Monday, December 31, 2007

Golden Terraces, Warsaw, Poland

Just across the street from the Marriott where we stayed in Warsaw was the Golden Terraces. It is a commercial, office, and entertainment complex in the center of Warsaw next to the train station. It opened in early 2007.

It has a fascinating glass roof that looks like soap bubbles.

Here's the wikipedia article and here's their web site (in Polish).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kwidzyn, Poland

After we left Krakow, we took the train to the paper mill at Kwidzyn. Here's International Paper's site for that mill. The mill was built in the early 1970's by the Communist government. IP bought it in 1992.

Here's their web page (sorry, it's in Polish) and here's the wikipedia article. Here're my pictures of the mill. For a good laugh, here's my "apartment."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

St. Mary's Basilica, Krakow, Poland

The icon of Krakow to me was St. Mary's Basilica on the Market Square. Here's the wikipedia article.

On every hour, a trumpet signal - called the hejnaƂ (pronounced hey-now) - is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary's two towers. The plaintive tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city.
You can listen to the trumpet here.

Here are my pictures of the basilica in the daytime and in the nighttime.

The basilica sits on the northeast corner of Krakow's Market Square. For many centuries it was the largest marketplace and town square in Europe. In the center of the square is Cloth Hall. Here's my picture of Cloth Hall.

Also in the square is the Town Hall Tower, built in the 13th century. Here are my pictures of the tower in the daytime and in the nighttime.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beekman Arms, Rhinebeck, New York

One of my favorite restaurants in the Hudson Valley is the 1766 Tavern at the Beekman Arms. It claims to be the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States.

One night after dining there, I noticed a plaque near the front door. It said that George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette had drilled the Continental Army in front of the Inn.

From Historic Hotels of America:
The Continental Army drilled on the lawn and townspeople took refuge here when the British burned the state capital at Kingston, across the river.
The Beekman Arms is mentioned in the wikipedia article here and their web site is here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, New York

Just up the way from FDR's home is the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Cole Palen built this "living" museum of antique aviation.

The first time I stopped by there was on a weekday and the museum was open for a voluntary donation. Oh, they asked us to help us push a biplane around with them. Maybe we got a credit for that.

In addition to the operating airplanes, they have 4 buildings full of other airplanes, cars, firetrucks, and motorcycles.

Their web site is here and the wikipedia article is here.

Don't miss it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FDR Home, New York

In 1989, we drove from New York to Montreal and then on to Toronto. On the way, we drove up the Hudson Valley where I had been several times on business.

One of the most interesting places was FDR's home in Hyde Park, New York.

The wikipedia article is here and the National Park Service site is here.

View Larger Map

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland

Wawel Castle overlooks the Vistula River.

Here's the wikipedia article and here's their web site.

The Sunday we were there was Saint Stanislaus's Day. My pictures begin here.

We toured the Royal Private Apartments. It was really kind of sad in that so many of the country's artifacts had been stolen by conquerors over the centuries.

Friday, October 19, 2007

St. Florian's Gate, Krakow, Poland

St. Florian's Gate was just 1/2 block from our hotel in Krakow. The permit to build it was issued in 1285. It was part of the medieval city walls. Here's the wikipedia article and here's my picture of the gate.

Just north of the gate is the Barbican of Krakow, built around 1498. Here's the wikipedia article on it and here's my picture.

If you zoom out 3 clicks, you can see the park area that was built where the old wall was torn down.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Danube, Vienna, Austria

We couldn't go to Vienna and not see the "Blue Danube." Didn't look very blue to me.

Here's the wikipedia article. My pictures begin here. This picture was taken at the map location.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, Austria

We had a layover in Vienna on our way to Krakow so we jumped on the subway and went into town. We hadn't done much research so we just went to the center of the city and walked around. We came out near St. Stephen's Cathedral. The last section of it was finished in 1511. The south tower is 445 feet tall, 343 steps (trust me). 343 is 7 x 7 x 7. The north tower is only half as tall, at 223 feet. A word to the wise, the observation deck is on the north tower!

Here's the wikipedia article and my pictures begin here. Vienna's web site is here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Trinity Park, Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is just full of surprises. As we rode our bicycles around Oak Bluffs we came across Trinity Park.

Trinity Park is a Methodist Church campground. Around the tabernacle in the center of the park, the faithful have built gingerbread cottages. It's mentioned in the wikipedia article here. There's an interesting walking tour here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Flying Horses Carousel, Martha's Vineyard

We spent a day on Martha's Vineyard several years ago. We rented bikes and rode around Oak Bluffs, one of several small towns on the island.

