11 February, 2010

Viva Italia...

Destination: Italy
Departure: Monday, February 15, 2010

Return:  Some time in March

You may have the universe if I may have Italy
~ Giuseppe Verdi ~

04 February, 2010

Reflection of the Palazzo del Captiano del Popolo and Sky in Orvieto, Italy-Skywatch Friday

Orvieto is a city and comune in southwestern Umbria, Italy situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. The site of the city is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone.

This capture is from my February 2009 trek to Italy. The Palazzo del Captiano del Popolo is captured in the window reflection. The Palazzo was built in 1157 as a palace for Pope Hadrian IV and has been remodeled over the years and served many different functions and presently it is a Conference Center. Popes were frequent residents in their Orvieto palaces as it was a safer place than Rome. The weather was absolutely perfect the day I was in Orvieto on the 24th of February 2009.

Be sure to check out all the SKYWATCH ENTRIES today, there is something for everyone to enjoy. It is one of my favorite memes.

21 January, 2010

Sky Watching from the Top of the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis-SkyWatch Friday

Today we are finally going up in the Gateway Arch. Yes, we are going up 630 feet or 192 meters to the top of this beautiful structure designed by Finnish-American Architect Eero Saarinen.

Passing through the doors, passengers in groups of five enter an egg-shaped compartment containing five seats and a flat floor. Because of the car shape, the compartments have sloped ceilings low enough to force taller riders to lean forward while seated (for this reason it's recommended that the tallest of the five passengers in the car sit in the center seat facing the door). Eight compartments are linked to form a train, meaning that both trains have a capacity of 40, and that 80 people can be transported at one time. These compartments individually retain an appropriate level by periodically rotating every 5 degrees, which allows them to maintain the correct orientation while the entire train follows curved tracks up one leg of the arch. The trip to the top of the Arch takes four minutes, and the trip down takes three minutes. The car doors have narrow windows, allowing passengers to see the interior stairways and structure of the Arch during the trip. I will say the pods are a tad claustrophobic and restrictive.

View looking out to the mighty Mississippi River that divides the State of Missouri and the State of Illionis. I like that I managed to capture a reflection of the arch in the River.

View looking toward City Garden and City of Saint Louis proper.

View looking toward Edward Jones arena where the Saint Louis Rams play football.

View looking toward Busch Stadium where the Saint Louis Cardinals play baseball.

I hope you enjoyed your view from the top of Gateway Arch today. These photographs were taken in August of 2009.

Please check out SKYWATCH FRIDAY  and share in the new year's spirit. Skywatch Friday was created by Dot, and perfected by Tom and is now hosted by Klaus. Skywatch members are Wren, Sandy, Sylvia, Fishing Guy, and Klaus.

15 January, 2010

Be Sure to Look Down...Weekend Reflections

My last morning in Florence, February 2009 afforded me this lovely composition right at my feet as I headed back to my hotel in the Piazza della Repubblica. Other than framing, and putting my blog logo on the photograph, this is SOOC.

This is my second entry into WEEKEND REFLECTIONS hosted by James. Please join in this wonderful meme.

14 January, 2010

Retired Presidential Helicopter-SkyWatch Friday

One of the highlights of a trip to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is the chance to step aboard Army One--the helicopter used by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. Extensively restored and now on permanent display at the library, the helicopter presents visitors with a rare chance to see how presidents traveled aboard one of the most storied aircraft ever made.

The helicopter, which seats sixteen and cost a million dollars to construct in 1960, is a six-ton Sikorsky VH 3A "Sea King" model, bureau number 150617. During its presidential service, the helicopter was known either as Marine One or Army One, depending on whether Marine or Army pilots were operating the craft. President Nixon used it on more than 180 trips, including on overseas visits such as his summit meeting with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt in 1974.

Perhaps his most famous use of the helicopter was his last, on August 9, 1974. On that day, President Nixon resigned and flew in the helicopter from the South Lawn of the White House to Andrews Air Force Base, where he boarded Air Force One for a flight to his private residence in San Clemente, California.

The helicopter was retired from White House service in 1976 and later used for the training of Secret Service. After being put in storage, the helicopter's interior and exterior were restored, and it was installed on the grounds of the library in 2006.

The Sikorsky VH 3A "Sea King" helicopter is on loan courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Do stop by and visit all my friends at SKYWATCH FRIDAY and share in the new year's spirit. Skywatch Friday was created by Dot, and perfected by Tom and is now hosted by Klaus. Skywatch members are Wren, Sandy, Sylvia, Louise, Fishing Guy, and Klaus.

11 January, 2010

Alternative Transportation-My World Tuesday

Sitting at a stoplight in Lancaster County Pennsylvania I spotted this shot. Needless to say, I whipped out my camera and snapped away. The other shot of the horses/buggies was taken at the market and the last shot taken on the road back to where I was staying (note cars crossing double line to pass the horses/buggy).

Mid September 2009 I attended the annual picnic hosted by the publisher of my two books in Atglen, Pennsylvania (located in the heart of Amish country). Stayed in an interesting bed and breakfast, better less said about it (which I will not stay at again) but, overall had a most wonderful time flitting about in the Amish countryside in the rain. So wishing the weather would have been more cooperative. It rained the entire time I was there until the day I left when beautiful blue skies appeared and, unfortunately, I had to travel non-stop home (a long drive back to Virginia).

Do stop by the fab meme MY WORLD TUESDAY and check out the many contributors from all over the world. That's My World is hosted each week by Klaus and the My World team, Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia. It's a wonderful place to see the world from the comfort of your home :)

05 January, 2010

Window View from Laclede's Landing in Saint Louis, Missouri

Taken in August 2009 while in Saint Louis, Missouri. In the reflection you can see a bit of the Edward Jones Dome where the St. Louis Rams football team plays.

This shot was taken in Laclede's Landing area. Click on the link for more information about LaClede's Landing .

This is my second submission for Window Views and Doors Too . Please join in this fab meme hosted by the lovely Mary Tomaselli on Wednesday/Thursday.