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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge | Small Frogs

Last week’s black & white photo challenge was big subjects, so it seems only fair that this week’s challenge focus on small subjects, right? (smile) I admit that I struggle a bit with macro photography, or really just photos of compact objects period. Landscapes are my comfort zone. But the real fun in these photo challenges is being challenged (I know, go figure). So today I shall do my best to deliver…frogs!

Frog, Ecuador, Black and White

We found this little guy while walking through a canyon in Ecuador.

Frog, nature, wildlife, Alabama, black and white

This little guy was spotted on the banks of the beaver pond in Alabama.

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Click the button to check out some amazing photos and/or to join in!

Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge!


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Travel Tuesday: Grand Canyon National Park

Welp, it’s that time again – Happy Travel Tuesday everyone!! I can’t believe how quickly this week has gone by – but trust me, no complaints here (smile)! Continuing on with the National Park theme, this week’s destination is perhaps one of the best known National Parks in the country, and certainly Arizona - Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, Sunset

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park was created in 1919, three years after the National Park Service came into being. Today the park receives over 5 million visitors a year from all over the world. The canyon itself is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep. The Colorado River, which carved the canyon over millions of years, runs through the middle of the canyon. The park is divided into the North Rim and the South Rim. The South Rim is the most accessible portion and remains open all year round. The North Rim is a bit more difficult to access and closed in the winter months. Although the North Rim is only 10 miles from the South Rim as the bird flies, it’s actually a 220 mile drive by car all the way around the canyon!

There are many different ways to experience the canyon itself – you can hike along either rim; hike or take a mule ride down one of several trails leading down into the canyon itself; take a boat trip down the river, and/or, of course, take one of the infamous helicopter tours. [Side story about this - while on the Isle of Skye, Scotland last November, my brother and I met a very nice guy at an Indian restaurant who was very excited to learn I was from Arizona. Apparently one of his major bucket list items is to take a helicopter ride through the canyon - not necessarily see the canyon itself or hike or camp out, just take the helicopter. I hope he makes it some day. (smile)] Whichever option you choose, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Grand Canyon National Park, View from South Rim, Arizona, United States

Blue skies and amazing views (Can you see the people over on the left?)

I must say, I have seen a few things in this world that are on the “must see before you die” list, and this is one of the very few that fully exceeded my expectations. Whatever you can imagine or whatever photos you see – nothing can fully capture just how spectacular this place is! Tip: If possible, make sure to catch a sunrise or sunset (or both!). There’s no comparison (smile).

Grand Canyon National Park, View from South Rim, Arizona, United States

Phantom Ranch down at the bottom (apologies for photo quality – it was a long zoom)

Know Before You Go

  • Safety first! Same tips apply here as Saguaro National Park. The weather on the Rim can be windy and very cold, while in the canyon it’s super warm. Make sure to read weather reports before you go!
  • Entry fee: $25 for a 7-day pass.
  • Lodging: There are several lodging options on the South Rim including lodges, hotels, and campsites. Lodging is available in limited quantities at the bottom of the canyon and on the North Rim. Please note that camping fees are additional to entry fees. If going in the summer months, make sure to book in advance! There are very, very few other lodging options nearby so be prepared to drive if you don’t stay at the park.
  • Other Adventures: Mule trips are available at both the South and North Rim. River adventures and helicopter rides are booked independent of the NPS (although info is available on their website).
Grand Canyon National Park, View from South Rim, Arizona, United States

One of my favorite shots of the Colorado River in the canyon

P.S. There’s still time left in National Park Week!! Get out there this weekend :)

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Come join Bonnie, Melanie, and Tina for this week’s travel adventures!!

Travel Tuesday


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[Happy] Easter Traditions!

happy easter, bunny, clipart

Happy Easter everyone!! I hope everyone is having a lovely day celebrating (or just enjoying the peeps)! (smile) I thought it would be fun today to reminisce a bit about my own family Easter traditions and maybe even take a look at where some of the more popular ones originated.

