Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

August 11th, 2014 by Celia

Twisted at the Lava Cast Forest, Newberry National Volcanic Monument



Have I ever mentioned that I love Oregon? The terrain here is so varied and vast, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this state has to offer.

Last month, a friend and I went camping south of Bend at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We camped at the Paulina Lake campground and despite the surprising amount of mosquitoes (I’ve never seen so many mosquitoes since leaving Minnesota) and some chillier than anticipated days and nights (I made the assumption that it would be as hot and dry as camping glamping north of Bend at Kah-Nee-Ta), it was an amazing time.

On the way home we stopped at the incredibly impressive, lunar-like Lava Cast Forest. Lava flow encased the bottoms of large Ponderosa pines and left ruins of tree-shaped casts in the charcoal-grey landscape. Dead Ponderosa’s showed their twisted wood and were decorated with an almost phosphorescent chartreuse green lichen. Even though the land was still covered with encased with lava, shrub-steppe plants like Indian Paintbrush, currents and sagebrush popped out of the earth.

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November 19th, 2013 by Celia

County Road S Trail to the St. Croix River


One thing I love about Wisconsin is that the county roads are represented by letters, not numbers. When there are more than 26 county roads, the letters double up. I will never forget the time Rob and I were driving through northwestern Wisconsin, south from Duluth to St. Croix Falls. At a gas station, we were alerted to a major detour. Rob went inside to ask for directions for the detour and he came back looking mischievous. “The lady in there swore at me”, he said with a smirk. “She said F-U, then told me to double F-off”. Of course, the detour meant we should take county road F to county road U, then take county road FF.

November 18th, 2013 by Celia

An Old Time Autumn Walk


There’s a trail in St. Croix Falls, WI by the river I have to visit it every time I go home. It is a solitary, silent place. Even in the summer, it feels colder than the surrounding area. Sometimes it is muddy and the seldom-used trails are swallowed by the forest. This becomes a problem since I habitually arrive here about 2 hours later than I intended, and I have to race the setting sun as I fumble back to where I think I parked the car.

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October 15th, 2013 by Celia

Have You Ever Seen Something So Beautiful

Have you ever seen something so beautiful that it brought tears to your eyes?
Something unexpected happened while touring a museum. I entered a room with a great sculpture, and instantly upon viewing it, my throat choked with a cry and my eyes welled up with tears. The beauty was overwhelming, figures coming to life then in a fated turn of events, one figure transforms into a tree.
It was Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, finished in 1625 and housed in the Borghese Gallery. I had seen it in books and didn’t think much of it prior to viewing it in real life. Just another statue by another Italian master. Statues are everywhere in Italy, street and museum alike, so their commonness impedes on their potential to impress. Still now when I view photos of it, I don’t see what moved me, but I can still feel its reverberation in my heart.

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October 12th, 2013 by Celia

Victorian Gallerias of Naples, Italy

galleria naples bike rider
Naples, Italy: the birthplace of pizza, Sophia Loren, and the Mob, and home of a number of amazingly beautiful gallerias. I have to say I didn’t know what a galleria was until seeing them in Naples. They are essentially indoor markets, covered shopping malls with open air entrances built during Victorian times. Being from Minnesota, home of America’s first indoor shopping mall and the famous Mall of America, my idea of shopping malls is quite different. Read the rest of this entry »
October 7th, 2013 by Celia

The Eternal City – Roman Forum Ruins

forum view large
It’s entertaining and edifying to learn about ancient Roman culture from bits and pieces of buildings. I can see how they were an advanced culture (minus the bit about all the slaughter at the Colosseum), ahead of their time, in the remains of the homes, buildings and public places left behind.
We toured the Roman forum, a group of preserved remains of the old empire dating as far back as 50 BC. There were temples, churches, the senate building (birth place of so-called democracy), triumphal arches celebrating leaders/tyrants sacks of neighboring lands, as well as the mundane markets, houses, watering holes and orchards of the average folk.
As we moved away from the dense old city center into the sprawling gardens and green space of the Palatine hill, I could almost feel what it was like to be live here. The climate is so mild, the abundant sea close, markets to trade and hear news and politics, public places like temples, churches and baths to come together; I can see how these people thought they were the bee’s knees.
The drone of traffic, horns and sirens faded away. All that could be heard was the cooing of birds and a gentle breeze through the olive trees. The green grass was sprinkled with wild thyme and periwinkle phlox and it almost felt like other places I’ve been, like Vermont or Oregon, until I almost trip over a cache of column bits or decapitated statures.

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October 6th, 2013 by Celia

Roman(tic) Garden Side Street

vintage bug rome
The sounds of these sidestreets were playing children, distant sweet accordion music and the klickity-klack of dinners being made. And of course the streets were covered in plants of all sorts. Vines dangling like tinsel on a Christmas tree, flowering over window frames and doorways, grapes full of fruit that were actually quite edible spilled over into reach. Read the rest of this entry »
October 5th, 2013 by Celia

I’m in Rome!

rome door 2
Above is the door to our apartment in Rome. Yes, we are in Rome! It has been such a fabulous trip thus far. Rob and I were invited to join Rob’s parents for a lovely 16 day vacation in the eternal city. Our adorable apartment is on Grillo Street, right across from Trajan’s Forum and a couple of blocks from the Colosseum.
In true Celia style, I can’t seem to find words to describe my experience here. So instead of deliberating over sentaces for the next three days, I’ll share a few photos. Below is Via Grillo, not even a half of a block above our apartment. Stucco, tile roofs, window shutters, ornate decorations, Mediterranian colors and scrolled iron details; yes, I am quite smitten with the Roman architecture. Read the rest of this entry »