Serendipity on Route 7

My drive continued south from Bennington, Vermont, via RT 7 to Williamstown, Massachusetts. There I stayed for the night. I knew Williams College was located there. But while exploring the town, I came to this building and saw the huge banner. Upon further investigation, I was excited to discover the campus of Shakespeare & Company:

The Miller BldgDSC_0337 (1)Later I found out that the actor Christopher Reeve met his future wife Dana in Williamstown where they later married. Reeve began as an apprentice at age 15 with the Wiliamstown Theater Festival right in those venues and eventually performed there for fourteen more seasons.

I had the chance to talk to a woman who was working on the grounds and learned that, lo and behold, she was born in Alberta, Canada, my home province! Imagine a chance encounter with an Alberta born American thousands of miles away.

The Berkshires region is beautiful and cultural. I made a mental note to come back to Williamstown for its annual Theater Festival.

My original plan was just to drive south on RT 7 from Williamstown to Lenox to see the Edith Wharton House at The Mount, when another serendipitous find came upon me: Tanglewood Music Center. So here I was at the famous summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra on my way to Edith Wharton House.

The Koussevitzky Music Shed was named after the Russian-born conductor, composer and double-bassist, long-time music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924 to 1949:

TanglewoodI lingered at Tanglewood for quite some time, for the grounds were beautiful and offered magnificent views. Another mental note: I must come back for the Tanglewood Festival in the summer. :

viewAcross the road from Tanglewood, fall foliage began to emerge. That was October 7. I can imagine how beautiful it is now:

across from TanglewoodAnd finally, to The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home from 1902 – 1911. I knew she was a prolific novelist and short-story writer, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize (The Age of Innocence, 1921); later I learned too that she had been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature three times.

So I was a little surprised to find out from the tour guide at The Mount that she was also a house and landscape designer in her own right. Her book The Decoration of Houses is still used today by architects and designers.

Built as a writers retreat, The Mount reflects Wharton’s fondness of symmetry:

SymmetryWhat happened to the left side of the building? That makes it not symmetrical, you might ask. That’s the servants quarter which Wharton was willing to compromise her design principle.

Here’s another view why it’s called The Mount:

The MountI took a tour of both the inside as well as her gardens. Here’s one wall of her library:

One wallWell read in several languages since she was young, Wharton left these books behind  when she moved away to live in Paris the latter part of her life after the demise of her marriage. Her husband Edward had fallen into a state of dementia after lengthy bouts of depression and mental illness. The writer’s years at The Mount had not been as happy as its surroundings could offer her.

The Drawing Room:

The Drawing RoomDining Room, where Henry James was one of several usual guests:

Dining RoomBut where did she write? Not in the library, or at the desk in her room, but right in her bed. She had an assistant who would take her handwritten pages and type them up after her six hours of continuous writing every morning before she got out of bed. I’m sure Wharton would love to have a laptop:

Writing bed (1)And these other items I found interesting. Downton images conjured up in my mind. Typewriter, telephone, telegram:

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An original 1902 ice box, Daisy would love it but maybe not Mrs. Patmore. Give her some time to warm up:

Ice Box
A luggage lift. Definitely would be a fave among the footmen:

Luggage lift

And only after the tour did I find out, The Mount had given a Life Time Achievement Award to Julian Fellowes. The Downton creator had attributed Wharton as a major influence on his works, first Gosford Park (Oscar Best Original Screenplay, 2002) and then Downton Abbey. Speaking upon receiving the Award at the Harvard Club, Fellowes noted that he was particularly inspired by Wharton’s “… ability to judge without feeling the need to condemn.”

I bought the book The Custom of the Country in the gift shop and only just now did I learn that it is being adapted into a TV mini-series, with Scarlett Johansson playing the anti-heroine, Undine Spragg. This will mark Johansson’s first TV role.

As for Julian Fellowes’ new work? I eagerly await. After visiting The Mount, I can see what a natural shift it is for him to create an American version of Downton. The Gilded Age should be a smooth sequel.

From Lenox, I began the last leg of my New England Road Trip. I headed east on I90, a breezy 2.5 hrs. drive back to Wayland, the suburb outside Boston, thus completing the loop and a memorable journey. An item checked off my bucket list.

