Cruising on London’s River Thames with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We took the tube to the Tower of London stop.  A short walk brought us to Tower Millennium Pier.

Tower Millennium Pier

This is the Tower Bridge from the pier.

Tower Bridge

This is our first time in London, so everything is new and exciting for us.   On the river boat, we watch the River Thames.

River Thames

And the sights of London.

Government building

An unusual government building.   And another bridge.

We will pass under this bridge

We were told we would pass under 8 bridges.  We like the modern buildings.

Modern buildings

They are mixed in with so many old historic buildings.   Here is the Shard.

The Shard

This tallest building in the Western Europe is visible from most of London.   We appreciate the wall to protect buildings from the River Thames.   

Even the wall looks old.     This obelisk is Cleopatra’s Needle, a gift from Egypt.   

At the base you can see two sphinxes that guard Cleopatra’s Needle.  Egypt also gave obelisks, also called Cleopatra’s Needle to the United States and to France in the 1800’s

We love seeing cities from the water.   Here is Big Ben.

Big Ben

The scaffolding is needed for repairs to the building.   This is our exit stop.  We enjoyed our time on the river.   Next time we will take you on our walk to explore part of London.

 

National Popcorn Day 2020

Today, January 19, is National Popcorn Day.   We love popcorn.

Popcorn from movie theater

For us, popcorn must have lots of butter.   We were happy to learn that our new English cousins also like popcorn.  To the best of our knowledge, popcorn originated in Mexico.   Popcorn, is one of the six main varieties of corn, and it amazed the early Spanish explorers.   The corn seemed to explode into small white flowers.   Americans eat 16 billion quarts of pop corn each year.  That is 51 quarts of popcorn per person, making popcorn one of the most popular snacks in the country.   Maybe celebrate today eating popcorn with friends while watching a movie.

London. The Colorado Traveling Ducks are Here

Good morning London.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, left Denver, flew to New York, and then flew on British Airways all night to start our day in London, England.   We are taking a tour, so we were met at Heathrow Airport and are now taking an orientation tour of London.  This is the Albert Memorial.

Albert Memorial

Located in Kensington Gardens, the memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria, in memory of her beloved husband who died in 1861.   Across the street is the Royal Albert Hall, a concert hall.

Royal Albert Hall

This concert hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, and also dedicated to the memory of her deceased husband, Prince Albert.   What is this?   Near the southern entrance to Hyde Park you can’t miss this sculpture of a rhino.

Rhino at Samer Halimeh boutique

The Knightsbridge Flagship Boutique of jeweler, Samer Halimeh, has an extraordinary rhino sculpture by Stefano Bombadieri.  Samer Halimeh, the jeweler, made trips to Africa for a rare pink diamond.   He produced a documentary about the experiences and this sculpture is for support of the Save the Rhino cause.  Samer is the jeweler to the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Brunei.  We were driven to Jubilee Market in Covent Garden.   The present market building was finished in 1904.  Here we had lunch, changed money, and found some new cousins.

Zeb and Soapy with our new English cousins

Aren’t they a great additional to our family?  Back to the bus and our next stop.   A great view from a sixth floor to see St. Paul’s.

St. Paul’s

And we didn’t even have to climb the stairs.   Look at this.

The Shard

This is the Shard.   The tallest building in the European Union.   The Shard is 1,016 feet (309.6 meters) tall.   The Shard has offices, restaurants, retail outlets, and a viewing platform   As you can guess, this is often referred to as the Shard of Glass.  After resting at our hotel, Double Tree Islington, we took the London tube.  After a couple tube changes, and grateful for our guide for getting us here, we walked near the Tower of London.

Tower of London

This is a Roman wall from the 2nd century.

Old Roman Wall

This wall is from the 2nd century.   We are now in the 21st century.   That’s old.   And now Trinity Square Gardens.

