12 Hours in Sydney

At the end of my second full day of walking around Melbourne, I boarded the train for Sydney.

Even though I knew my time there would be short, I just couldn’t imagine being in Australia and not visiting the capital city of New South Wales.  The train would be a perfect way to accomplish the goal.  I’d sleep on the overnight train, spend a full day exploring, and then head back to Melbourne via the daytime train.  I walked from the hotel to the Southern Cross station and stored most of my luggage in a locker.  With my camera in hand I boarded the XTP for the 960 K (600 mile) ride to Sydney.

Before closing my eyes, I pondered how to spend the few hours that I had.  Friends offered wonderful suggestions and I knew I’d have trouble choosing the best options.  Should I:

Take a tour of the Opera House or do the Bridge Climb?

Go shopping at The Rocks?

Take the ferry to Manly Beach?

Enjoy the Botanical Gardens?

Or just walk around Darling Harbour.

Ultimately, I chose a 5 mile walking tour.  I’d miss the interior details of the Opera House and the thrill of the Bridge Climb, but I’d experience the big picture and get an overall taste of this vibrant city.  After leaving my overnight luggage at my hotel, I walked by the Queen Victoria Building, completed in 1898, and through Hyde Park, Sydney’s Central Park.  Aren’t those trees stunning?

The Sydney Harbour Walk officially starts at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and when I stopped by, a ceremony celebrating the 21st Biennale of Sydney was in process.  An aboriginal native walked through the crowd with a smudge stick, which I learned was used to promote healing and clear energy fields.

I walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens and along the harbour pathway towards Mrs. Macquarie’s Point.  Lady Macquarie’s Chair is an exposed standstone rock cut into the shape of a bench which was hand carved by convicts in 1810 for Governor Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth.  Folklore has it that she used to sit on the rock and watch for ships from Great Britain sailing into the harbour.

As I turned from viewing Elizabeth’s chair, I caught my first views of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  My breath caught at the site of these iconic images, and I couldn’t believe I was there!

Can you see the folks doing the bridge climb in these next images?  I have to admit to feeling some regret about missing it.

I continued my walk to Circular Quay and found an outside cafe for a cold beer and some calamari.

I watched a variety of ferries coming and going and made the decision to take the Fast Ferry to Manley Beach.

The Fast Ferry was really fast, taking just 18 minutes to get from Sydney Harbour to Manley Beach, and I had great difficulty holding the camera steady to get these views of the cliffs.  Even still, the ride was so much fun and I loved feeling the wind in my face.  I almost like I was riding the motorcycle!

After the ferry docked, I walked around to Dawes Point, passed Observatory Hill and towards the area known as The Rocks, the historic district of Sydney.  Established in 1788, and once under threat of demolition, the area now hosts open air markets, boutique shops, and pubs and restaurants.  Of course, I was forced to enjoy another australian beer. Poor me!

After hours of exploring, and thoroughly enjoying myself, I walked back to the hotel to get cleaned up for dinner.  My final walk for the evening was to the King Street Wharf where I devoured a delicious meal and lovely glass of wine (or two).  Then it was time for sleep.  The train back to Melbourne would pull out of the Sydney Central Station at 7am the next morning.

What would you do if you only had 12 hours in Sydney?

Travel: Trains and Bikes

It’s the beginning of the weekend, and while there is still one more day of work, I’m anticipating a weekend on the motorcycle.  YAY!

The images you see here are my recent contributions to Monochromia.

_MG_4253-2 20160625_073517-2


If you haven’t visited Monochromia yet, please do! Photographers from around the world contribute some incredible B&W images to this blog, and several of those photographers, including me, will be meeting in NYC in October.

How cool is that?

My travels will prevent me from visiting each of you until next week.  Sending peaceful thoughts during tumultuous times.

Steam Heat

Don’t you just love seeing an old steam engine? They bring to mind history, and romance, and days gone by. Please visit Monochromia if you haven’t yet. You’ll see the work of a collaborative group of photographers, amateurs, and photo nuts from all parts of the world.  This is my contribution for the week.



“Yeah …. I’ve got  ::cling cling::  fsssss steam heat”

How many of you hummed that song as you read those words?  Or, sadly, how many of you have never heard of that 1954 song from The Pajama Game soundtrack?

For more images of the annual visit to my city by these historic steam engines, please check out the following links:



View original post

Train Day in Radford, Now in Color!

Many of you agreed that a B&W format is perfect for presenting the images of a steam engine and for inspiring the feelings of nostalgia, mystery, and adventure.


Even still, the train that visited Radford last weekend also sported pops of color.


On the wheels, and other unknown and therefore unnamed parts underneath the train,

_MG_3077 _MG_3072

on the doors and the windows,

_MG_3158 _MG_3084 _MG_3190 _MG_3176

on the bell and lettering,

_MG_3080 _MG_3076 _MG_3067

… and by the crew members working the train that day.


Despite the impression you might get from this gentleman’s face, the crew seemed to be having a blast, waving and smiling at the crowd as they worked.



What a great day it was!

I’ll leave you with one final shot of our clock, set against the backdrop of historic building art, and we’ll anxiously await the return of the train in 2015.


Those Great Steam Engines

Adventure.  Mystery.  Romance.  History.

These words are often attributed to trains in general, and steam engines in particular.


A passenger excursion train, pulled by a steam engine, rolled into Radford last weekend (see here).  The crowds came out to ride, see, and photograph the magnificent train.  We were lucky enough to get very close to the train, so I was on the tracks and practically under the train, seeking the best image.


