Tag Archives: photogallery

Athens Day 2

My top tip for Athens is: base yourself in the Monastiraki area! This is THE hub. Excellent transport connections to the rest of the city, reasonable walking distance to most tourist sites (I walked pretty much everywhere), plenty of restaurants and eateries of all sorts, plenty of bars for a good night out. And I just loved walking around in the evening, enjoying the view of the Acropolis from below and of the streets full of people. Yes, there are a few dodgy individuals around the train station but, as long as you are not there on your own in the middle of the night, concern should be minimal.

So my second day in Athens started by exploring the area further, and here are some photos.

#Psiri
Next I explored the Psiri district. I spent a lot of time there, fascinated by the rundown buildings, the huge amount of street art (more in another post) and the flea markets.

#Ancient Agora
This is the best known example of an ancient Greek agora, and it remained in use either as an assembly, as a commercial, or as a residential area for about 5000 years. Restoration of this area has been minimal. The highlights are the Temple of Hephaestus,  the best preserved ancient Greek temple from the Classical era, and the Stoa of Attalos, a building of the Hellenistic period that was rebuilt from the ground up based on its ancient appearance.

#Kerameikos
This is the ancient cemetery of Athens and is one of the least visited sites in the city, despite its importance and beauty. Archaeological excavations in Kerameikos started in 1870 and so far archaeologists have found columns of temples, marble statues, remains of public buildings, funeral offerings and thousands of tombs. I spent well over an hour wandering around the area and I definitely recommend a visit.

#Syntagma Square and Parliament
Syntagma Square is the most important square of modern Athens from both a historical and social point of view. In recent years (2010-2012) this square became the site of mass protests related to the economic situation of the Greek government-debt.
At the top of Syntagma Square you’ll find the Parliament building. Crowds gather outside every day to watch the Evzones, the elite soldiers who guard the tomb of the unknown soldier as well as the Presidential palace. While the main ceremony of the changing of the guard is held on a Sunday morning (this is when the traditional white kilts are worn), hourly changing of the guards occur every day on weekdays too. I watched these a couple of times and found them quite entertaining.

 

A photo from my archives: Whitstable

Whitstable, UK, 2007.

Just over 60 miles from central London (1.5 hours on the train from London Victoria) and on the north coast of Kent, Whitstable is a small seaside town mainly famous for oysters. The Whitstable Oyster Festival takes place here every year during the summer.

With its sandy and peaceful beaches, its 19th-century buildings and even a castle, Whitstable is a very enjoyable destination for a day trip from London.

A photo from my archives: Live 8 London

London, UK, 2005.

2nd July 2005.
A string of concerts took place in 10 different locations around the globe. Watched by an estimated 3 billion people, it was defined the greatest show on Earth!

Someone from the London hostel where I was staying had a spare ticket for the “Live 8 screens area” in Hyde Park. I took it. The opportunity to be part of this huge event couldn’t be missed, and it didn’t really matter that we were not allowed into the area where the Live 8 concert itself was held. It was only a few hundred meters away anyway.

So armed with bags of crisps, snacks and drinks we went. And from 2pm until late night we watched world famous bands and singers appear on stage and deliver some of their best music (check out the line up here). The crowd sang and danced all the time, and the atmosphere was incredible!
For a non festival-goer like me, Live 8 London remains a great memory, and its upcoming 10th anniversary a good excuse to post this photo of my (now long lost) ticket!

A photo from my archives: The boats of Xochimilco

Xochimilco, Mexico, 2007.

Located 28 Km south of the historic centre of Mexico City, Xochimilco is a borough mostly famous for its 170 Km network of canals. These canals, together with a series of artificial islands, have made Xochimilco a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Colourful gondola-like boats called trajineras are very popular with tourists and the canals can get very busy on Sundays, when also the locals enjoy spending some relaxing time here.

 

A photo from my archives: Agra Fort monkey

Agra Fort, India, 2007.

A monkey is trying to shelter from the bright sunlight on a hot afternoon at the Agra Fort.

Less than 2 miles away from the more famous Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site in itself. Characterised by red-coloured walls, this amazing walled city features a mix of Hindu and Islamic elements. Four gates positioned around the sides of the fort offer an additional display of beautiful 16th century architecture, with the Delhi Gate the masterpiece of this.

