Spiraling up, up and up!

Twisting the stairs away!

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the very warped theme of Twisted, which gives ample opportunity for something a bit outside the norm 🙂

Of course, from twisted minds come twisted images, and I have been known to provide a little warp to what I see.  Then again, there was something rather quotidian that we observed during our vacation in Italy, last year…

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Spiraling…

This spiral staircase twists toward the sky, as medieval footstep could be traced coming down toward a place of oblivion: prison cells!  Never mind getting blocked on twitter, as during these days you may get chained to the wall of a dank cell.  The construction of these stairs is rather amazing, as each stone tread was carefully placed into the wall and was still in perfect position after centuries of use.

May your road rise up to meet you and not be too twisty!

The Port of Rotterdam

Another power of water!

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the very fluid theme of Liquid, which is right up my alley, as the Netherlands is all about water!

Staying with the Dutch theme from my prior post in this WPC theme, I’m focusing on the city where I was born: Rotterdam.  Rotterdam is very much a port city in its character, as trade is the life-blood of its economy; it is the largest port in Europe.

A key part of the success of the port of Rotterdam is the digging of the Nieuwe Waterweg. In the first half of the 19th century the port activities moved from the centre westward towards the North Sea. To improve the connection to the North Sea, the Nieuwe Waterweg (“New Waterway”), a large canal, was designed to connect the Rhine and Meuse rivers to the sea. The Nieuwe Waterweg was designed to be partly dug, then to further deepen the canal bed by the natural flow of the water. Ultimately however, the last part had to be dug by manual labour as well. Nevertheless, Rotterdam from then on had a direct connection between the sea and harbor areas with sufficient depth. The Nieuwe Waterweg has since been deepened several times. It was ready in 1872 and all sorts of industrial activity formed on the banks of this canal.

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Lots of water!

In this image, we see the Meuse river in the center of Rotterdam, with a water taxi speeding along.  Most of the ports are downstream from this location, which is to the right in the image.  Each of the port areas specialize in certain cargo types, such as containers, crude oil, refined fuels, bulk supplies, etc.

If you get the chance to visit Rotterdam, I recommend that you take a harbor tour with one of the Speedo ships; these tours are both enjoyable and informative!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Ring

A ring that captures…

Welcome to Week 110 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge.  This week’s theme is something different again!

You produced a wonderful set of posts for the past week’s theme of Shine!  Your creativity shone through your posts and made them a lot of fun to read and appreciate. So I decided to give a completely different element to this week’s theme and select a topic that allows you to go in many directions: Ring!

Of course, a ring can be the one that binds them all, or the sound from a telephone, or have a familiar ring!  Your tasks is to put your creative vision on the theme and come up with something interesting…

I can’t wait to see what you might create!

This is one version of a ring, as it stands in a circle with a ring of stones…

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Lochbuie Stone Circle

The Lochbuie stone circle is a location that is filled with the power of the ancients, which permeates the entire site; there are several locations in this site that produce a palpable amount of energy that one can feel coursing through your body…  To say that there’s ancient mystery in this location is an understatement!

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

I’m looking forward to seeing what might ring true in your posts!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round Up 107

Day tripper!

Welcome to the 107th round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!  Round Ups 105 and 106 will arrive within the next couple of days, as they are under construction.  Then, without travel for a while, I should be able to stay on schedule.

You truly tripped the light fantastic with your posts!  There were some very funny posts that made me laugh (Ooops!) and clearly you have been on some amazing trips, even those that stayed within New York City!  Thank you for a great set of posts for me to enjoy and share with everyone.

Also, thank you for your patience, as I have been in a mode to catch up from my travels (work doesn’t slow down when I’m elsewhere 🙂 )

Here’s a quick look from walking around in Kharkiv…

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Walking in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Kharkiv is a wonderful city with lots of parks and many churches!  Thanks to my great team in Kharkiv, I got to see some of the sights on a beautiful Saturday; more photos will come when I catch up!

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge with links to their posts:

