9-11 Memorial, NYC

9-11 School Children's Poster

9-11 School Children’s Poster

It is a sad situation, but it seems that in the US we do memorials very well.  From the Oklahoma bombing to the Vietnam Memorial our memorials seem to be very fitting tributes to the heroes who lost their lives.  The 9-11 Memorial in New York is no exception.
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Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower Moon

It seems to me, anybody who saw the 1977 Steven Spielberg film “Close Encounters of a Third Kind” and who had never visited the filming location, would certainly wish to do so.  Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming finally got checked off my list this summer.  Unfortunately, most of the area was covered in a smoky haze from the many raging forest fires in California and Oregon.  As a side note, it seems as if Smoky the Bear may have had it wrong.  We are now paying the price, an unintended consequence, for the many years when the US Forest Service tried to put out every fire.
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Bastille Day 2014 Paris, France

Eiffel Tower Panorama

Our trip to Paris was planned to coincide with the fireworks around the Eiffel Tower for Bastille Day, or as the French are sometimes quick to correct us, La Fête Nationale.   I arrived at the 59th floor of Tour Montparnasse nine hours early hoping to find a prime view of the Eiffel Tower.  There were very few spots left at that time, but was allowed to squeeze into one of the last remaining spots, thanks to Paris photographers Elhadj Ndoye and Laurent Sigwald.  It is the start of a goal of mine to get fireworks at several famous locations, such as the Statue of Liberty, Sydney Bridge and maybe Big Ben.

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Siena Italy

Il Campo Square

Siena is the largest of  the mountain towns in Tuscany.  These mountain towns were built high on hills and are surrounded by tall walls.  These fortifications came in handy when they found it necessary to dump hot oil on the invaders from neighboring towns fighting for dominance of the region and control of trade.  I never thought I would be reading articles on the unification of Italy on my own and with interest….  The main attraction in Siena is the huge brick courtyard, Il Campo.  Here the tradition is for young lovers to chase away the flocks of pigeons and have a picnic on the hot bricks… hummm we skipped that part.

Tower ViewIl Campo PanoramaIl Campo Clock Tower

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