My religious views are…well, let’s just say rather liberal. I appreciate the origins of holidays from all standpoints and have great respect for all sorts of traditions. Even when I was young (and very naive) I always thought of Easter as a bit of an odd holiday – growing up in the South, religion was certainly a huge part of the holiday, but I always wondered about the bunnies, eggs, candy, etc. When I was older and read more about the holiday, it all started to make a lot more sense.

Many scholars believe that some of the more odd traditions associated with Easter actually have Pagan roots. Easter itself is said to derive its name from “Eostre,” an Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring. A month corresponding to modern April was known as “Eostremonat,” or Eostre’s month, leading to Christians adopting “Easter” as a holiday in that timeframe. Historians believe that Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with the Pagan Spring celebrations emphasizing the triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed some of the Pagan traditions in an effort to assist in transitioning the tribes over to the Christian holiday calendar.

Regardless of which viewpoint you hold, Easter is a celebration of re-birth and life. Looking around at all of the new flowers, baby birds, and sunshine, it’s hard not to feel the love (smile).

church, clipart

Church

Growing up, as I did, in the South (aka the Bible belt) church was Easter. I mean sure we had Easter egg hunts and the Easter bunny, but church was always the number one. In Alabama we always got up super early for Easter Sunrise Service. It’s only since moving out of Alabama that I realized that this particular tradition isn’t necessarily done everywhere. We would get up super early, get all dressed up, and then have church service outside (weather permitting) facing east so we could see the sunrise. Depending on the church you went to and its location, the services were often held in the church cemetery as a reminder of Jesus’ burial and resurrection. After the service, there was always a big breakfast to look forward to (smile). I personally always harbored mixed emotions about this particular tradition – on the one hand, I got a new frilly dress and an excuse to wear it; on the other, I had to get up really early (and I am so not a morning person).

Easter Sunrise Service is actually a bit controversial (something I didn’t know until researching this post). A lot of Christians (apparently) believe that this form of service is actually more Pagan than Christian, as it is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible itself, but does mirror some ancient Pagan traditions. The Christian story goes that a brotherhood of men, after an all night prayer vigil, went to the town graveyard to sing hymns of praise to the Risen Saviour. The following year, the whole congregation participated and so the tradition spread. According to this particular source, the tradition has only been around since the early 1700s. Either way, it’s a pretty spectacular thing to witness.

easter, cupcake, clipart

Food/Candy

After church came the food! I know this isn’t particular only to the South, but it’s pretty hard to beat the spread down there (smile). The kids hid Easter eggs until lunch was ready (and usually afterwards) and then everyone gathered round for a big meal. My favorite part was always after lunch when all of the adults would sit around and chat. There was just something so comforting about hanging around listening to the adults talk about things we could never even imagine. (Oh to be young again…)

And who can forget the Easter candy?! Truthfully, I was never a huge Easter candy fan girl. Jelly beans and marshmallows (aka Peeps) were not my favorite, and I’m not a big chocolate person either. Luckily there were white chocolate Easter bunnies to be had (smile) and then…then came the Reese’s peanut butter cup eggs! I won’t even normally eat peanut butter cups, but make them into the shape of an egg and you have my number one indulgence!! Easter is actually the second biggest holiday for candy in the US, just behind Halloween. Given all the options out there now, I guess I’m not too surprised.

Easter Bunny, clipart

Easter Bunny

Shockingly enough, the Easter bunny wasn’t a big deal at my house. We had yummy candy and frilly dresses, but I can only remember the whole Easter bunny/basket phenomenon happening maybe once or twice in my life. Not really sure what that was all about. I had a super crafty cousin that made the kids an Easter basket every other year or so on a rotation. These made for a great tradition, but they didn’t necessarily appear Easter morning from the mythical bunny rabbit either.  I don’t really feel like I missed out on anything, but it is curious in thinking back on it now…

The Easter Bunny himself (herself?) is considered to originate from pagan traditions celebrating procreation (because well, rabbits). According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase.” Their children made nests in which the creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled eggs turned into candy, etc. and nests were replaced by baskets. And so the American Easter bunny was born!

