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Thanksgiving at Circle B

An Alligator in the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve.

An Alligator in the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve.

 

Michael and I headed to Florida over Thanksgiving week to spend time with both our families. We celebrated Michael’s side of the family in Inverness on Thursday and then with my family in Auburndale on Saturday. Sunday morning, we decided to spend a few hours at the Circle B Bar Reserve on Lake Hancock.

Named after the cattle ranch that once existed on the property, Circle B was restored to its natural state by Polk County, beginning in 2005. The restoration that has occurred on this marshland in just ten years is pretty impressive.

The visit brought back many memories and images of the Florida that I grew up in back in the 1970’s.

Here are a few images I shot during our visit:

 

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

@Circle B Bar Reserve

My family at Circle B Bar Reserve. Photographed by my Father.

My family at Circle B Bar Reserve. Photographed by my Father.

 

I’d return here to Circle B over Disney any day.

 

Travel 2016: Day Two – King’s Cross to London’s Camden Market

Marylebone Grammar School.

Marylebone Grammar School.

After a good night’s sleep, we decided to head out on foot with only a tentative itinerary in mind. We had two shows booked and about six hours for exploring before then. We wanted to try and catch a boat ride at 10:30 am so we started walking that direction; up through King’s Cross and Marylebone to Little Venice.

Our friend George, highly recommended the phone app Maps.Me and so I’d downloaded the map of London as soon as we arrived. It’s a life-saver. What’s great is that once you have a map downloaded, you don’t need phone service to use it since it is GPS powered. We used it to get our bearings, locate points of interest and find the nearest Tube stops, never needing to worry when we’d wander off track.

We arrived in Little Venice early, giving us time to explore around the Regent’s Canal and grab breakfast at the Waterside Cafe. The restaurant itself, was a boat on the canal.

Jason’s Original Canal Boat Trip.

Jason’s Original Canal Boat Trip.

After breakfast, we boarded Jason’s Canal Boat Trip using our London Pass for a leisure ride around Regent’s Park (which covers 395 acres) to the Camden Locks. Jason’s has been operating since 1951 using a boat that’s over 100 years old.

The boat ride takes about 45 minutes. In addition to plenty of natural scenery, you glide past old and new estate homes, jogging paths and the London Zoo which flanks both sides of the canal.

Crossing under a bridge on the Rengent Canal.

Crossing under a bridge on the Regent’s Canal.

There are many bridges crossing the narrow canal allowing only enough width for one boat to pass through at a time.

At the end of the line, we reached the Camden Locks that are still manually operated to this day. The twin locks were originally constructed in 1818 and 1820. They now have Grade II historic designation and protections.

 

Camden Market

Welcome to Camden Market.

Welcome to Camden Market.

We got off the boat and found ourselves in a wonderland of food and unique treasures. The Camden Market started out open only on weekends but became so wildly popular it is now open daily.

Camden Market is an indoor and outdoor marketplace housed in multiple buildings and connecting streets. It’s a must-visit destination requiring anywhere from a couple hours to a full day of exploration.

Whether you are a treasure hunter, tourist or window shopper –there are multitudes of unexpected gems to taunt the senses. You can find food and trinkets here from all over the world.

 

Outdoor stalls at London's Camden Market.

Outdoor stalls at London’s Camden Market.

 

Several sellers exclusively merchandise to the Steampunk crowd.

Several sellers exclusively merchandise to the Steampunk crowd.

 

Exotic textiles at Camden Market.

Exotic textiles at Camden Market.

 

New and perfect-condition vintage clothing, steampunk accessories, old records, lamps, artwork, new and heirloom jewelry– it’s all here. If you can dream it- you’ll probably find it.

 

ZSL London Zoo

London has a truly first-class zoo. With a little time before our matinee, we used our London Pass  for fast-track entry and a rather rushed but enjoyable visit.

Opening in 1828, the London Zoo is the world’s largest scientific zoo. Today, the zoo features 756 species of animals.  It’s as much a park as it is a zoo. Large green spaces, well constructed exhibition grounds and something to appeal to all ages.

