wordless wednesday

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Wordless Wednesday
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weekly photo challenge: carefree

Saturday, August 17:  The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is carefree.

Sheri Bigelow of WordPress writes: Summer memories make everything feel magical to me — carefree and untroubled.

Even on the trips where everything went wrong, I look back and smile at the narrow escapes, or the long walks on a beach while I sorted out and righted the world.

Whether a good memory was made in years past, yesterday, or only moments ago, I love letting the nostalgia wrap me up — like a borrowed sweater on a cold summer night. Even more, I love making new memories: a carefree summer at the lake, a stroll through the park, dancing in the rain… then all I need to do is remember, and the same carefree feeling washes over me.

This young lady in Cascais, Portugal, looks pretty carefree.

Cascais, Portugal
Cascais, Portugal

travel theme: architecture

Monday, August 12:  Ailsa’s Travel Theme (Where’s my backpack?) for this week is architecture.  I’ve been having a bit of a hard time with this one because it’s such a broad theme.  As a matter of fact, I would say my entire trip through Spain and Portugal this summer was about the architecture (and the food!), so you could look at my entire travelogue to see some amazing architecture.  For this challenge, I’m going to limit myself to three places, four photos.  These are some of my favorites, but are of course not all-inclusive!

First choice, hands down, Cordoba’s Mezquita.  To see lots more pictures, you can check out my post: andalucía: córdoba’s stunning mezquita.

Cordoba's Mezquita
Cordoba’s Mezquita

Second choice, Seville’s Alcázar.  If you’d like to see more, you can visit: the alcázar in seville.

Seville's Alcázar
Seville’s Alcázar
Seville's Alcázar
Seville’s Alcázar

And finally, I have to include at least one place from beautiful Sintra, in Portugal: the gorgeous Palace of Monserrate.

Palace of Monserrate
Palace of Monserrate

weekly photo challenge: one shot, two ways

Sunday, August 11: The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is One Shot, Two Ways.

Cheri Lucas of WordPress writes: This week, photographer Jeff Sinon talked about his process of finding the best shot. Before taking a picture, he studies his scene — looking at a shot horizontally (as a landscape) and vertically (as a portrait). With this honed, critical eye, he decides what orientation works best for his photograph.

For this challenge, capture two images — a horizontal and a vertical version — of the same scene or subject. There are no concrete “rules” here, but a) it should be evident that both shots are of the same place/location or person/thing, and b) your photographs should ideally have been taken during the same shoot.

Here are mine from Europe, from the beautiful town of Sintra in Portugal, one of my favorite places so far in the world!  The first set is the Chapel at Quinta da Regaleira.

Click on any of the photos for a larger view and mini-slideshow.

Here are two shots inside the Main House at Quinta da Regaleira.  This is from the Hunting Room, where the theme of the “cycle of life” is evident throughout the room.

Finally, also in Sintra, is the Palace of Monserrate.

travel theme: wild

Thursday, August 8:  I didn’t get to many natural places during my trip to Spain and Portugal this summer, but in the few places I did go, I found some wild flowers that I thought were pretty crazy-looking.   I also found a wild bird here and there, and some wild street art in Lisbon.  So for Ailsa’s travel theme this week, just under the wire, here are some pictures. (Where’s my backpack? Travel Theme: Wild)

wild flower in El Torcal, Spain
wild flowers in El Torcal, Spain
wildflowers in El Torcal, Spain
wildflowers in El Torcal, Spain
Scottish thistle in El Torcal, Spain
Scottish thistle in El Torcal, Spain
Scottish thistle in Teba, Spain
Scottish thistle in Teba, Spain
wildflowers in Teba, Spain
wildflowers in Teba, Spain
wildflowers in Teba, Spain
wildflowers in Teba, Spain
A wild bird in Teba
A wild bird in Teba
Scottish thistle in Teba, Spain
Scottish thistle in Teba, Spain
Wild street art in Lisbon, Portugal
Wild street art in Lisbon, Portugal
more wild street art in Lisbon
more wild street art in Lisbon

weekly photo challenge: masterpiece

Sunday, July 28:  The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Masterpiece.

Writes Cheri Lucas: Masterpiece. No matter where you are (and where you’ve been), I’m certain you’ve stumbled upon something extraordinary: a place that blows your mind; a work of art or object that speaks to you; or even a location or scene that’s special, unusual, or even magical in some way.

One thing you can never really “stumble upon” is a ceiling.  Often, you can miss the wonders of ceilings simply by forgetting to look up.  During my travels this summer, I saw some beautiful ceilings in cathedrals and palaces, but in order to see them I had to remember to look up. 🙂

Ceilings are often artistic masterpieces that can be vastly under-appreciated or ignored completely.  A viewer can’t even study ceilings for very long without getting a crick in the neck. And think of what the artist had to endure to create them.  I can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be to design and create a beautiful ceiling by holding one’s arms overhead and one’s face looking up for extended periods of time.  Unless an artist can lie on a platform on his back, I can’t imagine it could be very easy work.

Here are some masterpiece ceilings I found throughout Spain and Portugal this summer.

