Black and White Pictures of Paris from 2009

If you’ve spent any time on social media these days, you’ve seen posts of “7 Days Black and White Pictures – No People – No Explanation.” I decided to post some black and white pictures of Paris from 2009. Just because.

And, since I have this contrarian tendency to flout arbitrary rules and because 8 is a Chinese number of good fortune, I posted on Instagram and shared to the With the Barretts Facebook page for 8 days. (By the way, if you want to see the “official” With the Barretts Instagram account, where Debra posts beautiful pics, go here.)

But – since y’all are my favorites – I decided to re-post the pics here on the blog. And I’ve added a couple shots, too. Also just because. So, here they are:

Black and White Pictures from Paris 2009

Lamp posts with the Eiffel TowerPeople tend to fantasize about Paris on clear Spring days. But it’s beautiful in the Fall haze, as well.

View toward Sacre Coeur from Musee d'OrsayThis one was taken on the roof of the wonderful Musee d’Orsay looking toward Sacre Coeur on the distant hilltop. Continue reading “Black and White Pictures of Paris from 2009”

Travel Lagniappe – Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative

Recently, I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with my son. It’s a trip that we’ve been talking about for years and it was an amazing, transformative, massive experience. No doubt it will be the subject of many posts. Today’s travel lagniappe is from that trip: before we began the trek, we visited a Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative where indigenous people create beautiful woven textiles of sheep, llama, and alpaca wool.

Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative
Women at the Coop
Women in traditional costume at the weaving cooperative

The outfitter for our trip – G Adventures – sponsors a foundation that, in turn, sponsors these cooperatives. Unlike many of the “shopping opportunities” that are foisted upon you on some tours, this one felt authentic – a genuine chance to experience and foster a traditional way of life.

Interestingly, despite the rustic and rural setting,

Livestock pens at the beginning of the Coop village
Livestock pens at the beginning of the Coop village

cell phone reception was excellent. Continue reading “Travel Lagniappe – Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative”

Many Paths – Journey Lagniappe

Many Paths

You may have noticed a lapse in posts. I spent a couple of weeks in Peru hiking the Inca Trail with one of our sons – something we’ve been talking about for years. Right before I returned, Debra flew to France with a couple of dear friends for a “girls’ trip.” The schedules just worked out that way. Life With the Barretts means adventures down many paths.

But I’m back and she’s coming back and we’ll be back on track, just as soon as the jet lag abates.

For now – here are a some teaser shots from Peru – a little journey lagniappe.

Path inside Saqsaywaman, above Cusco
Path inside Saqsaywaman, above Cusco

Continue reading “Many Paths – Journey Lagniappe”

10,000 Steps Through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery

Time Travel – Hong Kong 2009 – 10,000 Buddhas Monastery

Today we’re journeying back in time, up a mountain, and through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong.

It’s mid-March, 2009. We’re in Hong Kong, enjoying a trip that Debra won (yes, that’s what I said – she won) courtesy of Central Market, a wonderful up-scale food store in Texas, and Intercontinental Hotels.

[There is a story behind her winning the trip – aside from the fact that she is a lucky lady – but that will have to wait for another day. Trust me, I took something like 1,200 pictures on that trip, so there is a lot of material for posts. I’ll tell you the “winning story” in connection with one of them.]

We see something in a guidebook or somewhere about a place called the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. How can we not be intrigued? So we go and find it.

10,000 Buddhas – But What’s an Arhat?

The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery is on the side of a small mountain. The Wikipedia site –  you can find that here – says that you access it by means of “431 ‘steep steps’ … surrounded by statues of arhats – the Buddhist equivalent of saints who have achieved enlightenment.” Since it’s 2009 and if Wikipedia is even a thing, we’ve never heard of it, we don’t know anything about the 431 steep steps. Or the arhats. (I’ll call them “arhats” in this post since I have the benefit of 2017 research. But back in 2009, we don’t know anything about them.)

We figure out the steps pretty quickly.

Beginning of the ascent
The beginning of the path. It gets steeper.

 

We’re not sure what the arhats are, but they’re pretty cool.

ascending path and arhatsEach one is different – not just in facial features, like the terracotta warriors – but in dress, demeanor, and personality. And degree of weirdness. More about that later. Continue reading “10,000 Steps Through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery”

Hermitage in St. Petersburg – Wishes for Your Thursday Travel Lagniappe

The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia is an amazing place. We don’t have time today for a full visit – one day, we’ll do that. It’ll be worth it. But for now, let’s just indulge a little local legend for your Thursday Travel Lagniappe.

The Hermitage in St. Petersburg
Hermitage Facade
It is enormous

Originally the Winter Palace of the Romanov family in Russia – from Peter the Great to Nicholas II – the Hermitage in St. Petersburg is an immense, sprawling museum. The building is actually several buildings but there is no way to tell when you leave one and enter another. It boasts over 1000 rooms and they’re all huge – like a couple of thousand square feet, each. The whole thing covers several city blocks.

And every inch of it is impossibly ornate.

Ornate staircaseSomeday, when we do our full tour, you’ll be able to see the scale and grandeur of the place. For now, the picture above should give you some idea of what I’m talking about. Continue reading “Hermitage in St. Petersburg – Wishes for Your Thursday Travel Lagniappe”

A Quick Trip to Lille – Travel Lagniappe

A Quick Trip to Lille, France

A couple of years ago while on a trip to Ghent and The Hague with some dear friends, we decided to hop on the train and take a quick trip to Lille, France, right across the border with Belgium. Come along with us for a bit of travel lagniappe, won’t you?

Architecture

Tower in LilleThe architecture in Lille has a Flemish flair and, like most small towns in France, charm to spare. In fairness, though, Lille is not all that small. It’s the fifth largest urban area in France with over a million people living in the vicinity. The city, itself, claims nearly a quarter of that number. You can find some of the statistics here.

Continue reading “A Quick Trip to Lille – Travel Lagniappe”