The historic west Texas towns of Terlingua and Lajitas share a common location as gateway towns for both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Though only fifteen minutes apart, their personalities are as distinct as their heritage. On my recent visit, I found that both towns are very much a reflection of their historic cemeteries: Terlingua is wild and woolly while Lajitas is more sedate and proper.
“Please. Come into my shop. Let me show you what I have. I will make you a good deal”. This was the constant litany that accosted us as we wandered the narrow lanes and tried to do some last minute shopping in Stone Town, on the Island of Zanzibar.
Barns and quilts. Both of these represent unique aspects of America’s traditional farming heritage. Today, old barns and old quilts are lovingly preserved as a link to a slowly disappearing lifestyle. What better way to foster awareness of America’s legacy and history than a Quilt Barn (or Barn Quilt) Trail through the rural landscape.
A hamam, or Turkish bath is a unique experience to Turkey. I wanted to try it on my first visit to Istanbul, but to do so, I would have to set aside my inhibitions about being seen naked by strangers. Could I do that?
Paris has the Palace of Versailles. Vienna has the Hofburg Palace. London has Buckingham Palace. In Istanbul, it is Topkapi Palace that was the opulent home to the Sultan rulers of the Ottoman Empire and their female entourage for almost 400 years.
To step through the door into Hagia Irene in Istanbul is to step through a time portal back to fourth century Constantinople. Before the more famous Hagia Sofia was built, Hagia Irene served as the main church for the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Hagia Irene also served as a model for the construction of the Hagia Sofia next door.
Not all of the mosques in Istanbul are open to non Muslim visitors. But fortunately, the most beautiful ones in and around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.
There is no doubt that the city of Istanbul is steeped in thousands of years of history – history that can still be touched today. Sitting beneath modern city streets that are teeming with pedestrian, automobile and tram traffic, a walk through the underground space of the Basilica Cistern is an opportunity to physically experience a world that existed 1500 years ago.
Washington DC is well known for its many beautiful monuments and memorials dedicated to the great leaders that helped shape this country. There are architectural wonders designed to honor George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, among others. But what about the women? With a little bit of effort, and a lot of walking, you can find the Washington DC women’s monuments and statues dedicated to a few of the many ladies that helped shape our nation.
As a teenager, I learned about the devastating effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. As an adult many years later, I visited the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park, and encountered present day Japanese teenagers learning their history in this living classroom for peace.