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Category Archives: Blog

Waterfalls

Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

One thing that is happening when you walk on the promenade to the Canadian falls at Niagara is that at one point you’ll get soaked. And even if you are folded in a rain cover your pants would be completely wet even if you go there for a moment to take just a couple of photos.

Canadian Falls

The spray from the waterfall is not like rain but as a mass of water in which you get immersed. And when this happens in November with the snow of the ground and temperature around freezing even on a rainbowy sunny day, you cannot but question your decision to go and take that photo. The previous evening because of well under freezing temperatures the spray did not look so bad because it resembled an ice rain that somehow did not soak you completely.

Rainbow on Niagara Falls promenade, ON, Canada

And this is what actually happened with me during the day, soaked by the waterfall spray in no time like I were under sheets of rain. Drenched! But surprisingly, in spite of the cold weather, after probably about half an hour the pants were almost dry and the uncomfortable feeling went away.

American Falls

Luckily not the same happens when you are around the American Falls where it was pleasant and dry.

Niagara on the Lake, ON, Canada

So to get away from the drenching feeling we drove about 15 miles to Niagara on the Lake, a charming town on the shore of Lake Ontario with a very British atmosphere and remarkable shops and restaurants, probably the best place to visit in the area beside the spectacular waterfalls.

Niagara on the Lake, ON, Canada

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2019 in Blog, Canada

 

Winter wonderland

Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

The “Festival of Lights” opening in Niagara Falls in Canada marks the beginning of the winter season in Canada with chills well under freezing but with a warm show of colored lights, spread all over the plain near the waterfall.

Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

The falls are lit from the Canadian side in all colors that occasionally are painted with a pulsating color rainbow that warm up the chilly air and the snow on the ground.

Canada’s Niagara Falls

The opening of the “Festival of Lights” marks also the first winter Saturday when fireworks lit the sky twice per evening and people brace the chill and dare the vapors from the falls dropping on them as freezing rain in order to watch the mesmerizing spectacle.

Fireworks at the Falls

Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2019 in Blog, Canada

 

Bull Hill

Ruins on the Bull Hill Trail, Hudson Valley

Bull Hill is towering over Cold Spring, NY. The views from the top are spectacular all the way to New York City whose skyscrapers could be seen on a good day.

Towards the Bull Hill, Hudson Valley, NY

The entire hike is ridden with ruins from all farms and mills hidden in the woods, on a once very prosperous Hudson Valley.

More ruins on the Bull Hill Trail

The loop hike that goes all the way on top of the hill that looks to be even higher than the nearby Breakneck Ridge, is about 7-8 miles (3-4 hours) with many beautiful viewpoints surrounded by a forest covered in yellow leaves.

Manhattan seen from Bull Hill, Hudson Valley, NY

Cold Spring and the Hudson

Cornish residence

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2019 in Blog, USA

 

Halloween

Haloween in the Village, NYC

Haloween in the Village, NYC

The bad wolf

Bear in the subway

Death running scared from Google Building

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2019 in Blog, USA

 

“The genius of our great President”

When I hear this phrase from the new Miss Piggy named Grisham I cannot stop thinking about another one declared by sycophants to be a “genius” under whose rule I was forced to live in Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu. He was the “genius of the Carpathians”, “the flag of the Romanian wisdom”, “the architect of the nation”, “celestial body”, “demiurge”, “secular god”, “fir tree”, “morning star”, “navigator”, “saviour”, “sun” , “titan” and “visionary”. Of course, I did not envision in my wildest dreams that I would encounter another “genius” during my life time but here we are, I have to endure another one. In Romania, grace to the revolution-coup, we know how “the genius” ended so we watch with interest the daily political circus staring this new “genius” to see how the end will be. Impeachment or cholesterol? Meanwhile, I cannot stop being mesmerized watching the sycophants in the GOP who would do anything to ingratiate themselves to the will of their president expecting just a tiny bite from the thrown bone. They are so resemblant to the Romanian communist activists that I sometimes wake up from my dreams afraid that I did not defect Communist Romania.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2019 in Blog, USA

 

Dutchess Rail Trail to New Paltz

Dutchess Rail Trail, Hopewell Junction, NY

We biked this trail about two years ago from Hopewell Junction Depot to the spectacular “Walkway over the Hudson”, the old rail bridge converted to a state park. The views are spectacular and the bridge was full of people strolling between the two sides of the majestic Hudson.

