam, from its beginnings as a muddy village on the Amstel River to the prosperous industry it is now. He told the tales, the legends, the lore, and many tales that most won’t tell you about prostitution, drug decriminalization, Anne Frank and the Nazi occupation, the Old Church (including the sour occupants), the Red Light District, The Jewish Quarter, the Royal Palace, the Jordaan District, the Anne Frank House, the Dutch East India Company, The Begijnhof Convent, Masterpieces of Dutch Art, the Widest bridge and the narrowest house to name just a few of the sites we saw. We were blessed with a fantastic guide, Kevin, who was the perfect match for our crowd. According to the New AMsterdam site: “Kevin is originally from Boston, MA in the States. There, he went to the University of Massachusetts and began studying psychology. While studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam, he fell in love with the city and began working as a tour guide. Now, he still works as a tour guide, still goes to school in Amsterdam, and is eventually hoping to marry in to the European Union.” Excellent Job Kevin! Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Continue reading New Amsterdam Free Tour (Amsterdam, Holland)
Carnivals / Fairs in Dam Square
The “Dam Square” is the central most part of Amsterdam, minus Central Station. Its called “de Dam” in Dutch, or simply “The Dam”. Here resides notable buildings and events that bring together more visitors to the Netherlands than any other places in the country. Deep in the historical center of the city, it is located only 750 meters from “Centraal Station” – the main transportation hub. The square is rectangular in shape, roughly 200 x 100 meters in dimension. It connects Damrak, Rokin, Muntplein (Coin square), Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, Damstraat, and Muttoren streets. The main Red Light District (de Wallen) is a hop and a skip from here. On the west end is the neoclassical Royal Palace, bordered by the 15th century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), and the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The National Monument is in its heart which is a white stone pillar designed by J.J.P. Oud in 1956 to memorialize the victims of WWII, and is one of the most famous meeting places in the city, and is where the New Amsterdam tours meet daily. The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the upscale department store “De Bijenkorf” also border the square. The square was originally a Dam built in 1270 until 1544 in the river Amstel. As the dam built up, it became wide enough for a town square, as the city developed around it. The square began with the “Naatje of the Dam” statue in 1890, but was taken down in 1914. The weigh house that once stood here was demolished in 1808 by order of Louis Bonaparte who complained it blocked his view from the royal palace. The Damrak of the Amstel River was partially filled in during the 19th century and became the land blocked square it is now since then. The first stock exchange, the Beurs van Zocher was also originally housed here, where the department store now sits. The square became a “national” square well known to everyone in the Netherlands and became the main location for demonstrations, riots, street performers, meetings, and celebrations. Every May 4th it houses the National Memorial Day celebration at the monument. Queens Day hosts a big funfair in the center. Throughout the year various fairs and carnivals will set up here too.
The Rhine River Promenade in Dusseldorf:
One of Dusseldorf’s famous features – the artistic and very European “Rheinufer Promenade”. A stretch of bicycling, rollerblading, and walking concrete along the infamous Rhine River is a place for meetings, hanging out, relaxing, strolling, gazing, people watching, and exercising. It is the pivotal connecting point of the Old Town and the Rhine river bustling the area with river view restaurants, pubs, and sights. This amazing engineering masterpiece is houses a 1.4 km long tunnel carrying over 50,000 cars a day for Dusseldorf’s rush hour traffic completely unseen to the relaxing and quiet river walk up top. It cost the city over a half-a-billion DM over seven years to construct with finalization in 1997 by Architect Niklaus Fritschi. The Rhine River is a historic and economically dependent river in Germany that offers harbours, shipping, tourism, deliveries, and economy to Dusseldorf’s river cities. Some of the best views of the river are in Dusseldorf from either the Rheinkniebrücke and the Oberkassler bridges, as well as the Rheinturm, the Rheinuferpromenade, as well as other viewing points in the city of Dusseldorf. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
The Town Baths of Xanten, Germany (Colonia Upia Traiana)
LVR-Archaeological Park Xanten / LVR-RömerMuseum
* Trajanstraße 4, 46509 Xanten, Germany * Phone: +49 (0) 28 01 / 712 – 0 * email@example.com * http://www.apx.de/english/roemermuseum/largebaths/
