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Entries about covid

There Are Many Paths to Follow - Enjoy the Journey

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Helsingor, Denmark

A path. It can be a beginning. It can be an ending. It can be a road. An alley. It could be a winding river. A bridge perhaps. Even an abandoned rail road track. There are many ways to define a path. And there are many ways to look at them. I took this photo above in Denmark, in the city of Helsingor. I did not know then that it would inspire me to look for other paths to photograph. It was just an interesting side street that I walked past. I had recently joined the photo web site Flickr when I took this photo. I was posting all of my travel photos there for my own enjoyment and for a back up storage. I never really thought much about the fact that many people might see my photos on Flickr. I posted this photo and labeled it Small Alley in Helsingor. And suddenly I started to get comments on the photo. I was invited to add it to a group in Flickr just called Paths. In a short time the photo had 351 views. I was amazed. People even sent me messages about the photo. And this started my interest in looking for paths to photograph. The photo itself became a path. It lead me to photograph many other streets and alleys. And even now 17 years later I am still fascinated with taking photos of paths.

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Pa'ia - Maui - Ho'okipa Beach

This path was at the end of a dirt road in Hawaii on the island of Mau'i. The dirt road itself was a path that led me to this beautiful path. At the end of the dirt road we found a secluded little beach. There are many quiet and inspiring locations like this in the tourist heavy islands of Hawaii. We look for these when we visit there.

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Pollyanna Crosswalk - Littleton, New Hampshire

Some paths can tell you a story. This interesting little crosswalk in Littleton, New Hampshire has a history and a story. The Disney movie Pollyanna was based on the novel Pollyanna which was written in this little town. The novel was a little darker than the Disney movie. It ends with the little girl Pollyanna getting hit by a car. This sign in the crosswalk has Pollyanna pictured waving and tells you to stop on the corner, Look, then wave and cross the street. Each time I see my photo here the path leds me to memories of the seeing the movie as a child, and also now it leads to memories of an excellent brewery named Schilling Brewery at the end of this street.

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Sacre Couer - Montmarte - Paris

Some small paths are in big cities and lead you to beautiful churches. This small side street in Montmartre in Paris led me to the beautiful Sacre Couer. The photograph though focuses on the path with the huge over powering cathedral waiting to be discovered later in the background.

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Tintern Abbey - Wales 2011

It took a long journey for me to find this path. It started in a junior high school English class where I was taught Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey and ended here in Wales at the actual Abbey over fifty years later. That small sidewalk is the culmination of a life long journey the see this historic Abbey. Looking at that path in the photo I am immediately transported back to my English class and learning to appreciate Wordsworth and then finally walking this path to the Abbey many years later.

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Pa'ia - Maui - Ho'okipa Beach

Many paths are simple. Just a narrow dirt path and a small stone wall. Yet they are magical in their own way. This path led to an isolated beach in Maui. No crowds. No tourists. Just a quiet beautiful cove

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Sidewalk cafe in Trastevere - Rome

I belong to several groups in Flickr that are just for paths or trails. Several require no people in the photo. They want just a path to tell the story. But for me sometimes people are as much a part of the story as the path itself. I can look at a photo of the Colosseum and immediate know it's Rome. And I have a lot of photos of the Colosseum. But to really feel or experience Rome all I need is a simple photo of a path with people dining in a narrow street. This immediately transports me to Rome. I don't need the crowds at the Spanish Steps or the throngs of tourists throwing coins in a fountain to transport me. I need a simple path.

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County Wicklow - Ireland

Another path. Another country. County Wicklow in Ireland. Not a fancy or elaborate photo. But the path transports me once more. This one brings back childhood memories going with my grandmother to see the Walt Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People. It's a great memory because my grandmother did not go the movies ever. But for some reason she and I ended up at our little small town theater watching Darby O'Gill. And there are parts of that movie that are terrifying for a young child. But my grandmother was with me and it became a favorite memory. Not of fear from from the scary scenes, but a memory of being with her doing something special for me. That's the journey I take when I see this photo of the path in Wicklow.

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Road to Chateau Aigle - Switzerland

I have a several photos I took of Chateau Aigle in Switzerland. It is one of my favorite locations I have visited. The Chateau is surrounded by a beautiful vineyard. I walked from the village of Aigle to the Chateau. I sat inside the Chateau and had a glass of wine made from the vineyards surrounding the Chateau. Just me, by myself. A wonderful quiet moment. But then I look at this photo of this small road that led me to the Chateau and that memory completes the experience for me.

