Sunday, July 27, 2014

Historic Lodges of Glacier National Park

We planned our trip to Glacier National Park over a year ago so we could stay in some of the Historical Lodges inside the Park. I love architecture and also the idea of being so close to the trailheads. The first place we stayed was Lake McDonald  Lodge. It is located on the largest lake in the park. Here is the front of the building that backs up to the lake. When it was built in 1913, the only way to the lodge was by boat. All the lodges were built with a Swiss design by the Great Northern railroad. The idea was to get Americans to travel to the USA instead of Europe. This was the smallest with 65 rooms in the lodge. We actually stayed in a cabin right next to the lodge.

This was the most restful place on the trip. It was not crowded and you could walk along the paved walkway from the cabin to the lodge. There was a boat dock it you wanted a ride.

The interior of the main hotel was intended to give the impression of a hunting lodge. There was a massive fireplace inside so big you could stand up in it. It is a National Historic Landmark.

This was our cabin. It had a front porch with two tables and chairs where I ate my breakfast. 

This is the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes Canada. Part of Glacier Park is across the border calling it the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The clientele that stayed here was a bit older with some tour groups. It was named after the Prince of Wales in an attempt to entice him to stay in the hotel on his 1927 Canadian tour. This was built by Mr Hill who kept changing his mind about the architecture that some parts had to be rebuilt four times.  

This was our view from our lakeside room. It was SSOO windy here that the windows rattled all night. It was fun to watch the tourists stand in front of the hotel by the lake getting blown around.

Hill wanted the building to resemble French or Swiss chalets. The final hotel has 86 rooms in seven stories with a 30 foot bell tower. In the interior lobby they hold a daily tea time next to the large picture window. There is a phenomenal view of the lake and mountains.  Many comfy chairs are available to read a book.

Here is the picture window to the lake. 

All the Bellman and women wore kilts and operated the elevator for you.
Our favorite Lodge was the Many Glacier Hotel. They had the best tour by the National Park ranger. This was another lodge built by the Great Northern Railroads. The location was chosen for the view. A gorgeous lake with perfectly symmetrical mountains behind them.

Here is the dining room. The decor had a starling combination of styles. Elements of the American west, swiss Alps, and the Orient.  Japanese parasols and dozens of Oriental lanterns hung overhead.

A beautiful reflection when we woke up one morning and looked out our window.
There were huge Douglas fir trees 36 inches diameter four floors high brought from Washington state. A skyway in the roof made you feel like you were outdoors. The energy here of the guests was very active/ young adult. Everyone was here to hike. Lots of places to hide out with your group to play games, read, eat and drink.

This was the Glacier Lodge Hotel located a block from the Railroad Station. It is still used today by Amtrak for groups.  The trees are used as supports in here as well. They were specially cut before the sap had risen in the trees to ensure the bark stayed attached.  They had live entertainment every night and the best wifi (actually worked).  

This was our Balcony. It was great to watch the storms roll in or to eat breakfast.

The front of the lodge had a beautiful flower garden, a nine hole golf course, and lap sized swimming pool.

I enjoyed looking at the artwork hanging on the second floor.  Different scenes from Glacier Park were illustrated by various artists. Back when these lodges were first built the only way to get to Glacier park was through the trains and then they took horses around the trails. People didn't hike back then.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chihuly Exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens sometimes hosts Artist Sculpture to feature in their gardens. This summer the famous glass artist, Chihuly, has a colorful exhibit interspersed in the different flowers and plants. He makes each piece separately and wires them together to create his art.
Each sculpture blends beautifully with the surrounding type of flower.

My favorite exhibit was the waterlily gardens. I have never seen so many flowers blooming at one time. There were flowers of all colors: pink, red, white.

Chihuly has such a gift of color theory and what colors go well with each part of the garden. Shape is so important too.

Have you ever seen so many water lily flower shapes and colors?

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These glass balls in the boat are so playful

I love these colors in this boat in the pond.

We had a great day on our summer vacation! They also have a movie in the cafe building you can see how and where Chihuly displays his art. Don't miss this exhibit. It is here in Denver until October.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

King's Castles in Germany

Our stay in Germany was in the town of Fussen.  This was a great place to rent bikes to get to and from the castles. We were able to get 24 hour bike rental starting saturday night until we left on Monday morning. It was about 5 mile ride to the ticket booth at the bottom of both castles. It was a nice wooded bike path to get there.

This was a building in Fussen that shows the typical painting around the windows in Germany. It is called Trompe-l'oeil  or illusionary facade painting.  Its made to look 3-D to resemble shutters, bricks, etc. This is the High Castle in Old Town Fussen.

These are the two castles we visited on our trip. The son (mad Ludwig) was building his own castle, he would watch with a telescope from this castle in the foreground.

This castle, Neuschwanstein inspired Walt Disney to build his  castle and was much more crowded. We visited both and chose to walk up to each. You could also take a horse drawn cart to the top. This was insanely large with over 360 rooms. Some interesting rooms were the throne room (looked like a cathedral) and his bedroom that he has gas lights installed in the ceiling to look like stars.  He never allowed anyone to live with him except for his servants. Not even his mom.

This is a view of the older castle, Hohenschwangau. I enjoyed all the beautiful paintings on all the walls. They were done in tempera directly onto the walls with beautiful scenes from the romantic art period.  You can see all the hills and mountains surrounding the castles. The lake to the left that we biked around.

This is lake Forggensee that we rode around. It was 23 miles up and down and took us through many little towns. Some were beaches  with people sunbathing in the water, campgrounds, and little cafes with great views.

It was a 3-1/2 hour ride with amazing views of the alps surrounding us. There were a few uphill strenuous parts but we all made it. It was tricky finding the route at times.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ian's Apartment in Mountainview

Ian started his new job in Mountainview, California. Here is his new apartment. This is the first time he will be on his own without any roommates.  I drove out with him so he could have the car to drive to work.

Mountainview is full of YP's. The main street downtown is called Castro street. There is every ethnic restaurant you can think of with lots of outdoor patio seating.

They have a bike sharing system but not related to B-cycle so I couldn't use it.

There were two Irish pubs.

Tea Shops and lots of new and used bookstores. A great independent bookstore.

There is a performing Arts complex with plays and shows.

There is a laundry room with washers and dryers steps from his front door.

We drove by the LinkedIn complex. There were many different buildings.

Google has bikes for their employees to ride from each building.

Here is the furniture I left Ian with. He picked out a dining room table and chairs. (only could get the chairs home). Ikea tv stand on the left. Still pretty bare. He has lots of room in the living room that he will also use as a dining room on one side.

This is the back patio with a rose bush and some kind of fruit tree.  He has a covered garage he shares with a neighbor.  Looks like a pretty nice place to live or visit. Hope to see some more of the town next time when we are not furniture shopping.