Monday, July 8, 2019

Milan, Genoa, and Lake Como

I flew from Shannon, Ireland to Milan after my tour in Ireland.  KC joined me before our tour of Northern Italy to be start in another week.  We walked extensively in Milan and visited a number of museums.  And we took a train to Genoa to spend 2 nights there before returning to Milan.  While in Milan, we took an excursion to Lake Como (visited Como, Bellegio, and the west side of Lake Como).  Genoa was known as the city of palaces and also the birth place of Christopher Columbus.  One can see much of the evidence of how rich once Genoa was in the 15-16 centuries

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/hgHqM0tXShOkTnUD36GUEw._JQBP_NSDzmoGDd35dytUE

Saturday, July 6, 2019

All We Have Is Now - Northern Italy: The Alps, Dolomites & Lombardy

From June 9 - 23, 2019 KC and I joined the Northern Italy tour offered by OAT.  We have a talented young man Matteo Fulcheri as our Program Director.  There were 13 in the group: The 3 generations (Marge, Jennifer, and Caroline from Little Rock, AR), 2 sisters (Audrey and Robin from MD and VA), 2 couples (Jane and Rob from Upper state NY; Joan and Rudy from Atlanta, GA), Elizabeth from SF, Marcia from Seattle, and KC and I.  The group gelled pretty nicely and I say we genuinely enjoyed each other's company as the tour progressed.  Marge, the grandmother, and I shared a strong view on "All we have is now".  Sometimes the time one shares with fellow travelers could be the best exchanges among human.  We focused on learning and discovery, enjoyment (very nice food, wine, scenery.....), joking and laughing, lots of exercise (walking), witty conversations.......and friendliness and kindness.  And in a little shop in Bressanone I found a t-shirt with "All We Have is Now" printed on it.  I bought it and felt how fitting this t-shirt is with my mood.

Matteo sent us three group pictures:

At the peak of almost 10,000 ft, with the snow capped Alpine in the backdrop:
With Dolomite behind us:
The first row, Audrey, Christina, Matteo, second row: Robin, Elizabeth, Jane, KC, Marcia, Marge, third row: Rob, Joan, Rudy, Caroline, and Jennifer
 Another view at the Dolomite,  with Ladin Valley behind us:


The link below is a collection of pictures with various group members:

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/LgDjanlERDCgtEHCc34brg.Rv9n6UPBBDrB6DbMckBDwL

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Tour of Ireland

I joined Tom and Janice, along with my classmate Joan on an Ireland in Depth tour offered by GCT.  So from May 18 - 31, we rode a bus starting from Dublin (visited the immigrant museum, the Trinity College with the book of Kell, St Patrick's garden, the Guiness Storehouse, the Archaeological museum), then onward through Glendalough, Avoca Handweavers, Kilkenny (saw the hurling demonstration), Waterford (visited the crystal factory, and walked along the waterfront with some Viking exhibits) , Cahir Castle, Cork (listened to a wonderful local guide Mike, and had a home hosted visit by his wife), , Blarney Castle, sheep farm visit, Killarney, missed seeing the gorgeous Cliffs of Moher due to heavy rain,  drove by the Burren and finally arrived Galway. We had a nice visit to the Kylemore Abbey while staying in Galway.   Tom and Janice had to leave one day earlier to attend a memorial service in Philadelphia.  Joan and I stayed two extra nights in Galway after the main tour was completed.  I was quite delighted by the quiet beauty of Galway.

I learned quite a bit of the Ireland history and felt very sorry for this nation.  They had suffered so much from the invaders, and they took pride in many of their heroes who became famous after immigrated to countries like US, Canada, Australia, etc. The great potato famine
led to the local rich land owners drove people off the island to avoid heavy taxation from England.  I felt a sense of melancholy during the tour perhaps partly because of the not so sunny weather. 

While I enjoyed the Irish jokes, I cannot help thinking these people seem to have adopted an attitude of how can you take life so seriously anyway?! The music also carries a sad tune.

I collected some pictures I took in the following link:

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/csO2V-KHTaeQtqDEfw6pWg.7qxl1ErR5oWsk7SQvEt2Pw

A little hike on a Tuesday

Rosie said she has been stressed out at work, and wanted to do a long hike to decompress. We agree to do a hike on Tuesday just because it is a weekday. Andrea has to take a day off too. Her daughter commented "You are taking a Tuesday off?"  See, it is a big deal all right. I made some tea eggs for us the night before.  They came to my place first and we headed out in one car to the Oregon Ridge Park.  It is not a big park, but the trees are so green and the setting so pretty and peaceful.  We hiked 8.25 miles and had a little picnic by the pond, eating the tea eggs, dried fish from Iceland (brought back by Rosie from her recent trip), snacks brought by Andrea (roasted chestnuts, oriental cracks), blue berries and some apple slices. The worries were put behind a little bit.



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I am thankful for my family

I received flowers and a card on Mother's Day from my niece's family!  A very nice gesture from them indeed.  I always consider the families of my brothers my own family, and I am grateful for them in my life.  May they all be under the love and guidance of our Lord.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Gathering with families and friends are always fun

On Easter Sunday, Steven and Elizabeth hosted a party in celebration of David's first communion.  The weather was glorious!  The gathering was delicious and joyful.  And we remember all the people we love.

Matthew is taller than me, and David is catching up so fast!
 So handsome!!
 On the deck,
The following morning, the East Coast friends of Shu Road from 2017 gathered for a Chinese meal, and enjoyed the lovely dessert prepared by Ginny.

In the dining room of Ginny and Phil:

Friday, April 19, 2019

Shu Road and HuaShan

I went back to Shu Road again as a member of the group led by Hope.  Prior to the group tour, Steve, Hope and I took a cooking lesson in ChengDu.  After the group's tour, Hope and I took a train from ChengDu to HuaShan for another hike.

The cooking class:
The front door to the Chili Cool Cooking Class:Chef Chen is in the middle.  Winter is to the far left:
We usually go to the wet market to get fresh ingredients, cook, then enjoy the dishes.  It was a lot of fun.
 The above was a freshly killed rabbit.


 Traditional market always has "other" business like cloth repair or alteration...real estate for sale....




Chef Chen:


Examples of some finished dishes:






Goofed around.  We each got a chef's outfit:



Steve sent me some pictures he took from the cooking class and the Shu Road tour:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/meicndhlalv1aoi/AAC7XmP6gvCpYl9VAxVGju9Da?dl=0

Shu Road:
The rape seed flowers this year was even more full than last year!






I wish long, long, long live the cypress trees:

 Three tree climbing senior citizens:

 The little cypress tree planted by us.  I wish it grow big, stronger, and live for a long, long, long time!
 A friendship originated from walking the Shu Road:
My best wishes to all the people I have loved in my short existence in this universe.
HuaShan:
We had a wonderful time hiking in HuaShan.  A few pictures are shown in the following link:

https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/Bufim4hvTnmbUOOoFNAGlQ.AqzMPGA0TWkgLKOU5g3XG5