Travel Theme: Bridges

Ailsa’s travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is pretty groovy: bridges. It must be liminal week for me because this is the second challenge in a row that involves me thinking about liminality, which was one of the best things I studied in college and here I am, still talking about it.

Since I have such a profound love for liminality it should surprise exactly no one that I like to take pictures in or around liminal spaces, and this of course includes bridges.  Why are they liminal?  Because they’re the transition point between one place and another.  Where do they stop belonging to one side of the ground to which they’re attached and become the other?  Or do they exist in their own netherspace, independent from the real estate to which they are attached?  What happens as you cross them?  Can the view from the middle help change your perspective?  I could go on.  I usually do.  But!  Let’s get to the photos instead.

Boston by day.

Welcome to Fairyland.

Welcome to Fairyland.

I adore the Boston Public Gardens, with their lush willows and their dreamy swan boats.  But this picture, with the graceful bridge anchoring the shot, gets me swoony every time I look at it.  Must go.  Must go now.

Boston by night.

On the overpass.

On the overpass.

This was taken this past summer from an overpass as we walked back to our hotel after a night on the town.  It’s so not the genteel look of the Public Gardens.  I also love the contrast; the city is stretched out before you, but the fence keeps you back.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia.

'scuse me while I walk across the sky.

‘scuse me while I walk across the sky.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia is GIIIII-normous.  When we went to Philly last summer, I couldn’t believe how much of Center City the hospital complex has come to dominate.  In order to connect one set of buildings to the next, they’ve built breezeways between them, which was something I first saw in Minneapolis and surely isn’t some revolutionary idea to anyone who has a winter but hey, it’s pretty striking when you turn the corner and see it.

And closer to home.

Under the stone bridge by Grove's Mills.

Under the stone bridge by Grove’s Mills.

Grove’s Mill is a fully operational water-powered grist mill located a scant four miles from where I live.  This bridge along the front of the mill has been relatively recently remodeled so it’s not one of the 70,000 structurally unsound bridges in the US, though they made sure it stayed all rustic-looking ‘n’ stuff.  But!  I’m delighted by the ducks under the bridge; could anyone tell me for sure if that’s a hooded merganser?

And close to home but in the other direction.

Rishel Covered Bridge.

Rishel Covered Bridge.

The Rishel Covered Bridge spans the Chillisquaque Creek (say that three times, fast!) and is five miles away from my house.  Built in 1830, the Rishel Covered Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Place and is quite possibly the oldest covered bridge in the US.  The bridge was pushed six inches off its moorings by the flooding that accompanied Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 and while it’s been reported that having the “bragging rights” to the bridge is worth the cost of repair, it’s been unused and untended for almost a year and a half now.  I grow more cynical about its repair by the day.  SAVE THE RISHEL COVERED BRIDGE!

Have fun checking out the other bridge bloggers!

Travel Theme: Art: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Ailsa’s travel theme this week at is pretty simple: Art.  Street art?  Painty art?  What kind of art?

I choose…ummm…repurposed art.

You can find Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens at 1020 South Street in Philly.  It’s the work of the brilliantly creative and resourceful Isaiah Zagar, who has been crafting mosaics onto buildings in his Philadelphia neighborhood out of tile…or vinyl albums…or glass bottles…or forks…or whatever has come his way, since the 1960s.  The Magic Gardens began in 1994 in a vacant lot next to Zagar’s home.  See for yourself what it’s become.

And finally, here’s a look at the artist himself.

Plan to spend fully a half a day, as there is just that much to feast one’s eyes upon.  Bring water.  If it’s even a little damp out, wear shoes with good grippy soles, because those tiles get awfully slippery.  I’m looking at you, flip-flop wearers.  Have lots and lots of room on your cameras.  And be ready to want to stick things to your walls and any surface that can support having things stuck to them, once you get home.

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