Summer Travel: it’s worth it in the end

Balkans, France, Germany, India, Poetry, South Korea, Spain, Travelling in Europe

This is turning into a Sunday Thing. Experimenting with different types of poetry. But with added photos. Always with added photos. This week, as my contribution to Tanka Tuesday‘s task – to write a 4-11 (the clue is in the name: 11 lines of 4 syllables each – last line repeats the first) I thought I’d focus on summer travel.

Summer travel

was always fun.

But now passport

control (Brexit!);

Covid control;

train strikes and queues;

airport queuing – 

make journeys long

and so irksome.

Worth it though – for

summer travel

And to prove that travel’s always worth it, here’s my photo gallery. There’s just one problem. Most of these photos were taken in January, in February, in March … you get the idea – any month but August …

… Should have travelled by elephant …?

Temple elephant, Thanjavur

PS – the header photo was taken at l’Albufera, near Valencia, Spain.

A legend tells the story of the Creation of the Earth

England, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Walking, Weather

Every culture throughout the world has its myths about how the earth, and everything that inhabits the earth, came into being. Here in the UK, historically part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we’re most familiar with the creation story told in The Book of Genesis.

Day 1 – God created light and separated the light from the darkness, calling light ‘day’ and darkness ‘night’. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Day 2 – God created an expanse of sky to separate the waters. Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters.

Kirkudbrightshire

Day 3 – God created the dry ground and gathered the waters, calling the dry ground ‘land’, and the gathered waters ‘seas’. Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

On day three, God also created plant life. Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

Day 4 – God created the sun, moon, and the stars to give light to the earth and to govern and separate the day and the night. These would also serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years.  Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.

Near Grinton, North Yorkshire
Sleningford, North Yorkshire

Day 5 – God created every living creature of the seas and every winged bird, blessing them to multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life. Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven…  Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Day 6 – God created man and woman in his own image. He gave them every creature and the whole earth to rule over, care for, and cultivate. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Which is perhaps where it all started to go wrong …

Along the River Thames in London
Haeundae, Busan, South Korea.

This week, for Lens-Artist Challenge #192, Amy invites us to tell Earth’s Story. So I have, with the help of the Old Testament.

PS. Thanks to your ‘likes’ on this recent post, I’ve been able to donate £28.00 on your behalf to World Central Kitchens, as they feed the dispossessed fleeing from war in Ukraine and other humanitarian catastrophes.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin … a month of odds, oddness and oddities

South Korea

Hands up if you recognise those first seven words. No? Then you’re not as old as me. You didn’t settle down to hear ‘Listen with Mother’ on the radio – sorry – wireless, after lunch every day when you were too young for school.

I’ve chosen this picture to be my first response to Becky’s ‘Squares’ challenge, which this month is Odd. It shows a sofa at a bus stop in Gyeryongsang, South Korea. Koreans don’t do fly-tipping, or litter. They didn’t, until recently, do sofas either. We needed to get used to restaurant meals taken seated cross legged on the floor, though thankfully, many places provided western-friendly chairs and tables too. So this thoughtful addition to the bus stop’s furnishings seemed rather odd, and worthy of a photo.

You’ve got a month of odd photos ahead. So are you sitting comfortably?

Not just for Becky’s Square Odds, but also XingfuMama’s Pull up a Seat Challenge.

Lighting our way home

Blogging challenges, London, North Yorkshire, Poland, South Korea, Spain

Electric light outside – as streetlights, spotlights, making our streets and subways safer: an undeniable blessing. But spotlights, bright and colourful advertising? The featured photo is of a rainy night in Busan South Korea. Cheery colours certainly, but far more than we needed to find out way round. And look at this. These hotels are out in the country, in a small mountain resort, surrounded by forest. The lights went on as dusk fell, and remained on till morning …

The JaJa, Gyeryongsang

All the same, it’s hard not to enjoy streetlights reflected in the water while mooching round a city. Here are a couple of shots near the river Guadalquivir in Seville.

It’s mood-enhancing to see the city become a playground at night. Here are the fountains of La Alameda, also in Seville. And the neighbourhood of la Viña in Cádiz, where post-Christmas groups relax over a meal or a few drinks in the still-decorated street.

La Alameda, Seville
la Viña in Cádiz

But metro stations and subways need lighting too. Here’s Barcelona, and London.

But the other evening, taking a late walk round the village, best of all was the glow surrounding the houses as families wound down for the day. A cosy, comforting and gentle radiance.

North Stainley: an evening in September

Lens-Artists Challenge #166

Window Shopping

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire, Ripon, South Korea

Just before winter kicks in and we all hunker down, let’s have a trip to the shops, and spot a few windows.

Are there enough windows here for you, in the featured photo, at the entrance to one of South Korea’s bigger shopping complexes? Once we’ve looked round, it’ll be time for a coffee: who knew that Starbucks had spread its reach so far? Not that we actually went inside here – independent coffee shops for us, every time.

Gyeongju, South Korea

Let’s come back to England now, and stay local, in Ripon. We’ll pop into our favourite bakery, then saunter along to the pie shop. In both cases, reflections will offer us views of the street too.

Let’s go to Kirkgate, and more independent shops: You’ll get a mood-improving slogan at Karma, and if you’re lucky, live music to cheer you along.

