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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Today we celebrated our annual Fort Collins Tour de Fat, where over 20,000 cyclists dressed in outrageous costumes and rode in a bicycle parade through the streets of Fort Collins. This event, sponsored by our own New Belgium brewery was an opportunity for people of all ages to dress their most rad and show off their cycling skills (or not). Tour de Fat is mostly just fun, but it was spawned by our own New Belgium Brewery to celebrate cycling as an efficient and low energy form of transportation as well as a way to raise funds for local bicycling groups.

I wanted to take photos, so I deferred the excitement of riding in the parade, but Peter and I did ride our bikes into town to view all of the goings on. As we got closer to the parade route, we encountered people dressed in their favorite costumes and many who had also made costumes for their bikes, so we rode along with them before finding a spot to watch. When we got to the parade route, there were so many people on the road waiting to start, that it took almost 30 minutes before anyone was able to move forward. We scoped out a prime spot to see the start and finish. Costumes ranged from Sir Lancelot to Carmen Miranda and everything in between. But I think the most popular theme was tutus and butterfly wings.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Mario

Some amazing tall bikes – I don’t know how they managed to stay on these in this crowd.

The bike costume was great in this one.

Ride of the Valkyrie

Eyeball Man

Then I loved the group efforts:

Here’s a dragon bike

Santa’s sleigh

A group of garden gnomes

And Running With the Bulls.

After the parade, we walked through Civic Center Park and enjoyed the main stage entertainment and exhibits. Sorry, no photos of this as I used up my camera battery shooting all the costumes. It was a fun day!

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The Road That Couldn’t Be Built – Saba, Netherlands Antilles

During our week of diving aboard the Caribbean Explorer II, we had a chance to go onshore to the island of Saba. It’s one of the prettiest and most unusual places I have visited in the Caribbean.

With a population of less that 2000, this unique little island hosts a Medical School, four villages and a tiny airport. And its sides are so steep that it has no beaches at all. Saba has one road that goes from the small harbor to the four villages and the airport. Started in 1938, “The Road That Couldn’t Be Built” took twenty years to complete and was designed and masterminded by Josephus Lambert Hassell after he took a correspondence course in civil engineering.

Saba University School of Medicine

We drove through the town of Bottom which hosts The Saba University School of Medicine.

Windwardside, Saba

And we stopped in Windwardside for a few minutes of shopping. Our guide told us that there is a law here requiring all buildings to have red roofs and be painted white.

Juancho E Yrasquin Airport, Saba

Finally our land excursion took us to an overlook of the tiny Saba Airport. With a landing strip of only 400 meters, I’m told that a special certification is required of the pilots that take off and land here.

Diamond Rock Above the Surface

This island is beautiful, both above the water and below it. One of the most spectacular sites I have ever dived is here. Diamond Rock is actually a group of three pyramid-shaped rocks – two of which pierce the surface.

And from a few feet below the surface to a depth of 80 feet or so, these rocks are literally covered in barrel sponges, tube sponges and corals of every imaginable color.

Fortunately, I didn’t let it, since I was scuba diving, but it could have easily taken my breath away!

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St. Kitts Capital City – Basseterre

I just returned last week from a week-long diving trip to the Caribbean. I’ve posted several  articles on my Energy and Healing site here but today, I want to share a short article about a land excursion that Peter I took to the island of St. Kitts.

Originally named Saint Christopher (Kit is a nickname for Christopher) this island was first seen by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the new world in 1493. One account states that he named the island for his patron saint. With the settlement of the island by both the English and the French, it became an important economic power when African slaves were brought in to work in the sugar industry here. Control of the island went back and forth between these two seventeenth century powers with many naval and land battles.

As part of the English attempts (and success) for military control, they built one of the largest forts in the Caribbean on Brimstone Hill. Fort George was established in 1690 and building continued on this site for one hundred years. Called the Gibraltar of the Caribbean, this fort provided an overlook to the sea and a way of protecting the British interests here. However, in 1782, the French laid siege to Brimstone Hill and were successful in capturing the compound until the Treaty of Paris restored it to British Rule in 1783. It is now a Unesco World Heritage site and a remarkable testament to the work of thousands of slaves. While slavery is a dark blot in the history of European colonialization, St. Kitts history does stand out as an early adopter of Emancipation which came to the island in 1835.

Today, St. Kitts’ population of 35,000 relies heavily on tourism and to a lesser degree on agriculture, manufacturing and construction, but it is a relatively poor economy with fewer resorts than many other Caribbean islands.

Our underwater experiences in St. Kitts told of it’s former colonial military history. We saw many three hundred year-old anchors.

Our land excursion took us to Romney Manor. It was originally owned by Samuel Jefferson, the great, great, great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. It is now the home to  the Carabelle Batik Factory where Peter and I bought beautiful batik shirts

Smoke stack at Wingfield Estate

We also visited Wingfield Estate – a former sugar plantation.

Large pot for boiling sugar at Wingfield Estate

Finally, here are some shots from Brimstone Hill National Park.

Inside the Fort

Peter looking dapper

My next post will be about our land excursion to the island of Saba…

Best,

Cathy

©CathyUlrich and LargeSelf, 2012

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