Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Four Elements

This week, Ailsa has asked us to post photos which pay homage to the four elements, earth, air, water and fire.

My earth photo is a view over La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia, and was taken on our drive from El Alto airport. La Paz is 3,650 m (11,975 ft) above sea level, and that night, the extremely high altitude affected me quite badly. A few glasses of Andean Coca Tea, given to me at the hotel, seemed to relieve my altitude sickness, and the next morning I was fine.

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My air pic  is of the cloud above one of the many volcanoes in Ecuador, and was taken as our vehicle bounced along the Pan American Highway.

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The most sparkling stretch of water I’ve ever travelled across, has to be Lake Titicaca in the Andes. It’s the highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 m (12,507 ft).

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I hope this qualifies for the fire element; a fiery sunset snapped as we cruised the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef off the north-east coast of Australia.

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If not, I’ll just have to make do with this paltry bit of fire in a 16th century English pub/restaurant. Of course the sherry did create a bit of fire in the belly. :)

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To see Ailsa’s wonderful photos, and links to more bloggers’ contribution to the theme, just click here.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Steps or Stairs

Another Which Ways Fun Foto Challenge from Cee, and this time it’s ‘Steps or Stairs’. My legs have climbed up and down so many steps and stairs on my travels, and here are just a few of them.

Let’s start with Venice. To me it is the city of a thousand and more steps. We were constantly walking up and down the sets of steps. All the bridges had their own steps, and in the shopping streets, we were always going up and down like Yo-yos. It’s a perfect way to keep fit, but not good for mothers with baby carriages, or wheelchair bound people. I did wonder about that.

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In Barcelona, the steps up to the main terrace which is the focal point of Park Güell, are divided by the famous Gaudi lizard covered in a kaleidoscope of brightly coloured mosaics. I would think it’s almost impossible to get a photo of this tourist attraction, without lots of people in it.

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The number of steps along Great Wall of China, has never been documented, but I read that it’s about 3700 miles long, and there are maybe 2,000 steps per mile. Do the math. ;)

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Machu Picchu is also a place of many ancient stone steps, estimated at around 3,000 in all.

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There’s an awful lot of climbing to do if you want to get to the top.

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Isle Del Sol, which we stopped off at on our trip across lake Titicaca, has no roads, and the only way to get up to the restaurant where we were to have lunch, was to climb the Inca steps.

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It was a very hot day, but the view from the top, across the terraces and the lake, was definitely worth it.

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Another Inca archaeological site we visited between Cusco and Machu Picchu, is Ollantaytambo, which is in Urumbaba, 9,160 feet above sea level. This is a religious temple site, and one gets to the top of the terraced complex, via a series of stairways.

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Bali is known as the ‘island of a thousand temples’, and we saw quite a few on our tour. This one had very steep steps to reach it.

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I suppose some cultures think that the higher you climb, the closer you are to your particular god. The Mayas also had so many steps to their temples too, as in this one at Lamanai in Belize.

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I can’t do a stairs challenge without including my spiral staircase pic from the Cabiria Restaurant in Rome. We were taken up to the roof deck by elevator, but after dinner, some of us decided that this was a far more exciting way to get back down to ground level. I counted 186 steps.

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Last but not least, is this unique staircase in London’s Regent Street, ‘Anthropologie’ store, which has a three storey,  200 sq metre living wall, aligned with the staircase. It’s filled with lush green plants, which are irrigated by rain water collected from the roof.  I thought this was such a brilliant idea.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my steps and stairs. If you want to see more, just click here.

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CBBH Photo Challenge: Blue

Marianne of ‘East of Malaga’ blog, has challenged us to post photos of something blue.

I think the most common sightings of this beautiful colour, are when we look at the sky and the ocean. Many of my travel photos show beautiful blue water, so that is what I have chosen. If you get a bit of blue sky thrown in, then that’s an added bonus. :)

“Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.” — John Ruskin

The Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia is one of the wonders of the natural world.

Snorkelling in the Coral Sea, was an amazing experience.

The deep blue of the Pacific Ocean, viewed from the island of O’ahu in Hawaii.

Flying in to the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia; so many different shades of blue.

In the Bahamas, the turquoise blue of the Caribbean is matchless.

The sparkling, icy blue of Lake Titicaca, surrounded by the snow-capped Andes mountain range.

The greeny blue waters of San Francisco Bay.

The warm waters of the Andaman Sea in Phuket.

Last but not least, is the Atlantic Ocean. This photo was sent to me by my son, from Bermuda, a place I have yet to visit.

So many blues, so little time.

To view more shades of this beautiful colour, pop over to Marianne’s post.

Here are links to two blogs which I follow. Please go and have a look at them, they’re well worth a visit.

It’s always fun to visit Amy at “The world is a book.”

If it’s African wildlife you want to see, then Bulldog’s blog is the place to be. That rhymes so nicely, doesn’t it? :)

 

 

 

 

 

‘Foreign’ modes of transport.

The weekly photo challenge, “Foreign,” shouldn’t really have been much of a challenge to me, as just about all of my travel photos are taken in countries which are foreign to me. The question was, “which ones would I choose?”

I decided that I would select a few that show the different modes of transport which have been very foreign to me.

