Goats Around the World

A few weeks ago, my sister sent me a gift from her trip to Quebec: a new friend for Mr. Goat, Batisse! At La Citadelle de Québec, Batisse the goat participates in the Changing of the Guard ceremony. He is descended from Tibetan goats given to the regiment by Queen Elizabeth II, and a line of Batisses have been the mascots of the Royal 22nd Regiment since 1955.

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My Batisse at the Citadelle

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The real Batisse, ready for the Changing of the Guard

So now Mr. Goat and I need to go up to Quebec and meet Batisse. But it also started me thinking: where else in the world can I go visit goats? I love attending county fairs and farms to see the goats, but are there other famous goat locations around the world?

I turned to my favorite source for information on unusual travel destinations: Atlas Obscura. I was surprised at the number of results, and some of them are definitely on my bucket list.

If you love goats as much as I do, you’re well aware of the Tree Goat phenomenon. The pictures keep popping up on my Pinterest, and I’ve even seen tree goat calendars at the bookstore. This is no hoax: these Moroccan goats really do climb the trees to eat the fruit!

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Goats in an Argania tree

But tree climbing pales in comparison to the rock-scaling of the goats of Cingino Dam in Italy. These mountain goats climb across the 160-foot-high face of the dam, licking the rocks for salt.

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Climbing along the Cingino Dam

Of course anyone with goats will tell you that goats will eat much more than just tree fruits and salt. True to the spirit of these voracious eaters, a bronze statue of a goat in Spokane, WA helps keep the city clean by “eating” litter – with a little help from a vacuum.

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Spokane’s garbage goat

You can even find goats in the midst of bustling cities, like the I Goat statue in London. The artist explains its significance as a symbol of the independent-mindedness of Spitalfields, but I’d just be excited to see a goat in London! Guess I’ll have to go back!

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I Goat in Spitalfields Market

Do you know of more exceptional goats to visit around the world? Let us know in the comments so we can add them to our list of places to visit!

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Mr. Goat’s Day in New York

Mr. Goat and I both know that one day is not nearly long enough to spend in New York City, but we thought that something would be better than nothing! So now we can say, we’ve been to NYC!

And we barely made a dent in all the things to see and do, but we spent all day walking and riding the subway around the city. It was one of the first really nice days at the beginning of spring, so everyone was out on the streets and in the parks.

We started the day down at Battery Park for views of the Statue of Liberty. There are great views of her and Ellis Island, set against the cranes and ships in the harbor.

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The most moving stop of our trip was a visit to the 9/11 memorial. The monuments are stunning and you can feel the immensity of the loss. It’s hard to capture it on a camera – the emotions, but also physically since the monuments are so big  – but it’s still very much in the heart of New York, surrounded by other interesting buildings.

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Like any tourists on our first trip to NYC, Mr. Goat and I followed the crowds through Times Square. Next time, we’ll have to catch a Broadway show too!

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Mr. Goat in Times Square

Our favorite part of New York City was Central Park. It was full of people enjoying the sun and wandering the paths. It’s definitely an oasis in the midst of the big city. We would go back just to spend more time in the park, and find all the more secluded ponds and statues.

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Only the beginning of Central Park

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It was just a teaser tour day, so we’ll have to go back and really experience New York!

Mr. Goat Tries Some Cheesesteaks

While most mountain goats may stick to a diet of lichen, Mr. Goat knows that when you’re in Philly, you have to sample the cheesesteaks. So we trekked through the rain to Pat’s and Geno’s (they were both pretty good!).

But there is much more to explore in Philadelphia than just cheesesteaks – and a lot of other great food to eat. We waved to the Rocky statue on our way to shelter from the rain with at day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From the top of the steps you can see out over the city.

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Views from the art museum steps

Our favorite unique place was Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a fascinating and chaotic maze of art and recycled objects. Each time your stroll through, you notice something new, as the light shines through old bottles and bicycle wheels. It was a colorful taste of current culture in Philly.

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Mr. Goat at the Magic Gardens

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And of course a trip to Philadelphia isn’t quite complete without joining all the other tourists to peer in at the Liberty Bell and take pictures of Independence Hall (we learned you have to reserve tickets ahead of time if you want to go inside). But don’t confine your visit to just the historic old town – wander through parks and gardens, walk all over the city, and eat lots of great food!

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Independence Hall

Mr. Goat Skis – in Canada!

Mr. Goat and I love wintertime vacations, so even though it was almost spring, we escaped to the snowy wonders of Whistler, BC! It snowed every day, and we reveled in the snowflakes and drank in the occasional views of the surrounding peaks.

I am less than confident in my downhill skiing skills, so we opted to go cross country skiing at Lost Lake. The lake was frozen and covered in snow – and beautiful in its own way – but the best views were from the Black Loop trail, which requires strenuous climbs to access but is worth the effort!

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Skiing at Lost Lake

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Mountain views from the Black Loop trail

If you would rather not ski up a mountain or don’t want to ski at all, you can buy a ticket to ride the Peak to Peak gondolas. We opted not to since it was too snowy for clear views of the mountains.

