One of my favorite areas of Greece to visit. The bright blue sky, white wash houses, narrow walkways and steep cliffs and beautiful sunsets most every night!
Nara’s temples include such world famous UNESCO World Heritage listed temples such as Kofukuji, Todaiji Kasuga Shrine and Yakushiji which will be featured in this website. Please click on the pictures for more information on the photos.
Kōfuku-ji has its origin as a temple that was established in 669 by Kagami-no-Ōkimi (鏡大君), the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari, wishing for her husband’s recovery from illness. Its original site was in Yamashina, Yamashiro Province (present-day Kyoto). In 672, the temple was moved to Fujiwara-kyō, the first planned Japanese capital to copy the orthogonal grid pattern of Chang’an. In 710 the temple was dismantled for the second time and moved to its present location, on the east side of the newly constructed capital, Heijō-kyō, today’s Nara.
Tōdai-ji (東大寺, Eastern Great Temple) is a Buddhist temple complex that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿 Daibutsuden) houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese as Daibutsu (大仏). The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism.
Kasuga Grand Shrine (春日大社 Kasuga-taisha) is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. Established in 768 CE and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine
The path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Deer Park where the deer are able to roam freely and are believed to be sacred messengers of the Shinto gods that inhabit the shrine and surrounding mountainous terrain. Kasuga Shrine and the deer have been featured in several paintings and works of art of the Nambokucho Period. Over three thousand stone lanterns line the way.
The original Yakushi-ji was built in Fujiwara-kyō, Japan’s capital in the Asuka period, commissioned by Emperor Tenmu in 680 to pray for recovery from illness for his consort, who succeeded him as Empress Jitō. This act of building temples in devotion to Buddhist figures was a common practice among Japanese nobility when Buddhism was first imported from China and Korea. Emperor Tenmu had died by the time Empress Jitō completed the complex around 698; and it was disassembled and moved to Nara eight years after the Imperial Court settled in what was then the new capital.
These are a few sample pictures from our travels in 2017. These are a selection of pictures taken in Greenland, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Wales, Scotland and England. Please check back for Photographic additions in one or all of the visited Countries.
Greenland is an interesting country ans has just recently started receiving the tourist trade. I bought a fun t-shirt in Greenland on our first visit that says “Lost in Greenland” such fun!
Venice is great for photography; the Gondolas, the canals, Rialto Bridge and the historic Buildings. Burano Italy is just a water taxi away from Venice famous for its colorful houses, and beautiful lace work. Santorini and Mykonis are beautiful Greek Islands, and very popular with the tourist crowd. Many Chinese women come to Santorini to pose in their wedding gowns.
Wales, Ireland and the Islands off Scotland have many interesting Neolithic sites such as Skara Brae and several Henge sites, Standing Stones of Stennes, and Ring of Bodgar near Kirkwell Orkney.
Mushrooms and Tree Lizard
Near Cairns Australia we took a hike in a Rainforest. On the way to view the Josephine waterfall we spied these mushrooms, and the very interesting little tree lizard. This was the first time I had ever seen a blue mushroom. After I “Googled” blue mushroom I found out there are several blue mushrooms!
The next time you visit Scotland take a trip on the Falkirk Wheel, and view Archimedes principle of displacement in action! On our Narrow boat Canal trip we went through the Wheel several times, here are some photos of our experience.
The Millennium Link was an ambitious £84.5m project with the objective of restoring navigability across Scotland on the historic Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, providing a corridor of regenerative activity through central Scotland.
A major challenge faced, was to link the Forth and Clyde Canal, which lay 35m (115ft) below the level of the Union Canal. Historically, the two canals had been joined at Falkirk by a flight of 11 locks that stepped down across a distance of 1.5km, but these were dismantled in 1933, breaking the link.
What was required was a method of connecting these two canals by way of a boat lift. British Waterways (now Scottish Canals) were keen to present a visionary solution taking full advantage of the opportunity to create a truly spectacular and fitting structure that would suitably commemorate the Millennium and act as an iconic symbol for years to come.
