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.
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.
We’re not sure what the arhats are, but they’re pretty cool.
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
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.
During Texas summers, the mercury challenges or shames the century mark every afternoon; even the mornings discourage more than a slow walk. Every year about this time, “Tell me again why we live here” becomes a common greeting.
Last year on a trip to Portland, Debra and I rented a car and drove over to Cannon Beach for a few days. It’s a glorious place, reminiscent of Big Sur but with an easier, more contemplative style. Haystack Rock, a massive chunk of stone, commands the shoreline at Canon Beach. In the picture below, it helped us welcome the sunrise during a barefoot stroll along the cool, damp sand. It’s a bit of lagniappe for your Thursday morning.
Here’s hoping that, wherever you are, your days are peaceful and pleasant. And if it seems too hot to breathe where you are? Well, just close your eyes and imagine that you’re some place else – like strolling past Haystack Rock at daybreak – where there’s a bit of a chill and the mist from the surf hangs in the morning glow.
If you read the post about Tallinn, you already know the story about how we took a trip based upon a waiter’s recommendation. On that trip, we spent several days in Riga, Latvia and encountered unexpected and spectacular Art Nouveau beauty – lots of it. Let’s take a look.
The Hotel Neiburgs is a great place to start. This is a close-up of the facade. It promises pretty great things. And delivers, by the way. If you go to Riga, consider staying here. We did and loved it – wonderful, old-world service with a modern flair, a great breakfast included in our package, and walking convenience. No regrets. Here are a couple more shots of the front of the hotel:
It’s Wednesday afternoon in Fort Worth, threatening rain – or, since this is Texas, after all, perhaps I should say “promising rain.” I’m thinking about our recent trip to Seville and the spectacular bougainvillea at Casa Pilatos, a lovely palace that we stumbled across on a beautiful spring morning. So here is your Wednesday lagniappe: Debra, flowers, beautiful architecture – three of my favorite things in one of my favorite places.
We’ll be back soon with more remodeling posts, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope this little something extra helps boost your week.