easter egg, easter basket, clipart

Easter Eggs/Egg Hunts

Every year we bought/gathered (depending on the chickens) dozens of eggs to dye, color, sticker, and/or otherwise decorate for the  Easter season. I can still smell the vinegar from the old school dye kits (smile). Plastic eggs weren’t such a big thing back then, reserved primarily for special prizes. And the Easter egg hunts were definitely a huge deal. My paternal grandparents always hosted a community Easter egg hunt at their house each year. It was awesome primarily because there were so many people to compete with (and, being related, I got access to the excess candy – smile). There were egg hunts at school, church, and friends’ houses for at least the week leading up to Easter itself. There was always too much food, candy, people, and fun at those hunts. (smile) They certainly made for some great memories!

The egg is another tradition with pagan roots. The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating Spring. From the Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. According to some sources, decorating eggs is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century. One explanation is that eggs were a forbidden food during Lent, so people would decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance/fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration. Hunting for Easter Eggs was considered to be symbolic of the experience of hunting for Jesus in his tomb. No matter which story you choose, Easter Eggs are definitely an integral part of the holiday – which is good, because they also happen to be a personal favorite (smile)!

Do you have any special Easter traditions??


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Dolphin On Top

This week’s photo challenge is “on top.” While visiting my friend in southern California a few weeks ago, we decided to go on a whale watching tour, hoping to catch one of the gentle giants on top. Unfortunately, we only had a few quick glances of whale tails (still cool to see). The trip definitely wasn’t a bust though – in addition to the whale tails, we had a gorgeous afternoon out on the water and saw (literally) hundreds of dolphins! These guys were having such a great time with the boat, it was hard not to be equally happy and carefree (smile).

Dolphin, Pacific Ocean, California

Dolphin On Top

To watch these guys in action click [here].

Happy weekend everyone!!


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Y*mmy: Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with Berry Cream Cheese Frosting

Just in time for Easter weekend, I wanted to share this fabulous recipe I found on Pinterest for Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with Berry Cream Cheese Frosting. Not only are these babies tasty, they’re also beautifully colorful! The fact that the whole she-bang is easy to make is just the proverbial frosting on top (smile). Enjoy!!

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup butter (slightly softened or room temp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon zest or grated lemon peel

Blackberry Buttercream

  • 8 oz cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup of butter, slightly softened
  • 4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 heaping tablespoons of berry preserves (try a combination for extra yum)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips melted and slightly cooled
  • 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (you can also use milk if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Fresh berries

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake/muffin tins with paper bake cups.

In a medium bowl combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium until creamy. Add sugar, lemon extract, and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the side of the bowl down, if needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in the lemon zest.

Spoon batter into prepared cupcake cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from cupcake/muffin tins and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Frosting

Melt chocolate in microwave for 20 second intervals (stirring at each break) until melted, set aside. In a large bowl cream lemon zest, butter, and cream cheese together. Slowly blend in the sugar, two cups at a time beating well after each addition (reserve the 5th cup to use as needed). Add lemon juice in between each round of sugar about 1 teaspoon at a time. Beat in the berry preserves and melted (slightly cooled) white chocolate. Continue mixing until everything is well incorporated. You may need to add more sugar and/or lemon juice until you find the right consistency and/or flavor (it’s always a personal preference really). Frosting can be stored in the fridge with plastic wrap if you are not going to use it right away.

I used a homemade pastry bag to decorate the tops of each cupcake. [To make a homemade pastry bag use a gallon size ziploc bag. Roll back the top, fill with frosting, squeeze frosting into one corner, and snip a small section off the corner. This gives you a little nozzle to disperse the yummy goodness (smile). Just remember to start with a small hole, you can always go bigger!]

lemon cupcakes, berry cream cheese frosting, recipes, baking

Best DIY frosting helper ever!!

The original recipe {here} called for buttercream frosting, but I prefer cream cheese. I’ll let you decide which you prefer (smile).

