Thursday, September 30, 2010

(Day 273) Built for work, not comfort

Fall is definitely here, and that's what the rain did all day, with increasing intensity ! The little drainage ditch that is normally dry, became a navigable waterway by this afternoon. for canoes at least. My camera was confined to indoors - outdoors was rather bleak anyway. I decided to go to the large garage and make a few photos of my all-season 'beast of burden'.

It's a David Brown, circa 1965, but it runs very well, and served on a real farm in its previous life. Now it's eased into semi-retirement - I use it to cut (notice I didn't say mow) the tall grass that grows beyond our lawn, and in winter time to keep our driveway clear of snow. Tractors have come a long way since this one was built - notice the lack of air conditioning, or even a cab, and also the lack of upholstery. I have to confess that I recycled an old sofa cushion to act as a shock absorber on that bare metal seat - we all have our limits.

(10-22mm  f4  1/3 sec  ISO400)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

(Day 272) Fall reflections

I have a favourite place to go where I can (almost) get lost in the woods and which, fortunately, is also quite nearby. It's a place where you're unlikely to encounter many, if any, people.You can wander about, lost in thoughts, camera in hand and see an almost pristine environment.

I think formerly, before the word took on a negative connotation, it would have been called a swamp. Now it's known as a wetland, but it isn't managed, as yet. There are no signed paths and I suspect very few people are even aware of its existence - I wasn't till I found it by accident after I'd lived here for 5 years ! I like it that way.

I drove down the one lane 'unmanaged, use at own risk' road, parked, and wandered about this afternoon. A great place for reflections and reflecting. I couldn't keep all the images to myself.

(70-200mm  f11  1/15 sec  ISO200)

(18-55mm  f11  1/125 sec  ISO200)

(18-55mm  f11  1/60 sec  ISO200)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(Day 271) Fall on fire

Spring and summer certainly bring out spectacular colours, especially evident in the abundance and variety of flowers. And the winter season can regularly cover over the remains of the previous seasons' growth with a soft, virginal blanket of white. But I think it's fall that produces a lot of the dramatic kodachrome scenes (think Simon and Garfunkel) that so many of us covet.

On my way home this afternoon I drove along a dirt country road where I hadn't been for a while, pulled over, and stepped into another world. Even though everything was wet, plants seemed to be on fire. I think I'm going to follow a fall theme for a little while - hope you come along for the ride.

(10-22mm  f14  1/6 sec  ISO200)

(10-22mm  f14  1/25 sec  ISO200)

Monday, September 27, 2010

(Day 270) Thriving in the gloom

Now that our day of rest is over for another week, it was time to get some chores done, such as mowing the lawn (we almost needed a baler, even though our son had tried valiantly to keep up during our absence). The forecast had rain starting this afternoon and continuing all day tomorrow. So, we mowed - and got it done - before the rain started.

But start it did, on cue this afternoon, and I hadn't had an opportunity yet to make some photos for my 365 project. After dinner I decided to go for a little drive to a nearby spot where I thought I might have a little protection under the trees. Everything looked pretty drab in the fading light and light drizzle. But I spotted something that seemed to thrive on the cooler temps and wet, gloomy weather, and it was pushing its way upwards through fall's detritus.

(70-200mm  f8  1.3 sec  ISO800)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

(Day 269) The show's not quite over

The signs are all around us here - leaves turning colour and starting to cover the ground, temperatures falling with each passing day, summer flowers now gone to seed. It won't be long before Jack Frost makes his first visit and settles on the pumpkins. But before we start thinking about hard frosts and white stuff swirling around us, there are still hardy plants out there that are putting on a show of colour. It's amazing how our Creator has provided such a wide variety of plants to festoon His creation - where we live, for 3 seasons, before everything gets a period of rest.

Our fields are now coloured by purple wild asters, amongst the remnants of goldenrod. And there are other wildflowers which are only now blooming  - I will try to capture some of these over the coming days.

(60mm  f6.3  1/20 sec  ISO200)

And now that I'm getting back (slowly) into the swing of things, I remembered to post my Sunset Sunday contribution - this was taken from the balcony of our villa on our last evening in Rhodes.

(10-22mm  f11  1/80 sec  ISO200)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

(Day 268) It's fall already ?

