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Lake Vrana & Zadar~


These first five photos were taken atop Mt. Kamenjak in the Vrana Lake Nature Park in Croatia. The amazing view you are seeing looks down over Lake Vrana towards the Kornati Islands in the Adriatic Sea.


Lake Vrana, the greenish body of water in the forefront, lies on the Dalmatian coast, and is the largest lake in Croatia. It is separated from the sea by a mere 2 km strip of land which you can clearly see in this photo.


The view from the opposite side of Mt. Kamenjak is also incredible, and looks into the interior of Croatia. It was quite special for me to visit this area of the world, because my grandfather, who emigrated to the US through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s, was from this area.

The spectacular Mt. Kamenjak viewpoint is off the beaten track and less traveled.

There is a charming old chapel, many hiking options, picnic facilities, and a place to order snacks if you didn’t bring a picnic.

Lake Varna can be easily reached on a day trip from nearby Zadar, the oldest continuously occupied city in Croatia. This is St. Donatus Church in Zadar, founded in the 9th Century.


The small chapel is St. Mary’s Church, founded in 1066, and the ruins you see scattered about are the remnants of the largest Roman Forum in the Eastern Adriatic.

Zadar is the historical center of The Dalmatian Coast. It was founded by the Liburnians in the 4th Century BC, and numerous Neolithic settlements have been discovered here.


Zadar is a delightfully fun city to visit, with lots of places to explore, and wonderful restaurants to sample the local cuisine. If this isn’t enough to tempt you, Croatia is a good travel bargain, especially off-season. The city quay, where people gather, has a sea organ that chimes in rhythm with the waves. It also has the remarkable glass “Greeting to the Sun,” which you can see in this photo and read about by clicking on the link below:

http://www.zadar.travel/en/city-guide/attractions/05-12-2007/the-greeting-to-the-sun


We are still home at The Holler now, but it is cheers to you from spectacular Lake Vrana and historic Zadar, Croatia~

Ancient Olympia~


Olympia Greece is the birthplace of our modern olympic games and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Touring the site is an incredible experience.

Only males could compete in the Ancient Greek Olympics. They slathered each other with olive oil and competed naked. My husband thought my last post was a tad boring, so I decided to ramp things up a tick with some factoids I learned from our Greek historian as we toured Olympia.


Continuing with her narrative, the historian explained that married women were not allowed to attend the games, and if they snuck in, they could be put to death by being thrown off Mount Typaeon. (I don’t know if this ever actually happened.) However, young, “maiden” females were allowed in to “observe”, and prostitutes could, and did attend, apparently doing more business during these olympic days than they typically did all year-long.
Some of this I learned on my own afterwards because enquiring minds do want to know, and the historian sort of skidded over some of it.
Travel is very educational.


The historian clarified the word gymnasium came from Ancient Greek and means males exercising naked.
Females did apparently have their own sort of more minor, separate sporting event at Olympia, but they wore shifts, and only exposed one breast, imitating the Amazons.
I wonder if they were allowed to throw their husbands off Mt. Typaeon if they snuck in? Or let single, young, males, in to “observe”? What would you guess?


The first olympics were held here in the 8th century BC and the first buildings were constructed in 600 BC. The Temple of Zeus was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and is the oldest known Doric building in the world.

Olympia is extensive and takes a full day just to walk. There are twelve houses of treasure, a hippodrome, a stadium, the Paelastra or wrestling school, the Phillippieion an Ionic circular memorial, vaulted tunnels and walkways, a gymnasium, a museum full of statuary and relics, and much more. It was spring when we toured, and the Judas Trees and wildflowers were just starting to bloom which made it all even more incredibly beautiful. April is said to be the best month to visit ancient sites in Greece due to the stunning spring flowers.

