Some days ago I marveled at the photos of the goddess Pele’s display of power in the caldera of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The park guide tells visitors about how Pele traveled many leagues from the northern-most islands guided by her favorite brother Kamohoali‘i who was also a guardian shark. Having traveled for many miles from Kahiki in search of a suitable home for her fire and family, Pele finally settled in the crater of Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kilauea Volcano.… Read more
Guides to Italian inns and b&bs, the red Michelin with recommended restaurants and hotels in cities and larger towns, guides to specific provinces like Umbria or the Veneto, and some for wineries fill a couple of my bookshelves. But there are three that I keep separate, not for their usefulness, but for their historical interest. I love to thumb through them for insights into the past: one from the early 1900s, one from the 1950s, and the third a guide to one of Italy’s colonial possessions – that in East Africa.… Read more
When I can’t travel, it’s time to pull out one of my small collection of travel guidebooks. I’ve picked them up in used bookstores and antiquarian book fairs over the years to allow me to time-travel backwards. Other travelers at other times saw new sights differently; if they had a camera their viewfinder found different angles; and as they moved from place to place their mode of transport was often different than anything I’ve experienced. What could be better on a rainy day than to imagine myself somewhere else in location and time?… Read more
One goal of the trip to Victoria was to revisit nearby Buchart Gardens, 55 acres of glorious shrubs, trees and flowers developed in 1904 on grounds of an old limestone quarry. It had been years since we’d enjoyed the gardens. As beautiful as ever, they must be one of the premier gardens in the world no matter the season. Happily for us, fellow garden lovers were few and tour buses not in evidence this post-Labor Day time when the gardens are beginning to be readied for fall.… Read more
Covid was waning and the U.S. – Canadian border was finally open again. The weather was good and the Black Ball Ferry Line from Port Angeles to Victoria was finally back in operation. So, we decided to head out for a change of scene to refresh our thoughts after the seemingly endless months of contagion concern.
I like some really old-fashioned expressions such as “sea-girt” a term that perfectly describes the city of Victoria, British Columbia perched on the rocky shores of the southern tip of Vancouver Island reached by sea or air.… Read more
What is it about ruins that many, including me, find so compelling? The melancholy half-fallen buildings make me try to visualize the labors of those who built them. What were their lives like and why were the buildings abandoned? What does a tiny graveyard say about the injury and disease that must have wracked the local people? My attempts to imagine what their lives were really like is doomed to failure because of the passage of time and mostly unbridgeable cultural differences.… Read more
“Rumors are they’ve found a big vein of gold.” We were huddled under blankets on a freezing morning when Dorothy, our golf-cart driver and guide set the brake at the top of a hill to respond to my question about the fate of long-abandoned mines near the town.
We, and two friends were on an early-morning tour of Bisbee, a town in southeastern Arizona with houses clinging to steep barren hills above the commercial area down in a gulch watered by a clear stream.… Read more
Wanting a taste of the Old West, we headed for the Slaughter Ranch and its restored 1880’s home in the far southeast corner of Cochise County on the Mexican border. The ranch is named for the “legendary” Texas John Slaughter, a lawman with a violent name who kept the peace in the old-fashioned way with pistols and rifles. I’d never heard of him, but it turned out he was a famous character with quite a history: Confederate War veteran, long-horn cattle driver on the famous Chisholm Trail, and then owner of the enormous cattle ranch in the then Arizona Territory.… Read more
Explorers of the West in the 19th Century like John Wesley Powell marveled at the scattered ruins of pueblos and strange volcanic landscape that makes up the area called Wupatki one of the many National Monuments in Central Arizona. So did we.
The scenic road from Sedona led us north winding around hairpin turns through Oak Creek Canyon and up over the Mongollan Rim at 8000 ft altitude. The road widened as we continued through wildflower-carpeted Ponderosa Pine woodlands to Flagstaff.… Read more
The second historic site near Sedona, Montezuma Castle National Monument has more to capture the eye and thoughts of the past than the meager remains of Tuzigoot. Early Spanish explorers thought the “castle” was built by the Aztecs. An offshoot of the monuments is called Montezuma’s Well, a watering source used by the local people for irrigation. Both parts are misnamed as the Aztecs lived thousands of miles south and the castle is a cliff house and there is no well.… Read more