There is much more to Whistler than just skiing. The food is excellent and there are many opportunities to treat yourself and relax. We enjoyed strolling the village streets and Olympic Plaza from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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Back down at sea level, it was evident spring was on its way! Vancouver was green and beautiful – even sunny for an entire day, so we walked around Stanley Park.

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Views of Lions Gate Bridge from Stanley Park

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Watching the ships head out to the ocean

Even when it did start to rain, Vancouver has a lot of offer: just bring a good raincoat or an umbrella! We rode the water taxis to the Vancouver Maritime Museum, which houses the first ship to cross the Northwest Passage in both directions, and to Granville Island, where you can buy everything from fresh produce and meat pies to locally made art and pickles.

Vancouver also has a large Chinatown, featuring the world’s narrowest commercial building. You can buy a ticket to tour it, or just snap a picture while you walk past to buy delicious imported tea, spices, and candy. Step into a restaurant for dim sum; we went to New Town Bakery & Restaurant and ate the best pork bun of my life!

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The narrow Sam Kee Building and Chinatown gate

Now we’ve satisfied our snow fix – and have enough tea to last us for a while – but spring adventures are soon to come!

 

Mr. Goat Makes Friends on the Cape

Mr. Goat and I are not city people, so we like to take every chance we get to escape the noise and concrete for some trees and water. As a birthday present to ourselves, we went to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. In early fall, the weather is still nice, but the summer crowds are gone, making it the perfect time to visit. Though the beach is lovely in the summer, especially when people start to go home around 4PM:

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Enjoying having the beach to ourselves

We also love all the other natural features: the trees and flowers make for soothing walks and bike rides along the coast.

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Cycling from Falmouth to Woods Hole

For a special treat, we took the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard to visit Island Alpaca. They have a fantastic live webcam where we love to watch the alpacas, but meeting them in person was even more fun! The farm is only a mile from Vineyard Haven, and there are nice shops and restaurants to try in the town as well.

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Mr. Goat making friends

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This baby was born the day before we visited!

We will definitely keep exploring the Cape, and hopefully befriend more sweet animals in the future!

Mr. Goat’s Summer Backpacking

One of our favorite summer activities is to go on a backpacking trip. Usually we go up into the mountains and try to find some of Mr. Goat’s friends, but this year we went a little earlier and hiked the Lakeshore Trail along Lake Chelan, from Prince Creek to Stehekin.

To access the trailhead, we took a ferry that pulls up to the side of the lake so we could walk off a narrow ramp at the front and onto the trail.

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While it wasn’t mountain climbing like Mr. Goat loves, there was still plenty of climbing as the trail climbed and dropped over the hills by the take. We enjoyed gorgeous views of the mountains, and ever-changing panoramas of the lake. Even our campsites were by the lakeshore.

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Mr. Goat helps pitch camp

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Mountain views from our second campsite

The trail finished in the isolated town of Stehekin, Washington. You can visit Stehekin by boat instead of hiking in, but we were thrilled to have food and ice cream at the end of our long hike!

Mr. Goat’s Christmas on the Rhine

After our Christmas cruise on the Danube a few years ago, Mr. Goat has been wanting to go back for more castles, gingerbread, and glühwein! This time, we traveled up the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam, through more beautiful towns, under imposing castles, and with delicious new treats to sample.

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Mr. Goat by the Rhine in Basel

We spent a few days in Basel, Switzerland before our boat left. We explored the winding streets and climbed cathedral towers, which Mr. Goat enjoyed very much. There were many Christmas markets in the city, and we sampled roasted chestnuts, marzipan fruits, and of course glühwein.

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Basel Rathaus

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Mr. Goat at the Basel Minster

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View from the Basel Minster

Our boat docked at Dreiländereck, where Switzerland borders France and Germany. We ran some circles around the monument for some very fast international travel!

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We moved up the river to spend a day in Strasbourg, France. The city was even more picturesque than usual, with its canals reflecting Christmas lights and decorations. Each street had a different theme for its lights, and the markets comprised everything from decorations and cookies to books and local crafts.

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Mr. Goat visits the market in Place Kleber

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The canals of Strasbourg

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Strasbourg Cathedral

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Our cruise continued into Germany, and we spent a morning trying to stay warm on the top of the boat as we passed a dozen castles perched on the cliffs above the river. We ended the day in Koblenz with a tram ride up to Ehrenbreitstein for views of the city.

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Stahleck Castle

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Pfalz and Gutenfels castles

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Mr. Goat ready to ride the tram up to Ehrenbreitstein

One of Mr. Goat’s favorite stops was his highest cathedral climb yet, at the Dom in Cologne. We climbed the 533 steps to see views across the city, but it was even more beautiful to look at the cathedral illuminated at night.

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Our final stop was at the Kinderdjik windmills in the Netherlands. We went inside a windmill to observe the mechanisms of the working mill, and enjoyed sampling Dutch cheese and stroopwafels on our ship!

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