THE PHOTOGRAPHS IN MY MIND – PART IV

This is another installment in the series of photographs in my mind from the 80 plus trips we’ve taken.  I hope some of them will interest you.

Italy – East/west/north/south – what a wonderful country.  You have to see:  the lake country, Cinque le Terre, Tuscany, Rome, Venice, Sienna, Pompei, Pisa, Lucca, Parma, Milan, Capri, Amalfi, Naples and everything in between.  So much history, so much good food.  It’s a wonderful vacation for five or eight trips.

A few of the highlights included the Palio horse race in Sienna, the ancient ruins of the Coliseum and the Vatican in Rome, the water-logged streets of Venice, the gelato in San Giomono, the ruins of Pompei, and the linked picturesque towns of Cinque de Terre.

I’d go back anytime.

Southern Coast of California, including San Diego, Laguna and San Luis Obispo.  You can’t go wrong in any of them.  San Diego boasts Old Town, the zoo, Coronado Island beaches, Balboa Park with three great museums and a delightful year-round climate.

Moving north, you go to Laguna, a quintessential beach town with lots of galleries, great beaches and arts and craft festivals, as well as the unique and famous Pageant of the Masters every summer.  It’s a little like Hawaii, only closer.

San Luis Obispo is an orderly, pretty college town which offers a relaxing atmosphere and lots of outdoor activities.

Vienna is a super charming city which rivals Paris in every way—only less crowded.  It offers interesting old-world sights along with recreations of the music and costumes of the 18th century.   You can almost feel Mozart and Beethoven roaming the streets and parks with you.

Canadian Rockies – Waking up in the Fairmont Hotel in Lake Louise looking out the window was a photo I’ll never forget.  Our room overlooked the lake, which gave us a mirror image of the snow-covered mountain in the distance.  What a wow!

The rest of the Rockies—Banff and Jasper—were beautiful as well.

Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It was about 1983 when I first saw this sleepy town of unpaved dirt streets and an adobe vision of what you thought Mexico would look like, but never did.  It was charming and rustic and a sheer delight.

The years since and our half a dozen return visits have seen the growth and gentrification with over 100 galleries of art and jewelry.  Still charming!

Prague and Budapest—both fascinating, historic and picturesque old world cities that have a charm that’s hard to describe.  Both also have many remnants of the problems their Jewish citizens had at the beginning of WWII.  Well worthwhile places to visit.

Moscow – Standing in Red Square was one of the great photo memories of my life.  Felt like I was in all the newsreels I saw as a kid with the tanks and troops marching through.  A wonderful city to visit and some of the most beautiful women in the world; most of them looked like tall blonde models

Southern Africa – What an absolute treat!  Started with Johannesburg, South Africa, with impressive images of Soweto, Pretoria, and our first safari in Kings Camp—up close and personal with an abundance of animals our tracker sought out.

Then it was Victoria Falls, and it was still impressive even with “low water.”

On to Botswana and three different safari camps.  Our first was a sleepless night with the lions and elephants baying at each other and in the morning they sent a jeep to take us to breakfast because the lions were camped out at the pool.

Then to Namibia and three more and different safari camps, along with sliding up/down the red sand dunes, as well as Walvis Bay, where the seals jump in the boat.

Mendocino – The first of our half-dozen trips was 1997, when this river/bay side town had loads of water towers slowly being converted to B&B, restaurants and galleries.

It was like a charming replica of New England with great restaurants and dozens of galleries showing art, jewelry and crafts.  Unfortunately, not many of the galleries are left nowadays, but it still has an eclectic, outstanding 10-day summer music festival.

Thailand – a very interesting country.  We didn’t go to the popular beach area because we live in L.A. and go to Hawaii pretty regularly.  We did visit Bangkok and a number of mountainous areas.

Bangkok is a city of contrasts; very depressed living areas along the bank of the Chao Phraya River and sumptuous temples, palaces and hotels.  It is the capital and largest city in Thailand and offers tours of the ancient capital, the floating markets, as well as the diverse culture of Asian life, including stifling humidity and lots of traffic.

Then it was on Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, cooler and very pretty with lots of gardens.  Nice escape from Bangkok.

Panama Canal – Fascinating, a great thrill and a very interesting experience.  Did it twice!  I’d go again.  Left Miami and trekked across the Caribbean to get to the staging area, then waited for our turn.  It’s an all-day, well-spent effort to get through the canal.  The history of how they built it is amazing.

Then it’s on to Costa Rica, with great beaches and exciting mountain areas.  Very inexpensive!

Australia – A wonderful visit down under!  Sydney is a great city with a beautiful harbor because all the commercial traffic is miles away.  Lots of beer and friendly, beer-loving people.  The Royal Botanical Garden leading to the historic Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the beach communities of Bondi and Manly are all highlights to visit.

It’s a big country with a lot more to see.  Melbourne is a charming town that reminds you a little of New Orleans.  Then there are Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, a paradise for snorkelers and divers.  Great trip!

Yosemite/Tahoe – Each is very special.  Yosemite is open winter and summer; waterfalls, great hiking, snow sports, camping and a host of outdoor activities.

The Ahwahnee Lodge and its dining room is one of the truly memorable places in America.

Tahoe is cool and gorgeous.  Here, too, there’s plenty to do in winter or summer.  The lake is a bit cool, but the north and south shore offer great hotels and lots of outdoor activities.

Vancouver/Whistler – Vancouver is one of the top cities in the world.  It’s a terrific place to visit with great museums, Stanley Park, Granby Island, the old gas town area and wonderful hotels and restaurants.  We first saw the city from a sea plane.  What a thrill!

Just an hour or so north is the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler.  Great mountain area!

New Orleans – A great city on the mend from Katrina.  There’s a lot to see if you have any time left from going to hear all the fabulous jazz music.  The parades and costumes all welcome you for a great experience.

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