Hotel de Ville


Paris is a city of beauty and wonder. As I strolled about the city, I constantly found new things which caught my gaze because of their splendor.

Hôtel de Ville.

I love the architecture found in Paris and the Hôtel de Ville was quite spectacular. It is located in the 4th arrondissement on place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. It is the City Hall and houses the city’s local administration.


It has been the headquarters for the municipality since 1357.

The original building was a mansion called maison aux piliers “House of Pillars”. In 1533, King Francis I decided the city should have a city hall worthy of Paris. After that, the House of Pillars was torn down and the new building, which was completed in 1628, was erected.

During the Franco-Prussian War, the building played a key role in events. One of which was that the Paris Commune chose the Hôtel de Ville as its headquarters. As the anti-Commune approached the building, the Communards set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying almost all extant public records from the French Revolutionary period and leaving just the shell of the building.


The Reconstruction lasted from 1873 to 1892. The interior was rebuilt inside the shell. The architectural style is neo-renaissance.

According the the Paris Visitors Bureau, it is possible to set a reservation for a guided tour.


Ceremonial Doors.

Not only did the building catch my eye, but the ceremonial doors are quite spectacular. When I saw them, I knew that I needed to capture them for all the Thursday Doors fans.

I don’t read French, but I can tell that the inscription on the doors is referencing September 4, 1870, the day when the Third Republic was proclaimed.


This history from Versailles sheds some light on the turmoil surrounding those times. The Third Republic would be definitively established in January 1875. The establishment would come down to a single deciding vote, and three amendments later, the 1875 constitution would remain in force until 1940.

We took a day trip out to Versailles. You can find my posts from the visit to the Palace here and here. We also made sure to visit the Queen’s Hamlet.


The statues along the building are magnificent. There were around 230 sculptors who were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians, along with other sculptures.

From left to right, the best that I can read are: H. Estienne, P de Viole, F. Miron, and M. Lallier.

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Clock Tower.

While I didn’t have the best lens for the job, I did want to give you a closer view of the clock tower. You can also see some more of the many statues.


The Hôtel de Ville is a very grand and extensive building. However, I didn’t want to leave you without a view of the facade.  In the distance, you can see the bronze sculptures which were flanking the gates where I stood to take the photos. The sculptures are titled Art by Laurent Marqueste and Science by Jules Blanchard.

Paris Square.

The square is the the oldest in Paris. This area was the principal port of Paris for centuries. From 1310 to 1832, it was Paris’s principal place of execution.

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom all of the history that took place in one location.

Today, the area is teeming with vibrant locals and tourists, all strolling along admiring the beauty of Paris.


Let your light shine!



Hiking Mill Mountain Star Trail


Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors and in nature. As most of you know, the cold and I don’t get along very well. Due to that fact, I use every sunny opportunity to get outdoors in the winter.

Mill Mountain Star Trail.

In my Friday Faves post a few week ago, I mentioned that the hubby and I had hiked the Mill Mountain Star Trail here in Roanoke. That time, I didn’t bring along my camera, but as I shared last Friday we once again took advantage of a sunny day and went on the hike again. This time, I brought the camera.

Mill Mountain Park.

Mill Mountain Park spans 568 acres. Along with all of the amenities located within the park, there are also multi-use trails.  Mountain Bikers can use all the trails except the Watchtower Trail and the Star Trail. Hikers may use any of the trails.


As I mentioned before, we choose to park in the car parking lot at 1208 Riverland Road. You can also park at the Mill Mountain Star and access the trail from the top.

We prefer to access it from this point because the ascent is on the front side of the hike. Also, once you reach the summit, there are benches and bathrooms. I prefer that in the middle of the hike vs. on the front or back end of the hike.

The parking lot is not very large and can fill quickly.

As you can see from the view in the opposite direction of the trail, Roanoke has a history as an Industrial Town. In fact, that segment is still in operation as an Industrial Center.

Star Trail / Woodthrush Connector.

From the parking lot, you begin the hike on a gravel path known as the Star Trail/ Woodthrush Connector.

You then reach the intersection where the two separate and we followed the Star Trail.

Star Trail.

The Star Trail is marked by a yellow blaze. It is hiker only, considered more difficult, and is 1.38 miles long (one way).

On our second hike, the green was beginning to sprout a little more. I suspect that as we move into spring, the trail will begin to look like an enchanted forest.

