Category Archives: Travel

Lens-Artists Challenge #168 – Seen Better Days

This week Tina of the Lens Artists team invites us to join them in exploring places and things that have “seen better days”. I’ll explain the reason I close the photos for this theme.

My husband, Lynton, is a helicopter pilot. During our travel, we often visited the military aircraft museums, submarines, and battleships. He wanted to be in the military to defend this country, but he was in the middle of his schooling and missed the opportunities. He has family members who were in the services for many years, but I’ll stay on track to do this post.

When we went to Arizona one year, we visited the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The aircraft had their glorious and courageous days to defend this country or assist other countries. I took many photos of the aircraft displayed and included these four in this post. They proudly retired. Their appearance reminds us of the price the heroes paid for our freedom.

“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” – Unknown

Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat. In military conflict, the role of fighter aircraft is to establish an air superiority in the battle space. Domination of the airspace above a battlefield permits bombers and attack aircraft to engage in tactical and strategic bombing of enemy targets.

The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft. The USAF has operated the C-5 since 1969. At that time, the air lifter supported US military operations in all major conflicts, including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, as well as allied support, such as Israel during the Yom Kippur War and operations in the Gulf War. The Galaxy has also distributed humanitarian aid, provided disaster relief, and supported the US space program.

The C-130H performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission and can carry out a diverse number of roles, including airlift support, Antarctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray missions, firefighting duties, and natural disaster relief missions. 

I’m not an aircraft expert and can’t identify this fighter aircraft. It looks like this is a single seat F-16 fighting falcon. I know there are experts and retired military heroes out there. You could help me identify this one.

Air Force Rescue helicopter can be deployed in casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation missions, civil search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and insertion or extraction of combat forces.

In Boston, we took photos of the USS Constitution and toured the warship USS Casson Young.

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” – Abraham Lincoln

The greatest glory for Constitution came during the War of 1812. Constitution’s crew defeated four British frigates during three separate engagements. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” because the cannon fire from enemy ships seemed as if they couldn’t penetrate her strong oak hull.

Built for speed and capability, USS Cassin Young engaged in seven Pacific battles in World War II, survived two Kamikaze hits, and served another full decade beyond her expected lifetime. Built in 1943 in San Pedro, California, she is one of 175 Fletcher-class destroyers built during World War II. 

When we were in Australia, we visited The Australian National Maritime Museum and toured the destroyer HMAS Vampire, and the submarine HMAS Onslow

“The sanctity of our battlefields, monuments, and veteran’s institutions is of utmost importance to preserve military history and pay respect to those who fought.” – Henry Waxman

HMAS Vampire was the third of three Australian-built destroyers serving in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of the all-welded ships built in Australia.

The submarine Onslow was laid down at the end of 1967 by Scott Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Scotland, launched almost a year later, and commissioned into the RAN at the end of 1969.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #168 – Seen Better Days

Thank you for reading

Have a Wonderful Week

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Patti invited us to look at the photos with wide angle images. The wide-angle view is perfect for capturing a broad vista like a landscape, seascape, or cityscape.

Well, I have a small camera and I haven’t made any investment on camera equipment. When taking photos of landscape, seascape, or cityscape, I take them at different angles to capture the wide views.

I included two sets of photos from my travel archives, one set from Spain and another set from Germany. In Spain, we arrived in Madrid and took the tour bus to Toledo, Seville, Granada, and Barcelona. In Germany, we arrived in Frankfurt and took a boat to Cologne. We took a high-speed train from Cologne to Berlin. Then we were on the tour bus from Berlin to Würzburg, Bavaria, Munich, and Schwangau.

Here are the highlights of our travel.

Fountain in front of the Royal Theater

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) is a major opera house in Madrid. Founded in 1818 and inaugurated on November 19,1850, it closed in 1925 and reopened in 1966. Beginning in 1988, it underwent major refurbishing and renovation works and finally reopened in 1997 with a capacity of 1,746 seats.

Royal Theater

Toledo is known as the Imperial City because it was the primary venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Spain.

