Sights on the Monterey Peninsula

Happy 2016. I am lucky enough to spend the end of each year in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. Here are some of the sights I have enjoyed.

For the first time in four years there were storms and the sea turned rough and covered the beachIMG_1624

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One morning we we went for our usual walk on Scenic Drive to find it closed to traffic. A huge cement mixer stood in the middle of the road, pouring cement into the foundation of a new house.

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Because there were no cars parked on the side of the road we saw these beautiful patterns made by trees, sand and sky.IMG_1625

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On a Saturday afternoon we drove south to Big Sur to the art studio of Erin Gafill. A world renowned painter, she was having artists do demonstrations. We watched Lilli-Anne Price copy a photo of Point Lobos.

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She paints in oils using a palette knife. It is beautiful.

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We watched Erin do a twenty minute demo.

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This still life

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became this painting. All in twenty minutes. Magic.

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On Christmas morning we woke to wet empty streets And a wonderful quiet.

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That was not the case later in the morning when we went for our walk. Scenic was crowded so we headed in the opposite direction towards Pebble Beach. There was a new trail that lead to a boardwalk and steps to the beach.

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I love clouds and on that day they were magical.

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On a walk in Pacific Grove we met my favorite bird, the Pelican. It was close enough to touch.

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Looks like Pelican and gull are having a chat.

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He turned to us. What are you looking at, he seemed to ask.

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After he posed to show off all his beauty, with a flutter of wings he flew off.

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With these pictures of nature’s beauty, I wish you all Peace on Earth.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in California, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Paris Memories – December

After the attack in Paris I, like many around the world, have been thinking of that city. This post describes our trip there, fifteen years ago. Part of this post previously appeared in http://www.europeupclose.com

 

On a cool, sunny winter solstice morning, my husband and I disembarked at the Place des Abbesses and gasped with delight. One of eighty-seven Art Nouveau métro entrances in Paris, consisting of lacy iron filigreed flowers and figures, ushered us onto the streets of Montmartre.

 

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Sacre-Coeur

The village, built on the side of a hill, is the highest point in Paris. The thing to do is to take the funicular up to Sacré-Coeur basilica (http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/) at dawn and watch the sunrise over Paris. We did not make it up there that early, but it was still a stunning view with Paris at our feet.This village, was the first home to many artists from around the world and where the Impressionist movement started. It had cheap rentals, cheap food and cheap wine, and was away from the restrictions of the art establishment in town. Picasso, Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir, Utrillo and many others lived, painted, ate and slept in Montmartre, yet few tourists visit this area. Instead, they visit the Louvre and think they have seen all the art there is to see in Paris. However, these and other artists have their work scattered like colorful confetti in museums and galleries around Paris.

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The Musée de Montmartre (http://www.museedemontmartre.fr/) is located in the heart of the village in a charming 17th century country home with a designated area known as the poets’ garden. From 1850, it was a gathering place for artists. It is now a historical museum for the Montmartre area. As we wandered through the rooms, we saw a model of the village, paintings, lithographs, drawings and a fine collection of posters. We read wonderful stories of scandal and misbehavior among the tenants and their friends. For example, who was the father of artist Suzanne Valadon’s son Maurice Utrillo? Valadon lived at 12 rue Cortot (now the Museum) and her neighbors were Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas, who encouraged her to become an artist. Renoir, who had a studio in the house, was rumored to be Maurice’s father. We enjoyed the paintings of Valadon’s nudes and I loved Maurice’s impressionistic watercolors of Montmartre scenes.

After taking in the view and watching tourists, lovers and mimes,

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we wandered outside to find somewhere to eat. Just around the corner and up the hill, at number 2 rue de l’Abreuvoir (which means “water trough” in French), we saw a pink building with green shutters, and colorful window boxes. It stood on a corner of two lanes and looked like a painting. Apparently, many artists thought so, too. Picasso painted a portrait of Germaine Gargallo, the woman who lived in the house for forty years. We went into La Maison Rose as it is now called and were as charmed by the inside as the outside, with its tiled floors and yellow walls.  We enjoyed a meal of foie gras, walnut and blue cheese salad, duck confit, and of course wine, while watching the waitress put up Christmas decorations. We ended the meal with crepes. Sitting in that bistro, one notices the light that brought artists to this village. Although I cannot paint it made me itch to pick up a paintbrush.

