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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Walking through Lower Manhattan

There are so many fabulous architectural juxtapositions. 


Wonderful Art Deco details on a government building near Federal Plaza
Thanksgiving morning was gorgeous, bright and hopeful, made of optimism and sunlight. We  walked for three hours and earned our Thanksgiving meal. We walked  from our hotel down through Chinatown and past the touts drumming up business in Little Italy. If look up you can see the history in the  tenement buildings it's easy to imagine the streets filled with handcarts, hawkers and immigrants of all kinds. Walking south towards Federal Plaza the buildings change, giving way from a residential to a more monumental style of architecture. This is the New York of immigrant detention, Federal Courts and government bureaucracy. It is strangely quiet  this  Thanksgiving morning.
Federal Court House, New York City.
Past the historic places of government, the Greek Revival fantasies and buildings evoking a European style gravitas, the surroundings have changed again - moving from governmental to commercial functions as we enter the Financial District. The  landscape of Lower Manhattan is  defined by the absence of the Twin Towers the iconic landmark lost on 9/11. Instead,  One World Trade Center (known as the "Freedom Tower")  is currently reshaping the skyline. 
The "Freedom" Tower currently  rising from the devastation of Ground Zero.
It's an enormous building, twisting and glinting in the sunshine but I can't help but be disturbed by a building that tells me of our freedom, as if we now live in a place where we have to be told we're free, rather like a Soviet Five Year Plan extolling the achievements yet to come. As if the financial offices that will move in will make us freer rather than feasting on us, profiting on predicting our fiscal demise or unintentionally creating it. It sounds like a freedom we've already experienced. Perhaps  the freedom here is not the assumed freedom from "terror" but rather the free market? 

But maybe this was all too cynical for such a pretty walk?
We cut over above Battery Park and walked north up the west side sharing the path with dogs, cyclists,  walkers, runners  and  families. Everyone was out from elderly ladies in wheelchairs with their carers, to kids on skateboards. It was a beautiful day and walking past the Irish Hunger Memorial (designed to commemorate the one million who died and the millions who fled to America to find a better life) it seemed an easy place to feel thankful.

Tip: A weekend or a public holiday is a great time to walk through this part of Manhattan. If you want to visit the 9/11 Memorial remember you'll need to secure a free ticket beforehand. 

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