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August 9, 2008

I'm Joining PhotoHunt This Week - Dark

This is the shot from our apartment window looking out over the Bay of Kotor to the late night lights of Kotor City and the ancient fortification wall that climbs the mountain behind.
I loved the way the ambient light just barely illuminates the two lonely row boats anchored in the still water at the bottom right of the photo.

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Here is the view during the daytime. The camera angle is oriented slightly left so it isn't exact.

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August 15, 2008

Budapest's Central Market Hall -- COLORFUL

When I found out what this week's theme would be I knew immediately what photo I would post.

You can't get much more colorful than this precise lineup of painted wooden nesting dolls from one of the upper level stalls in the Central Market Hall in Budapest.

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Central Market Hall, opened in 1896, is a spectacular building designed by Hungarian architect Samu Pecz. It has the architectural feel of that time period when there was a love affair with exposed steel. It reminds you of the Eiffel Tower or the Santa Justa Elevator in Lisbon. That shouldn't surprise, since Pecz and Eiffel were contemporaries and probably studied each other's work. Plus the architect of the Santa Justa was a protege of Eiffel's.

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It is a huge, airy, and beautiful place. Though we were there in the mid-afternoon and most of the shoppers had come and gone, every food stall was still well stocked and spotlessly clean.

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The 100 plus food stalls are on the ground floor level, were selling everything edible you can imagine. Sausage stalls, meats, fish, spices, veggies & fruit. And, of course, there were dried peppers everywhere.

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The upper level, a sort of gallery overlooking the ground floor, had less than half the number of stalls because it didn't extend into the center. They were mostly mostly traditional needlework, crafts, and tourist trinkets. This is where I got the shot of the nesting dolls. There were also several large restaurants on the upper level.

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If you plan to visit Budapest, do not fail to save part of a day for Central Market Hall. The only thing I would do differently would be to arrive early in the morning to experience the hustle and bustle of the local shoppers. As it was, we were pretty much all tourists.

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August 22, 2008

Ferry Accomodations - WRINKLED

This post is a bit out of order as far as my entries about our recent trip to Budapest, Montenegro, & Italy. But, the ferry ride from Montenegro to Italy was when I took the only photo that qualified for the PhotoHunt assignment of 'wrinkled' for this week.

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We are pretty easy going travellers. We don't require first class accomodations, and aren't inclined to pay for them. So, when we booked our tickets on Sv. Stefan II operated by Montenegro Lines, we decided we could tolerate one night of going down the hall to the bathroom and we didn't need an outside cabin. After all, my mantra is "All hotel rooms look the same with the lights out." That is, of course, providing they are clean.

Our cabin wasn't. I don't know if you can tell from the picture just how filthy the mattress was. No mattress pad, Just a thin flat sheet covering a saggy and grimy green canvas 'sack' stuffed with God knows what! The sheet kept coming untucked. The carpet was so dirty and coated with crud, we could not identify the color. I should have taken a picture of the floor, but to tell you the truth, I just didn't want to look at it long enough for that.


The only other picture I took inside the cabin was of the sink area. It appeared, thankfully, clean. However, this was a bring-your-own-towel proposition.

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Our cabin -- inside two beds with sink, but no bathroom was E87 per person ($260 total). We thought that was a steep price, so how bad could the cabin be? Right? We had no intention of paying the E180 per person for a deluxe cabin.

Had we known then, what we know now, we'd have opted to sit up all night in the airline style seats for E66 per person. We would have saved $63 and probably slept just as well. PLUS we wouldn't have come away feeling like we had just been exposed to every disease and microscopic insect known to man.

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When I get to this point in our trip, I'll post some other photos of the ship and provide a more balanced assessment of the entire experience. Fortunately for us, the cabin was the only really awful part.

August 30, 2008

On to Montenegro - BEAUTIFUL

It is time to leave the rest of Budapest for you to discover for yourself. If I don't move on to Montenegro, I'll still be writing these travel entries six months from now.

Saturday means another PhotoHunt assignment. This week -- BEAUTIFUL. And I have the perfect picture from our trip to represent that thought.

We met a gentleman on our train ride from Belgrade to Podgorica. I'd seen him on the platform in Belgrade. Four or five people stood around him with solemn faces as he prepared to board. A young boy of about seven or eight was clinging to his leg and crying. It was obvious that he was well loved and missed before he was gone.

