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Wednesday, 17 June 2020

The Acropolis

The Acropolis In Athens Greece

Location: Athens, Greece
Address:  Athens 105, 58
Date:  July 2000
Website:  odysseus.culture.gr

  The Acropolis sits on a flat rock overlooking the city of Athens.  Acropolis means highest point and there has been some form of monument or structure up on the hill since at least 600 BC.  It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since it is a great architectural achievement and a place filled with history.  Thousands of tourists brave the heat of the mid-day sun to climb up the hill and explore the site.

The Parthenon At The Acropolis In Athens Greece

  In 447 BC the Athenian Empire started construction of the Parthenon.  It is the most visible structure standing today.

Parthenon Construction Athens Greece

  The temple was attacked in 1687 by the Venetians and the structure was heavily damaged.  Restoration attempts continue to this day.  When you visit the site you will see scaffolding and equipment as workers painstakingly restore the Parthenon to its former glory. 

Parthenon Column Athens Greece

  We toured the site and could see how many of the columns had been put back together.  This one column above appeared to not quite be a perfect fit.

Parthenon Construction Athens Greece

  As the repair continues, new marble is used to match the existing pieces.  You can see in the photo above how the new white marble stands out.  Someone will have to match the new stone to the old stone by hand.

The Parthenon At The Acrocpolis

     The Parthenon is an impressive site as its columns stand tall reaching up towards the sky.

The Erechtheion At The Acrocpolis

  On the north side of the Acropolis stands the Erechtheion.  It contains several caryatids which are female figures used as the columns which hold up the building.

Odeon Of Herodes Atticus At The Acrocpolis

  On one side of the Acropolis sits the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.  This is an open air theatre that was built in 161 AD.  In the 1950s it was restored and in 1957 the famous Greek opera singer Maria Callas peformed there.  Since then many performers have taken the opportunity to play this unique stage. Sting, Foo Fighters, Placido Domingo, Frank Sinatra, Florence & The Machine and Elton John are just a few of these performers.

Athens Greece From The Acrocpolis

  Standing up at the Acropolis you can see Athens sprawling out around you.

Lycabettus Hill From The Acropolis

    From the Acropolis you can also see Lycabettus Hill.  Lycabettus Hill is actually the highest point in Athens.

The Acropolis At Night

  After a day spent soaking in history up on the Acropolis you should enjoy a drink and a nice meal in one of the endless restaurants located back down in the city below.  Sit back and relax and let the sun set.  Next, the Acropolis will wow you once more as the Parthenon is lit up against the night sky.

Map of Our World
Acropolis Of Athens

Post # 288

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Scenic Safari

Scenic Safari At The Toronto Zoo

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  May 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Since the Toronto Zoo was closed due to COVID-19 we have missed our visits.  The zoo finally reopened. Due to social distancing you can not walk around the zoo but must drive your car through instead.  We were one of the first to sign up for this unique opportunity.  We followed a long line of cars as we slowly made our way towards the front gate and then drove right inside.

Indian Rhino Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari.

  The zoo normally has a zoomobile that circles the grounds.  We mostly followed the same path that it takes with a few added diversions due to there being no pedestrians to worry about.  The first animal we drove towards was the Indian Rhino.  They were outside ready to greet us as we slowly rolled past.  An Indian Rhino can weigh over 1600 kg which is the same as our car.

Long Bridge At Toronto Zoo Over Rouge Valley.

  The next step was a highlight.  We got to drive on the long bridge that crosses over the Rouge Valley.  We kept the car straight and steady as we rumbled across.

White Rhino Scenic Safari Toronto Zoo

The next animal we encountered was the Southern White Rhino.  We had now entered Africa.  We were glad that the rhino was behind a fence as we forgot to check if our insurance would cover us for collisions with a giant mammal while driving on zoo property.

Zebra At Toronto Zoo.

  Usually if you come across something black and white on the road it means to slow down and watch for pedestrians.  One type of pedestrian crossing is called a zebra crossing.  On our Scenic Safari we didn't have to worry about people on the road, but there were a few black and white Grevy's Zebras nearby.

Kopje At Toronto Zoo.

  A kopje is a small, rocky hill that sticks up from the African grasslands.  The Toronto Zoo has one that you can walk through.  Since this is the Scenic Safari that means this time we drove through.

Lion's Den Toronto Zoo.

  It was a bit of a tight fit, but we made it through the lion's den.  We didn't see any lions.   That doesn't mean the lions didn't see us.

Common Eland At Toronto Zoo.
Ankole-Watusi At Toronto Zoo.

  After we emerged from the kopje we passed a group of large antelope called Elands.  We also passed Ankole-Watusi Cattle which have some of the biggest horns of any animal.

Scenic Safari At The Toronto Zoo.

  We still couldn't get over the weird feeling of being in a traffic jam where we usually walked amongst crowds of people.

Toronto Zoo Scenic Safari Traffic Sign.

  There were traffic signs and arrows directing us where to go as we crept around the zoo grounds.  5 km per hour was the maximum speed and no passing allowed.

Scenic Safari Toronto Zoo Flamingos.

  We curved around through the Americas section of the zoo.  We passed a flock of flamingos enjoying the sun.

Fake Coyote At Toronto Zoo.

  We drove around in behind the Australasia Pavilion.  A fake coyote was stationed near where the kangaroo indoor home is located.  This possibly helps keep away other curious creatures.

Red Panda House Toronto Zoo.

  Our safari wound its way into Eurasia where we saw this red panda relaxing in the shade.

Thank You Frontline Workers.  Thank You Toronto Zoo.

  It wasn't much longer until we reached the end of our tour and exited near the zoo's administrative offices.  The whole tour took about one hour and gave us a new view of the zoo.  The only view these days.  Thank you Toronto Zoo and thank you to all the frontline workers.  Here's hoping we will be able to walk through the zoo next time.


Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 287

Friday, 15 May 2020

Orchid Oasis

Orchid Wall At Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  Feb 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Once a year the Toronto Zoo hosts Orchid Oasis in their greenhouse.  It usually happens during the coldest part of the winter and is a nice change of warmth and colour.

Orange & Yellow Orchid Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

  Once our camera adjusted and defogged from the warmth of the greenhouse we took a closer look at what was in bloom.

Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.
Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.
 Orchids At The Toronro Zoo Greenhouse.

  There was an endless variety of patterns and colours.

Lady Slipper Orchids At Toronto Zoo.

  One of our favourite flowers is known as the lady slipper orchid.  They usually have petals that stick way out of each side and a pouch (or lady slipper) in front.

An Orchid Mantis At Toronto Zoo.

  While orchids are beautiful they can also be deadly.  Look closely as the orchid mantis hunts its prey by disguising itelf as an orchid.  When unsuspecting insects come too close they get snatched in its outstretched arms and quickly devoured. 

A Green Frog In Toronto Zoo Greenhouse.

Another greenhouse resident was this green frog who had found a better way to spend the winter.  Instead of hibernating in the pond nearby it had snuck into the greenhouse to spend the winter.

Toronto Zoo Orchids.

  In the cold of February it is always enjoyable to go into a greenhouse or pavilion to warm up while visiting the zoo.  It's even better to do it while the orchids are in bloom.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo Greenhouse

Post # 286