A car drives through ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano on Thursday. Europe has been dogged for weeks by repeated shutdowns of air traffic since an erupting volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland started spewing ash in April. Ingolfur Juliusson
A Thai boy sits with soldiers as they wait for the command to confront anti-government protesters at their encampment in Bangkok's financial district. Thai troops battled anti-government protesters in central Bangkok on Friday, attempting to seal off their encampment after an assassination attempt on a general unleashed a new wave of violence. Damir Sagolj/Reuters
A Somali boy carries fish to take to market in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Friday. Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP
Preakness hopeful Lookin' At Lucky is washed after a workout at Pimlico race track in Baltimore, Md., on Friday ahead of Saturday's horse race, the Preakness. Molly Riley/Reuters
A black bear chews on bark and leaves while sitting high in a tree near the entrance to Heritage High School in Maryville, Tenn., on Thursday. A sheriff's dispatcher said the bear was still in the tree at dawn Friday. The bear is being monitored, but is not a problem. Wildlife officers said she would come down eventually on her own. Daryl W. Sullivan/AP
Two Chinese girls hold hands while walking in front of their parents at Beijing's Zoo in China on Friday. Muhammed Muheisen/AP
Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off on a mission to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Friday. A crew of six astronauts is aboard Atlantis for a 12-day mission. Scott Audette/Reuters
Mechanics push the car of McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button of Britain through the pit lane as the legs and shoes of a spectator are seen in the foreground at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco on Friday. The Monaco Formula One Grand Prix will take place here on Sunday. Gero Breloer/AP
A shoe is seen at the scene of a suicide bomber attack near Gardez, Afghanistan, on Friday. Governor of eastern Paktiya province, Juma Khan Hamdard, narrowly escaped an attack when a suicide bomber leapt onto a vehicle convoy the governor was riding in as he left a lunchtime poetry reading, the governor's spokesman said. Ihsanullah Mahjoor/AP
Local residents protest as they accuse NATO forces of killing civilians in an overnight raid, at Surkh Rod, Afghanistan, on Friday. More than 500 people poured into the streets in the Surkh Rod district of Nangahar province to protest the raid by international forces that they claim killed at least nine civilians. Rahmat Gul/AP
Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks during the National Rifle Association's 139th annual meeting in Charlotte, NC on Friday. Chris Keane/Reuters
Preakness hopeful Aikenite gets a kiss from Adrian Briato in the barn at Pimlico race track in Baltimore, Md., on Thursday. The Preakness will be held on Saturday. Molly Riley/Reuters
As the summer travel season begins,we asked Monitor writers, past and present, to tell us about places that have moved them the most. Their postcards take us from a walking safari in Zambia to the monasteries of Bulgaria to a marathon in Havana.
The tranquility of floating among flowers in the turbulent land of Kashmir
It was 6 in the morning, and the only sound I could hear was the rhythmic dip ... dip ... dip of the heart-shaped paddle of our guide, Lasa, into the murky waters of Dal Lake in Kashmir.