Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Alphabe-Thursday (5th), the letter "V" — Some places I've been starting with "V"

"V" is for some places, countries and cities starting with the letter "V" where I have traveled:

 - Countries: 
Vatican City State -- Some may have visited St. Peter's square and thought they were in Rome. Actually St. Peter's Square is a part of the Territory of the Vatican City. We went into the Sistine Chapel in 1992--Michelangelo is the painter of the ceiling and some other art works in the Chapel. 
 - The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.  For more you can go to this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_City

There are three "V" countries, Vanuatu, Vietnam and I have hopes of someday visiting Venezuela

 - States:  There is just one, Vermont and I have visited Vermont quite a few times as I lived in New Hampshire from July 1961 to May 1964. 
 - The publisher of the ham radio 73 Magazine, Wayne Green, moved the magazine headquarters, presses, and offices from NYC to Peterborough, Vermont while I was there.

 - The last time we went to Vermont was the first time that I had visited Burlington, the capital city (?).  I swear all the hippies in the whole country that didn't move to Colorado or Arkansas now live in Burlington.  Lots of them.

 - Cities: (U.S, over 100,000 population)
Vancouver, Washington - Coming home from our Alaska cruise
Ventura, California - While we visited Disney and other places while waiting to watch Rose Parade in Pasadena (Mema came with us.  We had grandstand tickets)

 - Cities: (Foreign, over 100,000 population)
Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Valencia, Spain
Venice, Italy (our Summer 2013 holiday link)
Victoria, Canada
Vienna, Austria
Vigo, Spain
Volos, Greece (our Summer 2013 holiday link)

 - and then there is
Little Venice, (Google Search link) is a canal area in in Maida Vale, part of the City of Westminster, in central London. We love to go there to walk around, seeing the assortment of canal boats and watching people.

Once we visited the Little Venus Canal Boat Show which is held annually.  This is a 'London Fun Thing to Do.' 

 

YouTube look, video of IWA's 2014 Canalway Cavalcade:
 
Mrs. Jim and I attended London's Little Venice Canal Boat Show in 2013.  It was an elbow to elbow affair with a carnival atmosphere. The canal boats were stretched and parked in probably a mile stretch. You might like to attend this year? 
Links: 
 - Canal Events & Festivals 2015 - 2016, http://narrowboats.org/features/canal_events.aspx ;  and
 - Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade - 2nd - 4th May 2015
 
Following is a collection of my favorite Canal Boat Pictures and my daily National Poem Writing Month prose poem for today: (the first two pictures were taken in Little Venice.)

 
A Landlubbers Envy
 
There once was a young man, yearned to have a boat.  As he grew older the boat never came near.  Then in his older years a slick salesman sold him his dream.  He thought.
 
Now stuck with a narrow boat barge and a once a year jaunt down the canal.  That's what was waiting for him.  Petrol was high, insurance through the roof.  He saved for a year.  That jaunt cost him nine hundred pounds a day.
 
To save his pennies for a later day the young-now-old man lived on his barge.  His wife would have no part of that and left, back for her city life.
 
His only joy in life now was the annual Little Venice boat show over the early May Bank Holiday weekend.  Others he'd also attend, some taking his boat and to others he'd walk or catch a ride.


[click on a picture for larger view, back button to return]
 

 
 
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  - Jenny is now on her tenth series of Alphabe Thursday.  With 52 weeks in a year and 26 letters in the alphabet she is now in her fifth year.  I am linked to her blog, GO HERE for more participants and their offerings.


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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

My Alphabe-Thursday (5th), the letter "U" — Some places I've been starting with "U"

"U" is for some places, countries and cities starting with the letter "U" where I have traveled:
 - Countries: 
United Kingdom
Ukraine

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
I can't count the number of times I've been to England, the first was 1995 when our great-nephew, Marty, was born.  Marty was born in the U.S. Hospital at the Lakenheath Royal Air Force Base.   The Lakenheath RAF Base hosts U.S. Air Force units.  You can learn more about this air base at Wikipedia (link).

The reason I can't count the number of times we've been to England is because for the last five years our daughter has been working there for a British company and we averaged at least two times a year to visit her and her family, KP (link) and Bill.  Before that we were there three other times.  One more time for sure is in our plans.  That could make it 14.

We've not been to Northern Ireland, but we have been to Scotland three times and Wales once (last spring, link).  Wales will be my letter "W" place/country.

We visited the Ukraine in August 2003 as last stops in our Venice to Istanbul to the Black Sea to Athens, Greece.  It was a pretty country with very friendly people.  A day each was spent in the Ukraine cities of Odessa and Yalta.  Yalta might be my "Y" city here. 
 





