Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Scenic Goshen Pass - Goshen, Virginia

In August, we took a weekend to explore Clifton Forge, Virginia and several scenic waterfalls in West Virginia.  On the way to Clifton Forge, we took a detour through scenic Goshen Pass.  The Maury River cut the pass through Little North Mountain.  The road through the pass has a number of spots where you can pull over, park and explore the areas.  Judging by the number of fishermen I saw on the river, the fishing must be good!

The Maury River is named for Matthew Fontain Maury.  Maury was an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator.

Goshen Pass is located near Lexington, VA.  Where you can take Virginia State Route 39 to see the pass.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

2016 Calendars Are Available!

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Any orders after 15 will be priced at $30 each plus shipping. So buy yours now and save!

Cover Photo

Month Photos from the US East & Gulf Coasts as well as Victoria, Australia

Monday, September 7, 2015

Evening Walk in Altstadt Zurich

After a supper of Raclette and Italian Merlot, we took a delightful walk along the Limmat River in Altstadt (Old Town) Zurich.  Loved it!  I wish I had taken my tripod, but it was still in my carry-on bag, checked in at Zurich Airport for our return flight to America.

All of these photos were taken hand-held at 1/40th of a second or slower using varying apertures and an ISO of 100 or 1600 to obtain an acceptable exposure.  I hope you will see that Zurich is a beautiful place to walk at night.

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Grossmünster (left) and Hotel Helmhaus (right)

Evening on the Limmat River

Thank you for joining us on our walk through Alstadt Zurich!

You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Raclette in Zurich @ The Hotel Adler!

It was just a layover, but Pam and I really wanted to see a little of Zurich, Switzerland.  So we booked reservations at Hotel Adler in Zurich's Altstadt (Old Town) area.  Hotels are expensive in Zurich.  Our double room cost $241 USD for two in May, 2015.  However, we felt the experience was well worth the cost!

We arrived at Zurich Airport on a Swiss A320 flight from Prishtina, Kosovo.  Zurich Airport is a busy but small airport with lots of walking involved, even with the help of a tram to take us to the baggage area!  We downstairs to the Zurich Railway Station underneath the airport and took a train to Zurich Central Station near the Old Town area.  From there, we took the #4 Tram to the Rudolf-Brun-Brücke stop, a short walk of 100 meters to Hotel Adler.

When we arrived, it was time for supper, so we enjoyed a traditional Swiss meal at the Swiss Chuchi Restaurant located on the first floor of our hotel (Hotel Adler).  We chose mixed meat Raclette with Cheese Fondue and a bottle of Bianco di Merlot from Runchet vinyards in Italy.

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Cheese, Vegatables & Pickles

We used a small heated grill at our table to saute tender marinated pork and beef slices just the way we like them. 

Sauteing a Marinated Pork Slice

We then dipped the cheese, vegetables, pickles and meat in the melted cheese fondue.

Cheese Fondue

It was a great meal!  Next blog article will be on our evening walk through Old Town Zurich.  Here's a pic of our room at the Hotel Adler, complete with a mural painted on our wall.

Our Room @ Hotel Adler, Old Town Zurich

View from our room.

Hotel Adler, Old Town Zurich

It was a wonderful layover in a wonderful city!  We will return someday!

You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Our Last Day in Kosovo: Janjevo & Gračanica

We decided to wrap up our last day in Kosovo by visiting the towns of Janjevo and Gračanica, a short southeast of Prishtina.  We passed some really beautiful countryside.  Soon after entering Janjevo, we encountered the boy on horseback below.

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Much of the plains of Kosovo are fertile farmland and actively farmed today.

Countryside near Janjevo

Pasture near Janjevo

We came around a corner and saw Janjevo nestled in the hills.

After driving through Janjevo, we drove back through Gračanica, stopping at the Ethno House Restaurant on a hillside outside Gračanica.

The view from the Ethno House Restaurant in Gračanica

Enjoying a drink or two, and the view.

Late afternoon view from the Ethno House Restaurant in Gračanica

As the sun set, we headed back to Prishtina for supper at a pizzeria Chris recommended.  It was a great way to end our week in Kosovo!

You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wondering Through Prishtina's Bazaar

When in Prishtina, Kosovo, take a moment to visit the city's Bazaar on Iljaz Agushi street.  There you will find many merchants selling their wares.  There is plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables too!

The Bazaar is located on Iljaz Agushi, a short walk from the Ethnological Museum

I like to wander through bazaars because of the vivid colors, great food and interesting people.

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Strolling Through Prishtina's Bazaar

All kinds of fresh produce for sale!

Colorful Display

Arranging Cabbage

You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Jewel: The Ethnological Museum, Prishtina

I really do think the Ethnological Museum in Prishtina, Kosovo is a jewel in Prishtina's crown -  a must see sight for visitors!  Why?  Gorgeous setting, knowledgeable tour guides and beautiful artifacts.