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After lunch, we strolled past the cabaret Lapin Agile— French for “the agile rabbit” (http://www.au-lapin-agile.com/). It started out as a coach inn in the 1800’s and took its name from a pun by a sign painter – the agile rabbit jumping out of the cook’s pot. Picasso and the other  young artists like Utrillo and Modigliani, joined local residents there for folk songs, poetry readings, cheap meals and wine, and raucous conversation.

 

In 1904, Picasso began a painting for and about the Lapin Agile. In the painting, he is dressed as a Harlequin standing next to a friend, Germaine Gargallo who incidentally lived in La Maiso Rose for forty years. Picasso gave it to the manager Frede, who is also in the painting playing his guitar. It was probably in exchange for food and wine. In 1912, as Picasso was becoming famous, Frede sold this painting. In 1987, the painting fetched forty million dollars in auction. It hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. A quirky little fact-the only surviving vineyard in Paris is across the road from the Lapin Agile. It is about the size of a Minneapolis backyard.

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Our visit to Montmartre, an area so rich in history and culture, gave us a much wider appreciation and interest in the artists and their art. Paris, a vast city became smaller and more intimate by allowing us to go deeper into her treasures.

On another day we visited Sainte Chapelle which was built as a private chapel for Louis IX.  It is close to Notre Dame Cathedral which I found too large and crowded. I fell in love with this smaller rectangular building. The guide book describes it as “a marvel of the Gothic style, light and  radiant with wonderful stained glass.” This is a picture of the side windows.

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Sainte-Chapelle

The Rose window is over the alter.

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The Rose window

I sat there that day looking at the windows and the paintings on the upper walls depicting the old testament stories. I felt such a sense of peace and quiet. I hope it is serving that purpose now for the people of Paris.

 

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Going through the pictures we took on that trip I found this one, which is so relevant today.

Paris, the city of light is filled with even more light in December. The boulevards, restaurants, shops and monuments sparkle, creating warmth no matter the temperature.

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On our last evening we took a riverboat cruise on the Seine. It was a wonderfully quiet, peaceful and romantic way to enjoy the river and to see landmarks on the banks.

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The trip ended, where it started at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. As we glided up to it, the sun was setting and the bottom lights went on.

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As we watched from the deck, cuddled in the warmth of our coats we watched it light up and shine in the night sky.

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A memorable trip, in a memorable city.

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Peace in Paris. Peace in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in France | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Italian Travels – Two – Lucca

The town of Lucca is thought to be the most charming of the “art cities” of Tuscany, Italy. It is small enough to stroll around and although we only spent a few hours there, we got a taste of what it had to offer. It is known for its churches, a beautiful garden (Villa Reale di Marlia, which was closed when we were there) and as the home of the composer Puccini. A fun fact is that it is also Europe’s leading producer of toilet paper and tissues.

Here are some of the sights we saw. The old Roman wall remains intact around the city. This is the entrance

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It was hot and we were hungry and thirsty so headed for a table at one of the many small cafes.

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At the table next to us was a couple with a baby in her stroller and her three-year-old sister. Perfectly good little ones. Suddenly we heard a crash. My first thought was that a chandelier had fallen, but from where? No chandeliers outside in the square. One of the little ones had managed to pull the tablecloth off the table and broke plates, glasses and bottles. A few tears of fright but no one hurt and in no time everything was picked up. We continued to enjoy our pasta con fungi and mozzarella and tomato salad. When we left the father apologized for his children, but we assured him it was fine and we were grateful no one was hurt. I could not resist making this chicken that hung next to the tables, squawk.

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We strolled around town and joined others gazing at the buildings and the blooms.

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and came upon my favorite of all shops.

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They were doing renovations on the building in the square, hence the signs. I loved the stripes on the posters, reflections from somewhere. Happily I pottered around the stalls, pulling English books from the piles. I did not buy anything but add this Square of the Book to my list of bookstores around the world.

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We were so hot that we had to follow this little girl’s example. Not to ride bikes but to do what everyone does in Italy in the summer eat Gelato.

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Lucca is full of churches and they are seen around every corner and through every alley.DSC03142DSC03140Strolling down the street, finishing our gelato we saw this sign. It looked like a typical New England general store, and it was air conditioned so we took refuge. Of course I bought a few things too.

