Sight-seeing

The sights menu is where you’ll read about places to see and experience. At first I called it sight-seeing, but I changed it because travel is so much more than just seeing any site or sight. Maybe you’ll discover a place or thing that you’d like to visit or learn more about even if you can’t get there.


Watts Towers in Los Angeles – WOW

One day Simon Rodia, a single Italian immigrant living south of downtown LA started using discarded pieces of steel, wire mesh, mortar, glass, and tiles and by hand, without any power tools, created a set of structures that confounded his neighbors. They called him crazy and taunted him as he labored for years on his project. Today, these major feats, the “Watts Towers” as they are commonly known, are the National Historic Landmark Watts Towers of Simon Rodia State Historic Park and are being considered for UNESCO status.

You can see them from the streets around – for free. I happily paid the museum admission in order to support them and the great cultural events that take place in Sabato “Simon” Rodia’s former home.

Have a look. Do they stir your imagination as they do me?


Pioneertown California a taste of the Old West

If you ever get out to Joshua Tree National Park in California, you might want to stop at a unique little old western village called Pioneertown and a walk down its small Mane Street. (Yes, Mane Street, not Main Street.) There’s no admission fee. Just come, park your car for free, and walk around.

If you are thinking “Pioneertown is a strange name for people to have named their town” when they settled out in this open desert area, you’d be correct. You see, it wasn’t pioneers who came and developed this town.

And then there is Pappy & Harriet’s, a family restaurant famous for its concerts. Originally it was just a facade — the “cantina” set of the town that was used in many a  western film you’ve likely seen. 

If you’d like to stay the night either after a day in Joshua Tree National Park or after a meal or concert, you might check out the Pioneertown Motel which also dates back to the founding of this unique town.

You might also want to mail a letter home while you’re there.


Chanukah in northern Israel

I have been celebrating Chanukah all of my life, lighting candles since I was young. But with each place and home I visit, I learn more of not just other people’s cultures, but of my own religion and traditions. This year I was in Israel, for the third time for this festive holiday. In fact, it was not even my first time being in Tzfat (aka Safed) for Chanukah — but I still had new experiences and still learned more.

Chanukah candles

10 Acres of beauty in Chace Park, Marina del Rey

Marina Del Rey, a man-made place of beauty and boating, is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Burton Chace Park is a great place to enjoy its air and views.

If you’re traveling to Los Angeles and have the time I highly recommend Marina Del Rey as a place to spend an afternoon.


Bus from Jerusalem to Israel’s Airport

if you’re traveling light you can now take an inexpensive bus — 16NIS ($4) — from near the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem to Ben-Gurion Airport airport, the international airport of Israel. This makes travel a lot easier for those who wish to start or end their trip in Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv. (Tel Aviv has a train that goes directly to the airport.)


Touring Jerusalem’s Shuk & Nachalot with Chana Mason 3

I was lucky enough to meet Chana Mason and be invited on her unique “Machane Yehuda Shuk & Nachalot Experience” here in Jerusalem. The one and only Machane Yehuda Shuk (outdoor and covered) is THE market in the center of Jerusalem. Nachalot is one of the original areas built outside the city walls as Jerusalem expanded in the late 1800s.


Hill of the Crosses, Lithuania

The story of the Hill of the Crosses in Šiauliai is a testament to humanity as well as of faith. As I am not Christian, a cross doesn’t have the same feeling that it does to Christians. However, this is a show of people who, through the generations, fought Czarist Russia and then Soviet Russia for their freedoms.


Castle ruins of Vilnius Lithuania

My second day in Vilnius, after visiting the Lithuanian Archives in search of my family history, I again met Pedro in the afternoon and he showed me around. We walked to the Gediminas Tower, or specifically, Gediminas Tower. It is the last standing part of the Upper Castle, which is what remains of Vilnius castle complex, hoping to get there while it was still open.

For speed, we opted to walk around to the front, the river side, and took the funicular, then walked down.

These are some of my photos of the castle remnants.


Krakow town square & area

My Krakow friend Dorota had a work appointment the afternoon I arrived, so we walked together to the entrance to a park near the main square — a medieval square — and arranged to meet at the same spot later. This gave me the opportunity to wander by myself and get a feel for the area. As this was my first walk in Krakow, every storefront, ever vehicle, every sign, was new to me.

I’ve got some photos of this medieval square for you.


Bus from Warsaw to Krakow

I awoke at 6am to the sound of Joanna cooking. I was in for another truly home cooked meal. Today was the day for me to move on to my second place in Poland. I was Krakow-bound and a friend was meeting me on the other end of the ride. I sat in a red high back seat on the upper level of my first Polish bus, PolskiBus. It was a very clean, new-seeming, beautiful double-decker. For approximately 5 hours I watched the scenery and did some writing. No friendly conversations with locals on this bus ride.


Warsaw day 3 – Driving & the Uprising Museum

On this rainy Sunday, Michal and Joanna took me to the Warsaw Uprising Museum in the part of Warsaw called Wola. We drove as it was our only stop — and because it was raining, of course.

