The Gates of the Arctic National Park followed the Yarra Mountains when The New York Times asked readers about their favorite destinations and write short essays about them. Ruth & I have not been to the Arctic NP. Few people have been to this American national park. According to its internet entry, fewer than 10,000 people made it this far north in 2018, and a lot of them were surely mountain climbers, hikers, and boaters attracted to the Brooks Range that encompasses much of this Arctic expanse.
You must jump to the 11th essay to learn about the next place we have been, Cambridge, England. While there we took a walking tour, went to the Fitzwilliam Museum, which has an unrivaled collection of Renaissance manuscripts, saw the King’s Chapel that took 5 monarchs to build, and admired the River Cam that has figured so prominently in Cambridge University’s history. Peggy Xu from Georgia wrote the essay about it. When she went there as a student, she found it grand, Gothic, and gourmet and thinks about it as a privileged time in her life. Amen to that!
Ruth and I have also been to #12, Aruba. The writer of The New York Times essay, Elise Thompson, has an advantage over us. Her mother came from this island, she still has 2 aunts living there, and she still returns to the house where she played as a child on the other side of this Dutch-influenced island in the South Caribbean near Venezuela. I did not especially enjoy my time there. We did have an island tour but spent most of our time on the resort side of Aruba. These resorts were luxurious but traditional, and a lot of the other visitors were shopping for gold jewelry. I spent some time in a Starbucks, something I could have done in other places but was actually preferable to waiting in the heat to ride an old-fashioned trolley that never came. Spending time staring at trolly tracks was not fun. I should have visited Elise Thompson’s aunts instead. Thompson now lives in New York City.
Essay 13 was written by Suzie Shaw. She raves about spending time on Jimmy’s Beach in New South Wales, Australia. Suzie is a retired teacher who resides in Sydney, which is not too far from Jimmy’s Beach. Our friends living in Canberra had a beach house in coastal Kiama. When we visited them there we explored several national parks in the area including Macquarie Pass, where we glimpsed a lyre bird. As we drifted down the coast with Lynette and Robert, we saw an oceanic water spout, the detention camp called Cowra that is similar to Manzanar but not in the desert, Jervis Bay, Batemans Bay where we learned about Australian bowling clubs, Narooma, the ice creameries in Tilba Tilba, and several beaches. Suzie Shaw reported once seeing a dingo on Jimmy’s Beach.