Category Archives: Travel

Roseville in Bloom

I saw the first rose on one of my walks through Central Park on a break from work and wondered why it was there, this bright and colorful enormous rose presenting itself to the world. There was a marker that said “Roseville in Bloom” so I googled that and found this website. There are 20 of them around my town of Roseville, Minnesota. It started in July and runs through October 2020. There is a write-up about each rose and their artist at the link as well as a time lapse video of all the roses being painted. Fun to watch!

I made it my mission to find and photograph all of them and I’d love to share those with you. It was a small adventure trying to take photos of the roses. One was on the patio of Bent Brewstillery and we weren’t sure we were in the right place as it was at the far end of the back of a row of buildings. But we followed the google and finally saw it. Whew! To get a photo of the one entitled Color and Culture, I had to walk out to it as the rose was in the middle of the lawn of that park. Some had more detail than the others, especially the Value of Education and Flower Power. The one at the ice rink felt very personal as we spent many, many hours in that building as Miss M was a figure skater there for many years.  And some we had to wait in line to take photos. At the first one of these the couple thanked me for waiting until they were done. And then they asked me where more of them were and I directed them to the google because that’s how I discovered them. The passing of knowledge, it’s a great thing.

Here’s the one in Central Park entitled Discover. On the left side the artist drew the rocket ship just like the slide that Miss M went down numerous times in Central Park during her childhood:

Here’s a gallery of the rest of them with the exception of one. It’s in an industrial area right on the edge of Roseville and Minneapolis but we weren’t sure if we could take the private road to see it. We may try again and if we do, I’ll add that photo later.

I wonder if the website will still be active when the exhibit is gone.  In case the link gets deactivated, I am copying the words on the site here for future reference:

20 roses. 20 creators. 20 stories. See the work of Minnesota’s best artists on 6-foot flowers in the Twin Cities’ newest public art event, Roseville in Bloom. Each painted flower is sponsored by an area business and tells a story unique to the artist. Print the map, see more attractions, and put Roseville in Bloom at the top of your summer can’t-miss list. Stay tuned for rose-related events and social media contests happening throughout the summer

I am not sure what inspired this art project but it’s a bright spot in these otherwise not so great times. I am trying to focus my posts on positive things and share photos of things I come across in my travels.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed looking for the roses.

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Urban art in Málaga, Spain

Greetings!! It’s time for one more post about our trip to Spain at the end of the summer last year. This time I’m not going to write too much. I just want to share photos of the urban art that we saw in the Lagunillas neighborhood of Málaga. It’s near the Plaza de Merced and the Museum of the house where Picasso was born. Fascinating art. Take a look!

Updated to include a link to the blog post where I learned of this great urban art. Do check it out. I think you’ll enjoy it.

First, my photos:

And John’s:

I hope you enjoyed these!! It was fun seeking them out. Oh yea, if you go to view these artworks, be advised that the neighborhood is a bit run down. Just so you’re not surprised. But I highly recommend checking them out.

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Gibralfaro, Málaga

Gibralfaro, the “elusive” castle that we hadn’t managed to get to on any of the last 3 trips to Málaga for various reasons. But we made it this time! And I’m so glad we did. If you missed any of my previous posts about our most recent trip to Spain in September 2019 you can check them out at the following links.  My first post is here.  A post about the food we ate is here. And one other post about the Jardín Botánico Histórico La Concepción in Málaga is here. I have a couple more posts lined up for the future so I hope you’ll come back for those.

Gibralfaro castle is connected to the Alcazaba (the fortress) below. You can get a combined ticket for both or a ticket for just one or the other. We chose the combined ticket as we love the Alcazaba and thought we could walk down from the castle right into the Alcazaba. Well, maybe you can but apparently there is another path that takes you to the bottom of the hill and outside the Alcazaba. That was the path we took.  Since it was a hot day and we toured the castle grounds first, we decided to skip the Alcazaba in favor of refreshment at El Pimpi. El Pimpi is a very touristy restaurant but we really enjoy it as we sit on their patio with a view of the Teatro Romano (Roman theatre) while watching the world go by.

Below is a paragraph taken from this site as I wanted to include a little of the history here. I’d rather not rewrite what others have already written so well.

The castle was built in 929AD by Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Córdoba on a former Phoenician enclosure and lighthouse, from which its name was derived – gebel-faro (Arabic and Greek, meaning rock of the lighthouse). Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada, enlarged it at the beginning of the 14th century, also adding the double wall down to the Alcazaba.

Wikipedia has a little different take about where the name Gibralfaro comes from as well as information about the famous battle in 1487:

The name is said to be derived from Arabic, Jbel, rock or mount, and Greek the word for light, Jbel-Faro, meaning “Rock of Light”.[2] The castle is famous for its three-month siege in 1487 by the Catholic monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which ended when hunger forced the Malagueños to surrender.

