It’s amazing how much a sky – and a beach –
Can change in the space of a day or two:
From cloudy drama
To the joyfulness
Of dogs frolicking
In a glorious sunset.
For more joy, please visit: Skywatch.
Óbidos in Portugal is famous for being
A perfectly preserved walled settlement.
The castle and its walls date back
To Roman times
But as you walk the narrow and steep cobbled streets,
You meet all kinds of buildings ranging from Gothic
To Renaissance and Baroque standing shoulder to shoulder.
The city gate is a gorgeous
Blue tiled balcony.
The town was very much geared for tourism
So my favourite parts of it
Were the secret alleys,
The quirky old stone houses
And far-away glimpses
Of purple splashes against old tiled roofs.
For more historic sights, please visit: Our World.
Tired of all my Venice photos? Good – neither am I!
What I learnt from Venice:
When we give people (or nature) the space and love they need
They can go their own way and create something wonderful.
Going off the beaten path
Leads to new wonders and perspectives.
Handle with love —
A philosophy that makes life more beautiful.
And, sometimes, in the midst of ruins
Treasures can be found.
For more beauty, please visit: Our World.
Since the 1800s, Venetians haven’t been allowed to bury their dead in Venice.
Instead, they come out to Isola di San Michele — two islands joined together to form a floating cemetery.
The first thing you see as you arrive
Is one of Venice’s first Renaissance churches.
(I took the photo through the ferry window.)
You can find graceful courtyards
And hidden-away sunny spots
Full of graves.
The rich families could afford
To honour their sleeping beauties in marble.
Even the more humble resting places
Are taken care of with love.
There are crosses as far as the eye can see —
A sobering reminder of what awaits us all.
The cemetery island is the burial place of many famous people,
Including Ezra Pound, Doppler, Stravinsky and Diaghilev.
Our visit there was both life-affirming and moving.
For those of you who want to know what happens when the cemetery gets ‘full': the bodies are allowed to lie here for about 12 years, and then they are taken back to Venice and kept in an ossarium to make room for more burials.
For more histories, please visit: Our World.
Part of the joy of life
Is broadening our horizons, seeing new skies
And experiencing new things.
Here’s a London view:
Travel is a great way of doing this —
And of discovering that our little part of the world
Isn’t the centre of things.
Travel helps us discover that there isn’t only one way of doing things —
But many ways.
Here’s a New York view:
For that reason, my daughter and I
Are leaving the cozy horizons of Stockholm —
Known as ‘The Venice of the North’ —
(See photo below)
For the real Venice in Italy.
(Back next week – so I might not be able to visit you all.)
In the meantime, please visit: Skywatch for great skies
And Our World, for a glimpse into new discoveries.
Sometimes you can find beauty in the most unexpected places.
Entering the interior of Paris’ oldest church, Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Pres, once so mighty but now eclipsed by Notre Dame,
I was struck by the beauty of a humble set of chairs next to some ancient chipped pillars.
The light from the stained glass window behind them
Transformed the chairs into miracles of colour and form
And the floor, worn by centuries of visitors,
Became a dazzling thing of rainbow beauty.
(I have to say that out of all my Paris photos, these are some of my favourites.)
“The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.”
G. K. Chesterton
For more everyday miracles, please visit: Our World.
That golden evening light
Painted a lovely picture of tower and sky
And lampposts that seemed to throw back
Golden orbs into infinity.
For more golden light, please visit: Skywatch.
According to Victor Hugo, ‘Breathing Paris preserves the soul.’
It is a city full of unexpected sights and surprises:
Like a vintage merry-go-round
Or the exquisite stained glass window
Of the Galeries Lafayette.
It is a place where you turn a corner
To find history towering over you —
And love being locked forever
On bridges while the ancient cathedral,
Notre Dame, looks on.
It is a mix of the old and the new,
History and modern day,
Light and life.
For more historic stories, please visit: Our World Tuesday.
As you probably know, I’ve just got back from a trip to Paris.
Parisians love their dogs and you can see them following their owners off the lead in even the busiest streets.
Owners and dogs enjoy life along the banks of the Seine.
The pigeons on the many bridges of Paris
Are remarkably tame and pose willingly for photos.
This bird has one of the best backdrops in Paris —
My favourite animals, however, have to be
The stone gargoyles that decorate the many churches.
(This one is smiling at me from Notre Dame.
Like me, he seems happy to see some spring blossoms.)
For more animals, please visit: Camera Critters.
Welcome to another blog carnival! The one – the only: Strange Shores! I do believe this is number five, but can’t be sure. I rely on my co-conspirator Paddy to keep count – at least until he runs out of fingers. Just in case you’re new to Strange Shores: this is a blog carnival where we take a look at the world from an ex-pat’s point of view.
As you can see from my photo, spring hasn’t actually got to Sweden yet. Luckily, we got a break from the headlines about snow when Princess Victoria, who will one day be the Queen of Sweden, announced her engagement (at last!) to a regular guy. PaddyK brings you the good news with his tongue in cheek. (Where else would it be? Wait a moment – don’t answer that!)
Someone else who suffered at the hands of the weather gods is the charming Louise of Carmine Superiore. This story shows that she and her family are made of sterner stuff than … say, sugar!
A new friend of mine is the very funny Honeypiehorse. (What is a honeypiehorse anyway?) She’s a Californian transplanted to the chillier climate of Bavaria. Here she takes a look at the four phases of the Oktoberfest – complete with photographic evidence.
Another American is Kelli, who lives in Denmark. She has just started working at Herning High School and this has given her the chance to ponder the differences between education in Texas and Denmark. This will give your little grey cells some food for thought!
An ex-expat is Expateek: an American who lived in Poland but has just moved back to the USA. Trying to give stuff to charity in Poland requires muscles of steel. One way of getting those muscles – or dying in the attempt – is to go to the gym. However, if you’re Po from South African visiting a gym in the UK, then anything can happen!
And talking of the unexpected, Brenda in Paraguay takes an entertaining look at driving in Paraguay. In fact, her story reminded me of living in Fiji: the driving there was so exuberant that the buses would drive up onto the pavement and chase us poor pedestrians!
By the way, what do you listen to when you’re riding public transport? This is what Planet Nomad has to say about the music of her adolescence…
Last but not least – my good self. This is how I get buns of steel... on my kick-ass sled! If that doesn’t work, then I just throw myself on the ground and have a good tantrum.
So, all you have to do my friends, is to sit back, grab a cup of your favourite beverage and enjoy these posts! They’ll be up for a few days so that you can always pop back now and then to savour these literary delights.
As for that three-faced horse – it’s been bugging me for weeks. I don’t see why I should be the only who is bugged by it: so here you are! Well, you know what they say about sharing a joy…