The book was better, but there’s nothing quite like a crowd of Québécois artists emoting when you need to feel those feelings:
It’s time to put away your worries for a while and take a walk with Ice Swimmer. Today we’re going up.
The spruce is odd because it has an even number of crowns. The deciduous trees behind the spruce are hiding the wetland.
It’s time for the next chapter by Nightjar and today we’re looking up to see the vast landscape around us.
I’m always searching for rocks, fossils, flowers and insects, and often I have to remind myself to look up at the views. But let’s look up from the ground now. The first thing we see are some windmills in ruins. There are several here and they were made with limestone, of course.
Looking down south we can see the vineyards in their full autumn display and some green fields. The round trees in the foreground and among the vineyards are olive trees. There are still many people here that produce wine and olive oil for their own consumption and to share with family. My family’s vineyard is a little bit more to the right and not shown in the photo.
On the foothill there is the village’s soccer field. A match was about to start!
Let’s look west now. Those houses are the northern part of the village and in the background we can see the West Hill. It looks very different in terms of vegetation density, doesn’t it? Can you guess what those trees are?
In the next chapter we will explore the West Hill and see this one from the other side!
Well, actually a lot of snow. These breathtaking photos are from DavidinOz.
…here are some photos from when I lived in New Zealand. They are from Tekapo in McKenzie Country on the South Island.
1 & 3 are the Church of the Good Shepherd exterior, while No 2 is the view through the window behind the altar. How could anyone listen to a sermon with that view? I am sure they must have drawn a curtain. The last 3 are taken from the top of Mount John, site of an observatory. The sky at Tekapo is so clear it is now listed as a world heritage area to protect it from light pollution.
It is a magical place, one I was pleased to see in all seasons.
As promised, a quick visit to the old castle in Bauska! Basically it’s a small uneven field of stones surrounded by red brick walls. Its piece de resistance? The old tower still stands and has been fortified for climbing.
Now back in the day (the ’90s), they used the old ruin for an outdoor nighttime performance of Hamlet, and actors were placed on the crumbling walls, making entrances and exits in dramatic lighting (mostly open fire, what can I say) and apparently the show was really something else. Would love to have seen that, alas – I am left only with my imagination, as today’s many, many safety standards would prohibit even the attempt of something similar (and thank goodness for those standards).
Anyway, here’s the soundtrack, and enjoy the bricks!
I have two posts for the town of Bauska – the castle of Bauska (you’ve seen the grand tree out front), actually: Old Bauska and New Bauska. Well, “New” Bauska, since the new castle still dates back to the 17th century, I think. Old Bauska is from the 15th century or so. Since WWII, when it was destroyed with the German retreat, both parts lay in ruins – reconstruction was begun in 2008, and as always, is done mostly by serious and seriously dedicated hobbyists. Strategically located on a peninsula between two rivers, it was geographically convenient for both defense and trade, and is now a wonderful place to spend an afternoon with overactive children, since the territory is perfect for some educational wandering, followed by rambunctious running around in the former park-slash-dendrarium.
We visited at the end of summer, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the tourist-friendly reconstruction – and even more, I was impressed by the craftsmanship that has gone into creating a historically informative experience.
But I think what stays in my memory the most is the amount of light these rooms get – a lot of movies with castles portray them as dark and smoky, with little natural light. Granted, this was summer, full sunlight, and nary a smoky torch to be found. In any case, have a look and bask in the light and craftsmanship of the new Bauska castle:
Today you get voyager’s walk without Jack. I was in Toronto over the weekend to visit a friend so I thought I’d share some shots of Front Street. Everywhere you look the city is gearing up for all that mindless and debt-inducing Christmas shopping and this year it looks like Union Station is going all out Lego. So far they’ve placed 3 giant Legos in the square along with a totally Lego fireplace complete with Lego stockings hung with care. The large white board is also going to be all Lego and it has mind-numbingly small numbers. Lots of numbers, each one waiting for an individual normal size Lego block. It must take a crew of several people days to put it all together. I’ll ask my friend to send me photos of the finished project and I promise to share.
