Showing posts with label Travel Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Chartres Cathedral Seen in the Best Light!.....~ A Book Review

While travelling I love to learn all about what I have seen and what really impressed me!  To that end, I found out that there was a  difference between a Maze and a Labyrinth.  It was something that I had never thought of before.  That is until I saw the Labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France. Google defines a maze as " a network of paths and hedges designed as a puzzle. The goal is to find your way out or to a central "prize".

So the difference for all of those like me who have never ever thought about it is, a Maze is a place where tall walls of greenery send you down a path with many different directions in which you can go.  They are made so that  you can get lost in them and take a lot of time to find your way out.  In North America Mazes are a fun aspect to the Halloween holidays.  Corn mazes spring up in the country side just waiting for people to try and find their way out!  It's a lot of fun for people of all ages.

A Labyrinth on the other hand, is also a path that twists and turns but has no sides to make you feel isolated and you can easily see where you should go next.  A labyrinth in the 1200's was a geometric pattern on the floor that was used mainly for meditation.   The idea is to walk the path slowly, meditating on whatever is pressing on your mind, walking the path until you reach the center. At that point you just may have found the solution to whatever it was that was on your mind.  

Today,  Mazes and Labyrinths mean pretty much the same thing.  
https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA





This past spring My other half and I made a trip to Portugal, Spain and France.  We are particularly interested in old churches, the art, architecture, artistry and history of the churches.  

Chartres Cathedral was amazing but when you are on a tour, your time in that place is limited.  So what do you do?  You take lots of pictures, hoping to capture the beauty, the space, the art and statues, stained glass windows, doors and floors and so much more.  

After you come home you realize that your pictures just don't do justice to the beauty that filled you with awe!  So you go looking for something that will help you to remember the beauty.

https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA


The Hubby found a most beautiful book with pictures that really do make you re-live the time you were there.  When you consider that this church was built in 1260, it certainly has aged well and the history within it's walls is truly amazing.  

I love books that will tell me all about how it was built, Who commissioned it and how long it took to complete and all the history that happened since the time it was built.  
https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA



This book is the finishing touch to a trip that had us both spellbound and wondering how on earth the workers could build something so beautiful, mathematically precise and long lasting without all the tools that modern day builders have today.  It truly is mind boggling.



https://amzn.to/4ew6SzA
When you travel and enjoy the sights, sometime a great book is the best gift you give yourself to remember the beauty that you had a chance to see up close and personal. Usually the pictures in these books are also clearer.  The day you visit might be rainy or windy making your pictures less than perfect.  With a well done book, everything that is pictured was taken at the right time and conditions.    Now you can revisit whenever you want and share the beauty with your friends too.  Chartres Cathedral is a place that you should put on your bucket list.  We continue to enjoy it even after the suitcases are put away.

The pictures shown in this review are taken from the book which we continue to enjoy.




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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Reviewing Our Experience Of The Treetop Walkway Kew Gardens London

View of green leafy tree canopy at Treetop Walkway Kew gardens

The Treetop Walkway is an exciting part of Kew Gardens London. Stepping up to the walkway in the tree canopy and looking out over the vista of the gorgeous Kew gardens was one of the highlights of our trip.

The many steps to reach the top was absolutely worth it and we took our time and enjoyed the views on the walk up to the top. 


View across the trees at Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens


I have wanted to visit and experience Kew Gardens Treetop Walkway for years and when I got the chance I was so happy. I was especially excited to find out what it felt like walking high up amongst and above the tree canopy and it was amazing!

The walkway itself is essentially a walk at height on a wide safe pathway through the treetops of Kew Gardens. It is an amazing piece of architecture built with more than four hundred tonnes of weathered steel, which although quite industrial looking, has its own beauty and surprisingly does become absorbed and integrated by the trees all around.

View across to the walkway at Kew Gardens

The structure needs to be strong though as there are 118 steps up to the main walkway in the sky, then you walk up onto the pathway which is 18 metres or 59 feet above the ground! 

The walkway itself is 200 metres or 656 feet long and that means you really do get a great experience literally walking in amongst the amazing trees and seeing them with a totally new rarely experienced perspective.


Trees and branches with leaves at Kew Gardens Treetop Walkway


As a child I was always climbing trees and loved being high up in the midst of a tree among the leaves and berries and closer to the birds. However there is no way I could have safely climbed this high and now I would not even attempt it! So enjoying the amazing tree canopy in a safe way like this is just perfect.