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Too tired and hot to continue to explore we went back to the Piazza. I found that there are very few benches in Italy so I joined many other tired people on the steps of Casa di Puccini – the home of the composer. In front of me was the beautiful cathedral of Lucca.  The Duomo of San Martino,  dates back to the 6 C, and was rebuilt in Romanesque style in the 11 C, consecrated by Alexander II (1070), and again restored in the quattrocento, when the beautiful columns of the upper arches were added. We just sat there and took pictures while the crowds wandered in front of and around us.

Notice the angel in the picture below

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and here is the angel facing the other way.

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The clouds were flecks of white against the blue so I simply pointed my camera up to the sky and shot.

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We had a lovely time in Lucca. We walked out of the walled city, down this avenue of ancient trees to our bus. We will return one day.

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Pictures and text, copywrited by EveryjourneyTraveled

Posted in Italy | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Venice

I have visited Venice over the years and instead of finding something new each time, I find it is unchangeable. I find the same beauty in the changing light on the water and the buildings. In the narrow winding calle (streets) with small bridges that cross the canals. I love the feel of gliding on the water in a Vaporetto and the bouncing on the water in a water taxi in the Lagoon. Around every corner is a view. It may be the curve of the ochre colored building, or the fourth floor balcony with a profusion of blooms. It may be the masks in the store window next to marbled washed paper, or a group of children throwing a basketball against an ancient brick, church wall.

I love Venice in the winter. I love the foggy cold and the early darkness to be enjoyed with a hot chocolate in hand. I was surprised that I loved it equally in summer. The light is brighter the crowds larger but it is still the same familiar place.

This is just a taste of Venice. There is so much to see and do. Perhaps I will publish a small guide book in the future of the other places I have visited on this magical collection of islands. For now, join me on this short trip.

This is Saint Mark’s square in June. Sun shining and crowds of people

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St Mark’s is a beautiful Byzantine church covered with mosaics inside and out. It is next to the Doge’s Palace which has a wonderful art collection

Mosaics

Mosaics

St Mark's

St Mark’s

The Doge's Palace

The Doge’s Palace

The bell tower

The bell tower

 

Here are views of Venice

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TheBridge of Sighs called that as it was where the prisoners crossed the canal to go to prison.

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Enjoying a gelato treat after touring art exhibits in the Palazzo’s for the Biennial.

DSC02971Beautiful windows

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Below, the Santa Maria Della Salute is my favorite building in Venice. It was built in gratitude for the end of the plague, the Black Death. Every year the gondolas would line up to form a bridge for the people to cross the Lagoon to go and pray in the church. Now they construct a swinging bridge for people to make the thanksgiving pilgrimage. We walked around it one foggy, winter evening a few years ago. Magical.

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All transportation is on the water.

Take a water taxi

Take a water taxi

or a gondola

or a gondola

The Vaporettas (water buses) glide from bank to bank of the Grand Canal

The Vaporettas (water buses) glide from bank to bank of the Grand Canal

 

Sit inside or stand on the deck as the Vaporetta glides in the water of the Grand Canal. Very relaxing

Sit inside or stand on the deck as the Vaporetta glides in the water of the Grand Canal. Very relaxing

 

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Peggy Guggenheim Museum. She spent most of her adult life in this palazzo now with a fabulous collection of her art.

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Beautiful buildings

Flowers everywhere

Flowers everywhere

This one is an office building across the canal from the Guggenheim museum. Those boats in front are taxis. I watched as a man in a suit got out and went into the building. Imagine working with that view in front of you everyday.

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Bridges like this Calatrava, the newest one

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Travelers perusing maps and books but not cell phones!

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Sunset from a roof top restaurant

Sunset from a roof top restaurant

 

 

Posted in Europe, Italy | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Red Rocks of Sedona

Woman emerging from Rock

Woman emerging from Rock

I know I have visited Sedona, AZ before and I have a picture to prove it. But I cannot for the life of me remember when it was. I remember that this picture was taken in Sedona and I remember it being taken. It must have been winter because that is snow on the ground and I am wearing a warm jacket. John took a picture of me standing in the snow to show that Arizona is not always hot. He then took many more of the rocks.

This being in the dark ages, before cell phones, Instagram and Facebook, he used a camera. When we got them printed, (yes we had to send them away to get prints) he realized it was a double exposure. Being a perfectionist, he wanted to toss it. I kept it, because to me it was magic, a woman rising out of the rock. Sedona is known for its Vortex sites, “a place in nature where the Earth is exceptionally healthy and a place on the planet of increased energy” (What is a Vortex? – Dennis Andres) I must have been at one and not known it.