The museum is divided into four sections about life in Kosovo in the past: birth, life, death and intangible heritage.  Exhibits include folk art, clothing,  traditional "Oda" rooms, wedding and death rituals, folk instruments, filigree silver jewelry, carpet, weapons and religious objects.

The museum occupies the Emin Gjiku Complex of buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.  The Gjiku surname means "Little Man" in Turkish.  The property was owned by Emin Gjinolli until he and his family were exiled in the 1950's.  The complex was nationalized in 1957 and turned into a nature museum until 1990.  In 2003, the Ethnological Museum opened in the complex after conservation and renovation.

The complex is composed of four buildings: two Ottoman era town houses - a Family House and a Guest house; as well as Stables and the Stone House.  Thick stone walls surround and protect the complex while an interior wall separates Inner and Outer Courtyards.

Admission is free.  However, a €2.50 donation is suggested.  We spent an hour with a tour guide exploring the Guest House and the Family House.  The Stable & Stone House are closed to the public.

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Entrance to the Ethnological Museum

The old Stone House to your left when you enter the complex was moved to the complex in 1960.  Previously a blacksmith shop, the Stone House is the only building that survives from the old Prishtina bazaar.  The building is currently rented to the Contemporary Art Center

The old Stone House, once a blacksmith shop in Prishtina's bazaar.

Once you enter the complex, you walk through two courtyards, a small Outer Courtyard and a large Inner Courtyard.  Below is a shot of the inner courtyard look

The Inner Courtyard

The Guest House features a kitchen, a wooden veranda, a bedchamber and a richly decorated room.  The wooden pieces under and above the windows in the photo below are shutters.

One story Guest House

Guest House Kitchen

Bedchamber with cradles in the Guest House

Richly decorated Guest House Room for visitors

Guest House Veranda

An Ottoman Town House known as the Family House was where the Gjinolli family lived.  It features many rooms with carved wooden paneling and two large "Oda" rooms surrounded on three sides by large windows.

Ottoman Town House style Family House where the Gjinolli family lived


Wooden bench & windows

Female & male clothing typical of the Ottoman era in Kosovo

Sleeping Room

Oda Room

Hand-carved wooden paneling

Our tour guide in the "Death Room" exhibit

We posed for a photo in the second floor Oda room

You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ancient & Lovely Prizren

Prizren, Kosovo with a population of 178,000 (in 2011) is Kosovo's second largest city behind Prishtina.  Prizren is also an ancient city known for its Filigree Silver, the Old Stone Bridge over the Lumbardh River, the Albanian League of Prizren Museum, the Ottoman era Sinan Pasha Mosque, the Kaljaja Fortress and the old city center popular with tourists known as the Shadervan.  Prizren lies on the slopes of the Šar Mountains and is bisected by the Lumbardh River.

The Old Stone Bridge (Ura e Gurit) was built during the Ottoman era at the end of the 15th century AD.  The bridge connects the Shadervan and Saraçhane districts.  It was damaged by riverbed and road construction in the 1960's and destroyed by flooding in 1979.  The city rebuilt the bridge in 1982.

Click on my photos below to see them in high resolution on Flickr.  You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

The Old Stone Bridge over the Lumbardh River with the Šar Mountains in the background

Cafes line the Lumbardh River as it cuts through Prizren.  Prizren offers a lively cafe & restaurant scene with many historic locations to see.

Cafes line the Lumbardh River in Prizren

Allow enough time for a relaxing stroll along the Remzi Ademi boulevard along the Lumbardh River.

Strolling Remzi Ademi Boulevard

Kaljaja Fortress (aka Prizren Fortress and Dusan's Fortress) was the capital of the Serbian Empire in medieval times.  The Byzantines built the first fort at this location overlooking the Lumbardh River.  Stefan Uroš IV Dušan expanded the fort.  It was also occupied for 400 years by the Ottomans.

Kaljaja Fortress

The Ramparts of Kaljaja Fortress

The old Prizren city center, called the Shadervan features many cafes and restaurants.

Men talking to a woman in Shadervan Square

Horse & Carriage in Shadervan Square

One of the oldest buildings in Prizren is the Sinan Pasha Mosque built in 1615 during the Ottoman Empire era.  

Sinan Pasha Mosque c 1615

The League of Prizren was formed in 1878 to unite 47 Ottoman "beys" in Kosovo, establish an autonomous region and to organize their defense.   We enjoyed exploring the various buildings of the Prizren League House Complex.

Entering the Prizren League House Courtyard

The Prizren League House

Bajrakli Mosque (Mosque of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror) & Museum

Chris, Pam & I in front of the League of Prizren House

We wrapped up our visit to Prizren with lunch at Te Syla Restaurant.  I enjoyed Pljeskavica (seasoned beef & lamb) with Lepinja Bread (a sort of fluffy Pita Bread) and a Tirana Beer or two which were very good 8^)

You can view the photos in high resolution by clicking here!

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