Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

“The Earth is Art. The photographer is only a witness. ” ~Yann Arthus-Bertrand

This week’s photo challenge, ‘From above’, had me especially remembering the thrill I had of flying in a helicopter over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It was my first time going up in one, and I hung back whilst the other passengers got on, not out of politeness, but because I realised that the last one on, got to sit at the front, next to the pilot. Method in my madness. 🙂 I took several photos, but this one came out the best, and hubby, who was white water rafting at the time, was very complimentary.

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Here is one taken at Niagara, looking down across the falls.

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This is an aerial view of the approach to Belize.

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Looking down over the Hong Kong skyscrapers, to Victoria Harbour.

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A view of the famous New Orleans Bourbon Street, from the balcony of The Four Points Sheraton Hotel, which is built on the site of the legendary French Opera House.

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Whilst in Palm Springs, we took a fifteen minute Aerial Tramway ride, and ascended 8516 feet up Chino Canyon.  The rotating cars allow for breathtaking views for up to fifty miles in all directions.

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Looking down at the Pacific Ocean from cliffs in San Diego.

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Half way up the Rock of Gibraltar, looking down on the bay of Algeciras.

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The city of Granada viewed from the beautiful Alhambra Palace.

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You don’t get much higher than this; soaring above the clouds like an eagle, looking down at The Alps on our flight back from Venice.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my “From Above” photos. To see more entries for the WordPress Photo Challenge, just click here.

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Architecture…. Hola Spain!

Jake’s Sunday Post theme, architecture, made me think of all the different and varied styles of buildings I’ve seen on my travels. I could of course do a real hotchpotch of  a post, and show you examples from many countries around the world, but I decided to limit my photos to Spain, a country renowned for its art and architectural excellence. Spanish architecture is an exotic mix of early Moorish influences and surreal modernism.

Talking of surrealism, one cannot visit Barcelona without marvelling at the astounding imagination and genius of Antoni Gaudi. Here is the Casa Mila, better known as La Pedrera, meaning ‘The Quarry’. It caused quite a sensation when it was being built,  because of the bold form of its undulating stone facade and the wrought iron decoration of the balconies and windows,

This is one of the sculptures on the roof of the Casa Mila.

and this huge mirror cleverly reflects another part of the roof.

The design of the beautiful windows of the Casa Batllo, is astonishing. This house was nicknamed ‘The House of Bones’ because the balconies at the lower floors, have bone-like pillars, and those on the upper floors look like pieces of skulls.

Surely his absolute masterpiece though, has to be La Sagrada Familia, ‘la cathédrale des anges’, which was started in 1882, and when we were there in 2004, was still not completed. This is the original old part.

and here is the newer construction. Which do you prefer?

The Royal Palace in Madrid, is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, although now it’s only used for State ceremonies.

The palace has 135,000 square metres of floorspace and contains 3418 rooms, making it the largest in Europe. The interior design and decor and was just breathtaking. Just take a look at all those chandeliers!

I could just imagine myself sweeping down this magnificent staircase, not in my jeans and t-shirt, but in a sumptuous, bejeweled ball gown, and with a diamond encrusted coronet on my head. 🙂

Of course, Granada is famous for its absolutely stunning Alhambra Palace. I posted some pics of the gardens yesterday for the green theme..

It was so delightful to walk around this beautiful place.

Some of the detail was really exquisite,

and around every corner, there was something new to admire.

In Cordoba, we visited the Mezquita, the Great Mosque-Cathedral, which was begun in 600 AD, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Islamic architecture. When I walked into this vast hypostyle hall, I was absolutely dumbfounded.

I felt so tiny as I gazed up at those 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite.

The richly gilded decoration of the cathedral in its centre, defies description, so here’s a photo instead. 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of the architecture I saw on my trip. To see more interpretations of Jake’s theme. just click here.

Gallery

WordPress challenge: Green

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  Lao Tzu                                                                                                Click on any image to get slide show. To see more entries for this green challenge, just click here.

Jake’s Sunday Post: Reflections

Once again, Jake has given us a wonderful new theme. Photos which feature reflections are often very attractive, as they have an extra dimension to them. Here are a few of mine.

This was taken through our coach window, one rainy spring evening in Paris.

The gardens of the beautiful Alhambra Palace in Granada have lovely water features which yield many reflections. I put this one in especially for Marianne of ‘East of Malaga‘, who seems to have a thing about this particular Spanish garden. 🙂

In order to see the traditional Thai way of living in Bangkok, one needs to take a tour of the ‘khlongs’ of Thonburi, the old capital city situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. These old waterways have avoided much of the modern development of the rest of the city, and still retain their ramshackle charm.

I couldn’t leave the magnificent Li River out of my collection, so here is a pic showing the wonderful reflections of those picturesque green karst hills which line the river between Guilin and Yangshuo. Some of the fisherman still live on traditional houseboats.

Of course when looking for photos of reflections in water, Venice is always a good bet.

Florence has the beautiful medieval Ponte Vecchio, which in Italian simply means ‘old bridge.’ It spans the Arno River, and was one of the many highlights of our Italian tour last year.

This is the opulently decorated lobby of our hotel in Marrakech. On our arrival, it looked like a palace to me, but of course as one often finds in big, fancy hotels, the rooms weren’t nearly as spacious as one might have expected. 🙂

Washington has many opportunities for snapping a few reflections, and this photo was taken one July 4th, when people were out celebrating Independence Day on the lawns surrounding the famous ‘Reflecting Pool’ which lies between the Lincoln memorial and the imposing Washington Monument, a marble obelisk built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington.

Last but by no means least, is my very favourite reflection photo of them all, taken in Amsterdam long before digital cameras came into being. If you imagine that Venice is  the only romantic city boasting beautiful canals, you’re very much mistaken. Canals are a symbol of Amsterdam, and are now proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city is sometimes known as “The Venice of the north,”  and if you’ve been there, you will know why.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my selection of reflections for Jake’s theme. To see more entries, just click here.

Travel theme: Curves

Ailsa’s new travel theme is “Curves,” and if you click on my link, you will see her 3 amazing photos for the challenge.

I was sure I must have something suitable, tucked away in my trusty laptop, and these are what I came up with:

This is the curve in the road where I first set eyes on the most breathtaking sight of Mount Rushmore. It had been a dream of mine to actually witness this amazing spectacle for myself, and I was so excited.

I just love how the curve of this beautiful arch, contrasts with the straight path through the lovely gardens of the 10th century Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Here are the fabulous green curves of the the hills which line the Li river between Guilin and Yangshuo. The scenery here has been famed as “the best under Heaven,” and I can quite believe it. It was as if I had been transported into an ancient Chinese pen and ink drawing. The elegance was just astounding.

 

Here is the beautiful curve of a rainbow at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I put this one in especially for bulldogsturf, who is an ex Rhodie.


Some of you may have seen this next pic, but it does fit the theme very well. How is this for a curvy staircase? Whilst in Rome last year, we went to the Cabiria Restaurant,where we got the elevator up to the roof deck. 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, and although I’d only had two glasses of wine, was quite dizzy by the time I reached the bottom. 🙂

I know that the word “curvy” is often used to describe the well-rounded female figure. When we went out walking along our beach path today, I couldn’t resist taking a pic of this painting for the theme. This artists impression of female curves is quite hilarious, don’t you think? 😀

I hope you enjoyed my curvy pics. If you would like to see what other bloggers have come up with, just click here.