A few miles away is Pateley Bridge. I wonder if the shops there still have the displays they had when the Tour de Yorkshire was in town?

We’ll finish off by going to Harrogate. From behind other shop windows, we can get a snapshot of Starlings, the bar where we could finish our day with a drink and a very tasty pizza.

Starlings, Cambridge Street, Harrogate.

Thanks for coming along!

Monday Window

One Woman and her Squid

Blogging challenges, South Korea

Today I’m taking you to Jagalchi Market, in Busan, South Korea, to one of the largest fish markets in the entire world. We’ll go first into the village-sized hangar where more stalls than you could possibly count are selling single fish, several fish, restaurant loads of fish to buyers who come here knowing that what they choose will have only left the sea a very few hours previously.

More interesting though are the stalls outside. Here are small-time stallholders who come with the family catch, in among larger set-ups who specialise in certain kinds of fish and seafood. I’d like you to meet this woman. She has squid to sell. And I can assure you they’re fresh. I know this because they’re still alive, and they spend their entire time breaking out from their surroundings to lope off down the street, until Our Woman in Pink retrieves them, until the next time … or until they’re sold and become somebody’s supper.

It astonishes me that there are any fish still left in the sea. Look at the header photo. These tiny dried fish are sold in vast quantities by any number of stall-holders, and garnish many of the dishes we ate there.

Everybody but us was there to buy what they needed that day. We contented ourselves with eating what someone else had brought and prepared as our wanderings came to an end, at a neighbourhood restaurant just down the road.

Click on any image to view full-size

Just One Person from Around the World

More Window Shopping – South Korean Style

Blogging challenges, South Korea

Last Monday in South Korea we went shopping for string, elastic bands and spam – oh, and books.. Today we’ll go instead to one of the large shopping centres – Shinsegae in Seoul maybe (where I was astonished to find a branch of Waitrose) or Lotte Trevi (yes really) in Busan. We could spend the day there, strolling around the sleek and elegant displays. Maybe we’ll stay for lunch in the food hall, and choose from the many outlets featuring foods from around the world, though particularly from the Far East. Out of town shopping centres like these are popular, as in Europe, but the average city shopping street is busy from morning till late into the evening too, with young people toting large carrier bags full of new clothes . ‘Shop till you drop’ seems to be the motto.

Spotted through the large windows of the shopping centre, this version of the Trevi Fountain – minus water – doesn’t have the same vibe as the original in Rome.

Click on any image to view full size.

Monday Window.

How to be a Korean Woman – revisited

Blogging challenges, South Korea

I wrote this post in September 2016, during our visit to Korea. I thought it could have another outing for Just One Person around the World,

You’re young, female and Korean. Perhaps you’re a student, a worker, even a mother. You’re slim, stylish, beautiful, have enviably flawless skin, and shiny long dark straight hair. Just like all your friends.

One night however, you go to bed, and you wake up in the morning as an ajumma, an auntie, an older woman. You’ve shrunk four inches, your hair is shorter, perhaps even curly. You’ll put on nice comfy trousers and no longer remain silent on bus rides: in fact putting the world to rights with your fellow ajummas is what you like best Most importantly, you’ll wear your badge of office. This is a quite enormous visor, worn to protect your skin from damaging rays from the sun. You won’t go out without one.

There is no half way house that I can see. You’re young. Or you’re an ajumma. That’s it.

Window Shopping in South Korea

Blogging challenges, South Korea

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of window shopping? And perhaps particularly in parts of South Korea, which can offer a few differences from the high streets that many of us are used to. Let’s start in Busan. in Bosu-Dong Book Street (보수동 책방골목 문화관). There are books, and only books on offer – but of little use if you’re as slow as me in decoding hangul script.

Browsing in 보수동 책방골목 문화관

On our first day in South Korea, in Seoul, jet lagged and in need of a gentle day of orientation, we mooched round the markets area. And we found not only whole shops, but whole streets dedicated to shops selling just one product: it might be string. It might be elastic bands, or electric cables, or empty cardboard boxes to be filled with other products. or even gift-packs of a product beloved of Koreans since American soldiers had been part of their lives during the the Korean War – spam. We arrived in time for Chuseok, the festival that’s the time for families to get together and exchange gifts, as we do at Christmas – though historically, Chuseok was more of a Harvest Festival. Trust me, the perfect present for your granny is some gift-wrapped spam. And jumbled in among these workaday products are streets of jewellers’ shops. Come window shopping with me.

That man making his choices from among the books on offer is Just One Person from around the World, enjoying browsing and deciding whether or not to buy, just as we all do, wherever we live.

Monday Window

The well-travelled heron

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire, South Korea, Travelling in Europe, Wildlife

I am an occasional contributor to the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge: and this week’s appealed. Birds that eat fish as their primary diet. Well, I have images of gannets, gulls and guillemots. I have puffins, though not a single photo features one with a beak crammed with sand eels.

But the fish-eater I love the most is the bird I so often see snaffling goldfish from our landlord’s pond: or as I walk the banks of our neighbourhood River Ure : the one I spot as I hang over the sides of bridges and boats in Spain: the one fishing in among the townhouses of Dordrecht, the Netherlands: the one in my featured photo who was flying down the canal-side in Busan South Korea. It’s the heron, the grey heron.

Click on any image to see it full size