Travel theme: Walls

There goes Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? again, putting up walls – funky walls, waterlogged walls, pretty amazing frieze-d up walls. The walls in our apartment are a boring vanilla color, which we try to jazz up a bit with framed photos and whatnot – but I dream of the day when we’ll own a home and I can go all HGTV on it and try out things like accent walls, a gallery wall, etc… not in the same room though!

This week’s theme also put the song Wonderwall by Oasis in my head! And after all…

Here’s my Wonderwalls

A cool mosaic wall outside Eureka Crafts, a store selling local arts and crafts in Armory Square of Syracuse.

A colorful mural depicting dinosaurs feasting on delicious bbq – fitting considering this was taken outside of Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse!

This is the most hilarious, droopy eyed panda…. in the San Diego Zoo they have a wall painted with a lovely mural of pandas frolicking in a bamboo forest. Most of the pandas are painted to be adorable and photogenic. This one… was not.

I was waiting outside a  bathroom in a coffeehouse in NYC and I felt like taking a picture of the brick wall. I love the texture and the warm light! And yes, I am that person who takes pictures… of anything.

Inside the fancy Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. The walls are… embossed? I’m not sure if that’s the right term!

The Palais des Congres in Montreal has a very awesome wall of colorful windows! This was a pretty lucky shot in that the group of people just happened to be framed in a window.

More cool walls in Montreal, this time on the side of a restaurant.

A familiar sight to anyone who loves Central Park – the pretty frescoes near Bethesda Fountain. A popular location for wedding photo shoots (I’ll admit, we did some here too!), but I remember before they restored it, the passageway was a dank and smelly hangout for bums. I’m so glad they brought back its beauty!

Travel theme: Up

Over at Where’s my backpack?, things are looking UP! A wonderfully moving movie, by the way! It makes me wish I had more balloon pictures so then I could have an Up themed post, but alas – I will have to stick to my chosen theme of pictures from way up high. Specifically, photos from cable cars! Cable cars are a terrific and easy way to get to a scenic outlook way up high – and they also provide wonderful vantage points of scenery down below. Here I have a collection of photos from…

Up in the Sky

Taken from the cable car of Mount Titlis in Switzerland. That’s right… I said Titlis! I could not stop snickering over the name. Whatver its name, it is a beautifully imposing mountain in the Swiss Alps. The sea of clouds with the snow-tipped peaks rising above is truly gorgeous!

We rode this cablecar from Hakone, Japan to the site of the Owakudani hot spring, famous for its sulfurous eggs. The valley was beautifully lush with the small city of Hakone spread out beyond.

This cablecar was in the city of Kobe, Japan (mostly famous for Kobe beef!) and provided a very scenic ride to reach the Nunobiki Herb Garden. Despite its name, the herb garden has a lot more going on than herbs and has a strangely European decor. Lovely gardens, however!

Here we are, high above Lantau Island in Hong Kong! In the distance you can see the high rise buildings that HK is famous for – we were riding the other way, to get to the huge Tian Tan Buddha and the surrounding complex. The thin light ribbon snaking through the trees is a path – we actually saw several people walking to get to the complex! Keep in mind, this is in the middle of summer and HK is super hot and sweaty…. More power to them!

This wasn’t taken from a cablecar but actually from the Peak Tram of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong – so I guess it’s cheating a little! It’s still very high in the air and above sea level however. It was a cloudy day but it was still a beautiful overlook.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

This week at the Daily Post the challenge is to photograph the great beyond! For me, there’s nothing more tantalizing or mysterious than a path that leads on around a bend. “What lies beyond that curve?” I always think… and I get the urge to continue on and explore. So thus we have:

What Lies Beyond

This is a photo I took from a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, with the Colorado River snaking through. I would love to follow the path of the river as it winds its way through the canyons, rushing over rapids and streaming past boulders!

Following the path of a river in Jeju Island, S. Korea. Actually, the end of the river leads to a rather lackluster but still tourist-laden waterfall – I enjoyed the walk more than the endpoint!

At a national park in S. Korea – sadly I can’t even remember exactly where this was! I love the mountain beyond, so mysterious and shrouded in trees. We did go up part of this mountain to reach a waterfall – it was definitely quite a hike.

A path through a bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan – it’s beckoning you to continue on your exploration! I felt like a wandering ronin here.

A line of bright orange torii at the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto, Japan.

Exploring the path ahead in sunbaked Sedona, Arizona!

A Word A Week Photo Challenge – Round

Ooh my… this is a tough one because there’s just so many pictures and themes to choose from for this Word a Week Photo Challenge! To make it more manageable for me, I decided to focus on my favorite round things… in fact, my favorite things of any shape – FOOD! I will admit that some of these I cheated with because they’re not technically round but just plated that way… but it’s  my photo challenge so nyah nyah! =D

Foods of the Round Table

Perfectly round cantaloupes go for a premium price in Japan!

Okonomiyaki! Basically this is like a Japanese pancake… that is, if pancakes had savory fillings, yummy toppings, and were finished off with artful drizzles of sauce and perhaps a sprinkle of bonito on top. I think they’re more comparable to pizzas actually because there’s an endless variety of toppings and styles. Delicious!

So perhaps these are more oblong rather than round but I could not resist the cute factor of these mantou! Mantou are Chinese buns that are very popular in the north. They can make them into all types of adorable animals, as you can see.

Chocolate mousse dessert! I have to admit I made these from a mix but added my own flair of crushed cookie crumble and raspberries. I’m a regular Sandra Lee.