Fishburn Parkway.

The Star Trail crosses Fishburn Parkway.

Beware of cars and bicyclists as you cross the road. I’m pretty sure the bicyclists coming downhill are traveling much faster than any car. The cars heading uphill have a blind corner if they aren’t prepared for the fact that there is a pedestrian crossing ahead.

It’s really not a scary as it sounds! Just use common sense when crossing.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

To get to the other side!

Okay, I had no real segway. I just wanted to show you that after you ascend the stairs, the hike climbs upward.

Some people cut off the first part of the hike by parking in the visible pull off area on Fishburn. However, there is only room for two cars.


Star Trail / Monument Trail.

After some more hiking, you come to the intersection of the Star Trail and Monument Trail.

Monument Trail uses a white blaze, it is multi-use, is considered more difficult, and is 1.55 miles long. I have not hiked this trail yet.

We continue along the Star Trail until we reach the summit. According to the trail run project, the ascent of the trail is 631 feet.

If you recall when I hiked Dragon’s Tooth, the elevation change was 1500 feet, so I had no problem with the elevation change.

I had dusted off my Fitbit for my March Challenge and it claimed that I climbed about 65 flights of stairs. My iPhone was in the backpack that the hubby was toting and it claimed 30 flights of stairs.

Whatever the case, your legs will get a nice workout.


Many of you know that my posts are always photo heavy. I love taking photos. I also love research and know the amount of photos an average viewer will look at before they begin scrolling past (hint: it’s 5).

However, I know that you aren’t average and I feel like using more photos is the best way to walk you through the journey. BUT…if you feel differently, by all means let me know because as much as I hate culling my photographs… I can.

I captured many scenes that I considered to be treasures along the Star Trail. I’ve culled all but the photo of the Converse tossed over the power line at the summit of the trail. If in the future, I create a photo series of the treasures, I will come back an link it in this post.

Mill Mountain Star.

One of the highlights at the top of the Star Trail…is the actual Mill Mountain Star. I shared details about the Star when I gave you a photo tour of Roanoke.

The Summit.

There is an overlook at the Roanoke Star which gives you views of downtown Roanoke.

There are also bathrooms and a parking lot located here. A short walk around the park brings you to another overlook, a playground, Mill Mountain Zoo, another parking lot, and picnic tables.

The day that we hiked the Star Trail, many people were taking advantage of the sunshine.

There were children scrambling around the playground, squealing with delight. There were a couple of kids kicking a soccer ball back and forth. Dogs on leashes sniffed the ground.

There was a couple having lunch at the picnic table located on the overlook. There were crowds at the Star overlook, looking down into the city along with a group of college students asking somebody to take their photo in front of the Star.

All of us looking for a reprieve from the cabin fever that winter can bring.

Mill Mountain Star Trail sign in Roanoke, Virginia

The Way Back Home.

After taking in the beauty of the day, we began our descent.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!




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Houseboat of Amsterdam Part Twee (Two)

Houseboats of Amsterdam Part Twee (Two)


Although my time spent in Amsterdam was very brief, I loved every minute of it. We filled our days with many adventures.

One of those adventures was a boat tour through the canals of Amsterdam.



Amsterdam’s canals are filled with houseboats. In fact there are around 2,500 legally moored houseboats in the more than 100 km of canals found in Amsterdam. But you may have already known that fact. Especially, if you’ve read Part One of my Houseboats of Amsterdam series.

Let’s head off for part two.

It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure.

– Robert Kurson

To live is the rarest thing in the world.

Most people exist, that is all.

– Oscar Wilde

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

– Susan Sontag

If you think adventure is dangerous. Try routine. It’s lethal.

– Paulo Coelho

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

– Helen Keller

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.

– A.A. Milne


I hope you’ve enjoyed this houseboat tour of Amsterdam.

If you’re a fan of doors, be sure to hop over to Norm’s blog where door lovers of the world meet each Thursday.

If you’d like to see more posts from my time in Amsterdam, you can read about our visit to the Anne Frank house here. I’ve also shared about stumbling into the red light district with a set of teens.

If you are a fan of architecture you can find a tour of doors here or a stroll along the streets here.

Of course, another thing that Amsterdam is well known for is all of the bikes and I’ve share some photographs of them in this post.

Have you visited Amsterdam? What was your favorite place to visit?

Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures. -Lewis Carroll

Let your light shine!