Old City of Toledo and River Tajo

The Roman bridge of Córdoba is a bridge in the Historic center of Córdoba, Andalusia, southern Spain, built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir River. The bridge was built by the Romans in the early 1st century BC, perhaps replacing a previous wooden one.

The Roman bridge of Córdoba

The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural complex in the city of Valencia, Spain. It is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia and one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. The project began the first stages of construction in July 1996 and was inaugurated on April 16, 1998. The following structure L’Umbracle is an open structure enveloping a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia 

L’Umbracle

We took the high-speed train from Cologne to Berlin. At one point the train was going 220 mph.

Cologne Train Station

The Berlin Wall, once known as ‘The Wall of Shame’ that separated the east and west Germany. In 1989, the wall finally came down. The 1,316 meter (4,317 feet) long remnant of The Berlin Wall was kept as a heritage protected landmark. The Wall was decorated by many international and German artists with graffiti and street art, expressing their hopes and reflecting their feelings on this momentous occasion.

Berlin Wall

The Würzburg Residence is a palace in Würzburg, Southern Germany. The Würzburg Residence was commissioned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schönborn. It was built and decorated in the 18th century. The Residence was constructed between 1720 and 1744, decorated in the interior from 1740 to 1770 and landscaped with magnificent gardens from 1765 to 1780. 

The Würzburg Residence Garden
The Würzburg Residence Garden

Bavarian Alps is a summarizing term for several mountain ranges of the Northern Limestone Alps in the Germany state of Bavaria. Like the Alps as a whole, the Bavarian Alps were heavily influenced by the last ice age. Depositions by the ice age rivers and glaciers left behind a gently rolling landscape in the Alpine Foreland with lakes and bogs.

Germany Bavarian Alps

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide

Thank you for reading.

Have a Wonderful Week!

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Anniversary Trip

Lynton and I celebrate our anniversary this week. We have been in Santa Barbara since Monday, August 16 and will stay until the 20th. Even though we’ve visited our granddaughters in Portland, Oregon several times during the last eighteen months, as far as vacation, this is the first vacation in almost two years.

Our original plan was to go to Banff, Canada, for our anniversary, but because of the pandemic, we had to change the plan. Santa Barbara is only a two-hour drive from home. The last time we came to Santa Barbara on a train probably was twenty years ago.

We decided to drive this time so that it would be more flexible to go to nearby places. Two days before the trip, I listed of the information of the places to visit. So far, we’re on schedule. We have walked around Santa Barbara downtown, visited the Old Mission, and the Botanical Garden. Today, we drove to Solvang which is forty-five minutes away. Tomorrow, we’ll visit the Natural History Museum and the butterfly garden.

After we return home on Friday, I’ll rest on Saturday. My next trip will go to Portland, Oregon from Sunday, August 22 to Saturday, September 4. I’ll help my daughter to take care of my granddaughters, but basically just take care of Nora. My daughter got a job and started working already. Knowing that I would take a trip for our anniversary, she asked me to go afterwards. She needs me to help until Nora goes to the daycare on September 7th, the day after Labor Day.

I have a couple of posts scheduled for the next two weeks. I’ll also post some news about Autumn and Nora, and try to pop in to check your blogs every so often.

The following photos are Downtown Santa Barbara and our first dinner there.

The drought affects all the plants in the Botanical Garden. The creek is as dry as the dessert.

Santa Barbara Harbor boat docks

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water

John Steiner is the guest host for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155. He says throughout history, people have gravitated to water for trade and for relaxation and he invited us to share the photos on the water.

This week, I have fun reflecting and finding the quotes and sayings about water and ocean. Please enjoy the scenes and the wisdom about Water throughout history.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” – Lao Tzu 

Toledo, Spain

“Water is soft and humble, but it is the most powerful and is the most endurable.”Debasish Mridha

Huntington Library, California

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay

Newport Beach, California

“Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.” – Christy Ann Martine

Maui, Hawaii

“Water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing, in the end, can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone.” – Margaret Atwood

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Moulton Falls, Washington

“Life is like the ocean; it goes up and down.” ― Vanessa Paradis

Bondi Beach, Australia

“To reach a port we must set sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Pacific Ocean, Ensenada Cruise, Mexico

“We ourselves feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

 “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” ― Ryunosuke Satoro

Sunset, Ensenada Cruise, Mexico

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water

Thank you for your visit. I welcome your generous comment.

