It was a long but enjoyable day. It started out with a bit of a biting breeze. We were glad that we had several layers of clothing with us, particularly during the morning. By late afternoon, people in Norfolk Virginia were walking around in shorts and T-shirts.
Our first stop was the Norfolk Botanical Garden. This garden is 3 to 4 times larger than the Lewis Gintner Garden we saw yesterday. The Norfolk garden offers tram rides, we took two. One was the general layout and one was for the azalea flower tour. We also spent several hours just walking and enjoying the gardens.
Norfolk botanical garden
Norfolk Botanical Garden
The Norfolk garden is not just flowers, but has trees and shrubs much like the Minnesota Arboretum. The design of the garden is such that there will be blooming flowers during every season of the year. It is located immediately next to the Norfolk airport, leading to an interesting juxtaposition of beauty and commerce. A short walk from the visitor center leads to a ridge looking down immediately at the airport runways.
Chalk this next one up to it’s a small world. Once again, we met a couple from Minnesota. This time, the couple lives in Mendota Heights, just across the river from our condo. Plus, they were staying at the same time share in Williamsburg that we are.
Lunch today was in the Garden Café, catered by a local Greek restaurant. Not quite as nice as yesterday, but still pleasant and supporting the local economy.
Our second stop was in downtown Norfolk. We visited the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Memorial. Today’s history lesson was about world wars one, two, and the Korean War.
VA International Tattoo Festival
Our final event was the Virginia International Tattoo Festival. http://www.vafest.org/2013/tattoo-main. “Tattoo” here refers to and I quote: “derives from the cries of the 17th and 18th century Low Country innkeepers who, as the fifes and drums of the local regiment signaled a return to quarters, would cry”Doe den tap toe”–Turn off the taps! The sound of the taps caused the innkeeper’s customers to depart and return to the barracks. Over time, the words of that cry evolved into the term “tattoo”,which now refers to what developed into a ceremonial performance of military muscle by massed bands.
Given the Hampton Roads area heavy concentration of military bases, a tattoo held here is both natural and well attended. This year it is held for four nights. Groups came from Norway, France, Canada, the UK, and Australia besides the US. It was a true pleasure to watch.
One other dose of current history. While we knew of the heavy military presence in the area, we had not known, or remembered, that NATO has a major command headquarters here, the Allied Command Transformation vs the Allied Command Operations-which may be in Europe.
Ed April 25 11:55 pm