Posts Tagged With: bench

The End… and Hopefully, a Lucky 13!

I wake up to two lovely little kitties.  A cup of tea. Relaxing morning.  A day of no hurries and hopefully no worries.

KittyMy co-guide is hard at work at surveying the possible places to go in the vicinity.  He finds Multnomah Falls in the Colville Indian Reservation.   It is a 30-40 each way side trip but I think it is going to be worth it.  Piper surveys our bags, we give her a last hug, pet Phineas as well and off we go.

Baby Blue is hesitant.  No more snow or ice, right? I hope not. And so we go. It is cold but not brutally so. The mountains and the falls are waiting.  I think I would have liked to have explored more of Portland but am looking forward to being in one place for a while.  As we get close to Multnomah there is a spot that many are parking.  Wakheena Falls InfoIt’s Wahkeena Falls Wakheena Falls  and if they are smaller than Multnomah Falls I really am looking forward to those!  The Falls We decide to hike up to see them close up.  Path up  Nature provides us with such beautiful intricate forms. Tree Swirl The sound from the falls is thunderous. Thunder Noise  Water Thunder

Though it doesn’t need to scream for its power to be understood, it does so anyway.  We have zigzagged up quite high. Dean Photographer Dean stops for a photo, I continue on to a little side road that leads to nowhere but provides me with a sense of quietude which almost overpowers the coldness that has creeped inside my bones.

Quietude  Nature provides us with ice sculptures.

Ice Sculpture  Ice Cascade  Fern covered in Ice

Moss WallWe could continue around but another 3 miles in unisom with the cold is a symphony I do not wish to play so back from where we came from it is.  Return Path  There is a bench up ahead where I sit and think of sliding back down…  Falls Up Ahead briefly… until I think of what a block of ice I would become.  I am most thankful that my heavy breathing (panting, really) is muffled by the sounds of gallons of water streaming down.  Wakheena Falls  Streaming Down  Wakheena Falls

We get to the car, put the heat on full blast and go the few minutes to Multnomah Falls.  Multnomah Falls  The visitor center is really quite quaint and the falls are impressive indeed. P1140304

Multnomah Falls  P1140311Magnificently upright, 611 feet up. According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princes who wanted a hidden place to bathe.  Loving the bridge in the middle.  We walk up to it, cross it, get a bit wet, and head down once again.  Seattle -5 hours and 40 minutes away- is next.

We arrive in Seattle well into the night, tired but happy to be where we will set camp for 11 days.  We are technically not in Seattle.  We are in Bellevue, WA about 40 min. away by car.  A friend has so graciously and generously lent us her home while they are away.

I awake to Dec. 30 a day away from the end of the year and I can’t believe that a year has passed so fast. It has undoubtedly been one of the best I have had.  An assessment will follow.  Too much to ponder and be thankful for.  Enough for another blog in itself.   Today we go to an outlet mall.  We do some shopping but most stores are closed.  It’s Sunday and they have closed early.  I manage to be more flustered at the wheel than ever and miss more exits than I thought humanly possible.  We have dinner at Outback Steakhouse (definitely an Aussie theme these days) and go home and chill (though the chill is outside).

On the 31st there is no doubt that we are going to spend it around the Space Needle observing the fireworks.  We dress in layers.  Thermals, long sleeves, sweater and coats.  Oh, and gloves, scarves, beanies, and a small backpack to store layers that we put on and off. I know that I don’t want to drive so we go to Redmond -where the bus stop is and only 3 minutes away from us- smack in the middle of Microsoft “campus” as someone said. The 454 takes us to Pike and 5th St. and where it drops us is exactly where the monorail s that takes us to the Space Needle. We get there and go into the Armory at Seattle Center were I delight in a miniature train village set up in the middle of it all. Don’t think that there is a kid in us that is not fascinated by trains.  Train Village

Horses and Trains

Horses and Trains

Train Village

Always Wanted a Tree House!

Always Wanted a Tree House!

We then go into the lobby of the EMP Museum (Experience Music Project).   What caught my attention was the Frank Gehry building it is housed in.  Just incredibly unique and beautiful.   EMP Museum   EMP Museum  EMP MuseumToday is a bit grey but in the sunshine this building must glisten.  The photos don’t really do it justice. It reflect the Space Needle, competes with it and distorts it.  EMP vs. Space Needle  EMP vs. Space Needle

Time and Temperature  It’s still relatively early and there are no crowds and since we are hungry we walk to Pikes Market.  On our way we pass Top Pot Doughnuts, an institution in Seattle.  Top Pot Doughnuts  We make a beeline towards it only to find that they have sold out on the doughnuts.

Pikes Market  We arrive at Pikes Market.  I love markets anywhere in the world.  This one is not so huge but bustling.  It’s a mix of arts/craft fair, fish market, vegetable, flower market waterside.   Pikes Market  Pikes Market

There is lots to look at aside from the horizon.