A visit is highly recommended! But beware of the monkeys…

A photo from my archives: Sagrada Familia

Inside the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain, 2012.

Most of you will have certainly heard of the Sagrada Familia, or you may have even visited it already.
This masterpiece cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – was designed by Antoni Gaudi’ and its construction began in 1882. Yet the building is still incomplete.

Its unique neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau style makes it a not-to-miss landmark when visiting Barcelona.
The monumental façades are decorated with hundreds of statues and symbolic figures.  A walk around the cathedral can entertain you for hours.
But the best part is definitely the interior, with its striking vaults (the highest reaching 45m) and columns with various geometric forms. And there is almost a magical feeling thanks to the glow created by the stained glass windows!

A photo from my archives: cheeky monkeys

Kruger National Park, South Africa, 2008.

Well, this isn’t actually just one photo. I simply couldn’t pick one out of the lot. Admittedly, the quality isn’t the best but I love the subjects!

So what’s the story behind this gallery?
Kruger Park. Picnic rest area. Lots of monkeys. Most of them were Vervet monkeys, but there were some baboons running around too.
I didn’t like the baboons, they were too aggressive. So I stopped and stared at a group of Vervet monkeys with babies for a long time. Until I finally decided to capture a few moments on my camera: some of the baby monkeys playing around the trees were really cute! Sweet images of motherhood got my attention too.

And then there was the cheeky one, the cheekiest of them all…the one that caused a moment of chaos in the picnic area. A pack of biscuits on a table was the cause of the mayhem. A pack of biscuits that had been left unattended for about 5 (yes, five!) seconds.
Cheeky monkey saw it, cheeky monkey wanted it.
And cheeky monkey ran as fast as possible, dragged the pack of biscuits away from the humans, and then started nibbling the content…
SouthAfricaPhotogallery_007
Do we need any additional scientific evidence that Vervet monkeys love oaty biscuits with chocolate filling?!

A photo from my archives: An acrobat

air acrobat circus

UK, 2009

During a stay in the Lake District region of the UK, I stumbled across a group of air acrobats who were rehearsing before performing at a local festival.

I stopped to watch them. The shapes created by their bodies moving in the air fascinated me. I stood there for over an hour taking dozens of photos. The one above is one of my favourites.

 

A photo from my archives: Rhyolite ghost town

Rhyolite Nevada USA "ghost town"

 Rhyolite, USA, 2012.

As you drive through Nevada after leaving the Death Valley National Park behind, you will come across the small ghost town of Rhyolite. There are no big road signs, so you’re likely to miss it if you’re not careful!

This town started in 1905 as one of several mining towns that appeared during the gold rush. After reaching a population of about 10,000 in a couple of years, its fortune was quickly over and by 1920 its population had already dropped close to zero. Rhyolite’s ruined buildings soon became a tourist attraction and set for movies.

Walking around this ghost town’s well preserved ruins is definitely a fascinating experience: remnants of the Bottle House, the opera house, the school, the hospital, the general store, and several other buildings offer great opportunities to photographers and ghost town enthusiasts. The surrounding mountains of Nevada contribute even more to the feeling of abandonment that characterises this place. And you won’t see many tourists there, instead you’ll probably find you are the only one(s).

By the way, do you know where the name “Rhyolite” comes from? Rhyolite is an igneous rock composed of light-colored silicates, usually buff to pink and occasionally light gray.

A photo from my archives: Doors in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland, 2009.

The colourful doors, typical of Georgian architecture, are one of the most popular landmarks of Dublin. Elegant Georgian homes featured in Dublin starting in the early 18th century, a time of prosperity for the city. These homes were built according to strict architectural guidelines and were therefore very similar. To set themselves apart, residents of Dublin started painting their front doors of different colours and adding ornate knockers, elegant fanlights and wrought iron boot scrapers.

The result is the very colourful appearance of the Georgian homes!

Unfortunately from the 1950’s most of these houses were demolished as part of redevelopment plans and replaced by office blocks and government buildings. Many still remain, though, and can be seen in several neighbourhoods of Dublin.