Do you have a favorite (non-candy) Easter dessert??


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Travel Tuesday: Saguaro National Park

Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! I’m only a little tired after staying up well past my old-lady bedtime to watch the eclipse last night. I haven’t had a chance to really look at my photos from the event, so the jury’s still out on whether it was worth it. If nothing else, maybe I learned a few tricks for the next one (smile).

I think I’ve mentioned on here in passing that I’ll be meeting my two favorite guys (aka brother & dad) in Montana for a week long adventure in Yellowstone National Park. It’s finally getting close enough that I can allow myself to get excited (smile), and full planning mode has been activated. I love parks – local, state, and national – I believe they are all a treasure to society. So I thought it would be fun to focus a few Tuesdays on those national parks that I’ve been lucky enough to visit so far. First up – and in keeping with my accidental Arizona April theme (like that alliteration there?) – Saguaro National Park.

Saguaro National Park is located in Tucson, Arizona and is actually divided into two sections – east and west of the actual City of Tucson. The park as a whole hosts over 1.6 million individual saguaro cacti on just over 91,000 acres of land. Officially established as a National Park in 1994, the park receives approximately 800,000 visitors each year.

You can drive through the park, hike one of the numerous trails, or even pitch a tent for a few days if you’re so inclined – just watch out for the spines! The Sonoran Desert boasts one of the largest varieties of life, both in animals and plants, yet it is also one of the hottest and driest regions on the continent. Temperatures in the summer often (okay, almost always) climb well over 100 degrees and less than 12 inches of rain fall in a typical year. The fact that so many plants and animals have adapted to thrive in such an environment is absolutely amazing to me!

 

Saguaro National Park, Sonoran Desert, Tucson, Arizona

Love how unique all of them are :)

As the name implies, the park protects the great Saguaro Cactus. I wrote a post about those spiny giants the other day, which you can read [here] for more information. On the west side, you can also stop in and visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This place is more like a living museum and has many hands on activities for those interested. I highly recommend a stop in if you’re in the area – it’s well worth the time!

Saguaro National Park, Sonoran Desert, Tucson, Arizona

Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum = well worth a visit :)

Visiting the Park:

The Tucson Mountain District (west park) is open to vehicles from sunrise to sunset daily. The Rincon Mountain District (east park) opens the gates to vehicles at 7:00am and closes at sunset. As I mentioned before, the two portions of the park are separated by the City of Tucson. It can take 30-45 minutes to drive between the two portions. You only need to pay the entrance fee once, however, as the pass is good at both locations.

The entrance fee to the park is $10 for a vehicle and is good for 7 days. If you’re biking, it’s $5 per person.

There are visitor centers at either location and both also offer various guided tours to the public.

Words of Wisdom:

Water! As always, take so much more water than you possibly think you could need. If you exit your vehicle and take more than a few steps away, take that water bottle with you! I know it seems extreme, but it’s quite an easy place to become disoriented in certain areas.

Dress appropriately! Yes, it is sometimes incredibly hot. However, should you get lost or be out for an extended hike, longer clothing will keep you alive for well…longer. At a minimum, bring along a light button up shirt that you can wear over tank tops, etc. Also, depending on the time of the year, the temperature in the desert can plummet right along with the sun. It’s always best to be over prepared.

Sunscreen! It’s sunny out in the desert (go figure), so make sure you have plenty of sunscreen. If you’re out and about in the park, make sure you take it with you for re-application.

Watch out for the wildlife! In addition to rattlesnakes, there are also these lovely creatures called Gila Monsters. Sure they look like cute little lizards, but they are actually quite poisonous. There are also a number of large spiders down in the Sonoran Desert.

Watch out for the plants! These guys haven’t survived this long in the desert without some pretty good defense mechanisms. In my experience, I’ve always found it better to just assume everything can and will bite back.

Watch out or the people! Although the area is generally quite safe, there is a bit of an issue with the border being relatively nearby. If you see anything suspicious, do not investigate. Generally no one will bother you if you don’t bother them (much like the animals and the plants – smile).