We were spared a significant shock when we got home in the wee hours today - the temperature was quite warm here - about 25C/77F. However, this morning dawned quite a bit cooler - about 12C/54F - brrr. For the first time in over 3 weeks I needed socks, jeans, and a long-sleeved shirt. And I saw what those 3 weeks have done to the plants and trees, so I made this photo to remind myself that summer is definitely over for another year. But we have a lot more beautiful fall colours to look forward to.

(10-22mm  f22  1/2 sec  ISO400)

(Day 267) How's my flying ?

Friday Sept. 24, 2010

Phew ! After another marathon day of travel (28 hours door-to-door) I think I need a vacation !  ;-)

No, I'm just kidding of course. We logged over 16,000 km/10,000 mi there and back, and it was a wonderful vacation. Again, for anyone wanting beautiful weather, great beaches, wonderful people, and lots to do and see, I can heartily recommend Rhodes.

How the people who bring us there and back safely and look after us on the flights do it, I'm not sure, but they're to be commended also. I captured this crew waiting for clearance to taxi while we waited in Newark, NJ for our last of 3 flights yesterday.

It's good to be back. Thank you to all of you who tried to follow my haphazard posting over the past few weeks. I'm not sure I'll be able to go back and respond to the many comments but I have read every one !  I wasn't able to visit any blogs while away so I have catching up to do, and I look forward to it.

(70-200mm  f8  1/30 sec  ISO200)

(Day 266) Friends, Rhodians, countrymen ...

Thursday Sept. 23, 2010

... lend me your ears. Well, the geography might be a bit off, and the quote is paraphrased but perhaps similar words were spoken here, or similar plays acted out. This beautiful amphitheatre is on a hilltop in Rhodes town called Monte Smith (I didn't have much internet access so haven't been able to google it yet). The 26 rows of seats appear to be marble. We had to visit this, and the nearby ancient acropolis on our last full day on Rhodes. It was stunning, and my mind tried to imagine what things might have been like those many hundreds, or thousands, of years ago as I walked in places where people had also walked so long ago.

(10 - 22mm  f11  1/320 sec  ISO100)

(Day 265) Our urn runneth over

Wednesday Sept. 22, 2010

If you want guaranteed weather for your next vacation, I can readily recommend Rhodes - at least in September. We're told that July and August are extremely hot, and there's lots of rain in the winter months, but September is perfect, unless you consider blue skies and warm (30+ C/86+ F) every day boring. Today was no exception, weather-wise, and we turned it into a recovery day from yesterday's adventure by lounging around at the beach until late afternoon.

Just before returning to our villa, we stopped at a lovely little spot in Faliraki, almost hidden from view across from a beach parking lot. (I don't know if this is considered an urn, but it was too large to call a cup).

(10 - 22mm  f11  1/200 sec  ISO200)

(Day 264) Sailing off into the sunset

Tuesday Sept. 21, 2010

Today we were not only in two different countries, but also on two different continents within a few miles of each other. We sailed out of Rhodes harbour and about 2 hours later we entered the harbour at Marmaris, Turkey. It was a very interesting experience, especially visiting the Grand Old Bazaar.

In the late afternoon, our ship returned to Rhodes and as we neared the harbour I saw the large cruise ship I'd seen tied up there in the morning getting underway. It passed to the west of us and we watched as the ship with its hundreds of passengers and complement of crew sailed off into the sunset. We still had several days left to enjoy this wonderful island.

(10 - 22mm  f11  1/200 sec  ISO200)

(Day 263) Near the end of the day

Monday Sept. 20, 2010

We made our way to Faliraki harbour this evening after putting in a 'hard' day at Kolympia Beach - it's amazing how tired a day at the beach can make one feel. All sorts of small vessels come here at the end of the day - some used for cruising to various beaches along the coast of Rhodes, others used for water sports, and many that are still used for fishing.

When the tourists have gone off to a cafe for dinner, many of the boat operators are still busy with cleaning their boats, readying them for the next day's outing. We watched as fishermen were mending nets and checking their equipment. While it was nearing the end of the day, they were not yet nearing the end of their work.

(10 - 22mm  f11  1/100 sec  ISO200)

(Day 262) 20,000 leagues under the sea ...

