March 2019
  • Day60

    Moscow off the beaten path

    May 12 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Here are a few pics from a walking tour in Central Moscow that aren't on most itineraries. First is Pushkin in the square of the same name. Then Patriarch's Pond, the only remaining one of many where fish were farmed to feed orthodox clergy who could eat meat for most of the year. Then the interior of one of the churches at St. Peters monastery, followed by the 1516 church there. Next is the home of Peter the Great's in-laws. Last is the oldest delicatessen in Moscow.Read more

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  • Day59

    Moscow

    May 11 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    I'm back on the road, having returned to Moscow to take the Trans-Siberian RR to Beijing. That starts Monday afternoon. First is Red Square, with the Kremlin to the right and GUM Department Store to the left. The second pic is the Bolshoi Theater. The last is a street near Red Square that is decorated for a major Russian holiday. 9 May is the celebration of the end of WW II. In fact, if you look closely, you might see the viewing stands along the Kremlin wall.Read more

  • Day29

    Portobelo, Panamá

    April 11 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    An interesting historical site, UNESCO listed. Back in colonial times, the Spanish shipped treasures from South America back to Spain, first by ship to Panama; then across the isthmus; and then loaded on the treasure galleons for the ride across the Atlantic. One of the transshipment points on the Caribbean side was Portobello. The town was built up and fortified with all defenses facing the water as that's where they expected to pirates to come from. You may recall hearing that Captain Henry Morgan led 500 pirates overland to attack a Spanish fort from the rear. This is the place where that happened.
    The first pic is the customs house and primary target for the pirates. Next is one of the forts. Third is the black Jesus: a major pilgrimage site located here. Next are typical and original ovens from the colonial period. There is a museum of African culture as seen here during the period. The 5th picture is of a mask and costumes held there. Last is the remains of a castle that was built but was no more effective than the forts in protecting the king's treasures.
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  • Day28

    Gatún Lake and the jungle

    April 10 in Panama ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Part of the visit to Gatún included some ecotouring. First is a capuchin monkey. Then a howler monkey eating upside down. Next is a tamarin monkey, the smallest in Panamá. In the 4th, partly hidden by the branch is an agouti and young. The young is nursing. Then some river turtles sunning. Finally, the view from a hammock at the jungle lodge after lunch. The hammock works just fine.Read more

  • Day28

    Gatún Lake, Panamá

    April 10 in Panama ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    Gatún is the largest lake along the Panama Canal. The town of Gamboa is located where the Rio Chagras (see another post) enters the lake. The first pic shows one of the ships with the canal maintenance facility at Gamboa in the background. Then a couple more views of the canal portion of the lake. The last 3 pics are taken along parts of the lake away from where ships transit. First is some dense aquatic vegetation. Then a narrow channel behind an island. Last is a water flower.Read more

  • Day27

    Tusípono

    April 9 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    A native Embera village along the Rio Chagras. The Embera are one of the indigenous tribes off southern Panamá. The village is within the national park since 1984. So the villagers no longer farm for an incone. Since then they developed fishing and, in the 90s, started a tourism operation.
    After the river trip, we were welcomed to the village with dance and song, given a bit of history and an introduction to life in the village, offered crafts hand made there, and fed a traditional lunch of fresh caught, wild tilapia from the river with fried plantains. It was one of the best meals of the trip.
    First is the village, followed by the women dancing and the men playing traditional instruments. Next is the traditional kitchen where lunch was prepared by the women, still in traditional garb. The last pick is of the meal. It is served in cones made of plantain leaves, held together with a flower. They are arranged on a wooden platter. No utensils. We ate with fingers. Simply delicious.
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  • Day27

    Rio Chagras, Panamá

    April 9 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Major water source for the Panama Canal and for a large part of the population of Panama. The river is very low right now. So the ride upstream in the narrow native canoe required occasional pushing. The guy at the front has a pole used both for monitoring water depth and for poling the canoe. The first 2 pics are of the lower river. Then a native village (see the next post). The 4th pic is along a hike into the rainforest. The last is a small waterfall with a swimming home.Read more

  • Day26

    Casco Antiguo, Panamá City

    April 8 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 35 °C

    The old part of town and original location of the Spanish colonial port. First is the main square with the cathedral. Then inside the nave of the cathedral. Followed by the colonial governor's palace and the powder stores/prison. Last are 2 street scenes.

  • Day26

    Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal

    April 8 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 35 °C

    The engineer in me has been looking forward to seeing the canal. First is the building at the locks, followed a ship entering the lower lock. The pics trace it's movement into the upper lock and out into Miraflores Lake, the smaller of the two lakes along the route of the canal. In the background is the new canal just opened a few years ago. A large container vessel is transiting there.Read more