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Up in the Air

I visited my daughter’s family in Portland, Oregon for six days and had a wonderful time with my granddaughters. I asked my daughter and her hubby to take a short getaway to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Even though they didn’t go on an overnight trip, they took a day trip to a river for paddle boarding. Nora takes a nap every two hours. I got to spend time to watch The Little Mermaid with Autumn in the morning and did a project with her in the afternoon before their mommy and daddy returned.

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On June 22, I flew home and expected to arrive in the early evening.

“Do we have any doctors or nurses on board? We need medical assistance.” A flight attendant announced on the speaker. The passengers in front of my row turned their heads around and kept looking. Apparently, something happened.

A slim, tall, middle-aged gentleman from the first-class section walked past my row and said, “I’m a doctor.” He continued to walk toward the back of the plane.

A few minutes went by, and he didn’t return to his seat. My curiosity nudged me to have a glimpse of what caused the commotion. I got up from my aisle seat to go to the restroom in the back of the plane.

The doctor stood in the aisle three rows behind mine, slightly leaned forward, looking at the woman in the middle seat. Behind the mask, the woman’s face was as pale as a piece of white paper. A flight attendant approached from the back, carrying a gray cylinder of oxygen tank. At the foot of the doctor, there was a red briefcase size first aid kit.

I walked slowly toward the restroom. The concern, questions, worries, and prayer came simultaneously to my head.

What a bad timing for this woman to be sick.

What kind of illness does she have?

Can the doctor and the flight attendant have enough resources to help this woman?

What if she has a serious condition that requires emergency landing?

God, help this woman to hang in there for a couple of hours so that we could reach our destination without delay.

The doctor and the flight attendant were in the middle of the aisle to leave me not too much room to squeeze through back to my seat. I stopped and leaned against an empty aisle seat. The woman’s white mask was replaced with the yellow mask connected to the oxygen tank. With a violently trembling hand, the woman held the mask covering her nose and mouth but lifted it up from the mouth a little to answer the doctor’s question. The flight attendant was holding a chart, and the doctor took a quick look and said something to her. Another flight attendant gave something and a cup of water to the woman. They then stopped and waited to see how she responded. I thought it would be a good time for me to return to my seat.

Shortly after that, the voice came from the speaker again. “Thank you for your patience when we had a medical situation. We will serve the snacks and beverage shortly.”

When the snacks and beverage cart came by, the woman at the window seat in my row said to the flight attendant, “I’m a nurse. If you need any help to follow up on that lady, I can help.”

“Thank you. She was afraid of heights. She had a vertigo and vomiting. With the doctor’s help, we gave her some medicine, and she seemed to do better. Her son is with her, and she handled it very well.”

“It’s good to know she is doing better,” the lady at the window seat said.

“Yes, thank you.”

Thank you, God. She is okay.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

This week for Lens-Artist Challenge #139, Tina invited us to visit our special moments. While there are so many, I would included three events.

Mount St. Helens in Washington state was erupted on May 18, 1980. I was a student at Seattle Pacific University. The 5.1 magnitude earthquake caused a lateral eruption that reduced St. Helens’ height by about 1,300 feet (400 m) and left a crater 1 mile (1.6 km) to 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and 0.5 miles (800 m) deep. It was a major eruption among the 48 states since 1915. The ash drifted over many states and could be seen as far as Chicago. The evacuation was announced before the eruption. Mr. Harry Truman, a caretaker of a resort lodge, refused to leave. He said he belonged to the mountain and would die with the mountain. He, along with fifty-six people were killed.