Sedona is divided into three areas. Driving from Phoenix one approaches it on 179 which winds up a hill that is lined with restaurants, art galleries and small shops. Turning right at the top of the hill is Uptown. This is where Sedona began and has hotels, shops, cafes and a wonderful Art Center. Hollywood filmed many westerns in this area. Continuing past the village is Oak Canyon so named for Oak Creek which winds through the canyon, bubbling and gurgling its way through the red rocks for miles. On the left is a long straight main road, which could be any road in the suburbs of any city. This is West Sedona. What ties them all together are the towering limestone cliffs, huge green pines, juniper and cypress forests and the amazingly colored sandstone.DSC02819

Wherever you are there is a view. Eat at the restaurant in L’Auberge Hotel and watch the ducks paddle the rapids of Oak Creek. Fallen leaves float over the rocks and pebbles. Flowers bloom on the opposite shore.

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Have lunch, breakfast or dinner at Sound Bites Grill in Uptown and gaze at the rock formations where you will swear you can see Snoopy and Lucy.

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Snoopy

Lucy

Lucy

One morning we took a drive to see other famous rock formations. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is built into the rock with beautiful views from the top.

 

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Bell Rock has hiking trails to the top of it.

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As does Castle Rock.

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My favorite rock formation is Cathedral Rock, which is known as a Vortex site. It is in a national forest and area called Red Rock Crossing. Pre-settlements included Clovis Paleoindian, 10-11,000 years ago; southern Sinagua cliff dwellers 700-1400; to currant day Yavapai people. It was homesteaded in 1876 and used to raise cattle and farm crops. One can swim in the creek and cross on the red rocks under the shadow of the stunning Cathedral Rock. We strolled past the Water Wheel

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and along the path next to the creek. And rising above us is Cathedral Rock.

 

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I was filled with awe at the beauty of the rocks and gazed at the two rocks that looked like a king and queen surveying their kingdom.

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We strolled back and noticed a photographer taking pictures of a couple standing in this amazing, curved root. They had just become engaged. We wished them luck and said we hoped they too, would make it to fifty years. The photographer insisted on taking our picture as well. Must have been the energy of the Vortex.

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We pulled of the road on our drive back to get one last view of this natural masterpiece.

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After our Rock formation tour we stopped in Uptown for ice cream and a visit to the Sedona Art Center and Galleries. We were lucky enough to view the paintings of Adele Seronde, a lovely petite woman who celebrated her 90th birthday this year. We chatted and she told us that the exhibit included paintings by her children and grandchildren.Talent runs in the family.

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Her paintings were huge. This is her interpretation of Cathedral Rock

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The next day we visited the Amitabha Stupa Budda, a Buddist sacred landmark. It stands high in the mountain of red rock above West Sedona.

One can walk around it in meditation.

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Or simply sit in meditation on this beautiful wooden bench

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As I said before every way you turn there is a view.

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Sedona is full of art galleries including the Tlaquepaque Arts Village created years ago by Abe Miller. He built it to resemble a Mexican Village, which included plazas and a chapel. The artists lived above the stores that sold their creations.

Art in the garden

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My favorites were Gallery of the Ascending Spirit, and The Gallery of Wholeness, Harmony and Radiance. Just the names make me feel peaceful. Honshin Fine Art owns them. www.Honshin.com

Card we bought

Flower of the Healing Heart

Flower of the Healing Heart

There is so much to do in Sedona for all ages. We took the Ancient Ruin tour with Pink Jeeps Tours and I highly recommend them. www.pinkjeeptours.com

Here are some pictures from the tour.

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The ruins have been preserved as well as possible with limited funds

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Tribal Art

Tribal Art

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There are many other things to do like Vortex Tours, Trolley Tours, Horseback riding, riding the Wilderness Train and hiking. Or you can explore galleries, restaurants, have relaxing massages or just sit in the outdoors and gaze at the scenery.

The beauty was all around us, from this

Red rock at sunset

Red rock at sunset

to this

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To the clouds in the sky

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We will return

Posted in Arizona, United States | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

 Butterfly Wonderland – a Rainforest Experience

Normally the words, desert and rainforest do not go together, but they meld very well in America’s largest butterfly atrium. Butterfly Wonderland is located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community, in the Greater Phoenix area. The Native Americans believe the butterfly is a symbol of change, joy and color and a miracle of transformation, rebirth and regeneration.

