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Zion National Park - Utah

 

During this part of our trip I had some relief from weeks of driving. 

Brian, our travel companion and his wife Kat are keen cyclists and since he's retired Brian has travelled these roads extensively with other cycling enthusiasts and knows every hill.  It seemed appropriate that he drive.  In addition he has a senior's pass to the national parks. 

That enabled me to sit back and to take some photos from the car.  The park is well worth a visit and I wish I'd taken a few more pictures.  But I was probably too busy talking to Brian.  Wendy and Kat certainly used the time to get to know each other better.

It was a very enjoyable part of the trip.  

We actually drove through part of the park to reach our hotel not far from the Visitor's Centre.  Brian knew that the car park there would fill up by mid-morning and the shuttle busses, that go into the park proper where private cars are excluded, would develop very long lines about the same time.  So a 'Goldilocks breakfast' and checkout - not too early - not too late - meant that we nicely avoided both issues.  Good advice for those of you who might want to go there. 

There are some nine shuttle bus stops, each with a different walk or activity like rock climbing.  On the way back from the walk that we took we ran across some deer and were counted lucky to have seen them by a guide.  We kept moving as it was a very cold day and we could have had warmer clothes.   Fortunately one stop is at the Park's only residential lodge at which we got pleasantly warm again and had lunch. 

 


Zion National Park - Click on this picture to see more
 

 

Alas we couldn't hang about.  We had to get Brian and Kat back to Las Vegas airport on time for their flight, then drop the car, before catching our own flight to LA.

 

 

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Travel

Southern France

Touring in the South of France

September 2014

 

Lyon

Off the plane we are welcomed by a warm Autumn day in the south of France.  Fragrant and green.

Lyon is the first step on our short stay in Southern France, touring in leisurely hops by car, down the Rhône valley from Lyon to Avignon and then to Aix and Nice with various stops along the way.

Months earlier I’d booked a car from Lyon Airport to be dropped off at Nice Airport.  I’d tried booking town centre to town centre but there was nothing available.

This meant I got to drive an unfamiliar car, with no gearstick or ignition switch and various other novel idiosyncrasies, ‘straight off the plane’.  But I managed to work it out and we got to see the countryside between the airport and the city and quite a bit of the outer suburbs at our own pace.  Fortunately we had ‘Madam Butterfly’ with us (more of her later) else we could never have reached our hotel through the maze of one way streets.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Egyptian Mummies

 

 

 

 

Next to Dinosaurs mummies are the museum objects most fascinating to children of all ages. 

At the British Museum in London crowds squeeze between show cases to see them.  At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo they are, or were when we visited in October 2010 just prior to the Arab Spring, by far the most popular exhibits (follow this link to see my travel notes). Almost every large natural history museum in the world has one or two mummies; or at the very least a sarcophagus in which one was once entombed.

In the 19th century there was something of a 'mummy rush' in Egypt.  Wealthy young European men on their Grand Tour, ostensibly discovering the roots of Western Civilisation, became fascinated by all things 'Oriental'.  They would pay an Egyptian fortune for a mummy or sarcophagus.  The mummy trade quickly became a lucrative commercial opportunity for enterprising Egyptian grave-robbers.  

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Opinions and Philosophy

Bertrand Russell

 

 

Bertrand Russell (Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970)) has been a major influence on my life.  I asked for and was given a copy of his collected Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell for my 21st birthday and although I never agreed entirely with every one of his opinions I have always respected them.

 

In 1950 Russell won the Nobel Prize in literature but remained a controversial figure.  He was responsible for the Russell–Einstein Manifesto in 1955. The signatories included Albert Einstein, just before his death, and ten other eminent intellectuals and scientists. They warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons and called on governments to find alternative ways of resolving conflict.   Russell went on to become the first president of the campaign for nuclear disarmament (CND) and subsequently organised opposition to the Vietnam War. He could be seen in 50's news-reels at the head of CND demonstrations with his long divorced second wife Dora, for which he was jailed again at the age of 89.   The logo originally designed for the CND, the phallic Mercedes, became widely used as a universal peace symbol in the 60s and 70s, particularly in hippie communes and crudely painted on VW camper-vans.

 

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