In the heart of the Roman Museum at Xanten’s notorious Archaeological Park lies the ancient Town Baths of Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The monumental size and stature of the bath houses resembled a palace in many ways. These baths were constructed in AD 125 during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. They manifest the Roman bathing culture in the province of Lower Germany. The well preserved remains of the foundation walls, pools, heating ducts and fireplaces are housed by a modern architecture masterpiece that serves as a protective building whose outer shape reflects the fascinating dimensions of the original remains from the rain and sun while keeping the impressive dimensions of the Roman architecture. The layout of the floor permits a fairly accurate reconstruction of the bath’s architecture – seen from outside, the different roof designs of the building give an impression of the bath’s complex construction. Within, the modern steel structures visualize the imposing dimensions of the rooms. Red steel girders mark the former position of columns, walls and arches. Visitors who first took a look at the reconstructed Hostel Baths can even better imagine the grand effect of the larger Town Baths. The Town Baths were far more than a place for relaxation and personal hygiene. This is where the Romans met with neighbours and friends, exchanged news, cut deals and sometimes also made political decisions. The baths were the city’s meeting point and social centre. The bathing wing was the heart of a big complex close to the city centre. Arcades with rows of stores, latrines, a water tower and a huge entrance hall were grouped around a wide courtyard. The complex provided everything the Romans needed to relax body and soul. The new RömerMuseum sits on the foundation walls of the former entrance hall. In an area of 11.500 square meters there was the main building, which included a multi-purpose hall, cold, lukewarm, and warm baths, as well as sweating rooms, an open-air area for sporting activities, and auxiliary buildings with toilets. The baths were discovered in 1879 and almost completely excavated by 1993. In order to protect the ancient fabric, in 1997/1998 the steel and glass construction were erected. The baths were located in big, magnificently decorated rooms with floors/walls cald with marble and the pillars and external facade elaborately designed. [abstracted from the apx website, brochure, and signs ]
Continue reading The Roman Baths at Xanten (Germany)
, Segment B
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Lord Sven met up with the adventurers Lady Vanessa of the Rhine, Princess Brea, Sir Ingo the Great, Sir Thomas Leaf the Cartographer/Archaeologist, and Sir Christian in the courtyard of the Roman town bath-house. The knights mockingly prepared for battle, should one arise. It was a quest for knowledge. Searching the treasures for the key. It was here in Xanten, that the Roman City Colonia Ulpia Traiana stood in 12 B.C.E. Somewhere amongst the city treasures or the Roman baths were hidden various keys. Questioning if the sacred key exists here or not would unfold this particular day. Paying the gatekeeper to the protected location of the baths, the party entered into the Museum and explored the various levels looking through the treasure troves within. A fascinating place to visit, one any visitor in the region should not miss. Keys were found, but alas, were not the ones sought after.
Even exploring the various rooms of the excavated remains of the bath house came up with empty hands, ‘nigh a chilly day, but much warmer than Colorado Sir Thomas Leaf was happy about. Very intriguing and amazing Roman ruins and artifacts, giving him more vast knowledge the the land and area he is exploring, but yet not the key he seeks. Memories of his excavations at Cetamura del Chianti swarmed his head bring warm fuzzies of happiness and fondness. The Roman Civilization always struck a chord of fascination with him.
Xanten in 2006 had roughly 21,586 inhabitants. It is a small historic town that is most notorious for its role in the Roman Empire’s settlement of Germany. In the heart of the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany, in the district of Wesel, it is most widely and commonly known for its Archaeological Park (one of the largest in the world), its medieval picturesque city centre with Xanten Cathedral and many museums, its large man-made lake for various watersport activities as well as high standards of living. Xanten receives over one million tourists a year. Well known for its big events and faires which include the Xantener Sommerfestspiele (a prestigious classical music festival lasting 2-3 weeks every year), the annual Xantener Montmartre where artists from all over the world show their latest works as well as the annual German sandcastle-building championship. Known as one of Germany’s most affluent communitites it is a center of art, history, music, and archaeology.