Odessa pictures:


Yalta pictures:


- States - There is only one state (I've been to all 50) that begins with the letter "U" and that is Utah.  For me Utah has only been a passing through and one day tourist state.  Mrs. Jim did attend a Family Promise National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She enjoyed her three day stay. 

The Mormon Church has it headquarters there and they have become still more famous for their Mormon Tabernacle which hosts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  My dad liked them a lot, once while traveling with my parents we stayed overnight so that we could attend one of their concerts.  I have been to Salt Lake City only two times.  Both times we visited the Tabernacle.

 - Cities - (over 100,000 population) Ulm, Germany, is on the Romantic Road from to Frankfurt.  We stayed a couple of nights at a B&B on the Romantic Road at the old city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Tauber River). It was a lovely old walled city, one of the few larger walled cities in Germany still having their walls intact.

Ulm, Germany, was also on the Romatic Road coming north, about 129 km before we reached Rothernburg.  We turned in our car at Frankfurt and joined a Cosmos (link) bus tour of Eastern Europe, ending in Oberammergau, Germany, where they had our ticket to the Oberammergau Passion Play (link).  Cosmos is owned by the same company that owns Globus, which we earlier had traveled from London to Rome and back up to London.  That was the time we visited our nephew and in family in Lakenheath.

That Oberammergau Passion Play is only is performed on years divisible by ten, so we went in 2000.  I was worried that either Mrs. Jim or I would not physically be able to withstand all that travel by 2010.  Little did we know then how much we have travelled in the ensuing 15 years. 

Google gave me these pictures for Ulm, Germany:

 
[as with the other pictures, click on this 'PrintScreen' copy to make it large for reading]

 - Cities - (city under 100,000) Another "U" city which have driven through is New Ulm, Texas (Wikipedia link).  New Ulm is an older German settler town.  It is very small with a population of only about 650.  And we have only passed through New Ulm on the way to other places.

I had a picture or two that I took driving through New Ulm but I have lost track of it.  Could be on this blog but New Ulm doesn't show up with my "This Blog Search".

 - Jenny is now on her tenth series of Alphabe Thursday.  With 52 weeks in a year and 26 letters in the alphabet she is now in her fifth year.  I am linked to her blog, GO HERE for more participants and their offerings.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

My Alphabe-Thursday (5th), the letter "T" — Some places I've be,en starting with "T"

"T" is for some places, countries and cities starting with the letter "T" where I have traveled:
 - Countries: 
Turkey -- Stopped at Istanbul for a couple of days on a Princess cruise in August, 2013.  I blogged quite a bit about that, you could look here if you missed the older posts.  It is a nice place to visit, fun and historical sites abound.
 - States (I've been to all fifty states)
Tennessee -- My brother-in-law and his wife live in Jackson, Tennessee, but we don't get to visit them very often.
Texas -- I live in Texas, 50 miles north of the Houston P.O.  Where the hills begin. 
 - Large Cities over 100,000 population I've liked:
 - United States: (larger to smaller)
Tucson, Arizona -- 
Tulsa, Oklahoma -- 

Tampa, Florida -- 
Tacoma, Washington --
Tallahassee, Florida --
Topeka, Kansas --
and
Tekamah, Nebraska, with only 1736 population (Google Search link)
Towcester, U.K, with a population of 9,252 (Wikipedia Link)
 - Foreign
Tallinn, Estonia --
Tokyo, Japan --
Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada --
Turin, Italy --
and

Towcester, U.K, with only a population of 9,252 (Wikipedia Link). We have friends living there that we visit or they came to visit us when we were visiting our kids who lived in London for five years. 
I'll tell of one of these times, in August, 2013, we visited with these friends, Graham and Marion, in Towcester, Northampshire (U.K.).  We stayed two days there. 
We couldn't decide which was the best, their wonderful hospitality, all of the sights they showed us, or all of the good British foods they made or led us to. 
[You can make any picture larger by clicking on it.]
This picture was taken while we had a lunch break.  We were visiting at the Althorp (Wikipedia link), a fine manor home now owned by  Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer since 1992.  It was Princess Diana's childhood home as well.  
_ _ _

Next, I'll pick Turin, Italy.  We had rented a car at Milan, Italy and were on our way up to St. Remy, Province for about a week.
Back then in 2006 it was $5.584 per gallon for diesel.
We averaged 40 plus miles per gallon w/ a Ford Focus 1.4 liter SUV diesel.
[The one we rented in Milan, Italy, on April 2, 2006. This is it, parked beside the 2006 Winter Olympic Stadium in Turin, Italy. Click on pictures to enlarge them.]
 
On the way up we drove through Stessa, Italy, on Lake Maggiore.
.[Click picture for full screen view] [And here for a very large picture]
We spent the afternoon here, Lake Maggiore at Stresa, Italy,
the mountains across the lake are in Switzerland.
 
