Saint Kitts!

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

Saint Kitts is a small Caribbean island located in the Lesser Antilles. An excellent way to explore the island is to hop on the St. Kitts railway which begins from Needsmust Station in the capital city of Basseterre. The railway was built between 1912 and 1926 to bring the sugar cane from the fields into town. The narrow gauge railway and the two-story cars make the ride a little bumpy. Several bridges bring the train over the many inlets and bays that dot the coastline.

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

The ride brings you along the north coast of the island and through many of the old sugar fields. Sugar was the major export for the island. Along the journey the railway also brings you through some of the local villages.

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

Another jewel that you will see along the railway is a beautiful black sand beach. Visually the black sand provides a completely different experience, yet equally beautiful, as the white sand beaches.

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

There are two island residents I will never forget. :) I cannot wait to return to this Caribbean island paradise!

St. Kitts, Caribbean - Designerella

Salute to Tortola!

Tortola, Caribbean - Designerella

Tortola is the largest island that makes up the British Virgin Islands located here in the Caribbean.  From the capital of Road Town, there are many options to explore both the sea and neighboring islands. Sailing on a catamaran across the Sir Francis Drake Channel is an excellent option.

Tortola, Caribbean - Designerella

Tortola, Caribbean - Designerella

Snorkeling is an excellent way to explore the beautiful sights that lie underwater. At nearby Peter Island there are excellent reefs that provide great visuals for both beginner, like me, and expert snorkelers. The nearby beach provided an excellent resting location for those that rather sit on the beach and enjoy tropical drinks.

Tortola, Caribbean - Designerella

An underwater camera allows you to capture the amazing views of the beautiful coral and the exotic fish swimming right next to you that you will want to keep forever. Unfortunately I did not have one here today, so maybe next time. :) On my snorkeling adventure I was able to find the biggest and most beautiful sea shell! The world under the ocean looks so beautiful and peaceful I could snorkel all day! Tortola a place where I will always remember where I found my good luck shell!

Tortola, Caribbean - Designerella

Beach Bum!

Sint Maarten, or Saint Martin, is a small Caribbean island split between the Dutch and French sides. The island is also famous for the beach at Maho Bay where the nearby airport’s landing strip provides Photoshop-like pictures. That is all well and good, but today I am on the Dutch side exploring Phillipsburg and doing what most people do when they visit the Caribbean–hitting the beach.

St. Maarten, Caribbean - Designerella

On the Dutch side is the city of Phillipsburg.  Much of the city lies on either the Great Bay or the Great Bay Salt Pond. These provide plenty of beach options for those of us wanting to soak up the warm Caribbean sun.

St. Maarten, Caribbean - Designerella

St. Maarten, Caribbean - Designerella

St. Maarten, Caribbean - Designerella

St. Maarten, Caribbean - Designerella

St. Maarten, Caribbean - Designerella

Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten is the perfect cure for those winter blues. With the fabulous beaches, great shopping, wonderful food and perfect weather, even paradise cannot be much better than this.

St. Maarten, Caribbean - Designerella

Antigua!

It is good to be back in the same time zone as my friends and family back at home. But today I am a little further south in the place I would call paradise!  Antigua is a jewel. Arriving in the port city of St. Johns, the white sandy beach off the clear blue waters is a beautiful sight.

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

On the south side of the island you can find Shirley Heights which provides breathtaking views. Overlooking the English Harbor and the Fallmouth Harbor, numerous sailboats can be spotted from this perch. On Sunday nights the view is complemented by excellent music and fabulous food.

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

The water is not the only beautiful thing here on Antigua. Red hibiscus flowers dot the landscapes adding color to the lush green vegetation. Hiding in that lush green vegetation are many creatures. Among those are little green anole lizards. One little guy was out sunning himself in the warm Antigua sun.

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

Still on Shirley Heights are the remnants of the old military blockhouse.

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

One more must-see attraction is Nelson’s shipyard. Located off the English harbor, the dockyard was used by the English navy. One of commanders this outpost was Admiral Nelson of the British Navy–the same Admiral who is honored in with a statue in Trafalgar Square back in London.

Antigua, Caribbean - Designerella

Zeebrugge, Belgium

I am back in Belgium and the smells are tempting me to taste some of the fabulous chocolates. This time instead of heading in to the historical center of Brugge, I explored the port section of Zeebrugge. This section of the city provides a completely different experience from the town center. The arrangement of Brugge and Zeebrugge is similar to the arrangement I recently described between Bremen and Bremerhaven. As is common along the North Sea coast, autumn means rain. However a little rain is no deterrent from exploring a beautiful beach and the rest of the town of Zeebrugge.

Zeebrugge, Belgium - Designerella

There are three beautiful churches in Zeebrugge. The Sint-Rochus Church, shown below, serves as a landmark for the locals and visitors. Every time you turn a corner you can see this charming old church standing above the busy city streets below.

Zeebrugge, Belgium - Designerella

Zeebrugge, Belgium - Designerella

What would a trip to Belgium be without a visit to a chocolatier? Delicious home made chocolates made fresh every day! Not only are they tasty, but they look beautiful. Belgium continues to be absolutely one of my favorite places to visit.

Zeebrugge, Belgium - Designerella

Zoo am Meer – Bremerhaven, Germany

Guten Tag! As you may have noticed I am spending some time in Bremerhaven, Germany.  One of Bremerhaven’s main attractions is the Zoo am Meer.  The zoo is one of the most modern zoological institutions in Europe, opening in 2004. This post is especially for my niece and nephews back at home.

