Well not exactly a walk. First a drive, then a lengthy wait for parking space, followed by a couple of minutes’ walk up the hill to the bus, and finally a bus tour with recorded commentary complete with musical drama – the only way allowed to see the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, Lanzarote. Spectacular nonetheless. [Photos taken through the bus window with my phone].
The surfers had all gone, except for the one lingering ghostlike in my long exposure.
According to this article, 21 billion edges were predicted for Scotland’s 2017 midge season. I reckon that a fair number of them, like me, opted for a trip to Ireland that summer, boosting the already thriving local population.
Those pesky creatures turned these peaceful spots into pure torture, at dawn and dusk respectively.
On my Not To Do list: do not venture here again without a midge net and repellent.
It was relatively calm this evening, though the wind was fierce enough around the head of the strand. As the surfers packed up, there was plenty of space for some wide & long exposures.
Bloomin midges up early searching for breakfast 😫
I stayed just long enough to look up the beach towards the castle, then glanced behind me to see what was going on.
And back again.
The midges had had their lot! Now it was time for my breakfast.
A wet summer Sunday is as good a day as any for a walk in the Botanic Gardens, which this year celebrates its 200th birthday. Today I noticed something I hadn’t spotted before: the city’s motto Let Glasgow Flourish and its Coat of Arms sculpted into the wall of a building just inside the Gt Western Road/Byres Road entrance, complete with the tree that never grew, the fish that never swam, the bird that never flew and the bell that never rang.
For the story behind the City of Glasgow’s Coat of Arms, see here.
I had to go and get some keys cut up at Anniesland, but the hint of rain had made the air so fresh that I took the waterproofs and set off for a four-hour walk through Glasgow’s West End.
And sure enough, by the time I’d come out of the hardware shop, the drizzle was on. I braved it for a few minutes but finally stopped to take shelter under some trees and don the waterproofs. It occurred to me that I’d passed this pond so often along Great Western Road, but had never taken a closer look.
On my way back were the colourful scenes at the front of tenement blocks.
No walk though the West End is complete without a stopover at Hargan’s Dairy. Re-exposed to the elements for almost a decade now, the 1960s lettering is peeling fast.
As the sun was going down and warming up the rocks below St Peter’s Church, I wondered what that huge tanker had been doing there all day, and would it ever leave.
Then suddenly it slid out of view, only to return a few moments later.
My last evening at Portovenere. I will be back, once the tourist season has quietened down.
Well, one of them 😉. Byron’s (now collapsed) Grotto lies beneath this stone framed window that overlooks the Bay of Poets. Certainly peaceful shortly after 6 am in early June, but no doubt thronging with sunbathers and boats as the day grew hotter.
For days not a cloud in sight, but when I went out early on my first morning in Portovenere, the weather looked set to change. Would those clouds drop and block the early morning sun?
The boats bobbing up and down in the foreground, constantly changing position, were mesmerising.
I waited in the morning silence for the lights to go off and for the sun to come up over the horizon behind me and light up the palazzata a mare. Not a soul in sight.
Gradually the light and sky changed.
But it was clear that on this particular morning, the sun was not going to tinge the buildings with its early morning light, as the clouds had dropped behind me.
Worth the wait nonetheless.
Up at 4.30, to wait for the early morning sun to light up the palazzata a mare in Portovenere. Far too early, considering that dawn was still an hour away, and the palazzata a couple of minutes’ walk. But the peace and quiet that comes with those early morning blues is unmissable 😉
Looking across the Bay at St Peter’s Church from a spot not far from the Castle, I found it easy in the summer heat to imagine Byron swimming here. It was harder to visualise the sudden storm here in which Shelley is said to have drowned.
It’s not all that difficult – there are nooks and crannies where you can shelter from the scorching sun without having to cram into the shade of a bar along with the beer-drinking crowds.
You can read about the Atlantic Reach project here. The proceeds are going to the Samaritans.
My contributions to the project are below.
I hadn’t planned to shoot a series of postcards 😩, but that’s pretty much how things turned out in the first days of my first visit ever to Cinque Terre and Portovenere.
But once the tourists and the heat have subsided, I will be back, and I will enjoy the cool and peaceful dawns, the sea breeze, and have time to seek out a few less clichéd and crowded corners of this beautiful part of Italy.
A word to photographers: go on your own, or with 1 or 2 like-minded spirits. It’s so easy to get around – just be prepared for a fair bit of walking up and down stairs and hillside paths 😉