WPC Weekly Challenge – Contrasts

There are contrasts everywhere you look. Colour, size, age, and so on. WordPress’s weekly challenge is to capture some contrasts. I can never stop at just one photo!

Old and New. Tower of London and London’s city hall

Light and shadow. Manchester city centre shop window

A study in shadows and also in textures. Brugges, Belgium

Between a rock and a hard place, flowers still manage to grow. Halifax Harbour

Travel Theme – Fresh

Ailsa’s weekly travel theme is Fresh. My first thought was to post photos of fresh veg and fruit or flowers from some of the markets I’ve been to. Nah, I thought everyone would be doing that so I thought again, and, seeing as I live near the ocean, it occurred to me that there’s nothing better than fresh sea air.

One of the best places to experience that fresh, cool breeze is out on the water in a boat.

Another great place is to find yourself an ocean beach and feel the wind brush over you as the waves crash up the shore. Imagine living alongside of one of those beaches?

Cape St. Mary, Nova Scotia, overlooking Mavillette Beach

Beaches are great any time of year, even if it’s a little chilly!

Mawgan Porth beach, Cornwall, UK

WordPress Challenge – Extra, Extra

There was another challenge recently that was themed “unexpected” which is similar to this week’s theme but this week, WordPress is asking for a photo that has an unexpected “extra” addition to it, an unexpected detail.

Profundo Rosso is a shop in Rome owned by horror film director Dario Argento. You can buy all kinds of things there, science fiction and horror and other film related but in a wall of horrible, scary masks, one bright yellow one stood out! There are a couple others that seem out of place as well but Homer takes the cake!

“Horror” masks in Profundo Rosso, Rome. Homer Simpson???

Walking towards a lovely beach in Cornwall, we spied this abandoned shoe

Lost shoe on Mawgan Porth Beach, Cornwall, UK

At the top of the Great Orme, a high peak overlooking the North Wales town of Llandudno, views over the sea and the countryside were amazing. But look closer at the side of the hill. We noticed people had formed words and names and pictures from the rocks!

Messages on a hill

And finally…When about to order coffee in a “Just Us” (Fair Trade) coffee shop and museum, this little guy balanced on one of the cups. I expect the coffee had a bit of a kick!

I bet the coffee has a kick!

Happy – The word of the week

Place Jacques Cartier, Montreal

Sue’s weekly word challenge this week is Happy.

I’m happy. I hesitate to say it out loud sometimes because I fear I could jinx things. There’s also that old adage “Be careful what you wish for” that might come into play as well. But I am.

I like my job and it provides me the means to do some traveling and gives me financial stability and a pension.

I have a great family, both immediate and extended. We all get along and we all like each other as well as love each other. That’s not always that common. There’s never been any family feuds. That’s amazing! I’m really looking forward to my niece’s wedding in August.

I have great friends far and near. As one faraway friend said to me yesterday when we both confessed that we were not great in keeping in touch more often that we know our friendship doesn’t need daily feeding to be solid. So true.

I have a talented fiance who writes me a song every Christmas and draws awesome caricatures for my birthdays. We’re starting to put wedding plans together, too.

I really like where I get to live, near the ocean in a nice city that’s not too big and not too small.

This year’s Travel Happy includes a quick visit to Montreal to see my all time favourite band Queen and a road trip to New England in September.

DP Weekly Challenge – Room

When you travel, you see a lot of rooms, hotel rooms in particular. But that makes for a less interesting post unless it’s a particularly spectactular hotel room. While I’ve stayed in some nice rooms, none would have been called spectacular. WordPress Daily Post wants to see posts about rooms and there’s a lot of ways to do that but as this is a travel blog, I delve into my photo stash.

My most recent holiday to the UK in April included a day trip to Chatsworth House, the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire (Cavendish family). There are a  lot of jaw dropping rooms there and they begin as soon as you enter. This is the grand Painted Hall, the first place you arrive after you pay your entrance fee.  The mural on the ceiling is an allegorical depiction of the ascension of Julius Caesar by Luigi Laguerre who painted scenes from Caesar’s life on the walls as well.

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

Chatsworth House, The Painted Hall

I read an interesting story about this “grand” staircase pictured below. There was a more graceful curving “horseshoe” staircase but the son of the well known Georgiana (Duchess of Devonshire in the late 18th -early 19th century, they made a movie about her starring Keira Knightly) tore it down and built an ugly set of stairs made of wood. (He was the sixth Duke, holding the title through much of the early to mid 19th century) The wife of the 9th Duke later tore it down in 1918  and built this one in the interests of trying to beautify the hall again.