Horse chestnut trees with seeds
 

I love looking up at trees from the ground level and being in awe of their beauty and majesty. It was amazing to be walking amongst the uppermost branches of the trees really close to the birds taking a rest in the branches, the fruits of trees, seeing the insects that live there and noticing he fungi and lichen at that level. It felt a real privilege and joy to be there. 


View between trees to the Glasshouses At Kew gardens


It is however important to note a few safety aspects of the walkway. By its very nature being so high up you need to be Ok with walking around at that height. 

The walkway is quite wide and has semi circular places where you can stop and look out over the views and let others pass as necessary. In some areas there are benches to sit.

To me it all felt very safe and secure. The walkway is designed to flex a bit and we certainly did feel that from time to time which initially was a bit strange, but we got used to it. We found it not bouncy and not at all like the swinging of a ropewalk, but rather feeling sturdy with some movement. The flex in the walkway is an important design feature so that it can cope with the winds without breaking.

The weathered steel walkway at Kew gardens Treetop walk

You do have to leave buggies and pushchairs on the ground and young children must be closely supervised. The rails are high but I would not like to take chances with very young children, so best to keep hold of them.  

 As there are 118 steps up and many steps down, you do need to be fit enough to walk them. You can certainly take your time, which we did and look out over the wonderful views on the way up, but if you have any issues with climbing steps it would be better to use the lift provided. It may be best to check ahead of your visit if you need the lift or assistance to ensure it is available and suitable for you. 

View looking down on the lift at Kew Gardens Treetop walk
 

Also personally we did avoid the large school parties which were there. It was wonderful to see the children so engaged and excited, but we wanted to go at a calmer time so that we could go at a steady pace on the way up without feeling rushed or obligated to go faster, and could drink in the atmosphere in a more peaceful way.  

View over the green tree canopy

It is best to check before visiting when the walkway is open both in dates and times. Clearly safety is always considered first so weather conditions need to be taken into account. Have to say although I am good with heights I was glad it was a still and warm day. I am not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much had it been windy and cold.

Spring, Summer and early Autumn are all wonderful times to visit and will give very different experiences of the tree canopy.  It does often close or partially close during the Autumn and winter months.

I thoroughly enjoyed the treetops experience and am glad that we took the time out to experience it. We spent probably about two hours exploring and absorbing the treetops. We saw some people wizz around in less than an hour and we could have probably stayed longer but had so much more of Kew Gardens to explore! It is both an educational and enjoyable experience.


Take a look at these wonderful books about or related to Kew Gardens 

The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs


The Kew Gardens Beautiful Flowers Colouring Book Paperback



Kew: The Witch's Forest: Trees in magic, folklore and traditional remedies (Kew Royal Botanic Gardens) Hardcover – September 19, 2023


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Saturday, September 9, 2023

9/11 Memorial – Overland Park, Kansas – Travel Review

 

We Will Never Forget


Granite Tile from the flooring of the World Trade Center
This granite tile is at the entrance to the Overland Park, Kansas 9/11 Memorial.

It says:

Enter the 9/11 Memorial by walking across the granite flooring from the World Trade Center.


On September 11, 2001, 2977 people lost their lives in the horrendous terrorist attacks on our nation, including 441 first responders.  Many cities around the country have built 9/11 Memorials, both large and small.  I recently discovered one near me located in Overland Park, Kansas ~ a southern suburb in Kansas City.  It tells the story of that fateful day, and specifically honors the 343 firefighters who died that day trying to save others. It is located next to the Overland Park Fire Department Training Center. These Kansas City firefighters are the caretakers of this memorial. 


Visiting there, even 22 years afterwards, brought fresh tears to my eyes as I read the educational panels telling the story of each downed flight on that tragic day. 


Overland Park’s 9/11 Memorial honors those who lost their lives on September 11, remembers their sacrifices, and teaches future generations about a day we will never forget.


At the Overland Park 9/11 Memorial you will experience:


*A 14-foot, 2.5 ton steel beam from ground zero.


A 14-foot, 2.5 ton steel beam from ground zero
Steel Beam from Ground Zero


This was acquired in 2009 by application from Overland Park firefighter Trevor Miller and Capt. Paul Bishoff.


See and touch a real part of the World Trade Center, and memorialize those who are no longer with us. 


*Four educational panels tell the stories of each downed flight.


Educational Panels depicting the 9/11 Attacks
Educational Panels Depicting the 9/11 Attacks

  • American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center at  846 A.M. 
  • United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 A.M.
  • American Airlines Flight 77 left Dulles International Airport in D.C., bound for Los Angeles, and struck the Pentagon in Washington D.C. At 9:37 A.M.
  • United Flight 93 from Newark, New Jersey, which was later assumed to have been headed either to the Pentagon or the White House, was brought down in an empty field in Shanksfield, Pennslyvania by the brave passengers who refused to let the highjackers bring about any more destruction in the United States.


