architecture

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?

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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 .

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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.

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Here are some more pictures.

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I still miss Rome.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful Sunday!

Waterford Walls

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Waterford Walls is a visual Street Art project in Waterford City, Ireland. Irish and International street artists and talented school students transformed old spaces into extended art gallery. The first image is the work of Joe Caslin, a street artist and art teacher from Roscommon who is known for his project “Our Nation’s Sons” – large scale portraits of young men from disadvantaged social backgrounds.

In the image below, a man stopped to touch the surface of the portrait. I will tell you why.  Joe Caslin paintings are done on biodegradable paper,  and will come down within a few weeks.  We are lucky with the weather, and I hope the paintings will last another month.

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Another work of the same artist in Olaf Street. It is sad they won’t stay here too long.

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I went around the city center to look for the other murals. First of all, I visited one of my favorite places in O’Connell Street and was pleased to find an interesting work.

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murals

After that I walked to Stephen Street. This is unused De La Salle Hall built in 1915. I love the new look of it’s facade. As it often happens in life, the facade is the only attractive part…

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murals

More murals in Stephen Street.

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I like this mural  because the girl is holding a camera in her hands.

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It is where the rain started, and I rushed under the roof of a garage. From there I took a picture of a mural and a family with the matching umbrella.

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The rain didn’t last long and I walked to New Street to see the gardens and more murals.

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It was my last destination. There are about twenty murals, very colorful.

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This one is dedicated to Waterford Hospice.

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I stood there waiting for someone to come over and do something amazing, or at least something worth a picture, but there was no one in the gardens, so I just took a snap of the girl and her bees.

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Thank you for walking the streets with me. I know, it is not a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but think about the murals that won’t last longer that a couple of weeks. You have seen them!

This is sort of a similar exposition in 2008.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Great Height of Ardmore, Co Waterford

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Last week I visited with a friend in Ardmore – a little village in Co Waterford. We ate  ice cream, watched the tide, and talked to strangers. I took a few pictures, added a few more from my previous visits, and made up this post.

On my very first visit to Ardmore a good few years ago I was puzzled watching the crowd that surrounded a boulder resting on the seabed  after the tide went out.

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It didn’t look different from the other rocks , so I didn’t investigate any further and headed up to the cliff walk trail. On the way back the boulder was already covered in water, so I let it go at that.

Only years after I learned that there was a story.

In the 5th century  Declan of Ardmore, an early Irish saint of the Deisi Muman ( Vassals of Munster) and the founder of Ardmore Monastery travelled to Rome to be consecrated as Bishop. Declan received a gift from heaven while celebrating the Eucharist – a golden bell.  A monk Runanus travelling with Declan from Wales to Ireland forgot to take the sacred bell and Declan was very upset. Yet, his prayers for the bell’s safety were answered and a boulder carrying his bell miraculously floated upon the waves all the way from Wales and finally stopped on the shore where Declan founded his church and a monastery –  in the place called Aird Mhor – Great Height.

During the Declan Pattern, which is observed on the feast day of the saint (July 24), pilgrims crawl under the boulder (which is resting on two smaller stones) as a cure for arthritis.

St. Declan’s Way is a pilgrim route that begins in Ardmore and ends in Cashel in County Tipperary. It is 56 miles in length and crosses the Knockmealdown Mountains via a high 1,762 foot pass.

Great Height is a right name for the area. A beautiful cliff walk trail around Ram Head takes you high over the sea, and it begins from the ruins of St. Declan’s Church and Holy Well. The well served as a Baptistry to the early Christian missionaries, while the church served as St. Declan’s hermitage.

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The Well has two entrances. There used to be three crosses on the top of it: the cross on the left representing the unrepentant thief, the central cross representing Christ and the cross on the right representing the repentant thief. The cross from the left side is gone: either stolen by some unrepentant thief, or it had broken off and rolled down to the sea.

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ardmore

The first cross is the one from the church, the second – the middle one from the well. They are dated back to the 5th century.

There are many other interesting things and places along the trail.

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The Watchtower was built in 1800 as a part of the Napoleonic defenses built along the coast of Ireland.

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A wreck of a crane ship  – the Samson – that was blown ashore in 1978.

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Fr. O’Donnell’s Well  was built in 1928 and named after Fr O’Donnell who used to come there and read.

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St. Declan founded a monastery in Ardmore prior to the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland, (between 350 and 450 A.D.) The original monastery does not exist anymore, but the ruins of the cathedral that was built over the monastery site are well preserved and located on the hill overlooking the sea. It has features dating from as early as the 9th Century.

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ardmore

The remnants of St. Declans Oratory and an old cemetery are also located here. St. Declan’s Oratory is the oldest building in the graveyard near the Cathedral. It is  believed  that the grave of St. Declan is located within the building.

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Some of the gravestones have been worn down and look like old teeth protruding from the ground.

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The round tower at Ardmore was built in the 12th Century and raises at the height of 97 feet. The entrance doorway is about 13 feet from the ground, making the tower a safe place for the monks.

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Some graves bear a more modern look.

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Ardmore is not only a monastic place. This building is a lot of fun – it is not real, the same as the donkey.

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The doors and the windows are painted on the wall.

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ardmore

There are many towns in the USA named Ardmore, but an American novelist Nora Roberts  has made Ardmore, Co Waterford  the location for her  ” Gallaghers of Ardmore” trilogy:  Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon and Heart of the Sea.