Sunday Sept. 19, 2010

Well, not quite, but under the sea these creatures live. We visited the aquarium in Rhodes town today and saw some of the creatures that inhabit the waters around here. The aquarium is an impressive building from the era of the Italian occupation (1912 - 1943) on what appears to be the most northerly part of the island. I'm not quite sure what this particular sea creature is but it caught my attention as it caught the aquarium lights.

(50mm  f4  1/25 sec  ISO800)

(70-200mm  f8  1/10 sec  ISO400)

It was difficult finding the time and a place to post during our vacation and I couldn't make Sunset Sunday a few times. I did manage to capture some sunset scenes, however, and will post some of those over the next few weeks. But here's one for this Sunday - could either be sunset or moonrise.

(Day 261) Builders' dreams

Saturday Sept. 18, 2010

We planned our excursion today to take us down to the southwest of Rhodes to explore another fortress built by the Knights of St. John, near the village of Kritinia. Along the way, we came across much more recent 'ruins' near the village of Salakos. Here was located what appeared to be a huge resort, for which the reinforced concrete shell had been erected some years ago, but which was now totally overgrown and abandoned. We didn't know the story behind this builder's dreams, but perhaps the recession overtook his grandiose plans.

Later, on Agathi Beach, we watched another builder hard at work, excavating a new home for himself, right on the beach. This one, however, did not require bank financing.

(10-22mm  f11  1/800 sec  ISO200)

(70-200mm  f8  1/60 sec  ISO200)

(Day 260) Day at the spa

Friday Sept. 17, 2010

You would think that when you're on vacation on a sun-drenched island like Rhodes, you wouldn't also need to go to a spa - that would be over-kill, but that's exactly what we did today. However, the spa, located in Kalithea, hasn't been used as such since the 1960's. It was built during the 1920's by the Italians, who ruled Rhodes at that time. The setting, on a quiet bay, was stunning. The architecture of the buildings, with its many arches, and pergolas, was beautiful - a photographer's paradise; so beautiful in fact that it was used as a location for a number of Hollywood movies in bygone years - and for 3 weddings on this day ! I could post many photos I made here today, but will leave you with this one. Perhaps you'll put it on your list of places to visit some day.

(10-22mm  f8  1/800 sec  ISO200)

(Day 259) Island in the sun

Thursday Sept. 16, 2010

We traveled to the southwest part of the island today and visited another medieval castle near Monolithos - another spectacular piece of history perched atop a hill/small mountain hundreds of feet above the sea and surrounded on 3 sides by sheer cliffs. The view was breathtaking, to say the least. We then decided to take a road down to Fourni Beach, since it was quite warm and the sea beckoned. This road was the closest we've come to a death experience - it clung to the mountainside, with a sheer drop on the passenger side, no guardrails, hairpin turns and switchbacks, and about 1-1/2 lanes wide ! We survived.

Just before we started this journey down, I pulled over - carefully - and made this photo of a small island in the shimmering sea. If you ever want a vacation with a weather guarantee, come to Rhodes - another island in the sun !

(10-22mm  f11  1/1250 sec  ISO200)

(Day 258) Anchors away

Wednesday Sept. 15, 2010

Well, we haven't been able to say that yet, although we're looking at potentially going on a 1-day trip by ferry to another island next week. We were looking for a cafe in Soroni this morning, but the one we found on the beach was still closed - and we were the only ones around. As we went to leave, I spotted this huge anchor perched in the middle of the traffic circle there. I could only guess at what size vessel this must have been used on - the links of the chain were enormous, as was the anchor itself. There's likely a very interesting story behind the anchor and the ship to which it was once attached, but there was no one to ask.

(10-22mm  f11  1/1000 sec  ISO800)

(Day 257) Where have all the tourists gone

Tuesday Sept. 14, 2010

While walking around in various towns and villages on Rhodes, we've noticed that a lot of establishments are wanting for tourists. Now, that's not because the places aren't appealing, but because the season is winding down, even though the temperatures by our standards are still right up there in the vacation range. A second reason, however, that we discovered in an interesting discussion with our villa manager today, is that large hotel chains have moved in, offering all-inclusives, which is keeping people out of local establishments.

This evening we were in Faliraki and I caught this little boy, standing at the front of what is likely his parents' establishment, looking forlornly at the passing people, while his father is making preparations for people who may not come.