The carousel at the London Zoo.

The carousel at the London Zoo.

 

Lions at the London Zoo.

Lions at the London Zoo.

 

Show Time

Matilda the musical at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden.

Matilda the Musical at Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden.

We headed back to Covent Garden for the matinee performance of the musical, Matilda. Based on the popular children’s book, it made for a colorful and entertaining afternoon. I’m really glad we waited to see it here in London.

We had just enough time between shows to catch a nice dinner at Cote Bistro, in the theatre district.

Our evening performance was what might be considered standard British farce. The Play That Goes Wrong is funny, funny stuff. The plot centers on a community group putting on a play. As the title suggests, everything that can go wrong does so hysterically.

The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre.

The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre.

For my theatre friends– every single thing that could possibly happen, or you have ever experienced going wrong in a show, is included. I couldn’t think of one possible thing they left out.

After the show, it was back to Shake Shack at Covent Garden Market for a chocolate-peanut butter concrete, then headed underground for our Tube ride back to St. Pancras.

Spring Has Sprung at 321 Division St.

Spring at home. The John Newman House built in 1889 also known locally as 'The Butterman Mansion'.

Spring at home. The John Newman House built in 1889 also known locally as ‘The Butterman Mansion’.

We’ve really been enjoying the many colors of spring. Every year the show is a little bit different so we never quite know what to expect. Blooming started a little earlier than some years and most of the more brilliant colors are gone; replaced now by the beautiful, rich green of new leaves and fresh grass.

Mulching, overseeding and spring clean up are done but there’s always more planting and weeding to do. Working on the yard is one of my favorite things to do in the spring and the fall. It’s great exercise too.

Here are some of the images I was able to catch over the past month.

321 Division Street

 

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VIDEO: Eighteen Days in South East Asia with Mike & Jeff

I finally finished the video montage of our South East Asia trip with Broadway On the High Seas 5 through Playbill Travel in November 2015. You can watch it here but I highly recommend watching it full screen to get the full effect of the incredible scenery.

 

 

 

If you haven’t already read my daily blog posts from the trip and want to know more– start reading my previous posts at the end of October 2015.

I hope you enjoyed it!

The Haunting Faces of Angkor Thom: A Photo Essay

A Sweaty Selfie at Angkor Thom.

A Sweaty Selfie at Angkor Thom.

Angkor Thom was probably my favorite location of all that we visited in Southeast Asia. There’s an aura that is simply magical. I found myself standing– high up amongst the faces in the ruins– and I got kind of emotional. How incredibly lucky was I to actually be standing there? It was one of those moments that words fail. Hopefully, these images will explain it all.

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Thom (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat in Black & White: A Photo Essay

Here are some more images from our visit to Angkor Wat, Siem Riep, Cambodia. I did filter them to age them. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world– visiting here is a must! Photos can only go so far in bringing the awe-factor through the lens.

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

 

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

Angkor Wat (Photo credit: Jeff Linamen)

The Majestic Beauty of the Angkors

Southeast Asia Travel Day Four: Michael and I were both up and wide awake way too early this morning. Not that unusual for me but Michael is usually a good sleeper. Between jet lag and the exciting day ahead, it was difficult to go back to sleep.

Silly Selfies at Ta Prohm.

Silly Selfies at Ta Prohm.

We were the first ones at breakfast and there was an incredible spread. So many choices from traditional breakfast to local cuisine– everything that Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor does is first class.

In regards to this trip, today was probably my most anticipated day. That can be dangerous this early in a long vacation but there are also so many unique and exciting things ahead. As a precaution, I try not to allow my expectations to be too high; just to avoid any chance of disappointment.

Today did not disappoint.

Today was one of those few days in your life you’ll remember forever. A whirlwind of experiences that totally consumes you. Every sense heightened and challenged. Memories indelibly imprinted in your mind.

I have a bit of an obsession with history and what was left behind. I’m not as consumed by the facts as I am the aura of the experience. To put it bluntly: I like old things.

