Category Archives: travel

6 unrelated photos

Here are 6 photos I took over the past 9 years or so, on various travels to other countries, as well as to places closer to home.

London, England, 2005


Volklingen, Germany, 2007


Sevilla, Spain, 2009


Massachusetts, United States, 2011


Macao, 2011


Dublin, Ireland, 2014

Can’t see the thicket for the trees.

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “thicket.” While I have some idea of the meaning of the word, I can’t say it’s one that is frequent use for me. I was a bit stumped about what to post. I even went so far as to look up the definition of the word on Dictionary. com: “a thick or dense growth of shrubs, bushes, or small trees.” Living in the woods as I do, I can’t say I particularly would tend to notice the dense growth of small trees, largely because the landscape is so dominated by tall trees. And most of the shrubs and bushes I see around here are either undergrowth, or used in somewhat sparingly in landscaping. I’m sure there are thickets to be found in Massachusetts, but I don’t seem to have photographed them…

This photo was taken a couple of summers ago at our town park. At least I think it was at the park. It could have been any number of places in the area that are dominated by tall trees.

On the other hand, I did find a couple of photos from the Irish countryside with clumps of shrubs and small trees that are more suggestive of thickets.

I think the rows and clumps of tall bushes and small trees could reasonably be called thickets. What do you think?

To see what are thickets are to be found, pay a visit to the fff blog.

A few shy of a parliament (friday foto finder: rook)

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “rook,” which gives me the excuse to post these photos of this little guy I met in Howth, Ireland back in May. After pecking around on the ground scavenging for crumbs from my snack of oatcake, this rook hopped up on a railing and posed for a few photos.

I was not entirely sure that this bird was a rook, and not some other type of crow, but according to the Wiki entry for rook, he seems to fit the bill:

Rooks are distinguished from similar members of the crow family by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the adult’s bill in front of the eyes.

This one does indeed have that telltale gray skin about the beak.

In my research, if skimming through a Wikipedia page counts as such, I also came across this tidbit:

Collective nouns for rooks include building, parliament, clamour and storytelling.

Such a lovely bit of information to come across. I had certainly heard of a murder of crows, and would have guessed that a collection of rooks might be similarly called a murder. In a delightful coincidence, my friend at Mouse-traps and the Moon shared a post today as part of a series on beautiful books about collective nouns:

…four collections of visually witty takes on those delightful and often improbable collective nouns for animal groupings: A Drove of Bullocks (animals) A Filth of Starlings(birds), A Shiver of Sharks (sea life) and A Crackle of Crickets (insects).

Clearly, there are many more collective nouns out there for me to learn!

To see what other types of rooks have been sited, and maybe even a whole clamour or storytelling of them, flock over to the fff blog.

flagging

This sculpture is in Larkspur, California. I have vague memories of seeing this regularly while growing up, as I lived in this part of Northern California for many of my childhood and teen years. I never actually knew anything about the sculpture, but its stark silhouette caught my eye during my trip to California earlier this year while we drove towards the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge one evening after an excursion to the Marin Highlands.

The wonders of Google allow me to learn that this is a statue of explorer Juan Batista de Anza, something I hadn’t known. Really, I just picked this photo for the flag because the word “flagging” had popped into my mind to describe the way I am feeling. In my tired state, I can see the statue as the pose of a weary traveller.

It’s been a really hectic stretch, with even more rushing around than normal, and tonight my energy is flagging. I will keep pushing forward, but I really just want a break.

the ruined abbey of Howth, Ireland (friday foto finder: ruin)

During my trip to Dublin in May, I went on a little excursion to the seaside town of Howth with a friend. (A few other photos are posted here and here.) The town was beautiful, and the weather was perfect for a casual stroll. After we walked along the harbor, we decided to head up into one of the townhouse-lined roads that cut into the hillside. We could see glimpses of a ruin here and there between the rooftops.

It was quite striking looking, but there wasn’t any obvious way to get up there. (At least not obvious from the street. Probably people with maps and/or guidebooks could find the way obvious. But it was more of an adventure to explore without these things.)

Soon enough, we came across this intriguing little stairway that climbed through a narrow canyon-like space between some stone walls. There were no signs that said where they led. On the other hand, there were also no signs that told us not to go that way.

The stairs led up to another road, or perhaps another bend of the same winding road, up higher on the hill. And a quick walk led to an overlook and entrance to the ruins and cemetery.

It was quite a beautiful and dramatic place to wander and photograph.

The moral of the story: Climb any intriguing stairways that are not marked with signs telling you not to.


This week’s friday foto finder theme is “ruin,” which gave me a nice opening to share these photos. To see what other ruins have been discovered, pay a visit to the fff blog!

a few specimens of stone flora from Dublin

For someone who is not especially fond of flowers, and for someone who has been known to kill off plants in my care, I sure do take a lot of photos of plants and flowers.

I also enjoy taking pictures of buildings, and their interesting details as they catch my eye. It shouldn’t surprise me, therefore, to have discovered that I had amassed a collection of plants and flowers carved from stone that adorned various buildings around Dublin.

All of these were taken in Dublin in May of this year, during my visit there for a conference.

It would have been great if I’d made note of which buildings, or at least which locations, bore these interesting details. Of course, I didn’t.

boats in Howth harbor

Here are some of the many boats that caught my eye during my excursion to Howth when I visited Dublin back in May.