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Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Tirau: Corrugated Captial #newzealand #travel

Tirau is a small New Zealand town. It’s pronounced Tee-rau

1. Tirau, originally referred to a hill three miles southwest of the village, is covered with cabbage trees where Maori trapped the keruru (wood pigeon). It was first settled by the Ngati Raukawa, although various tribes won the area in battle before Europeans purchased the surrounding district in 1868.

2. Tirau has always been a rest stop for travellers with the Oxford Royal Hotel operating as a staging post between Rotorua, Cambridge, Lichfield and later Taupo.

3. The benefits of its central location continue today. In fact Kate and Lane from PLAYING TO WIN stopped here for a break during their drive to Taupo. These days the town is unique for its corrugated iron sculptures.

4. A shop disguised as a sheep.

Iron Sheep

5. A dog.

Dog

6. Poppies

Poppies

7. A book shop.

Books

8. The toy shop.

Toy Shop

9. Me standing outside the tourist center.

Tourist Center

10. Gourmet Food shop.

Fine Swine Cafe

11. A garage.

Service Station and Garage
12. A dairy.

Dairy

13. A gift shop with a pukeko (bird).

Pukeko

Antique Shop

Tirau is a fun place to visit. It’s great for the keen photographer and is the perfect place to take a break from driving. If you’re interested in antique shops, this will be your happy place. I highly recommend a visit.

Mt Vesuvius Erupts, this day in history #travel

Mt Vesuvius erupted at midday on 24 August in the year 79AD. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed and thousands of Romans died during the eruption.

Quite a lot is known about the day and the aftermath since Pliny the Younger witnessed and wrote about the eruption. 14 – 17 feet of ash and pumice buried the city of Pompeii while mud and volcanic material devastated Herculaneum. Locals, who had escaped, returned later to salvage their belongings but mostly the cities were forgotten. It wasn’t until the 18th century when a well-digger discovered the ruins of Herculaneum. In 1748 a farmer found traces of Pompeii beneath his grapevines.

Mount Vesuvius remains active but hasn’t erupted since 1944. It is the only active volcano on mainland Europe.

Pompeii

Pompeii with Mt Vesuvius in background

Main street in Pompeii

The above photos were all taken at Pompeii.

Herculaneum

Herculaneum

Herculaneum

Herculaneum

Herculaneum and Mt Vesuvius in background

I enjoyed wandering around Herculaneum. It was quieter and less touristy with more to see. The volcanic mud preserved the buildings better than the ash did at Pompeii. The above five photos are from Herculaneum, and you can see Mt Vesuvius in the background of the fifth photo.

View from top of Mt Vesuvius

This is the view from the top of Mt Vesuvius. You can see how dense the population is in Naples. I’ve visited Naples three times and have yet to get a truly clear shot of the mountain. Every time I go, it’s hazy. Below you can see the crater plus me posing at the top.

The crater

Me at the top of the mountain

We caught a bus from Naples that drove almost to the top of the mountain. We walked briskly for almost an hour to get to the summit. If you’re ever in the vicinity, I highly recommend a visit to all three sites.

Yosemite National Park, US #travel

Yosemite National Park

United States has some beautiful national parks, and this is one of my favorites — Yosemite National Park. It’s also a favorite with the locals since every time I’ve visited it has been very busy. This is a view of the granite cliffs of El Capitan with summer flowers in the forefront. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Yosemite National Park was first protected in 1864 and is known for its many waterfalls.

Baldwin Street, World’s Steepest Street #travel

BaldwinStreet

BaldwinStreetView

Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand is recognized by Guinness World Records as the steepest street in the world. It is 350 meters in length. The lower end of the street is covered in asphalt while the steepest and top end of the street is concrete instead of asphalt. During hot summer days the road used to melt and run down the hill. Concrete proved a better solution. It is a residential street and a mecca for tourists. The locals must get tired of tourists wandering across the street!

Baldwin Street and its steepness came about by accident. The street plan for Dunedin was developed in London, England with no regard for the terrain or consultation with those living in the area. The world’s steepest street is the result.

Each year a local confectionary company drops round candies at the top of the hill, racing them to the bottom as a fundraising event. A girl died after attempting to race down in a wheelie bin. Other stunts have been attempted over the years, some resulting in arrests.

With limited time, I walked halfway up. That was enough for me. Smile

Goat Island Marine Reserve, New Zealand #travel

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The Goat Island Marine Reserve is a popular destination with locals, especially during the summer months. It’s north of Auckland and is the closest place for divers and snorkelers to experience marine life. The reserve, which is 518 hectares in size, was created in 1975 and officially opened in 1977. New Zealanders are keen on fishing and stocks were becoming depleted but the numbers have bounced back due to the reserve. Now, big schools of snapper swim close to the shore. The day I visited, the snapper swam around our legs. There are dozens of other species, including my favorites, the pretty blue maumau.

For those who don’t wish to scuba or snorkel, there is a glass bottom boat that takes tourists out and around part of the island.

The island, known as Goat Island, was called this because sailors left goats there as a source of food. The goats have long gone and the island is now the domain of birds.

