Category Archives: Attractions

America by Air Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, in Washington, DC

When my sister was hired as a stewardess by the Polish Airlines LOT back in the 1980s, before she flew anywhere she had to attend trainings not only about airplane layout and duties and responsibilities of her job, but also complete a training on proper make up and behavior.

That’s why I stopped when I saw a big sign asking “Could You Be a Stewardess in the Early 1950s?” while wandering around the huge Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

"Could You Be a Stewardess in the Early 1950s?" display, part of the America by Air Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
“Could You Be a Stewardess in the Early 1950s?” display, part of the America by Air Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

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My Favorite Beaches: Photo Essay

I love beaches.

I love walking barefoot along the shore, water lapping at my feet, my toes squishing the wet sand, leaving footprints that will be gone with the next wave.

I love listening to the slow rhythm of the ocean or the sea, like breathing,receding its surf on the in breath, and swelling out onto the shore with an out breath.

All of it – the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze of the wind tickling my face,  and the sound of the moving tide calms me, and while I love sightseeing, big cities, and beautiful museums, I feel most relaxed on a beach, the longer and the more empty the better.

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Visiting the Roman Sights in Merida, Spain

When we decided to do a road trip from Madrid, Spain to the coast of Portugal last year, we decided to find a city or a town to stay overnight on the way, rather than drive the 600 km (372 miles) or so in one day.

The names of towns and cities along the three different routes that GoogleMaps suggested for us didn’t tell me much, so I turned to guidebooks of Spain from Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and to TripAdvisor reviews.

three different routes from Madrid, Spain to Obidos, Portugal that GoogleMaps suggested as a possibilty
three different routes from Madrid, Spain to Obidos, Portugal that GoogleMaps suggested as a possibilty

In the end, I’ve decided we should stop in Mérida, a place I’d never heard of before, because every guidebook I looked at suggested visiting the city’s Roman ruins, and we like ancient stuff like that.

We arrived in Mérida on a Friday afternoon and went sightseeing on Saturday. Given all the historical attractions in Mérida, I was really surprised by the low number of tourists we saw.

Clearly Mérida is not as popular as it was during the Roman times, which is really too bad.

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Self-Guided Tour of Harvard University’s Old Yard

If you’re in Boston, Massachusetts, don’t forget to visit the city on the other bank of the Charles River – Cambridge, MA.

And while you’re in Cambridge, you might as well visit Harvard University, the oldest university in the United States.

I’d suggest you put aside a whole day just for Harvard, since in addition to the one-hour Guided Historical tour of the university, Harvard museums – Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture – are worth a visit as well.

Quincy Street entrance to the newly renovated and reopened Harvard Art Museums
Quincy Street entrance to the newly renovated and reopened Harvard Art Museums

If you don’t have that much time, at least do the tour of the university, either with Guided Historical Tours of Harvard or on your own.

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The Rocky Coast of Peniche, Portugal

There’s something powerful and captivating about waves crashing into a rocky cliff, sending up a fountain of sea foam, then retreating back into the ocean.

It’s calming. It’s humbling. And it’s beautiful.

kids watching out onto the Atlantic from the rocky shore along the most westernmost part of N114 in Peniche, Portugal
kids watching out onto the Atlantic from the rocky shore along the most westernmost part of N114 in Peniche, Portugal

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A few thoughts on Nicolas Regnier’s “Self-Portrait with an Easel”

If you are planning to visit the newly opened Harvard Art Museums, and are willing to play “scavenger hunt” with me, please read first “Invitation to Play ‘Scavenger Hunt’ at the Harvard Art Museums – The Clues.” 🙂

If you are not going to visit the Harvard Art Museums for a while, or at all, because Cambridge, Massachusetts way off your itinerary route, and you like to read about art, read on.

Last week I posted close up photos of a few details from five paintings at Harvard Art Museums that I found interesting. Some of them would be hard to miss as they are quite prominent in the painting, some might take some looking for, since they are just a small part of the overall piece.

detail from a 1620s Flemish painting
detail from a 1620s Flemish painting

The blobs of paint on the easel in Nicolas Régnier’s “Self-Portrait with an Easel” are hard to miss because the easel is positioned right in the center of the paining and is quite prominent, though it would not be the first thing you’ll look at, I bet.

What captivated me in Nicolas Régnier’s “Self-Portrait with an Easel,” painted around 1620s was… well…. how pasty pale he is. 😉

Continue reading A few thoughts on Nicolas Regnier’s “Self-Portrait with an Easel”