Monday, April 29, 2024

Downtown Milan, Italy: Museum and Botanical Garden in Brera

How to find a quiet and natural oasis in the middle of an Italian metropolis.


Behind the southern facade of the Brera Palazzo, the Botanical Garden is a romantic oasis of greenery among the buildings in downtown Milan.  Located in the heart of the city, ca. 400 meters from the Scala, or 600 meters from the Duomo.  It is an oasis of tranquility and beauty.  Start seeing beautiful medieval art by Italian painters from the 15-hundreds, in the Palace, the Pinacoteca di Brera, before entering the Botanical Garden to admire nature´s art and beauty.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the wealth of flora and discover 

the fascinating history of plants from around the world. This tranquil 

garden was established in 1774 with flowerbeds, ponds, and an
with centuries-old trees.

These large trees, often growing in unusual locations or 

between flowerbeds, including two 2-and-a-half-centuries-old 

Ginkgo bilobas, the garden's patriarchs and symbols.

The Brera Botanical Garden is open to the public throughout 

the year and admission is free. Address: Via Ancona Angolo Via San Marco,

Milano MI Brera. Open daily from noon to 2:30 and from 7 pm to 10:00 pm

There are two entrances: via Brera 28 passing through the corridors of the 

Academy and via private F.lli Gabba 10

How to reach the garden:

By tube: MM3 (Montenapoleone), MM2 (Lanza), MM1 (Cairoli)

By tram or bus: 1, 2, 4, 12, 14, 61, 94

The Garden can be reached from Milano Centrale Railway Station 

(3 stops on the yellow MM3 line), from Milano P.ta Garibaldi Railway Station

(1 stop on the green MM2 line), from Milano Cadorna Railway Station 

(1 stop on the red MM1 line).

                                   Discover the vintage charm of Brera, with its galleries, antique stores, 

                           and flower-decked balconies.  Besides historic architecture such as Brera Palace, 

          stop by the ¨Eataly¨ food market.




Friday, April 19, 2024

Amazing Cowboy Town in Montana


Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota lack gas stations and coffee shops on Interstate 94, 
so I decided to make a quick detour into a town I found on my travel map to fill up 
and get a coffee. To my surprise, I entered an old-fashioned Montana cowboy town.

The first thing I saw was a livestock auction. 

                                                 Once the horse-trading and livestock center of the country, 

                                             Miles City still has weekly livestock auctions and, once a year, puts 

                                                on the Bucking Horse Sale for rodeo stock buyers and breeders.

Before Miles City, Montana, was founded in 1887, George Miles, the nephew of General Miles
bought a herd of sheep, the first of many commercial enterprises in his involvement with 

the core founders of the town.

Livestock speculation brought thousands of cattle to the open ranges in the late 1880s, 

and the railroad was extended through the area. Texas drove numerous cattle to Miles City 

to fatten them on free grass and move them to where they could be loaded on trains 

bound for the slaughterhouses in Chicago.

Miles City experienced rapid growth until the 1920s and 1930s.

                          The Range Riders Museum features an extensive collection of early Western artifacts.


Wikipedia writes: ¨Miles City has a cold semi-arid climate and holds the record for 

the highest mean sea level pressure in the contiguous United States with a reading 

of 31.42 inHg (1,064 mb) on December 24, 1983.¨

After leaving Miles City and hitting Interstate 94 again, I saw 
thousands of waterbirds, geese, and ducks resting on several lakes
east of Miles City, ready to fly further north to Canada in early April.



Friday, April 5, 2024

Collier Park, Oregon, Logging Museum


Driving in Southern Oregon, half an hour north of Klamath Falls on Hwy 97, 

the sign Collier Logging Museum made me stop in my tracks. 

A small park was open that allowed to see the logging equipment of roughly 200 years.

The Collier Logging Museum was established by the Collier brothers from the beginning.
The Collier family’s business ventures had left them with a large collection of antique logging equipment.

In 1947 they donated the first machines that would eventually be part 

of one of the largest logging equipment collections in the country.

The museum’s reputation as a haven for logging equipment grew over the years, 

and the donations rolled in. Alfred Collier continued to source new pieces for the 

museum until he died in 1988.

Several cabins are sprinkled between the logging machines, 

such as the Doctors' cabin, the homesteader's cabin and barn, 

the sheepherder's cabin, and a general store.

A self-guided walk with plenty of signs describes the history of logging 
and the tools and machines used.

Collier is home to the largest collection of historic logging equipment 

in Oregon and perhaps in the nation.

                The Collier Memorial State Park features a campground, 

              sn outdoor museum of historic logging equipment, relocated 

                      pioneer village and a new four-corral, primitive horse camp and trailhead.

                              Railroad buffs will enjoy learning about the role the railroad played in logging. 


The arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1909 to southern Oregon transformed

 the area’s logging industry; Oregon’s timber could now be easily shipped nationwide. 

As a result, investments in rail-based logging equipment increased dramatically.

Milling machines were complex machinery that cut the logs into viable lumber pieces. 

Jagged-toothed band-saw blades were used for larger cuts while circular saw blades 

sawed the logs into smaller cuts. The park’s historic band-saw mill operated from 1930 until 1980.