Trinity Square Gardens

It has been confirmed that at least 125 people died here, including St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher and Thomas Cromwell.  These gardens are also in memory of 24,000 merchant sailors who died in both world wars and have no known grave.   Next time we will take a boat ride on the River Thames.  We hope you join us.

Winter in Colorado with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

It is winter here in Colorado.   Denver has over 300 sunny days each year, so our winters are usually pleasant.   We do get snow, but often our intense sun melts the snow within a few days.   This winter started with heavy snow in October, a little early for us.   Let’s look at some winter photos from the past.

Snow on frozen lake

A cold, snowy day in Denver.   We ducks are enjoying this weather and we like the almost frozen lake behind us.

Canadian geese

We are not the only birds out today.   These geese stay here all year.   Snow is much heavier in the mountains, and of course, in our world famous ski areas.   Last February we visited Rangely, Colorado in the northwest corner of the state.

Snow pile

Rather high snow piles here.   Ice climbing is popular in Colorado.

Ice column

Here you can practice or learn the basics of ice climbing.  We often go to Winter Park in January.   Winter Park is a popular ski area and only about 90 minutes from Denver.   This resort is also developed for summer fun.  Many of our ski resorts are year round vacation playgrounds.

Cleaning the roof

Here maintenance people shovel the roof of our condo.   A few feet of snow and ice is too dangerous and heavy for many roofs.   And the parking area also needs to be shoveled.  Melting caused by our intense mountain sun lets melting occur daily, but then freezing takes over every night.

Icicles on our deck

The resulting icicles are pretty big–and sharp.   Icicles can be seen all over Winter Park.

Good food inside

Horse drawn sleigh rides are available.

Horse drawn sleigh. Ducks on step ready to get in.

We love these.   Riding through clean snow with beautiful mountain views is fun.

Colorado Rocky Mountains from our sleigh

After the ride, we enjoy roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate.   More fun available here.

This is a big snowmobile. Too big?

Snowmobiles are available in most places.   These are near the tubing hill.   But let’s see Colorado’s main winter sport.

Skiers and Snowboarders

Skiing is very popular in the Colorado mountains.

Skis and snowboards are temporarily placed here

And, of course, a place to leave skies while eating or shopping is necessary.   We hope to be back in Winter Park soon.   In Breckenridge, Colorado, another ski resort, late January brings world champion snow sculpting.

Team Iceland

This is from a past year.   If you are in Colorado in late January, try to visit Breckenridge to see these sculptures.

Team Breckenridge

They are wonderful to see.   Rocky Mountain National Park is close to Denver, an easy and enjoyable day trip.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The snow falling is like living in a Christmas card.

Bull elk in the snow

And a breathtaking sight is a bull elk standing by the road, knowing you will stop for him, and admire him.   If you are in Colorado during the winter, enjoy the mild weather of Denver, but visit our mountains for a true winter wonderland.   We will soon be heading to the mountains for some winter fun.

National Rubber Ducky Day 2020

Today, January 13 is National Rubber Ducky Day.   In 1970 Jim Henson, as Ernie, sang Rubber Ducky on the children’s TV show, Sesame Street.

Ernie, Bert and Rubber Ducky from Sesame Street

Ever since then, we rubber ducks have been famous and have our own day.   Isn’t that great.   Rubber ducks are found many places around the world.   As we travel, we often find a rubber duck cousin.   Friends also give mom rubber ducks from other travels.

Our rubber ducky family

As you can, we have a rather large family now.   We love our rubber duck cousins.   Happy National Rubber Ducky Day to all of you.

Oak Alley Plantation with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Let’s visit a southern plantation.   Taking a bus from New Orleans to the plantation, we pass such pretty land.

Driving from New Orleans to Oak Alley Plantation

This wooded area is rather wet.   Can see water quite often among the trees   I, Zeb the Duck, think this is bayou country.   And the level of the Mississippi River is high now.  Here we are.

Here we are

This place has beautiful grounds.   And this sign has more historical information.

A great history

This tree is Crape Myrtle.

