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Showing posts with label Natural Beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Natural Beauty. Show all posts

Friday, 20 December 2019

Winter in Niagara-On-The-Lake

Snow covers Niagara-on-the-Lake

Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Address: 6 Picton Street
Date: December 2019
Website: www.vintage-hotels.com

  The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is a beautiful place all year round.  One of the most magical times is during the winter season.  We have visited a few times during the ice wine festival as well as to see the Christmas lights.

Just Christmas Niagara-on-the-Lake Star Wars display

  One store located on Queen street celebrates Christmas all year round.  Just Christmas has everything you could need for holiday decorating.  Even a C3-P0 wearing a scarf to keep him warm.

Memorial Clock Tower & Court House Niagara-on-the-Lake

  Right next door to Just Christmas is the court house and in the middle of the street stands the memorial clock tower.  They both look nice all lit up during the night.

Letters For Santa Niagara-on-the-Lake

  Out front of the court house stands a mailbox marked Letters for Santa.  You can put your Christmas wishes inside.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Court House Guards

  Two toy soldiers stand guard outside of the court house keeping a watchful eye on everyone.  You had better not be naughty while mailing your letter to Santa.

The Prince Of Wales Hotel In Winter.

  On the next block stands the Prince of Wales hotel.  The Victorian hotel has seen many winters since it was built in 1864.  It looks lovely in a small blanket of snow.

A Toy Soldier Prince of Wales Hotel Niagara-on-the-Lake

  As you enter the Prince of Wales to warm up you are greeted by another toy soldier.  This one is most likely a member of the royal guard.

Athena Stained Glass Inside The Prince of Wales Hotel
Sculpture At Christmas Inside Prince of Wales Hotel.

  The lobby of the Prince of Wales is always inviting.  At Christmas time the sculptures and stained glass are joined by poinsettias, wreaths and decorations.

Snow Covered Simcoe Park Niagara-on-the-Lake

  Looking out the window across the street at snow covered Simcoe Park makes us feel like we have entered a warm, fuzzy Christmas movie.

Prince of Wales Trolley.

  Out front of the hotel a trolley arrived to keep guests warm while they travel around town.

Gazebo Niagara-On-The-Lake in Winter.

  Around town you can visit the gazebo that sits beside Lake Ontario.

Trees Covered In Snow Niagara-On-The-Lake

Enjoy the solitude of an empty road surrounded by snow covered trees.

Winery Covered in Snow Niagara-on-the-Lake

  And of course warm up a bit while you enjoy some ice wine at one of the many wineries found in the region.  Niagara-on-the-Lake truly is a winter wonderland.

Map of Our World
Simcoe Park
Just Christmas

Post # 272

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Flying Over Greenland

Another Arrival At Keflavik Airport.

Location: Greenland
Date: Sept 2015
Website: visitgreenland.com

  As we parked our rental car and prepared to depart from Iceland, we noticed a strange sculpture outside Keflavik Airport.  It is called the Jet Nest and has a jet plane wing curled up and breaking out of an egg.  Just like a newly hatched chick entering the world.

I Feel Emotional Landscapes.

  As we waited for our plane to arrive at our gate we noticed a quote from Icelandic singer Bjork was written on the window. It states, "I feel emotional landscapes they puzzle me".

Greenland Is The Land Of Ice.

  As our flight flew over the Atlantic we started to notice large white objects in the water below.

Over The Ice.

  We soon realized that these were giant icebergs floating off the coast of Greenland.

Flying Over Greenland.

  We had never seen Greenland before and we felt like a newly emerged hatchling flying over this "emotional landscape".

Mountains And Snow.  Snow And Mountains.

  We were amazed by the never ending mountains and snow laid out before us.  Not very green we were thinking.  Over 80% of Greenland is covered by ice.

Erik Is Not Only A Murderer, He Is A Liar.

  The story of how Greenland got its name starts with Erik The Red exiled from Iceland for murder.  He set out in search of new land and reached what he called Greenland.  It is believed that he did this to attract other people to also settle there.  Only about 57,000 people live in Greenland.

Snow As Far As You Can See.
 The Snow Gives Way To More Mountains.

  Soon the snow gave way to mostly mountains.  We could see how some of the mountains had been formed by volcanic activity.

Volcanic Formation.

  It was not long before our plane left Greenland behind and we were flying over open ocean again.  We had enjoyed the aerial view of this amazing place, but were glad to have viewed it from our window seat instead of the harsh reality below.

Map of Our World
Jet Nest

Post # 230

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Something Smells At The Zoo

Here Come More Of Those Smelly Humans.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date: Sept 2018
Website: www.torontozoo.com

  Many people head to the Toronto Zoo for the sights and sounds of the animals.  What is often unexpected is the smell.

Gaur House.  In The Middle Of Our Zoo.

  The former gaur exhibit wins top prize for the stinkiest exhibit.  Nothing like a small, closed house filled with the largest bovines in the world.  Many a visitor would open the door just to recoil from the wall of stench.  "Eeeewwww!!" cried the children.

Son, I Think It's Time Your Hockey Bag Was Cleaned.

By the way it is pronounced "gow-er".  We always used to call them "gar" like in cigar. 

Little Stinker.