The resultant, a perfectly balanced structure that is The Falkirk Wheel – the world’s first and only rotating boat lift – was the eventual outcome of our collaboration with a design team that combined international experience of joint venture contractor Morrison-Bachy-Soletanche with leading specialists from Ove Arup Consultants, Butterley Engineering and Scotland-based RMJM architects.
Completion of The Millennium Link project was officially marked by Her Majesty The Queen on 24 May 2002 at The Falkirk Wheel.
How does it work?
The Falkirk Wheel lies at the end of a reinforced concrete aqueduct that connects, via the Roughcastle tunnel and a double staircase lock, to the Union Canal. Boats entering the Wheel’s upper gondola are lowered, along with the water that they float in, to the basin below. At the same time, an equal weight rises up, lifted in the other gondola.
This works on the Archimedes principle of displacement. That is, the mass of the boat sailing into the gondola will displace an exactly proportional volume of water so that the final combination of ‘boat plus water’ balances the original total mass.
Each gondola runs on small wheels that fit into a single curved rail fixed on the inner edge of the opening on each arm. In theory, this should be sufficient to ensure that they always remain horizontal, but any friction or sudden movement could cause the gondola to stick or tilt. To ensure that this could never happen and that the water and boats always remain perfectly level throughout the whole cycle, a series of linked cogs acts as a back up.
Hidden at each end, behind the arm nearest the aqueduct, are two 8m diameter cogs to which one end of each gondola is attached. A third, exactly equivalent sized cog is in the centre, attached to the main fixed upright. Two smaller cogs are fitted in the spaces between, with each cog having teeth that fit into the adjacent cog and push against each other, turning around the one fixed central one. The two gondolas, being attached to the outer cogs, will therefore turn at precisely the same speed, but in the opposite direction to the Wheel.
Given the precise balancing of the gondolas and this simple but clever system of cogs, a very small amount of energy is actually then required to turn the Wheel. In fact, it is a group of ten hydraulic motors located within the central spine that provide the small amount, just 1.5kw, of electricity to turn it.
“Morocco’s Climbing Goats
Goats on trees are found mostly only in Morocco. The goats climb them because they like to eat the fruit of the argan tree, which is similar to an olive. Farmers actually follow the herds of goats as they move from tree to tree. Not because it is so strange to see goats in trees and the farmers like to point and stare, but because the fruit of the tree has a nut inside, which the goats can’t digest, so they spit it up or excrete it which the farmers collect. The nut contains 1-3 kernels, which can be ground to make argan oil used in cooking and cosmetics. This oil has been collected by the people of the region for hundreds of years, but like many wild and useful things these days, the argan tree is slowly disappearing due to over-harvesting for the tree’s wood and overgrazing by goats.
As a result a group of people and organizations have banded together to try to save the tree. To do so one of the primary locations where the trees grow has been declared a biosphere preserve. It was also decided that by making the world aware of the oil, it’s great taste and supposed anti-aging properties, would create a demand for it. However, the people who planned to market the oil could not envision people wanting to put an oil on their food or their face that was collected from goat excrement. As a result, a campaign is being led to ban grazing on the trees by goats during certain parts of the year to allow the fruit to ripen and fall off on its own. The fruit is then collected and turned into oil by oil cooperatives.”
I was just there, and the coop seem to be working. Most argan sold today is produced by a Berber women’s cooperative that shares the profits among the local women earning money which provides health and education to them and the whole community. The cooperative has established an ecosystem reforestation project so that the supply of argan oil will not run out and the income that is currently supporting the women will not disappear. The goats are kept out of the trees from May to August thus the trees are looking much healthier than the pictures of trees taken in 2007.
According to the Department of Water and Forests, Argan oil provides income for 3 million people in the southern part of the kingdom. The oil provides a total of 20 million workdays per year. Its operation is an income-generating activity and has always had a socio-economic function.
