Disneyland, Paris

DISNEYDisneyland Paris is actually in the town of Marne-la-Vallée, about 20 miles east of Paris. It is Europe’s most visited attraction. Since I had never been to any of the Disney locations, I found this to be the best one ;)  The complex opened in 1992 to mixed success, though it seems to be just fine now. While there I rode Space Mountain (yes, I did!) and several other, calmer rides. We stuck around for the daily parade, but left well before the nighttime fireworks.

Mary Poppins14721591903_62e2ce75b7_k(1)

Eiffel Tower

IMG_1959When I learned that I was going to Paris, I began to read up and the more I read about the Eiffel Tower the more intrigued I was. It was erected in 1889 as a focal point to the 1889 World’s Fair. At 1,063 feet in height, It is the tallest structure in Paris. It is the most visited, paid monument in the world.

I was inspired by the fact that in 1940 when Germany invaded France, the French people cut the lift cables (elevator cables) so that Germans could not the structure.

Other interesting facts include that there is an ice skating rink on the first platform each winter. And that the tower is repainted a different color every so often. It is currently bronze.

14712793813_abd5543701_k(1) 14692932305_46bf7c3ce4_k

Arc de Triomphe, Paris

ArcThe Arc de Triomphe, Paris at 162′ feet and 150′ wide is much larger than I expected. Constructed between 1806 and 1836 it is situated on the western end of the Champs-Elysees. Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Various victory parades have traveled through and later around the structure including the Germans in 1940 and the French and their allies in 1944/45. More information can be found here.

As much I was impressed with the Arc itself, I was equally impressed with the six lane traffic circle that surrounds it. There are no traffic lines and it was a thrill. Glad I wasn’t driving!

The Palace of Versailles, Paris

IMG_1937The Palace of Versailles is the most gloriously beautiful building that I have visited. This World Heritage site was a royal residence for Louis XIV to Louis XVI. The complex began in 1631 and by 1682 was essentially complete including the famous gardens. In 1789, the residing royalty was removed from the Palace by revolutionaries and since that time it has been used for government and been available for visitors. In June 1919, the Treaty of Versailles, ending the First World War, was signed here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Blue Poppies of Weyerhaeuser Rhododendrom Gardens

14068639349_2d35260236_bSeeing a blue poppy has been on my life list and yesterday I finally saw one when I took dear daughter and her friend to the Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron Gardens in Federal Way. We actually went to see the Rhododendrons and while there were many still in bloom I feel like we missed the peak viewing by a couple of weeks. We were having a grandtime walking the trails and were admiring a small pond when a pleasant woman asked if we had seen the blue poppies. Ummm, no, guess we missed that section of trail. Thank you lady! The poppies are taller than I expected and there was some space between the stalks. They were just a little translucent and there was a bit of rain on some of the petals. The photos below feature the blue poppies, but include some other flowers and some Hilltop Artist glass work that is currently on display.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Grotto, Portland, OR

IMG_1055The Grotto, also known as  is National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is a 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden which is administered by the Order of Friars Servants of Mary.

The Grotto is lovely and peaceful. By far the most unique part is the elevator, which is built adjacent to the 110′ cliff and has only two stops. I got on at the bottom, the location of Our Lady’s Grotto, a gift store, and the largest of the churches. and got off at the top, the site of the gardens, other smaller churches and religious artwork.  The grotto is a rock cave carved into the cliff and feature a life-size marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The complex is free to visit, but there is a $5 charge to take the elevator. It’s well worth it. To learn more, look here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Embassy Suites, Portland Airport

Embassy Suites, Portland Airport is really nice. I stayed on the 8th floor.The breakfast buffet was robust and there are snacks in the evening. The picture of the orange with flowers is of our center piece at dinner.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Portland

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I told people that went to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland, Oregon they corrected me and explained that I meant Japanese Gardens. No, they are Chinese Gardens, the most authentic Chinese Gardens outside of China. My friends and I got to the gardens by hopping the light rail in the rain. A short walk from our stop took us to downtown Portland’s China Town/Old Town where the gardens occupy a city block. The cities of Portland and its sister city, Suzhou, China worked together to create this tranquil and lovely oasis. The gardens opened in September 2000. They feature 500 tons of rocks from China, but no plants because of import bans. Instead all of the plants were located in Oregon nurseries and gardens. The tea room featured a menu of teas making me wish I could have tried several.

Rustic Metal Yard Art, Covington

14069781826_a7e4f25cc7_bI was in Covington wondering what I was going to snap a photo of when I found this. Really, it was like a gift. Rustic Metal Yard Art is located on Kent Black Diamond Road SE and is relatively new. It wasn’t there a couple of years ago. The Rooster is the largest piece and stands very tall. But there is a full assortment of other works including a space craft and a peacock. Arbors, Statues,Trellises and Fountains were on display. They were closed when I went by, so all the photos were taken through or over the fence.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.