In case you want to check out the historian’s factoids (I did), please see:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Olympics/faq5.html
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/08/0809_040809_nakedolympics_2.html
http://www.ancient.eu/Gymnasium/
We are home now, so it’s cheers to you from The Holler~

Changes to WP Reader~

https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/reader-refresh-2017/

I had to search to find this. Are you aware of the changes to the WP Reader? They are compressing and chopping posts in the Reader to accomplish what they call “streamlining” so the viewer can scan more posts more quickly while seeing less of your content in their reader. What WP is doing is giving your post much less than half the room it used to have in the reader, sometimes only two lines of text if you don’t have photos.

They are also now inserting blogs they promote in your Reader. So they are taking up the room they are saving by compressing your posts in the Reader with blogs you are not following and they are promoting.

This seems manipulative and non-transparent on WordPress’s part and not in the best interest of bloggers.

Land of the Lilliputians~

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One of the world’s top ten miniature museums is located in Victoria Canada. There are eighty-five exhibits here covering world history, Canadian history, fantasy, fairy tales, and even future space exploration.
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I loved the nostalgic look at the circus coming to town!

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There are dioramas depicting castles in England,
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Germany,
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and Canadian cities in the past.

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Many exhibits depict the frontier history and development of Canada.

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The museum has the world’s smallest working saw-mill which took eleven years to make,

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and one of the world’s longest model railways.
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These miniature worlds were created by George Devlin over the course of his lifetime. The museum opened in 1971 and George continues to expand it to this day.
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Cheers to you from Victoria’s fascinating Lilliputian World~

Glassine Visions~

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Seattle’s Garden and Glass Museum showcases the magical worlds created by glass artist Dale Chihuly.
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Chihuly creates huge glass wonderlands,
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resembling hallucinatory under-seascapes,
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full of phantasmagorical deep-sea creatures.

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Mirrors create reflective visions like crystalline creatures from outer space.

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There are magic mushrooms,
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glowing like alien forms,

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in surreal secret gardens.
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Visiting here one feels much like Alice with a two-way ticket to wonderland!
Cheers to you from the inventive worlds of Dale Chihuly~

Sunburst~

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The sunflowers grew tired of growing in their garden.

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So they picked up long legs and walked away.

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After traveling awhile, they arrived at The Holler, hot and bothered.
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They realized too late, as we often do, how good they had it in their garden.

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I put them in water, and took their photos, cheering them up considerably.

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I hope their sunburst cheers you too~

Note: the color in these photos is not enhanced. I have been experimenting with food coloring in flower water. Blue makes some incredible effects which I will show you later. If you’re interested check out:
http://www.wikihow.com/Dye-Flowers

The Methuselah Grove~

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The Great Basin Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in The White Mountains of California/Nevada have the world’s oldest living non-clonal organisms, ancient bristlecone pine trees. Non-clonal means these trees are not genetic duplicates of a parent organism, but are in fact, original organisms.
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The oldest known tree in the basin is 5,065 years old and was germinated in 3051 BC. This tree started growing before the first pyramid was built-in Egypt.

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Another, Methuselah, is 4,848 years old.
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The White Mountains run parallel to the Sierras in the west and Death Valley in the east.

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White Mountain is a sister peak to Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental US. When you hike here you look to your left at almost eye level with Mt. Whitney, and to your right at the lowest non-submerged place in North America, Death Valley.

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In the dolomite covered White Mountains these ancient organisms continue to thrive in white powdery soil that was once an ancient sea bed.

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When you touch the non-bark covered cambium layer of these ancient ones, it is like touching living stone. Something you have never felt before.

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The bristlecones survive possibly because they live in an isolated hostile location, which makes them strong, and creates the almost impervious density of their stone-like structure.
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To say that I was blown away by being here is a huge understatement.
I am hoping the lack of protection afforded the ancient ones is purposeful. They are hard to get to, even harder to hike to, and not very many people know about them. Plus, for much of the year, due to winter snow, they are inaccessible.
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There is nothing here but these living fossils.
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I never knew about these trees, even though I have driven near them all my life to go skiing, and now I can’t even imagine the world without them.
Cheers to you from the ancient ones~

http://www.arizona.edu/keepers-prometheus-worlds-oldest-tree

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_trees

http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=3441