Views From The Top Of Princes Street Suites

Edinburgh, Scotland.

Old Calton Burial Ground Cemetery in Edinburgh Scotland

Do you remember last month when I shared the photo above?

If not, it was when I shared about our stay at Princes Street Suites in Edinburgh. This was one of the views from the rooftop terrace.

At the time, I promised a future post with more views from the rooftop terrace of Princes Street Suites.

Photography Series.

Today’s photography series does just that. The following photos were taken from the rooftop of the hotel over the course of our two stays there.

I would have loved to have captured even more photos, but between rain and spending time actually walking around the city, I only got up there a few times.

Old Calton Cemetery.

The hotel is located beside the Old Calton Cemetery. You can see the obelisk and the Governor’s House, which I shared about in my post about the hotel.

Arthur’s Seat.

Arthur’s Seat is the peak rising up in the background. It’s an ancient volcano whose highest point reaches 823 feet (251 meters). Many people hike to the top for beautiful views of the city.

An interesting fact that I learned while on a bus tour was  that traditionally on May Day, young women would climb the hillside to wash their face in the dew. Legend was that this would keep them looking youthful and beautiful.

One of the ways to hike to begin the hike to Arthur’s Seat is along the Radical Road . The Radical Road was built by unemployed weavers, following their failed efforts during the Radical War of 1820.

That Scottish Insurrection came as a result of social unrest from workers fed up with what they perceived as unjust working and living condition from the government. April 3, 1820 gave rise to a national strike that began in Glasgow. After King George IV visited the city in 1822, Sir Walter Scott suggested that the unemployed weavers could build a footpath. (The Scotsman).

On my visit, we were hoping to walk a least part of the Radical Road.

If you’ve followed our ancestral journey, then you are familiar with the fact that many of my ancestors are from the region around Glasgow and that at minimum my Baird line held weavers, hence our trip to Airdrie where we had an 1841 census stating that James Baird was a Hand Loom Weaver, living on Flowerhill Street.

We did not have a chance to make it to the Radical Road on that journey, but we will be back in Edinburgh in May and are planning to at least set foot on the road.

The City of Edinburgh Council.

The building in the the foreground is Edinburgh’s  city council building.

The Arches.

In the foreground is The Arches. The Arches at New Waverly is a shopping and eating destination. They are located on East Market Street, near the Royal Mile and Waverly Station.

Jury’s Inn.

The road above The Arches and on which you can see the Jury’s Inn is Jeffrey Street.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Rooftop Terrace.

Oh! Hey there! Don’t mind me.

Following along with the view behind me…

North Bridge.

The North Bridge is a road bridge that connects Princes Street with the High Street. It is the connector between New Town and Old Town. The first bridge was built between 1763 and 1772 and stood until 1896, when it was demolished to make way for the current bridge.

The Scotsman Hotel.

Given that this shot was captured around sunset (which is quite late at the beginning of June), the signs are slightly harder to read. However, the building to the right of the bridge is The Scotsman Hotel. The 1905 Baroque building once held The Scotsman, Scotland’s national newspaper. The hotel took its name from that fact.

City Art Centre.

You can also see the City Art Centre building located beside the giant crane. The aim of this museum is to champion historic and contemporary Scottish visual and applied arts. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday and admission is usually free.

The Hub.

The spire rising up in the background is The Hub. You might recognize it from my Doors of Edinburgh series.

The Mound

The green dome is Lloyds Banking Group Scottish Headquarters located on The Mound. The building was built in 1806 as the Head Office of the Bank of Scotland. You can read more about the fascinating history of the building here.

Edinburgh Castle.

Continuing on, you can Edinburgh Castle rising up in the distance. Archaeologists have established human occupation of Castle Rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd Century AD)!

Waverley Station.

In the foreground, you can see triangular patterns of the Waverley Station roof.

City view of Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh Waverley.

For perspective on the roof, this photo is taken from Waterloo Place looking down Calton Road. Princes Street Suites is to your right and The Arches are in the background.

The Balmoral Hotel.

The Balmoral Hotel was originally named the North British Station Hotel. It was built in 1902.

You can learn quite a few amazing facts while taking a bus tour of the city. One of those facts that I learned is that the clock in the clock tower is set three minutes fast. Located beside Waverly Station, this setting is started so that travelers wouldn’t miss their trains. To this day, it still runs three minutes fast, except on Hogmanay (December 31st).

