Beware of a Peacock during mating season…

FullSizeRenderRecently, I went to a zoo. The first animal (bird) I saw was the Peacock. He is allowed to roam freely on the grounds and was toward the entry way. When I first saw him, he was walking back and forth making very loud squawking sounds. Not an attractive sound. If I was his Peacock wife, I would definitely get annoyed!

I was hoping he would open his feathers, but he did not. So, I continued on my viewing journey. Ten minutes later, I heard the Peacock yelling again and banging something. It was really loud. I walked over to see what he was doing.

I found him by the Pepsi Machine. He kept squawking and hitting his beak against the machine. At first, it was funny, it seemed like he was trying to get a soda for himself.  Then someone came by and said it was mating season and he sees his reflection in the Pepsi machine. He thinks it is another rival Peacock, so he gets aggressive in wanting to attack him or rather “himself.”

FullSizeRender 7In second photo, he’s resting his beak and getting ready for a “full on attack” of the machine. He did this for over 15 minutes. His beak must have been sore. You can see he is not happy! It takes a lot of energy to fight “yourself.” (A bit of a pun, but you know what I mean.)

Being curious, I did a Google search and found this article on the UK’s “Daily Mirror,” called, “Peacock causes thousands of pounds of damage to cars and shop windows – by attacking its own reflection,” by Andy Jehring, July 27, 2015.

Good article, gives an insight into a Peacock’s personality. They have BIG egos! Reminds me of a few “human guys” I know.  (Just kidding… well, sort of!)

Students in Sardinia practice English as Tour Guides

IMG_1348The other day, as I was exploring Alghero, I was approached by young students. They were wearing white T-Shirts with their school logo on them. They were carrying a clip board. They were a bit shy, whispering back and forth to each other, but there was one in the group saying in Italian, “Come on, we have to do our assignment. She looks like a foreigner.”

As they approached me, they said in their newly learned English, “Do you know about the Santa Barbara church? Can we show you? Are you English?”

I smiled knowing that how I responded would determine the next 40 minutes of my time. Yes, I said, “I speak English. Are you going to give me a tour of this beautiful church?”

Once I said that the excitement started. The group immediately shuffled me over to the front of the church. I could see on their clipboard that they had memorized different scripts, like tour guides would do. Also, they were determining what order they would speak.

A young girl started telling me about the front of the church. A boy was “reminding her” of everything the teacher had told them to do (make eye contact, point to the objects you are discussing, etc.).

IMG_1317As we entered the church, I was truly amazed. I would NEVER have found this by myself. Incredible the bright colors of the murals all over the walls and ceiling in such a small space.

One of the students was talking about each mural, but was not showing me where they were. Keep in mind, they had memorized everything, so their goal was to make sure they finished their script without mistakes. A boy behind the girl, told her to point to what she was talking about. Soon my head was going from side to side, to the ceiling, everywhere to catch up with how fast they were talking (smiling).

The boy took over, he had a strong voice and was wearing cute round glasses. He looked like a mini professor, which was amusing. I followed him to the alter area and he started to speak about this.

IMG_1318The church was crowded with many groups of students talking to tourists. Before the children let me go, they had been instructed to have me write in a book, my name, where I was from and any comments.

They were very sweet, hanging over my shoulder to see WHERE I was from and WHAT I would write. I joked with them, “Should I tell your teacher you were excellent or terrible?”

It took them a minute to decide what “terrible” meant and then, as true animated Italians, they said in unison, “No, non terrible, excellent!”  I gave them a thumbs up!

As I left, I said, “Don’t you recommend a restaurant?”

They looked at me confused. That was not part of the teacher’s assignment!

SARDINIA: Neptune’s Grotto

IMG_1331We’ve all read or seen a pirate movie, YES?  In the pirate stories they usually hide their loot in a hidden cave. When I heard there was a beautiful cave in Alghero called, “Neptune’s Grotto,” I was curious to see for myself “how it feels to be in a cave” and “what it really looks like.”

Local fisherman discovered the cave in the 18th century. They named the grotto after the Roman God, “Neptune.” There are two ways to get to the grotto. Option 1: Park at the top of the cliff and walk down 654 steps and THEN walk back up 654 steps. Choose Option 1, if you want a good work out. Option 2: (which I felt was the better option) Take a boat ride to the entry of the cave.