Crape Myrtle tree

Crape Myrtle was introduced in the United States in the late 1780’s, from China.   This unique tree has a trunk that exhibits exfoliating bark, exposing smooth, satin like surfaces.   The scientific name is Lagerstroemia indica.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, love flowering trees.   A couple rows of small houses were slave quarters.

Slaves quarters

Each side of the building was used by a slave family.   Antoine, a slave gardener, was on this plantation.

Antoine the Gardener and pecans

He was very talented and his talent was recognized and used.   We now grow paper shell pecans and they are not only very tasty, but easy to crack open.   Thanks to Antoine.  During free time, slaves were allowed to raise some vegetables and chickens.   These were for the personal use of slaves, or could be sold for extra income.

Slaves raised chickens for extra money

The slaves did not have much space or much time, so during the day the children of slaves tended the chickens, feeding and gathering eggs.   At night the chickens were put in coops to protect them from fox and other animals.  The slave quarters were very interesting.   Each side of the building had items used by the slaves and great information on the life of the slaves.   Like most places, we could have used more time.   Walking to the front of the property, we admired this long walkway.

Formal entrance to plantation house

The live oak trees form a canopy over the sidewalk.   From the sidewalk we admire the trees.

Trees on ground form new roots

We were told new roots form where the trees touch the ground.   Such grand old trees.

Plantation house

Leading us right to the plantation.   We were called for our tour, but also told no photos allowed inside the plantation home.   The tour was nice and our guide, Shannon, was wonderful.   From the balcony we were allowed to take pictures.

Front entrance from balcony

The front walk is impressive from this view.

Side lawn from balcony

A side lawn has a picturesque bridge.   Another side offers views of flowering trees.

Side lawn with flowering trees

We love the beautiful green lawns and vegetation.   On our way out we visited the gift shop and purchased some treats with pecans.   They were delicious.  This plantation is beautiful and we are glad we came here.

Charles Avenue Streetcar and Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans

Charles Avenue Streetcar is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world.   It began in 1835 as a horse drawn streetcar, was electrified in 1893 and we are going to ride it today.

Here is the famous Charles Avenue Streetcar

This streetcar, Charles Avenue Streetcar, was the inspiration for the Tennessee Williams play, A Streetcar Named Desire.   The play opened on Broadway December 3, 1947.  Charles Avenue is famous for beautiful homes belonging to the elite of New Orleans. Let’s see some houses.

Nice house. Second floor balcony

We liked this one, especially the second floor balcony.

Beautiful

Many buildings are now public use, museums and universities.   Families live here also.

Entrance to playground

Nice playground here for young humans.  Another large, attractive home.

Nice house

Tan is a good color.   Many of the homes are all white, so this is a nice change.

Loyola University

This is the New Orleans branch of Loyola University.   Here is the site of Gilbert Academy, New Orleans University.

Gilbert Academy

One of only a few, Black Educational Institutions, under the auspices of the Methodist church, from 1873-1949.  Palmer Park looks nice.

Palmer Park

There is so much to see on Charles Avenue.    But all good things must end.   We rode the streetcar to the end of the line and are now back where we started.  All passengers must exit now.

Charles Avenue Streetcar leaving

We enjoyed our ride on the Charles Avenue Streetcar.   Well, let’s find some food.   Heading back to Bourbon Street, we want to eat at Pat O’Brien’s.

Pat O’Brien’s is a popular place

A lot of people have the same idea.  Since we will be ordering a meal, we are seated in this area.

Area for dining

This seating area is closest to the kitchen.   Our food was delicious.   Humans ate rather taking pictures of us with their meals.   After eating we walked through the large outdoor patio for enjoying beverages and appetizers.

Huge patio for socializing with a few beverages

We loved this display.

So beautiful

New Orleans is so much fun.   Many things to see and do, constant music, delicious food and great weather for enjoying outdoor dining.   We hope you visit New Orleans soon and enjoy a variety of activities, relax and have fun.