He sought us out within ten minutes of our departure from Belgrade. He came to our coach, and welcomed us to the train as he shook our hands. A two-fisted shaker, like an evangelist, he grabbed my right hand with his and covered both of them with his left. It felt like I was receiving some sort of benediction with that handshake. His hands were surprisingly soft and smooth. I would have expected rough calloused hands to match the rest of his appearance.

His English was thickly accented, but grammatically flawless. He switched from English to either Serbian or Montenegrin (I couldn't tell) effortlessly as he divided his attention between us and our Montenegrin couch mates.

We learned nothing about him. He never bothered to ask our names and never shared his, or anything about himself. The only thing he let slip was an offhand comment about an important historical event. That allowed me to do the math in my head to make an educated guess at his age. Otherwise, he skillfully deflected all inquiries.

Keeping up a running one-sided dialogue, he touched on everything from astronomy to engineering to river navigation to beekeeping.

He bounced from deep philosophical comments on national identity to the nature of the animal-human bond to his admiration for Mark Twain and Marlon Brando.

Without asking if any of us suffered with the problem, he highly recommendation an herbal preparation of Wormwood leaves as a treatment for intestinal parasites.

He seemed enthralled with Native Americans. He was quite pleased to learn that my great-great-grandmother was 1/2 Cherokee. Then he launched into a disertation on the Trail of Tears.

He wondered from car to car, leaving us for an hour at a time, then reappearing and picking up the conversation where he had left off.

He left the train about three hours before Podgorica at a desolate looking stop with no visible town. Just a small concrete shelter next to the tracks. He had been in a different car when he stepped off the train, and we didn't realize he was leaving. Just as the wheels started moving again, I stood up to lean out the window for some photos. He called up to me, "Aren't your going to take my picture, my new friend?" So, I did.

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I have no idea who the woman was. Perhaps his daughter come to collect him. Maybe she had been on the train all along and just didn't participate in his ambassadorial strolls through the train cars. She had a bored but patient look of someone who had been through this many times before. She didn't bother to look up at us.

You know when you meet a spirit that is too big for its body? The eyes flash a fire of restless intelligence and every line on the face testifies to a perpetual smile. That's what made this man so beautiful.

So, how did I figure out his aproximate age? During his discussion of national identity, he let it slip that he was just old enough to join the resistance in time to participate in the great Christmas Uprising. That would have been early January of 1919.
I don't know what age would have been considered "old enough" to be a resistance fighter in 1919, but I'm guessing somewhere between 14 and 18.
And the reason I'm guessing that the woman with him might be his daughter (or even granddaughter) rather than his wife? She looks too young to have a husband who is at least 103 years old, doesn't she?

September 5, 2008

Montenegro's Ethnographic Museum - STRINGS

This week's PhotoHunt theme is STRINGS.

When is it just strings and when is it thread? When does the thread become a work of art?


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Loom on exhibit in the Ethnographic Museum in Cetinje, Montenegro


Cetinje is the historical and cultural capital of Montenegro. It lost its title as the seat of government to Podgorica, but it didn't lose its place in the hearts and minds of Montenegrins.

When Cetinje was at the height of its cultural influence in Europe there were dozens of impressive embassies in operation. Now each of those embassies has become one of Montenegro's many museums. The Ethnographic Museum, housing exhibits about the everyday lives of the people of Crna Gora for the last 300 years is in the former Serbian Embassy. It rotates themed exhibits on subject such as food, housing, arms, musical instruments, money, etc.

When we visited the exhibit was on textiles and specifically clothing. The display is striking and the needlework breathtaking. I looked at the intricated detail and imagined the women sitting in their homes on the high country. Snowed in and spending their forced hours of idleness on the beautiful costumes they and their families would wear to the spring festivals once the weather broke.

In the series of photos that follow, the picture on the left is an article of clothing. the picture on the right is a closeup detail of the needlework.

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September 13, 2008

Durmitor National Park - WILD

The PhotoHunt Theme is WILD. So, I'll show you the wild horses of Durmitor National Park.

One day, we decided to leave sea level Kotor and head for one of Montenegro's highest points. After all, we were in Montenegro for the wild interior, not for the beach. We drove north to Pluzine and entered Durmitor National Park from the west.

Well above the tree line, the peaks of the Durmitor are rocky & grassy with permanent snow in crevices that the sun never warms.

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These are mountains with high meadows for summer grazing -- both by domestic animals brought up for the season by shepherds, and by the WILD horses of the area.


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It took us a while to get high enough to see those horses, however. As we left the low meadow crossroads of Trsa and headed into Durmitor National Park, our goal of the peaks was far in the distance across the fields of summer flowers.