An unexpected surprise was the Flying Horses Carousel.

The wikipedia article is here and their web site is here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most dramatic bridges. has the best satellite shot of it but Windows Live Local has an amazing birdseye view of it here. Be sure and hit F11 to get the full effect.

The wikipedia article is here and their web site is here. Here's my picture taken on July 4, 2002.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hyde St. Cable Car Turnaround, San Francisco

The Hyde St. Cable Car Turnaround is the quintessential tourist spot in San Francisco. If (and that's a big IF) the cable car is running, the lines are horrendous.

wikipedia has a good article on the cable car system here and the system's web site is here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Twin Peaks, San Francisco

Twin Peaks has a breath-taking view of San Francisco. The night we drove up there, the fog was so heavy. We got lost on the way up and stopped for directions. The locals laughed at us for thinking we were going up there for a view. Boy, were they wrong!

Similar to the Coit Tower, local legend suggests that the Twin Peaks represent portions of a woman's anatomy. There are lots of photos here.

Here's the wikipedia page.

Here's Windows Live Local Bird's Eye View. You may have to work around a little to get a clear view of both peaks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Everybody knows about Alcatraz. It's been a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963, when it became a national recreation area. It was occupied by American Indians in 1969. Here's the wikipedia page.

I couldn't resist including Microsoft's Windows Live Local bird's eye view.

Don't miss the last boat off in the afternoon.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Scoma's, San Francisco

My favorite restaurant in San Francisco is Scoma's out on Pier 47. Here's their web site.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Coit Tower, San Francisco

Coit Tower is atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. It was built at the request of Lillie Hitchcock Coit from a gift from her estate. Legend has it that it was designed to look like a fire hose nozzle (or something else of a fireman's anatomy).

The wikipedia article is here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lombard Street, San Francisco

We always try to drive down Lombard Street when we're in San Francisco. Besides the unbelievable switchbacks, the landscaping is gorgeous.

The wikipedia article is here. My picture is here.

View Larger Map
Be sure to click on the Google Street View! Windows Local Live also has a great bird's eye view.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Parliment Hill, Ottawa

Parliment Hill in Ottawa is Canada's seat of government. There is a Changing of the Guard here similar to the one at Buckingham Palace. Here is their web cam.

Windows Live Local's image isn't as good but I think it shows a boat and barges traversing the locks of the Rideau Canal. To see what I'm talking about, go here and click back and forth between Google Maps and Microsoft VE (aerial).

Here's the wikipedia article and here's their web site.

From the Spirit of Canada web site:
The Tulip Festival has its origins in World War II when the late Princess Juliana (later to become Queen of the Netherlands) spent the war years in Ottawa. When peace came, she returned home; but she never forgot her stay in Canada. So each year, a gift of over 20,000 tulip bulbs is sent to Ottawa. This year (2005), the festival signals the 60th Anniversary of the end of the war and the Gift of Tulips to Canadians comes as 'A Celebration of Peace and Friendship'.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Anne Frank's house is at Prinsengracht 267 in Amsterdam. You can see the line outside. We got there when it opened at 9:00 AM and walked right in. I strongly recommend that. Here's their web site and here's their webcam.

There's an unforgettable statue on the sidewalk.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Amsterdam Royal Palace

Amsterdam Royal Palace is just down the Damrak from where we stayed in Amsterdam. Here's the wikipedia article.

Here's my picture of it.

Dam Square is across from the palace and there stands the National Monument.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hotel Prins Hendrik, Amsterdam

On our way back from England and Wales in 2003, we spent the night at Hotel Prins Hendrik, Prins Hendrikkade 53, 1012 AC in Amsterdam. It's in that line of buildings facing the trees. Zoom out a couple of clicks and you'll see the canal and the Centraal Station. Here's their web site. Count the stars (***).

Chet Baker
died there in 1988.

We took a cruise on the canals on one of these boats.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Usk, Wales

In 2003, we stayed at the The Glen-yr-Afon House Hotel in Usk, Wales. It is a wonderful place. Here's their web site. Scroll just a little to the South and see the narrow bridge over the River Usk. Here's an interesting site on this village. Here's my picture of it. Here's their web site and here's the wikipedia article on Usk.