The Balmoral Hotel is one of the most photographed sights, second only to Edinburgh Castle.

As we passed by the entrance, there were always kilted doorman waiting for guests. The hotel has hosted many famous people. One of which is J.K. Rowling, who finished the Harry Potter series in a hotel suite here. This is where she famously (or infamously) graffitied a bust in the room stating that fact.

You can see between the first photo and the second that the flags had been lowered to half staff. The terror attack on London Bridge took place while we were in Glasgow.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Edinburgh from the rooftop.

IMG_5733 2.PNGLet your light shine!


Megan Whitmarsh "Your thoughts are forming the world" installation at Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia

Megan Whitmarsh at Taubman Museum of Art

Roanoke, Virginia.

Most of you know by now that I’ve been living in Roanoke, Virginia for the past 4 1/2 years. While the raising of my teenagers keeps me quite busy (I often wear the hat of chauffeur), I do occasionally get to spend some time discovering the city. Now that two of my three teens drive and the youngest will only travel with soccer in the fall, I hope to do quite a bit more exploring.

However, I did get a chance for a local outing during the first weekend in January.

Taubman Museum of Art.

Most times that I find myself in downtown Roanoke, I will also find myself popping in to the Taubman Museum of Art. Located at 110 Salem Ave SE, the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. The architecture of the building is stunning both in its interior and its exterior.

Then, of course, it is filled with magnificent pieces of art.

I’ve shared part of my outing to the museum in the post about the art of Paul Villinski. I also gave a sneak peek at the work by another artist in Edition 48 of Friday Faves.

All is Possible necklace from art installation. Megan Whitmarsh.

Megan Whitmarsh.

You might recall my sharing of the above photo in that sneak peek. This is from Your Thoughts Are Forming the World by Megan Whitmarsh.

As I shared in that post, Megan Whitmarsh is an American Contemporary Artist based in Los Angeles. The entire piece creates the “impression” of a 1970′ female artist’s working studio.

I have chosen to photograph pieces of the installation rather than the whole and have also not photographed all of the pieces.

The exhibition was only on view until February 11, 2018, but you can check out her website here.

Avant Garde.

I find art to be a very subjective thing. What one person likes, another may not and also the same in reverse. Perhaps what draws you to a piece of art may not be the same thing that pulls on another. I am not a fan of declaring interpretations of what the artist meant. If the artist did not tell you what they meant, then you speak from no place of authority (I feel the same way about interpretations on works of literature). However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t draw your own conclusions about how the art makes you feel or what it makes you think.

I am a child of the late 70’s (’77 to be exact) so while I was drawn to certain components it was not necessarily because I was familiar with the background. Take for instance the Avant Garde portion of the piece. I’d heard the term, but wasn’t familiar with the fact that  Avant-Garde magazine was published January of 1968 to July of 1971. I liked this piece because it looked like a magazine place haphazardly (although it’s likely it location was specific) on the floor. Plus the red lips made me think about Classic Hollywood. Apparently the magazine is one that broke many taboos.

Stand on Moon.

I liked this portion because it said “Giant Step for Woman”.

During the 60’s and 70’s there was a large push for equal rights for women. While there are still disparities between the equality of the genders (I’m talking….equal pay for the same exact education and job description), I’d like to think that we are moving steadily toward the day when that becomes a reality.

Real Magic.

Who doesn’t love a bulletin board filled with lots of interesting pieces? I was enamored by the thought and effort it must have taken to create each word-filled piece. That was the real magic to me.


I think the thing I most enjoyed about this collection was that it felt like life.

I am not a 70’s female artist with a working studio. However, I do have a little slant-ceilinged room with a desk where I write and edit my photos.

I have once had a banana peel sitting on my desk. It was waiting for me to carry it downstairs when the time came to leave my “office”. I have a Travel + Leisure magazine tossed haphazardly on my office floor, waiting for me to decide if I’ve finished reading it.

Amongst the random bits around the room are a wooden dowel and rope to try my attempt at macramé, a shell and bundle of sage, some lip balm, and essential oil to diffuse during my meditation time (which I do in the other half of the tiny space).

I think besides the fact that many pieces hearken back to my childhood, I appreciated that there was a sense of reality to the installation.

This blog began as my journey of discovery outside of my roles…wife, mother…etc. and I think as well that:

I shall yet see many things.

A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others. -Salvador Dali

Let your light shine!




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