My family and I went back to visit on September 10, 2016. The mud and debris still filled the river, and the crater was still very much alive. It seemed like nothing or few things would survive. I was in awe to see miles of century-old forests destroyed by the eruption have come back, richer and different from before. There were many beautiful wildflowers. Life overcomes!

I came to the US as a student in 1977. In all the years I was in Hong Kong, I had never visited the Great Wall. In 2012, some family member expressed the interest to take a family vacation in China. I got some tour information from the Chinese Newspaper and made contacts. One tour company offered a private tour with a van and a driver for ten people. After I got the commitment of eight members, I started planning. By the time we set the itinerary, made reservations for air and hotel, three members couldn’t make it. I was a little disappointed. The tour company contacted the tour in China they agreed to accommodate the seven of us. It was a special vacation because I have other countries on my visiting list and may not return to see the Great Wall.

We rarely get to celebrate the birthdays or anniversaries on the day of the event. In 2016, I could plan a trip to Spain in August during our anniversary. When we visited the Mosque of Córdoba, the architecture fascinated me, and I was busy taking photos. The tour moved on without me. It panicked me. Fortunately, my husband is tall, and I spotted him, and quickly merged back to the tour saying nothing.

We were in Barcelona to celebrate our anniversary. I wish to tour inside of Basilica de la Sagrada Familia but the tour didn’t not schedule it. We only had time to take photos. I literally was lying flat on the ground to get the view from the bottom to the top. Of course, my husband was on guard so people wouldn’t step on me and kill me.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc) in Barcelona.

Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

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Lens Artists Photo Challenge #137 – Soft

This week for the Lens Artists Photo Challenge #137, Ann-Christine wanted to continue with another S – Soft. This is all about how we interpret Soft.

I see soft Physical appearances, softness of characteristics, and hear soft sounds everywhere. The photos included here represent the several things that are soft in sight and in touch.

“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events.” – Sharon Draper

This photo was taken from the ship of the Ensenada Cruise. It was my first time watching the soft glow of sunset in the middle of the ocean, even though we were not too far from land.

“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We saw the fluffy clouds all the time when we were in Maui, Hawaii. They don’t seem to bring any rain except on one trip among our multiple trips.

“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This clearly shows the principle of softness overcoming hardness. ” Lao Tzu

Water is soft, but when it combines with other natural phenomena, it can be powerful. The tide was coming in this sunny afternoon on the Makena Beach, Maui.

“The red rose whispers of passion, and the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, and the white rose is a dove. ” – John Boyle O’Reilly

I love the softness of the Iceberg Roses. The innocent color brings me refreshing calmness.

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…” – Albert Einstein

This was my daughter’s neighbor’s cat. She had such an unusual combination of soft fur colors and soft blue eyes, and I wondered if it was a kitten. I would love to have a kitten like this one.

“A wee bit of Heaven drifted down from above, a handful of happiness, a heartful of love.​When the baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into thousands of pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” From Peter Pan

Thank you for Balroop Singh‘s comment on the softness of a newborn baby. I added this photo of my younger granddaughter Nora. My daughter Mercy did a photoshoot of her when she was three weeks’ old. Nora will be one-year-old on March 22! I look forward to going to her birthday party.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #137 – Soft

Weekend Sky #19 – March 6th

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136: Subjects Starting with the Letter–S

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet. This time, Patti invited us to focus on the letter S. She quoted Mike Wilks who strung a sentence with all the words begin with the letter S and indicated on the shelves in his store stacked with stock of 1,234 Ss to see.

I don’t want to list some seventy-seven S-things. I only chose several to be included in this post. I simply tried to have samples.

“May you see sunshine where others see shadows and opportunities where others see obstacles.” – Anonymous

Sunny sky above the summer sand

“Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.” – Mario Fernandez

Sunny sky above the snowy summit

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” Helen Keller

“If roses tried to be sunflowers, they would lose their beauty; and if sunflowers tried to be roses, they would lose their strength.” Matshona Dhliwayo

Sunflowers surged into the sky searching the sunlight

“Millions of trees in the world are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts, then forget where they hid them. Do good and forget. It’ll grow someday.” – Anonymous

“Little squirrel opens human heart because they have lots of practice with the nuts.” – Swapna Ch

Squirrel, squirrel, what do you see?