Do click the links for more fascinating history of the place! The first link contains information on what you can see today if you visit. It mentions three ways to get there but we took a city bus #35 and that worked great.

I found one other link that looks like a blog post and that was fairly informative as well.

And of course we took photos! Once again I’m combining my husband’s photos along with mine.  I hope you will enjoy the tour through our lenses.

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A wedding, an art exhibit, a fun weekend in southern California

It’s not often that I travel back to my old stomping grounds of southern California. In fact, the last time I was there was to meet my great niece 7 years ago.  We all went to Disneyland together and had a grand time. You can check out my posts about that trip here and here.

This time it was for my niece’s wedding in Dana Point.  I traveled with my daughter and we met other family members there. We hitched a ride with my cousin, aunt and uncle who were flying into John Wayne airport within 40 minutes of us. My sister and her husband flew into LAX and rented a car. They were going to pick us up but we changed those plans since it made more sense to go with my cousin, aunt and uncle. We all stayed at the Best Western Marina Shores in Dana Point, about 2 blocks from the wedding site. My other niece, her husband and my sister-in-law stayed at another hotel together further inland. It was so nice to be together with family for such a happy occasion. The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome and it was a perfect day for an outdoor wedding. It was held in a park on a hill overlooking  the Pacific Ocean. Truly a perfect setting.

My first gallery contains a few photos from the wedding.

Since we weren’t going home until Monday I contacted my oldest friend from junior and senior high school days to see if she’d be able to spend the day with us on Sunday. Again we hitched a ride, this time with my sister and brother-in-law, to the San Fernando Valley where I grew up. They were going to Grace Community Church and then meeting up with a friend for lunch so my friend and her daughter met us in the parking lot of the church and off we went to explore some sights in Los Angeles!

First off, we went to the Getty Center which sits atop the Santa Monica Mountains. The views are fabulous!  We enjoyed the Manet Exhibit from the last years of his life and then wandered around in the gardens admiring all the lovely plants and flowers. By then it was time for lunch. Miss M suggested Korean food and everyone agreed so we had Korean BBQ in Koreatown. Miss M has a friend whose mother was a flight attendant and this friend has traveled everywhere. So she texted her and got a good recommendation and we had a great lunch at Bulgogi Hut. Miss M also wanted to get coffee at the famous Philz Coffee and just down the street was another famous place: Amoeba Music. Huge store!! We even saw the Hollywood sign. By then it was time to head back to the valley to collect my friend’s husband for dinner. We drove down Sunset Boulevard so that Miss M could see some famous places like The Comedy Store and The Roxy as well as the mansions in Bel Air and Beverly Hills.  We ooed and ahhed all the way to the freeway.

That evening we met the rest of the family and other friends that hadn’t left town yet for dinner at The Smoke House in Burbank, just down the street from Warner Brothers Studios.  Another cousin who lives in the area met us there so it was great to catch up with him. I had invited my longtime friend and her family to dinner with us. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with them since we don’t see each other that often. My cousin and my friend’s husband have mutual friends (and musicians) in common so they had a good time chatting with each other.

The weekend went too fast and soon we were on our way back home.  But before I leave, please enjoy other photos from the weekend.

Some photos from our brief visit to the Getty Center:

Our flight didn’t depart until the afternoon so my  niece and her husband took us to Roger’s Gardens in Corona Del Mar. Um, wow!! This place was huge!! And we only scratched the surface. They already had Christmas items for sale, room after room after room of them!  There were many rooms of orchids as well and I was snapping photos of these gorgeous plants. Take a look:

To close, please enjoy a couple more photos of bougainvillea. I love this vine!

 

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Spain, revisited

We just returned from many adventures in Spain and I’d love to tell you all about them! We spent six nights in Málaga then three nights in Madrid.  It was magical and frustrating and beautiful and all of these things.  This was our fourth trip to Málaga and we got to explore the city further and visit new places like the automobile museum and the Jardín Botánico and we finally got to Gibralfaro, the castle at the top of the hill above the alcazaba.

It was sunny and in the mid to upper 80s every. single. day.  Hubby was in heaven, it was a tad too hot for me. But you put your hair up and just make sure you’re hydrated and take lots of refresco breaks. Because of the heat we did not go to the Alcazaba as planned and ended up paying for it but not using the ticket. We took the bus to Gibralfaro then walked down and we thought it was the trail that lets you into the alcazaba. Nope. By then we’d already climbed in the heat and we’d have had to climb up into the alcazaba. No. Time for a refresco at Pimpi. That’s the huge restaurant right next to the teatro romano. They have a nice patio and after climbing around up at the castle, the timing was good and we sat right down, ah……

We had a variety of meals and tried different breakfast items this time and made time for two of our favorite churros places.  Of course we had tapas many times and several boquerones en vinagre as that is hubby’s favorite. I tried several ensaladas mixtas (mixed salad) and my favorite, hands down, is Cafe Varela’s in Madrid. We saw a fantastic flamenco show in Málaga and it included a sampler of tapas and the food was great!! So was the flamenco. I’m so glad we did that.