Cordoba's Mezquita
Cordoba’s Mezquita
Cordoba's Mezquita
Cordoba’s Mezquita
Granada's Cathedral
Granada’s Cathedral
the Alhambra
the Alhambra in Granada, Spain
ceiling and lamp in Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal
ceiling and lamp in Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal
swans on the ceiling in the National Palace, Sintra, Portugal
swans on the ceiling in the National Palace, Sintra, Portugal
more painted ceilings at the National Palace in Sintra
more painted ceilings at the National Palace in Sintra
Ceilings in the National Palace, Sintra
Ceilings in the National Palace, Sintra
Basilica dos Martires in Lisbon
Basilica dos Martires in Lisbon

And this, my friends, is only a tiny glimpse of heaven. 🙂

travel theme: sweet

Friday, July 26:  This week, Ailsa of Where’s my backpack? challenges us to come up with something sweet.   She asks us to: Whisper a sweet nothing and send it my way.

On my trip through Spain and Portugal, I sampled delectable sweets all along the way.  I have a few extra bulges around my waist as a result.  Here’s to you, Ailsa, some sweet nothings coming your way.

The Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona is a colorful feast of sweets: fruit juices, fruits, and candies galore.

sweet fruit juices at the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona
sweet fruit juices at the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona
sweet fruit at Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona
sweet fruit at Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona
candies at Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona
candies at Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona

One sweet treat that beckons from nearly every street in Spain and Portugal is gelato.  I tried to sample as much as I could. 🙂  This gelato cart was on the street in Tavira, Portugal.  Jo of restlessjo and I were in search of fig and almond gelato, which she raves about.  Sadly for me, though this cart usually sells Jo’s favorite flavor, they are out of it on this night.

gelato in Tavira, Portugal
gelato in Tavira, Portugal

Toledo, Spain is famous for its marzipan.  Of course, I had to sample some.

marzipan in Toledo, Spain
marzipan in Toledo, Spain

A churro, sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut, is a fried-dough pastry-based snack. It is normally eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate or cafe con leche.  It’s delicious!

churros and chocolate in Granada, Spain
churros and chocolate in Granada, Spain

And finally, one of Portugal’s great culinary wonders is the cinnamon-dusted pastel de nata (custard tart), with its flaky crust and creamy center.  I tasted lots of these throughout Portugal, but this one was at Cafe Pielas In Sintra.

cinnamon-dusted pastel de nata in Portugal
cinnamon-dusted pastel de nata in Portugal

I have to say that some of the best sweets to be found are in Europe! 🙂

my last afternoon in lisbon

Wednesday, July 24:  I return to Lisbon from Cascais in the late afternoon and take a long walk from the train station up an endless hill to Bairro Alto.  Here I stumble upon my last sighting of pastel de nata.  Oh how I will miss this treat when I leave Portugal tomorrow morning.

pastel de nata
pastel de nata

I’ll miss the mosaic cobbled walkways of the city.

streets of Lisbon
streets of Lisbon

And the dramatic statues in serene parks.

a statue in a park
a statue in a park

I drop into the Basilica dos Martires, dedicated to the martyrs who participated in the 1147 reconquest of Lisbon from the Moors.  This beautiful Baroque church was built after the 1755 earthquake on the site of another where the first baptism after the reconquest took place.  It was completed in 1784.  Inside is a marble altar and a beautifully painted ceiling, as well as an organ that’s considered one of the best in the country (LisbonLux: Basilica dos Martires).

more Lisbon architecture
Basilica dos Martires

I think the ceiling in this church is one of the most beautiful I have seen during my trip.

the ceiling of Basilica dos Martires
the ceiling of Basilica dos Martires

I’ll miss Portugal’s amazing architecture and Lisbon’s colorful buildings and street lamps.

street lamps
street lamps

I also drop into the skeletal Convento do Carmo; all that remains after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and a later violent fire are its cracked pillars and soaring arches, reaching longingly into the heavens.

Carmo Ruins
Carmo Ruins
arches to the heavens
arches to the heavens

The Carmo Archeological Museum keeps and exhibits important pieces of sculpture from the Carmo monastery and church, as well as from many other ancient buildings, such as monastic houses.  It also holds works from prehistoric times until the present day.

inside the Carmo Archeological Museum
inside the Carmo Archeological Museum
me at the Carmo Archeological Museum
me at the Carmo Archeological Museum
the Carmo Ruins
the Carmo Ruins
entrance to the Carmo Archeological Museum
entrance to the Carmo Archeological Museum

I continue heading up the hill past inviting cafes and the Teatro da Trinidad.

outdoor cafe
outdoor cafe
theater
theater

And I head back to my favorite spot in Lisbon, LOSTin, for a beer and some parting views of the city.

LOSTin Esplanade Bar
LOSTin Esplanade Bar
color decor as LOSTin
color decor as LOSTin
me enjoying Lisbon views and a beer at LOSTin
me enjoying Lisbon views and a beer at LOSTin
LOSTin
LOSTin
LOSTin
LOSTin

After going back to my hotel to rest a bit, I venture out one last time to have some dinner.  I pass more Lisbon balconies, which I wistfully wish were mine.

Lisbon balcony
Lisbon balcony

And I surprise myself by stopping into a sushi place that has been bustling every time I’ve passed it by.  The food is delicious, even though as a parting Lisbon experience, it’s not exactly Portuguese food. 🙂

sushi bar
sushi bar
my last dinner in Lisbon: sushi
my last dinner in Lisbon: sushi

Finally, I return to my hotel, where I request an early morning wake-up call for my flight back home to the USA. 😦