There are a couple of good pubs here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Salisbury Cathedral, UK

The Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest church spire in England. It also houses one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta. Here's the wikipedia article. Here's my picture of the cathedral. One of my favorite pictures is of a black cat sitting in the cloisters.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Roman Baths, UK

In 2003, we visited the Roman baths at Bath (duh!), UK. Here's the bird's eye view. Zoom in and you can see the water.

Bath is a nice town with shopping and restaurants very near the historic sites. Here's the web site for the baths and here's the wikipedia article. Here's my picture of the baths proper.

In the immediate area is the Bath Abbey. Here's the web site for the abbey and here's the wikipedia article. Here's my picture of the abbey.

I'm trying something different. Here's a link to the FlashEarth map. You'll notice that you can readily switch between Google Maps or Windows Live Local images. Google has really improved their images since I originally created this entry in October 2006.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Stonehenge, UK

Just down the road from Avebury is Stonehenge. Given that it's so well known that there's even a Windows XP wallpaper of it I guess I don't need to say much. I just had to take my own photo of it. Here's their website and here's the wikipedia article.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Avebury, UK

Although not as famous as the nearby Stonehenge, the henge of Avebury is larger and older; dating back to around 5000 years ago. The standing stones are arranged in a circle with a 400m diameter, on a raised piece of land which has a deep external ditch, and surrounds the tiny village of the same name.

It is one of the largest Neolithic monuments in Europe but what’s really cool about Avebury is that, unlike Stonehenge, you can walk right up to and around the stones. In fact, in a move that would probably have upset those who assembled the stone circle, the A351 road cuts straight through the middle. Just watch out for the sheep droppings. Here's their web site and here's the wikipedia article. Their webcam used to be here but doesn't seem to be working any longer. Maybe it'll come back.

PS. This may look like a duplicate of the Avebury entry on Googlesightseeing but that's because I submitted that.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Marlborough, UK

On our drive from London to Wales in 2003, we stopped for lunch in Marlborough. You can't go anywhere in England without stumbling across history. Here's their website and here's the wikipedia article.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Stratford-Upon-Avon, England

Stratford-Upon-Avon is William Shakespeare's hometown. This map is centered on New Place, Shakespeare's final residence. Here's the wikipedia article on the town.

If you scroll due East, you'll see two bridges across the Avon. Between them is the Swan's Nest hotel where we stayed. The long bridge is the Clopton Bridge built in 1490. Here are some old postcards of the bridge and the nearby foot bridge.

View Larger Map

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Warwick Castle, England

Warwick Castle is a Norman castle near Birmingham, England and literally just down the road from Stratford-Upon-Avon. The river just to the South is the Avon.

Here's the wikipedia article and here's their web page.

They do reenactments on the grounds and the interior is a Tussauds exhibit. You can climb that tower in the upper right.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stow-on-the-Wold, Cotswolds, England

Stow-on-the-Wold is a pretty little town in the Cotswolds. Their web site is here and the wikipedia article is here.

Stow was a big market for sheep. There are narrow alleyways called "tures" leading from the Square to the perimeter of the town that were used to herd the sheep to market.

We ate lunch in the pub of the Stow Lodge Hotel which has a false bookcase in the lounge that once concealed a spiral staircase leading to a secret room. There are also tunnels from the basement allegedly leading to the nearby church.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cutty Sark, London

The Cutty Sark is a beautiful old clipper ship in dry dock in Greenwich. Here's the wikipedia article and here's their web site. Here's Windows Live Local's Bird's eye view. Here's my picture of the Cutty Sark.

On the afternoon of Monday, 22nd November, 1869, a beautiful little clipper ship was launched from Scott and Linton's shipyard at Dumbarton. She bore a name that was to become famous...
I'll bet you wonder what that little round building is near the Thames. You'll never guess so go read about it here. Then you'll understand this.

UPDATE: On May 21, 2007, the Cutty Sark burned. I captured the original Windows Live Local image.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Greenwich Royal Observatory, London

At the Greenwich Royal Observatory, you can stand with one foot in the Western Hemisphere and the other in the Eastern Hemisphere. Here's the wikipedia article and here's their website. Here's Windows Live Local's Bird's eye view. Here's my picture from there.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Thames Barrier, London

The Thames Barrier is a flood control structure that protects London. It is the world's second largest movable flood barrier after one in the Netherlands. Here's the wikipedia article with some good pictures.

To understand the issue, you need to realize that the tide in the Thames at this point is 21 feet!