Chatsworth Painted Hall

Chatsworth Painted Hall

There’s more information about the hall here.

Travel Theme: Unexpected

Ailsa’s weekly theme is “unexpected” and I had to think about what I could write and post about. Unexpected…. Should I find a photo of an architectural detail that was unexpected? I looked through my Flickr photos of that sort of thing and came across a particular photo that brought back a travel memory.

A friend and I had driven to Glasgow for a couple of days and we visited the cathedral. It’s one of my favourites. UP the hill behind it is a Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery with lots of elaborate mausoleums (mausolea?) and monuments. We tramped around there in the fog and came across this one small one that had a barred gate over the front opening to prevent anyone from going in.

I looked in and couldn’t see anything in the dark interior but I decided to put on the flash and aim the camera inside anyway.  I call that a “Hail Mary” shot. This was the days before digital cameras so you didn’t know if the photo turned out until it was developed. I got lucky. This is what came out when the film was developed.

Madonna in the Glasgow Necropolis

Madonna in the Glasgow Necropolis

This wasn’t the mausoleum that the Madonna was in but it’s one of the more elaborate ones in the Necropolis.

A Mausoleum in the Glasgow Necropolis

A Mausoleum in the Glasgow Necropolis

Travel Theme: Cities

Most of the places I go are cities. We use cities as a base for touring outside the urban area, too. But what to post for the challenge? City skylines? City life? Traffic? Buildings? Or maybe all of the above? This is my entry for Where’s My Backpack’s weekly challenge.


Midtown Manhattan and Bryant Park

Crowds on Oxford Street, London

Traffic outside the Louvre, Paris

More traffic. Fleet Street, London

Busking in the Metro. Rome

An oasis of calm in Manchester city centre

City lights. Toronto at dusk


A Word A Week Challenge – Orange

I don’t think I’ve participated in Sue’s challenges for a few weeks but this one was one I knew I could. I dug through the archives and came up with these pics. Orange you glad I did? (couldn’t help myself, there).  Mostly they are architecture with one or two others.

Touchdown. Outside St. Ives, Cornwall, UK

In the dairy at the Open Air Museum, Arnhem, The Netherlands

Roskilde, Denmark

Caernafon, Wales

Piazza Rotunda, Rome

Traveling through the movies – In Bruges

InBrugesIn Bruges came out in 2008 to a lot of critical acclaim. It’s a really good movie, too, deserving of it’s praise and it’s a wonderful movie to see what the medieval city of Bruges looks like.  It stars Colin Farrell as Ray and Brendan Gleeson as Ken.

A hit man (Ray) was sent to take out a priest but in the process, it all goes horribly wrong when he accidentally kills a child. He has to get out of London while the heat cools down and is told to go to Bruges. He’s accompanied by a companion, a “watcher” to keep an eye on him and maybe,  ultimately, to kill him. They have to spend as much as two weeks together in a pokey twin room and have to make the best of it, “quietly sightsee”,  while they wait for instructions from their boss, Harry, played by Ralph Fiennes.

Ray isn’t dealing well with what he’s done to the little boy. His sense of humour is black and grim and is the only thing that’s holding him together for now. There’s really quite a lot of funny moments and lines in the movie even though it’s also quite dark.  Because it’s set in winter, the streets aren’t wall to wall with tourists like it usually is.
Bruges is every bit as much a start of the movie as the actors. We get to go on their sightseeing journeys with them. We get to see Bruges in winter, the quiet, deserted streets of night and in the daytime. They take a canal boat on the still waters to see the city from the water level. Ray is less than impressed and can’t wait to get back to London. We get to see the beautiful churches and museums, the exquisite art and architecture and hear lots of tidbits of history.
Ken finds the city fascinating and wastes no time climbing up the bell towers for views over the beautiful canals and buildings but he’s also got to deal with Ray who is a bit of a loose canon and not very politically correct. They encounter a film set at night and Ray meets a girl, Chloe. There’s always a girl, and she’s not what she first appears to be.  In fact, she’s got a bit more in common with Ray than you’d think.

NightSwans KenRayI went to Bruges on a day trip from Amsterdam a few years ago.  The sun shone, the canals were blue as the sky. We went on a canal cruise and we explored a few churches and tried the mussels and Belgian beer.  It’s a beautiful city and would be even nicer at night when all the hustle and bustle has died down.

Here’s a few of my own photos from that trip:

Cruising the canals of Bruges

Cruising the canals of Bruges

The Basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood

It's all about chocolate in Belgium

It’s all about chocolate in Belgium