Bahamas (Feb 2017)

009coast guardBefore I get to Switzerland and Germany, I want to do a couple of posts about our cruise.  No, that’s not our ship on the left. It’s the armed coast guard boat that escorted us out of the harbor.

Getting to our room was a bit claustrophobic with the baggage waiting in the corridor, but we had a porthole and when we woke up, this was our view, a perfect start to a day at Coco Cay.

port hole

sellerscolors

little boy

Coco Cay is an island owned by the cruise line. There was shopping (of course) and food (absolutely). The sea was aqua/green/blue. Some enjoyed it on foot, some in a boat, many with drink in hand. banana boat

 

hut

I was fascinated by a tree, an iguana, the clear water.

orange trunkiguanarope post1

I’ll close with a picture of the hot tub which I call Satyr and Mermaids. Next up, Nassau. Note: click on any of the pictures if you want to see it full size…

satyr nymphs

Giverny Flowers (Spring 2015)

Path to GivernyMay 1, every museum in town is closed and anyway, I always wanted to see the garden Monet created and painted. So, out of Paris by train to Giverny. The train goes only to a neighboring town and you can take a bus from there, but we decided to walk – it’s only 3 miles or so on a paved path lined by woods and the occasional house. People walking dogs or strolling.

g japaneseWe got to the garden after the first flush of tourists. It had rained the night before (this was the rainiest vacation we’ve ever had), so the flowers were a bit droopy. But there were masses of them.

If you are looking at this in your email, you may need to got directly to my web site to see the photo gallery of individual flowers below. Most I recognized but there was one yellow beauty that looked like an exploded canary!

g waterThe water garden was special. So many big-leaved plants, a personal favorite.  There was a stream as well as the famous pond. No waterlilies. Too early in the season, but the wisteria!

The formal garden was laid out in rows with a color theme – seemingly red and yellow or blue and pink. There were arches, as yet un-vined. g-arches
Some trees were in color. The one by the house is a tamarind.

g red treeThe interior of the house is decorated as Mr. Monet had it done. The yellow and blue dining room is a hoot. There are prints hanging everywhere, especially Japanese. The whole house was crowded with creaky wooden floors.g pink house

After we left the museum, we had a nice lunch in the cafeteria across the street. And then decided to walk back (my feet abstained).

A French tradition on May 1, Labor Day, started by King Charles in 1561, is to give Lily of the Valley, Muegettes, to loved ones. We saw little booths selling them all through town. One of the ladies who was selling alone by the train station, asked me if I would watch her bunches while she went to the bathroom. My first good deed negotiated in French. I received a bouquet in thanks which I gave to the owner of the Chinese restaurant downstairs from our apartment; we ate there again-it was practically the only thing open, but also we liked the food.

I was particularly taken by a vine made into a railing.
g vine

And now for those closeups…note the rain drops.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Birds and other wild life

A day roaming Florida beaches. boys2

bird upside down

Spending time outdoors rejuvenates me. My natural habitat is the mountains, but in a pinch the ocean will do: wonderful smell, the sound of the waves, and entertaining birds. This sunless day was particularly soothing. Then these young boys passed us, their swim trunks a jolt of color. Not exactly “wild life” …

Did you recognize the sea foam? That little bird ran up and down, sticking his head into the sand as the waves retreated and racing away when the water returned. His body was completely still as he ran: a feathered blob over the blur of legs. A living cartoon.

jellyfishI think this might be a jelly Fish. We saw several of them. This one was still alive; the air pod was moving. But because I have often heard about jelly fish stings (my father once had a terrible one), I was afraid to pick it up and put it back in the waves. I was surprised that the sand was so grey in this closeup shot.

bird with ruffThis is a new bird to me. I think the ruff and the orange beak makes it clown-like. There were many of them, clustered around the fishermen, hoping for handouts I’d assume.

little surferLittle surfer

sea grapeThis is Sea Grape. It can grow to tree size and it likes to be planted in sandy soil. The new leaves are the size of dessert plates.

fishing kitWe went out on a long pier that was clotted with fisherman. The colors of this gear and the shapes caught my eye.

bird with pink beakPink Beaked Beauty

bird with boThere were bunches of pelicans sitting on rocks. Sometimes their feathers look like fur. This one made me laugh, airing out its arm pits. Notice its feet, like thin rubber.

white pelican 2Most of the pelicans were brown. This white one held itself aloof as if its color conveyed royalty.

Next time, a return to Italy, to an olive oil tour. Did you know it can be tasted like wine? Tune in for details.

