The view from the window: A hotel in Rome

The balcony beckons ...

The balcony beckons …

I know what you’re thinking. This series is called “The view from the window”, so why did I caption this photo “The balcony beckons”? Well, outside the window was a lovely wide planted terrace, and it was no more than the work of a moment to lift a chair out that window and climb out after it myself, there to sit in comfort with a glass of wine and admire the view.


The view from the window

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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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Travel Album: New York City (2)

Maine Monument

The Maine Monument commemorates the 260 American sailors who died when the battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbour (Cuba) in 1898.

A walk in Central Park

On a lovely Saturday at the end of May, a friend and I strolled through the southern end of Central Park. We entered from Columbus Circle (where the Maine Monument is, above), heading loosely for the Shakespeare Garden because I wanted to take photos of the garden. (My Shakespeare Garden post is here.)

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I was pleasantly surprised at the many woodland retreats scattered around.

Woods and fence.

This is scene is more bucolic than I expected in New York City.

Woods and bench.

This bench seems to have grown out of the fence.

The Victorian Gardens Amusement Park were popular with children and adults alike.

A ride in a horse-drawn carriage is a very popular thing to do, though with prices starting at $50 for 20 minutes it didn’t seem like value for money. The poor horses seemed faintly embarrassed by their exuberant head gear.

Horse with red white feather.

Horse with red and white feather.

Bethesda Fountain is one of the best known fountains in the world — apparently. I have to confess that I did not recognise it, although it has appeared in a number of films. Interestingly, the statue at the top (“Angel of the Waters”) is the only sculpture in the park that was commissioned as part of the original design.

Bethesda Fountain - Angel of the Waters

Bethesda Fountain – Angel of the Waters

What’s a park without performers? And yes, he was singing a Simon & Garfunkel song when I took this.

Busker

The park opened in 1857, and some of its solid brick and stone architecture can still be seen.

More modern architecture is on display in the towers of Manhattan, viewed across the lake.

Office towers seen across the lake.

Skyscrapers seen across the lake.

Rhododendrons or azaleas? I’m not sure what the difference is, but they are pretty.

If you have enjoyed this walk in Central Park, check out Jo’s Monday Walk to see where other bloggers have been walking.


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Travel Album: New Orleans (1)

Courtyard, Le Croissant d'Or

Courtyard, Le Croissant d’Or (pastry shop)

Impressions of the French Quarter

Before I arrived in New Orleans (in June 2015), I had become quite concerned about my safety. I read so many articles about the crime, so many first-hand posts and comments from people who had been harassed, assaulted or robbed, that I almost regretted deciding to go. I even changed hotels in order to reduce walking time! Yet when I opened my hotel room curtains early on the first morning, the French Quarter seemed peaceful and innocent.

How much danger could this lovely spot possibly hold?

How much danger could this lovely spot possibly hold?

However, clearly it was not a safe place. This is not the sign a woman walking on her own wants to see:

oh dear oh dear ...

oh dear oh dear …

I am very happy to report that my stay in New Orleans was completely without incident. 🙂 Yes, parts of the French Quarter are tatty and tacky, full of drunks and fools and those who prey on drunks and fools, but early in the morning you can wander with a camera with no more than a sensible degree of caution. It’s a photographer’s delight!

Galleries

The difference (I learned) between a gallery and a balcony is that galleries are supported on pillars from the street, whereas balconies jut out from a building with no support.

Courtyards

When walking around an unfamiliar city, I can’t resist peering through open doors. Like Paris, New Orleans offers up glimpses of the private lives behind the public facades.

Le Croissant d’Or

My wanderings that morning did have a purpose: breakfast! I was aiming for a French pastry shop I had read about online, called Le Croissant d’Or. The inside seating area was air conditioned yet rather charmless, but the outer courtyard was full of character.

Street scenes

A few random photographs of things that caught my eye:

A reminder of a darker past

This former slave exchange is now a restaurant. My lunch was excellent, the service was attentive and friendly, but it was unsettling to look past the cheerful diners and try to imagine what scenes had played out in this building.

This is the first of a series of posts about New Orleans.


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Travel Album: Distillery District, Toronto

These barrels and the brick buildings are reminders of the area's past.

These barrels and the brick buildings are reminders of the area’s past.

Toronto’s Distillery District was initially the home of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery. By the 1850s the distillery was thriving, and in 1859 construction began on the current site. In the 1870s, Gooderham and Worts was the largest distillery in the world — by 1871, its annual whiskey and spirits production came to 2.1 million gallons. The distillery closed in 1990. In 2001 work began to turn the area and more than 40 buildings into a pedestrian-only village dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment: Distillery Historic District opened in May 2003. (source)

Some of the old machinery is displayed in the buildings.

The Distillery District is an appealing mix of old and new, and a walk around the area is a photographer’s delight. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars for refreshment, plus interesting little shops where you can spend your holiday money.

Barrels on a wagon.

Barrels on a wagon.

If you enjoyed this walk, check out where other people have been walking with Jo’s Monday walk.


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Travel Album: New York City (1)

69th Street Transfer Bridge

69th Street Transfer Bridge

A walk in Riverside Park, Manhattan

Riverside Park runs for 4 miles (6.4 km) on the west side of Manhattan, from 72nd to 158th Streets. Since 1875, it’s offered somewhere for New Yorkers to escape the city and relax. Part of the land on which the park is built was originally used for railroads.
The photo above is what’s left of the 69th Street Transfer Bridge — a dock for car floats which allowed the transfer of railroad cars from the rail line to car floats that crossed the Hudson River to New Jersey. It may seem an odd subject to open a post about a park, but it looms over the park and is a reminder of the area’s history. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Hover mouse over image for caption; click to open gallery and view full size.

The park is a great spot for chilling out.

Reminders of the area’s industrial history are everywhere.

This aerial shot shows the 69th Street Transfer Bridge and the rebuilt Pier 1 beside it, plus the rotting remains of old structures.

This aerial shot shows the 69th Street Transfer Bridge and the rebuilt Pier 1 beside it, plus the rotting remains of old structures.

The park looks across the Hudson River to New Jersey.

A dramatic sky breaks over the New Jersey shoreline.

A dramatic sky breaks over the New Jersey shoreline.

In the 1980s Donald Trump owned the 57 acres of land just south of Riverside Park that had been the Penn Central freight rail yard. His Riverside South development of towering apartment buildings also extended the park south to 59th Street.

If you enjoyed this walk along part of Manhattan’s Riverside Park, head over to Jo’s Monday Walk to see where other people have been walking.

For other bloggers’ travel adventures on a Monday, check out Monday Escapes.


Facts and figures about Riverside Park taken from:
nycgovparks.org/parks/riverside-park/history
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riverside_Park_(Manhattan)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Central_Railroad_69th_Street_Transfer_Bridge


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Travel Album: On the Way: Sydney to San Francisco over the Pacific Ocean

The setting sun throws the engine cowling into harsh relief.

The setting sun throws the engine cowling into harsh relief.

On 23 May I flew from Sydney to San Francisco, on the way to Toronto. I didn’t get much sleep over the Pacific, but the stunning sunset and sunrise at 33,000ft made up for it — almost. 😉

As the sky darkens, a single bright star is visible above the band of intense sunset colour.

As the sky darkens, a single bright star is visible above the band of intense sunset colour.

Reflections in the engine cowling:

Sunrise:

Sunrise: the horizon is delicate shades of blue and pink, and the rising sun makes metal points on the wing glow as if they were lights.

The horizon is delicate shades of blue and pink, and the rising sun makes metal points on the wing glow as if they were lights.


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