Travel Theme: Pathways

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is pathways, which of course is one of my favorite things because they’re inherently liminal.  Maybe I’ve got an overly-developed sense of romanticism about pathways and roadtrips…though I don’t think so…but I always think of that Fellowship of the Rings quote:

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

And so.

From an overpass looking down onto a train yard in Cleveland.


Westward bound.

In the park outside l’Orangerie in Paris.  Please note: the lady is carrying a parasol.  A parasol.  And I don’t care if it’s actually an umbrella multitasking as a parasol.  It’s still a parasol.

This picture delights me every time I look at it.

This picture delights me every time I look at it.

My niece and nephew, in training for future adventures down pathways of their own.  At Knoebel’s, one of the greatest amusement parks in all the land (not that I’m biased).

World's most controlled road trip.

World’s most controlled road trip.

The Grand Canal, Dublin, which connects Dublin with the River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland and a major thoroughfare for…oh…pretty much all of time. Located right next to it? The Grand Canal Hotel (wonder where they came up with that name?), which was a pretty swanky spot to stay.  That was where I had literally the best and spendiest veggie burger I’ve ever eaten.


I was happy to have this sight greet us whenever we left our hotel.

And…home sweet home.  We have loads of enticing back roads around here just open to imagination and exploration.

Ever forward!

Ever forward!

What pathways have you taken?


Travel Theme: Benches

Ailsa’s travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is a surprisingly thought-provoking one–benches.  Some people (like, apparently, Ailsa) find them intriguing and somewhat romantic.  I tend to overlook them.  Important life lesson to be had here: pay at-bloody-tention.

Belhurst Castle, Geneva NY.  The vast lawn behind the castle is full of greenery and planters and carefully appointed koi ponds.  And exactly one lone bench, facing eastward to meet the sunrise.

Good morning!

Good morning!

Meanwhile, at the Old City Hall in my beloved Boston, George fails to recognize the looming menace of a statue of a brass donkey as he sits on the cleared stone bench outside the landmark building.

Hey, pal. One of us was here first, and it wasn't you.

Hey, pal. One of us was here first, and it wasn’t you.

In Rome (or, you know, cities in general), anything can serve as a series of benches, depending on the mood of the crowd.  A view from the top of the Spanish Steps.

Because all those people need to sit *somewhere*.

Because all those people need to sit *somewhere*.

And in Florence, simple wooden benches serve as pews in the Chiesa de San Salvatore al Monte, a beautiful 15-th century church overlooking the Arno.  San Salvatore is largely overshadowed by its flashier neighbor, the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, but it is no less lovely.  And since more people go to San Miniato, San Salvatore is much, much quieter, which can be an incredible luxury.

If you're looking for a place to sit and be self-reflective...

If you’re looking for a place to sit and be self-reflective…

Annnnnd…there is a gem of an amusement park close to my home.  Knoebel’s has been operating as an amusement park (albeit on a smaller scale) since 1926, and it is still family owned and offers free admission.  And?  It is awesome.  They have a Sky Ride that glides its riders up the side of a mountain and back down again; these are the bench seats from the top of the Sky Ride, deserted after an afternoon rain.

Welcome to Knoebel's in all its sylvan splendor.

Welcome to Knoebel’s in all its sylvan splendor.

Happy bench hunting!  Enjoy the travel theme.

Travel Theme: Signs

The travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is a look at signs you encounter when you’re out and about in the world.  While I’ve already blogged about and put most of the images I’ve taken of signs in a piece called WTF Caution Signs, I do have a few other sign photos I’ve been looking for a reason to post.

First up: a cautionary sign. We were traveling during Halloween weekend last year and stopped at some convenience store along the way. When I neared the door I saw this…

Safety first!

…and then I doubled over laughing for about five minutes before I was able to pull myself together enough to immortalize it digitally. I understand the reason behind this. You want to be able to give a more detailed description of the person who robs your store besides, “It was Frankenstein”, and I would imagine there’s a decided uptick in robberies at Halloween-time when it’s common to walk around masked. I’m sure it’s really only successfully used against the opportunistic criminal–something tells me the guys from The Town wouldn’t be all that deterred by the clever use of signage–but regardless of its rate of success or failure, I still loved the idea.


Annapolis, MD is a lovely city, and I enjoyed a day trip there with my boyfriend and his daughter. I have tons of pictures of colonial houses and quaint, cobblestoned streets and crisp sails on neatly-painted boats. We bought hard-to-find spices in the upscale spice shop. I bought a friend’s toddler a gift in the inclusion-oriented, organic-sustainable-materials toy store. The things in this city are beautiful. Picturesque. Charming. And deadly.

Wha wha whaaaaa?

This was tucked into the garden of a serene and tidily trimmed public park. A grim reminder that no plant in Annapolis is safe.


This summer, my boyfriend’s band played at a benefit held at Knoebel’s, a local amusement park. I’ve talked about Knoebel’s before, and how it’s quaint and kitschy and totally family-friendly. While wandering around the park I came across a few carts that merited a second look.  The first is one of the tram cars they use to ferry visitors back and forth from the tram stands in the parking lot.

Apparently, there IS such a thing as a free ride.

The other sign involves a utility cart. See for yourself.



Question: If one may not sit on it, then how does one drive it? Seriously, Knoebel’s people. Park this somewhere else.

And finally, from Cleveland. If I were to trace the events of my misspent youth back to their origins, they would lead me here.


Thank you, Alan Freed. You’ve contributed more fun (50 Bands) to my world than you could ever have imagined.

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