My friend Lynn and I took our cameras to a couple of Missouri farms that sell pumpkins, apples and other goods, offer hay rides and let children pet animals. The weather was beautiful, and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of the summer-like days before winter hits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Some of my Postcards of Bicycles in Copenhagen:
I love to visit the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, even without children in tow. I try to go a couple of times a summer, but this year I didn’t go until mid-July and at almost noon. It was hot and sunny. I was soon drooping until I spotted a mother duck with her ducklings following close behind her. I knew she was heading to the swan pond so I followed her, snapping photos as quickly as I could. She was fast! I wish I would have captured at least one of the ducklings jumping into the pond, but they were too fast for me to focus.
If you click on the photo collage, you’ll get a larger view.