History not only connects us from the past to where we are now; it connects us metaphysically to all the people that came before us. For me, it’s magic. It gives me chills. There’s nothing else like it in the world.

On the Road to… This was our first opportunity to meet some of the people that would be continuing on with the Broadway On the High Seas 5 (BOTHS5) cruise. About 80 of the nearly 300 BOTHS5 participants came to Siem Riep for the 3-day pre-cruise adventure. As we’d find out later, the group was pretty evenly divided between three choices of hotels; then split again into groups of about a dozen for our tour experiences in Siem Riep. This gave us a perfect opportunity to meet new friends, more intimately; prior to the whole group coming together in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in a few days.

On the road in our tuk-tuk.

On the road in our tuk-tuk.

We all boarded tuk-tuks for the short ride to Angkor Wat. What a fun and relaxing way to travel!

Some tuk-tuks are bicycle-driven but most are now powered by motor bikes.

We were all connected to our guide, Jun, by headset so he was able to narrate the sites along the way.

Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat. Depending on the source, Angkor Wat is frequently called the unofficial 8th wonder of the world. It’s often on lists of must see places in your lifetime. I think all the Angkor temples (as a group) should be included.

Bas Reliefs at Angkor Wat.

Bas Reliefs at Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat was built in the early part of the 12th century, over a 30 year period. The workmanship is almost impossible to comprehend. From a distance, it looks like a massive, crumpling stone ruin. As you get closer, the impressive detail begin to be revealed. There are so many elements to be appreciated. The bas reliefs alone contain more than 12,000 square feet of intricate sandstone carvings. What stands out most about Angkor Wat from the other temples is the size. It’s pretty incredible that it has survived the centuries and much of the detail is in such good condition.

 

Inside the heart of Angkor Wat.

Inside the heart of Angkor Wat.

 

Looking up in one of the entries in Angkor Wat.

Looking up in one of the entries in Angkor Wat.

 

One of the statues of Budha.

One of the statues of Budha.

 

Monks can be seen throughout Angkor Wat.

Monks can be seen throughout Angkor Wat.

 

Incredibly detailed exterior walls protect the inner temple.

Incredibly detailed exterior walls protect the inner temple.

 

One of the Angkor Wat towers and balconies.

One of the Angkor Wat towers and balconies.

 

A cemetery at Angkor Wat.

A cemetery at Angkor Wat.

Tomb Raider, Jungle Temple or Ta Prohm? Here is a spot that nearly everyone is familiar with, even if they don’t realize it. Most famously recognized from Tomb Raider, Ta Prohm has survived from its origins in the mid 12th century.

The famous Banyan tree root snakes its way through the temple.  There are hundreds of statues in the complex. Ta Prohm is under a long, delicate preservation and restoration process. Primarily, this involves structural strengthening to prevent any further, rapid deterioration.

The famous Banyan root at Ta Prohm.

The famous Banyan root at Ta Prohm.

 

The Banyan tree rising out of the temple.

The Banyan tree rising out of the temple.

 

Deteriorating but naturally beautiful.

Deteriorating but naturally beautiful.

 

Angkor Thom. It means the great city. It is the temple of faces. Each tower has four carved faces so they can be seen from any direction. Angkor Thom was the final capital of Khmer Empire. The city was surrounded by a wall with  causeways lined with 54 statues on each side leading to the entry towers. Inside the ruins is the magnificent Bayon Temple… a sight to behold.

 

The causeway and entryway to Angkor Thom.

The causeway and entryway to Angkor Thom.

 

Statues lining the causeway.

Statues lining the causeway.

 

The Bayon Temple of Angkor Thom.

The Bayon Temple of Angkor Thom.

 

Looking down in the maze of pathways at Angkor Thom.

Looking down in the maze of pathways at Angkor Thom.

 

Four faces surround every tower.

Four faces surround every tower.

 

I took nearly 800 photos today. In an effort to try and keep up with posting here, I’m only sharing a few now. Later I’ll do a couple photo essay posts with many more pictures of the Angkor temples. This was such an incredible experience.