A path can be part of a beautiful bright blue day.

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A path can take you to a quiet reflective moment on the water front.

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A path can take you out of a bustling tourist filled city center to a quiet hillside view.

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And a path can lead you home.

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I have not traveled since Covid happened. I have missed flying. I have missed seeing new and exciting places. But most of all I have missed the paths that take me away. Things are opening up now. People are traveling once more. And we have some travel plans for the very near future. Enjoy your journeys. But most of all take time to reflect on the paths that take you there.

Posted by littlesam1 16:44 Tagged travel ireland rome switzerland wales paths covid baltimore_maryland Comments (6)

The 2021 Variant - The Year We All Said Would Be Better

My year in review - another bad year for travellers

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I reread my 2020 year end blog before starting to write my new one for 2021. I ended last year in isolation, staying at home, and being anxious about Covid. The vaccines were not quite available yet. It was scary to even think about going out any place. I started the new year with hopes of getting a vaccine and getting my life back to normal. I soon realized I had no idea what normal was any more. We were not getting a new year. It was going to be 2020 the 21 variant.

I grew a Covid beard in 2020 and had planned to clean it up in the new year. But we never really got that new year and the beard remains. I have kept it trimmed and not long. But this is still a first for me and I have grown to appreciate it. I have a feeling it will still be here at the end of 2022 also

2019

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2020

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2021

I spent most of January and February still in lock down but not just because of Covid. Our dog Tallulah had been hit by a car in December 2020. She had surgery on December 23, 2020 and the emergency vet tried to save her front leg. We brought her home on Christmas Eve 2020. She was under complete sedation and was not supposed to move at all. We found out eight weeks later that the surgery was not successful and she would need her front leg amputated. So I remained at home with her for her recovery from the amputation which was just as well as I had not received a my Covid shot yet and should not have been out anyway.

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My daughters and Mark were all concerned that I should get my Covid Vax as soon as I was eligible. My age group was opened in March for the shot. Katie drove me down to the Raven's Football stadium where the state of Maryland was doing mass vaccinations.

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Memorial to Baltimore Colts Football Player Johnny Unitas with a mask

I was glad to get the vaccination hoping it would allow me to get back to some sort of normalcy. But as I mentioned above I was soon to find out I still had no idea what normal really was any more. Three days after getting the vaccine I woke up to find that I had no sense of taste of smell. I knew what that meant! I had Covid. I went to the nearest test location at my local CVS Pharmacy to do a drive through test. One day later I had my response. I tested positive for Covid. This was certainly not part of my plane. I was still home with a recuperating dog and now I was concerned about getting ill from Covid. I was very fortunate. My case was very mild, thanks to the vaccine I had taken right before being diagnosed. I had no other symptoms other than no taste or smell. No fever. No weakness. And within the week my taste and smell has returned. But we still had to stay quarantined for a full ten days. I spoke with my personal physician by way of a Zoom meeting. He said I could assume I caught it while in line for the shot at the mass distribution site and that in his opinion my vaccination worked because I had such a light case.

April the fourth was a big day for me this year. I felt some sense of things returning to some kind of normal.

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I was a fully vaccinated Covid surviving member of society and I returned to favorite bar, Racers, and had my first beer back inside the bar.

Now for the next big step. Mark was finally qualified to be vaccinated. So now we were wondering if we would be to do some traveling. Nothing big, nothing out of the country. We had really wanted to go to Hawaii again but that was just not possible. So instead I found a wonderful beach rental on the Outer Banks. Tallulah was doing well with only three legs but we could not see ourselves leaving her at a kennel just yet. Luckily the house I found to rent had handicap access ramps. It was perfect.

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Tallulah loved the beach house and spent a lot of time on the deck watching the neighbors. This had to be one of our best vacations in a long time. We were still somewhat isolated but it could not have been more relaxing.

We were able to do some more local traveling in September over the Labor Day weekend. Oh how we wanted it to be Hawaii again but that still just was not happening for us. Plane travel was still sketchy. People were fighting on planes over mask mandates. Flight schedules were not dependable. And honestly Hawaii was not being too open to tourists returning yet anyway and who can blame them. And due to the unvaccinated Covid just kept growing. After some initial Google searches we were able to find a log cabin to rent in New Hampshire in the same area we vacationed in 2020. So the 2021 varient year of 2020 continued for us.