If you travel in this area, stop by, leave your car, and enjoy 
a leisurely walk in
 the fresh air of the forest.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Photo Tour: Sunny Mexico to Snowy California and Mild Oregon Coast

Long distances of Hwy 1 are along the beautiful shore with free camping
directly on the water

Driving Highway 1 and 5 on Baja California Sur to the North.
It´s a narrow road, often without a shoulder, and an adventurous drive...

Amazing sights, exciting nature, and remote places apart from the highway.

The Northern part of the Baja, in the Sorona province, shows remands of former volcanos

Huge Bougainvillea trees in small towns along the way, here in Mulege

Crossing the border into the USA, the first snow-capped mountains appear 
in the distance, a stark contrast to the huge palm trees in Palm Springs, California

Joshua trees along the road are beautiful ancient trees in the Southern California Sierra

The first snow mountains of the High Sierra appear.  The Hwy 395 winds between
14,000 ft mountains of the Sequoia Ntl. Park and Yosemite Ntl. Park

Large Sequoia trees along Hwy 395 towards Lake Tahoe

Mono Lake in February

Lake Tahoe - before the next day´s snow storm ...

Snow right and left towards Klamath Falls, but sunny on this early February day

Northern Sierra High Mountains

Watch out for bears, and better don´t walk in the woods

After a snowstorm around Bend, OR, area it gets mushy and rainy
Huge Redwood trees, up to 5-stories high right and left the road.

Finally, milder weather on Oregon´s beaches

Tsunami hazard signs all along the Pacific Coast from California up to Washington State

Beautiful rocky coast along the shores of Oregon State

No bears anymore, but elks with large Antlers

The first Daffodils of the year in early February growing along the backroads

Sculpture in front of a native casino in Washington State, close to 
Port Angeles, the ferry harbor to Canada

Marvelous Rhododendron trees on Vancouver Island in February

An exciting, long cross-country trip through Mexico, USA, and Canada
I would do it again in a heartbeat, but maybe not in Winter, but rather in early Spring to avoid 
the snowfall in Northern California and Oregon on highways that are not plowed.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Spring in Sidney, Vancouver Island, Canada


Rhododendron, Camellia, and Azalea´s are the staple in Vancouver Gardens.

But there are some shrubs, not known in the rest of Canada: 
Pieris Japonica, Red Current
loved by Hummingbirds), Daphne, and Oregon Grape.

Hobby sailers are eagerly waiting for warmer temperatures

Victoria and Sidney are plastered with early-blooming cherry trees 
and are a sea of pink.  Perhaps it is the place in Canada with the most Cherry trees...

There is something magical about wandering around town soaking in the vibe of the city.  Especially in Spring.  The beginnings of cherry blossom buds, the green leaves of hellebores, and vibrant tulips.



Flowering plants show lovely colors from February on:
Pink and white Heather, Hellebores, Daffodils, Crocus, and Aurikel


Aviation Museum
Vancouver Island´s best-kept secret: For aviation enthusiasts, the British Columbia Aviation Museum is open seven days a week and features several aircraft and artifacts related to the history of aviation in Canada, with an emphasis on BC aviation history.  The museum displays restored aircraft, engines, and pictures, photos. and videos in addition to memorials of key figures of aviation history.




Town of Bookstores

Sidney residents must share a love of the written word as evidenced by the town’s numerous bookstores, all located within a few blocks of one another.  Each bookstore offers something different, from new titles to children’s classics and rare and antique works. 


Sidney Museum and Archives

The Sidney Museum features 8,000 artifacts and regularly updated permanent displays on local First Nations, industry, transportation, agriculture, and social history. Displays include a vintage kitchen, a vintage storefront, a rustic barn. and a schoolhouse. The entrance of the museum is not easy to find, visitors need to look out for the sign in front of Sidney Museum at the Town Centre/Old Post Office and then go down a flight of stairs. 

2423 Beacon Ave


Wine and Ciders

In and around Sidney, there are numerous vineyards and distillers around to help quench your thirst, including Victoria Distillers’ new waterfront distillery in Sidney.  Or head out to the Sea Cider Far & Cider House in Saanichton, the Roost Vineyard Bistro in North Saanichton, or the Deep Cove Winery, also in North Saanichton.


Sidney Whale Watching

The calm waters near Sidney make the region an excellent place for whale watching.  Watch from the privacy of your own boat, or book through Sidney Whale Watching.



Salish Sea Museum

The outside of the building is unassuming as it is added to a hotel/condominium first floor.  However, it 

is a world-class Aquarium and learning center that shows the colorful world underneath the dark waters.

A fantastic job to bring all these diverse and fascinating sea creatures right to visitors!  Don´t miss it!



Ferry to Sidney Spit
From downtown Sidney, visitors can enjoy a short ferry trip to Sidney Spit, an idyllic island perfect for camping, hiking, bird watching or simply hanging out on stunning beaches.  Accessible only by water from the end of May on, Sidney Spit is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.


Amazing: Lemons grow in Canada 

The mild climate allows even citrus fruit trees to grow 

(in glass houses from December to February).  Here is yesterday´s harvest: