Virtual Travel – Texas

Texas!

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Texas is a big state with a great variety of places for photography, therefore this is a LONG posting.

 

 

 

 

Texas Culture

1952     1958     1991     2007     2009     2011     2012     2016

 

 

Austin – State Capital

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The Texas State Capitol dates from 1885. The land it is on was acquired in a barter deal, 3 million acres of Texas Panhandle for this land!

Texas shows it’s Tex-Mex history in the state foods…

State Pastries – two – Strudel & Sopiapilla

Apple strudel     

 

State Small Mammal – Armadillo

 

 

 

The city of Austin is proud of it’s motto – Keep Austin Weird.

With the music scene, including a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Congress Street bats it is a great place to be.

 

 

 

Prairies

1949     1969     1972     2013     2014

 

Roads & Bridges

1954     1964     1974     1975     1977     1978    1983     1987

 

I have more Texas Official Highway Maps than any other state. So many this section has combined the Prairies with the Highways which is appropriate because it features Amarillo and Route 66

 

Amarillo

You are half way there – IF you are going from Chicago to Los Angeles, or vice versa.

 

 

The legendary Cadillac Ranch. For more than 40 years people have been spray painting these cars. The good folks of Amarillo liked the planted Cadillacs they have expanded (in different parts of town) to VW Beetles and Combines.

 

 

Mountains

1953     1959     1970     1993     2017

 

 

Terlingua  – The ‘ghost town’ of Terlingua is a former mining town, but is not vacant, as it is a destination for tourist from Big Bend National Park.

Once a year they hold the world’s largest chili cook-off.

 

 

Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. These two parks cover much of the Rio Grande Valley of West Texas. Their natural scenery is stunning.

A plus is being able to take a row boat across the river to Mexico for lunch in Bouillas.

 

 

Marathon – Gage Hotel   We had the good fortune of spending the night in this crossroads town on the way to Big Bend. The Gage Hotel is a historic property that attracts people just for the atmosphere and food.

 

 

Langtry – Made famous by Judge Roy Bean and his Law West of the Pecos, and even more famous when Paul Newman starred in a movie of the same name. The town is pretty much vacant, but the area is scenic.

Nearby is Seminole Canyon State Historic Park. This park holds significant cave art.

 

 

 

Cities & Beaches

1961     1968     2015     2019

 

 

San Antonio. While the city is large, it has a feel very different than Houston or Dallas. The downtown is much more compact, with a significant amount of Art Deco architecture.

 

 

Missions – There are five missions in San Antonio, and four of those are maintained by the National Park Service (the 5th is the Alamo). Mission San Jose is the most impressive architecturally.  Our day in San Antonio included a visit to Mission Concepcion.

 

Alamo – The most famous mission in the state, and likely the country, it is not known for it’s service as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, but more so it’s use as a fort in the Mexican independence effort when a group of Texas soldiers died defending it.

 

 

Houston – The city is the 4th largest city in the country, with 2.3 million people in the city. It is the 5th largest metro area (by some calculations) with 7 million people.

The city has more buildings over 150m (492′) than any city in the United States other than New York, Chicago and Miami.

There are still a few historic buildings downtown, but many have been destroyed over the years as they went taller and newer.

 

 

Houston Art – One of the great finds in our travels was the very cool, quirky art of Houston. From top to bottom. Giant Presidential Heads – Sanctioned Graffiti – Beer Can House – Luck Land – Smithers Park.

 

 

Parks and Rec  Houston also provided some unique ‘park’ experiences – from going under the Buffalo Bayou Park to see the Cistern, to the Botanical Gardens, and finally inside for some baseball.

 

 

Galveston     Another pleasant surprise was Galveston. It seemed like 3 cities in one – the typical seaside resort with amusement rides and motels, a great state park natural area, and finally the historic area on the bay side.

 

 

Dallas – Fort Worth    While Houston gained lots of photos on this posting I have actually been to Dallas far more, just some time ago and without a camera.

Dallas is corporate, Fort Worth is cowboy (I know – stereotypes, but it seems to fit).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buenos Aires – March 2020 – The Colorful Characters of La Boca

Our visit to La Boca continued with a stop in the Caminito, a small street full of colorful houses and buildings.

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La Boca has the reputation of being a bit rough around the edges, but in this area it is completely touristy.

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While originally there was a stretch of colorful houses that reputed became that way because they used spare paint from the ships, it is now full blown style of the entire area.

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Busloads of tourists pile off, wander the streets a bit, and pile back on. But it provides lots of income to the neighborhood so I guess it works.

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Throughout the neighborhood are a number of fiberglass statues. With the current Pope being from Buenos Aires he is a favorite subject.

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Apparently his twin with a soccer player.

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The shops have taken over old buildings and are amusing to wander through them.

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Most of the restaurants have a small dance floor where local dancers work hard for tips.

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La Boca – sort of a funky Times Square for Buenos Aires. You have to see it when you are in town.

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Chicago – February 2020 – Incognito Photography

While most of the photos on this blog were taken with a Canon DSLR camera there are times where a large camera doesn’t work, like when you are trying not to be noticed on the streets of a city like Chicago.

The previous ‘point and click’ camera has too many issue, so it was time for a new one – a Canon G5X. This is the first attempt at seeing how it performs in the field. As it is new most photos were taking on ‘Auto’ while learning the additional functions.




































And now for the tougher test – night time.















It does not perform like a SLR, but with some learning it will do the job.







Buenos Aires – January 2020 – Palacio Barolo

The Palacio Barolo is actually a misnomer, it is not a palace in the sense of the others in the city, it is an office building.

Not just any office building, the structure was built in reference to the Divine Comedy by Dante. The building is 100 meters high, one for each canto.




Our tour guide Isabella was helpful in provided many of the design details of the building.




The building’s 22 floors are divided into three sections. The basement and ground floor are ‘hell’, floors 1-14 are ‘purgatory’, and finally 15-22 are ‘heaven’.





It is truly a unique design throughout.





















In addition there is a plethora of representation throughout the building, such as the letter A in the Ascensor (elevator) being the Mason’s symbol.

































There are great views of Buenos Aires from the upper floors.

























The Palacio Barolo – one unique building.











Buenos Aires – January 2020 – Saturday Wanderings

A Saturday in the city with some random sights.

As usual, we arrived at Retiro Train Station. Today however I noticed that on the side where the long distance trains leave from there is a series of murals.




















There are a number of these vintage platform kiosks scattered about the station.






Moving on we passed by one of the colorful buses, commonly known as Collectivos – private bus companies, In the background is the National Congress Building.






Our final barrio was Puerto Madero. Once docklands, then vacant for 40+ years, it is now the newest neighborhood in the city – with the tallest buildings.









The ship ARA Uruguay is a floating museum. It is thought to be the largest ship of it’s era still afloat – more than 140 years old having been built in 1874.























A first for me – a monument to taxi drivers.






The promenade goes along what was once the riverfront. It has been reclaimed and is now a nature preserve.





There are a number of food trucks along the way, but none served cerveza. Fear not – the mobile bar is ready for you!





The area is known as Costanera Sur.





With your back to the city it feels as though you are in the middle of the tropics.







Colonia, Uruguay – January 2020 – A Historic Town

The town of Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese in what was then a southern territory of Brazil. Over the next 140 years it changed hands numerous times between the Portuguese and the Spanish, always remaining an important port.










The historic district is designated by UNESCO as a World Site. Many of the cobblestone streets date from the 17th an 18th century.

The buildings, while not as old, are still very historic.




















The Basilica dates from the early 1800s.





Nearby are the foundations of the buildings from the 1600s.





After visiting the church we continued our tour of the old town.













The lighthouse is situated next to a 17th century convent remains.











































Portions of the original city wall remain, having been restored.





We ended our walk around town crossing through the gate that lead originally to a drawbridge.






Buenos Aires – December 2019 – Barracas Barrio

While we had a fail on Saturday with a tour of San Telmo, our day Sunday turned out much better with a tour along with Silvia from Buenos Aires Eclectic of the Barracas Barrio.




We started out at La Casa De Los Leones, the House of the Lions. Home to Eustoquio Diaz Velez, who was a rich land owner in the 1800s. Legend has it that Diaz Velez kept lions on the property, and one night one escaped and killed a boyfriend of one of his daughters.




Across the street is the historic house Ingles Montes.




Many of the buildings along the street have great detail.