We enjoyed New England as much this year as we did in 2020. And the blending of the years continued. Writing now it's difficult to remember did that happen in 2020 or was it 2021. It's almost liked we have blotted out 2020 and just jumped from 2019 right into 2021. It's still difficult even going through photos to tell the story of this year to differentiate what happened and when. And to make it even more bizarre I am currently researching plans for a return this spring to New England.

We found out that Tallulah does travel well. She managed the both trips in the car with no real issues. She was more relaxed than at home. At home she is on constant guard duty guarding our house and yard growling and barking at everything and anything that moves. But on the vacations she seemed to be on vacation also. She ignored most of the dogs at the rest stops. She did not bark at any of the neighboring vacationers at either location. She pretty much became a some what normal dog. And then we returned home and she went back to her self appointed guard dog duties.

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Our cabin was isolated and on a dirt road. We were surround by beautiful lakes, trails, mountains and wild turkeys! The only time Tallulah got really animated was when a large group of wild turkeys decided to visit out yard. She also got a little agitated one evening and the next morning I saw a paw print that might have been from a small bear in our back yard. But other than the wild life there was nothing there bother us and we had one of our most relaxed vacations in years. We hiked. We photographed lakes. We saw lighthouses and cliff climbers. We drove to Maine and my daughter from Massachusetts drove up to see us for a day also.

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Portland, Maine Lighthouse

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Cliff Climber at Cathedral Ledge New Hampshire

The year progressed to a slow end by December. I saw some friends get sick. I saw some friends die. I got angry at Covid. I got angry at the unvaxxed who continue to make this pandemic a political argument while I tried to avoid political arguments. And I spent a lot of time at my local bar. Day drinking at Racers was my one refuge. With Covid and the restrictions, depleted staff, and the general malaise of the year they survived. Many places closed permanently. Some closed temporarily. But my favorite bar survived. Monday mornings this was where you would find me. It was never crowded. There was no real concern of getting infected from people who were not there. It was just me and my bartenders this year. Roxy, Mariam, Bernard, John, Eric, and Brooks kept me entertained and hopefully I didn't bore them too much with my old man stories. And I thank the manager Emily for her kindness to an old man with free tickets to a local beer event this year and many free samples of the newest beers on draft. And Monday regulars Lou, Chris, Roger all properly vaxxed. All feeling safe. And all glad for the escape. They all helped me keep my sanity this year.

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Colorful beer for a black and white world - Racers Cafe Parkville, Maryland The 2021 Variant

Ending this year I am glad t to have had my family together all at the same time over the Christmas holidays this. I am grateful for the vaccinations and the boosters being available. I am thankful they are all vaccinated and have received their boosters. I am thankful to have survived a very minor Covid infection. I am thankful for a year with strong leadership from our President and no longer going to bed angry or fearful each night from the actions of his predecessor. And I am looking forward to a new year. Will it be 2020 variant 22 this year? Will we all adjust to the new normal? It's difficult to say. I do know I will miss those good friends and family who did not survive this year. I dread hitting the big 70 this year but grateful to have been able to make it this far.

And Tallulah is looking forward to another vacation from her guard duties and returning to her mountain retreat.

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Posted by littlesam1 18:15 Archived in USA Tagged beer dogs new_hampshire bars north_carolina outer_banks covid year_in_review racers_cafe Comments (10)

2020 - The Year We All Stayed Home

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I usually write a year end blog on New Years Day. I have been thinking about what I wanted to say about 2020. I went back and reread my year end blogs from 2019, 2018, and 2017. I noticed that each of those years I started out by saying this has not been one of my best years. And I ended each blog saying I was sure the new year would be better. This year I just don't know what to say. So I think this photo taken in Meredith, New Hampshire is the best way to start. What a long strange trip it's been.
Last years blog said we were already planning travel for February 2020. Well that didn't happen. Mark did buy his new car in February.

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And we did take a road trip to Odessa, Delaware where we went to a restaurant for the last time without a mask. Also with the new car we went to Woodland Beach, Delaware. That's a place I had not been since I was five years old when my family rented a boat and went crabbing in the Delaware Bay. The high lights of Woodland Beach were my photos of a lone house on the beach...