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We climbed higher and the trees and the flowers disappeared. The grass became shorter and greener and the rocky rubble more prevalent.


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We finally reached a point where the road leveled off and we were traveling parallel to the uppermost peaks. At about 2,200 meters, the road was about to turn downhill and take us out the eastern side of the park on our way to Zabljak.


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At the road's summit, we stopped the car beside this memorial. We never did find out who it honored, or how the person came to be memorialized.

September 19, 2008

They Call Them "Modern" Roads - ROADS

The PhotoHunt theme this week is ROAD. So my photo is that of a "modern" road in Montenegro.

There are four designations of road in this beautiful country. International Roads have a number assigned to them -- on the map. Don't expect to see highway signs telling you the road number, however. These roads are easy to recognize, they are paved and have lines painted down the middle. In a few heavily trafficked areas an international road might have a stretch that is divided with two lanes going each direction. But most of the time they are only two lanes with a third slow traffic lane on very steep grades. There are only six numbered roads in all of Montenegro.

One step down are the Regional Roads. Which are also easy to recognize. They are paved and always have two lanes. That is, they are wide enough for two compact cars to pass each other without one of them falling off the cliff or the other plowing into the mountain side. They don't, however, usually have a strip down the middle. So don't count on the other driver giving you an even half of the road.


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This leads us to the third classification of road, and the subject of my PhotoHunt post -- the Modern Road. A modern road is defined as one that is paved and often a full lane and a half wide.


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There are, of course, the random herds of livestock which always have the right of way.


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As well as the right to lie down for a rest on the nice warm pavement if the mood strikes.
With a bit of luck, the cow will pick a spot that allows you to squeeze past without mishap.


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But, no worries. If you have an accident along the way, you will always be within a few dozen meters of the telephone number for a tow-truck. These numbers are thoughtfully painted on every imaginable vertical surface where accidents might happen. Like I said, every few dozen meters.


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Oh, yes, I almost forgot to mention the fourth and final classification. The Local Road. Local roads are unpaved, and not quite as wide as your car. You will need to remember to fold your mirror in on the side that hugs the cliffs. Otherwise you might knock it off. This photo was a little deceptive. We were actually able to get through this tunnel without folding in our mirrors and a good 6 inches on either side of the car to spare.

Don't think we're complaining, though. We absolutely LOVED driving all over the pile of rocks called Montenegro. It was from those very roads that we enjoyed amazing views like this.

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September 26, 2008

Some of My Favorite Views - VIEW

This week's PhotoHunt theme is VIEW. I find it impossible to pick just one photo that represents this to me. It would be like deciding which of your children you love most.

So, I've decided to offer a very few of some of the spectacular views we have enjoyed in the last few years of travel.

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The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as viewed at sunset from the east side of the Mississippi.

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The Badlands in South Dakota, USA

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The Yellowstone River Canyon in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

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The view from the road leading up into the Santa Elena Cloud Forest at Monteverde in Costa Rica.

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Empty stretch of beach on the Costa da Morte in Galicia, Northern Spain.

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The drive through Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres, Northern Portugal

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View from Castelo de Sao Jorge, across the rooftops of Lisbon with the Elevador de Santa Justa in the center.

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Looking down on Kotor and the Bay of Kotor from high above on the cities ancient defense wall. Montenegro

October 4, 2008

Former Communist Queen - SAD

Our PhotoHunt theme for today is SAD. Don't you think empty, unloved buildings are sad? All across the holiday playgrounds of the former Soviet Bloc are huge abandoned concrete resorts. Places where the party insiders went to be pampered and to take advantage of their "little more equal than most" status.
Hotel Fjord, on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro is one of those places. The locals say that in its day it hosted Brezhnev, Gorbachev, Yeltsin and even Putin when he was a mid-level KGB operative.

Even in their hay-day, these hulking souless grey buildings were ugly. But now that they have no priviliged KGB and Politburo Bosses as guests, they seem to brood.

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This view is from our apartment window across the bay. It gives you an idea of how enormous the place is. Someone told us that an Irish company purchased it in 2006 amid much fanfare. They promised to refurbish it and turn it into a 4 Star resort. But, they still haven't done anything.


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In the meantime, it deteriorates rapidly. The paving stones on the huge patios are being pulled up and carted off by locals to use in their gardens and driveways.


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The four outdoor dining areas serve nothing but weeds now. But, the tennis courts are still in pretty good shape, and the locals have opened a hole in the fence so they can crawl through and use them.


