Month: February 2016

All roads lead to Rome

gelato

Wherever I go, my roads lead to the ice cream shop. When I unpacked and left my hotel room on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, I walked to the Colosseum, keeping my eye on the shop windows – and there it was! Via Leonina 18, Cafe Ciuri Ciuri, my personal discovery, Sicilian gelateria-pasticceria, paradise of sugar- and calories-packed deliciousness and the best Sicilian style gelato in Rome. In the photograph, I immortalized my first one, the pistachio-ricotta gelato, creamy, with the unique taste of roasted pistachios. I won’t write about the pastries. It is sufficient to tell that I ate them twice a day. They are that good. Never forgotten.

( Edit: Forgot to mention another Ciuri Ciuri close to Colosseum: Via Labicana 126. The same great food)

I saw the Colosseum from the airplane window and couldn’t wait to visit the ancient monument. I knew about the free admission to the gladiator games in ancient Rome, and was surprised to learn that the times have changed. So I got a combined ticked for several attractions, and my historical holidays began.

I posted some street scenes from my Rome trip in my blog post People in the streets, and probably in some other blogs too.

Shadowless afternoon, amazing quality of light. I don’t know what these ruins are. The place is situated above the Forum. I was trying to find more images like mine, but there was only one, taken in May 2010. Perhaps, the place is closed for excavations?

colosseum

The broken side of the Colosseum. Over the centuries, it was shaken and damaged by many earthquakes ( the most devastating ones in 847 and 1231), and also struck by lightening and damaged by fires. All the valuable materials were taken away and re-used.

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Glimpse of Roman centurions’ life.

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There is what it looks like inside the amphitheatre. Construction of the Colosseum began in 72 AD, and was completed in 80 AD.  This place has seen the most horrible scenes of bloodshed and slaughter. The advent of Christianity changed Roman culture, morals, principles and values. The last gladiator game took place in 404 AD when an Egyptian monk Telemachus came to Rome, visited Colosseum, and shouted for the gladiator game to cease in the name of Christ. He was stoned to death, but after a few days the Emperor issued a decree that the games were to stop.  Centuries later, when the Colosseum was in danger of demolition, Christians  saved it as a site of martyrdom .

colosseum

Evening light, at about 6pm. I took pictures of Colosseum every day on my way from hotel and back.

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River Tiber. I enjoyed the light in Rome, so different from where I live.

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St Peter’s Basilica. In my blog Make it light I posted a picture of the interior.

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This is a picture I got from Google Earth, just to show the Basilica and the grounds.

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This is the dome I climbed 🙂 I intentionally left all these picture icons. The rule is that people who upload their images for Google Earth, have to map them properly – in exact place where the picture was taken from. I doubt that any picture was taken from the top of the tree …

I used a lift ( 170 steps?) and climbed the remaining 320. With my walking stick. With my claustrophobia.

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The lift took me to the roof ( the level behind the statues of the saints, the base of the dome). The roof looks like a small town with buildings and bridges. I walked around, even looked down inside the basilica below my feet, and up to the ceiling.

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The climb is scary, definitely not for the faint of heart ( I overestimated myself, but there is no turning back, by the way). The staircase is getting very narrow as you climb. It is slanted, and curves up between the outer and inner walls of the dome (1m? less?).

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As you can see, the windows are scarce, but there are windowsills. The temperature wasn’t too bad in March, but I would NEVER go there in summer. When there is no one around you, it is OK, but seeing people who actually take all the space of the staircase makes you panic. And I did panic, but at the last moment I saw the window, and I climbed some more steps and fell on the windowsill, almost in coma 🙂 When the others cleared off, I quickly finished the climb.

And this was my reward 🙂

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I think this is the residence of the Pope.

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On my way back I took a picture of these fine guards, and ate a gelato to restore my shaken health.

vatican

Here are some more pictures.

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tivoli

I still miss Rome.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful Sunday!

Short

tipperary

I enjoyed a beautiful drive this week. I had the road mostly to myself, except the election candidates who emerged from the bushes here and there, individually or in threes. The hazy sun gave that beautiful, drawing-like look to the fields and castle ruins, my favorite Lyric FM played Claude Debussy, and I had everything planned for the day, and even for the day ahead.

When I was getting ready for my appointment, I got a voice mail from a stranger. She informed me that a friend of mine had a stroke.

I inherited this friendship after my dear friend Ruby passed away from cancer. We exchanged text messages, and sometimes met for a meal. I visited them as often as I could, which wasn’t too often. Them, that is Bob and Trevor.

Trevor loves photography, and some of his images are simply amazing. He and his father used to travel a lot. Those days are gone.

I have been thinking of life lately, and it is not as if I didn’t already know it before, but I was hit with that thought again –  life is too short.

What is the key to life?

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Be curious like a child

Don’t be afraid to be alone

Embrace ageing

Don’t miss the beauty in every single moment.

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The pink morning light did last just a few moments. A daredevil friend and I went to this photo shoot just before the storm hit the coast.  Something to remember. Something to be happy about, even though life is so short it is frightening.

