Category Archives: Travel

Make Your Opinions Known!

I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately. When I look for places to eat, I check out the “usual suspects” – Trip Advisor, UrbanSpoon, Yelp. The range of comments on any particular restaurant is always entertaining. It’s always “love it” or “should have stayed home.” Despite the extremes, these sites do provide some insight, especially since smaller restaurants are unlikely to have websites or keep their Facebook pages up-to-date.

You, my astute readers, probably do the same. But here’s the question: Do you offer your opinion after you’ve supped, dined, or whatever-ed?
I encourage you to do so, especially if you have a great experience and the restaurant could use an endorsement. Or if all those glowing comments must have been written by the owners’ mothers.

It only takes a couple of minutes if you do it right away. And heck, it’s a big help to the rest of us. Thanks.

Music Wednesday – Organ Music from Oaxaca

Yes, I missed last Wednesday.  Why?  I was at the 9th International Festival of Historic Organs and Early Music.  Here’s a piece from last year’s festival at the Church of San Jeronimo in Tlacochahuaya.  The Dominicans who evangelized this region of Mexico believed that God deserved the best – and of course, that included an organ! Reedy and rich – and of course with a lowered pitch and mean tone tuning.  My own photos and clips will be along later.


Intonarium Toletanum Digitized

Well, this might not make your day, but it was certainly a pleasant surprise for me!

Thanks to the Library of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, I can happily paw around in this 1515 chant manuscript in the comfort of my own home and without having to wear those little white gloves so beloved of archivists!  And there are lots of treasures to enjoy!

What a happy marriage of the past and present!

(Apologies for the inelegant logo – but my image-scaling skills are at a low ebb this morning.) 


Mysterious Epiphany Traditions

I’m researching tomorrow’s radio show and find much more than the usual chalk over the doorway and kings leaving sweets. 

In Latvia, if a dog was heard barking on Epiphany one ought to look for his or her future spouse in that same direction.  And clear starry skies meant a fine harvest in the coming summer.

Sounds good to me.  The question is “Do these traditions apply beyond national boundaries?”  I always hope so because I like to collect the ones that suit me.

(And in case you’re wondering, I’ve given the Peeve of Transferred Holy Days an extra treat so she won’t disturb my entire menagerie of grievances.  Darn it, Epiphany is supposed to be 12 days after Christmas.)

Balto in Central Park

On my recent visit to New York, I went searching for this wonderful statute of a dog who helped save children’s lives in Nome, Alaska.   You can learn more about the once-famous and still quite thrilling “serum run” at Wikipedia.

He’s conveniently located on the east side of the park, near the Children’s Zoo, and has a shiney back and ears from children’s climbing up for a ride.  Make sure you stop by if you find yourself nearby.

It’s Our Lady of Guadalupe

Even though the apparition was on December 9, 1531, the feast is today!  You can wander over to YouTube and find lots of mananitas – some beautiful, some more enthusiastic than anything else.  The Internet can take you right to the Basilica in Mexico City, if you want.  This is my favorite.


Or you can just enjoy the story of the apparition.  An Indian neophyte, the mysterious sound of birds singing, the beautiful woman, roses in winter and an astonished bishop.

Even Bedbugs Look Cute in France

This image comes from the online store for the Tourist Office in Le Puy, France, one of the historic starting points for the Camino de Santiago.  Unfortunately, bedbugs have joined the pilgrimage in recent years. Ugh!

This is an advertisement for a powder guaranteed to eliminate your bloodthirsty little companions.   Notice the signature scallop shell in the background of the drawing.  Adorable, non?

Of course, the bedbugs were probably along for the ride in the Middle Ages, but vermin were just part of the landscape then.  Fleas, lice, bedbugs….