One of my favorite meals of the day – dim sum! This is a Cantonese tradition where people meet up to chat, drink tea, read their newspapers and dine on small plates. The dishes come in round bamboo steamers, and the best places have the ladies pushing carts stacked high with towers of yummy, yummy dim sum.

I really miss sushi sometimes! I don’t think I’ve found my go-to sushi place here  yet and I think back fondly on the sushi places of NYC. Sushi is round, it’s healthy-ish, and it’s delicious! My favorites are dragon roll, spider roll, and basically anything that has avocado in it or eel.

The wineries around Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region are great places to visit if you love wine. Unfortunately I pass out after the 3rd tasting or so – such a lightweight. I absolutely recommend visiting the area even if you aren’t a oenophile – the scenery is gorgeous and most wineries have a breathtaking view of the surrounding area and the lake.

Tarts are round, right? Here we have a very artfully displayed lemon tart from a lovely little cafe in Montreal. We had the whole cafe to ourselves – it was a rainy day and the tourists weren’t out and about. It was sweet and rather romantic!

How to make a food even better? Slice it and fry it in hot oil! Here we have a potato, deconstructed into this swirly creation and fried, then topped with whatever flavor powder your heart desires – garlic butter, onion powder, cayenne spicy, whatever! It’s a messy but tasty treat at the state fair.


My mouth waters at the sight of these curled up sausages, getting all browned and tasty! This stand at the fair serves sausage sandwiches heaped high with onions and peppers. I guess the sandwiches aren’t exactly round… but the sausages are at least!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

Let me illuminate you on this week’s Photo Challenge! Light is so important to photography – ever try taking a picture in the dark? It makes your camera go crazy trying to sniff out any available light. But even besides light, the word illumination brings to my mind illuminated manuscripts, and then I think about reading and mental illumination and  learning… which just goes to show that my mind can go on some random tangents.

So I’ll present to you my two interpretations of illumination!

The best source of light in my opinion – the lovely natural glow of the sun! I took this on a clear early autumn day in Geneva NY, on the campus of Hobart and William Smith College.

Mental illumination – I love to read! I have to admit I haven’t bought a real book in quite a while since we use our iPad or the Nook, but I can’t resist those collectible editions that Barnes and Nobles puts out. I will also admit that I love romance novels and kiddy books from my past. I  have no shame!

Travel theme: Glass

Oh man, when I saw this week’s travel theme on Where’s my backpack? today my mind started running with ideas! Especially after reading Ailsa’s post about visiting the Tacoma Museum of Glass, which brought me to  mind of my visits to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY, a quick (relatively) 2 hour drive from Syracuse. It’s a really awesome museum that showcases all types of decorative glasswork and also has exhibits on the scientific and industrial uses of glass (which are more interesting and varied than you may think!) They also have many demonstrations on glassmaking which I found fascinating. There are a few methods to make decorative glass but to my mind glassblowing is the most interesting. Using your breath and molten glass to create glassware – it is a sexy skill! All you have to do is put your lips together… and blow.

In any case, here are my photos of glassy beauty!

At the Corning Museum of Glass you can sign up to make your own glassware! They have different types of classes for all skill levels and using different techniques. Here’s my own vitreous masterpiece. I love the swirls and the colors are very soothing 🙂

Demonstrating lampwork – basically shaping a tube of glass into almost anything. In this case, he made an intricate little candy dish in about 10 minutes. Pretty cool!

Glasses are most useful when they are used to contain delicious, fruity sangria.

Handblown glass at the Sterling Renaissance Faire! They do glassblowing demonstrations here all day and honestly, I could probably sit here the whole day and watch.

Glass milk bottles from my college at the New York State Fair. Glass milk bottles… it seems so quaint!

Stained glass at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I can’t remember what pose this statue was making… but to me it always looks like someone chopping wood. I’m sure it’s something a bit more religious and uplifting in real life though.

At the Saint-Chapelle in Paris, also known as the “jewel-box” of Paris. Although Notre Dame is the most famous, this chapel definitely has beautiful windows and is much more light and airy.

Gorgeous light through this window.

A Word A Week Photo Challenge – Cloud

Oh no… another photo challenge! I’m going to cap myself at 3, I really am. Because these things are taking over my life. agh!

I really could not resist this challenge over at A Word A Week, however. Why? Because I love clouds – I really do. Clouds can have so many moods – ranging from ethereal and wispy to thickly grey and intimidating. Some of the best clouds that I see are on the road when I am driving – maybe it’s because you have little else to focus on but the road ahead of you, and the clouds in the sky above. This has led to me snapping furiously away with one hand on the wheel – a somewhat dangerous practice that I would not recommend on a regular basis! But here we go, here are is my collection of…

Clouds on the Road

(not literally… that would be fog.)

Near Syracuse, there’s an adorable town called Skaneateles (pronounced skinny-atlas) situated at the end of a narrow lake of the same name. The drive there is beautiful in the summer, lined with trees and full of curves that reveal even more lush greenery and golden fields. The drive is also beautiful during winter when the trees are coated with snow… but the turns are definitely more treacherous.

Driving back to NYC on the I-81 in autumn provides lots of beautiful scenery and opportunities for photos (but damn that highway barrier!)

On the road home from Ithaca, and a beautiful sunset set the trees ablaze…

Driving on the road to heaven, heading into the clouds!

Another gorgeous blue sky day with puffy fluffy clouds!

Late afternoon sun breaking through the clouds provides a gorgeous streaks of light!

A red barn nestled in green fields, with a Simpsons cloud sky above – so idyllic! If you don’t see all the cars in the shot!