Sunday, March 25, 2012 Home

Turkish Tulip Mania

We are having an early spring here in Minnesota, with the bloodroot and crocus already in full bloom and the tulips sure to follow soon.  But my thoughts are drifting to the tulips I hope to see in Istanbul later this spring.

While associated with Holland, tulips – and the tulip mania of the 17th century -- actually got its start in Turkey. The first tulips are reputed to have been brought to the Netherlands in the 1550s by an ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Within a few decades a frenzy had taken hold, with the bulbs commanding ridiculously elevated prices during the 1630s at the height of the Dutch craze for the flowers. The Ottomans later experienced their own case of tulip mania in what became known as the “Tulip Period” of 1718-1730.

Over time Holland became associated with the flower while they all but disappeared from gardens in Istanbul, remaining only in the colorful tiles that grace the city’s historic buildings.

In the last few years, however, the city of Istanbul has recreated the type of tulip gardens that flourished under the Ottomans. It sounds wonderful and I am eager to see them.

Photo from Romance Cities

Here’s hoping they don’t have an early spring in Istanbul this year!

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Friday, March 23, 2012 Home

The Pope has Died

No, not the Pope in Rome, but the Coptic Pope Shenouda III - the only pope (thus far)  to bless me.

I was fortunate to receive a blessing from the Pope when I was in Egypt a few years ago.

It was clear at that time that the Pope was a savvy politician who had figured out a way to secure a certain degree of autonomy and security for the Coptic community. It was also clear that he was greatly loved by his Coptic followers.

As I've been watching the changes spinning out from last year's Arab spring, I've been thinking of Egypt's Coptic community - wondering what the future holds for them, whether the Pope could navigate this changed landscapes, and how the future would unfold if this Pope was not there to guide this community. I guess now we will find out.

May God bless him and may he rest in peace. But mostly, I wish God's blessing for the Coptic people, for all the people of Egypt, that they find the future filled with peace and prosperity.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 Home

Photo Thursday: A Northern Minnesota Summer Day - In March

I was along the shore of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota over the weekend and, while it wasn't quite as warm as it was back home, we still had temperatures in the 70s. It was unseasonably warm and everyone was out taking advantage of it.

This shot is from Artist's Point in Grand Marais. For some reason I'd never gotten out here before, but I'll definitely be back - maybe when summer arrives for real.
 I can just imagine relaxing in one of those pools on a hot summer day!

For more "Photo Thursday" images from around the world, visit Nancie's Budget Travelers Sandbox.

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Monday, March 19, 2012 Home

A North Shore Summer Weekend (In March)

Morning in Duluth (March 16, 2012)
Gooseberry’s Upper Falls
In a Fantasy Land of Tree Roots
Gooseberry Falls
A Glimpse of the Big Lake
Split Rock Lighthouse From Our Usual Vantage Point
Shovel Point from the Beach

Temperance River Walk (March 17, 2012)
Would You Let This Man Into Your Country?
A Bit of Inuit Art and Culture
Artist’s Point
Happy St. Pat's Day!
Evening Comes to the Beach

Sugarloaf Cove (March 18, 2012)
Winter Becomes Spring

Related Links:
Photo Thursday: A Northern Minnesota Summer Day - In March (March 22, 2012)

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Sunday, March 18, 2012 Home

Winter Becomes Spring

A drive around the back roads makes it clear that, while the temperatures feel like summer, winter still lingers in isolated spots. Not clearly one or the other, it must be spring!

Previous post:  Sugarloaf Cove

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Sugarloaf Cove

Sugarloaf Cove natural area, along the Lake Superior shore near Schroeder, tends to be a quiet and tranquil place, which is true on this perfect spring day.

The nature trail winds through the woods to an ancient rock outcrop at the water’s edge.
 From there we follow the trail down to the rocky beach.
I love the way the beach changes, from areas with rounded pebbles so small they would get lost in my pocket to those with large smooth boulders.
This area was logged and a short walk takes us past a number of reminders of those days – although we aren’t exactly sure what part of the operation these remnants represent.

 We aren’t quite the only ones out here today, but nearly so.
 It's a peaceful place.
 It appears there is a waterfall up just a bit, but my companions refuse to hike there with me.
Maybe I’ll get there on some other perfect day.

Next post:  Winter Becomes Spring

Previous post: Evening Comes to the Beach      

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Saturday, March 17, 2012 Home

Evening Comes to the Beach

On the beach below our room, fog begins to fill the gap that is being left as the sun prepares to leave for the day.

Next post: Sugarloaf Cove
Previous post:  Happy St. Pat’s Day! 

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Happy St. Pat's Day from Grand Marais

Happy Saint Patrick's Day from the warm and sunny shores of Lake Superior!

Previous post:  Artists’ Point  

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Artists’ Point

It is too beautiful to be inside (even to look at art). Instead, we head out to the lighthouse at Artists’ Point, where we can soak in the sun right in sight of Grand Marais.
I’m surprised I’ve not been out here before, but then again, I am usually in Grand Marais in the winter (or nearly-winter) when this walkway is either inaccessible or unpleasantly cold and windy or both.  Why it is that I only come to this summer destination in the off-season is harder to understand. . . and something in need of changing!

Previous post:  A Bit of Inuit Art and Culture 

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