  • This week’s contributions were kicked off by Donna in her blog No-Madder Nomadder with a great set of panoramic images from her trips.
  • In Corazon181 we’re treated to a truly amazing trip that takes us to Alaska and beautiful photos of glaciers!
  • Marie’s wonderful post in the New 3Rs: Retire, Recharge, Reconnect gives us a special look into Cuba!
  • It definitely is a long trip (legal) in theonlyD800inthehameau, as we go all the way to Australia for a lovely image!
  • Nicole takes us to a spectacular location in her post in Une Photo, Un Poéme, as we go to Greece to visit the monasteries in Meteora!
  • Sarah’s first trip takes us somewhere over the rainbow in By Sarah, with a second post in By Sarah giving us a tip on how to take a trip.
  • Hammad’s post in The Blog of Hammad Rais goes on the trip of a lifetime, as we join in expanding our horizons!
  • In another great post in Don’t Hold Your Breath, we visit a little bird that know how to take a trip!
  • In Woolly Muses, we take a rather special trip, to a church where number 1 son will end his bachelorhood! Congratulations!
  • In pensivity101, we get a different perspective, as the trip is taken by those who are cute, fuzzy and oh so young!
  • ladyleemanilla produces a great post with images from many a trip and a reminder that courtship and a road trip might very well be related!
  • Xenia’s post in whippetwisdom takes us on a trip very much enjoyed by her whippets!  Xenia’s second post is in her blog Tranature with beautiful photos and a great haiku!
  • Michelle’s post in Take a Walk… and Discover must have been from a very cool trip, as the location looks exotic to my eyes!
  • Stella’s post in Giggles & Tales proves that she has taken a good number of trips across the world!  Great photos!
  • In a humorous post in Land of Images, we get to see the end result of a trip of another kind!  Well photographed!!
  • Layue’s everyday photo blog takes us to the Venice of the Czech Republic with a truly stunning photo!!
  • In a wonderful post in her blog This is Another Story, Yinglan shares the beauty of a hike with a great photo!
  • Miriam’s awesome post in Out an’ About provides us trips, gears and a few laughs!  Go look and find out why a BMW 320 won’t work during the night.
  • In a great post in EONYC, we learn that sometimes you don’t even have to leave the city to go on a trip!  Great photos!
  • Wrapping up this week, Ulli provides us with a fantastic post in Urban Liaisons, as we get to enjoy the street art of Portugal!

I hope that you enjoy these posts and let the authors know!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Trip

Tripping the light fantastic

Welcome to Week 107 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge.  I just got back from a long trip where I hit 6 countries in 10 days, including one that I didn’t plan on, but more about that later.

As this was a long, strange and mostly excellent trip, I thought that I’d use that as a theme for this week’s challenge: Trip.  Part of the reason is that I already used Travel as a theme in week 57 (I had to look to verify that), and Trip can still be about travel, but also about the other meanings of the word.  You get full choice this week to decide how you would like to use this week’s theme!

So, please use your creative brain, and share something to amaze and delight all who want to find out about this Trip!  Have fun with this one!

This is from a previous trip to Brno, Czech Republic…

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Skating in Brno

This square is in front of the Moravian Gallery in Brno, where people could skate around this great horse and knight statue; someone may even have tripped here!

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

Don’t let this assignment trip you up, and make sure the light is fantastic!

Dunvegan Castle Gardens

A puzzling example

As part of the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge theme of Tour Guide, I thought it might be of interest to find something that ties back to this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge of Exotic.

My favorite island of the Inner Hebrides is Skye, for its amazing, rugged landscape and mountainous range that are just a dream to photograph, as every different incident angle of light creates a completely new environment, sometimes even otherworldly.

One of the interesting places to visit on the isle of Skye is Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the MacLeod of MacLeod, chief of the Clan MacLeod. Probably a fortified site from the earliest times, the castle was first built in the 13th century and developed piecemeal over the centuries. In the 19th century the whole was remodelled in a mock-medieval style. The castle is built on an elevated rock overlooking an inlet on the eastern shore of Loch Dunvegan, a sea loch.

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Monkey Puzzle Tree

 

The castle sits on a massive site on Skye, much of which is cultivated into a stunning garden that includes many exotic species, such as the tree in this photo.  The people standing next to it give you a sense of the scale of this wonderful tree.

If you’re ever visiting Skye, the castle and its grounds are well worth a look!

Have a wonderful day!

Isle of Mull – pt. 5

Beauty with a thorny attitude

In this final installment as your tour guide of beloved Mull, there’s one thing that I cannot overlook from our visit to Mull and really all of Scotland: Gorse!

Ulex (commonly known as gorse, furze or whin) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae. The genus comprises about 20 species of thorny evergreen shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. The species are native to parts of western Europe and northwest Africa, with the majority of species in Iberia.

The first thing that you do notice about gorse is the intense yellow flowers, which are in bloom nearly year-round.  When lit by sunlight, these bushes create beautiful patches of yellow across the landscape, which can stand out against a blue sky (yes, we found plenty of blue skies in Scotland)

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Gorse and the Landscape of Mull

Gorse is closely related to the brooms (Scottish Broom is a very hard plant, that we have in our backyard in New England), and like them, has green stems and very small leaves and is adapted to dry growing conditions. However it differs in its extreme thorniness, the shoots being modified into branched thorns 1–4 centimetres (0.4–1.6 in) long, which almost wholly replace the leaves as the plant’s functioning photosynthetic organs. The leaves of young plants are trifoliate, but in mature plants they are reduced to scales or small spines. All the species have yellow flowers, generally showy, some with a very long flowering season.

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Detail of Gorse

In this image you get a good view of the thorns, which you do not want to try to walk through without some adequate protection.  The gorse in Scotland can grow rather large, as I saw bushes well above 2 meters in height.

Have a wonderful day!