Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh

In early September I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, and it is one of my favorite gardens.The “Botanics,” as it is known locally, is a beautifully maintained and diverse botanical garden. As with many of the state run attractions in Scotland, the Botanics is free! There is no entry fee.

We enjoyed visiting the glass houses, both old and new.

00 Botanics hob
The Palm House at the Botanics, built in 1834

Continue reading “Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh”

BIBBA and SICAMM Conference – Llangollen, Wales

On September 26 – 28th 2014, I attended the joint BIBBA (Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association) and SICAMM (Societas Internationalis pro Conservatione Apis Mellifera Mellifera) Conference in Llangollen, Wales.

The River Dee in Llangollen
The River Dee in Llangollen

Llangollen is a beautiful town of about 3,000 people, and is situated on the River Dee in the northern part of Wales. Continue reading “BIBBA and SICAMM Conference – Llangollen, Wales”

The Ape Car

Please forgive me for a bee story that contains no real bees, except the oh-so-beeish Ape Car. 

Ape symbol
The Ape car logo

The Ape Car is a 3 wheeled light-industrial vehicle built by Piaggio in Italy. The idea for the Ape (Italian for bee, and pronounced ah-pay) was conceived by the inventor of the Vespa motorbike. Continue reading “The Ape Car”

Building Hives in Italy

During our recent stay in Italy, I had the opportunity to use a friend’s wood shop and build a few unique Warre hives. We were staying in the small town of Gavirate. This small town is in the lakes district of northern Italy in the Lombardy region. It is at the foothills of what is called the “pre-Alps” which are the smaller hills before you officially get into the Italian Alps.

The finished product: tall Warre observation hive
The finished product: tall Warre observation hive

The wood shop was about 13 km away in a small village called Inarzo. I borrowed a bike and commuted to ‘work’ by bike most days. For part of the trip I was able to cycle along a paved path along Lago Varese.

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Fruška Gora

I recently spent several days exploring the monasteries of the Fruška Gora area of Serbia. This region is about an hour north of Belgrade.

Entering Fruska Gora National Park

There are 15 Serbian Orthodox monasteries in the Fruška Gora area. Fruška Gora is also a National Park with beautiful forested hills, and has a peak that is 539 meters (1,768 feet) high. Continue reading “Fruška Gora”


About an hour southeast of Belgrade, Serbia, is a small city called Smederevo. There is an amazing fortress there, and we spent a day there recently, exploring the fortress. It was built in the 15th century.


Swallows and pigeons have taken to nesting in the fortress walls. Continue reading “Smederevo”

Bee Parks in Amsterdam

The Dutch in Amsterdam have created an interesting way for folks in the city to keep bees. It is called a bijenpark, or bee park.

12 At the Old Bee Park (Oude Bijenpark)
At the Old Bee Park (Oude Bijenpark)

There are several within a short bus ride from the Amsterdam center. I visited the Oude Bijenpark (Old Beepark), Nieuwe Bijenpark (New Beepark) and the Bijenpark Waterland in the northern part of Amsterdam. Continue reading “Bee Parks in Amsterdam”