Atrium

Atrium

On a lovely sunny day in March we visited this wonderland in the desert. There is an order to the visit. First view the movie The Flight of the Butterfly, a story of three generations of female monarchs, who journey through many states to eat, breed and survive. It is in 3D and I reached out to touch the trees, grasses and butterflies, on more than one occasion. It is truly a miracle of nature.

The next step on the journey is a visit to what I thought of as the birthing room, but what they call the Butterfly Emergence Gallery. It is where the Pupas hang on branches while the amazing transformation from a worm into a butterfly takes place. We watched as a couple slowly worked their way out of the cocoon. As I watched I remembered that as a child I collected silkworms, put them in a box with mulberry leaves, which they devoured and then spun the shell becoming pupas, and then moths.

Puppas and emerging butterflies

Puppas and emerging butterflies

There is a feeling of magic when you finally enter the glass-enclosed rainforest atrium. It is lush with foliage, waterfalls and a koi pond. It is probably the only place for miles that there is any humidity. The music is the almost soundless fluttering of the butterflies, the people’s murmurs of wonder, the running water and all around us hundreds of eye-popping, colored butterflies, landing on our backs, fronts, heads and hands. There are the usual signs, like don’t touch the butterflies, but also the ones that say, watch where you step, because they sit in the ground.

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Butterfly Wonderland gets most of the pupas from Africa, Asia and South and Central America. I asked a volunteer if they also breed and release them, given the destruction of the butterfly population from pesticides. He said no. As nothing in the Conservatory, like the trees, bushes, flowers and butterflies are natural to the area, that when they die, they have to be disposed of like toxic waste.

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We spent time watching the butterflies and the kid’s faces when a butterfly landed on their hands or clothes. They were all entranced and some were as colorful as the butterflies themselves.

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There were butterfly wreaths.

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And some that looked like mosaics

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Our favorite, the Blue Morpho which flies in a zigzag to confuse its predators.

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Another blue beauty

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Stunning

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Apparently they like bowls of fruit for breakfast

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Perfect camouflage

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The lovely Monarch

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Like a painting

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Where is the butterfly and where is the leaf?

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Waiting to leave

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One cannot just wander in and out. When enough people gather a staff person opens a door that leads into a room, where we check for butterflies on our person, or in our belongings. It is almost like a level of security. No one leaves with a butterfly in their possession.

Oops John nearly did!

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They then open another door and we are free to leave and visit the store or café. It is a delightful tourist attraction to visit, especially on a sunny day in March.

butterflywonderland.com

 

Posted in Arizona, United States | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

It’s a Dog’s Life in Carmel by the Sea

I remember the family dogs of my youth, in the small town of Messina, South Africa. They all lived outside, where they ran around and got all the exercise they needed. They were well fed, received rabies shots, got into fights with neighborhood dogs and were simply part of the family.

I would have liked a dog in Minneapolis, so my kids could experience having one as a pet. But the fact that I would have to walk it in the snow, put the kibosh on that plan. Since spending time in Carmel by the Sea I can see and enjoy dogs, everywhere I go and I mean everywhere.

Carmel Beach is one of the few beaches in California that allows dogs to be off leash and they love it.

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Carmel Beach

They catch tennis balls and frisbees

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They are puzzled when humans pretend to be dogs.

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Like humans they work up a thirst after running all over the beach and in the water, so they rehydrate at the water bowl at the top of the stairs.

Dog dish at the top of the beach stairs

Dog dish at the top of the beach stairs

After a busy day at the beach they go to the dog spa

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where they are washed, rinsed and dried.

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Dogs wander around town with their humans and snack on dog biscuits or quench their thirst at local merchants like this one

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They even have their own fountain, which is a good thing.

Fountain of Woof

Many hotels and Inns in Carmel by the Sea cater to dogs. Doris Day, the beloved movie star of the romantic comedies of the 1960’s, lives in Carmel Valley and is the owner of the Cypress Inn.

Cypress Inn

Doris is devoted to animals and loves dogs. They can, with their humans, eat, sleep and play at the Inn. They can even have birthday parties.

Dogs at table Cypress Inn

Two dogs in their Christmas collars waiting for lunch

I do not have to own a dog at home in Minnesota. I can get my fill when I spend time in Carmel by the Sea.

 

 

 

 

Posted in California | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments