CBBH Photo Challenge: In the Pink

Well it’s the last day of the month and I decided I’d better get my skates on and do Marianne’s ‘Pink’ Challenge.

In Italy, I wore my pink sun hat almost every day. It goes so well with gelato, don’t you agree?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Outside Starbucks, we spotted this sparkling pink Jag. I wanted to hang around to see if the driver was a woman or a man, but hubby wasn’t as curious as I was, so we’ll never know.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I wonder who is wrapped up so warmly in this pink doggy bath towel. Can you guess?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s none other than my sweet little granddaughter Taylor, who undoubtedly loves the colour pink.

IMG_2077

I’ve found out over the years, that some of the nicest things come in pink packages.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

In Great Grandma’s pond, there floated the most beautiful pink water-lily.

DSCN2592

Sultry Bali nights can be a really magical pink,

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

but at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like a pink Florida sunset.

DSCN4929

I hope you’ve enjoyed my pink pics. To see more, click on the badge to hop over to Marianne’s blog.

5066012858_1b15d76633_z

The two blogs which I would like to share with and recommend to you this time, are:

Babsje Heron, who posts about her marvelous experiences with the Great Blue Herons in her neighbourhood. I love seeing her photos, and reading about her encounters with these beautiful birds.

Lynne Mayhew  is a writer, who travels “on and off the beaten path” with her photographer husband Ron. Her posts are both fascinating and educational, and I always look forward to the next one.

Do pop over to see them, and tell them I sent you.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Pathways

Ailsa’s theme is ‘Pathways’, and I had fun seeking out a few photos of paths I have seen on my travels.

Here in the North West Province of South Africa we have ‘The Palace of the Lost City’, where the African theme is carried through every detail of the design and architecture. These life-size elephants line the pathway up to the entrance to the Lost City. Each of the elephants standing on the bridge has a powerful loudspeaker inside, so you can listen to the realistic surround sound of the jungle. Every hour, a special hydraulic system starts to shake the bridge like in an earthquake, and a concealed dry ice system shrouds the bridge with white mist. The sound system then plays a powerful rumbling sound, making you feel like you are in the Indiana Jones movie when the huge boulder started rolling towards him.

DSCF0866

Here are pathways leading up to Machu Picchu in the Cusco region of Peru. This 15th century Inca site is almost 8,000 feet above sea level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest.

DSCF0573

Here is a pathway up to what looked like a shrine built into the rock, on our travels through Ecuador.

DSCF0910

On the road from Cuenca to Quito, we stopped off to visit some mud huts near an active volcano.  Such a pretty little pathway led up to them, but I couldn’t stay inside for very long, as there was an open fire, and the hut was full of smoke.

DSCF0883

Here’s a rather interesting pathway in Montana.  This rock formation is called“Devil’s Slide,” and according to the brass plaque there, that red pathway  is where the long-horned sheep have been coming down for centuries to drink at the river. I would have loved to see them come slipping and sliding down that rock face, but there weren’t any thirsty sheep that day.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are a couple of pathways on the idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, in Thailand, the film location for the movie ‘The Beach’.

DSCF3059

I seem to remember that this well trodden pathway led to the restrooms. 🙂

DSCF3058

In Bali, there are many pathways along the green rice terraces.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s me heading down the path at our resort in Nusa Dua on the south-east coast of Bali, to spend some relaxing time at the pool.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s a rather steep path down to the beach at Fontelina on the Isle of Capri. This magical beach rests at the foot of the legendary Faraglioni, and is where the Roman emperors residing on Capri, once came to bathe. The faint-hearted don’t have to take this route, as it can also be reached by shuttle boat from Marina Piccola.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Rather more easily accessible for me, is this pathway onto our beach, just down the driveway, but we have wet weather today, so I’ll take a rain check.

DSCN2092

My favourite pathway photo ever, was sent to me by my son when he was on vacation in Bermuda. It made me want to get on the next plane.

IMG_0801

I hope you’ve enjoyed dallying with me along the paths from my travels. To see more bloggers’ interpretations of Ailsa’s theme, just click here.

Word a week: The Beautiful Isle of Capri.

Sue’s ‘Word a week challenge’ is Island, and I immediately thought of the beautiful Isle of Capri. The maintown shares the same name, and has been a resort since the period of ancient Roman civilisation. The island is a large limestone and sandstone rock, and geological and archaeological findings have proved that it was once part of mainland Italy.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

We arrived by hydrofoil at the colourful port of Marina Grande.

sany05461

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

In the latter half of the 19th century, Capri became a popular resort for European artists, writers and other celebrities. The German artist and writer, August Kopisch revived public interest in the island, when he wrote a book,”Discovery of the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri,” in which he described his 1826 stay on the island, and his rediscovery of the amazing ‘Blue Grotto’ (Grotta Azzurra), which is a noted sea cave on the coast of the island, which is reputed to have been the private bath of the Emperor Tiberius. Sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, creates an amazing blue reflection that illuminates the cavern. As we marvelled at the sight, the boatmen were all singing that old Italian song, “Volare,” and of course we  joined in.  The words of the song are “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (In the blue, painted blue), most appropriate.

b1274f16-3b52-4e9c-9cfd-ae3c441f3cd4

On the way over to the grotto, we saw the ancient ruins of a villa built by Tiberius Caesar, which now stands right at the edge of the water. I read that this notorious emperor was in the habit of having people who displeased him, thrown from the cliffs onto the rocks beneath. What a nice guy!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

There are beautiful villas built into the hillsides, mostly owned by rich and famous people such as Sophia Loren and  Giorgio Armani.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

This white one on the right, once belonged to Gianni Versace, and was inherited by his sister Donatella.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

There are gorgeous hotels, and at ‘The Capri Palace’ up the hill in Anacapri, we even had our own private terrace and garden. I would have loved to stay for much longer than two nights.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The exquisite Caesar Augustus gardens overlook the Marina Piccola Bay and the Faraglioni Rocks.

96374b36-c830-45a3-83e6-6bc0a0f63f7e

7ab6607f-1d1a-4f64-8c8e-4619f9c23235

Shopping is a favourite pastime with all the tourists, but the ‘Via Camerelle’, is not for the penny-pinching, and is lined with the most expensive designer clothing boutiques, perfume shops and jewellers.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

This guy’s T-shirt really made me smile.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The taxis are these huge, opened topped, and meticulously clean, and the drivers negotiate the extremely narrow, steep and winding roads at great speed. They were so narrow that I thought they were ‘one way’, until we met and squeezed past an oncoming one, with only room for another coat of paint between us.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

All too soon it was time to leave and as we looked back at this magical place, the sun was beginning its daily ascent,

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

and we were on our way back across the bay and past the giant sea stacks to Naples.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

To see more bloggers’ contributions to this challenge, just click here.

Weekend theme: Blue

My friend Viewfromtheside , wants something blue this weekend. Her request immediately brought that sad song into my head,

“Blue, blue, my world is blue, blue is my world now I’m without you.”

The words are a bit morbid, so I tried to think of a happy blue song, and the only one I could come up with was that old Irving Berlin song. “Blue skies smiling at me.”  I wonder why when we’re feeling down, we say, “I’m feeling blue?” I couldn’t find a definitive origin, even on Wiki. Surely blue is a happy and very popular colour, judging by the number of people we see wearing blue denim. It’s also the colour of the sea and the sky, when we’re having a perfect weather day.

There are so many different shades of blue to choose from, and the bluest place I’ve ever found myself in, is the Blue Grotto (Grotto Azzurra) on the coast of the island of Capri. Sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, creates an intense blue reflection that illuminates the cavern.

Sea creatures live in a permanently blue world, even in the captivity of our local uShaka Sea World in Durban.

I love the blue tinge of this photo taken on the beautiful Greek Island of Mykonos, which is named in honor of Mykons, son of Anios the son of Apollo. The folk band, ‘Fleet Foxes’ sang, “And you will go to Mykonos, with a vision of a gentle coast.”  Our cruise ship only stopped on this gentle coast for only a few hours, but we really enjoyed our time in this magical place.

Closer to home, this morning, the sea and sky doesn’t look quite a blue as usual. I think we’re in for some rain this weekend.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, with not a hint of  ‘The Blues’. To see more takes on sidey’s blue theme, just click here.

The wonders of Pompeii, and on to Capri.

After bidding a sad farewell to Bella Roma, our coach took us out into the countryside, and past the Frascotti vineyards, where the Pope has his summer residence, the Castel Gandolfo. Our guide was really excellent, and knew her Italian history and geography back to front and inside out. It was our turn to sit right in the front of the bus, so we had a really good view of where we were going. We were on our way to Pompeii, and after a little over two hours, we saw Mount Vesuvius rising in the distance. It looks like a mountain with the top missing, because the summit is just one huge crater. Here is a pic of it, taken from the town square of Pompeii.

The really big eruption on 24th August 79 AD, resulted in the city of Pompeii being buried under twenty-seven feet of volcanic ash. The ruins were discovered in 1748, and in 1865, excavations began. It’s amazing to see what has been uncovered since then, and it has become a popular tourist destination, with almost 3 million people visiting it every year. Pompeii was built in 300BC, and had about 20,000 inhabitants at the time of its destruction. We were able to walk on the original roads, which still have the ruts in them made by chariot wheels. You can see them clearly in this picture, along with the stepping stones which were a sort of pedestrian crossing.

There were two open air theatres. One was a small music theatre, where they used to have poetry readings and musical plays. It had the most amazing acoustics, demonstrated to us by our excellent local guide, Enrico. The city councillors would recline on sofas on the first four wide steps, eating and drinking in comfort, whilst the ‘peasants’ had to squeeze up on the much narrower crowded rows above. I’m thinking that not much has changed in 2,000 years. 😉

There is also a much larger arena where the gladiators used to fight, and also where Pink Floyd performed a live concert in 1972!

Water was brought in through lead pipes on the ground. There were forty-seven public water fountains, like this one. They didn’t know about lead poisoning in those days, and this was a very common disease. Life expectancy was only about forty-one years.

This ancient bakery has it’s grinding stone and oven still intact.

Twenty-five brothels where slave girls were put to work, have been discovered in Pompeii. This one was a Taberno, a restaurant with a brothel upstairs. Here is one of the beds, not looking any too comfortable for the job in hand.

Many wall paintings advertise the “specialities of the house.”

Plaster casts have been made of some of the victims of the disaster, and are perfect reproductions of the bodies which had been encased in the ash. The actual bodies decomposed, leaving the imprint in the solidified ash. Here is one of a person who must have mercifully died in his sleep.

This one, which I found very moving, is of a person who looks in total despair, sitting crying.

It was  such a fascinating place to visit, but very sad to think that a whole thriving city full of vibrant people, was wiped out in just a few minutes.

After lunch, we got back on the coach, and travelled on to Naples. I was surprised to see squatter camps on the outskirts of the city, just like the ones we have in South Africa, and the driving was far worse than our notorious taxi drivers, if you can possibly imagine that.

The main landmark in Naples is the medieval Castel Nuovo which was originally built in 1279, but has been renovated and added to, over the centuries.

Happily for us, despite the crazy drivers in Naples, we did arrive safely at the port, and boarded the hydrofoil to Capri.

We arrived on the ‘Beautiful Isle’after a forty minute crossing, and were transported to our hotel in one of the rather large, open-topped cabs which are to be seen everywhere in Capri.

The vehicle seemed to be much too long, as we whizzed up the winding, almost spiral lanes at great speed. The road was so narrow, I though it must be a one way, but soon found out that I was sadly mistaken, when I saw vehicles bearing down on us from the opposite direction. My heart was in my mouth for a good ten minutes, until we eventually reached the top of the hill, and I could swallow it again.

Our hotel, “The Capri Palace,” was magnifico beyond description, and we were delighted find that that we had been allocated the “Afrodite Room,” with a beautiful canopied bed, two bathrooms and a sitting room, as well as our own private terrace.

That evening we dined in the hotel restaurant, and had a superb meal with great Italian wine. Breakfast was a sumptuous buffet with everything from fresh fruit to smoked salmon. I just wished I could have eaten more to do it justice. Then we were spirited off down the hill again by scary-cab, to take a boat out to the “Blue Grotto,” which will be my next episode.