The view from the window: Lace curtains

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

This lace-curtained window looks onto the hedges and columns of the formal entry to Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana. I can just imagine a woman pushing aside this curtain to peer outside and see who is coming up the very long, oak-tree-lined drive.


The view from the window

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Manhattan from Top of the Rock

Looking south over Manhattan from the top of the Rockefeller building.

Looking south over Manhattan from the top of the Rockefeller building.

I couldn’t resist framing this vista of Manhattan’s skyscrapers through the iron arches along the top of the Rockefeller building. I loved the contrast of old and new.


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Trains and Tracks

Pine Creek Railway Museum, Northern Territory, Australia

Pine Creek Railway Museum

Disused tracks, Pine Creek Railway Museum. You can make out the name “H Pooley & Son, Liverpool, London”

I have two sets of railway-related photos for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with this week’s theme of trains and tracks. The first is from Pine Creek in northern Australia, where enthusiasts and volunteers maintain a small museum dedicated to the area’s railway history.

Locomotive at Pine Creek Railway Museum

Locomotive at Pine Creek Railway Museum

The narrow-gauge North Australia Railway ran south from Darwin and reached Pine Creek in 1888. By 1929 it had reached its farthest point, Birdum, a distance of some 509 km (316 miles). The line’s busiest period was during World War II.

The locomotive was built in 1877 in England, and rebuilt in 2001 in Australia.

This locomotive was built in 1877 in England, and rebuilt in 2001 in Australia.

The line closed on 30 June 1976, overshadowed by more effective means of transport, but in its time was important carrier of goods and people.

Luxurious travel in its day, but uncomfortable by our standards!

Luxurious travel in its day, but uncomfortable by our standards!

The Grand Canyon Railway, Arizona, US

The Grand Canyon Railway

The Grand Canyon Railway

The first train to carry passengers the 103 km (64 miles) from Williams, Arizona to the south rim of the Grand Canyon ran on 17 September 1901.

Old locomotive, Grand Canyon Railway

Old steam locomotive, Grand Canyon Railway

As with the North Australia Railway, competition from cars led to closure of the Grand Canyon Railway in July 1968 (only three passengers were on the last run!). Three unsuccessful attempts were made to resurrect the line, until in 1989 services resumed under different ownership.

Current locomotive, Grand Canyon Railway

Current diesel locomotive, Grand Canyon Railway. It may be more efficient and more environmentally friendly, but it doesn’t captivate people like the steam locos do!

The train today offers seating in various classes, from all-inclusive food and drink luxury carriages to high-domed viewing carriages to straightforward seating.

Going around a corner, shot from the platform at the end of the train

Going around a corner, shot from the platform at the end of the train

At the end of the train is an open platform that offers uninterrupted views back at the tracks, or forward if you lean around the corner of the carriage.

Looking back at the tracks from the platform.

Looking back at the tracks from the platform.

I think you can guess which class of seat I opted for. 😉

Access to the rear platform is through this door.

Access to the rear platform is through this door.

Time to relax, enjoy the scenery and decide which beverage to have.

Time to relax, enjoy the scenery and decide which beverage to have.

(Information about these reailways was taken from Wikipedia)


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Bench Bonanza! (2: the bumper edition)

Right, prepare to scroll down and down … herewith, the remaining Bench Series 2015 photos, presented geographically. It’s a mix of incidental benches and focus benches. I’d like to give a huge thanks to Jude to hosting and organising this challenge all year. I now have to train myself to stop photographing every bench I see!

Czech Republic

Franciscan Gardens, Prague

Franciscan Gardens, Prague (shame about the garbage can!)

France

Along the Corniche, Cannes

Along the Corniche, Cannes

Sri Lanka

The promenade, Galle

The promenade, Galle

United Kingdom

London

The British Library

The British Library

St Dunstan

St Dunstan

And a trio from Kew Gardens, one of my favourite London places.

Strange metal mesh animals at Kew

Strange metal mesh kangaroo lurking behind benches at Kew

Wintry sunlight at Kew

Wintry sunlight at Kew

Bluebells at Kew

Bluebells at Kew

Royal Ascot

Prime viewing benches for the races

Prime viewing benches for the races

Eastbourne Pier

Blue benches lining the pier

Blue benches lining the pier

I love Eastbourne. I used to walk along the coast, up and down those rolling chalk cliffs with the amazing views out to sea.

Somewhere in Wales

I don’t mean to be cryptic about the location, I just forget where this is!

