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

An Upset in Málaga

Blogging challenges, South Korea

We were just strolling up one of Málaga’s neighbourhood shopping streets, when we saw this:

What’s up here?

Murder most foul?

Someone up to no good?

The aftermath of an uprising?

How upsetting.

Luckily we soon realised.

These up-ended legs belonged to a plaster mannequin.

The shop where they’d come from was having a makeover.

It was going up-market.

Selling to those Uptown Girls.

Square up

Postcards from South Korea

South Korea

Today I’ve decided on a virtual visit to South Korea, a country we visited four years ago when our daughter was working there. I’m not – on the whole – going to take you to national monuments this week. We could go on the metro – there’s a station in the featured photo, just as clean, high-tech and efficient as you probably expected. Some metro stations are so extensive that you have to catch a train from one platform to the next when you need to change lines.

Let’s walk the streets of Seoul, where the very first thing that will strike you is the astonishing tangled knitting that is the overhead electrical wiring. We could visit the market area. Whole streets are devoted to the sale of just one product – rubber bands say (yes, really!), electrical wiring, cardboard packaging … or even spam. Since the Korean War, Americans – and spam – have enjoyed an enviable reputation. In a country where western tourists are still not all that common, we often profited from being thought of as American. In among all these workaday offerings are spacious and elegant jewellery shops – whole department stores devoted to nothing but that. We popped into one – and popped right out again.

Towards lunchtime, we could peer into tiny kitchens, and watch meals being prepared, packed up, and stacked onto trays. They’ll be delivered to workers in shops and offices on bikes, or on the heads of purposeful delivery women, who’ll later collect the empties.

But let’s glimpse through a window from in one palace, at least: Seoul’s Changdeokgung Palace. You can read a short account of the troubled history of South Korea’s cultural heritage here

And now let’s travel south to South Korea’s second city, Busan: a coastal city and port, and Emily’s home for that year. It has one of the biggest fish markets in the world, Jagalchi Fish Market. You’ll rarely see anywhere so many fish gathered together in one place – I posted about them here.

I’ve a feeling I may have an occasional South Korean season coming on, and maybe next time in glorious technicolour. Thanks to Sarah at Travel with Me for putting the idea into my head, and to Jude, whose photo challenge this week constrains us to think of the urban environment. Country Mouse hasn’t been to town for weeks,

2020 Photo Challenge #48

Monday Window