The top photo is where the boat let us off in front of the grotto. Getting off the boat was definitely an “adventure!” Imagine, the front of the boat comes in to the grotto, and has a plank that they extend out to the grotto’s entry way. The waves were very rough, so when we started to walk the plank, which was jerking back and forth, we definitely felt like there were pirates behind us and if we didn’t hold on to the plank’s railing and move fast, we would fall into the sea and be eaten by the sharks!  ALL of us tourists were a bit shaken by the disembarkment.

IMG_1328The second photo is what we saw once we got off the boat. This is the entry way into the grotto. To the left are stairs that you start to climb, which bring you inside the grotto. Very beautiful you can see.

My camera was not cooperating “inside” the cave, so I found this next photo thanks to www.pixabay.com. When you are inside it looks like this photo, but it is ALL WHITE, not orange. You need to use a flash to take photo and this is how it turns out.

IMG_1337The tourist books say, “This is a place you want to see once in your lifetime.” There are many wonders to see throughout this world. For me, I have always wanted to see “inside a cave,” so I am happy to have checked this off my “bucket list.”

It was wonderful being on the boat for 2 hours round trip. The sea had the most beautiful blue color. Smelling the salty sea air with the wind blowing in our faces was just fabulous.

On to the next adventure!

Italy: The 2017 Mille Miglia auto race takes off in Brescia

It’s that time of year again. The Mille Miglia auto race just took off yesterday. I was there and captured this quick clip as the cars were speeding off.  It’s wonderful to be in Brescia and see 460 vintage cars around town all getting ready to compete in the race, which goes from Brescia to Rome and back to Bresica about 1,000 miles.

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My friend said to enter the race a card must have been made before 1957.  The race is not about being the fastest, it has to do with car performance. At each stopping point the car is checked for various things. It’s critical to have a co-pilot to help with this. Also, the drivers are going through small towns, mountains, etc., so they have their mechanical team close behind, in case assistance is needed. Cars do break down even before they start.

IMG_1254This is quite a race. Think about it… for each nightly stop they make, ALL the drivers/co-pilots, mechanics, race organizers, etc. must be fed and put up in different hotels for the three different nights. Also, there must be a big enough space for all of the cars, so that the mechanics can do their tweaking, testing, etc. of their cars at night, so car is ready to leave next morning.

Clearly, this is a passion these owners/drivers have for their cars. While most car drivers are Italian, there are many other countries entered to race (Holland, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and more).

The race finishes on Sunday!  If someone gets a channel and can post an update on the race, we would love to see progress reports.

Go Mille Miglia!

Montana: “Our Lady of the Rockies”

IMG_1284I told you in my last post I had stopped at another site on my “road trip.”  What I found interesting is that only 2 hours from the “Garden of One Thousand Buddhas,” I found another shrine. This was of the Virgin Mary called, “Our Lady of the Rockies.” If it weren’t for www.roadtrippers.com, I would not have known about these sites.

This is a wonderful story of a man who prayed to the Virgin Mary that if his wife survived her cancer, he would build a statue of the Virgin Mary and place it in his backyard. Well, his wife survived! In talking with his friends and people around town, his small statute became a BIG one 90 ft high. With the help of many volunteers and donations, they found a spot for the statue up in the mountain.

While I was there, I wanted to go up to the statue, but they said they did not have tours until the summer months.  At night, the statue is lit up, so that you can see and feel her presence watching over Butte, Montana.

I slept very well that night under the protection of “Our Lady of the Rockies!”

One thousand Buddhas in Montana! Where will your road trip take you?

IMG_1190America is full of amazing places to see. We don’t realize this until we decide to take a “road trip.”  I was planning a drive from Seattle to Chicago. My daughter told me about a website called, “www.RoadTrippers.com.”  I checked it out.

So glad I did, because I found this amazing place in Montana called, “The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.”  I decided that I was going to make that a stop on my drive. It was beautiful and spiritual. The site was built to be a pilgrimage for people of all faiths. The statue you see is of Tara. The story of “why/who/how” it was built is interesting and a bit long for me to explain. Visit www.ewambuddhagarden.org to read the story.  Here are some photos.

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At the site, they had different stones with sayings on them. This was a good one, which we should ALL think about.

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Stay tuned… I will share another site I visited soon.

HAPPY ROAD TRIPPING!