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

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

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.


January 1-3, 2013, Sitka, Seattle and Ft. Lauderdale Dear Friends, I’m starting the adventure around South America sick.  We had Liam with us for Christmas and, like every little kid in a daycare, he brings home an assortment of bugs, nature’s little helper.  Fortunately we shipped most of our baggage to the ship mid-December by FedEx and all I had to pack was odds and … Continue reading Anticipation

Keansburg, A Living Museum “Down the Shore”… But Not Too Far.

When I was a kid I loved to go “Down the Shore.”  Well, when I was really young, not too far down– as far as Keansburg, New Jersey to be exact.  You have probably seen Keansburg.  When movie makers need a rundown kind of seedy Jersey Shore location they pick Keansburg.  One of James Gandolfini’s last movies “Down the Shore” was filmed, in part, there.  … Continue reading Keansburg, A Living Museum “Down the Shore”… But Not Too Far.

New York’s Deco Towers

Growing up we could see the New York Skyline from the back window of both my grandparents’ flat and from our flat, although the best view was from Grandma’s kitchen fire escape.  The Empire State and Chrysler buildings dominated the skyline.  When I moved to Ridgewood the favorite spot for “parking” was on a ridge overlooking the skyline.  Again, those two buildings were the focus … Continue reading New York’s Deco Towers

New York’s World Trade Center in transition.

It looks like a giant Klingon Bird of Prey has landed in the middle of the World Trade Center.  It’s the skeleton of a new railway station, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who says the design is that of a bird being released from a child’s hand.  Now, under construction, with welders sparks flying, it looks ominous, but I can see how, minus … Continue reading New York’s World Trade Center in transition.

St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

I love the iron and steel constructs built between the American Civil War and the First World War. Many were built by the railroads, the wonder train sheds of Europe. But the US has its share of railway architecture. The St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge is a magical construct of steel latticework. I never tire of taking a boat down to the bridge … Continue reading St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

A Professor, An Art Barn and A Lifetime of Enjoyment

Liberal Arts educations are often derided in the popular press today.  Today the reason for a college education seems to be to find a job not to find a life or a vocation.  I’ve never regretted the broad liberal arts education I got at St. Olaf College.  Sure, it gave me skills to function in the workplace but more than that it gave me insight … Continue reading A Professor, An Art Barn and A Lifetime of Enjoyment

Merry Christmas !! Pictures from Bethlehem.

Christmas Day — a good day to post pictures of Bethlehem.  The focal point of any visit to Bethlehem is Manger Square.  It is a pedestrian zone bordered by the Church of the Nativity, the Mosque of Omar, the Palestinian Peace Center and a wonderful falafel shop which also serves freshly squeezed orange juice.  Star Street, Nativity Street and Manger Street converge on the square. … Continue reading Merry Christmas !! Pictures from Bethlehem.

Christmas Eve, Shepherds’ Fields outside Bethlehem.

It’s Christmas Eve.  In the news we have constant reminders that “Peace on Earth” is still a hope not a fact.  This is evident at Shepherds’ Field outside Bethlehem where you can easily see the security apparatus that meanders around the hilltop where shepherds first heard “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” (assuming the angels sang in Latin).  The Franciscans control this hilltop and when we were … Continue reading Christmas Eve, Shepherds’ Fields outside Bethlehem.

Egyptian “Boardwalk” Towns, Sharm and Dahab.

It was not the boardwalk at Keansburg or Wildwood.  On the boardwalks in those Jersey Shore towns you won’t see a sign in the window of a hole in the wall shop that says “special, buy two bottles of Viagra, get one free. Genuine — illegally imported from the States.” Of course it’s called the corniche, and not boardwalk, on Naama Bay at Sharm el … Continue reading Egyptian “Boardwalk” Towns, Sharm and Dahab.

Barcelona Nouveau and Gaudi

I became interested in Art Nouveau living in Bratislava and within an hour of Vienna where Nouveau and Secession buildings captured my fancy.  Having seen them I needed to see some of the buildings of Antoni Gaudí .  The first 8 pics here are Gaudi buildings, including the Holy Family Cathedral, Sagrada Família, a must see in Barcelona and Casa Batilo and Casa Mila. I took … Continue reading Barcelona Nouveau and Gaudi

Crucifixion and Resurrection in Jerusalem.

You need a lot of faith to visit holy sites in the Holy Land.  The “upper room” where Jerusalem tells you the Last Supper took place was built by crusaders in 1099.  The gate the tour guide tells you Jesus entered on Palm Sunday was built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 1500s.  There are three sites that claim to be the Jesus baptism site.  … Continue reading Crucifixion and Resurrection in Jerusalem.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Metz

Modernist Marc Chagall, cubist Jacques Villon, and tachist Roger Bissière are all there, mixed with art from the Gothic, Renaissance and Romantic periods.  It’s the play of light on the works that I find so fascinating.  They are the stained glass windows in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Metz.  Gothic does away with the need for structural walls, allowing artists to work in walls of glass.  The … Continue reading St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Metz

King Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco

The only way to get into the King Hassan II Mosque, if you are not a Moslem, is on a guided tour.  It’s worth it.   The mosque is more than two football fields long and one wide.  I think St. Peters in Rome could easily fit inside if the roof were retracted for the dome.  It has a carved wooden roof of cyprus that is … Continue reading King Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco

Salt Pope, Krakow, Poland

I’m not sure of the theological meaning, but Pope John Paul II has been turned into a pillar of salt.  In Genesis it was Lot’s wife who became a saline pillar.  Her sin was looking back at Sodom, the home from which she was being evacuated by angels before its destruction. The Wieliczka mines in Krakow Poland are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We took … Continue reading Salt Pope, Krakow, Poland

Festa in Malta

Each town in Malta has its Festa, dedicated to the town’s patron and church.  Festa season runs from April to September.  Festa starts on Saturday with booths, food stands, fireworks and brass band concerts (a tradition carried over from the British Military) and lasts the weekend.  Zurrieq (Maltese is a language derived from Arabic) honored St. Catherine and it had its Festa while we were … Continue reading Festa in Malta