Paris in Winter

We spent hours on a plane to get here… and we spent days walking and walking and walking and walking. Not only that, but my luggage was already filled to the brim and heavy… We took the metro… I warn you now… Do not take the metro with luggage that is too heavy to carry with one hand!!! Seriously! Those rollers will not help you get up and down 4-8 flights of steps where there are no elevators! Be smart and take a taxi. Yes it will be costly, but who cares? You’re in Paris!

One iconic shot, that’s all I wanted. And here it is…

The Eiffel Tower lit up for the night.

But Paris offers such places to take more…

If I was already there anyway, why not pay homage to this place, no?

Go to Paris… yes, you…and find this place… it is as it says… point zero of all the roads in France…

Notre Dame… and I didn’t get to see the gargoyles close up and personal… No hunchback either…

Climbed up the steps to see this place.. then they told me climb up another 300 steps to the dome… eh????

But the view was worth it.. even saw gargoyles…

Sunset from Sacre Coeur… Perhaps some things are meant to be seen in twilight….

The last day… it snowed… well… then… Paris… you are truly magnificent…

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Sounion

When my SO said we were going to Athens, I started looking for places to go and see. Which of the golden gods did I want to visit? Well, of course, Athena since she was right there… but I wanted someone different… A different kind of ruin. Then the screen of my computer showed me a different thing… and that led us to take a coastal bus one and a half hours to Sounion. We went to visit Poseidon.
Alas, the ruins were just that. The marbles and bronzes are now housed in the Archeological Museum in Athens. And because we went the cheap way (7 Euros each way) instead of the tour (running 60 or so Euros), we had to learn about Sounion alone.

That wasn’t all I wanted, however. It wasn’t the history. I understood it was an important port. And I understood that Poseidon was Athena’s rival for Attica. Still… beyond the myth and the facts was this pile of stones that has stood the test of time… Very tall and grandoise…

I wanted pictures.

It was a challenge, believe me. The ruins were atop a bluff. Using the limitations of my camera phone, how do I incorporate the Aegean sea below into the picture?

And I came looking for the presence of the old gods. And yet… I wasn’t sure if I saw them. If I could feel them… If the feelings of Stonehenge would also be the same here… I have come from so far away, after all.

The stones loomed in the distance… I must acquire that shot!

Would you believe me if I told you that this shot that I had taken was in a magazine? It is! Same angle. But they captured it with a wider angle lens. I should have played with the panorama on the phone.

I took pictures of the ruins to show the back side of the sea.

The composition isn’t what I wanted. I cut the ruins down to show more of the sea…

It’s okay… it just wasn’t… something.

Something was still missing.

This is a beautiful ruin. On a beautiful coast. And I could not get that shot with the water in the background. How oh how to do it? And with the sky so cloudy… I needed the sun to come out…

The sun cooperated and I was able to capture this.

The sea isn’t very prominent. The columns are. And against that blue sky… you wouldn’t know that it was rainy just a few hours past.

Many shots of the place, to take home one nice shot!

Then amidst the ruins at the foot of the temple… I had another new experience.

My first sighting of jack-in-the-pulpits!

Then all of a sudden, the temple came alive!

Birds suddenly flew into the temple!

Perhaps the old gods are still alive. We just have to look for them in unexpected places now.

Monoliths and Majesty

Travelling for hours after much bickering between my travel mate and I, through English fog and winter’s breathe… we were finally minutes away from the ultimate destination of our English sojourn. My heart pounded slightly faster as if it has longed for this moment. And as we stepped off the site shuttle and stepped on sacred ground, my heart fluttered more.

The first view of Stonehenge was imbued with a sense of reverential magic. In the stillness of the morning, the air vibrated with a sense of meaning.

There were many crows in the fields.

The sky was somewhat overcast. And yet, for a slight second, the sun shone, allowing me to capture this one picture.

It was all worth it. 3000 or so miles away from home, across oceans and countries… I came and saw and felt… a sense of coming home…

Opportune Moment

It was hot, that day we stopped in the jungle. The air was fetid, burgeoning with some unvoiced expectation. The sun was overbearing and the clouds uncooperative. The air swarmed with mosquitoes and other flying insects. It was noisy with the calls of jaguars and clay. Still we trudged through this and for one fleeting second, I was able to stand in awe. One second to capture this moment… As if there was only me and the world followed in my wake. Jaguars can wait, this could not.

Chichen Itza, you are indeed magnificent! The temple of Kukulcan. Believe me, there were plenty of people teeming around its expanse. But this was taken quite quickly. It turned out quite nice.

I brought home with me the spirit of the jaguar. And every so often, I let it roar just like I have heard in this magnificently haunted place. It is quite fun to scare the dogs with it. Hahaha!