Tekamah, Nebraska, is a small town where I finished my high schooling. It is about fourteen miles northeast of Dad's farm, where I was born and grew up. 
In July, 2008, a group of us bloggers attended Blogstock '08 which was held on Cliff Morrow's farm outside of Tekamah.  We all participated with a Blogstock '08 float in the Tekamah July 4th Parade. 
Cliff's daughter owns this pretty horse.  It was the first time in many years that I rode a horse and was the last one so far.  Thank you Julie and Cliff.

During the first day we worked on the float and the second day was Friday, July 4, for our parade.

  [large picture] [super sized]
Four dozen plus two golf balls given us by our cousin, John, of Tekamah. John walks a lot and when his walk is at the cemetery beside the golf course, he finds many 'out of bound' balls.

Thank you, John. And Cliff, you might identify one of these (golf rule number one, identify your ball).

At any rate is 'finders keeper' rule for our family and John graciously gave us these balls that he had found.

Now, Mrs. Jim and I will play 'one for me, one for you' with the NIKE and Callaway balls. Then Mrs. Jim will take what she wants and I can have those she doesn't want.

Something that did stay in Nebraska
............................ [large picture] [super size]
We worked hard to make this poster (aren't my home drawn stars beautiful!) and similar mate, then left both of them in Cliff's truck. We aren't sure whether or not he will save it for us or give them to a cousin. We would liked to have had them to show Adi. Maybe she has looked at the blog. I hope so.  Adi died in 2013 (Adi retiring)
 
[large picture] [super size]Here we have your favorite blog writers standing by our 4th of July parade float. If you had a crush on one, take a good look using super size to make sure you are still in love!

From left to right (click a blog title link to view that blog):
Janell of
One Square Mile

Cliff of Cliff Morrow's Blog
Ralph of Homespun Headlines
Desiree of Believe,Live Well,Laugh Often & Love Much

LZ Blogger (a.k.a. Jerry) of LAZY Blogger

Jerry of Back Home Again
Rachel of Sliding through life
Jamie Dawn of Jamie Dawn's Mindless Blather
Nora of chez pez
Jim of JIM'S LITTLE BLOG, JIM'S LITTLE PHOTO PLACE (has Wordless Wednesday posts), and Ask Dr. Jim (blog)

Not in the picture:
Driving the float, Dan of
Dan's Everyday Observations
Coming in the afternoon
John of
The Changelog
Terrah of Forest of the Plains
 
(Note:  Some of these are not blogging now.  Others have moved to Facebook, a few still do both [like I do].
 
Links: 
Sold the Farm, Visited Cliff Morrow
House where I was born, map of the farm, Herman, and Tekamah
 
 - Jenny is now on her tenth series of Alphabe Thursday.  With 52 weeks in a year and 26 letters in the alphabet she is now in her fifth year.  I am linked to her blog, GO HERE for more participants and their offerings.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Alphabe-Thursday (5th), the letter "S" — Some places I've be,en starting with "S"

"S" is for some places, countries and cities starting with the letter "S" where I have traveled:

 - Countries I visited:
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
 
- States (I've been to all 50 states)
South Carolina, South Dakota
 
 - Large Cities over 100,000 population I've liked:
 - United States: (larger to smaller)
San Antonio, Texas -- 
San Diego, California --

San Jose, California --
San Francisco, California --
Seattle, Washington, -- St. Louis, Missouri, --St. Paul, Minnesota, --St. Petersburg, Florida --Spokane, Washington --Salt Lake City. Utah, --Springfield, Missouri, --
 Sioux Falls, South Dakota --
Springfield, Massachusetts, --Salinas, Kansas, --Syracuse, New York, -- Sunnyvale, California, -- Springfield, Illinois, -- South Bend, Indiana --

 - Foreign: (listed in alphabetical order)
Saint Petersburg, Russia --
Salzburg, Austria --
Seville, Spain --
Shanghai, China --
Southampton, U.K.
Sydney, Australia
 
So, I'll pick Sydney.  Our New Zealand Princes cruise ended up with us in Sydney.  We had a wonderful three and a half days there.  We stayed at the Downtown Hilton and it was really nice.  We upgraded so we would have advantage of the breakfast, noon, happy hour, and evening courtesy room.  Lots of food there, really good coffee too.

Sydney was a pretty harbor.  We took a few pictures and then went to the buffet to have our last cruise breakfast.  Princess has good breakfasts at the buffets or in the dining rooms.
 
 
Our room wasn't going to be ready until afternoon so we
 gave them our luggage and went walking.  Just before noontime we had reservations for a tour of the Sydney Opera House.  It was very impressive.
 