If you’re curious about some of the roads in Warsaw, here’s a slideshow of photos from our drive from his suburb to the museum. Then I’ve got a slideshow of some of the museum, of course. I can show you the photos, but can’t even begin to tell you about its impact.


Warsaw day 2

Michal and Joanna took me out to see and know more of Warsaw each day. Today we went by bus rather than dealing with parking as they had a few locations planned for me. The day was warm and beautiful. A perfect day for a bus and a lot of walking to get to know a city.


Warsaw day 1

As I traveled to Warsaw for the first time, I felt like a VIP knowing my host, Michal, would be waiting for me at the airport — holding a white sign with my name on it. As he drove me home, he told me of his girlfriend Joanna (Yanna) and that she was making me a traditional Polish meal of Pierogi (but with berries)l for my arrival. Wow.

My first outing in a new country is always exciting. Even if it’s just walking to a food market. But in this case, being taken around by a life-long resident of Warsaw was particularly nice.


Don’t miss theater when you travel!

One of the nicest things you can do for yourself when you travel is to experience local theater. Whether it’s a small local theater group, a small traveling repertory group, a small drama theater, or a full-blown Broadway cast on tour — you can’t go wrong getting a taste of the local high culture. Theater downtown LA In my adopted home-town of Los Angeles, CA, I never miss an opportunity to see a show at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theater or its smaller Mark Taper Forum, both at the Music Center downtown LA. Busses go right to it and trains get you very close. (They have a 3rd theater in Culver City that’s also accessible by bus.) A show there is the perfect way to top off a day of walking around downtown. I’ve sat almost all over both of these theaters and I don’t think there’s a bad seat in either […]


Sailing in Austin, TX – WooHoo!

It’s been a while since I’ve sailed. My last sailing venture was at Roatan, one of the Bay Islands off of Honduras, and that didn’t actually include much sailing because their appeal for crew was really just an appeal for a wallet. But today I got to sail in the Beer Can Races at the Austin Yacht Club, on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, USA. “Sailing in Austin?”— some people have asked, surprised. Yep! Austin, Texas doesn’t have ocean, but it does have Lake Travis. And, in summer the lake is warm and inviting for swimming too. (Unfortunately, it’s about 53′ less of a lake now than “normal” due to dry spells and water use — but those boats still able to launch still get to enjoy it.) So today promised to be the first of a lot of sailing for me for the next month while I get to call […]


Fav sculpture in Culver City, Los Angeles

This is one of my favorite sculptures in Los Angeles. As you can see, it’s film themed. No surprise. It’s actually in Culver City. It’s at the Veterans Memorial Complex. The parking structure you may glimpse through the first shot is parking for Sony Studios. Look closely and you can see a Culver City Green Bus. In the 2nd shot you can glimpse the US flag and the California flag below it. I love looking at the sunlight on it and the reflections in the water. There’s no grass or comfy seats around it though so I just stand and appreciate it when I come to meetings in the center here. Culver City has been home to The Culver Studios since 1918. You’ve likely seen some of the famous movies that have been filmed there.


Kayte Deioma’s Things to Do in Los Angeles

Whether you’re visiting Los Angeles, thinking of traveling to LA, or live in Los Angeles — if you’re looking for Things to Do in Los Angeles,  columnist Kayte Deioma’s guide to Los Angeles at About.com can help. Kayte’s been collecting and publishing information about events in Los Angeles to guide locals and visitors alike for many years. She’s got post after post about what you can do in Los Angeles. Her LA event listings are well-written: easy to read, full of the necessary information, and complete with links.


A video by some backpackers

Need some more inspiration to travel? On August 6, 2011 my friend Lorrie sent me this link to a video by three traveler’s video called Move, saying, “I can see you doing this.” The travel, she knew I’d done and would do again. The video… well, I may have done something cool in video but as we know, my cameras were stolen at the start of my trip. Plus, traveling solo makes it harder to have video. I took plenty — for others, though. The travel. Nope, not me. The hit 11 countries (38 thousand miles) in 44 days, taking 18 flights. In my opinion, 44 days isn’t enough time for one country. Maybe for two very small ones…   Anyway, enjoy Move! It is well done.


Historic Route 66: 8 States to the Pacific Ocean

US Highway 66 was once THE way to cross the US from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA and arrive at the Pacific Ocean. You may have heard, “Get your kicks on Route 66” from the 1946 song written by Bobby Troup. Then the larger higher-speed roads were built and travelers stopped taking this route. Real travelers continued to choose roads such as this and actually get to see and know the USA instead of speeding past so much of it. When I drove across the USA myself the 2nd time, after traveling much of the world, I sure elected those real-life roads. I highly recommend those smaller roads whenever you have time. Anyway, the historic Route 66 log appears more and more on clothing and products. It’s got the appeal. And happily, towns along the route are helping people know about it. Google Maps even notes it in its directions […]


Deborah sounded the most interesting – my sailing reference

Richard, who selected me to be the line handler in December 2012, making it possible for me to transit the Panama Canal, published this about me: I put a post on CS to look for extra crew for our Panama Canal transit. Of the people who responded I thought Deborah sounded the most interesting so she joined us for the day. I must have made the right choice because she proved to be very good company and an asset to our crew.