A Word a Week Photo Challenge – Island

It seems I preempted this week’s challenge when I published my post on Santorini a couple of weeks ago. This weeks Word a Week Photo Challenge set by Sue over at A Word In Your Ear is ‘Island.’

So, I thought I’d take you to another beautiful Greek island, Crete. We spent 3 weeks there a few years ago staying in a wonderful villa with its own pool and views over the ocean. Many a pleasant evening was spent eating dinner on the balcony of my room, drinking the local red wine or the lethal Greek Metaxa, as the sun set casting a pink glow over the town below.

Yet another place I would love to go back to.

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The Blue and White Island.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou know how some blog posts just pour from your mind fully formed, you hit the keyboard and there it is in front of you. You also know those blog posts that just won’t happen. You know what you want to write about, you know how it needs to go down on the page but for some inexplicable reason it just won’t happen.

Well, this post is one of the latter. I’ve been trying to write a post on Santorini since I first started this blog almost a year ago (hard to imagine I’ve been doing this for nearly 12 months now). I knew what I wanted to say, about the island and its history, but for some reason I just couldn’t put it together.

I still can’t but I’m waiting no longer, I’ll give you the shortened version of what I’ve been trying to compose all these months.

For years Santorini was at the top of my ‘to do – eventually’ list.

During my forties and fifties, while studying Ancient History for my degree, I’d learnt all about the history of the island. I’d studied the Minoan civilisation and seen the pictures of the magnificent wall paintings that had survived from that time, I’d learnt about the eruption of the volcano, one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, that destroyed a larger island and created the current caldera, and of course I’d seen the famous photos of this blue and white island in many gift shops.

But at that point in my life a trip to this beautiful Greek island was an unrealistic dream.

Then …..

Things changed, life moved on and in 2007 I got to sail over that caldera, gazing, speechless, from the rails of the ferry, at the sheer cliffs topped by the capital of the island, Fira, that we were heading for.

Up to this point, nowhere else that I’ve visited has had such a profound effect on me. I’ve been to some wonderful places, seen some brilliant scenery and experienced different cultures but nothing has come close to the emotional effect this place had on me.

There were tears in my eyes, but I couldn’t put into words how I felt. I still don’t think I can.

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Not goodbye - just au revoir

Not goodbye – just au revoir

Reminders of travels past

Something that fellow blogger Remarkably Unremarkable said in a recent post got me thinking, he decided that he needed to focus on the positive aspects of his job rather then the negatives, and this struck a chord with me. I’ve been in a bit of a fug lately. I have no plans at the moment for a holiday and this is not like me. Planning my next trip is what tends to keep me going, and when I have nothing to work towards I tend to wallow. That post sparked a period of thought, not always a good thing, but in this instance it has resulted in this post, so it can’t be all bad. My somewhat convoluted thought processes took me initially through my own inability at times to see the positives, but landed me in the realisation that I have such wonderful memories of the trips I have taken and the places I have seen.

We just need to remind ourselves sometimes that we have led amazing lives and are privileged to have seen and done all that we have. So, please stay with me and allow me this moment of self indulgence as I take you on a journey through my own travel memories.

Tintern Abbey,Wye Valley

The shafts of light speared through these high, ancient portals long since fallen to ruin. They seemed to ceremoniously connect with the remains of those walls still standing to create a surreal atmosphere. The lack of any form of roof meant that the interior was flooded with light and the shadows cast by the stone pillars created a ladder like effect on the grass. This is a place of beauty, serenity and spirituality.

Santorini

The caldera, Santorini

Santorini

 

 

 

 

Very high on my list of travel musts for many years it was a thrill for me to finally be visiting this famously blue and white island. Sailing across the Caldera, a huge lagoon created around 1600BC by a major volcanic eruption, was the highlight of my trip to Greece. Knowing that there is a still active volcano below the surface that, so many years ago, distorted the landscape and resculpted it into what we see today, was an emotional experience.

Paris

Rooftops of Paris

Paris – what more can I say!!

Let me have cake

Hawkeshead in theLake District

Summer's evening in Hawkeshead

It was an evening of pure calm, twilight as only England can do it.  From the graveyard above the church the view took in the surrounding valley and distant mountains. The final rays of the sun picked out the whitewashed walls of the cottages, surrounded by an array of lush greens. It was one of those moments you simply need to share in silence.

Trajan’s Column, Rome

Trajan's Column, Rome

Detail on Trajan's Column

 

 

 

 

Amongst the ruins of this ancient city Trajan’s Column, at one end of Trajan’s Market, stands out for me. The skill and patience of the stonemasons who created this masterpiece, depicting the emperor’s military exploits against the Dacians in the first century A.D., holds up against the backdrop of the impatient and always in a hurry 21stcentury.

The New Forest

The New Forest under snow

Our back garden

Memories of our five year stay in this beautiful area in the south of England.

New Forest ponies

Kalbarri

Kalbarri gorges

 

 

 

Revisiting this coastal resort in Western Australia, that I had holidayed in as a teenager, made me realise that, in the short span of time allotted to us, nothing really changes. These gorges were created over millions of years and in our four score and ten only a few pebbles will have moved.

Broome

Sunset off the coast of Broome

A great holiday with a really good friend.

Bali

My first solo trip to Bali

Smoke not mist but effective all the same

Makes your day easy by comparison