I wonder if you can guess what animal I was riding on in Zimbabwe? It was very large and grey, and had the trunk up front, unlike my Jeep here in the USA. :)

This one is pretty obvious, and although it looks quite low to the ground, when he unbent those long legs of his, I was riding HIGH!!

Here we have an even more scary way of travelling. I intended sitting safely inside, but intrepid hubby insisted on sitting aloft, so that he could get better photos of the passing landscape as we travelled on a section of the Trans-Andean railway in Ecuador, supposedly one the most spectacular train rides in the world.

A more sedate way of getting from A to B, is this bicycle driven rickshaw, which took me around the Hutons of Beijing. :)

Here was one ride that I really enjoyed, speeding across Lake Titicaca in a hydrofoil.

Sailing  down the khlongs in Bangkok, was a very interesting if sometimes quite aromatic experience. :)

Of course I’m really used to motor car travel, but not usually quite like this. Once in a while, it’s good to spoil oneself, I guess.

For more posts on this theme, just click here.

Jake’s Sunday Post theme: From a distance

Jake’s theme this week is a lovely one, and I have found a few photos to show you.

The first one is of Alcatraz Island, taken from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It’s often referred to as “The Rock,” and was firstly a military prison in 1868, and then a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. In 1972, it became a national recreation area and in 1986, was designated a National Historic landmark. I was reading some of the history of this island on Wiki, and it was so fascinating. One of the best know inmates was Al Capone, who was incarcerated there in 1934, for four and a half years.

I guess I had to include one sunset shot, and this photo was taken whilst crossing the Nile from Luxor. In the distance is the ‘Valley of the Kings’, where can be found the tombs of the Pharaohs and noblemen of ancient Egypt.

Back on dry land, you can see the pyramids way in the distance. You can tell how far away they were, because my teenage son looks so huge in comparison. :)

This photo, was taken whilst skimming across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru, in a high-speed Hydrofoil. We had a breathtaking view of the snow-capped Andes mountains in the far distance.

This last one was taken much closer to home; in fact from my bedroom window. If you look carefully, you will see a funnel-shaped cloud, which is a tornadic water-spout, way out at sea in the Indian Ocean. This is apparently quite a rare event, but not uncommon off our part of the South African coast towards the end of summer.

I hope you enjoyed my collection of “from a distance” photos. To see what other bloggers have come up with for Jake’s theme, click here.

Ships and boats from my travels.

Hi again, everyone. Whilst I was looking for photos for http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/ “Vehicle,” and before I’d read the guidelines properly, I found some pics of boats that I’d seen or been on in the course of my travels. Sea-going vessels didn’t qualify for the theme, but I thought I’d just do a post about water transport. Of course I have a great variety of pics, but here are just a few of my favourites.

This is a Nile cruise ship just in front of ours, on our  trip which took us from Aswan to Luxor to see many of the temples, most notable of which were the Temple of Queen Hapshepsut, the Karnak temple complex at Luxor, and of course the Valley of the Kings, which was spectacular. Here, we were alongside the Kom Ombo temple. We spent a very happy and entertaining week aboard, and I even got to impersonate a belly dancer at the fancy dress party.

The hydrofoil across Lake Titicaca took us from a resort outside La Paz to Copacabana, with stop-offs at Moon Island and Sun Island on the way. As you can see, we were the only passengers, apart from our guide. It was a wonderful sensation, speeding across the glittering lake in the bright sunshine, with the snow-capped Andean mountains to our right

These long-tail boats, known as ‘Ruea Hang Yao’ in the Thai language, are on the beautiful Phi Phi Island in Thailand. We did a day trip to this paradise, from Club Med Phuket, which also included a visit to Kho Phi Phi where the film, “The Beach” was made. We didn’t see Leonardo diCaprio, or a giant Marijuana plant. Laughing We have another trip booked there for early next month, and I can’t wait.

Our Venetian gondola ride last year, was a real highlight of our Italian tour, mainly because it was so funny. As you can see, our gondolier doesn’t look like the happy, singing type, and certainly wouldn’t pass the audition for Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta, “The Gondoliers.” We set off under the Bridge of Sighs, and as we sailed along, we asked our boatman to sing to us, but he said that would be extra. LOL! The guy in the gondola in front of ours started to sing “Buona serra senorita,” and ours joined in, albeit somewhat halfheartedly. A local man walking along the path, called out to us in Italian, “He can’t even sing. Why don’t you just tell him to shut up?” We creased ourselves laughing, but ‘Mr Sourpuss’ did NOT look amused. Frown

Here is a vessel we intend to take a trip on when we return to Florida. We went boat watching one day earlier this year and saw the luxury motor boat, The Lady Delray, which takes one on a leisurely two-hour narrated tour from Veteran’s Park through the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, and past some of the area’s most beautiful mansions. We’ll be able to see a variety of marine life in its natural habitat, and learn a little about the area’s history, all this whilst snacking on tasty morsels and sipping cocktails. I’m so looking forward to it.

This vessel in the play area of our local mall in Florida, might not be a real boat, but it does contain my two gorgeous little granddaughters, so I thought I’d put it in anyway. Wink

Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.