Shad of the YouTube channel Shadiversity is a bit peculiar fellow. His performance is a bit over the top, but that is his selling point and it has an entertainment value. He has some old-fashioned notions about gender, but that is sadly to be expected, because not only is he male, he is also a practicing mormon. Thus being another proof of the to me totally baffling fact that evidently intelligent and well-educated people can believe the most ridiculous, silly and multiple-times over falsified notions if those notions are under the guise of “religion”.
However his videos on medieval castles are very informative, educational and fun to watch, so I can recommend those with clear conscience.
One impression that I was left with after my trip was a sense of… unfinished? The opposite of stillness. It’s hard to explain. The city of Skopje was such a mix of modern, ancient, renovated and decrepit, and through it all it was clear that Things were Happening, but… there was also a sense of organized chaos? I have a lot of question marks in my thoughts about the city, and the best I’ve been able to tell people is It was interesting. I think the one conclusion I will come away with is that there is no need for conclusions.
In any case, Skopje is full of statues – hollow statues – so many figures standing or sitting around or holding epic poses, it’s quite grand. And many of them are large! Immense! Makes you feel a bit small, to be honest. And the sort of grandiosity that puts me a bit on edge. Here’s a very, very, very tiny sample:
I am frighteningly ignorant when it comes to good music from the region, though, so here’s Loreena McKennitt instead. I intend to work on my musical diversity.
Our tree this week was sent in by Affinity’s newest team member, rq. It’s a majestic old tree in a fairy tale setting and the last shot is brilliant. Perfectly framed, perfectly lit and perfectly peaceful. Thanks for sharing, rq.
It’s time for the next chapter of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harraka – An island. Thanks again, Ice Swimmer. I’ll let you take it from here
The building is from 1928 and it used to belong to Finnish Defence Forces and nowadays it is used by artists who can hire studio space for five years at a time there. This is the main entrance.
There is a big birch next to the building.
A ring fixed into bedrock next to the building. As for the picture, Caine was definitely an influence for me in this kind of photography.
We’re going around the building. This is the northwestern back corner.
There was a lot of fireweed in bloom on the island. Now we’re in the backyard of the Artists’ Building, looking at earthworks built when Harakka was partially fortified.
The little tractor is probably used for hauling various things.
The building was used by the FDF as a chemical laboratory. For that reason, while there were plenty of wild raspberries, strawberries and other berries growing on the island, tasting them didn’t feel too attractive. The building is actually the third site for the FDF Chemical Laboratory. At first, the laboratory was in downtown Helsinki, in the same building that housed the University of Helsinki Chemistry Department and after that in one of the garrisons in Helsinki before it was moved to the island.
The ratio of shoes / webbed feet is fairly small.
At the southwestern corner of the building, there used to be a birch.
Now we have seen the building used by military chemists and subsequently artists and some of its surroundings. Next, we’ll go a back, a bit south in the backyard of the building.
The centre of Barcelona is the Plaza Catalunya. Lined on one side by the traditional Corte Inglés shopping centre and start of the Rambla, the main boulevard, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell you’ll miss it. Most tourist buses start and stop there (our shuttle bus from the camp site dropped us off there and picked us up, and so did most others), the hop on- hop off buses stop there, the metro lines do, the regional train station is under it.
Above it are the pigeons.
Barcelona is home to 1.65 million people, the travel destination of 7 million people a year and one of the most densely populated areas in Europe, second only to Paris. I’ll start my series on the city as such with a few panoramic shots to give you an idea. They were either shot from the Parc Güell or the Tibidabo, both which will get their own posts in the future.
In the middle you can see the Torre Agbar or Torre Glóries. I never gave much of the interpretation that all towers are phallic symbols, but this one takes the cake.
The Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece. The Catalan architect is all over Barcelona and we will visit one of his works, Parc Güell, later. Be advised to book your tickets in advance if you want to visit the place.