A drizzly day in Wales, and the remains of a church.

A drizzly day in Wales, and the remains of a church.

Stratford

I don’t remember the name of my hotel, but it had this lovely grotto out back.

Grotto, bench and wine glass

Grotto, bench and wine glass

United States

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Benches on the street

Benches on the street

Outside the New Mexico Museum of Art

Outside the New Mexico Museum of Art

Museum of Contemporary Native Art

Museum of Contemporary Native Art

Lamy, New Mexico

Never heard of Lamy? Me neither. But I spent a few hot hours at its train station, waiting for a train whose arrival time became later and later …

Waiting room, Lamy Amtrak station

Waiting room, Lamy Amtrak station

Williams Junction, Arizona

Another place you may never have heard of — unless you’ve taken the train to the Grand Canyon.

A marvellous use for old train parts!

A marvellous use for old train parts!

Grand Canyon Village

El Tovar Hotel

El Tovar Hotel

A bench made from a log. I did not try this one for comfort, I admit.

A bench made from a log. I did not try this one for comfort, I admit.

near New Orleans

This is Oak Alley Plantation, well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation

And that, you’ll be relieved to learn if you’ve made it this far down the page, is the end of the Bumper Bench Bonanza. “Thank you” to everyone who has visited these posts over the past year!


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Bench Series: Message (2)

Sante-Fe-Charles-G-Stevens

I photographed this bench in Santa Fe more for its lovely curvy shape and the way the light hit it than for any profound words or wit in the message on the small plaque fixed above the middle arm. All it says is “Charles G Stevens”. Perhaps this was a favourite place for him to sit? Or perhaps it is his own personal bench still and the plaque is a way to stake his claim?


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A food lover’s treat

Roasting coffee beans

Roasting coffee beans — the heat this machine generated was remarkable!

St Lawrence Market, Toronto.

The history of St Lawrence Market stretches back to 1803, when a weekly market day was officially established in the growing town of York (as Toronto was originally called). The market we see today was built in 1850. There are two buildings: North Market hosts antique stores and a Sunday market, and South Market has more food vendors in one place than I’ve seen in a while. Any food lover would find a treat here!

You’ll find olives …

… cheeses and mustards …

… fresh fruit and veg …


blueberries and raspberries

… seafood …


… sausages …

sausages

… and tempting baked goods.

The only difficulty is getting it all home again!


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Travel Album: Philadelphia

30th Street Train Station

Now THIS is what a train station concourse should look like! What a glorious space. (30th Street Train Station)

Exploring Philadelphia on foot.

I arrived in Philadelphia by train from New York City, and was delighted by the marvellous vaulting space of 30th Street Train Station. The station was restored and renovated in a $75 million project completed in 1991. From the 90-foot ceilings to the marble columns to the gold leaf gilding, it looks fantastic. A great introduction to the city. I was in Philadelphia in late May for a conference, but managed to get in two walks — one on the way to a supermarket which revealed unexpected (to me) back streets that reminded me of English villages, and the other around the Old City area with its historical sites commemorating the push for independence from England.

The supermarket in question was the Whole Foods store on South Street, and my hotel was near City Hall, so I walked along South 12th Street. Although I was heading out for food supplies, I had my camera with me (of course!), and was soon snapping away at the lovely old tree-lined side streets.

City Hall is definitely worth a look! “At 548 ft (167 m), including the statue of city founder William Penn atop it, it was the tallest habitable building in the world from 1894 to 1908 … it was built between 1871 and 1901 at a cost of $24 million.” (source)

One morning, when the conference sessions were not relevant to my work, I took the train to 2nd Street station and followed a self-guided walking tour of old buildings and monuments.

Along the way I passed a lovely little park …

… more quaint side streets …

… Benjamin Franklin (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States) …

Benjamin Franklin bust

Benjamin Franklin bust

… and things cluttering up the sidewalk …

… and then I stopped for coffee and a muffin. I forget the name of the coffee shop, but I loved the interior lights!

Then it was on to Elfreth’s Alley. “Named for blacksmith and property-owner Jeremiah Elfreth, Elfreth’s Alley was home to the 18th century artisans and trades-people who were the backbone of colonial Philadelphia. … While a modern city has sprung up around it, the Alley preserves three centuries of evolution through its old-fashioned flower boxes, shutters, Flemish bond brickwork and other architectural details.” (source)

If you have enjoyed these walks in Philadelphia, check out Jo’s Monday Walk to see where other bloggers have been walking.


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