PS I wrote about Bob in this blog two years ago. Please, send him healing thoughts. Trevor needs him.

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful Sunday!

Make it light

Photography is all about light, even the word itself means ‘writing with light’.

Morning light colors solemn calligraphy of bare trees.

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Rich, copper-colored evening light fills the air with lush thickness.

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I took this photograph in May 2013. I was on my way home when the Moon started coming out of the peach-colored clouds just minutes after the sunset. Astonishingly big, it was slowly rolling behind the mountain ridge. I quickly took some pictures and drove up to the mountain top in hope for a better view.

moon

Unfortunately, the Moon sank in the thick clouds and left me in the dark. I had to drive down the road that was barely wider than my car. Still, there were a lot to admire, especially the lace of different silhouettes against the dying sunset, and Clonmel, Co Tipperary, at my feet. Photography never ceases! 🙂

night

The light can stream through the gaps in the clouds, or between the tree trunks in the forest, creating  crepuscular rays. The rays in this photograph look like they have circled a sample of ferns to be taken to the alien spaceship.

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This is a photograph from my trip to Rome. I visited Vatican, and had a plan to climb up St. Peter’s Basilica Dome. This plan was a reckless affair since I am quite claustrophobic, and at that time I also needed a walking stick. If you have any questions, no, it wasn’t a pilgrimage, and I didn’t expect to come down jumping stairs two at a time, and leaving my walking stick behind. I might write a separate story about that Rome trip.

Anyway, before the epic climb I peeked inside the Basilica. At certain time of the day, you can see crepuscular rays streaming inside from the different windows. I was lucky to observe these beautiful phenomena.

The most interesting thing about light is that its opposite, darkness, doesn’t exist. Darkness is only the absence of light, and therefore we cannot do anything to change or remove darkness itself.  We can affect darkness only with light. However, darkness is a very important opposite – we know what is light only by darkness.

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This is a photograph of my Dad, it was taken in 1937 when he was seventeen. He is my light.

My Dad left this Earth 31 years ago.  I have only a few photographs of him. After he died, Grandma turned to the worse, and one day she managed to put almost all the family photographs in the fireplace. When my mother asked her why, she said that she was afraid. Some day I will write about whom she was afraid from, and why.

My Dad had an extraordinary life. His integrity, tact, good disposition and genuine empathy towards any human being earned him respect from people of different backgrounds and cultures.

‘Learn’ – I heard this word every day. He knew the value of light.

In Jodi Picoult’s book ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ there is a scene where Sara recalls a fight with her sister Zanne about the light left on.  “You can make it dark, but I can’t make it light”,  says Sara. I want to rephrase this sentence – I can make it light. You can make it light. We all can make it light.

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful Sunday!

Through the fog

fog

Recently I took some fog pictures and added a few more from my archives to put up a blog. The reason for this blog was a dream. I woke up after driving through the thick fog, struggling to recognize the familiar road. I knew that the road might be flooded and I could perish. From time to time I came across the cars with the blinking lights – the drivers gave up and pulled over to the side of the road, but I kept striving until I finally knew where I was. It felt like a victory.

This is  Dove Hill Castle,  or De La Poer Castle, a fortified tower house that was built in the 14th century. In my dream, I was driving this road 🙂

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Kilsheelan Woods in the foggy morning.  It is just a test picture taken when I was looking for a background for my film sandwich project two years ago. I am not taking solo trips in the woods anymore. People are getting robbed and beaten in the countryside lately, and their cars stolen. I don’t want to reduce my life expectancy.

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Kilsheelan bridge. This place was completely under the water during the last flood.

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When I think of water, my thoughts immediately shift to mosquitoes and Zika virus, the subject that has been all over the news these days. It is one of the cases when I feel somewhat unhappy  that I fell out with one of my relatives years ago – she is a microbiologist, and would be able to answer my questions, I believe. I was trying to find answers myself,  in the internet, and came across this wonderful blog – The Hartley Hooligans.  Please, have a look. You might find answers to the questions you have never asked yourself before.

I had a chat with my daughter,  we talked about Zika and the babies with microcephaly. Perfect people, she said, and I knew what she meant. Perfect people who are here on Earth only to bless and teach others. It is how we should think of them instead of trying to come up with a politically correct word.

Reading news is bad for you, some people say. I don’t think so. It is like driving through the fog – if you are careful and don’t get distracted, you will be all right.

Waterford in the end of January, with the Christmas lights still on 🙂

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The rising sun is rolling the mist from Johns Hill.

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I took a picture of two Mormon missionaries in the narrow street still filled with mist. The media let them be until Mr. Romney decided to run for president. Since then, I have seen many hateful articles, and even read one. Got distracted in the fog, so to speak 🙂 Never read any messages of hate!

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I think that I can end this post with a Mormon quote.  Google has a good assortment of them, and I loved this one for it’s optimism, good humor, and confidence in the future. I am a huge believer in the future.

mormon quote

Have a wonderful weekend!