Hope you like this tour around Ardmore.

 

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great week!

Red, orange, yellow..

autumn

A good sunny day is not something we enjoy often in the end of November.  I went down to People’s Park to take pictures of my favorites, the Beech trees, generously tossing their gold at the sparse sun rays.

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I don’t know how my mind wanders, but I ended up thinking about “Hunger Games”.  Must be that golden fire, and upcoming movie release this week.

Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat (From The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1).  “Red, orange, yellow” – a good song.

I like Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins did a great, spotless job, regardless of what some critics say. The language is rich and intelligent, the plot never gets boring. I am always curious about what the future may be like, and what others think of the future. I wonder, does it matter how we picture our future.  I guess it does.

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People’s Park is not flooded yet, but Kilsheelan Bridge was closed due to the flood.  Here is my summer post, and this is how the place  looks these days: all the land is flooded up to the foot of the hill. I was there early in the morning to catch the rising sun. It was so bizarre to see all those huge trees standing in the high pink water.

flood

flood

This bridge is 200 years old, and can survive many more centuries.

I so hope tomorrow will be kinder.

The Secret Sisters  – Tomorrow Will Be Kinder (From the Hunger Games)

Barrow Railway Bridge, Co. Wexford, was built  by Architect Sir Benjamin Baker in 1906 and closed to passenger traffic in 2010.

It is the longest railway bridge in Ireland  –  2,131 feet long. There was an opening section to allow ship access up the river. At the western end the  railway enters a 217 yards long tunnel almost immediately.  Magnificent construction, especially for this rural area, it is not designed for walking over – a huge gaps between the ties will make your heart sink. We went there to do the test shoots. I did feel like I was in the District 13 somewhere:)

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There is another relict in the area – a sunken boat.

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All these abandoned constructions and machinery  look like a part of a dystopian world.  Things seldom happen suddenly.  We are creating our future step by step, item by item, decision by decision.

I so hope our grandchildren will be safe.

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sunset

Taylor Swift – Safe and Sound ( Hunger games)

Do you ever think about the distant future?  Is there anything you still can change?

Photography tip of the day: For the editing software users. Make yourself collections of interesting backgrounds, sky and clouds, textures, and also a color-picker resources, like different human faces, etc.

inesemjphotographyHave a great day!

Antoni Gaudí – a genius dreamer

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When you are  moving to another house you cannot help thinking about windows, stairs, IKEA and useful space. I have been doing that for a month, but let’s think about something beyond the usual. Let’s think about Antonio Gaudí – the most amazing mind ever born.

You know I love to share music to illustrate my posts. There is a 37 minutes long project of Alan Parson who is a legend himself. If you want to know more about Antonio Gaudí of Barcelona please find time to watch this video project from 1987:  Gaudí.


I took a few images of Gaudí’s strikingly beautiful  work –  Casa Batlló (1904–1906), a building designed to comfortably live in –  and the family did live there until the 1950s.

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The image from the beginning of the 20th century

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Another stunning building with the fleshy, organic look, Casa Milà (1906-1910)

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It is sad that many Gaudí‘s projects were turned down because the authorities didn’t like them or abandoned because there was no financial support. Casa Mila was a target for critics for decades and stayed neglected until the 1980s when it was finally restored.  Gaudí was too ahead of his time.  He designed three dimensional shapes a century before computer imaging.

Palau Güell (1885-1889), Gaudí‘s project for his friend and patron Eusebi Güell. He was the only man who supported Gaudí all his life and understood his vision and a courage of fanatic.

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In 1900 Güell and Gaudí started their unsuccessful housing project –  Parc Güell. They envisioned a community living in a beautiful natural park, but it didn’t work out the way it was intended.  Their project was appreciated a century later: nice to see that architecture has progressed beyond “less is more”,  finally.

The images of the exquisite furniture are taken in Gaudí‘s home in the park grounds where he lived until his death in 1926. His bedroom has rather ascetic look though.

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There are some more images from the park –  an archway designed by Gaudí – a place for beautiful walks and numerous performers.

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The archway designed to  be a part of the nature, and even the roots of the trees are growing through it.

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Park Güell looks like it came from a fairy tale.  It is so busy that it is difficult to get close to it’s famous sculptures and other features to take a photograph.

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The work of Gaudí‘s life is La Sagrada Familia. “My client is not in a hurry” he is said to have remarked, and it has been prophetic since the work is already going on for 130 years.

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There is an incredibly beautiful blog by Indah Susanti, and recently she posted series of exquisite images of Sagrada Familia sculptures. I share a few of my images from inside the basilica. Unfortunately there was no access to the central area of the main nave that day and  I was not able to get that iconic image of the ceiling, but I was happy to see the play of light high above, and sit there overwhelmed by unspeakable quiet joy.

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gaudi gaudi gaudi gaudiNot being a specialist in Architecture I cannot tell what is exactly work of Gaudí and what was added by other architects during almost 100 years since his death, but I am sure that no architect has come close to matching his genius. Completion of the work is expected by 2026.

Gaudí was buried in the crypt of La Sagrada Familia, his unfinished masterpiece. They say that half of Barcelona was gathered there.

A few more images from Barcelona in my next blog 🙂

Photography tip of the day: When you take pictures in the street watch your environment. To get extra light you can position yourself to have a white or light painted wall across from where you shoot so that it reflects light on your subject. In the bright light use an open shadow where it is possible.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful week!