Can you spot the real bird?  Bird, Fence, Sunset

Rings nature creates on wood.P1140391 Carvings that man creates on wood.  Totem Pole

Bird surveying his territory.Bird in Sunset

The sun is setting and it is beautiful.    Pikes Market  Pikes Market  Sunsent on Pikes Market  Pikes Market

We go inside and have our last meal of the year (or what we thought was going to be our last meal) at a cafe at waterside.  A salmon bisque, a clam chowder, crab cakes and a chocolate bundt cake.

P1140410

Clam Chower, Salmon Bisque, Crab Cakes  Chocolate Bundt Cake

Back on the monorail and the Seattle Center.  We first stop at the Skating Rink. Seattle Center Skating Rink  The Armory is filled.  The outside not so much.  It is cold, very cold.  Two Californians sitting next to us are saying how unused to this weather they are.  So am I.  But then the fireworks start and all is forgotten.  Here is a link to the video.  Here’s a link to the second part (with the finale) which is sideways, not because I laid down but because I had the brilliant idea of changing the camera angle thinking that I could fix it later… I couldn’t.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!  Thank you for being an important part of mine!

May 2013 be the best yet!

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Categories: EMP Museum, Multnomah Falls, Oregon, Pikes Market, Seattle, Seattle Armory, Seattle Center, Seattle Space Needle, Uncategorized, Wahkeena Falls, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Bye, Bye Bondi

It’s Saturday, September 22.  Tonight we head over to Dean’s sister’s house in Peats Ridge.  So today I pack in the morning so that I can have the rest of the day to say good-bye to Bondi Beach.  It has truly been wonderful to be at a beach in an apartment where I got to know my neighbors and surroundings and live a bit as a local.

I was going to do the Coastal Walk once again but decide to stay close to home.  It is the weekend and the weather is still beautiful so the people are out and about the beach.

The grass along the beach is also packed with people enjoying the sun.  Perhaps these are the people who do not consider sand between the toes as enjoyable or romantic but still want to be at the beach. I can’t resist some of the graffiti walls and as I pass I photograph.  

I cross the street into Bondi and am fascinated by the mosaic benches.  No one seems to notice them or care.  No one is even sitting on them.  I just photograph them and do not listen to them beckoning for me to sit down since I have barely started my exploration today. 

  

I’m hungry and consider eating at one of the fish places on the beach but decide to go further into the town itself. I pass Gertrude and Alice  that seems to be a café but basically has books outside for sale.  I continue and then make a U-turn.  Has been a while since I’ve heard the name Gertrude.  I imagine very prim and proper women having tea around an inviting fireplace when I read it.  Need to investigate this place. People are having coffee and I smell food.  I go in and it is in fact a café and bookstore.  It’s cozy and I’m digging the vibe inside.

Once done I go back home where I will wait to be picked up and head to our next home: Peats Ridge which is about 45 minutes from town. After getting into the apartment and checking all is ready to move I go outside and as the sun goes down I bid Bondi Beach farewell.

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Come And Say G’day!

I wake up to an absolutely perfect weather on Thursday, 20th September (as they state the day first and month afterwards around here) almost like Sydney proving me wrong to have said that bad weather is the norm here.  I can’t believe it’s been a week since I left Los Angeles and 5 full days of being here.  First time that I go out in short sleeve and don’t even bother to take a jacket.  The sun is up.  The surfers are out. The park is full already at 9:00 am.

I am determined to get my coffee fix today.  Head out to the cleaners first.  Want to take advantage of the sunny sky and take a photo of my two favorite buildings.   Though I have my trusty camera hanging from my shoulder I am almost feeling like a local.  Until, that is, I go into the cleaners.  Name?  That’s easy.  Telephone?  Uh, don’t remember.  Do you need one? The Asian looks up, sighs, says yes, sighs again and then says he needs a phone number in case something goes wrong.  Now I’m really confident in leaving my clothes.  So I give him a number, he seems satisfied and I proceed to walk up the hill into the residential area.

I pass a school which has a mural on its wall which I love.  

The houses on my way up are distinct, with colorful glass panels.  

I find a little café in the hill away from the coast.  After all, one can only take so much of the beach, right???

I usually smile a lot and say hi to just about everyone that crosses by.  Finding that most here avert their eyes when crossing, rarely say hi when eyes meet and don’t smile much.  Once engaging in a conversation they are charming and really quite helpful but to get to that point is not effortless.  Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame made it sound that everyone was pretty much open and overly friendly.  Remember the “I’ll slip another shrimp on the barbie for ya” commercial from the mid-eighties?  Or does this mean I am such a product of mass media that I believed?  By the way, for the Aussies it would have been prawn instead of shrimp.  Shrimp was replaced when they did the campaign so as not to confuse Americans.

I head to the Coastal Walk, which I know will keep me on track and help me not get lost.  I find a park way up on a hill with wonderful views.

I sit on a swing.

Find a bench.

I lay on a bench.  I’m starting to get really good at this chilling thing.

Back on the Coastal Walk, I stop a million times to take photos for myself and of others.   “Want a photo of both of you together?”  “Yes please!” was interchanged a lot.

 

 

 

      

I find that the scenery quiets me, makes me contemplative.

  It seems to have the same effect on birds.  🙂

  How could it not?

As I head back down I pass the Bondi Icebergs, a local club.  The swimming pool, where the waves crash into, fascinates me and scares me at the same time.  They have a pretty cool restaurant.  If you show your non-resident of the area document you can go in and eat.

I am getting closer to home now.  Pass some really colorful graffiti.

 And something that reminds me that humans are very similar around the world:  we all like to bend the rules at times. A lone surfer running towards the beach and stopping to assess the waves.

 

As I spot the apartment on the horizon a sort of possessive feeling comes over me, and start thinking of Bondi Beach as mine.

 

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Coastal Walk, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Rested Body Awakes

Last I left you I was going to bed with full intention to write…

But when I get under the covers, slightly tired as I am, the only thing that I could possibly accomplish is sleep.  4:30 pm and I am gone into a land of slumber.  So deeply am I asleep that I barely hear the loud knock on the door three hours later.   Tonight I will sleep well.  Besides, there is no better lullaby than the sound of crashing waves. And I did.  I wake Sunday morning, September 16, at 9:00 am completely refreshed and ready to go out and explore.  The day is miraculously mild and sunny.  What a treat it is to set off on foot toward the beach, camera in hand.  People are already out.  I forgot it’s Sunday.  No wonder the little park in front of the apartment has been so packed.

I walk down the steps onto to the beach and after opening the gate to the beach I am already snapping away.   

    This is a surfer’s paradise.

 Love how they made a little salt water kiddie pool next to the beach.  Don’t know if it is so in the rest of Sydney but the people here seem to be quite body conscious.  Women and men are thin and athletic.  On the beach there’s a lot of sunbathing and surfing going on. I walk along the beach and realize there is an “official” coastal walk/road filled with locals running, walking, chilling.  Populated as well by tourists.  I can hear so many languages spoken but –curiously so- no Spanish.  All sorts and types of people pass by but somehow hardly any look like me.  I am starting to feel like an actual minority.  Funny how in a land that speaks my language I am feeling a bit out-of-place.  Yet, as soon as I write this I realize I am so at ease in this beach town. I think it could turn out that I have been a beach bum at heart all along!

 

 

The views are really gorgeous. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The water is the most beautiful blue.   All shades of it.

The walk offers a lot of other type of views too…  some are quirky like these ants painted on a house container wall.     Some are imposing as these rocks along the way.   Some infuse you with total tranquility as this lonely bench and kite… Some sculptures as well, framed by the crashing waves. Ahhhh… what visual overload this walk has been.     I follow it up to Tamarama Beach and go a little further before turning around.       I stop on the way back and have a salad.  The place is not a fancy one; my grilled chicken salad is $18 AUD, nonetheless.  The exchange rate is $1 AUD =$1.01 USD, however I have done an exchange in a Foreign Exchange place and got only $81 AUD for my $100 USD.  Later I would learn that going into a bank they give you a better rate and charge only a nominal fee for it.

As I leave, before I cross the street, I hear it:  Spanish, albeit from Spain. I head out to the supermarket, which is a relatively small one, and buy enough for snacks for the week (fruit and yogurt) and dinner tonight.

I pass a Chocolatería San Churro. That caught my attention. It is manned by Asians and on the wall they state that while eating a churro “you indulge in an experience in one of the oldest chocolate cultures in Europe.”  I’ve been in Los Angeles so long that I have associated churros solely with Mexico, forgetting the late nights or early mornings (depending on how you see it) -while in Madrid, Spain- of dipping a churro in a chocolate so thick you could make it stand in it.  I resist and do not stop and have one, even when the sign above the door says bienvenida, making it a welcoming sign catering exclusively to the female gender.

I get home and one of the neighbors is outside and, after I smile and say hello he immediately starts talking to me.  Australians will not go out of their way to start a conversation but are innately friendly if you do.  He started talking about the area and how a small one-bedroom with a kitchenette, like the one I’m staying at would go for $700,000 and his, a two-bedroom for about a million plus.  So real estate prices are almost as high as in New York!  He, his girlfriend, and baby boy are English and moving to the Canary Islands in a few weeks to be closer to the grandparents.  He said that in the Canary Islands they could buy a house while here everything is pretty much out of their price range.  Fortunately they have an Internet business which they can run from anywhere in the world.

I cook a bit with the door wide open listening to the sounds of people packing up and leaving.  It is getting breezy and cold but the day has been truly perfect.

As I cut up some vegetables and find my bearings I marvel at the fact that I have been two days without an Internet connection.  I could have and should have stopped at the café close to home and sat there a while but was on the lazy side and didn’t.  I have one of those connection sticks I installed this morning but it didn’t work.  I miss Facebook and being able to use Skype, however, I am doing things that I probably would not be doing if I were online.  By tomorrow I’ll have it and am hoping that I won’t be whittling time in front of a computer when there is the whole of Sydney to discover.

Categories: Coastal Walk, Sydney, Tamarama Beach | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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