Autumn in NYC Central Park

city reflectionWhen I lived in New York City, we seldom went into the park. It was dangerous at night and during the day we had other things to do. I did go to a free play one summer at the Delacorte, but that was about it. However, recently we were visiting for some theater R&R and took a morning’s stroll.
rock
The “duck traffic” was fun. duck trafficcity reflection3

 

 

 

 

 

 

People always talk about the fall colors in New England but the leaves turn in NY as well. I want to note that although the fuchsia tree is quite striking, I didn’t push the colors in these pictures. They are WISIWIG (what you see is what you get – a real IT term…)

It was a glorious day; lots of pedicabs. Expensive pedicabs – the signs said “3.75 per minute per ride.”
pedicabs
We passed a couple of benches that had little plaques – probably the benches were financed by the plaque owners. You can guess the quote applicable to my life…hint: my husband’s nickname isn’t Grubby!
benchbench

I couldn’t resist a couple of shots of buildings. The art deco decorations were on a 6 or 8 story building, between each floor. Above almost every one, in the window, was an air conditioner. The owls were on another window. There are so many beautiful old buildings in the city and it appeared that many had been newly cleaned. There was also a bunch of construction midtown, new replacing the old. The city has changed a lot since I lived there, perhaps for the better…
owls2art deco bldg

Pienza and Montepulciano, of the great wines

church doorGeraniums

arches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pienza. Love the back streets. And since it had rained, not many tourists.

The duomo is wonderful – painted ribs in the arches, pillars that are round and then go to square. So many little niches in the town.

Drive to Montepulciano. Luck into free parking. THIS is a hill town. Hiking up and up twisty cobbled streets, passing myriad shops including an iron monger, a cheese seller – the famous pecorino displayed with real grass and the table of a person who makes mosaics. Lots of wine shops but the Montepulciano is too pricey for us, even though I love it.
cheese shopmosaic shop

 

 

 
Lion of Florence is on a wall. We’ve seen them all over Tuscany; those nobles of Firenze had a long reach, but only if you don’t compare then to the Romans. .lion

 

Finally the town opens out onto a big plaza. The church is unfinished outside – just brick. And the inside is a simple arch. Kinda boring. But there is a della Robbia. Love the guy!

bell
There are bell towers everywhere. I loved this free-standing bell struck by what looks like Pinocchio. This is a close up; the bell is on a tower way above the street. Thank heavens for the camera my hubby bought for this trip – it’s a marvel.
 

 

Clouds lying low on the hills. I must say I love the Italian clouds – they are so artistic! Every vista with them is beautiful. I can understand why so many churches have clouds and cherubs in the ceilings.
clouds

Behind our hotel is an olive tree full of unripe fruit. I tried to convince B to eat one; unsuccessful. He remembers the story of me eating one in Greece — ack, ick, pooey, spit, spit, spit!

Dinner with ½ bottle of Montelcino wine – the best of this trip. ½ bottle does us in. Stagger home, happy. Love Tuscany and it’s NOT raining.
tree

Disney Animal Kingdom – Forget the Rides

Flamingos1A Flamboyance of Flamingos.

I’m taking a slight detour from Italy for pictures from Animal Kingdom, a wonderful place for vegetation as well as for animals, which are kept in big, appropriate habitats. Most impressive to me was the emphasis Disney put on conservation. Of course they recycle, but they also used paper straws. Somehow that little touch convinced me of their commitment.

So let’s start with Africa:
Bet you were expecting a lion, but there was a great aviary. These little yellow birds had hung their nests everywhere.
Bird's Nest

All right, a big animal. How about elands and an okapi butt!
Orecks
okapi butt

Noble Deet

 

I’m sure you know that a group of deer is called a herd. And I mentioned a Flamboyance of Flamingos. There is also a Float of Hippos, a Tower of Giraffes. I regret I didn’t capture a Crash of Rhinos.

GiraffesThe last pictures are of a moody bird, a sleeping tiger (wish I slept like that), the tiger awake, and finally a bat, stretching in the sun.

Hippo noses

Moody Bird

Disney Tiger Sleeping1

Disney Tiger Awake

Disney Bat
To those of you who follow my blog, apologies for the hiatus. I was working on finishing my novel and needed to concentrate on the Middle Ages…in a couple of weeks we will return to Italy. Next up: Volterra, my favorite town of our visit.

Oh, and in case you hadn’t guessed, the featured image on my home page is of the parade at animal kingdom, much more inventive than I expected.