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The swimming pool is empty and cracked, but the waterfront platform next to the bay is used by locals for free swimming. They carefully pick their way through the rubble and broken glass to get to the edge.


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Parked around the building are a dozen old beat up Yugos. All black. They look like someone just lined them up and walked away. Strange.


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Across the street is a small shanty town we were told was populated by "gypsy" immigrants who were squaters. The owner of the land doesn't need it so they are allowed to remain without harrassement.

Even in the most beautiful and idyllic settings sadness can be found.

October 11, 2008

The Definition of -- LAZY

Since I've committed to making all my PhotoHunt posts photos from our travels, this one was especially difficult. Although we aren't particularily lazy travellers, I do have a few photos of relaxing in beach chairs or at sidewalk cafes. But, there is nothing unusual about that.

For some reason, when we travel, I love to take pictures of dogs. So, I've got dozens of pictures of dogs sprawled out in different cities around the world. But, a lazy dog lying around soaking up the sun is a very common sight, isn't it? In fact, I'm betting that a great number of this weeks PhotoHunt posts will be pictures of dogs doing what dogs do so well.

So, in a search for inspiration, I went to the trusty old Webster's Dictionary to look up the definitions of the word LAZY.

There I find that one defination is "sluggish". And that gave me my photo for this hunt.

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For our trip last summer to Spain and Portugal, I stole a little wind-up catepiller of the desk of one of my co-workers. I named him Bookworm and as we travelled, I created a photo journal called Bookworm's Excellent Adventure. Here we see Bookworm making friends with a slug on the patio of our farm stay at Casa Perfeuto Maria in Galicia.

October 18, 2008

By The Numbers - FAMILY

This week's PhotoHunt theme is FAMILY.

My husband's family always gathered at Grandma & Grandpa's house for Christmas. Short of hospitalization, no absence would be excused. Naturally the original six brothers & sisters, and their spouses, and their children and grandchildren aren't all still living in the hometown. We're scattered from Kansas City to Ft. Lauderdale.

As the family grew and disbursed and added in-law families with demands of their own, it became harder and harder for everyone to make it to Grandma & Grandpa's for Christmas day. So, a few years ago, we decided to convert our yearly gathering to a family reunion on the last weekend of July.

Thus was born, "Christmas In July". We take turns hosting to evenly share the burden of travel. This last summer was in Ohio. Next year will be in Florida. We book a park with lots of facilities and a block of rooms at a nearby hotel.

With over forty family members, it's a bit hard to keep up with them in a big park with lots of distractions. So we put bright yellow tee-shirts on everyone with huge black numbers on the back. Those numbers represent the order in which each person joined the family. Dan is the second child, so his number is "4". There were ten people in the family when we married, so my number is "11".

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This lineup are some of the younger grandchildren. Number "35" managed to fall in the mud by the riverbank within the first hour we were there, so he is out of "uniform". When the little girl's mother marries one of our nephews in a few months, she will get her own shirt.


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We set up food in our pavilion; play cards; visit; share photo albums; and watch the young cousins getting reaquainted and enjoying each other's company.


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My granddaughter was the newest addition this summer. She doesn't have her shirt yet, but her number is "43". By next July two new marriages bringing instant families, will add another seven members. An even FIFTY.
We'll celebrate that milestone at Disney World. It should be great fun.

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Not forgetting the original purpose of this family gathering, we decorate our pavilion with a lighted Christmas tree; play holiday music on the boom box; and have a spirited "rob-your-neighbor" gift exchange.

Grandma & Grandpa are no longer with us. In fact, everyone after number "31" didn't have the opportunity to know them.

But, we remember them with a toast each year, and with the knowledge that they would have been filled with pride and love to watch all those yellow shirts running around the park.

October 25, 2008

What Lurks Is --- SCARY

I just couldn't come up with a PhotoHunt entry from our travels that represented this week's theme. Travelling is many things, but for us it's far from "scary".

I didn't want to pull out a Halloween picture, because there will be so many great ones posted, why try to compete?

I had about decided that I'd have to pass this week. Then, this morning I was digging in the back of my fridge to find some applebutter. This is what I found lurking behind a bottle of flat champagne!

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November 1, 2008

Dinnertime--BLUE

When working on my latest entry about our time in Montenegro, I was struck by how very, very blue the sky was in my photos. I thought, "Cool, this can be my entry for Saturday's PhotoHunt theme: BLUE. Then I thought about how unoriginal my blue sky was, and decided to wait for other inspiration.

Last night, with PhotoHunt the last thing on my mind, I was preparing dinner and reached for my favorite spatula. In a crowded kitchen tool spinner, guess which one it is.

