travel

Santa Pau

 

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Old Door in Santa Pau – 2018

“Travel early and travel often. Live abroad, if you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially.”  (Tom Freston)

I am finding this to be true, this quote from Tom Freston.  The more I travel the more educated I am about the world.  The more educated I am about the world the more open I am to new experiences, new ideas.  The more open I am to new experiences, new ideas the more curious I become.  The more curious I become the more I wish to discover.  The more I wish to discover the more open I am of other people and their ideas.  The more open I am of other people and their ideas the more I love LIFE.

Happiness = Travel + Curiosity + Adventure.  IMHO.

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The Chairs of Besalu

 

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High Chair – Besalu, Spain

Sauntering through the medieval stone walls of Besalu, Spain, was a transport back in time.  All my thoughts about old Spain flew away as I literally stood on the ground about which I’ve read in history books.  My romantic self loved the high walls, stone roads and old doors and windows.  That romantic self also dreamed about living in this ancient, artistic city filled with the smells of cuisine, the air vibrating with conversations of the locals in Catalon.  We sat in a central square, pulling up chairs beneath umbrellas for shade, ordered our beers and sat silent, immersing ourselves into the world of Besalu.

After a sweet respite soaking in the atmosphere we paid, took our leave and rambled on through more streets whereupon we happened upon …. chairs.  Chairs attached to walls. chairs in odd places.

 

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Two Chairs – Besalu, Spain

A plaque on the wall told us these are the Chairs of Career Rocafort.  Two artists, one from Italy and one from Girona.  The creator of this work, Ester Baulida, says “these chairs symbolize the difficulties that humanity has in accomplishing its aims and resolving the problems it has to confront.”

In searching for information about this I found interesting tidbits from other bloggers that all ran on a similar vein.  Here’s what one said: “Another highlight of the museum was the chairs. These pieces of furniture were nailed long ago to the walls of the dwellings from the outside with legs. In such an interesting way, the townspeople struggled with dark forces in the Middle Ages. Chairs were nailed to sit on them to catch the spirit (in particular, witches) flying over the city. If there are chairs outside, why should she climb into the house? On the other hand, the furniture is nailed so that you can not sit on it, and so there was no reason to linger among people.”

Well, turns out the chairs have nothing to do with witches, unless one interprets that the chairs symbolize politicians … then, wait a minute….!  Ha!

Kew Gardens

 

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The Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens, London.  2014

A lovely surprise was the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens, London.  Dedicated to the memory of Princess Diana, the Conservatory focused on two distinct habitats.  Deserts and Tropical Forests.  Starting with the desert the Conservatory was lushly planted with cacti and succulents from around the world.  Weaving one’s way through the desert I found myself surrounded by air cacti and ferns before ducking through a dark hallway.  Emerging from the hallway I was engulfed in a tropical paradise.  The air was moist and green, light shimmering on ponds through a canopy of exotic plants.  Diana would be so pleased.

 

 

Loch Lomond and the Trassachs National Park

ImageLoch Lomond (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Our first conscious event (meaning after jet lag left our weary bodies!) in Scotland took us to Loch Lomond, deep in the Trassachs National Park.  We loaded onto a little boat that took us on a peaceful, circular route around the banks of this freshwater loch.  Loch Lomond is considered the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and highlands.  We sipped coffee laced with Scottish whiskey and enjoyed the stories shared through speakers by the captain as we stood on the upper deck in the misty rain.

 

ImageMisty Peaks (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

The story I enjoyed most was about the popular song, “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.”  Everyone knows this particular lyric, “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland before ya.”  The song was published in 1841 but its author is unknown.  The poet Andrew Lang wrote a poem based on the lyrics later in 1876.  The poem, and likely song, reference the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion and the subsequent hanging of his supporters.

 

ImageThe Caretaker’s Cabin (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

“The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”

“By yon bonnie banks an’ by yon bonnie braes

Whaur the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond

Whaur me an’ my true love will ne’er meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomon’.

Chorus:

O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and Ah’ll tak’ the low road

And Ah’ll be in Scotlan’ afore ye

Fir me an’ my true love will ne’er meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomon’.

 

‘Twas there that we perted in yon shady glen

On the steep, steep sides o’ Ben Lomon’

Whaur in (soft) purple hue, the hielan hills we view

An’ the moon comin’ oot in the gloamin’.

(Chorus)

The wee birdies sing an’ the wild flouers spring

An’ in sunshine the waters are sleeping

But the broken heart it kens, nae second spring again

Tho’ the waeful may cease frae their greeting.”

 

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Banks of Loch Lomond (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

There are several interpretations of the lyrics but the one given to us by our guide matches this version: “Attributing the song to a Jacobite Highlander captured after the 1745 rising. The Hanoverian British victors were known to play cruel games on the captured Jacobites, and would supposedly find a pair of either brothers or friends and tell them one could live and the other would be executed, and it was up to the pair to decide. Thus the interpretation here is that the song is sung by the brother or friend who chose or was chosen to die. He is therefore telling his friend that they will both go back to Scotland, but he will go on the ‘low road’ or that of the dead, and be home first. Another supporting feature of this is that he states he will never meet his love again in the temporal world, on Loch Lomond. Some believe that this version is written entirely to a lover who lived near the loch.”  (Wikipedia)    

 

ImageIsland on the Loch (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

This experience was so delightful that I couldn’t imagine Scotland getting any better.  But it did.  Oh, it did. 

I’m back

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Orkney Island Stones (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

I’ve returned from the land of Ents, fairies and elves.

I understand there are also trolls, mermaids and various monsters of great legend in its mountains and lochs.

Ancient cobblestones beneath my feet

I toured castles and cathedrals,

a 5,000+ year settlement,

circles of standing stone,

falconry and sheep herding,

rode ferries to isles,

and back again,

sipped decadent Orkney ales

and touched peat from a bog.

Nearly 4,000 photos must be culled through,

named,

and most importantly,

identified!

Scotland is nothing short of magical.

I love Scotland.

I knew I would.

 Scotland is an incredibly GREEN country and its people are warm and friendly.

Time to get back to work but

I’m BACK!

Brand New Day

Heaven on Earth

This is my first WordPress Blog post for The Giraffe Head Tree.  My WordPress blog will comprise of nature photography, conservation and preservation photography.  Today, I begin to learn this new format in preparation for a new project I’ll be participating in down the road.  That news will come later.  But today……..I’m playing.