Co-sponsored by the Social Development Agency (SDA) with the support of the European Union, the UCFA (Union des Cooperatives des Femmes de l’Arganeraie) is the largest union of cooperatives for argan in Morocco. It comprises twenty-two cooperatives that are found everywhere in the region (e.g., Coopérative Al Amal, Coopérative Amalou N’Touyag, Coopérative Tissaliwine, Coopérative ArganSense, Coopérative Maouriga). These women come together to be better organized and thus guarantee a fair income through cooperatives, allowing them a better living environment.
Argan oil is an oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, endemic to Morocco, that is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. The tree, a relict species from the Tertiary age, is extremely well adapted to drought and other environmentally difficult conditions of southwestern Morocco. The species Argania once covered North Africa and is now endangered and under protection of UNESCO. The Argan tree grows wild in semi-desert soil, its deep root system helping to protect against soil erosion and the northern advance of the Sahara. This biosphere reserve, the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve, covers a vast intramontane plain of more than 2,560,000 hectares, bordered by the High Atlas and Little Atlas Mountains and open to the Atlantic in the west. Argan oil remains one of the rarest oils in the world due to the small and very specific growing areas.
Before modern times, the Berbers (also known as the Amazighs) of Morocco would collect undigested Argan pits from the waste of goats which climb the trees to eat their fruit. “Amlou” a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter is produced by stone grinding roasted almond and Argan oil and is considered a favorite local bread dip. However, the oil used in cosmetic and culinary products available for sale today has most likely been harvested directly from the tree and processed with machines. The unroasted oil is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases, and has found favour with the cosmetics industry.
I have so much fun geotagging my pictures and then, from Lightroom, placing the locations on the Google map. I use a Nikon GP-1 that attaches to my Nikon D3 (or D300). As we travel it is interesting to note our longitude and latitude as well as the altitude. Sometime at sea level it registers as a minus elevation!
The GP-1 also elicits much interest from other travelers, as they wonder what is that little unit on the camera accessory shoe? The unit can also be mounted on the camera strap with the included strap adapter mount. A cable from the unit connects to the camera through the 10 pin terminal. GPS data will be recorded when the GP-1 is able to detect three or more satellites. The data is recorded in the metadata of each photograph, and can be seen on the camera display immediately.
I wish I had had the unit for trips taken years ago so my map would be more complete!
No matter what kind of camera you have this is a great addition.
View My Travels in a larger map
This tiny locomotive on a short-track in the research station town of Ny-Ålesund on the Kongsfjorden of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago of Arctic Norway is no longer active—but does retain the title of ‘northernmost train in the world’
Cliff Hanging Castle and Village Guadalest Spain
Located on the CV-70, 25 km from Altea, is the village of Guadalest. Occupying one of the most stunning positions in Spain, this small village is precariously perched on the pinnacle of a granite mountain, giving fabulous views across the valley carved out by the River from which the village takes its name.
Getting to Guadalest by the twisting road that climbs ever upwards, passing through the village of Polop, is almost as spectacular as the position of the village, but the breathtaking views make the drive worthwhile even for the more nervous passengers!
On reaching Guadalest you can see why the Moors, who constructed castles to defend the area, considered this place a site of strategic importance.
Some of these castles were unconquerable and the remains of several can still be seen today, even though they were bombarded in the 18th century during the Spanish war of Succession. A Cliff Hanging Castle was a good defensive plan.
Penon de la Alcala
However the building you will see on most of the postcards is the whitewashed bell tower of Penon de la Alcala which seems to cling to the mountain face.
Intriguingly the old village and castle is accessed through a tunnel carved from the rock and when you reach the other end and see the ancient houses, you seem to have been transported to another age.
Hello World; Welcome to Doris Ford Photography;
Ford’s Fotos Blog and Photo Gallery; https://fordsfotos.net and Gallery on FordsFotos.com in Adobe Profile, I also have a Smugmug site; http://FordsFotos.smugmug.com, and can be found on Viewbug, 500px, Twitter,and Instagram. Travel photography is my focus and I plan to show you award winning photos from all 7 Continents. Sometimes the photos will just be in a travel log vein, or reflect a current project on which I am interested. I want to tell you a story in pictures! All photos are for sale so Please view them and I hope you enjoy the photos and the text to further explain the pictures.