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Vermont: More than Scenery

Vermont has so much to offer on top of the scenery. But I’ll start with that.

The hills are alive overlooking a breathtaking view of the distant Green Mountains. That was what attracted the von Trapp Family to settle there. Right, that’s the Family von Trapp of The Sound of Music fame. Goerg and Maria moved to Vermont in 1941 and bought a 300 acre farm near Stowe, as that location reminded them of their native Austria. There on the mountain top they started a guest lodge and had since developed into what is now an upscale resorts on 2,500 acres.

The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT, owned and operated by the eldest son of Maria and Georg von Trapp:

Trapp Family LodgeJust 36 miles west of Stowe was Lake Champlain on the edge of Burlington, a vibrant college town. The Lake is a large body of fresh water, once called the sixth of the Great Lakes. It borders the States of Vermont, New York and stretches up north to Quebec, Canada.

At the pier of Lake Champlain:

Lake ChamplainI totally get how this boat is named:

DSC_0096I took the Vermont scenic drive Rt. 100 and headed south from Stowe. My destination was Bennington in the southwest corner of the State.

Not far from Stowe I arrived at Waterbury, a town with lots of restaurant choices for such a small place. I visited two major tourist sites there.

Just off RT 100 was the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, and they sure were prepared for the hundreds of visitors on the day I was there. A well organized and informative factory tour let me see how two college buddies’ $50 investment on an online ice cream making course had come to fruition. What’s impressive is their commitment to use supplies from local farms and cows that are steroids-free. A fair trade business to ensure global responsibility. (no, I don’t get a buck for writing this.)

Product MissionIn contrast, not far from the madding crowd at Ben & Jerry’s was the serene Waterbury Reservoir. When I got there it was already past sunset. So glad I could still take these photos:

Waterbury Reservoir

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Reservoir

Continued on Vermont Rt. 100 south I came by this most interesting site in the fields outside the small town of Waitsfield, population: 1,719 (2010). Here I found The Big Picture Theater, screening The Martian:

DSC_0103Two posters at the door caught my attention:

Kickstarter FFDownton Talk

One was a “Kickstarter Film Festival”. An indie film festival in this area? I was most impressed.

Another poster was about a talk on “The Costumes of Downton Abbey”. Here’s what the poster says if you can’t see it clearly (above right):
“Jule Emerson, former Costume Designer and Theater Professor at Middlebury College will discuss the fashions worn by Lady Mary and her family in the popular PBS series Downton Abbey. Free and Open to the Public”

No place is too remote for films and the Crawleys.

Rt. 100 offered some fall scenery very different from NH. I was attracted by the clumps of trees in distant hills along the road. It was a cloudy day, so instead of seeing bright and cheery foliage, I was captivated by the moody atmosphere. Just as beautiful:

Moody

Before arriving at Bennington, I stopped by South Shaftsbury to visit Robert Frost Stone House Museum. Frost bought the stone house and its 80 acres land in 1920, moving from the White Mountains in NH to warmer Vermont mainly for “a better place to farm and especially grow apples.” Aren’t we glad that he threw in some poems as well in his time-off from apple-picking.

In this fertile soil Frost not only gathered apples but poetic harvests as well. In the Stone House, there’s a “Stopping by Woods” Room where the Poet wrote his most famous “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” A facsimile of the handwritten manuscript and many other pertinent materials – parody included – were displayed. Trust my words. I didn’t want to get caught taking pictures in a ‘Photography Forbidden’ premises.

I did take photos outside of Frost’s Stone House:

Frost's Stone Houseand his juicy legacy, the apple tree in front of the house:

DSC_0205From Shaftsbury I drove the few blocks to Bennington, There at the back of the First Congregational Church was the cemetery where Robert Frost was buried.

Yes, the sky was that blue that day:

DSC_0270Frost’s grave gathered no pens or pencils as I saw in Authors Ridge of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord ; instead, people have left pennies there. If they were meant to be tributes to the Poet, it’s simply mind boggling to see how people could think a penny would suffice. Allow me to offer a little alteration to a common saying, standing in front of Frost’s grave: If you don’t have anything poetic to leave there, don’t leave anything.

