Posts filed under ‘weekly photo challenge’

Weekly Photo Challenge: It Is Easy Being Green!

Hallstatt Cemetery
Hallstatt Cemetery

Location: Hallstatt, Austria
A grave doesn’t have to look plain and drab. It can be
beautiful and green adorned with flowers making it suitable for reflection and as a final resting place.

While in Austria, we spent a couple of days in Hallstatt, a small village in the Salzkammergut region.

After taking the funicular up to the salt mile 2,700 feet above sea level, we hiked back downhill amidst ferns and wildflowers always careful to watch our steps on rain-soaked trails.

Our hike ended in the rocky grounds of the Catholic cemetery where we saw each graveyard plot tended like a small garden. I couldn’t think of a better way to honor a departed loved one.

St. Peter's Cemetery
St. Peter's Cemetery

In Salzburg, a visit to St. Peter’s Cemetery showed the same tender loving care accorded to the graves. It must be an Austrian tradition.

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March 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm 9 comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

Rio de Janeiro

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although I’m afraid of heights, it doesn’t stop me from going to high places. It’s worth the risk considering the reward. Aside from the splendid view of surrounding areas, it can be an uplifting experience (no pun intended).

Cristo Redentor Cristo Redentor
Cristo Redentor Cristo Redentor

Click any picture to enlarge
Visiting the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil most definitely fits the bill. It’s located 2,300 feet above sea level atop the Corcovado mountain and takes about 30 minutes to reach by train.

The landmark statue overlooks Rio de Janeiro where it has become a cultural icon and matter of pride. It’s 98 feet tall with its outstretched arms extending up to 92 feet wide. Standing on a 26 feet pedestal, it weighs 635 metric tons. It’s currently listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

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March 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm 10 comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish

Wishing Wall

Location: Sultaniye Mahallesi, Selçuk, Izmir, Turkey
A wishing wall can be found near the House of the Virgin Mary where it’s said she spent the last days of her earthly life. According to tradition, you tie a piece of your cloth for every wish you make and when the wish is granted you come back and untie the cloth.

Popular among Catholic and Muslim devotees, the House of Mary sits on top of Mt. Koressos about five miles from the ancient ruins of Ephesus in Turkey. It was discovered in 1881 based on the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824), a Bavarian nun who was beatified on October 3, 2004 by Pope John Paul II.

Although several Popes had visited it in the past, the Roman Catholic Church has never officially declared its authenticity as the house of the Virgin Mary and Mother of Jesus.

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March 10, 2017 at 10:47 am 4 comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Road Taken

Park and Palace of Pena

Location: Sintra, Portugal
Wherever you go, whatever road you take, you can’t be sure what the outcome will be. It’s well and good if it’s what you have expected. But what about if it isn’t? Or worse, if it leads to nowhere or you get lost as I sometimes do?

Let me tell you a story.

One summer years ago, I went to see the Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal. It sits on top of the hill where the old Hieronymite Monastery of Our Lady of Pena was built. When Ferdinand II acquired the monastery in 1838, he incorporated parts of it into the current structure in 1844. Considered as one of the seven wonders of Portugal, it’s a blend of different architectural styles: Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque.

Park and Palace of Pena Park and Palace of Pena
Park and Palace of Pena Park and Palace of Pena

Click any picture to enlarge
Although no cameras were allowed inside, the visit went beyond my expectations. It all became more memorable because of what happened next.

Park and Palace of Pena Park and Palace of Pena
Park and Palace of Pena Park and Palace of Pena
Park and Palace of Pena Park and Palace of Pena

Click any picture to enlarge
After spending time in the palace, I decided to go out on a limb and hiked around the surrounding park spreading over 500 acres of trees and ferns imported from all over the world. It was like being in the Garden of Eden. At the same time, I was overwhelmed by the maze of trails heading in different directions that I couldn’t find the two gated exits leading to the bus stop. After several tries, I finally did to my relief.

The moral of the story is that going places can involve the risk of getting lost. When it happens, the best you can do is to keep your cool, get the most of it and charge it to experience.

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March 5, 2017 at 8:50 am 10 comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

Amanita muscaria

Location: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
In 2015, I was hiking in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland when I saw this red-colored beauty. I’d never seen anything like it, so I took its picture.

Amanita muscaria

Location: Elvesæter, Lom, Oppland, Norway
In 2016, I was hiking in Elvesæter in Lom, Oppland, Norway when, to my surprise, I encountered its long lost cousin. What were the odds?

After some research, I discovered that it’s called Amanita muscaria, a mushroom classified as poisonous due to its psychoactive compound called muscimol. Some cultures have learned to eat it by weakening its toxicity. This is done by putting it in boiling water until it’s partially cooked.

I also learned that it’s a very common fungus found in the Northern Hemisphere known for a variety of uses like insecticide, intoxicant, and entheogen. Perhaps the reason why I didn’t notice it before was because I wasn’t paying attention. Sometimes, I tend to look but don’t see.

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February 24, 2017 at 11:55 am 9 comments

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i have hated the words and i have loved them, and i hope i have made them right.

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