Posts Tagged 'vacation'

Places worth revisiting – Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary in the 1980s was an amazing mashup of historic buildings, hills in the distance, and armed Soviet guards in the subways. The subways had massively steep inclines, which were miserable in the snow of January. The electric trolleys were a different shape than they are in the States, with speedy reflexes on your part being your only hope of jumping safely on and off. No one seemed to speak English, and German was the only common language I had with the shopkeepers.

The city was beautiful, the people seemed friendly, and it’s just one of those places that is worth a revisit, even if it’s only in my daydreams.

  1. Fabulous monuments like the Fischerbastei. Here’s an aerial view (from the sky: look at the turrets hugging the cliff)
  2. Amazing churches that show the blend of historic influences on their walls, like Matthiaskirche
  3. A Dominican cloister preserved within the walls of the local Hilton hotel (we stared at the ancient well through the windows)
  4. Hotel Gellert (I really don’t know how the tour afforded to book us here, but we loved gawking at the spa and mineral baths,but weren’t brave enough to go in among all the businessmen in towels)
  5. The Central market, with its garlic vendors, rabbit hutches, and more fruit pyramids than I’d seen before
  6. And of course, the Hungarian National Gallery in the Royal Palace

So, if you could go back to someplace you visited in your youth — where and why? (Yes, this is the sort of stuff I think about while commuting. Much better than thinking bad words at people who don’t use turn signals.)

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911 Memorial, Jersey City, NJ

My Internet (and I think everyone else’s Internet) was down most of last week. But I still want to post a picture of the Empty Sky (9/11) Memorial that is in Liberty State Park. So much to see there, with the Statue of Liberty in the distance, and NYC in front of you. But the memorial creates an amazing portal into the past. Clean lines, framing what isn’t there anymore.

Empty Sky memorial, close up

Empty Sky memorial, close up

Names are etched on the inside walls, there is a berm/hill on either side. And while very plain, it reflects the sky, it reflects the mood of the day, it isn’t static.

Several brides were having their photos taken at the park, with the beautiful skyline behind them (or in front of the area where immigrants first stood on the US mainland after being on Ellis Island). There’s still damage to the park from Superstorm Sandy, but the park continues on, providing a unique frame for the story of immigrants, tragedy, and rebirth that defines who we think we are here in the 50 States.

On a less somber note, if you’re ever wondering if there’s a place to eat with a view of the New York skyline, try out Liberty House Restaurant. Good food, lovely views. Well worth getting reservations on a summer day when you can sit outdoors and watch the sailboats in the river.

Sand between the toes

Our vacation was lovely. I’ll probably have more pictures up eventually.

We’ve:

  • tutlewalkPicked up seashells.
  • Hung out with friends, and watched their children play in the sand.
  • Watched sea turtles [Link] escape from their nest (with help from the turtle ladies who patrol the beaches).*
  • Fought the waves (well, more the Gardener than me).
  • Eaten more than our fair share of popcorn.
  • And bummed around a town 20 minutes away from the seashore.

If you ever want a lovely vacation, spending the time with friends, it’s great to rent 2 houses on the shore. We had massive cook offs for over 15 people at a time. Our friends are good cooks, and we sorted out kitchen duty before we drove south.

* By the end of one vigil, we were well-educated, and now we will never, ever use white lights to look at baby sea turtles, because they get distracted and won’t go to the ocean or down their little turtle walkway (created in this case by humans to funnel baby loggerheads down to the ocean). Wait — you don’t believe me about the walkway? It’s a bit difficult to see in the sand [in the picture on the right], but there are two regular walls of sand on either side of a nice, easy path to the shoreline. Right by the red cooler (for scooping up turtles that need help), there is a line of stones stuck in the sand, marking where the nest is buried. There is also a slight barricade to keep people from walking directly onto the dunes where the turtle eggs are hidden.

More about the art scene in Raleigh, NC later.

A knitter’s vacation

I spent 3 days solid, without real computer access, ignoring the television. And, in the mornings I hiked in the desert, then knit in the shade in my own private window porch, complete with a small table, chair, and bench. 3 lucky days spent in Arizona (Wild Horse Pass Resort — really nice). I tagged along and got a real vacation.

My own little roost — just me and the pigeons next door (and the view of more mountains in the distance, over miles of scrub, sand, and barrel cacti):

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After lunch there was the option of swimming in an 85°F pool, while gazing out at the mountains in the distance (If my math is right, I think that’s 28°C), going to a spa, or retreating to the library to read about local history when it was too hot outdoors. What lovely options to choose from, when the weather I left at home was 32°F/0°C, with sleet.

Back from a land of beautiful sunsets

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Arizona, outside of Phoenix. In March, it’s a beautiful place. I’ve been to Phoenix during later parts in the season, and it’s too hot for me, but mid-March is just about right (swimming outdoors, wearing a short-sleeved shirt, doing everything I won’t be able to do until June around here). I’ll post more photos once I’m mentally “unpacked”. 🙂


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