DSC_0251Coming up: my last stop, Lenox, MA.

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Finally, Fall Foliage

This was a fall foliage road trip after all, albeit I must say I’d thoroughly enjoyed the coastal scenery in Maine.

New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest offered some magnificent sights. Last heard, there’s snow in NH and Vermont. So I’m all thankful for even getting a glimpse of maybe just 40% of fall foliage before the white stuff cometh.

The trees were lovely at the White Mountain National Forest Visitors Center:

WMNF Visitors CenterThere, I learned that a portion of the Appalachian Trail passed nearby. I told myself, I must experience that.

Appalachian TrailI stepped onto the path of the relatively difficult trail (for me anyway), just to have a taste and to see how challenging it was. To make a short story even shorter, I only stayed for a little while. Here’s a view looking upward while there:

Looking UpwardI’d asked for recommendation for an easy walk to a scenic point and was given instructions to the 64 ft. drop of the Glen Ellis Falls at Pinkham Notch; now that’s much better. I’ll leave the Appalachian Trail to the adventurous, like Redford and Nolte:

Glen Ellis Falls

To continue on westward to Vermont, I’d read that I must take the Kancamagus Highway for the magnificent views. And so I did. Driving the 34 miles on the scenic route from Conway to Lincoln, NH, is one of the highlights of my trip. Here are some views of the foliage along The Kanc, as the locals call it.

Kancamagus Hwy

The KancCar-stopping view:

Car stopping viewsOnward to Vermont, some picturesque country roads as well:

Scenic Dr

More about Vermont to be continued…

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Orange is the Primary Colour

Driving from coastal Maine westward to New Hampshire, the foliage colours began to change a bit more. Even though I was totally enjoying myself along the coast, I did look forward to seeing some fall foliage as I moved inland.

I drove from Rockport to Maine’s capital Augusta, then continued on some small country roads towards Bethel and Gilead before crossing the State line to Gorham, New Hampshire. It was a pleasure driving through these more remote parts of the country, for the routes offer some gratifying scenery:

Driving thru MaineCountry road in MaineBut it was the colour orange on the ground that caught my eyes. From afar, they were tiny orange dots in the field:

Tiny orange dots on the groundA bit closer I knew, of course, that was a pumpkin patch. And it was orange that would be the predominant colour everywhere, in towns and in the country.

On flatbeds and wagons:

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DSC_0509

wagonfull

Or laid out neatly in arrays on grass:

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arrays

In various shapes and forms:

DSC_0508At door fronts, entrances, in hanging baskets and shop windows:

EntrancesHanging Basket

DSC_0544 (1)

DSC_0420

DSC_0549

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Or in the form of pumpkin people:

DSC_0552DSC_0784Or as pumpkin elves like these two sitting outside Elf Academy:

DSC_0617

No wonder there’s a shortage of pumpkins in the U.S. as the demand is so high. With recent crops diminished by record rain, there arose a pumpkin shortage. Help is on the way though. Here’s a recent headline on CBC News Business section:

“Canadian pumpkin patches poised to fix U.S. lack-o’-lanterns problem.”

What are neighbors for?

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This is my Saturday Snapshot October 17 entry. Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

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Camden, ME: A Gem of a Town

The scenic drive from Rockport (last post) led me to the town of Camden where I was welcomed with free parking everywhere. A walk down the streets could make you feel you’re stepping right into a movie set.

Camden's Main Street

Camden's Street

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Camden Harbor

But the stunning view came later when I drove up to the summit of Mt. Battie in the Camden Hills State Park. There at the highest point of the town, a panorama of Penobscot Bay and its surrounding countryside was fully displayed:

The Summit

View from the top 3

VFTT6

View from the top 4That was the same breathtaking view a young aspiring poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950) beheld, inspiring her to write the famous poem “Renascence”. Her epiphany at the top of Mt. Battie set off a poetic expedition which eventually led the Poet to the literary summit of a Pulitzer in 1923. There on the mountain top was this plaque honoring ‘America’s finest lyric poet.’