(10-22mm  f5.6  1/15 sec  ISO800)

(Day 256) Marketing 101

Monday Sept. 13, 2010

We've made a point of trying to visit many different places on Rhodes. And given the hot and dry weather conditions we've had so far, that includes a beach almost every day. A different beach can be found over the crest of every hill. Some are sandy, others have pebbles, and a few others have stones and even large lava rocks. But, the brochures claim and the roadside signs proclaim, each is the most beautiful on Rhodes !

Today was a purely beach day - relaxing in the warm waters of the Aegean Sea and seaside with a good book. There weren't even any clouds to drift slowly by. The beach was named Tsambika, but due to the winds which approached gale strength by mid-afternoon, we re-christened it 'sand blasta'.

(10-22mm  f11  1/400 sec  ISO200)

(Day 255) The strife is over

Sunday Sept. 12, 2010

We're told that the harbour at Rhodes was the site of one of the wonders of the ancient world - the Colossus of Rhodes - a giant statue which stretched across the harbour mouth. The Knights of St. John also built fortifications, visible at the right in the photo. We were here today to enjoy the beauty, and serenity (once we found this secluded spot). No wars plague this area now and the former fortifications only serve as reminders of a strife-filled past. May it remain that way.

(18-55mm  f11  1/1250 sec  ISO800)

(Day 254) Where knights once trod

Saturday Sept. 11, 2010

We visited the fortress at Feraklos this morning - apparently one of the best fortified back in the 1300's. Unlike the acropolis at Lindos, there was no apparent path to the top, and we followed a goat path most of the way. Along the 'route', however, the goat path gives way to these steps, hand-hewn from the rock almost 700 years ago. It was a difficult route for us, with a precipitous cliff on one side, and we were carrying nothing more than a camera pack and a bottle of water. I can't imagine that knights, perhaps at times wearing heavy armour, could climb their way regularly up this route. I think they were made of stern stuff.

(18-55mm  f8  1/160 sec  ISO200)

(Day 253) Rugged beauty

Friday Sept. 10, 2010

I haven't checked any sources (yet) regarding the formation of Rhodes, but from looking at the seashore rocks, and the mountains and hills, I would venture that Rhodes came about as a result of volcanic activity. Certainly by the seashore in many cases there appears to be a lot of lava, and many of the hills seem to be made of hardened mud, filled with fist-sized stones.

Tonight we made a point of being near Charaki with its beautiful semi-circular beach, to catch the sunset on the rugged rocks at the outer ends of the beach.

(18-55mm  f11  1/125 sec  ISO200)

(Day 252) No room to spare

Thursday Sept. 9, 2010

After 6 days on the beautiful island of Rhodes, we're certainly no experts on Greek habits. But I think I can make some observations on their driving habits, since we now have 6 days' experience with that. Life may be running a little slower than in North America, but you wouldn't know it on the roads. Speed limits are treated like guidelines - for tourists that is; Greeks seem to ignore them altogether. Passing can be done wherever there's a foot or two to spare, or perhaps not - this may be the reason there are lots of small roadside shrines to those who departed this world while behind the wheel.

Village streets were obviously not laid out with autos, buses, or trucks in mind. Streets that we would consider 'tight' in North America, are 2-lane roads with locals barely slowing as they pass each other, and with cars parked willy-nilly. A tourist is quickly spotted under these circumstances. Today's photo shows the village of Archangelos, site of another medieval fortress. In the apparent jumble of houses and other buildings, streets run in all directions - space is at a premium but is well-utilized.

(18-55mm  f11  1/400 sec  ISO200)

(Day 251) Dust to dust

Wednesday Sept. 8, 2010

Today we travelled to the town of Lindos, site of the acropolis and the temple of Lindian Athena dating back to the 6th century BC, and earlier. The Knights of St. John built the walls of the fortification which surround the acropolis in the 14th century AD. Even today they are very impressive, and they served the Knights well for over two hundred years.

The large columns of the temple are lying in giant pieces, scattered throughout the area. The walls of the fortifications are crumbling into dust. Efforts are underway to restore the site as best as possible using the remaining pieces. Who knows, when the builders were building these originally, if they gave much thought to how long they would last. They too are long gone, returned to the dust where from they also came. And such is the destiny of all, mighty and small.

