King Street Station, Seattle

The first time I entered the King Street Station in Seattle was when I stepped off the “Coast Daylight/Starlight in 1973.”  A couple of days later Suzi and I got on the “Pacific International” to head to Vancouver.  The impression the station left me was of a dark cave.  The ceilings were too low, made of acoustic tile.  It was a chintzy modern interior that … Continue reading King Street Station, Seattle

Sitka In Solidarity

I have not seen anything like it in Sitka.  Estimates vary from a low of 500 to nearly 1,000 people marching respectfully.  I saw people for all sorts of different causes from all walks of life, and many different persuasions.  We gathered as people made signs, than we marched, well it was more like a stroll, from the Crescent Harbor Shelter, around the St. Michael’s … Continue reading Sitka In Solidarity

The Church of St Lot and St Procopius

I have one final post from Jordan.  The Church of St Lot and St Procopius is located about 3 miles from Mt. Nebo in the municipality of Khirbet Mukhayyat.  The church was built in 557 and has almost intact mosaics of daily life.  It also has some fantastic figures, like seahorses.  It is near to the major tourist attractions of Mt. Nebo and St. George, … Continue reading The Church of St Lot and St Procopius

King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

I am home in Sitka and will have the pleasure of looking out my window across Jamestown Bay and to the Gulf of Alaska or a little to the westward toward our volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe.  We have had two consecutive glorious sunrises.  The last two mornings the sunrise has reminded me exactly why I live here.  But for the past two weeks the view from … Continue reading King Abdullah Mosque, Amman

Amman’s Other Christmas Souk

I have just finished my work in Jordan.  I have completed my interviews and typed up my notes.  I will put off writing my report until after Christmas.  So now I am sitting in a hotel waiting for a taxi pickup in less than 5 hours and my thoughts are turning to Christmas, seeing my children and grandchildren, and, of course “The Battery Exchange.”  I … Continue reading Amman’s Other Christmas Souk

Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets came late to the UK.  It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas.  Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style.  Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, came to the UK there was always Covent Garden with its stalls and decorations and Regent Street moving out from Piccadilly Circus. (Below are some … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Reflections On Turning 70

This is supposed to be one of those “milestone” birthdays.  Even the Bible mentions it, ominously. “Three Score and Ten” is the measure of man’s life.  But I’m not feeling like I’ve passed a milestone.  Other birthdays were different. When I turned 7 I felt that I had finally made it, out of first grade, into second.  I got a Roy Rogers sweat shirt for … Continue reading Reflections On Turning 70

Sitka Christmas Artisans’ Market, 2015

This year we didn’t make it to any of the European Christmas Markets, but Sitka has a fine Artisans’ Market in Allen Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus.  Sponsored by the Greater Sitka Arts Council it is a great opportunity to buy gifts while supporting local artists.  They sell wine but what the Sitka market really needs is Gluwein, the mulled wine sold at … Continue reading Sitka Christmas Artisans’ Market, 2015

Paul Allen Meets Frank Gehry in Seattle.

The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair was designed to show us a future built on cheap hydropower.  It was the world of the future from the Space Needle to the Monorail.  Many old world’s fair sites look like the past’s idea of a future that turned out quite differently.  The Seattle site has fared better than most.  The Space Needle is iconic and while monorails never … Continue reading Paul Allen Meets Frank Gehry in Seattle.

Home of Phoebe Snow

The Beaux Arts Lackawanna railway station in Hoboken, New Jersey went up in 1907, built at the site of an old ferry landing.  It was designed as an intermodal transportation hub serving trains, ferries, and street cars.  Today there are no street cars but you can add light rail, the PATH Tube (a subway rapid transit system between New York and New Jersey) and busses. … Continue reading Home of Phoebe Snow

You Have Built It, But Will They Come? St. Paul Union Depot

When I was in college I became familiar with St. Paul’s Union Depot.  I took Great Northern’s Western Star for spring break skiing in Whitefish, Montana.  The Star was Great Northern’s ‘ “second train.”  I couldn’t afford the flagship Empire Builder.  On shorter holidays, like Thanksgiving, Suzi’s family hosted several of her college friends who lived far away from Minnesota, including me, for Thanksgiving.  We … Continue reading You Have Built It, But Will They Come? St. Paul Union Depot

A Train Trip through Bavaria.

This trip I decided to spend two jet lag nights in Munich, or rather Freisling, a small town near the airport.  This time I decided to take the train from Freisling to Fussen and the onward bus to Hohenschwangu and Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein (New Swan Rock) Castle.  I priced out second class rail and bus connections at €58 but the lady at the ticket … Continue reading A Train Trip through Bavaria.

On the Bridge of MS Prinsendam

March 9, 2015 St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Not every Holland America officer likes serving on Prinsendam; at least that’s what our American Express representative tells me.  It has an old fashioned bridge, different from the other ships.  The newer ships have, what airline pilots call, a glass cockpit.  You sit surrounded by monitors and can control everything on the ship with the flip of … Continue reading On the Bridge of MS Prinsendam

Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

February 19, 2015, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Carnival is over but in Salvador it ends later than in Rio, and Salvador claims it throws a bigger party than Rio, which bills its carnival as “The biggest party in the world.” In Salvador the carnival, according to the books I have read, revolves around blocos, or block parties, that have become movable feasts.  Bands played on stages, … Continue reading Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

Joyful Apocalypse,

February 16, 2015 Carnival in Rio. We were on our feet dancing for the entire performance of the Mocidade Samba School at the Sambodormo in Rio for Carnival.  This group was clearly a crowd favorite.  When they were announced thousands of people with the school’s flag started waving them and chanting in the stands across from us.  It was magic. It helped that we could … Continue reading Joyful Apocalypse,

Carnival in Rio!

February 16, 2015 Rio Sambodormo is the epicenter of Carnival.  It is a street lined by concrete bleachers, 13 grandstands plus reviewing stands, holding 90,000, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, who designed the city of Brasilia and major soccer stadiums.  The 12 major samba schools perform on the Sunday and Monday of Carnival in a completion to see which school is the champion.  (On Friday and … Continue reading Carnival in Rio!

The Girl in Ipanema

February 15, 2015 Rio Dear Friends, Anyone who has traveled in India, North Africa or the Middle East knows the ritual of a visit to Uncle Tonoose’s carpet shop.  In South America there is a VERY upscale version of that trip.  H. Stern Jewelers is based in Rio with stores internationally.  In Latin America a favorite of many tourists is the H Stern Shuttle.  It … Continue reading The Girl in Ipanema