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

One of the larger exhibits is the sea lions. While some of the sea lions were trying to soak up the sun, others were busy frolicking in the water.

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

The zoo has many birds, including the Northern Gannet, from all over the world. The exhibits are set up to provide visitors a view of these animals in their natural environment. This little guy seemed to be as interested in watching me as I was of him.

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

The mountain lion, or cougar, is found closer to home. They are found in the western United States down through Central and South America. These big cats always seem aware of what is going on around them.

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

The aquarium provides a visitors an up close look at the smaller creatures found in the nearby North Sea. There are numerous corals and other colorful creatures which one would expect to find in the warm tropical waters, not the cold waters of the North Sea. This little starfish provided an especially up close look.

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

The seal exhibit is the one of the most active and it drew many visitors of all ages. This little friend was quite playful, chasing my fingers.

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Zoo at Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Overall the Zoo am Meer is a fabulous attraction for visitors of all ages. Auf Wiedersehen!

Bremerhaven, Germany

Thirty miles north of Bremen is Bremerhaven. Bremerhaven literally means Bremen’s Harbor. As the large North Sea ships can no longer travel down the Weser into the heart of Bremen, they stop here in Bremerhaven. This port is the fourth largest in Europe.

Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Bremerhaven is officially part of the city of Bremen. However the port is much more modern than the main city of Bremen. Some of that is attributed to the destruction of the Bremerhaven during World War II. Much of the city was rebuilt in a modern style. Perhaps the building that most represents this rebirth is the glass wall Kilmahaus, or climate house. This building, which sits directly on longitude 8 degrees, has exhibits on describing the difference of the many climates on our fragile planet.

Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

The city maintained certain charmful characteristics during the rebuild. Pedestrian only streets lined with outdoor cafes make it enjoyable to walk through the city. On the other hand the weather, which is strongly influenced by the North Sea, may change several times throughout a single day making the pedestrians constantly watching the skies.

Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

At the center of town is the Große Kirche, or Big Church. While not as impressive as St. Petri’s Dom in Bremen, as one of the tallest buildings in the city center it provides a wonderful landmark here in Bremerhaven.

Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

The natuical activities along the Weser create many picturesque moments.

Bremerhaven, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Deutschland!

In Northern Germany, on the shores of the river Weser, is the delightful town of Bremen. The river and the nearby North Sea coast has shaped the character of the town. Bremen was a trading center and, like the city of Bergen, a member of the powerful Hanseatic League. The riverbank is still the center of activity in the city with numerous outdoor beer gardens, or biergartens.

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

At the heart of any German city is the public square anchored by the Rathaus, or town hall, and the Dom, or Cathedral. This is the place where people gather and musicians come to entertain the crowd. In the Bremen Marketplatz there are many fine cafes that allow customers to eat shadows of these fine buildings.

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

One Bremen resident that you will find at the Marketplatz is Roland. Since 1404 the statue of Charles the Great’s knight Roland has stood tall. It is said that as long as Roland stands, Bremen will remain a free city.

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

The two towers of St. Petri’s Dom stand tall over the plaza. Both the interior and exterior of the cathedral are remarkably beautiful. The colorful Gothic arches in the cathedral are truly inspiring.

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

The Schnoor is the section of town where the mariners and craftsmen settled. In this corner of town, small shops line the narrow and windy streets. The Schifferhaus shown below was the first hotel in the city of Bremen. I enjoyed visiting the shops, art galleries and chocolatiers in the Schnoor. Here you will also find some great restaurants that serve excellent German fare.

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Another wonderful section of town is the Böttcherstraße. In the Middle Ages the barrel makers, also known as coopers, lived in this section of town. In the 1920s, Ludwig Roselius commissioned Bernhard Hoetger to rebuilt this section of town in a Worpswede architecture style. The result is a unique environment just a few hundred yards from the Marketplatz.

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Bremen is a wonderful town and I am grateful to have had the chance to visit this jewel on the banks of the Weser.

Bremen, Germany - Designerella

Santiago de Compostela, España

Vigo, Spain - Designerella

Pilgrims venturing along el Camino de Santiago have the privileged of seeing many beautiful sunrises over the northern Spanish hills. On the bus ride from Vigo to Santiago de Compostela, I had the privilege of experiencing one of these awe-inspiring sunrises. Although my trek was not as long as the month long journey of the pilgrims, the city of Santiago provided me with some of the spiritual enlightenment that the pilgrims seek.

Santiago de Compostela is renowned because of its Romanesque cathedral which holds the remains of the Apostle Saint James. Since construction began in 1075, this building has been the center of life in Santiago. It is this building that has drawn pilgrims throughout the world. Many come via el Camino, which depending upon the starting location, is a 500+ mile walk.

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

The clock tower, known as da Trinadade, has amazing details. While the tower is much older, the clock itself was not placed on this tower until the 1830s.

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

My attention was grabbed by the center dome in the cathedral. In typical Romanesque cathedrals the interior is very dark, but the light from the windows high above illuminated the cathedral. On the ceiling of the dome was the amazing artwork of the spiritual eye over looking us.

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

There is much more to the city of Santiago de Compostela than the cathedral. In fact the Old Town section of the city is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the majestic Praza do Obradoiro adjacent to the Cathedral, is the Pazo de Raxoi which serves as the city hall. The narrow lanes of Gothic old town provide an environment where you can become lost in time and space.

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

Santiago, Spain - Designerella

I took to the streets trying to find some Spanish treats. The hot chocolate and churros was perfect way to warm up on this chilly day. The chocolate was so thick and rich. It was perfect for dunking the churros!

Santiago, Spain - Designerella