 
The rest of the day we walked around in the harbor area and in the downtown shopping areas. 
 
 
The next day we purchased and all day transportation ticket, ast the senior rate.  First off we took the ferry over across the harbor to a beach.  Mrs. Jim and I always dip our feet in waters new to us.
 
[click on pictures for larger size viewing]
 
 
 
That evening we went to a free concert in the park.  It wasn't any special to us be we enjoyed seeing the crowds of family and others who came out.  We all sat on the ground, a family loaned us a corner of their blanket.
 
 
 
 
The next day we took another ferry to the other side of the peninsula.  First we shopped down by our hotel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Come noon time we went to the fish market and had a fish and chips meal.  It was cod but it did not compare to the nice fish and chip meals we had in London.  The atmosphere was better than being inside a little, old, restaurant.
 
 
The large rubber duck out in the harbor was on loan, it left for China, I think, after we had left.
I missed some pictures of us crossing the bridge over the bay to the other side by train.  The train tickets worked with our all day pass.
 
 
 
Our last morning before we left we visited the beautiful garden between our hotel and the harbor.  It was very large and very old, but well kept.
 
This was short but it fit the time slot I have today for posting.  You can see some more New Zealand, Australia and Sydney pictures that I've posted, please click here.
 
 - Jenny is now on her tenth series of Alphabe Thursday.  With 52 weeks in a year and 26 letters in the alphabet she is now in her fifth year.  I am linked to her blog, GO HERE for more participants and their offerings.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Alphabe-Thursday (5th), the letter "R" — Some places I've be,en starting with "R"

"R" is for some places, countries and cities starting with the letter "R" where I have traveled:
- Countries:
Romania  
Russia -- been there twice

- States: (I've been to all 50)
Rhode Island -- such an interesting state.  I like Providence and the seeing of the first Baptist Church in America.  It and a new religion were founded by Roger Williams.  We studied that and him in our high school history class.

 - Large Cities over 100,000 population I've liked:
 - United States: (larger to smaller)
Riverside, California -- where Chuck Swindoll the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California hung out until he moved to Colorado.
Rochester, New York -- went in passing on the way when moving to New Hampshire.

 - Foreign
Rouen, France -- There we visited the Church of St. Joan of Arc.  It was also on our way driving from Paris other times, to Etratat, to Mt. St. Michael, to Normandy, to Honfleur, and to Bruges, Belguim.

So, I'll pick Russia.  The first of the two times we were there was when we took a Viking River Cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg.  The second time we stopped at St. Petersburg for a day trip while on a Princess Baltic Sea cruise.

To get to Russia on the river cruise we needed a Russian Visa.  That was easy to get but it cost each of us over $100.  This was necessary because, unlike some tours, we were free to wander around without a guide.  Most stops along the waterway we did this as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg.


We had a nice three days in Moscow, mostly on different tours although we did take advantage of one day's free time where we visited the Kremlin, Department Store, and other touristy places. Each night we returned to the ship which meant a nice breakfast and evening meal.  Also we only had to unpack our suitcase once, at the ship.


Our voyage started in the middle of October, 2006, and lasted 13 days (link).  We were the last Viking ship to leave Moscow for St. Petersburg.  Only on our second day, in Moscow, did it snow on us.  I don't know (but could find on a map) the names of the rivers and lakes we traversed.  They were all connected by a series of locks.
 
 



Uglich, our first stop, was probably my favorite.  At least it was very enjoyable.  The wind was blowing and it was cold, the coldest day of our trip. We visited an old church, nor restored, that had been used by the Communist government as a tractor shed.  One tractor was kept on display in the adjoining park. 
 



The other best thing there was a long walk we took through the little town.  Mrs. Jim stopped at a few of the little stores to do some shopping.  She bought a watch for very little.  It still runs.
 

 
We also shopped at Yaroslav, a larger town.  We loaded up on Russian candy made in a local small factory.  Of course there were sights to see there as well.
 
 

 

 
Kizhi was a United Nations Heritage site with it's many wooden churches and buildings.  Here we had self guided tours with each major building having a guide to explain things.  Other smaller places had signs which told us what we were seeing.  Built on a small island, we walked from one end to the other.
 












 
After Kishi we petty much made a bee-line west to St. Petersburg.  Cruising was also fun.  We ate good, made still more friends onboard, and played a lot of Canasta in the forward lounge.
 




 To view any picture larger just click on the picture.  Most will become large size.
For some of my earlier Russian posts, please click here.

And then there was St. Petersburg for two whole days.
 
 - Jenny is now on her tenth series of Alphabe Thursday.  With 52 weeks in a year and 26 letters in the alphabet she is now in her fifth year.  I am linked to her blog, GO HERE for more participants and their offerings.

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