Dubrovnik … from the City Walls – # 1

[ Photo Blog  #65 ]
Dubrovnik-01

DUBROVNIK … City on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the south of Croatia 

Dubrovnik is an ancient city on the southern Adriatic coast of Croatia.  On a visit there in 2006  I took all the following photographs, except the first two, whilst walking around the city’s massive stone walls, which were completed in the 16th Century and which encircle the whole city.
Dubrovnik-02Cavtat

View of Dubrovnik from the south on the road to Cavtat

Dubrovnik-03Gateway

The gates to the city

Dubrovnik-04

Views from the city walls

Dubrovnik-05

Dubrovnik-06

Dubrovnik-07

Dubrovnik-08

Dubrovnik-09

Dubrovnik-10

Dubrovnik-11

Dubrovnik-12

I will post more photographs of the city and its surrounding area next week

scroll2

Advertisements

Mount Etna, Sicily

[ Photo Blog  #65 ]

 

Giardini Naxos is a small town situated on the coast of the Ionian Sea at the foot of Mount Etna, in north-east Sicily.  This is the town outside which the cruise ship I was on in 2006 anchored enabling us to go ashore.  The approach from the sea is dramatic with the continually smoking volcano looking very close and dangerous to the town.  In fact the volcano does erupt regularly but appears to find a different exit point each time along the crest of the hill range, thus leaving several old craters which it is now reasonably safe to visit, or so we were assured!   In the past Etna has deposited its lava all along this coast and the evidence is easy to see in the long-since cooled and solidified lava floes now forming shelves of rock jutting out to sea all along this coast.  I have included two photographs of this below. 

Etna (1)

The sea approach to Giardini Naxos with Mount Etna smoking in the background

Etna (3)

Lava outcrops, now solidified spill into the sea all along the coastline

Etna (4)

Close-up of the lava deposits

My wife and I accompanied a group from the ship to take a coach to the mountain top – a journey of about 30 miles which takes approximately one hour along the winding uphill roads.  I include further  photographs of this dramatic journey below.

Etna (5)

A Giardini Naxos beach looking towards the ancient town of Taormina and its Saracen Castle

Etna (6)

Another idyllic beach and rocky outcrop near Naxos

Etna (10)

Looking back from the road leading to the summit

Etna (11)

Several views of the craters of old eruptions

Etna (9)

Etna (8)

Etna (12)

Flora gradually reclaiming a foothold on the barren earth

Etna (13)

 

Etna (14)

Etna (15)

Etna (16)

The tour guide serenades us with Italian operatic arias as we descend the mountain on the return journey

 

sline6

Arundel Castle, West Sussex, U.K.

Arundel is an ancient town situated on the River Arun in West Sussex, England.  Its castle, massive and dominant in the landscape, dates from the 11th Century, although considerably altered and added to since that time.

Arundel Castle has undergone many restorations and extensions since it was first built in the year following the Norman Invasion of England in 1066.  It was officially  established by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067.   By the grace of William the Conqueror, he was the first to hold the earldom of Arundel.   The castle has remained in the possession of his descendants ever since and is now the home of the Duke of Norfolk, who is the Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England.  The current duke is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk.

My photographs, featured below, are amongst those I took on a recent visit there in October 2017.

Arundel01-map

Arundel, showing its position just a few miles inland from the English Channel and about 65 miles from London.

Arundel02

Showing how the castle position dominates the town and the surrounding area

 

Arundel03

Looking up to the massive southern wall of the castle

Arundel04

The Castle’s Western Gateway

Arundel05

Part of the extensive castle gardens, looking towards Arundel’s Roman Catholic Cathedral

Arundel06

The more private part of the castle where the present Duke of Norfolk lives

Arundel07

Further view of the gardens

Arundel08

The Root Garden, planted with the upturned roots of trees lost in the great 1987 Storm

Arundel09

It was pumpkin time in the castle vegetable gardens, and Halloween was approaching

Arundel10

A medieval montage within the castle keep

Arundel11

An important 12th Century visitor to the Castle

Arundel12

A re-enactment of 12th Century knights in battle

Arundel13

More Norman knights

Arundel14

A view of the River Arun and its bridge at Arundel after several days of rain

 

sline6

Hastings – The STADE – #2

[ Photo Blog #63 ]

Hastings – The STADE – #2

Last week, on Thursday, 16th October, I featured my visit to this unique beach in Hastings, East Sussex, UK, from which fishing boats are launched directly into the sea.  If you have not read my introduction and viewed the photographs on that particular blog, then I would advise you to visit it first in order to gain a clearer picture of this area’s history and current function.  Click on this link to do that . . .  Hastings – The Stade #1 .  My photographs below were taken as I wandered around the beached fishing fleet, showing the boats, some now hardly seaworthy, but the majority still working boats plying their trade in the waters of the English Channel from the Stade Beach in Hastings.