Dating from the late 1800s the Santa Lucia Church graces the street amongst the 15 floor apartment buildings.




The area has gone through some gentrification, with these 30 floor apartment buildings standing along side 1800s buildings.




A Buenos Aires staple, the Aguila Chocolate factory was a major neighborhood employer. The company still exists, but the iconic factory is now a grocery store.




As with most Buenos Aires neighborhoods, there is some interesting graffiti.




Lanin Street is so cool I have dedicated an entire posting to it – following this posting.




Plaza Colombia has this great sculpture and flagpole.




While nearby is the spectacular Santa Felicitas Church. Built in German Gothic style it is one of, if not the only, example of this style in the world.




The courtyards are elegant.







The basement has what is known as the Tunnel Museum, with the history of the church and the neighborhood.




They had a collection of nun wardrobes!







Much of the museum was dedicated to the immigrant community.







A local cooking legend, Dona Petrona, was also featured.




The upper level had a nave, but is no longer used as a church – it now serves as a community center.




Many thanks to Silvia for an informative and entertaining tour.






Montevideo, Uruguay – November 2019 – A Variety of Architectural Styles

Montevideo, Uruguay is a city of approximately 1.3 million people, making up 1/3 of the entire population of the country. As the capital and economic center of Uruguay the city has a eclectic collection of architecture.

Since we arrived by the ‘fast ferry’ from Buenos Aires, the first building that greeted us was the Port Terminal Building.




The Municipal Theater and Museum of Art History is an impressive structure in the Cordon neighborhood.




Along the Avenida 18 July there are a number of impressive buildings leading you to Plaza Indepencia.







The most impressive is Palacio Salvo (also the feature photo). It was designed by Mario Palanti, who designed the Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires. As a result their looks are very similar.







The Ciudadela Building is on the opposite end of Plaza Independencia from the Palacio Salvo. Designed by Raul Sichero and Ernesto Calvo and completed in 1958, it stands 90 meters high.




The Pablo Ferrando Building dates from 1917, serving as a library and coffee shop




The new Presidential Building is also along the Plaza Independencia.




The remains of Miguelete Prison. But fear not – it’s wings now host a contemporary art museum as well as a museum of natural history.




Scenes in Ciudad Vieja (the old city).







A few miles out of the old town you come to the World Trade Center of Montevideo.







This unique building is the Damaso Antonio Larranaga Zoological Museum.




As you reach Punta Gorda the mid rise apartments give way to single and duplex family homes.




We end our tour with the 1876 Punta Brava Lighthouse. It continues to serves it’s original use to this day.






Buenos Aires – November 2019 – Open House goes South

Out of sheer good luck we happen to be in Buenos Aires for their Open House. Their motto is 1 City, 2 Days, 140 Buildings and 760 Volunteers.




Without much notice I missed the sign up period for many of the more popular buildings, but we were still able to see some interesting examples of BsAs architecture.

Our first stop was the Casal de Catalunya. Built in the Barcelona style, the building dates from 1886. It has been home of the Catalan community in Buenos Aires for 130+ years.













Another building from the 1880s is Casa Bolivar. It is designed in a ‘Casa Chorizo (Sausage) style, so named as there are numerous small wings connected through a common hallway, much like links of sausage hanging in the butcher shop.

Casa Bolivar is in San Telmo, which was the main immigrant neighborhood for 100 years. These type of houses served as the first home for hundreds of thousands of immigrants – now it has been refurbished into an art studio and AirBnB.












The Instituto Superior Octobre is located amongst a number of 100 year old buildings, and from the outside fits in perfectly.

Inside is a completely different look – With the openness of the center court, and the steel and glass throughout, it is thoroughly modern.










The Teatro (Theater) Gran Rex is located along the main theater street in the city – Corrientes. It is modeled after Radio City Music Hall. I am unable to identify the statue in the lobby but for now we will call him the Argentina Dean Martin.




As noted previously it was designed to be similar to Radio City Music Hall with the shell roof, and lack of ornate decorations.

With over 3000 seats, it is one of the larger venues in town. On this day the roadies were setting up for a concert.










Our final stop was the Palacio Municipal, or City Hall. It is connected to the Edificio Del Diario La Prensa (a newspaper). Together they make up the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture).

They are very impressive, ornate buildings.