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November 8, 2008

It's Finally Over - TOGETHER

The PhotoHunt theme for this week is TOGETHER.

Working in a bookstore gives you an interesting perspective on people and their political views. Especially during a Presidential election season.

For the last few months, we've had a big table filled with nothing but political books. Carefully chosen to evenly represent both major political parties.

Our staff members have daily assignment sheets that tell them what they need to be focusing on every hour of their shift. During election season, one of the assignments is to keep the "You Decide" political table straight. Why do we have to assign a babysitter to that table, you ask?

Because a bunch of people who can't play nicely together keep messing with it. They come in and turn the books upside down for whoever doesn't agree with their point of view. Or they take a favorable book for their guy and cover up all the unfavorable ones.

One day, one of our booksellers discovered an entire stack of favorable books about one of the candidates had disappeared. After an all-out search, they were located -- stashed behind the Uncle Johns Bathroom Readers in the humor section.

But, now the election is over. And all of those political books are of no interest to anyone. The table that used to say "You Decide" now is filled with holiday books.

And what do we do with all those political books, you ask? We box them up TOGETHER and send them back to the publishers. They will turn around and send them out to anyone they can palm them off on. Eventually, used book dealers will buy what is left and sell them on the internet for $1.99 plus shipping. Such a deal!

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January 31, 2009

PhotoHunt - FURRY

It's been a while since I participated in PhotoHunt. And, because we are travelling, I won't be able to go on the PhotoHunt blog site to announce this posting. But, I decided to schedule the post anyway.

Below is a field of WOOLLY creatures being guarded by one FURRY one.

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February 7, 2009

PhotoHunt - BRIDGE

We happen to be visiting my brother and SIL this weekend. They have a condo overlooking this bridge, so this was a very easy assignment. I simply walked to the window this afternoon and shot the photo.

For those of you familiar with this part of Florida, the bridge is the one between Lovers Key and Fort Myers Beach. As you can see, it is a draw bridge. At the moment I took the picture, it was open to allow a dredging barge through.

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February 14, 2009

PhotoHunt -- Nautical

nau·ti·cal : \ˈnȯ-ti-kəl, ˈnä-\ : adj : of, relating to, or associated with seamen, navigation, or ships

In 1890, a British gunner ship, the HMS Serpent, on its way to Sierra Leone ran into stormy weather on Galicia's Costa da Morte. (Coast of Death)

On November 9th, due to a faulty compass, her navigation system failed. While the crew believed themselves to be more than ten miles clear of Cape Villano, they were actually sailing directly toward the dangerous rocks of Punta Bay. The ship ran aground on the Boy Rock, and eventually broke up and sank.

Only three sailors survived. They swam to shore and found their way to the village of Camarinas.

For weeks after, the townspeople collected bodies as they washed ashore and buried them in the sand on the beach. The final count of bodies recovered was 147, including the Commander of the ship. The townspeople enclosed the burial area with a low wall and added a memorial.

It is called "The English Cemetery", and it sits on this remote, desolate, and utterly beautiful beach.

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February 21, 2009

PhotoHunt - WARM

It's nice when your parents own Exclusive Events, Inc., an event production company. They have all kinds of cool stuff hanging out in their warehouse.

Let's say your birthday is in the summer. Too WARM to have snow at your party?

No, not a problem. Dad just brings home the snow making machine from the office and PRESTO, snow!

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March 7, 2009

The Altar You Don't See - Sacred SPACE

In a recent SlowTalk worldwide photohunt our theme was Wood. I posted this photo of an elaborately decorated alter chair in the Eastern Orthdox Monastery at Piva in the country of Montenegro.


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The Monastery at Piva is Montenegro's most treasured. When the government of Yugoslavia announced the pending construction of a dam that would put the monastery at the bottom of a lake, a thirteen year project relocated the monastery to the safety of higher ground.

During our visit to this wonderful monastery we met the caretaker, Father Nikifor. Montenegrin tall (at least 6'6"), he's a delightful man with sparkling eyes. And also true to the Montenegrin culture, he is the most gracious of hosts. He showed us all around the grounds and inside the monastery.


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Eastern orthodox monasteries have two altars. The front altar is visable to the faithful. It is richly decorated and beautiful.

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But its that tiny, sacred SPACE behind the front altar and entered only by the priests, that few ever see. Notice the red velvet curtain at the bottom right corner of the photo above.