We saw lots of art.  We love art. I read about and saw photos of urban art in the Lagunillas area of Málaga, to the east of Plaza de la Merced. Not the best neighborhood but they didn’t seem to mind us taking photos of the art. We naturally went to the Picasso museum in Málaga. We always go there. We love that museum! We also went to the Pompidou in Málaga, then the Reina Sofia and the Prado in Madrid. Lots of art!!

We were celebrating hubby’s retirement with this trip and we wanted to see if we could tell if we’d like living in Málaga. I do still love the city but I am no longer sure that I want to retire here.  We are rethinking our retirement plans and perhaps we spend 3 months in Málaga each year then do something else the rest of the year.  We’re able to stay for 90 days with our passports whereas if we retired there we’d have a lengthy retirement visa process. So, more to think about.

I’m going to create other posts of our trip but for now, I thought I’d share some highlights of our 10 day adventure in Spain. Be on the lookout for some more posts about España!

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Summit Avenue Walking Tour, St. Paul, MN, June 2019

Last weekend my friend Ruth and I went on a Summit Avenue walking tour in St. Paul and I wanted to share photos and what I remember. It’s a 90 minute tour of some of the biggest and oldest homes on Summit Avenue that starts at the James J. Hill house.  We walked maybe a mile total and heard histories of several homes.

We learned the James J. Hill house was the most expensive house on the Avenue at the time.  The enormous mansion cost $1,000,000 to build in 1891, about $2.7 million today. Throughout the tour our guide would tell us how much each of the houses cost to build and the James J. Hill house far surpassed every other house we viewed.  One can’t help but notice the dark stones on this house. It was due to coal being used to heat the homes at the time. Our guide spoke of an attempt to clean the stones using a sandblaster and how that damaged the stone, so they stopped doing that. It sounded like cleaning these stones was low on the priority list of upkeep for this house.

James J. Hill was the guy who created the Great Northern Railway between St. Paul, Minnesota and Seattle, Washington.  He made a fortune in the railroad business and was able to build the home of his dreams.  The tour of his ornate mansion is also worth a visit. I took the tour shortly after I arrived in Minnesota 27 years ago.  I think it might be time to take that tour again. These two photos were taken at the same time but I lightened up the second one:

One of the themes of this tour was money because all of the houses on the tour were owned by the wealthiest people in St. Paul.  Our guide told us how much it cost to build each of the houses on our tour. It’s so interesting especially in today’s market.  Towards the end of the tour we saw Hill’s carriage house(260 Maiden Lane) for the mansion across the street. It’s been converted into condos and one of them sold for $800k recently. We all wondered what Hill might think of this, that one third of his carriage house is worth nearly as much as he paid to build that huge mansion across the street.

Next door to the Hill house was the home he built for his son Louis, apparently the favorite son.  Along the way our guide mentioned the many styles of the houses and you could see that each owner selected styles that appealed to them.  I don’t remember all of the styles mentioned but Richardsonian Romanesque was one that was repeated a few times. The Hill house is in this style. Others mentioned were Queen Anne and Italianate.  The following gallery contains the first several homes that we looked at, including the oldest standing structure on Summit Avenue built in 1858 at 312 Summit.

There’s a bit of a story about these next homes. They are called the Leitner and the Leitner-Young homes. These two owners were lawyers together and our guide joked that they must have liked each other so much they lived in a double house together(322 Summit). Some years later, Mr. Leitner had another home built right next door. Had enough of Mr. Young and family? Hmmm.  There is also a tunnel between the houses.

The following gallery contains photos of the next homes that we viewed.  Our guide pointed out that on the left side of the large red stone house the carriage area had been converted to a garage.  She pointed out the white house across the street(365 Summit) as this one’s her favorite on Summit Avenue. She likes that it’s the only white house on Summit and that it’s the first house on Summit Avenue that was owned by a female, Martha Bass.

We rested a little bit at “Lookout” Park, or Summit Overlook Park, which offers a nice view of the Mississippi river valley below as well as The University Club, a very exclusive club. It was even more exclusive during the time all the mansions on Summit Avenue were being built. In order to become a member you had to be a white male with an Ivy League education. So James J. Hill, who had only an 8th grade education but was one of the wealthiest men in St. Paul, could not become a member. But his son Louis, who went to Yale because his father wanted him to have the best education, could become a member.  Irony of ironies that.

