Characters Along the Way…


Previously I went on a rant stating I did not like guided tours, tourist trap experiences and many museums, preferring instead meeting the local people as best I could.  (August 23 post)  Here is one such fun encounter with a local.  When I first saw this old man in his 90’s, he was painting his ocean front cottage on a rare, warm sunny day in Northern Ireland.  It seemed as if he was getting more paint on himself and the window panes than on the sashes and frames.  Does he plan to later use a razor blade to scrape the paint off of the window or is this good enough?

Continue reading

San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscan Countryside

Val d'Orcia Church

We have all seen photos of the Tuscan landscape and the beautiful green or gold rolling hills, depending on the time of year.  We visited in the spring so all was very lush and green.  Photos of Tuscany were responsible for Italy being such a large part of our initial trip to Europe.  In particular, I was interested in the often photographed Vitaleta Chapel pictured above.   We stayed at a working vineyard and olive farm in San Quirico d’Orcia primarily for me to have easy access to this chapel and many other vistas.  As it turns out, the light was never quite right for photographing the chapel, but the surrounding area was still wonderful.

Continue reading

Trash, Trash and more trash…..

Mexican trashMexican Trash 2Something we noticed in both China and Mexico was an apparent misunderstanding of trash.  In both Mexico and in China we saw paid workers sweeping up leaves in the street (China) and sweeping leaves on our patio (Mexico) then diligently placing these natural leaves in a nearby trash receptacle.  Also, in both instances you could count on seeing a large pile of real trash very nearby being ignored.  Neither country has yet developed a noticeable regard for the environment and keeping it clean.  If one wanted to, I am 100 percent confident a similar trash pile could be found in the States.  However, one difference is that it is not at all unusual to see government paid workers in the States walking along a highway cleaning it up.  Also, sections of highway are auctioned off in a joint venture between the paying public or corporations and the government for clean up.  Kramer on Seinfeld bought such a section of highway and carried the cleanliness a bit too far.   I clearly do not understand the many hurdles these poorer countries are facing and I have no solution for this situation.  As a new world traveler, I am only pointing this out as something I noticed.  Both countries’ citizens were interested in us and helpful in every way, that is just harder to capture by the camera.