It was my first overnight in London, a mere 18 hours to soak in the ambiance before I re-entered the United States after a three month absence. I was searching for a curry shop, and I found Trafalgar Square.
When you’re out for a hike and you see a mushroom like this, you immediately think of gnomes. At least I do. I had the good fortune to take a trip last fall as part of my annual SATW Conference to Germany’s Black Forest. It’s been on my life list for hiking. After a day hike near Baden-Baden, our group was transported to Baiersbronn, a major jumping-off point for hiking in the Black Forest, so we could enjoy a rather rugged day hike in the deep dark woods. It’s the land of fairy tales, that’s for sure. And I’d like to spend a few weeks in here. Next time. Meanwhile, the gnomes have it to themselves when no one else is looking.
Easter is Greece is a joyous time, a season of rebirth and renewal. Spending Easter with my sisters on the island of Corfu was very special for me, since it is the one place in Greece that truly goes all out with all aspects of the celebration. The culmination of Easter evening services is the lighting of the candles at midnight as Easter arrives. The lights spread quickly across the city. Watching from a friend’s balcony on the Liston, it was a moving scene.
When Sally and I went to Santorini, I was blown away by the geological delights of the places. Just being in the Cyclades was fun enough, but to be roaming about a massive volcano that was still huffing and puffing at its core … call us crazy, but there we were. After enjoying the delights of Oia and the far shores, we took a boat trip to the cinder cone in the middle of the caldera, which is filled by the sea. From the rim above, it didn’t look so massive as it did when we got off the boat and began to ascend. George, as the locals call it, spewed out sulfur in fumaroles and deposited crystals of yellow, pink, and orange all over the bubbly basaltic rocks.
In honor of my Mom’s birthday today, here’s a couple of happy birds from Vogelpark Marlow. I visited this “Bird Zoo” during my trip to Germany last fall and was enchanted by the uniqueness of the concept – and the free-flying birds within the many aviaries, this one focused on parakeets and cockatiels. Mom’s always been fond of birds and had parakeets when she was a kid. Happy birthday, Mom!
It was a tough climb, a switchbacked scrabble of lava scree that only donkeys traverse with tourists atop, but we were out of season, and on a mission. The sacred space of Ancient Akroteri, soaring on a mountaintop jutting out of the volcanic ash that defines Santorini, called. And indeed, in the clouds and soaring spaces atop the mountain we found ancient magic. Ruins and runes, petroglyphs and waving poppies that seemed suspended in space and time. It was not an easy place to leave.
One of the more intriguing hikes I’ve taken in the past year was along the Weinwanderweg – translation, “Wine wander way” – in the vineyard-covered hillsides outside Stuttgart, Germany. Now the adventures had that day are worthy of a feature story sometime soon, but the concept of hiking from winery to winery through the vineyards: wow. Talk about the ultimate in farmland hiking. True to its name, the trail led us through vineyards and into villages where wine tastings awaited.