Father Nikifor graciously pulled back the curtain and allowed us a peek inside, but not cross the threshold. When he suggested that I take a photo, I was flabbergasted and honored.

So here is my photo to represent "space". It is the most sacred space in the most sacred monestary in Montenegro.


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March 14, 2009

A Very Big Number -- FOUR

You've just spent two hours on a boat, slowly traveling through a Belizean mangrove on you're way to visit a Mayan ruin. Your finally off the boat. You need a pitstop - desperately! But, someone gets there before you. That's when you realize that FOUR is a very big number when you're waiting behind them.

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March 15, 2009

No Bushes To Squat Behind

Yesterday I posted a picture for the Saturday PhotoHunt challenge on the theme "Four". Several people commented on the fact that they would have looked for some bushes rather than wait in line. As I was thinking back on that day and trying to remember the place we were. I realized that there really weren't any bushes to squat behind. Once we left the mangroves, the area was a big flat delta.

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We were spending some time on Ambergris Caye and decided to take the boat trip through the mangrove to Lamanai Mayan area.

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We arrived after that two hour trip, at a sort of congregation point where tour guides waited to escort us to the temple sites. You aren't allowed to wonder the grounds without guides.

I'm happy we chose the boat trip in instead of this bus!

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At Lamanai, we visited three temples: Jaguar Temple, Temple of the Masks, and the High Temple. This photo is deceptive. It doesn't look all that tall, until you realize that that white spot on the left is the teeshirt of a man climbing up.

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And, of course, when you get to the top, your are above the tall palms by a considerable amount. That is when you can see out over the delta like expanse and realize just how flat the countryside is.

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March 21, 2009

PhotoHunt - YELLOW

Any Chihule fan will immediately recognize his signature style in the two photos below.

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But it is the purpose to which he puts each of his glass creations that continually delights. The YELLOW glass you've seen above is part of Chihule's Arbor installation at the Missouri Botanical Garden here in St. Louis.

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March 28, 2009

Photohunt - HANDS

I wasn't going to participate in today's PhotoHunt because I really couldn't think of anything I thought was interesting.
Then I started looking at everyone else's creative takes on the theme, and realized I did have one very interesting shot.
Here is a closeup of a woman showing her newly decorated hand to her family.

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April 4, 2009

Photohunt - STRIPES

Visitors to America's west will probably recognize this landmark. Sci Fi movie fans will probably recognize it. Devil's Tower has the distinction of having been named America's very first national landmark in 1906. This picture doesn't truly represent its size, unless you take a very close look at those mature pine trees at its base. But at 1267 feet it's pretty awesome in person.

I love it for its STRIPES

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The city of Lisbon paves many of their pracas, sidewalks, and even streets in four inch square pieces of stone. They are especially partial to black and white patterns.

Here is the wavy STRIPED pattern of one of the many beautiful pracas we enjoyed in the city.

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April 25, 2009

Photohunt - PROTECT(ION)

In Galicia, the far northwestern region of Spain, there are unique little buildings that are part of the culture of the land. The name for one of them is "horreo".

The horreo is a grain store. Every family had one in their garden. The status and wealth of the family was on display for all to see simply by the length of the horreo. The standard horreo length is about 12 feet.

Made of stone with ventilation slats, they sit raised above the ground on mushroom shaped pillars designed to keep the mice out.

Except in some of the very traditional farming communities the horreo is rarely used for its official purpose now. Mostly they are more like sheds, storing lawn furniture, gardening tools, and the like.

But they remain an important part of the Galician identity and a cultural icon of the region. An icon to be PROTECTED at all cost. Keeping them in good repair is important. A house with a well preserved horreo in its garden is a thing of pride.

Here in St. Louis, every trinket shop sells Gateway Arch paperweights. In Paris, you can buy an Eiffel Tower night light in any tourist gift shop. In Galicia it is a stone replica of the horreo.

The photo below was taken in Fisterre, the place where all of Europe once believed the world came to an end. Boats sailing out of the harbor of this town on the "coast of death" never came back. They simply dropped off the edge of our flat world.

As you can tell from the photo, even modern progress and high rise office buildings bow to the protection and preservation of the lowly horreo.

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May 2, 2009

Photohunt - WALKING

Throughout the world, we see people who are obviously prepared for walking a very long distance. But unless we stop to visit with them, we rarely know if they are just starting out; if they are somewhere in the middle of their trek; or if they've arrived at their destination.

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Did you ever wonder if there was something special they were walking toward? Or was the experience of the walk itself the goal? Or both.

In the case of the three subjects of my first photo, it appears the answer IS both. They were pilgrims. Pilgrims on one of the most famous walks in all of Christendom - The Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Or in English, The Way of St. James. The Camino is the largest network of ancient pilgrim routes in Europe. It is made up of more than ten routes which all merge into the three main routes: The Camino Ingles, the Camino Frances, and the Camino Portugues. Depending on which pilgrimage route these three had chosen, they may have been WALKING many more than 500 miles.

This plaza was their final goal.

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It is a huge square in front of the cathedral housing the tomb of St. James, a powerful draw for a pilgrim. It is, after all, the only known tomb for any of Christ's disciples. Standing in front of the golden cask said to hold his bones, brings you to within one degree of separation from Christ himself.

The exhausted pilgrims flop down in the middle of the plaza to rest, many of them spread eagle on their backs as the look up at this amazing facade.

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After returning from our holiday in Galicia, northwestern Spain, where Santiago de Compostela is located, I began reading everything I could find about the Camino. One of my favorite books about walking the Camino is Jane Christmas' delightful self-deprecating first-person account of her own journey:

What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Midlife Misadventure on Spain's Camino de Santiago
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May 9, 2009

PhotoHunt - IN MEMORY

What an appropriate PhotoHunt subject for the day before Mother's Day.

I grew up with the tradition of the Roses - White & Red - on Mother's Day. I don't know how widespread that tradition was in the rest of the country. I don't know if it was unique to the southern mid-west. Or perhaps to the Presbyterian church?

All I know is that from my earliest memory of going to church on Mother's Day, I remember the roses. We had wild rose bushes in our back yard. Red ones and white ones. Early on Mother's Day morning, as we were getting ready for church, my mother cut five red roses and one white one from those bushes.

She carefully striped the tiny thorns from the stems before she pinned one of the red roses on each of her four children and one on herself. Then she threaded the single white rose into my fathers suitcoat lapel. At church, everyone was wearing either white or red roses.

I didn't understand, or frankly care about, the reason for the tradition. I just enjoyed the extra treat of a fresh rose releasing its delicate scent from my shoulder all morning.

I'm not sure how old I was when it finally sank in. Maybe at some point it occured to me to ask why my Dad was the only one in our family with a white rose.


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This one is in memory of both of my father's mother who I never knew, and now also my mother's mother, who I cherished and still miss.

May 16, 2009

PhotoHunt - PAINTED

My Mother's Day gift "painted" by my youngest grandson, Morgan. Age 3.


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May 30, 2009

PhotoHunt - BOOK(s)

What a challenging PhotoHunt assignment this week!

Obviously for me the challenge wasn't finding an example of the subject. The challenge was deciding where to take that one photo in a store that houses hundreds of thousands of books.

So, I decided to photograph my own personal endcap. We encourage our booksellers to create an endcap of books related to a theme for which they have a passion.

One of our other booksellers who loves travel as much as I, beat me to that subject. But no worries. I had a backup plan --- food!

My endcap is organized in a very purposeful way. Care to guess the reasoning behind my cookbook choices and the logic of their order on the endcap?

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June 6, 2009

PhotoHunt - ADVERTISEMENT

Today we took our four grandsons to the National Museum of Transportation. I hadn't given the PhotoHunt theme a thought, but then I saw the marquee for the old 66 Drive In and decided it was perfect.

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The 66 Drive In was on a stretch of Route 66 called Watson Road. When it was demolished for a shopping plaza, many older hearts like mine were broken.

Another place not too far from the Drive In was Coral Court. Its distinctive yellow glazed brick and glass block design was famous all along the Mother Road. As you can see from the picture, every "cabin" at the Coral Court had its own garage. It was the ultimate convenience to pull into your own garage and enter your cabin directly from your car.

In the early-sixties - after the glory days were over, the Coral Court found a prosperous new life as a "no-tell" motel. The cabins were booked by the hour and the management left the garage doors open so the guest could quickly hide their car. When the Coral Court was finally torn down to build a condo community, the glazed bricks and glass blocks were sold as a fundraiser for the exhibit at the Museum of Transportation. I wonder how many people with secret guilty memories of the place bought bricks as souvenirs.

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And, although it has no connection to advertisement, I thought I'd leave you with one other photo from the museum....Bobby Darin's Dream Car. It is huge, just looks kind of small because I'm shooting down from the second floor balcony.

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June 13, 2009

PhotoHunt - LOCK


How do you put a lock on the wide open spaces? And what are you locking in? Or out?