The First settlements of the area were by isolated tribes that can be dated around the year 2000 BC. It was around 15 BC that the Roman camp “Castra Vetera” was developed as a base for campaigns into Germania on the Fürstenberg near today’s locality Birten. The camp was destroyedduring the uprising of the Batavians in 70 AD and was occupied by 8,000 to 10,000 legionaries making it the main base of the Classis germanica. Shortly thereafter, a second camp became established at the Bislicher Insel, named Castra Vetera II, which became the base camp of Legio VI Victrix. A nearby created settlement, which was inhabited by 10,000 to 15,000 usually former legionaries, was given the rights of a Colonia in 110 by the Roman emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus, who also renamed the city into Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The colonia became the second most important commercial post in the province of Germania Inferior, only beaten by Colonia Agrippinensis (today’s Cologne). In 122, Vetera II became the camp of Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix, which substituted VI Victrix, moved to Britannia. [ wikipedia ] It was destroyed in 275 by the Germanic tribes and was rebuilt as the German Tricensimae city, which was meant to be smaller but fortified and more easily defended. The Christian Viktor of Xanten is supposed to have been executed together with 360 further members of the Theban Legion in 363 near the today’s town of Birten, as they refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods. Since then Viktor of Xanten has been considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be a martyr, and later a patron protecting the cathedral established over his assumed burial place. In the 5th century the Franks began to settle in the area of today’s Xanten and during the second half of the 8th Century a church was built on the grounds of an old cemetery of the ancient Roman colony and called Sanctos. In 1802 the Viktor-convent was secularized by Napoléon Bonaparte, and the libraries of closed monasteries and the convent library were merged. After this the economic situation deteriorated more rapidly. A city gate called the Marstor was torn down in 1821, and the Scharntor and parts of the city walls were removed in 1825. The removal of the Klever Tor and a mill called Kriemhildmühle was prevented by a city councillor in 1843. At the same time the ruins of the Colonia Ulpia Traiana, which had been used as a quarry since the Roman settlement was given up, aroused the interest of archaeologists. In 1975 the Archäologischer Park Xanten (Archaeological Park Xanten), a partial reconstruction of the Roman Colonia Ulpia Traiana, was established and opened for tourism. It is built on the site of the Roman town. Today it is one of the most frequently visited parks in Germany. [wikipedia]
Continue reading Xanten village, Germany
, Segment A
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Lady Vanessa of the Rhine awoke the adventuring party after a good night’s rest. Sir Thomas Leaf was a bit hard to get out of bed as he was up until 6 am blogging and researching the elements of the quest. Princess Brea joined Lady Vanessa down the street to the bakery for freshly baked bread, rolls, and croissants so that the adventurers could have a good healthy breakfast before the start of their quest. Croissants, rolls, bread, tea, coffee, yogurt, ham, cheese, jelly, butter, hard boiled eggs, juice, and milk welcomed all and lured Sir Christian out of his den.
Alki Beach * West Seattle, Washington
Alki Beach is a long beach strip that runs that runs from Alki Point to Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay. A wonderful location for joggers, rollerbladers, beachcombers, sunbathers, bicyclists, and volleyball players. Equipt with plenty of parking, picnic tables, bathhouses, art studio, and a restroom – there is also a monument to commemorate the arrival of the first white settlers on the beach in November 13, 1851. This is where Chief Seattle and his tribe greeted them and assisted in building their cabins. North end of the beach is protected by a bulkhead and flanked by cottages with spectacular views of Puget Sound, the Olympic mountains, ferries, sailboats, as well as downtown Seattle. Popular spot by Seattleites for swimming, the water temperature from 46 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Over by cafes and shops that dot the landscape along Alki beach is a small replica of the original Statue of Liberty that was a gift from Reginald H. Parsons and the Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1952. The statue has become such a symbol of liberty and courage that it became a place to mourn, to reflect, and to leave mementos after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. One of the great sites of Seattle that most tourists don’t know about. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. Visited 12/29/08.
Continue reading Alki Beach (Seattle, Washington)
“America the Beautiful” City Park * 126 Cimino Drive, Colorado Springs, CO
Formerly Confluence Park, this 30 acre park was recreated and re-dedicated as “America the Beautiful” in 1992 as part of Colorado Springs Downtown Action Plan for assurance of the vitality of the downtown area. The Julie Penrose fountain was added in 2007 as a fabulous water park section with an slowly turning modern art piece in the center of a timed fountain that patrons can cool off in. The art piece reminds alot of people of the infamous “Stargate”. Its called the “Continuum”. Rating 4 stars out of 5.
Congress Bridge * Town Lake – Austin, Texas
Bats under the Congress Bridge Austin’s Town Lake, Austin, Texas http://www.austincityguide.com/content/congress-bridge-bats-austin.asp
Home of the famous and largest bat colony bridge located in the heart of Austin Texas. The Congress Avenue Bridge spans Town Lake in downtown Austin and is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. The colony is estimated at 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats. Every night beginning in mid-March to roughly November, the bats emerge from under the bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. This is one of Austin’s as well as Texas’ most spectacular tourist attractions. The best time to view them are during the hot dry August nights when columns of bats emerge. When I visited 4/27/07 is was more like a swarm of mosquitos (bats) around a bloody arm (the bridge). 4 stars out of 5.