Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tulip Season in Ottawa

A few weeks ago we went to Ottawa to see the Aboriginal production of King Lear.  And by chance the tulips were in their prime - and my SLR decided that it wasn't going to perform so the following were taken with my cellphone.  Fruit trees and lilacs were also in bloom and the weather couldn't have been better!

Tulips in front of the memorial to Colonel John By

Just a nice juxtaposition of modern and nature

The Chateau Laurier

The parliament buildings in the background and an old lock house

The locks on the canal leading to the Ottawa river. The Museum of Civilization is across the river


The National Art Centre

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Washington, DC

After our sojourn in New York we took the train to Washington.  A pleasant ride, especially interesting when going along or over waterways.   In both cities we took lots of metro/subway rides and were pleased with the quality, safety etc of each.

We took another tour with Free tours by Foot and did the memorial/monument walk.  It was in the evening and because it was so overcast it got dark rather quickly.  

 This is part of the WW2 memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.
 The outside of the Lincoln memorial, and below, the inside!  It was a very impressive edifice.  We also saw the Vietnam memorial, but it was too dark to take pictures.  It was very moving seeing all the names.

 These are some houses in Dupont Circle.  There is some lovely architecture there.  We went to see the Phillips museum which housed a nice variety of American and European impressionist paintings.  Part of it retains the character of the old house that it once was.  There were a number of Rothkos and Klees and the current exhibit was photography by a number of artists including Vuillard, along with the paintings that were based on the photos.  We take using our photos so much for granted today, but even  50 years ago it was a much more labour intensive process.
 This picture was taken coming up out of the Metro and looking at the National Building museum.  Inside is an enormous Great Hall.
 I have been trying to grow this hellebore for some years now, and it refuses to bloom.  So now I know what it's supposed to do!
The Renwick Gallery which is very near the White House is filled with all sorts of crafts, from quilting to pottery, to wood and metal work.  And you can take pictures - which I'll put up next time.
Now I will be able to better appreciate the vantage points of all the news broadcasters when they stand in front of the White House.  It is a humble building in comparison to the museums and government buildings around.

Other things we did that we really enjoyed was the visit to the Sackler gallery to see Hokusai's 36 views of Mount Fuji.  One was the famous Wave, and I was surprised to see how small it was.  Not much bigger than a piece of paper.  We saw the Bill Reid's the Spirit of  Haida Gwaii sculpture outside the Canadian Embassy.   Then I went to the DAR Museum to see the quilts - about 7 Baltimore Album ones.  Quite beautifully done.  On our last evening we went to see a wonderful performance at the Folger Shakespeare museum.  Taming of the Shrew done in a western style with original music.  Great production.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New York New York!!

I think you can never get enough of New York city.  Everywhere you turn there is something new to see and do.  And we had gorgeous weather to boot!  Here are a few pics that pleased me. 

We took the Acela Amtrak train from Boston and arrived at Penn station.  Tickets were bought at the John St half price ticket booth for War Horse and Godspell.  The former was fabulous - the puppeteers made you forget that these were not real horses.

We ate well - at the Atlantic Grill near the Lincoln centre, the Aqua Grill in Soho, and Pastis for Sunday brunch in the meatpacking district. 

 A walk in Central Park waiting for the Guggenheim to open.  There was an exhibit of work by John Chamberlain who made very large and very small pieces from used auto parts and other scrap metal.  We also saw the Tannhauser gallery of impressionist art - a very nice collection.
 The ferry to Staten Island is free so we went for a round trip and I had my first sight of the statue of liberty.   And the magnificent view of Manhattan below.

 I liked the juxtaposition of the old building with the array of newer ones

 The picture above and the 2 below are of the High Line park which was opened a few years ago.  It was formerly a commercial rail track and actually went through the buildings.  It has been lovingly landscaped with mostly native plants with nice pathways, places to sit and lots of views of the city.  It's about 1 1/2 miles long and much of the original track has been left.  Brilliant idea.  Now if we could only do it to some of the elevated highways around here!

More old and new.  This was taken on a walking tour by the company Free tours by foot.  It's an online sign up and you tip the guide at the end as you wish.  Ours was very informative and took us through Soho, China town and Nolita.  

Stay tuned for the Washington portion of the trip!  Let me know what you like to do in NYC.