Pardon Me Boy…

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Well, we never saw the Chattanooga Choo Choo. In fact we didn’t even get to the train “museum” on our recent visit to the lovely little city of Chattanooga, for online research revealed the museum was not your typical garden variety museum. No, it is only a participatory museum, meaning that if you aren’t prepared to pay for one of the scheduled train journeys, you will be missing the history lesson.

I will admit the various train adventures look fun, but I was disappointed there was no museum, historically, to speak of. But…I digress.

If you want to schedule a rolling tour or just a really fun day of seeing some of the beautiful countryside, see the schedules and details Here

We did, however, find a great hotel room with a terrific view of downtown Chattanooga with easy access to the venues there, including everything from the AT&T stadium to the Tennessee Aquarium and much more.

The first thing we did was to drop off our bags and go out for food. We weren’t disappointed choosing Big River Grille and Brewing Pub. The menu is quite extensive, which can be a caution signal in many cases; but in this instance both of us were very pleased with our choices. Hubby loved his Mango Habanero Chicken, and I finally found a pizza I could sink my teeth into. The craft beers were great and well worth the very reasonable prices. We would definitely recommend this restaurant and hope to return there on our next trip.

 

 

 

 

 

And then there was coffee and dessert. The ‘short walk’ turned out to be a bit farther than we thought, braced against a 30 degree temperature with intermittent drizzle; but Rembrandt’s was the most recommended coffee house in the area,  so we did our part as brave tourists and made the uphill climb to the Bluff Art District to check it out. Except for mediocre service, we loved the place. The coffee and Hubby’s eclair were really good. We were so ready for something hot once we finally made it. On the way up we stopped to walk onto the infamous walking bridge. It has a sad history causing many Chattanooga residents to avoid it altogether, but the view is beautiful.

 

 

Mocha cafe and a walnut brownie were my choices. Above top photo is hubby’s Chocolate Chocolate eclair.

We actually spent the rest of our evening curled up in the room, warm and cozy, enjoying the view and staying dry. My original hope was to get to Lookout Mountain/Ruby Falls or to Rock City on the way home.

Sadly, the sun on Monday arrived late, leaving things damp and cold still, so we settled on a visit to the Aquarium, just across the street from our hotel. First, though, we went in search of breakfast. That led us to a nice venue called Pucket’s, a bar and grill that, when not serving up dinner and music, makes a pretty decent breakfast and nice cup of coffee. We loved the coffee cup so much we had to buy one to bring home!  The restaurant has a train theme and great doors, so look out Thursday, here I come!

Meanwhile….

 

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It was defenitely tasty!

And I found a buddy outside the Mellow Mushroom on our walk.

 

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Okay, okay, the main event! The Tennessee Aquarium, though not as extensive as one might think, was well put together, with a friendly staff and all the habitats very beautiful and well kept. I particularly liked that the local freshwater wildlife was well represented. My favorites? Oh, besides the turtles, of course! The butterfly garden and the penguins are wonderful! So adorable. Here are a few shots from our visit.

 

 

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Why do I feel I’m just getting nowhere?

 

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Oh dear, maybe we should have spiffed up for guests..

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Hellooooo….wanna come in for a little swim?

I also wanted to visit the Hunter museum but it was just a bit late for the three building adventure. Maybe next time.  Meanwhile, we enjoyed the beautiful sculptures that are in front of the museum which is located high above the Tennessee River and houses works from key American artists. I’m already eager to go back! Thanks Chattanooga!

 

 

 

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This? Oh just a gratuitous crane (of sorts) for my friend Dan.  Happy Wednesday!

 

 

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Feathered Friday

In the past ten years I have been privileged and blessed to be able to see and photograph so many amazing animals in several states and even another country! While it would be impossible to choose a favorite, I have to pay special homage to my feathered friends who always show up when I bring my camera. They preen, clean, hunt, fish, flirt, fluff and fly for my viewing pleasure. At times I have felt they were asking to be captured in a photo for posterity.

Birds of prey fascinate me, the connection I feel with them very strong. The Osprey and Hawk are fiercely efficient hunters and fishers. It was not unusual to see them flying overhead with a fish or small animal in their clutches. On this particular day the adult osprey flew over the hood of our car right in the middle of Port Orange Florida, lunch firmly in its grip,  and swooped into the tree in a nearby parking lot. You must know what happened next-one of hubby’s famous batwing u-turns to get me back to where that bird was about to enjoy its meal. Thank goodness for my zoom lens and the fact that my friend the Osprey was more enthralled with its fish than being concerned about what I was doing.

I hope you like my very #FeatheredFriday post! I plan to share more with you next week. Happy #Free48 everyone.  You are welcome to join me in sharing your own #FeatheredFriday images and you can link back here in the comments if you like.

 

Time for lunch! Care to join me for sushi?

 

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A World of Life in One Country/Costa Rica

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Imagine a land of bio diversity, a relatively small country that has an enormous variety of wildlife due to its neotropical climate and varying habitats. This peaceful, ecologically responsible land is home to more than 500,000 species, respresenting nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. It is one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in  the world. Of these species, a little more than 300,000 are insects.

The fact that, along with Panama Costa Rica formed a bridge between North and South America around three to five million years ago allowed the very different flora and fauna of the two continents to mix.

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From the magic of washed up trees on a beach in Domincal, Nature’s gallery of artistic perfection-random and beautiful-to the most minute eco system warriors that might go unnoticed if not for my viewing life through the zoom lens of a Nikon camera-my constant companion when we lived there.

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Flag Footed bug loves feeding on passion flower vines
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Leaf cutter ants, one of 47 species of leaf-chewing ants and can carry 20 times their body weight.

We discovered hundreds of leaf cutter ants right next to the beach, which extends from the jungle that borders the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica. Just look at the bio diversity in that last sentence!

 

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From the rich colors of dozens of birds we saw every day..

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To my friends, the iguanas and lizards that graced our doorstep with their presence daily, waiting for a few bread crumbs and a chance to be immortalized on digital memory!

Every day was filled with such diversity, often without leaving my front porch. I loved hanging out with the fun, freaky, fantastic family of nature in the land of Pura Vida.

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Nature is constant. So must we nurture it, accept its presence and necessity in our lives and embrace all that the world has to offer.  We were blessed to have known even a brief adventure in this paradise.

Stay tuned….