Category Archives: Travel

River Street

River Street in Savannah is a great place for touristy shopping and dining.  We had dinner at Wet Willie’s on Saturday night after walking the mile up and down trying to find anyplace with a minimal wait.  My biggest gripe with this part of Savannah is the Hyatt that distracts from this great riverfront area.

Historic Savannah

"Old Savannah Tours" trolley.
“Old Savannah Tours” trolley.

In all my visits to Savannah, I never have gotten past River Street and Tybee Island.  Thanks to a family friend, we were hooked up with a day pass for Old Savannah Tours.  The tours are conducted on buses that look like trolleys and has many stops all over the historic district.  This was a great way to see the city.  We had an “on and off” pass and would go to a stop, get off the trolley, and see the sights in that vicinity.  Depending on where the next stop was, we would either walk or hop back on the tour.

Between the old homes, mansions, shops and squares, I fell in love with Savannah.  I found it magical and serene and something for the eyes at every corner.  The city squares were all a little different and beautiful and this was winter.  I can only imagine this place in the spring or summer.

If you make it to Savannah, block out a whole day for these tours.  We definitely were able to see much more than if we had tried to sightsee by foot or car.

See other Savannah Posts

Bonaventure Cemetery

Even though it is not “The Garden of Good and Evil” from the book it definitely has become more popular thanks to John Berendt.  I have been to Savannah many times but this was my first visit to Bonaventure.  To say it took my breath away is an understatement.  It is the most hauntingly beautiful place I have ever seen and absolutely no way to capture its magic on film.  Walking among the graves and Spanish moss, there is a very surreal peaceful feeling that overcomes you.

These photos were taken in the winter, I definitely have to plan a trip in the spring to see all the flowers.

Related:  Little Gracie Watson

Fort Pulaski

Being a Civil War history buff, I always try to stop by Fort Pulaski whenever I am in Savannah.  Construction on the fort began in 1829 after President James Madison ordered a new system of coastal fortifications following the war of 1812.  The fort has over 25,000,000 bricks with walls 11 feet thick.  During the civil war the confederates held the fort until April of 1862 when the Union Army attacked with 36 new rifled cannons.  These new cannons were accurate up to 4-5 miles and the damage to fort can still be seen.  The Union army easily took the fort and used it as a prison and held it until the end of the war.

This is a wonderful well preserved fort from the civil war and is east of Savannah near Tybee Island.

Four Years Down Under

In the summer of 1988, I was 23 years old.  I had finished my degree in Architectural Engineering, had a steady girlfriend, a great job, my own place…life was good.  My parents had me over for dinner and announced my dad was being transferred to Australia for 3 years with General Electric.  I was not invited.  It was not a rude uninvited, but a logistical not invited.  After all I was gone from the nest, time for me to move on……

university-of-melbourne-logo-297x300Doing some research I discovered Australia was a much socialized country.  I discovered I could go to college there and pursue a 4 year degree with minimal cost.  I knew that was an argument I could win and I did.

So I dumped my girlfriend, sold my car, got rid of all my belongings except for personal items and prepared to go Down Under.

The process to get residency visas was quite intense.  I was fingerprinted, probed, background check by the FBI and stacks of paper work.  At the end of the process I was given permanent residency in Australia.

In February of 1989, we boarded our first of several flights in Nashville, Tennessee.  Our first stop was the Dallas-Fort Worth airport for a 2 hour layover, then a 4 hour flight to Los Angeles.  Arriving in LA we had a 4 hour layover which was quite boring.  As the time got closer for our departure to Honolulu we made our way to the gate where I got my first close-up view of a Qantas 747.  Immediately my mind went to how does something this size get off the ground?  We finally boarded and inside the plane my mind went to how does something this size get off the ground?  Starting at the side there were 3 seats, an aisle, 6 center seats, an aisle and 3 more seats.  I had been in smaller theaters.  Amazingly the plane got off the ground and I found myself in Hawaii at 2:00AM.

Qantas 747
Qantas 747

Landing in Honolulu was rather nerve-racking as the runway is built out into the ocean.  This large building with wings was dropping altitude on its approach and looking out the window I could see the ocean and Hawaii in the distance.  Well the ocean kept getting closer and closer as we kept descending and kept descending.  I started getting nervous as the water got closer and closer.  Just about the time I started to wonder how cold the water was going to be, a runway appeared below us and we made a very smooth landing.

At the gate we had to deplane for 2 hours via a rolling stair which is a lot of steps getting off a 747.  I recall the humidity and warmth as I exited the plane was quite palatable and there were palm trees everywhere.  Paradise for 2 hours.

The next leg of the journey to Sydney was 9 hours…..Oh boy!  The only redeeming value was that Qantas serves free alcohol.  So I settled with several adult beverages, a movie and a nap.

Now somewhere between Honolulu and Sydney something went way wrong with my inner ears and I still suffer effects to this day.  We, again, deplaned for a 2 hour layover.  In the waiting area I developed severe vertigo and could not stand up.  My dad had to almost carry me back on the plane.  I was feeling reasonable for the hour flight to Melbourne.

After 23 hours of travel we finally arrived in Melbourne Australia.  When I got up to get off the plane I almost fell over and they ended up getting a wheel chair for me.  So there I was being wheeled through immigration and then customs at start of an awesome new journey.

Melbourne, Austalia
Melbourne, Austalia

It was about a 45 minute taxi ride through the city of Melbourne to our new home in Brighton Beach, south of the city.  I was not feeling well and the whole trip was very surreal from the G’day greetings we got at the airport, the steering wheel in the cab on the wrong side and that it was February and about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

We arrived at the furnished company house about 2 blocks from the beach with only the luggage we had brought on the plane, 3 suitcases each.  The rest of our stuff and furniture was on a boat somewhere and would be 3 months before we saw it.  I spent the first few days lying in bed as I slowly got past the vertigo and dizziness.  I remember my first few outings were to the beach where I was able to confirm that many of the women did in fact not wear tops.  It was awesome!

Thus began my four years Down Under.  As I have time, I will post pictures and tell you about my many adventures.

Georgia State Insane Asylum

Love this shot
Love this shot, Main Entrance

You may have noticed I like to explore old buildings, ruins and other creepy things.  Planning our trip to Savannah I discovered an abandoned insane asylum in Milledgeville, Georgia. It was originally started in 1837 when Georgia politicians passed a bill calling for the creation of a “State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum.” Continue reading Georgia State Insane Asylum

The Gateway Arch

These photos were taken in 1988 on a real short weekend trip to St. Louis.  The Gateway Arch is a magnificent structure with awesome views.  The elevator itself is quite the adventure.  It rotates in a jerky fashion as it maneuvers the curve of the Arch.

Precious Moments

While living in Australia I was asked by a lady to photograph her children for dress patterns she had made.  I just discovered the 20 plus year old slides in a box.  I am a little bummed at their quality but the pictures are very precious.

The girls are not looking happy in a few as they were supposed to be upset that their kite got stuck in a tree…..