Saturday, December 12, 2015
This is me sitting outside the wall of historic Caceres in western Spain. Caceres is really a city in a city. The historic part is centuries old -- parts of some of the buildings go back to Roman times. It's such a wonderful place, it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In olden times, many cities built walls for protection and Caceres is one of them. Once there was no more room inside the wall, more of the city built up outside. Today Caceres is a large city with modern skyscrapers -- but the heart of the city is very old. That's where Miss Elaine and I stayed. Here's part of what we saw the first day there.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Have you ever been to a cheese museum? This building is over a hundred years old and it used to be a house where shepherds lived. They kept their sheep out in the hills and would watch them every day. And they milked them, just like people milk cows. And they made cheese from the milk.
We had lots of good food on this trip but I liked this cheese -- and all the desserts -- best!
Monday, November 2, 2015
I hope you got my postcards -- so you know I am in Spain. Miss Elaine and I are at a restaurant called Platea. That's a strange name for a restaurant because it means a certain kind of seating in a theater. But this restaurant used to be a movie theater so that's why. The restaurant has several levels. We were eating in an area where people order small plates of food called tapas -- they share with one another and usually get several plates so they can try different things.
Madrid was very beautiful and people were very friendly. As we say in Spanish, "Me gusta Espana!' That means "I like Spain!" Any way you say it, Spain is a wonderful country!
Monday, October 19, 2015
Did you know that over one hundred years ago, people in our government gave us a great gift? As explorers headed west, they found many beautiful areas of the country -- places no one had ever seen. These explorers knew that these places should be saved for all time -- so their children, grandchildren and even great-great-great-grandchildren could see them, too.
In 1872, President Grant declared that the area around the Yellowstone River was so special it should be a national park. That was our first one.
As time went on, this seemed like such a good idea that President Theodore Roosevelt decided in 1906 that other special places should be preserved also. Ten years later, the National Park Service, the department of the government that is in charge of all the national parks and other nationally-designated sites, was created. Next year the NPS will celebrate its 100th birthday. I want to help celebrate by seeing as many of these places as I can.
On my recent trip, I got to see several of them. The land in the picture above is in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. I think I sent you a postcard from there. Part of the land in the park is called the Painted Desert. You can see why by looking at all the colors in the hills. These colors are created by different minerals in the soil.
This is what the petrified wood looks like up close. You can tell it is rock -- it doesn't look like wood at all. I think it is very pretty, don't you? Aren't you glad that these special places are protected? No one is allowed to take even a tiny pebble from a national park. So all these great things will be there for you when you go!
More travels soon,
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Since I wrote to you last, I have been to eastern Tennessee twice! Tennessee is very proud of having a lot of bears, especially in the mountains in eastern Tennessee. Miss Elaine and I stayed in Sevierville in December and in Pigeon Forge in January. Both towns are close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
And guess what we saw!
Near the Old Mill is the Pigeon River Pottery. We got to see potter Tommy Bullen making some pottery bears.
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. They have a really long acrylic tunnel through the shark tank. That's a carpenter shark, more commonly called a sawfish, swimming overhead.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
To the right is a map of the United Kingdom (sometimes called Great Britain) -- ask your teacher to show you where it is on the world map. Miss Elaine's daughter Zoe lives way down toward the left corner of the map. Can you see the small green arrow? That is pointing to Penzance in the county of Cornwall in England.
The little yellow lump on the left is the country of Wales. It's not very large -- less than half the size of Massachusetts and about the size of the Oklahoma panhandle plus the two contiguous (I love that word -- it means "next to" something) counties.
Miss Zoe, Miss Elaine, Mr. Jack and I drove to Wales. Actually, Miss Zoe did all the driving. In the U.K (short for United Kingdom) everybody drives on the left side of the road, which is very confusing for people used to driving on the right.
Wales may be a small country but it is packed with fantastic scenery, things to do and CASTLES. There are 641 castles in Wales. They are very old. I don't think anybody lives in them any more -- at least not in the ones we visited!
Can you see me in the picture above? I look very small in front of the huge gateway into the Cardiff Castle grounds. The castle is surrounded by a huge wall.
The day we visited, it was drizzly and chilly. My fur was getting damp and Miss Elaine was cold and didn't want to climb that big hill so Miss Zoe took the camera and took pictures while the rest of us stayed inside and drank hot tea!
The largest castle we saw was in the northern part of the country at Caernarfon. It's not the biggest castle in Wales but probably the most important and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was here in1282 that the son of Edward I was born -- the first English Prince of Wales.
The castle's location by the River Seiont gave the King easy access to the sea. Here's a view from inside the castle.
This is another of Edward's castles, Beaumaris, on the island of Anglesey. It, too, had easy access to the ocean. This is me by the moat.
Conwy Castle was the last castle we visited -- we only have 635 more to go! Here is a drawing of the castle:
After we toured the castle, we went to dinner. When we came out, it had rained and the sun was coming out. The sun was going down but just hit the top of the castle. Don't you think this is pretty?