This view of water, used to create the steam, dripping down and splashing on the stairs caught my eye.



B&W images remind us of days gone by, or days we’ve only heard of, or read about.


The next post will feature more images, but in color.

Steam Engine

The Steam Engine came through the City of Radford yesterday!

What a thrill for the 750 folks on the train, and for all of us watching, too.

So many thoughts to process and images to edit.  I look forward to sharing more with you later.


(click on the image for better detail)

Train Trestle over the New River

I had hoped to spend Sunday riding the new bike but rain, clouds, and cooler temps kept the bike covered and on the carport.  On the way home from taking Easter morning biscuits to a dear friend, I stopped to photograph one of the train trestles that crosses over the New River near Radford City / Pulaski County.  The fog, clouds, and grey day did not present as much of a challenge to me as my lack of zoom!  Each session of shooting finds me lusting for an SLR.

(But that’s another story)

I wasn’t able to get a clear shot of the trestle, and after viewing the photo in B&W, I was glad.  With the vines hanging down in front, I thought the scene looked really mysterious.


A train crossed over the trestle while I was standing underneath.


The sun came out just a bit after that and brightened the rust color of the trestle.



It was then that I noticed the graffiti … and the date that the trestle was built.



The original trestle’s supports remain,



and I love that a tree grows out of the top of one of them,


Day 3 – Ashland / Downtown Richmond: More Trains & Historic Buildings

What a treat it is to have a day off during the week!

With a meeting in Richmond on Monday and a conference in Williamsburg from Wednesday through Saturday, it just made sense to stay in the Eastern part of the Commonwealth.   My friend Becky lives in Ashland, and I was lucky to spend last evening with her and our friend Tim.  This morning when she left for work, I left to explore the town of Ashland.  I enjoyed a hot breakfast blend and a bagel while catching up on email, blogging, and bills at Ashland Coffee and Tea.


Ashland is another historic train town and much of the quaint downtown area has a train theme.078003




Freight trains pass through town on a regular schedule and even better, you can still take the passenger to various places in Virginia and the Northeast





Ashland is more than trains, however, and the architecture of the buildings and the neat little shops and adornments made it difficult to put the camera away and made me reluctant to leave.  I adored this sculpture of J Malcolm Pace III, also  known as “Jay”.  The plaque reads “Newspaper Editor / Publisher, Community and Church Leader, Randolph Macon College Supporter, Musician, Friend and Family Man”.  What a tribute!

028  030  031

And then there are the windows …




Eventually, I had to move on to the next stop: Downtown Richmond.  I spent 7 years in Richmond while attending the Medical College of Virginia and I have always loved the downtown area.  Too may folks who live in the suburbs never leave the land of malls and chain restaurants and what a shame that is.

Today I discovered the Canal Walk, a project to restore a canal system that was started in 1784 and was heavily damaged during the Civil War.  It truly is a walk through history!





With time running short before I had to leave for my next stop, I found myself at Sam Millers Restaurant on the cobblestoned Shockoe Slip.  The bartender Nathan, in addition to bringing me a yummy cup of crab soup and a Southern Tier stout, was a good source for information and directions.



001 (3)


Finally, I could delay no longer and it was time to leave for Gloucester to meet my friend Janet for dinner a at wonderful Thai restaurant.  Gloucester would be a fun place to explore and I plan to return when it’s still daylight!  But tonight, the rain began to fall and I still had one hour to go before arriving at my final destination: Williamsburg – home of my parents and the 2013 Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners Conference.

Day 1 – Radford: A Home to Trains and Building Art

Why a post combining trains and building art?  Mostly it’s about timing.

I am on the first night of a 7 night / 8 day, mostly business trip around Virginia.  As I was trying to get out of Radford and head on down the road to Richmond, I was drawn to two scenes that I see almost on a daily basis.  I’m not sure what made me stop to take pictures today, especially since I was already running late, but … have camera … well you know.

Trains and building art could easily fill several posts, but today, a few pictures will have to do.


Radford has been a railroad town since the 1850s when the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad (later the Norfolk and Western Railway) came through.  The population grew dramatically as did business, industry and education.  Passenger rail service no longer exists in Radford, but the railroad through the city is still a major component of Norfolk Southern Railway’s Roanoke to Bristol route.  As is typical of those who live in a railroad town, it is easy to become immune to the sound of the trains and their whistles as they pass through the city.


The structure pictured below sits right behind the railroad tracks.  I am sorry to say that I do not know what it is … I was guessing a water tower.  A quick FB call out to local Radford folks revealed that most agree, especially given it’s proximity to the rail yard.  I’m hoping I can learn the date it was constructed and any other interesting bits of information as well.  We’ve got some serious history buffs in our little city.  I’ll pass on what I learn!


Since I posted this morning I have heard from several who tell me that the tower served to store water for use by the steam engines.

As buildings are renovated or unfortunately torn down (or fall down), art in the form of advertisements is often revealed.  Radford, like many localities, has many more examples of building art than just those pictured here.  These particular ads were revealed when the City of Radford took down an old partially burned out building (which even had a tree growing in it) and created a community courtyard.  This lovely little area is now called Carson’s Courtyard.






This next building sits right across the street from Carson’s Courtyard and the art provides a lovely backdrop for the Farmer’s Market.


And as you look past the brick wall, you will once again see the tower.


Day 2 – Richmond