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Five years ago, Dan and I took a big looping auto tour of Wyoming. We started in Jackson Hole, visited Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Cody before driving east to Devil's Tower and into the Dakotas.

We hadn't planned to dip south to Thermopolis at all. We had never even heard of Thermopolis. We had planned a northern route along highway 14 through Sheridan so we wouldn't have to use interstate until we got to Gillette.

As we were about to leave Cody, I glanced down at the map and saw the words:
"Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site". Intrigued by the petroglyphs and enticed by the thought of a hot springs, we detoured south to Thermopolis.

We stayed that night in the State Park Hotel; enjoyed the hot springs in the State Bath House. Next morning we presented ourselves at the towel check counter in the bath house to request "the key", for which we had to sign in blood and leave our first born as collateral. We were given directions to the site and told that once we were through the locked gate it would be another half-mile to the petroglyphs. Then we were admonished, in no uncertain terms, to lock the gate behind our car after we pulled through.

We really weren't sure what we were actually going to find. But we weren't expecting to have all of this completely to ourselves.

Without tour guides. Without stanchions and ropes to keep us at a safe distance. Without motion detector alarms. Without plexiglas. Without little discreet tags to tell us what we were looking at.

Just the two of us, the guests of the spirits of ancient artists' in whose outdoor gallery we were enjoying our own private showing.

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October 2, 2009

Photohunt - WORDS

It's been a long time since I participated in PhotoHunt. But, I was going to do a post on the Great Forest Park Balloon Race & Balloon Glow anyway and I thought it would make a nice twist on the theme.

Usually when a persons words are unreliable, we say they are "full of hot air". Here is a case where we can take that expression literally.

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October 10, 2009

PhotoHunt - SPORT

Do you doubt the claims on the shirt?

Look at that stance. Look at the way he holds the club and ball as if he was born with them in his hands. Look at the steely focus in his eyes as he graciously acknowledges his cheering fans. My friends, you are looking at a true champion.

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October 31, 2009

PhotoHunt - BAGS

Interesting PhotoHunt subject this week. I can imagine many ways to interpret it and stay true to the travel theme of my blog. I could do luggage pictures. I could do shopping bag pictures from other countries. I could even do the bags under my eyes after a long flight across numerous time zones.

But, I decided that since it was Halloween, I'd join it what was sure to be a very popular theme...bags of candy.

Here are some cool looking Japanese Jell Cups I found at Global Foods this week. Almost bought them, because I thought they would be interesting and unique. I mean, really, just how many mini-Hershey bars does one kid need, right?

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Then, because I'm a very responsible treat giver I carefully studied the warning panel on the back. I think these may be a lawsuit waiting to happen. I think I'll pass. Mini Almond Joy, anyone?

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November 21, 2009

PhotoHunt - BIRDS

I'm bending the rules just a bit for today's PhotoHunt by posting a short YouTube clip.

It seems I don't take a lot of bird photos when we travel. But, this video is of some seabirds battling the wind, in their valiant efforts to land on their cliffside nests.

The wind was so strong, I had to lie down on my stomach and prop my elbows on the ground in order to keep the camera still.

It is taken at the Old Man of Hoy on the island of Hoy in the Orkneys. The Orkneys are located off the northern coast of the Scottish mainland.

December 19, 2009

Photohunt - FAST

A slow stretch from one of the world's fastest couch potatoes.

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January 2, 2010

Photohunt - LICK

St. Louis is fortunate to have an abundance of parks. One just a few miles from our house -- Lone Elk Park --is our grandsons' favorite places to go. Especially in the winter when the trees are bare and they can see the animals clearly.

Yesterday we decided to take a drive over to the park. I took along my camera thinking that I might see some elk gathered around one of the saltlicks. Perfect photo idea for today's PhotoHunt challenge. Right?

The elk weren't at the salt lick, but at the bison jam, this big guy was enjoying the salt that was left on the road after a recent de-icing. So I got my photo, anyway.

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Here's a few other pictures from the day. This mama elk was checking us out to make sure we stayed in the car and out of her way.

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And her baby ran across the road in front of us to catch up with her.

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There is always a 'bison jam' and yesterday was no exception.

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No one is in a hurry to get out of the way of the autos. Good thing no one in the cars is in a hurry either.

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The leader of the herd is a hugh guy with an enormous shoulder hump. And, you can see how proud he is of it. He doesn't mind all the paparazzi in the least.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Old Shoes - New Trip in the PhotoHunt category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

NOOK Discoveries is the previous category.

Planning for Budapest, Montenegro, & Montemigiano, 2008 is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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