Category Archives: Travel

Howdy from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas

Eiffel Tower, Paris, Texas Post Card
Eiffel Tower, Paris, Texas
Photograph by Catherine Sherman

On a recent drive home to Kansas City from a wedding in northeast Texas, we detoured to gawk at the Eiffel Tower replica in Paris, Texas.  Ok, I’m the only one of the three of us to gawk…I have this thing for oddball roadside attractions.

This Eiffel Tower isn’t the tallest replica in the world, but it’s the only one sporting a cowboy hat. Following a tradition of American cities named “Paris”, Paris, Texas constructed a 65-foot (20 m) replica of the Eiffel Tower in 1993.  Paris, Tennessee, dedicated an Eiffel Tower replica in the same year that was 60 feet tall.  (The Tennessee version was moved from Memphis and refurbished in its new Paris location in 1993.) The cowboy hat insures that the Paris, Texas, tower stands taller.

Both replicas are dwarfed by the 540-foot-tall Eiffel Tower replica along the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, built in 1999. The original in Paris, France, is 984 feet tall.

Paris, Texas, calls itself the “Second Largest Paris in the World.” The town boasts 25,171 residents, as of the 2010 census.

Last year, we visited Paris, Arkansas, which doesn’t have an Eiffel Tower replica, but it does have a mural that depicts the Eiffel Tower, which you can read about and see in my blog post here: Every Paris Needs an Eiffel Tower  The post also lists other states with Eiffel Tower replicas and other states with a town named Paris.

Eiffel Tower Replicas Around The World

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Salt Pans of Maras, Peru

Peruvians have been harvesting salt from these salt pans near Maras, Peru, since before Inca times.  The beautiful salt pans have become a tourist attraction, too.

Peruvians have been harvesting salt from these salt pans near Maras, Peru, since before Inca times. The beautiful salt pans have become a tourist attraction, too.

We were near the end of our visit to beautiful, amazing Peru, with a free afternoon.  My family and I had visited Cusco and Machu Picchu (too briefly) and now we were in Ollantaytambo, a town in the Sacred Valley of the Inca, where the Inca had won a battle against the Spanish.  In the morning, we’d climbed the ruins overlooking the city, the site of this battle.

We were walking to the Plaza in Ollantaytambo, deciding what to do and see during our afternoon, when a taxi driver approached us, saying the magic words “Moray, Salineras.”  Soon we were in his car for an hour-long taxi drive to the spectacular terraced salt pans, called Salinas de Maras, high in the Andes Mountains, and later to Moray, an Inca agricultural site. The trip with its stops took about four hours.

You can find salt harvested from the Moray salt pans available for sale at the market at the salt terraces.  The salt is available in a variety of flavors, such as basil, garlic and cumin.

You can find salt harvested from the Moray salt pans available for sale at the market at the salt terraces. The salt is available in a variety of flavors, such as basil, garlic and cumin.

Halfway there, we left the paved highway and drove on a dirt road that bisected pastures where shepherds watched flocks, where a rainbow arched across the valley after a rain shower, under the towering snow-capped peak of Ch’iqun (Chicon), which stands at 18,1400 feet.  In the distance, smoke curled from pastures being burned to renew the grass.  (Ranchers burn pastures in the Flint Hills in my state of Kansas, too.)

The driver stopped the car at an overlook, where we first saw the 3,000 beautiful multi-colored terraced pools of the Salinas de Maras (Salineras) stretching down a hillside in a valley fed by spring water.

Peruvians have been gathering salt from the terraced salt pans near Maras, Peru, since before Inca times.  Salty water originating from the Qoripujio spring is carefully channeled into shallow man-made pools. The water evaporates, leaving behind salt, which is harvested by the 600 area families that own the ponds. There are markets at the entrance, where you can buy food, woven goods, pottery and other souvenirs, as well as salt, both plain and flavored, harvested from the site.

The salt ponds are near Maras, which is 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Cusco, in the Cusco Region of Peru. Cusco is the ancient Inca capital.

More than 3,000 salt evaporation pools in terraces spill down a valley near Maras, Peru. Peruvians have been harvesting salt from these ponds since before Inca times. The unpaved, narrow mountain roads don't stop tour buses and taxis from bringing many tourists to see this beautiful place.

More than 3,000 salt evaporation pools in terraces spill down a valley near Maras, Peru. Peruvians have been harvesting salt from these ponds since before Inca times. The unpaved, narrow mountain roads don’t stop tour buses and taxis from bringing many tourists to see this beautiful place.

