Mr. Buzz and I have been trying to enjoy a local excursion once or twice a week this summer. Recently, we spent a wonderful afternoon at the National Aviary.
Pittsburgh is extremely fortunate to have both a world-class zoo and aviary. They are completely separate and located in different parts of the city. When the boys were small, we went often. Birthday parties were held there. Many times, visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins joined us.
While vacationing this past June in Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, we were awed by the diversity and beauty of nature and wildlife. In particular, was the experience of seeing so many rare and endangered birds; including the Andean Condor, Galapagos Penguin, and Blue-Footed Booby.
I get goosebumps and choked-up when I think about what an incredibly moving experience it was to see exotic birds up close, in their natural habitat.
Upon returning home, we realized it had been years since we’d visited the National Aviary — located right in Pittsburgh. Come see why so many birds of a feather flock here!
On our third day in Greece, we took a day trip to Delphi. Home of the famous oracle, Delphi’s history began in the dawn of time and myths of ancient Greece.
According to mythology, Zeus sent out two eagles from the ends of the universe to find the ‘navel’ of the world. It was Delphi where the two met.
For many centuries, Delphi was the cultural and religious center of the Hellenic world.
Delphi was not a city, but a sanctuary centered on the worship of Apollo. It was also at Delphi where legends say Apollo defeated a large python.
Prophecies by the oracle were bestowed on both rulers and ordinary individuals. And, appreciative city-states and pilgrims built treasuries and monuments to express their gratitude. Many epic festivals and athletic events also took place in a grand stadium and theater at Delphi.
Today, visitors flock from all over the world to walk the Sacred Way at Delphi. Come explore the site and artifacts with me. Then, we’ll head back to Athens for another day of exploration.
Visiting ancient Athens has been high on my bucket list since I was in seventh grade. That’s when we studied Greek and Roman mythology, culture and history.
There were a number of years in my youth when I wanted to be an archaeologist. Really!
My husband and I have been talking about taking a Greek vacation for at least the past decade. But, Greece’s economic situation and civil unrest led us to travel elsewhere.
About a year ago, we began planning a trip in earnest. We decided a vacation to Athens, and a Greek Island small ship cruise, would be a wonderful, romantic way to celebrate our milestone anniversary and big-0 birthdays. The perfect gift to each other!
So last February, we booked flights and a seven-day Windstar Cruise, Treasures of the Greek Isles. We also added four hotel nights in Athens prior to sailing, and a daytrip to Delphi, for a 13-day holiday.
Come along on Part 1 of our dream vacation to explore and savor ancient Athens.
Exploring the magnificent north’s Diamond Circle to see a width breadth of nature’s masterpieces, during our 10-day Iceland Journey.
North Iceland is a wonderland of volcanic activity, snow-capped peaks, quaint harbors, beautiful fjords, bays populated by whales and puffins — and yes, even more epic waterfalls to amaze!
When I left you in Glaciers and Icebergs, we had headed deep into Iceland’s Wilderness on an off-road adventure. The next morning we drove north to rejoin the main Ring Road.
Our intention was to refuel, grab breakfast to go, and provisions for a picnic lunch. But, between the rain and distraction, we totally missed Eglilsstardir, the only town our way to Dettitoss Waterfall. We should have turned back once we realized our mistake. It was a long day on empty stomachs, but plenty of delicious meals were to come.
A geologist’s dream Iceland Journey lay ahead, with one amazing sight and experience after another!
Continuing on our Iceland vacation, spending two days exploring the Southeast and it’s otherworldly glaciers and blue ice-filled lagoons.
Oh, and more wondrous waterfalls and cascades too numerous to count! There’s also stark deltas of grey glacial sand, coastal vistas, sheep and horses grazing on both sides of the road, and cloud-cloaked mountains.
Civilization and towns are far and few between. Beds here are in great demand and require booking far in advance.
But, there are an amazing array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and a smorgasbord of tour offerings. Destinations are so numerous, you simply can’t do it all. Be sure to do your research, constructing and pacing an Iceland vacation itinerary.
Start with the driving time between accommodations, map sites along the way, allow necessary time to enjoy activities and excursions, and include time for provisioning and eating. Then, add some buffer into your schedule for spontaneous discoveries. You’ll need to book popular excursions in advance and work them into the itinerary. Weather (rain) and driving conditions may cause delays, so always have a plan B.
Our itinerary included must-do’s and short lists of optional stops, activities and places to eat. Bundle up and put on your hiking boots.