At 9:45 A.M., barely one hour after the first attack, US Airspace is shut down under Operation Yellow Ribbon. This operation ordered all civilian aircraft to land at the nearest airport. This Operation prevented any further attacks by aircraft from occurring. 


Medallions marking the time each flight crashed on Educational Panels at the Overland Park, KS 9/11 Memorial
Medallions mark the time each flight crashed

On September 11 each year, the shadow of the 14 foot artifact crosses these panels and sunlight passing through a hole in the girder which follows that diagonal line, passing over the four medallions at the time they went down.


For a complete timeline, as depicted on the stories of each of these flights, click here.


*A victim’s panel which alphabetically lists all the names of those who died on 9/11. The side of the panel states:


9/11 Memorial Victim's Panel with all the names of the victims
Victim's Panel

No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time   ~Virgil


*A weeping wall fountain that represents those who survived.


9/11 Memorial (Overland Park, KS) weeping wall representing those who survived
Weeping Wall

*Granite tiles pulled from the World Trade Center after the attacks. 


"Honoring Footsteps Gone Silent"


Summary 


I encourage you to seek out  such 9/11 Memorials in your area and help keep the remembrance alive by helping those too young to remember to learn about the terrorist attacks that claimed thousands of lives on September 11, 2001. Because, we SHOULD Never Forget! 

Remember – Honor – Educate


YouTube Video of the 9/11 Memorial @ Overland Park 9/11 Memorial.




Location:


Overland Park 9/11 Memorial is located next to the Overland Park Fire Department Training Center

Address

12401 Hemlock

Overland Park, KS 66213

Phone

913-888-6066

Hours

8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission

Free


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+All images are personal photos taken by Wednesday Elf


*Travel Review of the Overland Park, Kansas 9/11 Memorial was written by Wednesday Elf.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Mary Willis Library in Washington, Georgia

Travel Review of an historic library landmark


The Mary Willis Library in Washington, Georgia

In 2016, as Hurricane Matthew was approaching the coast of Georgia near where I lived just 10 miles from the ocean outside Savannah, GA, I evacuated to my friends' house in Washington, Georgia, a small town located 190 miles inland. If you live in a coastal area, hurricane evacuations are often mandatory and almost always a wise move. 

Storm damage from Hurricane Matthew on the Georgia coast
As it turned out, my area was without electricity for five days and suffered severe tree and structural damage, along with flooding. So I was safe & sound for the duration in charming little Washington, Georgia. 


The town of Washington, located about 100 miles east of Atlanta, has a population of only a bit over 3500 people, yet it is a delightful town with much to offer visitors, even those who had to arrive, as I did, on an unplanned expedition. 


Being a voracious reader, I told my friend I would love to be able to get a library book or two to read during my stay, so she took me to her town library. Turns out, Washington's library is more than just a public library; it is an historical site and a most charming place to visit. 


The Mary Willis Library


The Mary Willis Library was opened in 1889 and became the very first free public library in the state of Georgia. It was founded by Dr. Francis T. Willis in memory of his daughter Mary and as a gift to the people of his hometown. It was designed by Atlanta architect Edmund Lind and constructed with bricks in the picturesque profile of the high-Victorian style of Queen Anne. 


Mary Willis Library Stained Glass Windows

The interior has high beams and tall Tiffany stained-glass windows, with the central window commemorating Mary Willis. The original furnishings of the library are still in use.


In addition to the collection of current library materials, Mary Willis Library has an invaluable core collection of rare books on Wilkes County and Georgia history, books by local authors, family memorabilia and Washington newspapers


In 1972, the Mary Willis Library was listed with the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. A well-deserved recognition, as it is a most charming building and a delight to visit, not only for your reading pleasure, but for the history and beauty of this 100-plus year building. 


Summary


In addition to a lovely visit with my friends, who were kind enough to shelter me during my hurricane evacuation, having access to this library and books to read helped fill the anxious hours until I was able to return home. Discovering the beautiful and historic Mary Willis Library was a delightful bonus. 


Mary Willis Library, Washington, GA
Image by Jud McCranie, CC 4.0 on Wikipedia


*Travel Review by Wednesday Elf







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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Reviewing Our Visit To James Herriot Country Thirsk North Yorkshire UK

Thirsk Church North Yorkshire UK

 

We recently visited the North Yorkshire town of Thirsk. It lies about 22 miles north of York and 192 Miles north of London in UK. Thirsk is a beautiful market town located in the district of Hambleton in North Yorkshire, England. Thirsk has a rich history that traces back to the 12th century and archeological information indicates there was s settlement there 500 years BC. Its name originates from the old Norse word presk meaning lake or fen and is a very interesting place.