A woman waits in her shop, selling food, woven goods, salt and souvenirs at the market at the salt pans, near Maras, Peru.

A woman waits in her shop, selling food and souvenirs at the market at the salt pans, near Maras, Peru.

 

We were inspired to visit Ollantaytambo and other Peruvian sites by Terri and James Vance, who write a wonderful travel blog at Gallivance.  Here is one of their many fascinating Peru posts.  Ollantaytambo, a Living City of the Inca. Here is a listing of their Peru blog posts: Gallivance: Peru

Here are some posts I found from other travelers who visited the salt pans near Maras.

The Sacred Valley of the Inca — Moray and Salinas.

A Visit to the Salt Pans of Maras

Off the Beaten Track: A Visit to Salinas de Maras

Wikipedia: Maras, Peru.

 

A sculpture in the center of the Plaza in Maras, Peru, displays some of the sights in the area, including Salineras and the Moray Inca agriculture circles.

A sculpture in the center of the Plaza in Maras, Peru, displays some of the sights in the area, including Salineras and the Moray Inca agriculture circles.

Salty spring water flows into the terraces of the salt pans  near Maras, Peru.

Salty spring water flows into the terraces of the salt pans near Maras, Peru.

Salt Pans of Maras, Peru
Salt Pans, Maras, Peru
Photograph by Catherine Sherman
Salt Pans of Maras, Peru
Man with a Harvest of Salt, Maras, Peru
Photograph by Catherine Sherman

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Shattered

My shattered phone screen.

My shattered phone screen.

My luck ran out.  My Nokia Lumia 1020 cell phone fell out of my pocket and hit the floor of my garage.  The screen shattered. I never put my phone in my pocket, but we were having a garage sale and it seemed like a good idea at the time. (Yes, I swore I’d never have another garage sale. When will I ever learn?)

At first I thought the lines on the screen were a real cobweb, not a web of cracks. I was in disbelief and then angry with myself. I’ve gotten very attached to that phone. It sleeps next to me (actually it never sleeps) charging on my bedside table.

This is a re-enactment the next morning of where I found my phone at a Taos, New Mexico, motel.  My phone had fallen out of my handbag as I ran to escape the rain.   I didn't miss my phone until I decided to charge it an hour later. Then I couldn't find it. My friend Lynn and I looked for hours, not sure where I had lost it.  Later, I found it here, on the railing to the stairs.  It was wet, but it still worked.

This is a re-enactment the next morning of where I found my phone at a Taos, New Mexico, motel. My phone had fallen out of my handbag as I ran to escape the rain. I didn’t miss my phone until I decided to charge it an hour later. Then I couldn’t find it. My friend Lynn and I looked for hours, not sure where I had lost it. Later, I found it here, on the railing to the stairs. It was wet, but it still worked.

This is not my cell phone’s first escape attempt. It leaped from my purse in Taos, New Mexico, as my friend Lynn and I were rushing from the car to the covered portico of our hotel in the rain after dinner at a lovely restaurant on Easter.

It was our last night in New Mexico of our week-long trip. I wondered aloud what I would leave behind on this trip. There’s always something that goes astray. A toothbrush, some shoes, hat, gloves, scarf, jacket, a nightgown, a book. I didn’t realize that I’d already lost something — my phone! I discovered that the little dickens had gotten away when I looked for it so I could charge it. Lynn and I searched everywhere in the room, the parking lot, the car, the streets, even went back to the restaurant — twice — just before closing. Lynn called my phone five or more times, and we never heard it ringing. (Thanks, Lynn!) I roamed the parking lot in the rain, I talked to the desk clerk.

Finally, we gave up. I was already on the fourth stage of grief, when I decided to give the search one more effort. I remembered that I’d found a couple of phones in the past, one I had given to the desk clerk of our motel (it turned out to be hers), and the other I had picked up from the street and set on the curb. Maybe someone had placed my phone in a safer place? Minutes later I saw it, sitting on a stair post, sprinkled with rain drops but still in working order. I was so relieved.   How quickly we get dependent on these devices.  My grandparents had a party line phone, which was shared with several neighbors.

I was able to get my screen replaced locally.  It wasn’t cheap. I obviously need a case for it.  A friend demonstrated the protective qualities of his case by dropping his phone on the floor. No damage.

As I looked at my shattered screen, this song came to mind. Now I can’t get it out of my head.

