Category Archives: Travel

People Pictures – Village Square in Folegandros

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken on the Greek Island of Folegandros…

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely relaxing and charming and in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.

It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

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The Odd One Out

Just in case anyone was interested it was this one…

Chains, Ropes and Anchors

These pictures were all taken in the fishing harbour in the village of Mevagissey in Cornwall.  Except  for one that was taken on the Greek island of Corfu.  Can anyone guess the odd one out?

 

A to Z of Statues – R is for Ronald Reagan

In my series of A to Z of statues I have already been twice to Liberty Square in Budapest.

First for Imre Nagi who led the Hungarian uprising of 1956 (since removed by the way by the Hungarian Nationalist Government of Viktor Orban in case it offends his Soviet pal Vladimir Putin) and secondly for Louis Kossuth who led the 1948 revolution against the Austrian Empire.

This time I am here for a statue of Ronald Reagan who is held in high regard in Hungary and elsewhere in Eastern Europe for his opposition to Russian control of Eastern Europe and his role in breaking up the Soviet bloc and Communist control of Eastern Europe.

The header picture is a street named in his honour in the Polish town of Nowa Huta near Prague.

In 2018 I stayed overnight in a hotel in Thetford in Norfolk and got to stay  in the Ronald Reagan room…

Removing Ronald Reagan from Liberty Square might be a step to far for Viktor Orban.

Ronald Reagan it seems is curiously popular. 2003 in a television USA viewers voted him the Greatest American of all time and in terms of Presidents alone that was ahead of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D Roosevelt and John Kennedy.

It makes me think about Mount Rushmore.

If they were doing it again now (2021) who would be the fab four I wonder.  Washington and Lincoln I predict would still be there but Franklin Roosevelt would replace Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald would  cruise in and most likely replace Thomas Jefferson.

At this time a lot of countries used a similar format to determine the greatest whoever.

There were also some odd results elsewhere, Russia voted for Josef Stalin (responsible for an estimated 60 million deaths), France for Charles de Gaulle instead of Napoleon or Louis XIV, Portugal for Antonio Salazar (a dictator), Spain for King Juan Carlos (now disgraced) and Canada for someone called Tommy Douglas who turned out to be Scottish. German viewers bypassed Otto Von Bismarck (voting for Adolf Hitler was not allowed) and voted post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer as the greatest German of all time.

Two predictable votes were Winston Churchill in the UK and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. In India voting for Mahatma Ghandi was not permitted on the basis that he would so easily win so it would be a pointless contest. The winner was B. R. Ambedkar, the ‘founding father of the Republic of India’.

In New Zealand viewers voted for the physicist Ernest Rutherford. In nearby Australia they had a hard time getting a short list of fifty and about 50% of those included were sportsmen. Personally I would have voted for Richie Benaud but the Australian public went instead for the bush poet Andrew “Banjo” Patterson famous for many things down under but mostly for the song “Waltzing Matilda”.

People Pictures – Taking a Break

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken on the Greek Island of Amorgos…

I imagine this woman was taking a well earned break after a morning of hard graft housework.

We took a ride out to the  Chora which cannot be seen from the sea or from the harbour but as we got closer we could see it above us like a fresh snow fall on top of a mountain.  From the outside it doesn’t look especially promising but once inside the walls of the town it is a different matter altogether.  The town turns in on itself in an introspective sort of way and inside there were narrow shady streets and lots of traditional cafés and tavernas where getting disorientated and lost is a certainty.

It was a lazy place where time goes by slowly and no one is in a particular hurry about anything.  If this was Naxos or Ios the Chora would have been teeming with shops and fast food places but this was a local town for local people and completely unspoilt by the retinue of tourist shops that can be found on more popular islands.

We explored the streets and in a very stiff breeze climbed to the very top to the redundant windmills that overlook the town and the Venetian castle that is built on top of a rocky outcrop that soars above it and its mass of dazzling white buildings.