“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.” -Tom Wilson

“Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.” – Peace Pilgrim

Sweet smiles from my daughter Mercy

“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.” – Amy Li

“Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” – Margaret Mead

Songs sisters Autumn and Nora sing together

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136: Subjects Starting with the Letter–S

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Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped & Checked

This week, Ann-Christine invited us to look at striped and checked images.

I started looking around the house both indoor and outdoor and noticed things I hadn’t noticed before. There is a striped area rug in front of the fireplace. There are horizontal blinds for the windows, vertical blinds for the patio door, and the striped fabrics on the couches. Going outside the patio, I could see the stripes of the patio cover and the beach chair.

I looked in the closet next. Twenty-five percent of my husband’s shirts have stripes or plaid. I think it’s true in general that most of the men wear stripes or plaid dressed shirts. On the contrary, I only have one pair of pants and one sweater with stripes, and one plaid sweater. If my office had a stripe and check day in the summer, I would have to buy a new top.

When I investigated the archives, there are several of my favorite images have stripes and checks on the indoor structures, outdoor structures as well as in the nature.

The Huntington Library Arts Exhibit, Los Angeles
Lobby on the Ensenada Cruise Ship
Garden outside of a restaurant in Hong Kong
Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain
Bamboo Forest, Maui, Hawaii
Wire fence to keep the ponies in the backyard, Laguna Lake

What interesting stripes and checks do you see around your home?

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Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped & Checked

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126: An Alphabet Challenge – A: Australia

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126, Patti invited us to go back to basics–namely, the ABC’s. We’re starting at the very beginning with the letter A.  I chose A for Australia.

Australia was my husband, Lynton’s birthplace, and childhood home for 10 years. When we started our travel journey, it was logical that it was our first choice. We like to fly nonstop as much as possible and it was a 17-hour flight from Los Angeles, the longest flight we have had.

Our first visit was to tour the Sydney Opera House. I was especially interested in the design and the structure. From the tour I learned that 233 designers submitted the designs for the Opera House international design competition held in 1956. Jørn Utzon from Denmark was the winner, receiving ₤5000 for his design. There are over 1 million roof tiles covering approximately 1.62 hectares sitting over the structure. They were made in Sweden. Besides the tour, we watched an opera available during our visit.

The Sydney Harbor bridge opened in 1932. It is the tallest steel arch bridge in the world, measuring 134 meters (440 feet) from the top to water level. It spans about 500 meters (1,650 feet). You can walk and cycle across the bridge. We joined the guided tour to climb the Bridge. We wore the special hooded suit that wrapped around us with nothing loose outside the suit.  There were belts and connecting straps buckled on to each climber of a group and each climber had hooks attaching to the steel railing leading to the top of the bridge. The view on top of the Bridge was breathtaking. It was a climb of a lifetime.

Lynton’s aunt and uncle lived in New South Wales which is less than a two-hour drive from Sydney. They took us to Blue Mountain, and we went down to the visitor area that provided a spectacular view to the Jamison Valley below the Three Sisters.

We went to Koala Park Sanctuary in Sydney. Koalas are cute and calm creatures. They could cling on to the tree trunks for a long time without moving. We had photos taken with a koala at a photo booth.

Koorana Crocodile Farm was established by John and Lilian Lever and was open in 1981. It was the first crocodile farm in Queensland. The person at the gift shop told us that the average heart rate of crocodile is 9.8 beats per minute, and it can reduce to 2–3 beats per minute to save energy as reduced cellular respiration. Crocodiles do not have sweat glands and release heat through their mouths. They often sleep with their mouths open.

We flew from Sydney to Cairns and rented another car. At Cairns, Lynton went diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the corals lost the colors due to climate change. The dive was his highlight of the trip. I don’t dive but had a pleasant boat ride and a spectacular view of the ocean. We drove north to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation before flying back to Sydney to return home.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126: An Alphabet Challenge–A: Australia

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