Here a cell phone takes the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.  I can confirm from personal experience that it’s darned cold! Writing the check was much easier. Paying for the phone screen repair is also going to be a shock.

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Cycling in Denmark

Bicyclists are everywhere in Copenhagen, and they are very skilled at maneuvering in traffic.  Here, two young lovers hold hands as they speed down the street.

Bicyclists are everywhere in Copenhagen, and they are very skilled at maneuvering in traffic. Here, two young lovers hold hands as they speed down the street.

One of the first things my husband and I noticed in Copenhagen was that it’s a city on two wheels. The city is flat, has many bike lanes, a lot of narrow streets, limited parking in the city and everything costs a lot — at least for Americans. So bikes make a lot of economic sense. Almost 40 percent of the city’s inhabitants commute on bicycles.

A crowd of bicyclists peddle rapidly at rush hour on H.C. Andersens Boulevard at the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A crowd of bicyclists peddle rapidly at rush hour on H.C. Andersens Boulevard at the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Almost everyone on the bikes looked fit and attractive.  It was like being a Ralph Lauren ad without the pretentiousness. Copenhagen is considered the most bike-friendly city in the world. More people commute on bicycles in Copenhagen than in all of the much, much larger United States. Pedestrians need to be aware, because they will easily be knocked down at rush hour. There also were a lot of bikes in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, which is also a college town.

A mother and her son bike to the store together in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A mother and her son bike to the store together in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A father and son ride a tandem bicycle in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A father and son ride a tandem bicycle in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A pedicab enters an historic prison area at Slutterigade in Copenhagen.

A pedicab enters an historic prison area at Slutterigade in Copenhagen.

A biker crosses the courtyard of Amalienborg Palace, the winter residence of the Danish royal family.  The equestrian statue is of Amalienborg's founder, King Frederick V.

A biker crosses the courtyard of Amalienborg Palace, the winter residence of the Danish royal family. The equestrian statue depicts Amalienborg’s founder, King Frederick V.

Højbro Plads (Hojbro Square) is a popular spot for tourists and locals. On this July day, there were so many parked bicycles that there was hardly room for people.  Højbro  is public square located between the adjoining Amagertorv and Slotsholmen Canal in the City Center of Copenhagen, Denmark. According to Wikipedia, It takes its name from the Højbro Bridge which connects it to the Slotsholmen island on the other side of the canal while Gammel Strand extends along the near side of the canal.  The most striking feature of the square is an equestrian statue of Absalon, the warrior-bishop who has traditionally been credited as the founder of Copenhagen. It was inaugurated in 1901 to commemorate the septcentennial of his death.

Højbro Plads (Hojbro Square) is a popular spot for tourist and locals. On this July day, there were so many parked bicycles that there’s hardly room for people. Højbro is public square located between the adjoining Amagertorv and Slotsholmen Canal in the City Center of Copenhagen, Denmark. According to Wikipedia, It takes its name from the Højbro Bridge which connects it to the Slotsholmen island on the other side of the canal while Gammel Strand extends along the near side of the canal. The most striking feature of the square is an equestrian statue of Absalon, the warrior-bishop who has traditionally been credited as the founder of Copenhagen. It was inaugurated in 1901 to commemorate the septcentennial of his death.

 

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How Denmark Became a Cycling Nation.

Wikipedia: Cycling in Copenhagen

Wikipedia: About Denmark.

The Official Website of Denmark.

The Danish Royal Couple on Bikes (Horses, Yacht…)

The Danish People are the Happiest People on Earth.

 

 

Some of my Postcards of Bicycles in Copenhagen:

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Post Rock Fences in Kansas

I saw these limestone fence posts, called post rocks, on a recent drive to western Kansas.

I saw these limestone fence posts, called post rocks, on a recent drive to western Kansas.

I’ve lived in Kansas most of my life, but I hadn’t seen more than a few limestone fence posts until this past weekend when I saw miles of them as I drove west in a section of the state I’d never visited before.  It has been estimated that at the peak of their use, there were about 40,000 miles of these stone post fences in central Kansas.  In the last  quarter of the 19th century, ranchers and farmers needed fences to keep the cattle from wandering onto cropland, but wood was scarce. Providentially, there is a bed of limestone buried only a few inches beneath the top soil, which is about about 18 inches in thickness, the perfect dimension for fence posts. It was easy to shape the soft stone, which hardened, enabling the posts to resist weathering in the elements.

About Post Rocks in Kansas.

