O South, my South!


O magnet-South! O glistening perfumed South! my South! O quick mettle, rich blood, impulse and love! Good and evil! O all dear to me!”–Walt Whitman

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Finally the native azaleas are blooming!! These plants are native to our state (and the southeast)– they so different from the standard more squatty compact azalea we see planted everywhere (that being especially at the Masters in Augusta) and filling the shelves at Home Depot and Lowes. They have a woodsy quality and a flower that resembles a large honeysuckle on steroids.

I was afraid that the late cold weather had zapped all of the blooms and that the late last freeze took away all chances of the brilliant rusty orange flowers gracing my yard. I planted this particular plant several years ago and decided I wanted to find some more to add to the yard, as they are “native”—but believe it or not, they are not prevalent at local nurseries…but I’m still looking….

Beware the green giant of the mountain

We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

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This is a picture of the entrance of the Swarovski Crystal Museum in Wattens, Austria, about a 15 minute drive outside of Innsbruck. I visited in late September. I won’t go into a full review here as I did on TripAdvisor, but trust me when I say this was not like any museum I had ever visited. My review for TripAdvisor was titled “and I thought Salvador Dali was bizarre”

The museum has nothing to do with crystals (as this is somewhat misleading as most of Swarovski crystals are simply glass), the history of Swarovski, or insight into production—-it is a surreal underground trip through various rooms that are more or less bizarre “artistic installations”– and I use the word artistic loosely. And just like Disney, the end of the trip through the “museum”, dumps the tourist right out into the middle of the huge, overpriced gift shop…..

I did, however, think the quote by Dostoevsky was perfect for this image…for when one first views the outside of the museum, it is certainly intriguing and captivating to say the least. The green giant of the mountain almost summons one to “come take a look,” but once he “gobbles” you up, and your euros, you wish you’d stayed back in Innsbruck….. or moved on to Salzburg or Linz….

Austria is one of my most favorite countries in the world—it is stunningly gorgeous with history galore. From Mozart to Schubert–from Liszt to Strauss—it is a country that has so much to offer culturally. I could have done without the stop in Wattens. Take more time in other cities. Visiting the Vienna woods which surrounds the beautiful city of the same name is a much more magical moment–sans crystals 🙂
I did think the picture of the green giant pretty cool however, so maybe the stop was worth that photograph.