On the way back we were ready for a second stroll through the Chora where we ambled through the corkscrew of twisting streets returning several times to exactly the same place passing by several churches, the castle, blue doors, blue sky, shady vines and friendly cafés and I knew that this was my kind of town.

The Chora is rather like a hippie time-warp, slow, lazy, faded and bleached, pot plants struggling in the midday sun and appropriately slow mood music in the tavernas and bars – it reminded me of a favourite pair of old denim jeans and my battered blue t-shirt that I am reluctant to throw away.

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The ambience is compounded by  cultural traditions. Village life retains a centuries old pace thanks in large part to the absence of motorised vehicles. Old men while away the afternoons sitting in the summer shade chatting.  The labyrinthine, narrow lanes are the province of donkeys and wooden carts. Displays of ripe fruit – tomatoes, figs, golden apples – stand outside the little stores, the local catch is brought into the harbour daily, the wine and the raki is plentiful, good and cheap.

As we wandered around an old lady dressed all in black asked for help negotiating some difficult steps and we naturally obliged and in return for our assistance she treated us to her life story and tales of Amorgian life.  Her name was Limonique and she told us that after sixty-five years of marriage she was now a widow so I guessed her age to be somewhere around eighty-five or so.

 

 

A Door in Skipsea Three Ways

A to Z of Statues – Q is for Don Quixote

“Don Quixote is the national glory of Spain.  No one who does not know that has the right to call himself a Spaniard.  There is a monument to him in Madrid…he was our first revolutionary.” – Gerald Brenan,  ‘South from Granada’

 

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People Pictures – Pedro Bernardo in Spain

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken in the Spanish mountain village of Pedro Bernardo in Castilla y Leon…

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A to Z of Statues – Peter The Great of Russia

In 2012 I went on a two city touring holiday in Russia.

This is a statue of Peter The Great which has the distinction of being the eighth highest statue in the World and commemorates three hundred years of the Russian Navy.

I thought it looked rater grand but perhaps a little unfairly this statue has been included in a list of the World’s top ten ugliest statues.

No doubt embarrassed by this, in 2010, Moscow offered the statue to Saint-Petersburg – who promptly turned it down.

The other nine in the top ten ugly statues list were…

Peace and Brotherhood Statue, Turkey (now demolished)

Kim II-Sung, North Korea

Victory Arch, Iraq

Tear of Grief, New Jersey USA

Michael Jackson, Fulham FC, UK

Rocky Balboa, sebia

Patient Zero, Mexico

Yuri Gagarin, Moscow, Russia

Johnny Depp, Serbia

Frank Zappa, Lithuania

St Petersburg didn’t need the statue because they have one of their own…

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People Pictures – Greek Island Farmers

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken on the Greek Island of Amorgos….

“I would stare out the window at these telephone wires and think, how civilisation had caught up with me and I wasn’t going to be able to escape after all. I wasn’t going to be able to live this eleventh-century life that I had thought I had found for myself.” – Leonard Cohen

As we climbed we passed through what might be loosely described as fields with rows of derelict terraces and dry stonewalls that separated the hillside into equally measured individual plots of land.  Amorgos is mostly inhospitable rock that has been baked hard in the sun for thousands of years but as recently as only fifty years ago people here were scraping away at the thin soil and removing the stones to try and make a living or to feed the family by growing fruit and vegetables.

Amorgians have a history of preserving the past and resisting progress.  There is a sense of collective defiance perhaps explained by the fact that during the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas (1936-41) the island was used as a remote place of exile for political prisoners.

Fifty years ago the island didn’t have electricity, the tarmac roads that link the villages weren’t constructed until the 1990s and the modern ports which today welcome the large ferries are relatively recent additions.  The island has a desalination plant now to provide fresh water but up until 2015 fresh water was shipped in and delivered by tankers.

Go to a bar today in Amorgos and they will serve you a glass of fresh water because they are proud of progress…

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