Friday, July 3, 2015

April 2015: London and Manchester, UK

Another trip to the UK, first landing at Heathrow and then taking the train to Manchester.  I figured the London underground (subway) would be empty when I landed on a Sunday at 6 AM but it happened to be the morning of the London Marathon, and runners were everywhere.

I had some time at London's Euston Station before my train to Manchester, so I wandered around the neighboring University College of London (UCL) area and Gordon Square Park on a misty morning:

 A Laburnum tree, all parts poisonous

A few hours later after a three-hour train ride, I was in city center Manchester.  Expecting the usual dreary early-spring Manchester weather, I was pleasantly surprised with blue skies and what seemed like the whole city outside enjoying the sunshine on a Sunday afternoon.

Musicians and performers everywhere:

One of many Manchester canals, remnants of its industrial age.

Five days later, on the eve of my departure, the skies are still blue:

The April 25 Nepal earthquake had just occurred a few days ago:

June 2015: Nashville, TN

My first time ever to Nashville.   Enoyable, for sure, but somewhat uncomfortable from the lingering Tropical Storm Bill moisture in the air along with 90 degree temperatures.

The tourist area on Broadway:

which is home to Ernest Tubb's Record Shop:

The Music City has plenty of monuments to remember its heritage.  Owen Bradley in the small park named after him, in the Music Row neighborhood:

The replica of Webb Pierce's famous swimming pool at an apartment complex, right over the wall from Owen Bradley Park:

Chet Atkins statue at Fifth Avenue North & Union Street:

 The grand Union Station, built in 1900.  It's a hotel now.

Another new state capitol visit for me:

Entombed on state capitol grounds is James Polk, the 11th President of the USA:

Back to the downtown area, the Cumberland River and the Tennessee Titans football stadium:

Back on Broadway:

I'd go back again but preferably during cooler weather.  Except for the tourist areas, Nashville seemed to be a little empty. It's a big metropolitan area (population 1.7M) but like other large southern towns, it drains out to the suburbs.  I saw a few cyclists but it's mainly a driving town at least in the summer, no doubt due to the sweltering humidity.  Finally, Nashville could use a large park or two in its city center.  These, and greenery in general, were noticeably missing. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Portola Redwoods State Park

With half of a Sunday in the Bay Area available, I went to see some redwoods at Portola Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains.  I was pleasantly surprised that there were no crowds.

A fallen redwood over Pescadero Creek:

I'm always amazed by these grand trees, some of which are 260 feet tall:

Lots of good trails in this park, I hiked up "Old Tree Trail" but there are many more that I'll need to visit in the future.

On the way back down the hill, sprawling Silicon Valley sits below: