This summer we drove back and forth across South Dakota. It was part of a road trip to see the land up close. I've crossed South Dakota a hundred times by air, but there isn't much to see from up there.
Except for a few small cities and towns, the landscape is wide open. For an urbanite like me, it was nice to drive for long hours without stopping because I could start to grasp the sense of scale. The entire state is a wide-open expanse.
Since most people drive through South Dakota, they have some amazing rest stops. Many had grocery store cafes where you could find every snack imaginable. My favorite was the robot frappuccino makers. Some stops have advertising signs for a hundred miles or more. I took this photo at one known as 1880's Old Town and Diner, where you could fill up, grab a bite, and see a pioneer town while you're at it.
This picture is a flashback from a year ago today in Venice. The view is from the deck of a ship as we sailed into port from the Adriatic. It was a unique introduction to the city from above the rooftops. We spent the next days down in the canals, bridges and narrow walkways.
For me, it's a city to get lost in; it's not so big that you can ever be truly lost, just enough to create a sense of wonder at every turn. While the central square is fun, wandering away from the crowds is where I found myself walking. It's also a convenient way to work up an appetite for an evening meal alongside the grand canal.
From this height, you get a quick glimpse of the tops of buildings and apartments. Cityscapes like this are anthropological snapshots that provide clues about the inhabitants. With a hi-res photo, I find myself zooming in to discover new artifacts. Has it been a year already?
This image is the golden door at the base of Bok Tower in Central Florida. I was here the other day taking pictures of the gardens and just before leaving noticed this elaborate door. Surely that is an element of some fantasy novel I haven't read yet.
Florida is mainly flat, and the tower is on the tallest hill of the Florida peninsula at 295 feet above sea level. Add the tower's 205 feet on top of that, and it's easily the tallest thing around for maybe fifty or a hundred miles.
While I was there, music from the tower's carillon bells resounded throughout the gardens. Perhaps someone was playing them or, maybe it was automated. I didn't take the tour to find out.
A thunderstorm rolled over, and the bells abruptly stopped minutes before lightning hit the top of the tower. The tower has lightning rods, so it's perfectly safe, but I would not want to be the one striking those bells in a storm. Unless perhaps, it was part of the plot of that novel I've not yet read.