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Posts from June 2015

My European Escape To Vizcaya in Miami Florida

 Here is the entrance to Vizcaya:

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Villa Vizcaya now called Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on Biscayne Bay in Miami Florida was built by businessman James Deering as a winter home.  Vizcaya was planned and built between 1914 and 1923.  Vizcaya combines french and Italian garden layouts combined with Cuban limestone stonework. 

I felt like I was touring a mansion or palace in Europe while I was there.  The ceilings and decor is so incredibly ornate.  The only thing I didn't like about my visit was not being able to take photos indoors, but that is the policy in most similar places I've visited in Italy as well.  I would also recommend visiting this lovely museum during the "cooler" months.  I was there in mid June on a very warm day and there are three floors of rooms to see! 

Vizcaya can be rented for special occasions such as weddings and photo shoots.  One can do a self guided tour for $18.00/adult.  It's an additional $5.00 for an audio tour.  Special guided tours can be arranged as well.  Vizcaya will be undergoing renovations beginning in mid July 2015 until October 2015.  The price to tour the museum will be reduced to $16.00/adult. 
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Here is a photo of the court yard:
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The water in the pool really was this hue of blue - not sure if it's safe to swim in!
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Here is the court yard:
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The statues throughout the grounds were amazing!
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2I was so fascinated by this Italian barge structure behind Vizcaya.  It's mainly for decorative purposes, but it's supposed to calm the waters near the shore as well.
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2  Wandering and searching island girl-1-60I loved the statues throughout the grounds:

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I will leave you with a photo of my friend Jahna Robertson and I relaxing in the air conditioned gift shop/cafe.  It was a very warm June day and made us appreciate what it was like to build and work on this mansion as well as live in southern Florida before the invention of air conditioning.  I would definitely recommend visiting Vizcaya if you are ever in the Miami area.  Most people like having 2-3 hours to tour the grounds.  For more information about visiting, here is their web site:  Click here: Vizcaya

 

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Thank you for visiting my blog.  Please leave me any comments and questions.  I would love to hear your thoughts on my blogs new design as it's still evolving.  I hope you are having a great week

~Michelle


The Mysterious Coral Castle in Southern Florida

  I wanted to see the Coral Castle when I visited the Miami area because it looked to beautiful in the photos.  I was not prepared to hear the interesting stories surrounding the man who built it, how he did it, and why.  Like the Egyptian pyramids, much of how one man was able to work with stones weighing a ton or more remains a mystery.

A man named Edward Leedskalnin was rejected by his 16-year-old bride to be in Latvia just one day before the wedding.  Edward decided to leave for America at that point.  He spent more than 28 years building the castle and refused to let anyone view him working on it.

The Coral Castle is made of a stone called Oolite (see the close-up below).  The Florida Keys and the surrounding Miami area are primarily made up of Oolite.  The Coral castle has remained intact since the builders death in 1951 and survived a direct hit by Hurricane Andrew

Along with  the builder's two story residence, the castle contains the following impressive items:

Accurate sundial,

A Polaris telescope,

An obelisk,

A barbecue,

A water well,

A fountain,

Celestial stars and planets,

Furniture including a heart-shaped table, a table in the shape of Florida, twenty-five rocking chairs, chairs resembling crescent moons,

A bathtub, beds and a throne.

The current adult admission fee is $16.00/person.  More can be read at the Castle's web site here:   http://coralcastle.com/

Remember you can use my photos for free in a variety of sizes for free as they are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0 HERE

 Here is the view as you walk through the doorway of the Coral Castle:

Wandering and searching island girl-1-33It used to only cost 10 cents to see the Coral Castle.  The owner left a bell for visitors to ring.  If he didn't answer, they were supposed to slip a dime in the slot.
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33My friend Jahna Robertson:
Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Oolite close-up
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Yours truly:
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Here is the entrance to the builder's living quarters.  Edward didn't have an air conditioning when he needed a break from the intense South Florida heat.  I imagine he could have used it while working as hard as he did!
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The Coral Castle has a nice cafe and outdoor eating area:  Wandering and searching island girl-1-38

I will leave you with a couple photos of my friend Jahna Robertson and I:

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Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please feel free to ask any questions and of course comments are always appreciated.  I hope you are all having a great week.

~Michelle

 


Fun at South Beach in Miami Florida

Nok-1-7The above photo was taken from a nice restaurant called the Rusty Pelican where you can get a pretty good view of the Miami city skyline.

I always enjoy taking photos of people at the beach.  Most of them are having fun especially the children.  I enjoyed seeing the ocean and big waves which I don't get to see in the Tampa Bay AreaSouth Beach in Miami is very beautiful as most of the beaches I have visited in Florida are.  
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I will leave you with a photo of the Royal Palm Hotel at night:

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Thank you for your visit.  As always I welcome your comments and questions.  Have a great week.  

~Michelle


My Trip to Malaga, Nerja, Madrid, and the Rock of Gibraltar in Spain

Nok-1-76I visited Spain three years ago and saw four different areas of the country.  There are still other areas of Spain I would like to see such as Barcelona, but I do feel like I saw a pretty good cross-section of the country.  I'm writing this post from memory so I'm afraid it won't be as detailed as if I had written it three years ago after the trip.

I started out in Malaga which is in the southern part of the country and made day trips to the rock of Gibraltar and to a charming beach town called Nerja.  While visiting these three areas I was fortunate enough to have my high school friend join me who now know lives in Sweden.  She was a very good tour guide as she knows how to drive in Europe which I never would have dared to do by myself.  Of course having a great friend from way back join me made the trip 10 times more fun.  We would have enjoyed the trip no matter where we were!        

After leaving Malaga I went to Madrid for a few days.  As some of you may know, I am not much of a city person and Madrid is a very large city in my opinion.  I thought the architecture and buildings were beautiful and I learned a lot about the history of the country by going on a tour. 

  The rock of Gibraltar was fascinating to see.  The monkeys were so much fun.  They were not aggressive at all compared to the ones I saw in Bali

From what I have seen in Spain so far I would say that the beach town, Nerja, was my favorite.  It's definitely an area I would love to go back and visit.  I thought it was really beautiful, clean not a very big town with still plenty to do. 

My photos are not the best either I didn't have any knowledge of photography at the time I have tried to improve them but that is hard to do without a raw file.  I had no idea what to take photographs of or how to take them and definitely not how to edit them.  That is something that I am working at getting better at now. 

Here are some photos of the rock of Gibraltar and a concert hall inside it:

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My friend and I at the Rock Of Gibraltar:
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Nok-1-76I thought the babies were adorable!
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Nok-1-76The following few photos are of the southern section of the country called Malaga.  The following is a photo of the marina.  There are a lot of nice restaurants and shops.  It was a great place to have lunch and dinner.

Nok-1-71This park was right behind the hotel:
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Nok-1-71My one souvenir from Malaga - I only bought the purse because it matched my shoes so well!
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Nok-1-71 The following few photos are of Nerja:

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Here are a few somewhat pathetic attempts at taking photos in Madrid:
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Lastly, here are a few photos of my friend and I goofing off at a restaurant we liked and frequented:

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Nok-1-75And one more in Nerja:
Nok-1-75Thank you very much for stopping by.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

~Michelle