The view from Walkaway over the Hudson bridge

When we came today, we were told by other bikers that the trail was extended all the way to the charming town of New Paltz, a project about which I heard many times before that was supposed to happen. And more than that, we witnessed the dedication of a plaque for this part of the trail for Claire and Ray Constatino who were in the audience for their vision in extending this route. Right at the entrance to the trail was added also an air pump for all valve types and tools to change your tires!

The extension trail to New Paltz

The entire route is on a very well paved trail that goes through the woods coming close to the road as we approached New Paltz. It enters New Paltz on Route 299 and after that veers off on the road but you can continue all the way to Huguenot Street on the sidewalk or on the road for less than half a mile.

The extension trail to New Paltz, NY

From Hopewell Junction Depot all the way to New Paltz there are about 45 miles RT.

New Paltz, NY

A map posted at the entrance of this part of the route showed also the entire bike trail that was built till now that goes from Westchester all the way to Buffalo. Almost the entire route is made out of off-road trail with very few segments that are shown to be on the road.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2019 in Blog, USA

 

“Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President”

A powerful woman against a coward schmuck

If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.

By

Admiral McRaven is a former commander of the United States Special Operations Command.

Oct. 17, 2019

“Last week I attended two memorable events that reminded me why we care so very much about this nation and also why our future may be in peril.

The first was a change of command ceremony for a storied Army unit in which one general officer passed authority to another. The second event was an annual gala for the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) Society that recognizes past and present members of the intelligence and Special Operations community for their heroism and sacrifice to the nation. What struck me was the stark contrast between the words and deeds heralded at those events — and the words and deeds emanating from the White House.

On the parade field at Fort Bragg, N.C., where tens of thousands of soldiers have marched either preparing to go to war or returning from it, the two generals, highly decorated, impeccably dressed, cleareyed and strong of character, were humbled by the moment.

They understood the awesome responsibility that the nation had placed on their shoulders. They understood that they had an obligation to serve their soldiers and their soldiers’ families. They believed in the American values for which they had been fighting for the past three decades. They had faith that these values were worth sacrificing everything for — including, if necessary, their lives.

Having served with both officers for the past 20 years, I know that they personified all that is good and decent and honorable about the American military with genuineness of their humility, their uncompromising integrity, their willingness to sacrifice all for a worthy cause, and the pride they had in their soldiers.

Later that week, at the O.S.S. Society dinner, there were films and testimonials to the valor of the men and women who had fought in Europe and the Pacific during World War II. We also celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, recognizing those brave Americans and allies who sacrificed so much to fight Nazism and fascism. We were reminded that the Greatest Generation went to war because it believed that we were the good guys — that wherever there was oppression, tyranny or despotism, America would be there. We would be there because freedom mattered. We would be there because the world needed us and if not us, then who?

Also that evening we recognized the incredible sacrifice of a new generation of Americans: an Army Special Forces warrant officer who had been wounded three times, the most recent injury costing him his left leg above the knee. He was still in uniform and still serving. There was an intelligence officer, who embodied the remarkable traits of those men and women who had served in the O.S.S. And a retired Marine general, whose 40 years of service demonstrated all that was honorable about the Corps and public service.

But the most poignant recognition that evening was for a young female sailor who had been killed in Syria serving alongside our allies in the fight against ISIS. Her husband, a former Army Green Beret, accepted the award on her behalf. Like so many that came before her, she had answered the nation’s call and willingly put her life in harm’s way.

For everyone who ever served in uniform, or in the intelligence community, for those diplomats who voice the nation’s principles, for the first responders, for the tellers of truth and the millions of American citizens who were raised believing in American values — you would have seen your reflection in the faces of those we honored last week.

These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press. They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, “I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!”

Those words echoed with me throughout the week. It is easy to destroy an organization if you have no appreciation for what makes that organization great. We are not the most powerful nation in the world because of our aircraft carriers, our economy, or our seat at the United Nations Security Council. We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate.

But, if we don’t care about our values, if we don’t care about duty and honor, if we don’t help the weak and stand up against oppression and injustice — what will happen to the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Syrians, the Rohingyas, the South Sudanese and the millions of people under the boot of tyranny or left abandoned by their failing states?

If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military? And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us — where will the world end up?

President Trump seems to believe that these qualities are unimportant or show weakness. He is wrong. These are the virtues that have sustained this nation for the past 243 years. If we hope to continue to lead the world and inspire a new generation of young men and women to our cause, then we must embrace these values now more than ever.

And if this president doesn’t understand their importance, if this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”

William H. McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, is a former commander of the United States Special Operations Command and former chancellor of the University of Texas system
 
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Posted by on October 18, 2019 in Blog, USA