Thirsk is really lovely with a large market square, many independent shops, and great cafes surrounded by the most beautiful countryside. It is located between the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales, making it an excellent base for exploring the stunning natural beauty of the area. This review is about our experience of the town of Thirsk itself. 

 

St Marys Church Thirsk
View from the river walk, Cod Beck, to St Marys Church

Alf Wight The Vet and James Herriot The Author

It is also the place where James Herriot the writer and Alf Wight the veterinary surgeon lived and worked. He was born Oct 1916 in Sunderland and died 23rd Feb1995. He started working in Thirsk as a vet in 1940 after he graduated from Veterinary College in Glasgow and worked with Donald Sinclair for the next 50 years. 

The World of James Herriot, is a museum that honors the life and work of Alf Wight, the author of the books "All Creatures Great and Small". We especially wanted to see the World of James Herriot Museum located in Alf Wight's former veterinary practice, as it showcases his life, the stories behind his books, and the history of veterinary science.

 We took a self-guided tour of the house and saw how he lived and worked and it was truly fascinating and quite emotional to experience the life, sights and sounds that inspired the famous books and series.

This is the house where he lived and worked as a vet. The museum itself is in 2 parts, one is the actual house where he lived frozen in time in the 1940s with all the decor of that time. 

House Of James Herriot Thirsk
World Of James Herriot Museum -house on the right.  


The second part is how the series was filmed with the original sets. It is also the only Veterinary museum in the UK showcasing the various remedies and instruments used at that time. There is also a fun section for children or the child in all of us, where you can try out different veterinary activities and fun things.  

We were also able to see the wonderful car he used and a short explanatory film about his life and work which was fascinating. 

  

James Herriot The Author

I grew up on the amazing books of James Herriot and the memories of a Vet working in Yorkshire so I was excited to see the place where he practised as a vet and where the stories he later wrote about were born. He started writing relatively late in life. He had the stories in his head for a very long time and meant to write but it wasn't until his wife challenged that he would never do it that he started writing! 

I love all of his books and spent many happy hours reading them including he following with their published dates. 

If Only They Could Talk 1970

It Shouldn't Happen To A Vet 1972

Merged into one Volume called All Creatures Great and Small when published in the US 1975

Let Sleeping Vets Lie 1973

Vets In Harness 1974

All Things Bright And Beautiful 1977

The Lord God Made Them All 1981

Every Living Thing 1992

The Complete James Herriot Box Set is a wonderful way to start reading these books and a lovely gift idea


Then of course there was the wonderful filmed TV series "All Creatures Great And Small"

We spent about 4 hours there and I would strongly recommend a visit to this wonderful museum if you have any interest in James Herriot. We were able to take photos inside the house but as they are only to be used for personal use I cannot show them on this review. 

 It should also be noted that James Herriot also wrote wonderful children's books, based on his experiences as a vet all of which had illustrations. These include

Moses The Kitten 1984

Only One Woof 1985

The Christmas Day Kitten 1986

James Herriot Treasury For Children 1982

Bonnie's Big Day 1996


In addition, he wrote some books about his beloved Yorkshire such as James Herriot's Yorkshire 

People often wonder why Alf Wight did not use his own name when telling his stories of practicing as a vet in the Yorkshire countryside. The reason was that as a practicing veterinary surgeon, he was not permitted to use his own name as that would have been seen as advertising.

St Marys Church, Thirsk

We also visited the St Marys Church the heart of Thirsk where Alf Wight married his love and it is a truly beautiful church with a lively active congregation. It is over 500 years old and is of Gothic architecture. It was renovated during the Victorian era but retains its original character. 

The most notable and imposing feature is its tower which can be seen for 100 miles around and is over 100 feet tall. Inside the Church there are amazing wooden vaulted ceilings and decorated with ornate carvings. The chancel screen is gorgeous with its tracery and stained glass.   


St Marys ChurchThirsk
St Marys Church, Thirsk

St Marys Church Thirsk Timber Roof
St Marys Church Timber Roof


Thirsk Blue Plaque Trail.

We finished our time in Thirsk by following the Blue Plaque Trail which highlights many and various interesting and important landmarks throughout the town. The walk around took us about two to three hours so there were many places of interest but here are just a few highlights for you. 


