Thursday, October 25, 2012

TP 218: Travel Travel

This week for Thematic Photographic, Carmi has set the theme Travel Travel. I couldn't decide which of my travel adventures to choose photos from- so I decided to choose my favourite travel souvenirs. When you walk on the Chemin de St Jacques (France) or the Camino de Santiago (Spain) you collect stamps in a credencial. I love looking back at the various stamps and they all bring back memories. (You can click on the photo to enlarge the stamps.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Down memory lane

We had a primary school reunion for St Joseph's in Waitara this weekend, and there was time to revisit some old haunts. Strangely, the streets all seemed shorter and closer together and the hills mostly not so steep...

We had the option to go on a bus trip on Saturday morning.

First up was into New Plymouth to see the Rewa Rewa bridge- and nearby I saw a couple of people white-baiting.

After driving via Lepperton, we went to Urenui. We used to have parish picnics here when I was a child, and I have good memories of being big enough to join the others, swimming over to the mud flats and smearing my body in mud. Good fun for kids!

Back in Waitara, we drove up to the lookout on the bluff above the river. The river changed its course quite dramatically after Cyclone Bola.

I took a few walks in the afternoon, firstly down by the old wharf. The building where Sisarich's fish and chip shop was is still there. We used to buy our Friday fish there, and Paula was in my class.

I never go to Taranaki without taking a wee trip to a beach somewhere. This time the tide was full and the river was full, so the river mouth looked quite dramatic, and there was lots of driftwood tossed on the beach near the rivermouth.

Looking around the old school was interesting. We only had one classroom block in my day, but now there is quite a large array of buildings, and there is a wetland down the end of the playground.

Growing up in Waitara meant an association with Borthwicks Freezing Works for most people- but for me it was the Railways where Dad worked- though of course his job was also there because of the Works.
The railway station and platform have been completely removed, but this old rolling stock has been left there now as a kind of memorial.

And there is a 'tourist' train that runs on Sundays. I caught sight of it from the Fire Station where we were having our hangi lunch. Next time I am in the area on a Sunday I will have to make sure I take this train trip!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Drink Up- TP217

Carmi's theme for photos this week is "drink up".  Once more for this theme I am turning to photos from my recent walk in France and Spain.

I walked in springtime in rural France, when it was reasonably common to see baby animals with their mothers.
One thing I loved seeing was how the breeds of cows changed in different regions. This photo of a charolais cow and calf 'drinking up' was taken as I was nearing the town of Charlieu in the southernmost part of the Burgundy region.

This foal certainly seemed to be thirsty. Notice the dandelion flowers that were quite common in parts of the Haute-Loire region, and someone told me they made for a certain taste in the local cheese.

And now for a doggy story. This beautiful animal followed me when I left the village of La-Chapelle-en-Lafaye. I knew it was getting more and more lost but I couldn't make it go back. (And in fact I think it had probably followed a group of horsewomen the day before so was already lost.) Eventually I passed a house where the house-owners, who had a beautiful dog of their own, managed to get it in their backyard with a drink of water. They were going to ring around and try to track down the dog's owners. I hope they were reunited. (More here)

I can't really toss the word 'Burgundy' in here without some evidence of local wine.
The window frontage is from Cluny in Burgundy- and I saw the vineyard signs when I was heading down towards the Loire River, en route for a fascinating village, Saint-Jean-Saint-Maurice.

Of course walking means water is needed along the way. The Le Puy route in France had many drinking taps/fountains- this one was in Monistrol-d'Allier, not far before a grand ascent. And the statue comes from Logrono in Spain, a city with many and varied sculptures.

 This is quite a famous fountain not far from Estella, at Bodegas de Irache where you can get either water or wine. Some tourists in a van were aghast I was only taking water- they took this photo for me- but then along came two cyclists who also filled up with only water. It was far too hot already to be trying out wine during the walking day...

 And to finish- some places you remember very well because of the kindness you experienced there. I arrived in Lorca on the Camino Frances in northern Spain on a very warm day (34C or so) with sweat pouring off me. The hospitalero there was the kindest man. In the evening he prepared an evening meal for those who wanted it- and of course, we needed lots of water on such a day.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Christchurch Stay

I've just had a short holiday break down in Christchurch.

 You don't have to wander far in many parts of the city to see that even the 'normal' looking things like a sign for a walk, or a footpath, are not quite 'normal' yet.

But there were still lots of treasures to find, these anemones and this pot both in a friend's garden.

And I find there are some patterns that always attract my eye: shadows on paths, and the infinite variation in colours and shapes in woodpiles.

 My friend and I realised we both seem to have a fascination with stones- perhaps harking back to Celtic origins.

And to finish- a 'bridge to nowhere' in a changing garden. 

Shadows, woodpiles, stones and bridges- themes I seem to return to...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

TP 216: Autumn Colours

Carmi has set the theme of "Fall colors" for this week's Thematic Photographic. I am in the 'wrong' hemisphere for that of course, and even had to use different words for the title ;-) In fact, I have largely 'escaped' autumn this year: I left New Zealand early in April when it was barely begun, and returned three months later when winter was well established. Now we are in the midst of spring, with blossoms and bulbs galore..... But I still found a few 'fall colors' to share.

First up is a sunset picture from a month ago, filling the sky with a gentle kind of orange.

And even a spring garden carries some hints of the autumn that will come again.

The last 'fall colors' treasure is this very special glass bowl that shines with autumn brilliance.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

TP 215: Shiny

Carmi has the theme of "Shiny" for this week's Thematic Photographic. I think he may have had more 'metal' in mind- but I think I tend to focus more on the way light can shine to make some things seem shiny. All of the photos for this post are actually from my recent trip to Europe, and are mostly from Paris.

These first two photos are from a Sunday walk mid-April when I had just arrived, and was getting over jetlag. Unusually, I had lunch at a beer-type restaurant that wasn't typically French looking, but I love the way the light shines off the stools, the counter, the beer equipment, and the bottles and glasses.

We shop-addicted Kiwis moan when shops are closed for public holidays- but in a big city like Paris, on a normal non-Sales week, you won't find many shops at all open on a Sunday. I loved the way I could see the buildings reflected in the shiny glass of this fashion shopfront.

Once I left Paris behind, I spent seven weeks walking- and the snails on the ground became some of my closest allies. Often when you saw many of them on the trail it was because it was raining, but sometimes the sun was shining, as on this beautiful little shell.

The endpoint of my walking was in Santiago, a centre of Christian pilgrimage for many centuries. If you were fortunate, you got to see the botafumiero fly, full of incense that in times gone by would have overcome the stink of all those who had walked far without washing much... I love the contrast here of the shiny metal and the cathedral stone.

Before I left Europe I had several more days to explore in Paris. One thing that took me by complete surprise was a shiny bridge that I hadn't noticed before. From quite some distance you could see all the sparkling in the sunshine- and close-up you could see it was brought about by padlocks, placed there by those who wanted to announce their love to the world.

And to finish, two fun-filled sculptures- whose shiny-ness is down to their paint surface. I love these near the Centre Pompidou: they make me laugh.

 (and I actually quite like the boisterous bright sculpture contrasted with the untidy graffiti behind.)