Travel Theme: Letters

This week at¬†Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa invites to look at letters.

So let’s look at letters.

I can’t read it, but it’s letters for someone. The tattered remains of an ancient scroll written in hieroglyphics. Seen at Boston’s beautiful Museum of Fine Arts.

Don’t ask me what it says, I don’t remember. And I can’t read it. But it looks super-cool, doesn’t it?

Chef Boyardee was, in fact, a real live person. Hector Boiardi emigrated to the US, became a chef, began marketing his sauce and–as one thing leads to another–eventually had so much demand he needed his own factory. Hector Boiardi built said factory in the fertile, tomato-crop-growing lands of Milton, PA, just a few short miles from my home. It has since been bought out by a larger food company (which shall remain nameless) but the iconic smokestack–and the surrounding tomato fields–remain.

He's real, people.

He’s real, people.

As seen in Skaneateles, NY. ’nuff said.

Ham, sweet ham. HOME! HOME!

Ham, sweet ham. HOME! HOME! I mean HOME!

If you ever wanted to read a collection of poetry by Nobel Prize-winning author Pablo Neruda–translated into Russian–here’s your chance. It’s even prettier when it’s written in Cyrillic.

A little light reading (and a kind of creepy doll) before bed, anyone?

A little light reading (and a kind of creepy doll) to send you off to dreamland, anyone?

And recently, I went on a nighttime river cruise on the Hiawatha, an event-and-rentable (party) boat on the mighty Susquehanna River. Here’s the recently-risen moon, shining on the tiara of letters that spell the boat’s name.

Nice night for a cruise.

Nice night for a cruise.

That’s it, for now, for letters. I hope you enjoyed them! Or even want to play along yourself… ūüôā Happy shutterbugging!

Travel Theme: Golden

Ailsa’s travel theme this week at¬†Where’s My Backpack? is “golden”. Groovy! I don’t have much time to be chatty today, so let’s get to it, shall we?

First stop: close to home. Beautiful Lewisburg, PA, where the trees put on quite the seasonal display and turn a stunning shade of gold in autumn.

It's kind of spectacular here in the fall.

It’s kind of spectacular here in the fall.

These Italian fig bundles look like little golden dessert ravioli. Stuffed with figs. They’re like a dream come true.


Bask in their golden aura!


And speaking of Italy…here’s a cozy little street in Florence¬†that turns golden once the sun starts to set and the lights come on.

I want to live here. That is all.

I want to live here. That is all.

Relax during the holidays! Be like Buddha, in perfect tranquility in a lotus flower. As seen at the MFA in Boston.

I feel all zen and groovy.

I feel all zen and groovy.

And finally…here is a sunrise that’s about as golden as it gets. Taken at North Carolina’s Outer Banks. It’s one heck of a way to start the day.

Nature is so effortlessly beautiful.

Nature is so effortlessly beautiful.

This was a great challenge for me to do. It’s been an opaque gray here for about a week; I’ve been starved of brightness. (No, wait. There was one notable hour of sunlight; we were all so happy to see it we made sure our friends and neighbors checked out that strange¬†fiery sky¬†orb, but I digress.) I hope you enjoyed the photos! Or, of course, you’d be more than welcome to participate. See you ’round the internets.


G! Challenge: Guitars

My boyfriend is a musician, and I spent some time as a music store nerd. ¬†Not High Fidelitylevel of nerdery, mind you, but I can throw down with some pretty good music trivia¬†and am generally fairly knowledgeable about music history (though no, I don’t play an instrument, and the music world thanks me for it). ¬†So we tend to gravitate towards musically oriented things, including museum “fancy instruments” exhibits. ¬†The following pictures were taken at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (Go MFA!) during one of our winter visits.

The MFA has a fantastic exhibit dedicated to all manner of musical instruments from around the world. ¬†There are dulcimers and harps and a small cabinet containing crystal glasses that have been specifically ground to resonate at a certain note–no water required. And there are guitars. There are more guitars than I’ve included in this blog, but these two were my favorite.

The first is an Italian guitar made in the early 1600s by Jacopo Checchucci (as an aside, this was how his name was spelled on the MFA website, but I noticed it spelled without the second h when I did a quick Google search, so…musical historians, feel free to offer guidance.)

Four hundred years of ah-may-zing.

Check out the detail work in the sound hole.

That’s a lot of work for a part almost no one is going to be able to see.

And here’s another beauty, also of Italian make. ¬†This one was built in the early 1700s by Jacopo Mosca Cavelli, so it is a mere 300 years old.

A hundred years, a little fatter, and astonishingly, even more elaborate.

I like that this one’s got a message. ¬†It references Revelation 14 in the inlaid inscription…


I have absolutely no Latin training at all, but the best I can tell is that this seems to say that this is the sort of guitar that would be appropriate to play at the coming of the end of the world.  Latin scholars?  Anyone?  Someone?

The point–other than showing off fancy things–is this. ¬†The guy(s) who made these stunningly gorgeous instruments didn’t have power tools and laser cutters to put this together. ¬†Those instruments were shaped thanks to the cunning use of steam or the gentle application of constant pressure and the use of a rudimentary lathe. ¬†(I admit it: I like the word lathe.) ¬†The inlays were carved by hand and placed, piece by often miniscule piece, by tweezers. ¬†Once again the sound hole is elaborate, which is something that nobody except the musician and whoever borrowed his guitar would see. ¬†And I can barely get it together enough to give myself a little pedicure and get my gnarly feet ready to face the rest of the summer.

I mean seriously, I’m probably going to only have to do this once more for the season, before I can stop worrying about it for the fall.

Clearly, I’m not doing something right. ¬†But I do enjoy looking at the results of those who are capable of getting it together. ¬†It reminds me that we can do great things, all we have to do is focus on the task at hand, and do that to the best of our abilities.

Unless that task, of course, involves me playing guitar.  That, I will leave to the experts.

This post is for the G! Challenge by Frizztext

Because I love a good alphabet challenge.

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