  Other contenders for worst smell are the marmosets.  In the Americas Pavilion you can find a group of these tiny primates.  While you might share your exhibit with sloth, saki, and double-striped thicknee, when it comes to smell we are looking at you common marmosets.  What gives these little guys such a big smell anyway?

First Corpse Flower To Bloom In The Greater Toronto Area

  We visited the zoo recently for a special olfactory reason.  A titan arum or corpse flower was in bloom.  This flower may bloom for anywhere from 8 to 36 hours.  We had seen these plants before in Niagara Falls.

That's Ringo In The Second Row.

  When a titan arum is in bloom it smells much like a rotting corpse.  This helps attract the bugs that help it pollinate.  The zoo had some of these beetles out on display.  We were also attracted to seeing the corpse flower in bloom.  Finally, Thursday evening the bloom was on.  We were not able to visit until Friday night.  Good thing we did as by Saturday the show was over.  The zoo extended its hours for those wishing to see and of course smell the plant.

Titan Arum In Full Bloom.

 We lined up and moved slowly forward until we entered the greenhouse where the plant was on display.  Suddenly there it was.  We didn't even smell it coming.

Plant On The Left.  Bloom On The Right.

  The titan arum plant usually looks like the tall green plant on the left.  Once every 4 or 5 years it produces a flower.  The flower at the Toronto Zoo grew to be almost 43 inches tall.  It was named Pablo “Pe-ew” Caso.

  When it was our turn the staff was letting us get right up close to really get the scent.  We leaned in and took a long breath in through our noses.  Not much.  Just a faint unpleasantness.  A staff member we chatted with told us that first thing in the morning it had been downright offensive.  With the greenhouse door open to visitors all day and the bloom fading, the smell had dwindled.

I Need This Plant For Medicinal Purposes.

 In the African Pavilion the gorillas sometimes have a strong scent coming from their exhibit.  It is probably just Charles letting us know that this is his domain.  After over 40 years at the zoo Charles, we know you are large and in charge.  The zoo had grains of paradise growing in the greenhouse.  The plant acts as an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory for the gorillas.

Yo Homes Smell Ya Later.

A hockey bag mid season?  A dead mouse under your porch in the summer?  The gaur pavillion?  Maybe if we had been there when it first bloomed the titan arum may have been the strongest smell at the zoo.  We still give our vote to the gaur, but we have got our noses on you too little marmosets.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo (Indo-Malaya Pavilion) , Toronto Zoo (Americas Pavilion) , Toronto Zoo (African Rainforest Pavilion) , Toronto Zoo (Gaur Pavilion)
Toronto Zoo Greenhouse

Post # 227

Friday, 20 July 2018

Brisbane & The Machine

Wintergarden Facade.

Location: Brisbane, Australia
Address:  Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Date: May 2012
Website:  www.brisbane.qld.gov.au

  We found ourselves walking around Brisbane in the evening while we were in Australia.  The first night we were looking for somewhere good to eat.  We headed south and ended up at the Queen Street Mall.  It is a pedestrian only road with many stores and restaurants.  It also has a pixel light display above one portion of the street.  We were looking for somewhere nice to sit and relax and enjoy a meal after a long day.

It's Hungry Jack's Mate.

  One restaurant caught our eye.  It had a familiar logo.  This is Hungry Jack's and is the Australian franchise of Burger King.  Another hamburger chain was already operating as Burger King when the American company decided to expand down under so a different name was chosen.  We didn't really feel like a Whopper so we continued our search.

Jo-Jo's Over The Rainbow.

  We turned around and there were people enjoying dinner on a balcony.  A little rainbow lead the way upstairs.  This is Jo-Jo's and we decided to check it out.

Number 60 At Jo-Jo's

  We were given a number card on a stand.  We were told to put it on our table and then we could go to the stations to choose what we wanted to eat.  You had to pay at the stations and then someone would bring your food to you back at your table.  This was the first time we encountered this service, but it was common in many places around Australia.  We enjoyed our dinner and then took a stroll around Brisbane.

Number 11 Balcony Seating At Jo-Jo's

  The next night we didn't try too hard to find a new place to eat.  It was back to Jo-Jo's.  This time we ended up on the balcony and held card number 11.  We now knew how the routine worked.  After dinner we went for a little walk again.

Queen Street Mall.

  We walked out of the restaurant and noticed a lot of people headed south along Albert Street. We decided to head south as well.  We were curious where everyone was going.  As we walked we noticed more and more people.  Soon we reached the gates of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.

In The Park After Dark.

We decided to follow the crowds into the park and see where they would lead us.  It was very dark in the gardens and we could barely see the strange trees around us.  Maybe they were doing fireworks in the river? 

Old Government House.

  We went deeper into the gardens.  Some people rushed past us.  On the edge of the garden was an old building.  This is Old Government House.  It was built in 1862 and was Queensland's first public building.  We went a little further and could hear music.  Then we were at the gates of the Riverstage.  This was the end of the line for us and we would wonder no more.  The tables selling merchandise told us that British act Florence & the Machine were playing a concert that night.  Mystery solved.  We do enjoy the band's music and would have loved to stay for a show, but we had another busy day planned tomorrow and no tickets.  Instead we fought our way back against the flow of Florence fans and past Jo-Jo's one last time

Map of Our World
Hungry Jack's (Brisbane) , Jo-Jo's
Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Old Government House

Post # 221