Edna St. Vincent Millay Plaque“And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.
I screamed, and—lo!—Infinity
Came down and settled over me…”

– lines from “Renascence”

Every time I feasted my eyes and mind, my stomach would in turn crave for my attention. So after a lingering at this inspiring site, I went down the slope back to town and found my way to the popular Cappy’s Chowder House. There I had the best chowder of my life: A Lobster/Oyster/Mussel/Seafood Chowder, yes, all of them in a Cappy’s cup for $9.99

Best ChowderAll substanceA good finish to a rewarding day.

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Lobster, Lobster

In pouring rain I drove north from Wayland, MA on Interstate 95 to Portland, Maine, about 120 miles. As I came close to the city, anxiously looking for exits with the car wipers at the fastest speed, I saw a sign in a distance with a digital message. I strained to check out what it was saying, could be crucial information. Soon I got close enough to read this alert: “Rain Pounding on Road” Thanks. That was helpful.

A bit later after I exited and entering Portland, I was met with another warning sign: “Flash flooding in some intersections”. Thanks again. Which ones?

After a few tense moments, we found our way to an Arabica Café, calmed down with a latté and regrouped. In this weather, no sight-seeing around town was possible, so might as well drive to our next destination, a must-see, pounding rain or not. That’s New Harbor in the eastern tip of Maine, about 70 miles from where we were. What’s the bait? Lobster of course… and, Kevin Costner.

Earlier on I came across the website epicurious (love the name), Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf in New Harbor was listed as one of their 7 favorite lobster shacks in Maine, and the tidbit that it’s one of the filming locations of the movie Message In A Bottle. So obviously, the motivation to get me driving all that 70+ miles in the rain under a dark grey sky was not just the lobster but Kevin Costner… oh, throw in Paul Newman as well.

Here’s the place at the end of a long and winding road along coastal Maine in fading daylight:

Shaw's Fish & Lobster WharfA view from the dock:

Costner New HarborInside the bar, a movie poster:

Movie PosterProduction Photosand some production photos (See Paul Newman in the middle?)

Since it was getting late, we decided to take out instead of eat there. And so we did, heading out to our rental car with two cooked live lobsters (oxymoron?), drawn butter, paper plates, and a lobster cracker kindly thrown in for us, all for $30. Not a bad deal.

Just as we congratulated ourselves on our triumphal exit with lobsters and Costner poster photo, we saw the iPhone on which we’d so depended for its GPS to be not in service. Now we had to find our way out of this remote place before darkness totally engulfed us. It’s not as easy as you might think. It felt like forever for us to find our way back to the main road and headed north for another 40 miles to our motel in Rockport. It seemed a much longer drive when you had two cooked live lobsters in the back seat.

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Another seafood restaurant I can whole-heartedly recommend is Archer’s on the Pier in Rockland, ‘the lobster capital of the world’. Just a 12-minute drive south of our motel in Rockport, Archer’s lobster is one of the best I’ve tasted for as long as I can remember. Of course a bit pricier than Costner’s place, but well worth it with all the extras, corn cob, coleslaw…

ArchersArcher's Livethe location and the view:

Archer's deck

A tasty catch

Archer's view

I haven’t seen much fall foliage yet but that’s ok. It’s been a delicious journey so far.

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A New England Fall Foliage Road Trip

Just came back from a ‘Thelma and Louise’ kinda road trip with my cousin to Northeastern United States. Kinda but not exactly, for obvious reason: I’ve come back, bearing photos and a foliage report that says it’s not too late to head out even now.

According to locals, due to the warm, extended summer days, foliage change has delayed by about a week. I started my drive in late September to the first week of October, and I’d say the foliage color change was from 10% to 40%, depending on the locale.

Here’s the itinerary of my travels:

Wayland, MA –> Portland, ME –> Rockport / Camden, ME –> N. Conway, NH –>
Stowe, VT –> Williamstown, MA –> Wayland, MA

I’ll be posting interesting sights I encountered during this trip. Here’s my first entry.

Walden Pond

I started from Wayland, MA, a suburb about 30 mins. drive west of Boston. Walden Pond is just 6.2 miles north of Wayland. In pursuit of solitude, to taste the bare essence and to ‘suck out the marrow of life’, Henry David Thoreau cleared some trees in the woodlands owned by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, built a 10′ x 15′ cabin and on July 4, 1845, began to live there by the Pond, an experience that lasted two years, two months and two days.

A stone-throw from the parking lot of the Walden Pond State Reservation is a replica of Thoreau’s cabin. A friendly ranger greeted me:

Thoreau's Cabin

Inside the cabin were the bare necessities, a bed, a table, a desk, three chairs: “one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

Interior

As for the Pond, it was pure serenity. As for fall foliage, I could only see it in my mind’s eye:

Walden Pond

So you could imagine my surprise to see beaches and swimmers. But of course, this is now a National Park, and it’s summer still:

Swimmers at the beach

The day was September 28, the few autumn leaves reminded me that transition of the seasons was indeed happening, however slowly:

Autumn Leaves

As I walked around the lake, a sign pointed me to the actual site of Thoreau’s cabin in the woods:

Actual Site

And beside it, these famous words of his:

To live deliberately

But nowhere could I find a sign posting this other quote which I also admire, on the economy of work:

“For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands, and I found that, by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living.”

Don’t you just love his calculations?

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Saturday Snapshot February 22: Austen Doors and Windows

Continuing with the theme of doors and windows, let’s hop over to the UNESCO city of Bath. I was there twice. These are a few photos I took on those trips.

The beloved author Jane Austen lived there from 1801 – 1806 after her family moved from her birthplace Steventon when she was 26. Their first address was 4 Sydney Place:

4 Sydney PlaceNo 4 Sydney PlaceIn their last year in Bath the family moved to 25 Gay Street:

25 Gay Street

25 Gay Street

Down the road to No. 40 is the Jane Austen Centre:

40 Gay Street Jane Austen Centre

The Great Pump Room was a social hub in Austen’s day. Her observations there must have inspired her satirical descriptions of high society in Northanger Abbey. Now an elegant restaurant:

The Pump Room Entrance

Austen used Bath as the setting for her novel Persuasion. Milsom Street was a vibrant commercial area of shops and businesses in those days as in now. The first time Anne Eliot saw Captain Wentworth again was when he passed by a shop on Milsom Street.

Milsom StreetMilsom Streetscape  Here’s a modern day shop window, Milsom & Son, a music store:

Milsom & Son

No, Jane would not have stepped in there to shop for CD’s or DVD’s. But she would likely have gone into this place, Sally Lunn Bun, the oldest building in Bath dating back to 1482 and a business that was present in Jane’s time. There’s a Kitchen Museum in the basement of the restaurant:

Sally Lunn's Bun

Sally Lunn Bun entrance

How can I resist showing you what’s inside the door and window:

Sally Lunn Bun

You might like to explore more of Bath in my other posts Jane Austen’s Bath and Bath’s Persuasion in which I recorded my walking tour using the novel Persuasion as a guidebook.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. Click Here to see what others have posted.

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Saturday Snapshot February 15: Windows & Doors

By now, I’m sure many of you are tired of looking at white and greyish stuff, be it snow, or its liquid form. Let me take you on my escapade to Provence, France, and continue to bask in some warm colours.

This time, we’re looking at windows and doors. Again, they are photos from my trip to Avignon and Arles in the summer of 2010.

Blue Windows in ArlesShop windowAvignonSix windows in ArlesPink window

A shop window

Yellow windows2 blue windows

Now here’s the trick: Choose a photo. Look intensely at it for one minute then close your eyes and let the image imprint in your mind. When you reopen your eyes, I’m sure you won’t see white. Let’s just dream a little dream of warm summer daze.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

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Saturday Snapshot February 8: Cabin Fever continues…

The snow and cold persist. I’ve to revisit Southern France to assuage cabin fever. Here are more photos from my Provence travels in the summer of 2010.

Avignon, the historic centre of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages. Its Palais des Papes, or, Palace of the Popes, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Medieval Gothic architecture was designed as a fortress and palace, residence for the Popes. Six papal conclaves were held there in the 14th century.

Palais des PapesSigns pointing to others historic monuments:

Signs

The Bridge of Avignon, Pont St. Bénezet, or Pont d’Avignon, was built between 1177 – 1185, rebuilt in 1234 after it was damaged in a siege by Louise VIII, King of France. It was an important crossing over the Rhone River. Only four arches now remain:

Pont d'AvignonNot all serious history though… Right outside the Palais Des Papes, I saw an elephant doing Yoga:

Elephant outside Palace of the PopesA closer look:

Elephant doing YogaAnd in the town centre, this beautiful merry-go-round:

Entertainment in town centreAnd puppeteers getting ready for a skeleton show:

Street performersSnap back to reality… no elephant in the room or dancing skeleton. And it’s -16C outside. Just let me hop back on that merry-go-round…

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of Metro Mommy Reads.
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ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS.
DO NO COPY OR REBLOG

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Saturday Snapshot January 25: Cabin Fever

It’s January 25, and we’re deep in winter. I don’t need any more photos to remind me of our seasonal deal, snow and ice. Saw the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a couple of days ago. And Oh, how I need to unleash the Walter Mitty in me now, and let my mind zoom off to distant lands, warm, temperate, and colourful.

So here I am, travelling back to the summer of 2010, taking a road trip in Provence, France. A cure for cabin fever: I breath in the warm air, feast my eyes on colours and relive a most memorable family vacation.

We took a day trip from Avignon to Vaison la Romaine and Chateauneuf du Pape, passing through vineyards, stopping by markets.

A vineyard beside a 12th Century chapel in Vaison la Romaine:

Vineyard by 12th Century Chapel in Vaison

Grapes on vine

A street market. The colours … what a contrast to our wintry white and grey:

Street Market in Vaison

Colourful pots

Colours Colorful rolls

Motor carI like the kid here. What was he looking at?

The Kid

Or here, the yellow rose. Imagine opening your front door and be greeted by a cheerful, yellow rose:

The Yellow Rose

And the fan here. Just looking at it can cure cabin fever. Let your inner Walter Mitty take you for a ride:

The Fan

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ARTI OF RIPPLE EFFECTS. DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG.

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The Rant of the Armchair Traveller

From the comments in my last post, seems like Egyptology is a favorite subject of many, if not now, at least some time in our curious life. I’ve had the chance to visit Egypt twice during my travels to the Middle East. Since now is the warm month of May, kicking off the travelling season, and alas, since going anywhere far is a remote possibility for me at present, an armchair revisit is timely, if only to suppress burning wanderlust.

Here are some file photos from my last trip to Egypt five years ago. I only stayed in Cairo and its vicinity. But from my recent reading of Lord Carnarvon and Carter’s King Tut Tomb discovery, I regret I didn’t venture further to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. However, I did see the iconic King Tut’s mummy mask at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. Photography was forbidden, so no King Tut’s portrait here.

But I can show you another marvellous exhibit. In 1954, a Pharoah’s boat dating back four millenium was dug up in pieces and since reassembled. Beautifully showcased in another museum near the Great Pyramid of Giza. Photos were allowed here, but Arti’s pocket Lumix wasn’t enough to capture the magnificent whole. If you’re interested, click here to a full description.

Pharaoh’s Boat buried 26th Century B.C.

Another view:

The Pyramid and the Sphinx are probably what travellers go to Egypt for. While the Sphinx is a limestone statue of the mythical creature with the lion body and the human head, the Pyramid was piled up in stones. Can’t say which one is easier to make.

The oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is still standing, The Great Pyramid of Giza was built for the fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, a 20 year construction process which concluded around 2560 B.C. (Wikipedia data) As for Arti, no exact date was needed. Standing at the foot of the humungous pile of neatly stacked up stones was an experience itself.

The Great Pyramid of Giza

Not far from the Pyramid, The Sphinx:

The Pyramid and The Sphinx

A closer look… so what if I’ve lost a nose, I still stand sit after all these years:

Let the stones speak:

and the children listen:

We were travelling in a bus through the desert, and stopped for a view. Here are some other children I saw, took this picture through the window:

Mount Sinai, the legendary place Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. At the foot of the mountain range is St. Catherine’s Monastery:

 Man’s best friend. They wait without complaint:

The desert is mesmerizing regardless of the hour:

Desert moon at dusk

While I faithfully pick up mail for neighbors gone to Paris, or read with pleasure blog posts of your recent travels, I feel like jumping on the armchair bandwagon and join the massive global tourism movement. Ok everyone, I’m coming along.

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