More about Post Rock Fences and Where to Find Them.

 

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Montez Gallery in Truchas, New Mexico

Rey Montez is a handsome man, but you'll have to visit his gallery in Truchas, New Mexico, to see for yourself. He doesn't like to be photographed!  His Montez Gallery showcases a variety of art, including Spanish colonial art, religious art and contemporary art.

Rey Montez is a handsome man, but you’ll have to visit his gallery in Truchas, New Mexico, to see for yourself. He doesn’t like to be photographed! His Montez Gallery showcases a variety of art, including Spanish colonial art, religious art and contemporary art.

On our recent photography tour, Lynn S. and I were heading to Taos, New Mexico, on the High Road on Easter Sunday, not thinking any galleries or shops would be open, but still hopeful.  If all doors were shut, there would always be the gorgeous mountain scenery to photograph and maybe the exterior of a church. Apple trees were in bloom.  An occasional lilac bush was a burst of purple along the road side.

The Montez Gallery occupies an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

The Montez Gallery occupies an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

We entered the little mountain town of Truchas, (Lynn at the wheel at the wheel of her car; I feel bad for not doing any driving…) on the lookout.  We saw a little adobe church with a tin roof and tin bell tower.   A sign said: The Montez Gallery.  The church was now a gallery. Cars were in the parking lot.  Could it be open?

The Montez Gallery celebrated its 25th year in 2014.  The gallery is in an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

The Montez Gallery celebrated its 25th year in 2014. The gallery is in an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

Not only was the Montez Gallery open, but there was a reception for the gallery’s 25th year. Cake, coffee, cookies!  The owner, Rey Montez, told guests about  the art featured in his gallery and the history of the people in the area.  His family has been in northern New Mexico for centuries. You can read more about him, the gallery and collectors in the links below.  Many notable people have made the same stop at the Montez Gallery.

Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Holy Rosary) Mission Church was built in 1764 in Truchas, New Mexico. It is open in June, July and August. We visited the town in April, so we weren't able to go inside to see the two large altar-screens (reredos) by the renowned santero Pedro Antonio Fresquis.

Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Holy Rosary) Mission Church was built in 1764 in Truchas, New Mexico. It is open in June, July and August.

We also found an old mission church in Truchas,  Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Holy Rosary) Mission Church, which was built in 1764. It’s open in June, July and August. We visited the town in April, so we weren’t able to go inside to see the two large altar-screens (reredos) by the renowned santero Pedro Antonio Fresquis.

Cake, coffee and cookies for 25th anniversary of The Montez Gallery.

Cake, coffee and cookies for 25th anniversary of The Montez Gallery.

Truchas was established by a Spanish Royal Land grant in 1754. The full name of the town is Río de las Truchas, which means “river of trout.”  The first settlers built irrigation ditches from the trout-filled river to bring water to the town, which is at an elevation of 8,000 feet.  Truchas is mentioned in Willa Cather’s 1927 novel “Death Comes for the Archbishop”; Book Two Chapter 2. Robert Redford’s “The Milagro Beanfield War” (1988) was filmed on location in Truchas.   Several Truchas residents had roles in the movie.

Here is a view of Truchas, New Mexico, just off of the road through the town, showing Truchas Peak.

Here is a view of Truchas, New Mexico, just off of the road through the town, showing Truchas Peak.

On a hillside, stones spell out the name of the city of Truchas.

On a hillside, stones spell out the name of the city of Truchas.

Church Bell Tower in Truchas, New Mexico Post Card
The Montez Gallery is in an old church. Here’s the church bell tower.

 

MóntezGallery Website.

About Móntez Gallery, Part One.

About Móntez Gallery, Part Two.

About High Road Artisans in Truchas.

 

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UFO Cattle Crossing Sign in New Mexico

Pranksters have placed UFO stickers on cattle crossing signs on US Highway 68 between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.

Pranksters have placed UFO stickers on cattle crossing signs on US Highway 68 between Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.

My friend and fellow photographer Lynn and I recently returned from a thousand-mile (probably more) photography road trip, starting from Kansas City and making a round trip through New Mexico. I took about 4,000 photos, some great, some lousy, most were fun, especially this one of a UFO sign on a cattle crossing sign on Highway 68 from Santa Fe to Taos.

Pranksters placed the stickers on signs, which officials remove and then more stickers re-appear.   Click the link if you want to know the less humorous history behind the stickers… (I don’t recommend it.) Cattle Abductions.

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