Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

The Notre-Dame parish in Montreal is closely mixed in with all of Montreal's history, starting as far back as 1642. Prior to holding services in the current one services were held in a modest wooden building. Construction on the existing stone church with its towers and bells began in 1824. Even through gray skies...impressive towers reach far overhead.

Inspiration for interior came from the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.

Many of the stained glass windows depict scenes of Montreal's social and religious history. Images were brought to life at Francis Chigot's workshop in Limoges, France. Ceilings were not forgotten and are equally as beautiful.

Images, sculptures and countless stained glass windows at the sanctuary and altar illustrate the Eucharist, Melchisedech offering bread and wine, Moses placing an urn full of manna in the Ark of the Covenant, Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son Issac, Aaron sacrificing a lamb and Mary being crowned by her Son. Angels in adoration are depicted as well as The Last Supper. So impressive...and so humbling.

With 7,000 pipes, four keyboards and 99 stops the organ high above at the rear was built in 1891. Modified only a few times since then, I can attest to the magnificent sound it produces.

If you are ever in Montreal this is worth a trip...for beauty, relaxation and rejuvenation of spirit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stop the Itch

Just how much stuff do you pack that you may not need? On the other side, how many times have you wished for something you left at home because you just didn't think you would need it?

I am always looking for multipurpose items. Recently I came across a suggestion from a fellow traveler. Did you know your solid antiperspirant deodorant will work to stop itching from bug bites? She says it does. I haven't tried it yet...but I'm keeping it in mind in case I get a bug bite! You just need to swipe your bite with the deodorant stick and the itch goes away.

Try it sometime and let me know if it works for you.

Monday, September 20, 2010


On California's Gold, a program about various interesting points in California, this tree was highlighted. Listed as one of the most famous trees in California, hundreds if not thousands visit it every year.

Know where it is located?

Friday, September 17, 2010


A friend forwarded on some wisdom from her uncle. This simple message works in life as well as in how you travel.

A pencil maker told each pencil five important lessons before putting it the box.

1. Everything you do will always leave a mark.

2. You can always correct the mistakes you make.

3. What is important is what is inside of you.

4. In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings, which will only make you better.

5. To be the best pencil you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Credit Cards and Travel

When preparing for your next trip, you probably put a credit card or two in your wallet or purse. Right? Have you ever been in a foreign country or a city far from home and that credit card was denied? You know you have an ample what happened?

Here are some things to do that may prevent that from happening...

Call the credit card company to let them know where and when you will be traveling. This way it will not look like unusual or suspicious activity to the company. In turn they will not cancel or close your account!

Check your credit card's transaction fees when using that card abroad. Some charge a percentage of withdrawals or transactions.

Check your credit card's rate of interest when using it abroad.

You may want to check with your bank to see if they offer one with no fees.

Do consider using a credit card for purchases over $100. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act of 1974 if there are any products purchased that are not as fully described, you will be able to recover the cost from the credit card supplier or retailer.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vineyard Magic

Rows preparing for fall...

Some grapes preparing for harvest...

Some grapes playing a waiting game...

Cave entrance at Failla Winery...

Cave entrance at Steltzner Winery...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beach Time

When is your favorite time to head to the beach? This star fish was caught between the rocks at low tide.

Is it low tide when you can find all kinds of shells, rocks, critters and stuff?

Or is it when the tide is coming or going...and the waves are crashing?

Maybe you like the beach no matter what the tide is doing...

Just listening is soothing in its own way.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Traveling with Kids

When thinking about traveling this fall or over the holidays with kids...keep these thoughts in mind.

Airport security is always time consuming. Remember even kids need to remove shoes, jackets, sweaters and empty their pockets. Plus, their carry-on bags also need to be placed on the belt to be looked at by the TSA Agents. With that in mind, it would be a good idea to allow more time to get through security.

Rolling backpacks now come in kid size. Even if you don't pack many clothes in one, they are great for snacks (no water until after security), books, etc.

Pack clothes that don't take up much room, ones that don't wrinkle, ones that are multi-purpose or ones you can hand wash and dry quickly.

Planes can be cold. Tie a jacket or sweater around their waist so they can get to it easily.

If you are using carry-on luggage only, have everyone wear their heaviest shoes and jackets. It makes the bags a little lighter.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

California's Diverse Coast

Along Pacific Beach, California sandy beaches stretch in front of rolling waves. Palm trees tirelessly watch over surfers all day.

America, because of its size, can feel like several countries all rolled into one. For example...the northern California coast varies greatly from the southern California coast.

Here along Bodega Bay, California waves crash over rock after rock.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Point Arena Lighthouse: A Guiding Light Since 1870

At six feet tall, this first order Fresnel Lens is the largest Fresnel Lens ever made. Using a clockwork mechanism it provided a double flash every six seconds. That mechanism which turned the lens was lubricated by liquid mercury. Since mercury is now considered a hazardous waste, that mechanism will not be reactivated.

Lenses such as these were used in lighthouses all along the California coast to warn ships of the unsuspecting rocky shoreline. Roughly 90 miles north of San Francisco, this stretch of the Mendocino coast is home to one of the tallest lighthouse towers in the west. Dramatically perched on a narrow peninsula, the Point Arena Lighthouse tower is 115 feet tall. Erected in 1870, destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and rebuilt the following year, it was the first lighthouse to be made of steel and concrete.

The original Fresnel Lens was removed in 2008 and now resides in a museum at the base of the lighthouse.

Looking down from atop the Point Arena lighthouse, look in the upper right hand corner of this photo. That small white looking wave is actually water breaking over a tall rock formation called Arena Rock. Arena Rock is a mile long and a mere six feet under water. This point is difficult to navigate due to its currents, reefs and below the surface rocks. Thus a reason for lighthouses along this coast.

View of the copper roof looking up inside the lighthouse.

The Point Arena tower is the only Pacific west coast lighthouse of significant height you can climb all the way to the top. Narrow, spiral, see-through metal...did I mention spiral and narrow...steps lead you to the top. Once there the views are unrivaled. Plus for extra views, you can walk outside around the edge. The railing keeps you from falling. The wind buffets you against the walls.

See the whale bones in the museum's yard?

More spectacular downward views.

The current lens.