Bandon and the Oregon Coast

Face Rock Beach, Bandon, Oregon

Bandon, Oregon is well known among photographers for the many unique rock shapes and monoliths along its sandy beach.  The beach is named for the rock on the far left above.  Indian legend says this is Ewauna, the daughter of Chief Siskiyou.  Her partially submerged head can be seen with the face looking up to the right. Continue reading

Normandy, France

Omaha Beach Memorial

Monument “Les Braves” at Omaha Beach

Upon arriving at Omaha Beach, on the coast of Normandy, France, it was surprising to see it being used much as any beach would  be on a warm summer day with people swimming, playing and having family picnics.  What a difference 70 years make….  I am not saying the beach should be off limits, just that no TV documentaries I’ve seen depicted it being used as a normal beach, so I was surprised.  There are two war monuments on the beach, memorializing the 2,500 Americans who died during the initial assault.  The metal one, shown above, seems very appropriate for the marking of the site.  To me the artwork depicts bombs dropping into the sand and the resulting explosions.
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Cinque Terre, Italy


Village of Manerola at dusk

Village of Manarola at dusk

Cinque Terre is a series of five small fishing villages on the west coast of Italy, known as the Italian Riviera.  In these towns there are basically no cars, no stop lights and few roads wide enough to drive cars if you had one.  We stayed in Corniglia, the middle of the five towns.  To get to our condo we walked up a series of narrow sidewalks bordered by 4-5 story buildings several hundred years old.  Adding to the interest of our stay were three turtles in the back yard.  The first night we saw the Mom Turtle dig a hole with her hind legs and lay eggs.  The very close proximity of the buildings does not provide much privacy but adds to the quaintness.  If not careful, our just washed clothes could drip on the people walking below when hung out to dry.  Corniglia was on a high hill requiring 400+ steps, arranged in a series of switchbacks, to arrive in the town from the train station.  The bus service between town and train station was unreliable, so walking was the preferred method for us as it also provided good exercise.  So here you have an entire town that is not wheelchair accessible.  If you wanted to go to the scenic beach, that would be another 400+ steps down on the other side of the cliff, no bus service.  I would say the Cinque Terre area is a highlight of Italy and wonderfully unique area.

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Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento Gellato-cropped-20140507-_ALL1845-EditSorrento, Italy was a milestone in our home free adventure.  Making it to Sorrento means we made it through Italian customs (there wasn’t any), negotiated our way from the Port of Civitavecchia to Sorrento using two bus lines, three trains, and successfully meeting our landlord on the other end.  Had it not been for our years of experience riding the subways of Chicago, we never would have made it on the Circumvesuviana train car in Naples.  Running past many train cars which appeared to be 110% full, we managed to push and shove our way onto the last car with our two large suitcases, two back packs and two carry-ons.  It may sound like we over packed, but I brought along 30 pounds of camera gear and a large tripod which required a large suit case.  Also, I packed rain gear for Ireland and Scotland.  Generally, the rule is to not pack more for a 6 month trip than for a several week trip.  However when packing for hot and cold weather as well as strenuous hiking trips, the volume expands.
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