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..and a nuclear reactor on the New Jersey shore across the Delaware Bay. When I edited my photo of the reactor to a black and white image there was a spooky blue haze all around it like radiation coming out of it. Oh 2020 this was just my first surprise of the year.

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We started hoarding toilet paper, stocking up a two week supply of emergency groceries and hunting for masks to wear next. While doing this we got the word from my daughter Danielle that she had been hired for a job in Boston, She had been unemployed for most of 2019. She and her wife ended up selling their house in Atlanta, packing up a rental van and moving to Boston right at the heart of the original quarantine. List this under things to stress out Dad. Just as Danielle was preparing to move my other daughter Katie was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. She was hospitalized and of course we were not allowed to visit. Another item to add to the list of things to stress out Dad. We did go the hospital parking lot and wave to Katie's window. You can see Katie in the window above. I will not be embarrassed to say I cried on the way home.

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So what is next to add to the list of things to stress out Dad. After leaving the hospital Katie was told due to Covid and budgetary issues she was being let go from her job. Perfect timing. Just what a person with a major medical diagnosis needs. No health insurance. Lots of prayers were said. That's one thing 2020 has done. It has increased my prayer life triple fold. And within a couple of weeks Katie was offered a temporary job in New Hampshire! The company provided her with a beautiful log cabin on isolated dirt road with a view of Mt Washington in her back yard.

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I was a bit concerned when she accepted the job. The idea of her just being diagnosed with Crohn's disease and moving to an isolated cabin on a dirt road in New Hampshire was definitely another item on the things to stress out Dad list. She had to drive up for an initial interview and introduction to the new company. I did not want her to drive from Baltimore to Lancaster, New Hampshire by herself so I drove up with her. We were booked into a resort that had been closed for twelve weeks, The Mountain View Inn. We were one of a handful of guests there for opening weekend. Other than one or two other people were were the only guests in a 180 room resort. I will say in the midst of a world wide pandemic with quarantining all around this was a wonderful escape for three days.

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I wanted to be trendy and follow the big fashion statement of 2020, a Covid beard. I had never grown a beard before and I have to admit I liked having one. I still have it to start out the new year 2021. Add this to the list of things to stress out your husband.

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We were able to visit Katie in New Hampshire later this summer and also spend a day in Boston with Danielle and Andrea. It was a bit tricky going to Boston. Massachusetts had a ban on visitors from Maryland due to Covid that came with a healthy fine if you tried to spend the night there. We did drive to Danielle's house and drove with her to see some of the sites in Boston but that was the best we could do under the circumstances.

2020 continued to haunt us the rest of the year. Everyone has been affected by 2020 no matter who they are. It was no respecter of persons. I had friends who died. Friends who were very sick. And our beloved dog Delilah died this year. She was fourteen years old and had health issues. We did get to take her to New Hampshire before she died and she loved the cabin and the huge fields around it. She died November 8, 2020. We had a vet come to the house and we said our goodbyes on the back deck of our house.

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We were lost without her and knew we wanted another dog to fill the void as soon as possible. We found Tallulah just a few weeks later from a rescue site. We drove to central Pennsylvania to pick her and bring her home.

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But 2020 was not finished with our home yet. Two days before Christmas Tallulah darted out of our house and was hit by a car. We thought she was gone for good. Once again many prayers were said and out faith was tested but she survived. She had a dislodged shoulder and a multi fractured leg below the shoulder. There was concern this 18 month old pup would have to have her leg amputated. But as of New Years Day she is recuperating at home and her leg has been saved. We will have eight weeks of recovery and hopefully the leg will heal properly.

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As I said in the beginning "What A Long Strange Trip It's Been". 2020 is a year no one living now will ever forget. This truly has been one of the worst years of our lives. But my girls both have jobs. They both had adventures moving to New England during the pandemic. Mark's mother had Covid while in assisted living and recovered but sadly is fading from Alzheimer's every single day. Our dog survived. We have toilet paper. And as a family we all have each other.

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What is my final image of 2020? This about sums it up. A dirty mask left on a table in Littleton, New Hampshire. I'll this year here at the table.

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Posted by littlesam1 20:39 Archived in USA Tagged family new_hampshire 2020 covid year_end Comments (11)

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