After our short rest in Overlook Park we crossed Summit and our guide took us down Maiden Avenue(parallel to Summit), so named because the female servants for the wealthy people along Summit Avenue lived in row houses here.  We passed the building named The Commodore  where F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda resided when their daughter Scottie was born. This was also where many gangsters lived during Fitzgerald’s time. Check out this interesting article about those gangsters that I found on MinnPost. I had never heard of The Commodore before but Ruth had been there for a wedding reception and said it was very nice. I think I may have to check out the restaurant soon!

The tour ends at the St. Paul Cathedral which was designed by Cass Gilbert, a prolific architect who also designed the Minnesota State Capitol as well as the William Leitner house at 318 Summit noted above. Both Ruth and I really enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys architecture and/or the history of  some of the wealthiest people of St. Paul.  While doing research for this post I came across several interesting articles that I’m going to link here for anyone that would like to do further reading. Within the first link there is a photo of the oldest house on Summit (at 312 Summit) covered in ivy, quite the contrast to how it looks today.

Summit Avenue History: The Story of Saint Paul’s Famous Street

Another Summit Avenue walking tour

 

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National Gallery of Art and National Portrait Gallery

I’m working my way through my posts about our trip to Washington, D.C.  I did a sum-up of nearly everything we did and another post about the great food that we had,  one political cartoon exhibit , so this time I want to highlight the art that we saw and experienced.

I had been to the National Gallery of Art before but never the east building.  This trip I saw both and what a treat that was!  My first visit was our second day in town.  We had just had a little lunch at the Pavilion Cafe then walked through the sculpture garden en route to the 7th Street entrance of the west building.  As I said in previous posts, the heat was just awful so we ducked into the west building on our way to the east building to avoid said heat. I had read there was a path between the two buildings.  We just followed the signs and voila!  A darkly painted tunnel with lights everywhere made us feel like we were on a ride at Disneyland.

We made it all the way to the east building in that nice, cool air conditioning.  The museum is unique due to its airy and bright atrium in the center.  There are pieces of art along the outer walls as well as hanging from the ceiling in the atrium.  It’s quite calming walking around and visiting the art galleries.  We saw Picasso, Braque, Stieglitz, O’Keeffe and Matisse, to name a handful.  We saw others too but I’m not remembering them now.  At the end we happened upon a piece that contained a mirror so I had hubby stand in front of it while I took that photo.

This first gallery shows some sculptures in the Sculpture Garden and some of my favorites from the East Building:

We visited the National Portrait Gallery with my sister and nephew.  Even after living in the area for a couple of years and my many trips to visit my sister and mother, I had never been to the Portrait Gallery.  When I saw photos and read about the Obamas’ portraits, I knew I had to see them in person so I included this museum on my list of “must sees”. It definitely exceeded my expectations!  The Portrait Gallery has four floors but we only had time for the second and third floors.  We also went to the gift shop on the first floor because you have to visit the gift shop!  Okay **I** have to visit gift shops.

The presidential portraits are on the second floor so we started there.  The portraits are laid out in numerical order in an open floor plan and you weave your way around to see them all.  There were other paintings beyond this area but since we had lunch reservations and I wanted to see Michelle Obama’s portrait, we headed up to the third floor where her portrait resides.  There are many other galleries on both the second and third floors that we didn’t have time to see so I’m hoping to back again.

I am not sure what the theme is or how the artworks on the third floor are chosen, but it was yet another display of fascinating portraits of many important people in American history.  This next gallery contains artworks that I was particularly fond of in the Portrait Gallery.

My last group of photos contains most of my favorites from the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. I have visited this museum many times and it’s one of my favorite art museums.  I never tire of going there to view all my favorites.  This time I went by myself as it was our last day in D.C. and hubby wanted to see the Library of Congress. So we split up and I took my time both viewing the paintings and sculptures that I like as well as spending time in the extensive gift shop.  I think this gift shop might be my favorite museum gift shop.  There are so many things to look at!

But first a little story of when I first entered the building.  I stopped at the information desk to get a map so that I could find all of my favorites.  A nice woman greeted me and asked if I needed help finding anything.  When I said no, she made the most interesting comment:  “you have of course been to the east building.”  This stunned me since I had only just visited the east building a few days ago so I asked her how she knew that.  “You just look like the type of person who visits the east building.” So I told her how I was intent on seeing the east building on this trip and that I just went there for the first time and absolutely loved it.  She agreed and we had a lovely encounter.

On to the last gallery for this post: some of my favorites from the West Building of the National Gallery of Art.

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