Stade 21stade 22stade 23stade 24stade 25stade 26stade 27stade 28stade 29stade 30stade 31stade 32stade 33stade 34

 

bar-curl3

The PIER

06.Eastbourne (7)

Eastbourne Pier, Sussex, England: Photo – WHB, October, 2017  ©

 

THE PIER

As bravely my finger points to the sea
my peninsular pretences extend
for a while
my efforts at ocean reclamation
enabling land and sea to merge
countryside and shore
to meet and mingle
in mutual admiration

Taking my insatiable
search for pleasure
beyond its brief

Public pleasuring
made manifest
another pleasure garden
to add to nature’s own
another wonderworld
to vie with nature’s gifts

My destiny
Buffeted by wind and wave
invaded by rust and rot
attacked by frost
at risk from fire

I exist
On time borrowed
from the eye of the storm
grateful
whilst it continues
for the ocean’s grace

and so
I continue to proffer my splendours
To the denizens of my retreats
sea anglers and photo booths
Shops and tearooms
wurlitzers and waltzers
penny arcades
mirror halls
ghost trains and dodgems
all beneficiaries
of my daring
my bravery in simply existing

 

Banner4b

BRUGES – Revisited

[ Photo Blog #61 ]

I have previously blogged photographs of the Belgian City of Bruges (q.v.) 3 months ago on August 14th.  I made a further long weekend visit there the following year, and present below a different set of photographs of its stunning views, architecture and history . . .

Bruges-01

A reflective view of one of the city’s beautiful canals

Bruges-02

Another canal view

Bruges-03

… and a third

Bruges-04

. . .  a shop selling – you guessed it – vintage dolls

Bruges-05

another view of a roadside lace-maker

Bruges-06

. . .  with a close-up view of the technique

Bruges-07

The famed artist, Jan Van Eyck, lived in Bruges from 1429 until his death in 1441

Bruges-08

I visited an exhibition of Salvador Dali prints whilst in Bruges in 2004

Bruges-09

This poem had been posted in a closed Bruges restaurant window on a Sunday morning

Bruges-10

Spectacular painted interior walls and decorated ceiling of the Stadhuis, the City Hall in Burg Square

Bruges-11

An imposing canal-side Crucifix

Bruges-12

Another canal-side view

Bruges-13

View to the side of the main market square

 

scroll2

Westonbirt National Arboretum

[ Photo Blog #60 ]

Westonbirt Arboretum can be found near the historic market town of Tetbury in Gloucestershire, England.  It is the UK’s National Arboretum, managed by the Forestry Commission, and is perhaps the most important and widely known arboretum in the United Kingdom.  The arboretum’s 18,000 specimen trees and shrubs sourced from all over the globe provide a remarkable place for people to enjoy and learn about trees. It has 17 miles of marked paths which provide access to a wide variety of rare plants.

When I visited there in 2003 there happened to be an exhibition of what, only in the broadest sense, could be called ‘garden sculpture’.   I offer below some of my photographs taken at the time . . . 

 

Westonbirt00-Arboretum

bar-green

Westonbirt 01 (1)

Just taking a work break

Westonbirt 01 (3)

A pointed remark

Westonbirt 01 (4)

Tear-drop Tree

Westonbirt 01 (5)

All wired up …

Westonbirt 01 (6)

… and suitably pigeon-holed

Westonbirt 01 (7)

Water-glass

Westonbirt 01 (8)

A hairy situation

Westonbirt 01 (9)

‘The green trees transported and ravished me, their sweetness and unusual beauty made my heart to leap and almost mad with ecstasy.’

Westonbirt 01 (10)

Mirrored garden #1

Westonbirt 01 (11)

Mirrored garden #2

Westonbirt 01 (12)

Mirrored garden #3

bar-green

Scotland – The Black Isle

[ Photo Blog #59 ]

 The Black Isle lies in North-East Scotland.  It is said to derive its name from the fact that, since snow hardly ever lies there in winter, the promontory looks black while the surrounding country is white.  However, contrary to its name, the Black Isle is not in fact an island.  It is a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by  water, with Cromarty Firth to the north, Beauly Firth to the south and the Moray Firth to the east.  The nearest large centre of population is Inverness.