(18-55mm  f11  1/500 sec  ISO200)

(18-55mm  f11  1/100 sec  ISO200)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

(Day 250) Hear our praises

Tuesday Sept. 7, 2010

We stumbled onto the subject of today's post. We had spent a lovely morning walking through one of the island villages, Psinthos. The day had grown hot and we were on our way to the coast to spend some more hours in that wonderful warm sea. After driving up one side of the mountain, through a pine forest, we had to slow for people turning into a parking lot. Since it was near noon and there was a roadside taverna, we decided we'd stop too. As we crossed the road from the lot we could see the roof of this church further uphill. After lunch we walked up to it and the gardener motioned for us to go on inside.

Throughout the ages people have worshipped the Creator. Here was another link through time.

(10-22mm  f11  1/60 sec  ISO200)

(10-22mm  f11  1/6 sec  ISO800)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

(Day 249) Hot and dry

Monday Sept. 6, 2010

Do you ever have that fleeting moment of doubt when you open a travel brochure and see the pictures of those exotic locations with beautiful beaches, an azure sea and an unbelievably blue sky ? That can't possibly be real, can it ?
Well, we found out today that it is, at least here by the Aegean Sea. Crystal clear water so bouyant you can almost fall asleep floating on your back. The boardwalks are there to protect your feet from the hot sand, and sandals are required to get right to the water. The beach was not crowded and this is about as far away as you can get from 'hustle and bustle' - a phrase which is unknown here (except when it comes to driving !).
Away from the beach, the land is hot, and dry. I've read that there is a rainy season here, but the evidence for it is long gone.

(10-22mm  f8  1/640 sec  ISO200)

(10-22mm  f11  1/160 sec  ISO200)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

(Day 248) All roads lead to Rhodes

Sunday Sept. 5, 2010

... or at least they did, if you read the history books. Today we drove to old Rhodes town. Words cannot describe this amazing place adequately, and I made over 300 photos! You need to google this and the Palace of the Grand Masters to read about it and see more photos than I could possibly post here. I will just show you 2 photos. We spent almost the entire day here, but 2 weeks would not be sufficient to see and experience it all. We plan to return here for another look during our trip.

(10-22mm  f8 1/500 sec  ISO200)

(10-22mm  f8 1/250 sec  ISO200)

(Day 247) To our new (temporary) home

Saturday Sept. 4, 2010

Our bodies had a tough time adjusting to the new time zone. On Saturday we woke up at 03:00 am local time and before dawn we'd had breakfast and were outdoors. It was already pleasantly warm despite the early hour. So I took the camera out and captured our villa in the pre-dawn light.

(10-22mm  f3.5  0.8 sec  ISO200)

(Day 246) Still up, and further away

Friday Sept. 3, 2010

As we crossed many time zones we also lost part of a day, and more importantly, lots of sleep time. Sunrise came early, and through dirty windows I caught the sun lighting up the mountains, that didn't seem to be too far below our 39,000 feet cruising altitude.

(18-55mm  f8  1/250 sec  ISO200)

(Day 245) Up, up and away

Thursday Sept. 2, 2010

We've been planning this trip for over half a year. Tickets were ordered and a place to stay was confirmed, as was a rental car, since we like to explore the places we go to at our own pace, and sometimes well off the beaten path. The itinerary promised a long journey of almost 8,000 km/5,000 mi. This was one of the last scenes we saw as we sped away from the setting sun, on to our adventure.

NOTE: I found a reliable place to use the internet, but have limited access. Will try to post as opportunity permits.

(18-55mm  f8  1/2000 sec  ISO100)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

(Day 244) Under my nose

I was playing with my grandson early this evening - he's almost 8 months old and is crawling. sort of. He gets up on all fours and launches himself forward, and repeats - fairly quickly now. But I was carrying him around, showing him neat things, like this old cow-bell-like thing hanging in the front hall that makes a lot of noise, the colourful fish in the aquarium, the cuckoo clock ...

And as I was walking past the front door, I noticed a pattern in the glass that caught my eye. I've probably seen it a thousand times before but hadn't really seen it, or perhaps the light was different this time. At any rate, I knew what my subject for today was going to be.

Note: I will likely be unable to post or visit any of your sites for the next few weeks. I will continue to shoot every day of course but access to the internet may be very limited or non-existent. If I don't have access, I will catch up with posting and visits when I return.

(70-200mm  f20  20 sec  ISO200)