If you’re in the area, take a picnic lunch, pack your togs and go for the day, or better yet, stop at the Matakana Farmers’ market for some lunch supplies.

A visit to Goat Island Marine Reserve is a fun day out.

A Nepalese Market #travel

20090813031151_market stall, kathmandu

The Thamel area of Kathmandu, the main city in Nepal, is a shopper’s paradise. There are so many interesting things to look at and food to try. It’s a feast for the senses and a real treat for a photographer.

We purchased a Gurkha knife, much like one of the selection in the photo. A Gurkha knife or a kukri has a curved blade and is used as both a handy implement and a weapon in Nepal. A Swiss Army Knife for the Nepalese people! The Nepalese army soldiers use a kukri as part of their weapon arsenal.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa #travel

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This is a photo of Victoria Falls from the air. During our visit, we saw the magnificent falls from all angles. The flight over was spectacular, but my favorite place to see the falls was from the various view points. You can hear the rumble of the falls from miles away. We also did a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river while my intrepid hubby went white water rafting.

During our visit to the area, I discovered the best T-shirts. I purchased about four and have only one left, which is very thin! I also practiced my Stanley quotes. “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” *grin*

We were on a budget holiday and stayed at the campground, but we couldn’t resist a visit to the Victoria Falls Hotel, which was built in 1904 and was a first hotel in the area. Following in the footsteps of many famous people, we went a couple of times and had a traditional afternoon tea on the verandah.

I’d love to do a return visit, although some friends stopped there and were disappointed with the amount of water going over the falls. I understand that a dam has reduced the flow.

Apart from the waterfall and the Zambezi river, visitors can see animals and birds, feed the adrenaline junkie within by rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, and hiking or indulge their love of culture by meeting the locals. There is something for everyone at Victoria Falls.

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland #travel

I’ve always wanted to visit the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Island. It is a mysterious place, full of myths and legends about Finn McCool an Irish giant who was at war with a Scottish giant called Benandonner. Some quick thinking by Finn McCool’s wife saved the day and the Scottish giant retreated back to Scotland. Here is a video showing the story of the two giants.

Giants Causeway Visitors Centre – The Myth of Finn McCool from The Pond Studio on Vimeo.

While I adored the legend about giants, the truth is more scientific with the hexagonal stones formed after a volcanic eruption millions of years ago. Scientists say there were three distinct eruptions, which formed the Lower, Middle and Upper Basalts.

It is a fascinating place to explore and I enjoyed exploring the rock formations.

GiantCauseway

GiantCauseway1

GiantCauseway2

GiantCauseway3

GiantCauseway4

A fascinating place to visit, especially if you pick a quiet time without many tourists.

Rome Coliseum, Italy #travel #history

I felt like stepping back in time and scrolled through some of my photos from previous trips. Rome caught my eye, so my photos today are of the coliseum.

Although we’d visited Rome before, we’d only seen the coliseum as we drove past. On this visit I was determined to venture inside.

coliseum

The thing that fascinated me was the huge scale of the place. You’ll see in some of the following photos that vehicles and the people (both inside and out) appear so small in comparison.

Building on the coliseum began in AD 72 and finished in AD 80. Of course, successive rulers decided to put their stamp on the coliseum and additions were made after this date.

The coliseum held between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators with an average crowd of around 65,000. That is a lot of people. It was used for gladiator battles and during other public occasions. Both animal hunts and executions took place at the coliseum, so the Romans loved their blood sports.

coliseum5

See how the people and vehicles are dwarfed by the arched coliseum?

coliseum1

A shot of the interior.

coliseum6

coliseum7

We toured through the areas where animals and slaves were kept, and it was all too easy to imagine the cheers of the crowd and their excitement.

These days the coliseum is surrounded by modern life with busy traffic and countless tourists plus pollution. During the ages, parts have been reused and repurposed but it is still a magnificent sight and well worth a visit if you’re ever in Rome.

Vintage Cars Are Sexy #travel

One of the things I enjoyed during the Art Deco Festival in Napier, New Zealand, was the huge number of vintage cars. The vintage cars always draw my eye. The muted colors – hunter green, burgundy and cream. The gleaming paintwork and proud owners. They are reminders of an earlier age, and with my love of history, I like that.

Some facts about Vintage Cars:

  1. The serious collector or enthusiast considers any car from the period 1919 – 1930 to be a vintage car.
  2. The Ford Model T was the first mass-produced automobile and dates back to 1913. The Model T was the first affordable car for the average man.
  3. Vehicles from the pre-vintage period are often referred to as Horseless carriages.
  4. Francois Isaac de Rivaz designed the first car in 1807. It was powered by an internal combustion engine and ran on fuel gas.
  5. Automobile trips were normally short, but in August 1888, Carl Benz’s wife, Bertha Benz, became the first person to drive a car over a long distance. She set off with her sons without telling her husband. Girl power!

Here is a selection of vintage cars photographed during the 2017 Art Deco Festival in Napier.

Vintage1

Vintage2

Vintage3

Vintage4

Vintage5

And this is the car we went for a ride in around Napier.

Vintage_Car

Vintage_Paul

Vintage_Shelley

Are you a fan of vintage cars?