The area has long been famous for its rich agricultural farming land.  It is also well known as a great place to enjoy wildlife – from dolphins to deer, from osprey to otters, from seals to Scots Pine. The peninsula is steeped in history, with castles, cairns and even a cathedral and three museums.  Wherever you look there are beautiful views – if you discount the many oil rigs which are often moored in the firths for servicing purposes. Ben Nevis can be seen to the west on a clear day, and a network of quiet roads and forest tracks make the area easy to explore.

CHANONRY POINT:   A famous place for spotting the Moray Forth dolphins from the shore. ( the photo of dolphins below was taken here, but it is from a postcard as my own attempt to photograph them just managed to capture a fin!).  On the opposite side of the firth from here is the historic military base of Fort George.

( Notes adapted from ‘Visit Scotland, black-isle.info, wikipedia )

My photographs are from a visit I made to the area in 2003.

Black Isle (1)

Looking north across the Firth of Cromarty

Black Isle (2)

Roadside nasturtiums

Black Isle (3)

Roadside floral display – Rosebay Willow herb (?)

Black Isle (4)

Oil rig awaiting servicing in the Cromarty Firth

Black Isle (5)

Oil rig on the Moray Firth 

Black Isle (6)

Gull on the shoreline at Chanonry Point

Black Isle (7a)

Chanonry Point on the Moray Firth – the ideal spot to view dolphins

Black Isle (8)

The lighthouse at Chanonry Point

Black Isle (9)

Dolphins leaping in the Firth

Black Isle (10)

Oyster Catcher at Chanonry Point

Black Isle (11)

View southwards across the Moray Firth to Fort George

Black Isle (12)

A closer view of Fort George

 

 

 

Black Isle (11)

Stone commemorating the story of the ‘The Brahan Seer’  (click for the Wikipedia reference). 

 

Banner4b

Canterbury, Kent, England

[ Photo Blog #58 ]

Canterbury is a cathedral city of great historical importance in the history of the British Isles.  It is situated in the county of Kent in south-east England, and, following the murder of Thomas à Becket in the cathedral in 1170, it has been a highly significant place of pilgrimage.  Ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, encircle the medieval centre of the city, and many cobbled streets and timber-framed houses remain.  The Cathedral, founded in 597 A.D., is the headquarters of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.  It incorporates both Gothic and Romanesque elements in its stone carvings and stained-glass windows.  The photographs below were all taken by me in and just off the main High Street on a visit in May 2003.

Canterbury 001

Queen Elizabeth’s Guest Chambers: The ornamental plaster work on the front of the building was done c. 1698.  The date of 1573 noted on the front of the building refers to the time Queen Elizabeth supposedly stayed here.

Canterbury 005

The old cemetery gate of Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury 006-River Stour

Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – from the High Street Bridge

Canterbury 007

Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour

Canterbury 008

Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – View

Canterbury 011

Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – View

Canterbury 012

View on the Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour

Canterbury 014-Bulkhead by Sculptor Rick Kirby

‘Bulkhead’ by Sculptor Rick Kirby outside the Marlowe Theatre

 

Canterbury 015-The Marlowe Mask

‘Bulkhead’ by Sculptor Rick Kirby outside the Marlowe Theatre

 

Canterbury 021-Plane Tree

Plane tree in the Westgate Gardens in Canterbury’.  The girth of the tree, measured at a height of 1.50 m, in May 2013, was 8.83 metres

Canterbury 023-Horse-drawn Carriage

Horse-drawn Carriage awaiting passengers just off the High Street, Canterbury

 

bar-green

Ireland – The Dingle Peninsula

 [ Photo Blog #57 ] 

Following on from the photographs of my visit to Killarney and the Mulcross Estate, today’s tour is of the Dingle Peninsular, one of the 3 promontories which jut out into the Atlantic Ocean from the south-west coast of Ireland.
01.Dingle-Map

Map of South West Ireland showing the Dingle Peninsula

02.Dingle

Beach along the southern coast of the Peninsula

03.Dingle

Further along the southern coast with a view to the outlying islands

04.Dingle

Looking eastwards back towards Dingle

05.Dingle

One of the Dingle Peninsula’s many small secluded beaches

06.Dingle

The Dingle Peninsula has many dozens of standing stones such as this menhir beside the coast road.

07.Dingle

. . .  and this menhir further along the coast

08Dingle

The roadside remains of a one-time occupied croft

09.Dingle

Dingle Slea Head Crucifix – one of many such roadside shrines

10.Dingle

Seagull on the seawall with the Blasket Islands behind

11.Dingle

Sea thrift beside the coast road

12.Dingle-W to the Blasket Isles

Roadside wild foxgloves at the south-western end of the peninsula

bar-green