We visited the grand Thirsk Hall Sculpture Garden. Thirsk Hall is owned by Bell family who are opening their 20 acres of gardens and parklands to exhibit culture from different artists. The artists' work is changed on a regular basis and it was a very interesting walk around the grounds seeking out the various beautiful sculptures and talented artists work. It was a wonderful way to spend two or three hours. Again photos can be taken but are restricted to personal use only.  It is a family home and the family do live there.

Thirsk Hall Blue Information Plaque

The Ritz Cinema was an amazing experience. We arrived about 30 mins before the film was due to start and were lucky enough to get talking to one of the volunteers there who kindly showed us around. It dates back to the early 20th century and as first established as a music hall venue. It has been entertaining the locals for over a hundred years. 

There have been many changes of use over the years including a Bingo Hall before it was once again converted back to a Cinema in the early 1980s. It has been modernised and has comfortable seating but has a most beautiful art deco interior. It is now run by enthusiastic volunteers and screens current and classic films.

Ritz Cinema Thirsk


Ritz Cinema Blue Plaque


The Three Tuns Pub is three hundred years old dating back to the 18th century and is located in the market square in Thirsk.

It is a beloved building and over the years has been a meeting point for travelers, local businesses and farmers. Now it is a public House serving local ales and beer and food. It has a large beer garden at the back enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. 


Three Tuns Pub


Three Tuns Pub Blue Plaque


The Golden Fleece Old Coaching house dates back to the 16th century and was a coaching inn stage for Royal Mail Edinburgh to London.

One of its most famous guests was Captain James Cook who used to drink there. It is very popular with people who go to the Thirsk races such as Jockeys, Trainers and racing enthusiasts. It is now a large central Hotel well situated in the market square in Thirsk.


The Golden Fleece Old Coaching house


The Golden Fleece Blue Plaque


The Golden Fleece Building Frontage


Thirsk is home to the Thirsk Racecourse, which is a major attraction for horse racing enthusiasts.  Although we did not visit the racecourse. It hosts a range of races throughout the year, including the annual Thirsk Hunt Cup, one of the country's top flat races.


All in all it was a really wonderful visit to the town of Thirsk and would appeal to anyone with a love of the beautiful quite stunning scenery which surrounds the town, a love of James Herriot books and TV series, a slice of British history and culture at its best and just embrace a part of the world that is a joy to experience. 


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Saturday, January 21, 2023

Figge Art Museum of Davenport, Iowa – A Travel Review

Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa


The Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa serves as the  major art museum for eastern Iowa and western Illinois. It opened in 2006 and is the renamed successor to the Davenport Museum of Art which dates back to 1928. The museum has its roots in The Davenport Art Association which was founded in 1878. Thus, it is one of the oldest art institutions in the United States. 


Figge Art Collection


Figge Museum in Davenport, IA

*Image By NateWoolsey - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0


There are over 4,000 works of art in the Figge art collection. The works range from the 16th century to the present time. Figge has an extensive collection of Haitian, Colonial Mexican and Midwestern art, for which it is best known.

It also has a substantial collection of American art and European art, plus an important collection of pieces by the Midwest American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Additionally, the Figge Art Museum currently houses the  University of Iowa  Museum of Art collection, after the University of Iowa's gallery was flooded in 2008.

And, this museum offers a Master of Arts degree in various aspects of museum management through the Western Illinois University's graduate program in Museum Studies.


Our Visit to the Figge Art Museum


Family tour of Figge Art Museum

A couple years ago my Kansas City family visited me in Iowa and we spent an interesting afternoon touring The Figge (as it is known to locals). 


In addition to the numerous rooms dedicated to particular collections, such as The Stanley Collection, the American West paintings and various exhibition galleries, the museum has several studios, an auditorium, a café, and a museum store where souvenirs can be purchased.  


Grandsons at Figge Art Museum

Since we had my two young grandsons with us, we were especially excited about the Family Activity Center on the second level.  The boys (and mom, dad & grandma) spent an enjoyable hour creating our own 'art works'!


Family enjoying the Family Activity Center at the Figge Museum

Figge Museum Family Activity Center


 Summary


Location and Visitor Information of the Figge Art Museum


The Figge is located just a block from the Mississippi River in downtown Davenport, Iowa.


Address:  225 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52801

Phone: 563) 326-7804

Hours:

  • Monday  Closed
  • Tuesday  10AM–5PM
  • Wednesday 10AM–5PM
  • Thursday  10AM–8PM
  • Friday  10AM–5PM
  • Saturday  10AM–5PM
  • Sunday  12–5PM

 


*Travel Review of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa written by Wednesday Elf.


 


Book cover of story about the Figge Art Museum


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