Friday, April 18, 2014

Journey South: Cartagena, Columbia

Continuing our journey south in early March, 2014, we reached Cartagena, Columbia. This is a big city on the north edge of South America. It has an interesting and important history and so a tour will likely be focused on the older walled-in city and the fortress built to defend it.

Read about Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

It is a long way up to the top of the fort and you can bet the temperature will be very warm.

Here are a few typical street scenes.

These small taxis seem to be a popular way to get around.

In this photo you see three large entrance ways ... these are the
way into the old, original, walled city.
Some typical scenes once inside the walled city ...

One of the most impressive sites we visited was the Cathedral of San Pedro Claver.

This is a panoramic photo pieced together from several shots.
You can't get far enough back to get the whole thing in one frame
without a special lens on the camera.
The interior of the church is beautiful and San Pedro Claver Corberó was an interesting and important historical figure.

Unfortunately, Cartagena was a destination for slave traders. Claver's primary mission was to help the slaves and minister to them.  The statue above commemorates Claver's efforts.

Special Note

Special note for followers and visitors:  I always appreciate your kind comments. Please understand that my motivation for John's Island is primarily to preserve a sort of virtual diary. The impetus comes from my grandmother who religiously kept a written diary almost all of her adult life. I was lucky enough to be the family member who received the entire set of her diaries. Almost every year she filled up an "Aladdin Composition Book" ... one of those wire-bound books with a brown cover. She passed away before the first consumer computers were introduced (mid 70s) so I wonder what she would think about recording her thoughts and experiences today in this virtual environment. My reason for mentioning all this, in relation to comments, is that I always try to thank those of you who leave the comments and usually do so by going to your blog to do that. Some of you do not have blogs and so I may not be able to get back to you that way. Normally I do not reply on the blog to comments since, from the beginning, I've felt that people rarely will return to see if there is a reply to their comment ... they simply don't have the time. So, as opposed to many other bloggers, I don't feel John's Island is a means of generating income with page views or just for communicating to keep-in-touch. Although I enjoy following a large number of blogs, I simply do not have the time to regularly watch all of them, much less make a comment. The bottom line is I do appreciate all your comments and taking your time to post them. I will try to get back to you. Thank you for stopping by John's Island!

Next segment of the journey:  Panama Canal.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Journey South - Aruba - Butterfly Farm

This sign greets you on arrival at Port of Aruba
Boarding busses with fellow travelers
for various tours of the island.

Those things that look like jet engines --- the crew
refers to them as "BSTs" --- they actually have
no purpose except decoration, so they are
just the "Big Silver Things" ... BST
The most interesting thing (in John's humble opinion) on
Aruba is the Butterfly Farm
Welcome to the Farm

Wish I knew the name of all these butterflies. They
are kept in a very large screened-in area.

They may land right on you.

They enjoy dining on fruit

They also move pollen around like bees

These blue ones are hard to capture. Not a perfect focus
here, but close.

Is the color of the butterfly and the flower
just a coincidental match?

Black and White



The one blue one, with wings open, is the same
type of butterfly as the others with wings closed.

One Happy Island
Next segment:  Cartagena, Columbia, South America.

Thank you for stopping by John's Island.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Journey South

We recently embarked on a journey taking us across country to Florida where we boarded a ship that would take us to South America, through the Panama Canal and back to California. The first segment is a long one, a full day's flight from Seattle to Miami.

After going about as far as possible from one corner of the country to another, our destination the next day was Vizcaya Museum and Gardens since history and beautiful gardens are two of our favorite pursuits. Vizcaya is an estate build by one of America's wealthiest early industrialists, James Deering. He was a part of the family that created the International Harvester Company.

If this place looks like a mansion to you, let me assure you, it is. Deering spent the last part of his life building the place which is now a museum. The gardens are amazing.

Deering even created an Orchidarium ... the first one of these we've seen.  The original orchid garden was destroyed by a hurricane but a replica was built with a contribution from David A Klein, so the new garden is dedicated in his name.

The climate around Miami seems about perfect for orchids.

The David A Klein Orchidarium. Some of the individual
flowers are shown below.

Not an orchid (as far as we know)
but sure liked the colors.

While in the area, we drove out to Key Biscayne. Being from Seattle we are impressed with the palm trees lining the streets.

Island Paradise :-)

Looking back at Miami from the Rickenbacker Causeway
The thing that amazed us about Miami was all the construction ... it's booming and all the glass buildings are impressive.

We don't see many beautiful trees like this
in the middle of a busy boulevard.

In our next segement of the journey:  Aruba, aka "One Happy Island",  in the Southern Caribbean.

Thank you for stopping by John's Island.