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Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Fishing in Haines, Alaska

During our recent trip to Alaska, one thing Mr Munro wanted to see was a bear catching a salmon. This was one of his bucket list items, and he’d talked about it for months.

I’m pleased to report that we saw several bears fishing. This particular excursion was to Haines in Alaska and we caught the ferry from Skagway. It’s a beautiful spot with forest and rivers and is also on the coast.

Haines Shelley

Me, during a forest walk.

Haines Alaska

One of the many dead salmon on the river after the spawning.

Haine Bear

A bear coming down to fish at the river.

Haine Bear Fishing

And a fishing bear. We watched her fish for ages. She’d catch a salmon and take it into the bushes to eat in peace then repeat the process while we tourists went oh and ah and took photos.

Mr Munro was able to check this off his bucket list.

A Visit to Taronga Zoo, Sydney

A visit to Taronga zoo is a real adventure. You catch the ferry across the harbor and ride a cable car to the top. The animals have some of the best views in the city.

View from Zoo

The view from the zoo with the Opera House and the harbor bridge.

Giraffe

The giraffe enclosure.

Koala

A Koala.

Kookobura

Kookaburra.

Meerkat 2  Meerkat

Meerkat.

Mountain Sheep

Mountain sheep.

snow leopard

Snow leopard.

A visit to Taronga zoo is a pleasant way to while away an afternoon.

Do you have a favorite zoo?

Cruising the Nile

The Nile, Egypt

This photo doesn’t look real, but I can tell you for a fact that it is. This is the view from our ship as we cruised down the Nile River. There is a thin band of green on either side of the river with pasture for grazing and crops. Beyond this band of green is desert and this makes for a dramatic landscape. It almost looks like a painting.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua is a city in the North Island, which sits on the banks of a lake of the same name. It is well-known for its thermal activity and the entire area smells of sulfur. I don’t mind the “rotten egg” smell, but some people dislike the stench. This is one of the entrances to Government Gardens, a park area with beautiful gardens.

Rotorua is a fun place to visit since there is so much to do. You can visit the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute to check out the carvings, see the thermal Whakarewarewa area, go luging down a hill or zorbing. Some people like to fish for trout or go boating on the lake. There is also a good sheep shearing and sheep dog show.

One interesting thing is that geysers and bubbling mud pools can appear at any time. It’s not a good area to dig in your garden!

Donkey Sightseeing

Donkey Sightseeing

When we booked our trip to Egypt, this was the part that worried me the most—the donkey ride. I dreaded it, having visions of falling off, yet all these years later, it is the part I remember most. We got up early and it was barely light when we arrived at the donkey meeting point. We were assigned our donkeys and off we went, riding along flat roads toward the hills where the tombs are hidden. It was a leisurely ride along quiet roads, then up a hillside path.

At the entrance to the Valley of the Kings, we trotted past tourists in big coaches. I thought smugly of the fun they had missed out on. Ironic, when this was the part I dreaded!

After our exploration of the tombs, we mounted our donkeys and rode back to Luxor. By this time, my butt was a bit sore. The others were complaining too. Also, the donkeys moved a lot faster on the way home.

It was a brilliant and memorable excursion. I have a soft spot for donkeys.

The Alaskan Totem Poles

Totem Pole

We saw lots of cool totem poles while in Vancouver and Alaska. Totem poles are not religious in nature but tell the story of local families, the way they connect and their different rights within the family group. Sometimes they can be used to mock or berate a family or family member who has done something wrong.

Before the arrival of the white man, totem poles tended to be smaller, but with the availability of metal tools, the carvers became more ambitious and the totem poles much taller.

One thing I found interesting is that once a pole is erected it isn’t maintained, but is left to rot. It will be removed if it poses a danger and some topple during winter storms. The poles last for between 60 to 100 years.

We have similar poles in New Zealand, and I did a post about them earlier. You can find the post on pouwhenua here.

Wandering the Agora

Athens_Agora Tortoise

When we were wandering around the Agora (the old marketplace and civic center) in Athens, not far from the Acropolis, we came across this tortoise. He was meandering between the ruins, calmly ignoring the tourists. He obviously thought the dandelions were more interesting!

The Old Marketplace: Agora

Athens_Agora

This is one of the buildings/ruins in the Agora, the old marketplace and civic center  in Athens. It’s a huge area, and after walking all morning and looking at many ruins, my feet were getting tired. The half-hearted smile, or grimace if you want truth, was an indication that I needed to sit down, preferably with a cold drink!

Dining at the Plaka, Athens

Athens_Dining

The Plaka is the neighborhood below the base of the Acropolis. It’s full of houses, shops and restaurants and is a fun place to wander and explore. We’ve dined in this restaurant before – it’s a family run restaurant and they come out with a tray of different seasonal dishes. You pick the ones you want then enjoy the meal. The food was delicious, and we sat on the deck above the Plaka watching everyone who walked past. It was the perfect way to rest after our morning of sightseeing.

Here is the link to my last visit and for a tzatziki recipe.

They’re Changing the Guard

Athens_Soldiers

Hubby and I caught the train from the Olympic Stadium to the huge square (Syntagma Square). This is where the changing of the presidential guard takes place. Evidently, the guards are chosen for their height, good physical condition and character and there is lots of training before soldiers can join this unit of guards.

It was fascinating watching them parade backwards and forwards. The soldiers guard for an hour and must stand still. When it is time to change position they move in slow motion with these high steps. I’ve read that the slow motion is to protect their blood circulation.

The day we were there, there was another man inspecting them and critiquing their change. One of the soldiers went slightly off-course and the inspector wandered over to get him to straighten.

It was a fun ceremony to watch, the pom-poms on their shoes are very cute, but it was very hot. I was glad I wasn’t the one standing motionless then high-stepping!