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Come join the fun with Bonnie, Melanie, and Tina!

Travel Tuesday


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Growing up Introvert

Introverts seem to be in the “news” quite a bit lately. I’ve been reading more and more about the introvert/extrovert dynamic, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to see this subject getting attention! I especially love that this discussion is happening across a broad array of platforms. From the New York Times to some of my favorite blogs, the word is getting out – introverts aren’t weird, we’re just not extroverts (smile).

Introvert

Yep, I said “we.” In comparison to my closest family (i.e., parents and sibling), I am outgoing, sociable, and adventurous. As much as I love those identifiers, none of them make me an extrovert. The difference between my family and I is that I have learned to work the system. I push my limits as far as possible, determined to make my box bigger every chance I get. I attribute this primarily to a mix of a small amount of sibling rivalry (I’m the baby after all) and a huge amount of wanderlust.

One of the perks to loving to be alone is that it allows time for free reign imagination. I wanted to go to Paris from the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower in a magazine (well before I knew what Paris really was). When I had the opportunity to visit in high school, you better believe I did everything necessary to get on that plane. But oh man, that trip almost killed me! It was a guided group tour in March. I’d never been on a plane before, much less an 8-hour transatlantic flight! I had no concept of jet lag or how to handle it, and worse yet, I had no room for escape! I was in a hotel room with two other girls and even the bathroom wasn’t really a sanctuary. I don’t think I spoke to anyone for a solid week when I returned (smile). But after my recovery, the wanderlust that was a small spark before ignited into a full on inferno. I knew I would have to make some adjustments to my travel plans, but I was determined to see the world and not just as a tourist but as a traveler.

Introvert, travel

 

It wasn’t until college that I heard the word “introvert” after my first brush with the Myers-Briggs personality test. (Oh Psychology 101, you were worth it just for that one lesson!) I remember being an odd mix of tears and giggles reading those results – I finally had a name for my weird little personality – a name I’ve embraced ever since. (If you’re curious, I’ve posted results from on online version of the personality test here.)

After my personality “discovery,” I did all I could to learn about the different personality types. Of course no one is one thing 100% of the time; we’re all a beautiful mix of personality that no test is able to put into a neat little box – which is a wonderful thing (smile). I found it helpful, however, to understand my dominant personality traits and how those best mixed with society. I can’t tell you how many times being able to explain it to someone else has helped find peace in a relationship – personal and professional (maybe even more so professional).

Introverts aren’t necessarily shy or even quiet (at least not all the time). We do, however, appreciate alone time. I can give a speech to a crowded auditorium, mingle in a crowd, or lead a group tour, but at the end of the day it’s essential that I have time to regroup and recharge. I have it in me to be who I need to be on those occasions that call for a bit more social effort, but only because I love myself enough to know that it’s perfectly okay to spend nights and/or weekends home alone with my kitties and a good book. It’s taken quite a few years and some interesting experiences to finally find comfort in who I am, but I feel like I’m making great progress (smile).

So for all the “shy,” “quiet,” aka “introverted” people out there that prefer an afternoon reading or just being on your own doing your thing, don’t ever feel guilty for being who you are. The world is a wonderful place filled with all sorts of personalities and no one is better than any of the others. Embrace who you are and enjoy life! We’re all learning, and I think that’s a lovely thing (smile).

If you’ve never tried one of these personality tests before, you can try an online version of the Myers-Briggs test here. Have fun!


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

This week’s photo challenge is to showcase a monument. I have been lucky enough to see quite a few of the world’s monuments and have always been intrigued by the unique visions of the designers of each. I was overjoyed to finally visit the Eiffel Tower my first time in France; don’t get me started on seeing Big Ben in London or the Statue of Liberty in New York. But one of the most profound monuments I’ve ever visited is the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. True, there are no massive buildings or statues – just row after row after row of names. It’s a very profound monument to the rise and pride of man, be it for better or for worse.

 

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington D.C.

Reflect

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington D.C.

Remember

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington D.C.

Review

 What’s your favorite monument??

 


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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge | Big Saguaros

This week’s black and white photo challenge is for “big subjects.” The saguaro cactus was the first thing that came to mind (I was just at Saguaro National Park over the weekend, so I guess that makes sense). The saguaro (pronounced “sah-wahro”) is native to the Sonoran Desert, which covers a portions of Arizona, California, and northern Mexico. I’ve listed a few facts after the photos – enjoy!

 

saguaro, Tucson, Arizona, black and white, photography

For reference of scale, my lovely assistant her is 5’2″

saguaro, Tucson, Arizona, black and white, photography

Looking up, up, up

Fun Facts

  1. Saguaros are the largest cactus species in the US. – they can grow up to 40 feet tall and weigh more than a ton!
  2. Saguaros can live between 100-200 years.
  3. Despite the intimidating spines, Saguaros often serve as homes for birds, which carve out holes in the plants. The birds usually wait for these holes to dry out before moving in.
  4. After the saguaro dies, its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and even parts of furniture.
  5. The saguaro bloom is Arizona’s state flower.

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Come join the fun!!

Cee's Black and White Photo Challenge

 

 


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Travel Tuesday: Touring Tucson

Happy Travel Tuesday everyone!! It’s time to take a break  join Bonnie, Melanie, and Tina for a bit of globe-trotting! (Way better than working, right? smile)

After a quick trip down to Tucson over the weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some of the quirkier spots around the city. Whenever I travel anywhere, I always try to find the quirkier/off-the-beaten-path attractions instead of or in addition to the more popular ones. Variety is the spice of life, right? I even have a couple (as in more than one) guidebooks for quirky Arizona and I’m determined to see as many sites as I can while I’m here (smile)! So today’s overview will be a mixture and just a taste of all the fun things that Tucson has to offer!

Rattlesnake Bridge

Complete with fangs and a tail that rattles (thanks to a motion sensor tucked away somewhere), this Diamondback rattlesnake stands guard as a pedestrian bridge over Broadway Boulevard. You do have to know where you’re going to find this bridge, but it’s worth the search. There’s a park on one side complete with picnic tables and swings for the kids (or the young at heart).

El Tiradito (The Wishing Shrine)

The Wishing Shrine is located in the Old Barrio section of downtown Tucson. As the story goes, this is the only Catholic shrine in the US dedicated to a sinner buried in unconsecrated ground. It’s said that the man buried there died fighting for his love. Visitors light candles for the man’s soul to be freed from purgatory and many leave written prayers for the healing of broken hearts. I fully admit that it’s the story that caught my attention. This place also takes a little searching and there’s not really much there, but it’s hard not to be taken in to the spirit of the place. An extra candle can’t hurt.

Mission San Xavier del Bac

The Mission is a historic Spanish Catholic mission located approximately 10 miles south of Tucson on the Tohono O’odham San Xavier Indian Reservation. As you’re driving down Interstate 19, it’s pretty hard to miss the building. The Mission was founded in 1692 and is absolutely beautiful. It’s literally a photographer’s dream come true (or at least one’s like me that love old religious buildings). The bright white building cannot help standout against the desert landscape, and if you’re lucky enough to be there when there are storm clouds rolling in you’ve found pure magic. The inside of the church is simple yet stunning nonetheless. There’s a small gift shop as well as an information room. Depending on when you go, some of the local Native Americans set up stalls in the parking lot to sell fry bread (heavenly) and various crafts.

Around Town

Perhaps my favorite part of Tucson is how well it’s aged. It’s the second largest city in Arizona behind Phoenix, but it’s not as botoxed. Not to say it’s not a modern city, but a lot of effort has gone into retaining the old architecture and the neighborhood feel. One of my favorite activities is simply driving/walking around town to see what can be seen. Tucson boasts one of the largest gem and mineral shows in the world, a huge book fair, and several other events throughout the year. It’s a nice break from Phoenix and a lovely place for exploring new (and sometimes somewhat random) places.

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Come travel along!!

Travel Tuesday
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