Tuesday Photo Challenge & CFFC: Eye Candy

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week begins a series exploring the five senses. This week is sight. She says: As the saying goes, a picture worth a thousand words. Think of photos you can take or have already taken that remind you of a fabulous sight. I like to call it “Eye Candy”. Several of the photos I picked out are of animals, which is conveniently the topic of Dutch Goes the Photo’s Tuesday Photo Challenge.

A romantic couple: Swans make a “heart” after mating, in one of our community ponds.
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Cheetah mom and cub frolic in Tanzania:
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After watching these two gamboling for about half an hour, I decided the cheetah is now my favorite wild animal!SONY DSC
In a close second place are these adorable genets, who reside at Ndutu Safari Lodge.  They looked down at us with such curious faces, and sat up there so quietly observing the humans down below.
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My youngest “grandcat” Freddie – how can I help falling in love with this guy??
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Here is my own beautiful cat, Hazel! This is an early photo of her, but it has always been my favorite.
This is a beautiful picture of Hazel!
This is a more recent photo of her, taken in our new house.
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I guess it’s clear that I just love cats in general! (Genets are not cats, but they sort of look like cats.)

More eye candy is to be found in the beauty of nature.

A sunset in Tanzania
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Cathedral Rock as seen from the campus of Verde Valley School, Sedona, Arizona DSCF2997
Flowers: at Chicago Botanic Gardens
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Dahlia at Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WADSC02442
I love to look at beautiful works of humankind as well.

In St. Matthias Church, Budapest
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If I had to lose either my sight or my hearing, I think I would choose being deaf than missing out on the beauties of our world.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Travel 2019

Last year we were able to do quite a bit of traveling abroad. For Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge this week the theme is travel. He says: As most of use are not traveling at the moment, it might be nice to travel virtually through our various blogs and share some of those enjoyed moments with each other. So, let’s share some of those wonderful places that we have visited in this week’s challenge!

How could I resist my favorite topic? And of course, I couldn’t pick just one photo, but these are a few highlights of our Travel 2019.

January: Egypt
Light show at Abu Simbel
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January: Israel
The most meaningful place for me was the Garden of Gethsemane. This garden is full of centuries old olive trees, including one that was around when Jesus came here to pray on the night of his betrayal.
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June: Paris
This is just a colorful shop that sells flowers (among other things) en route to the Sacre Coeur Church in Montmartre.
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Bayeux, France: The cathedral in Bayeux is a lovely Gothic structure with beautiful stained glass windows. This is one of them.
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June: Amsterdam – Our second trip to Amsterdam in just over a year. The weather in June is definitely better than January but there are a lot more tourists in June! The owner of our Airbnb took us on a private boat tour of the canals and harbor on a hot Sunday afternoon.
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Later that day, we took our son to our favorite poffertjes place in Amsterdam – Die Vier Pilaren.
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After a week and a half in France and four days in Amsterdam, we went on a river cruise – our first!
June: On the Rhine River in Germany
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July: Our last port on the river cruise was Budapest. I love this classic view!
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Dutch Goes the Photo: Trees

Jansenphoto’s Dutch Goes the Photo has a Tuesday challenge and the topic is trees.

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Walking tree in Costa Rica: As this tree puts down new roots over the last layer, it actually moves – about 1 foot per year!

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Tree trunk in the Bahamas

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Orchids grow on the side of this tree in Izapa, , Mexico. Orchids are “bromeliads” – plants which grow in “the air”, i.e. on other plants.

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This tree with a big hole in its trunk was in the woods along the path up to Marksburg Castle in Germany. I don’t know what caused the original injury to the tree, but animals have surely taken advantage of its shelter.

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Acacia tree in Tanzania, with used & abandoned weavers’ nests hanging down.

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This normal tree in our community, after dark gets spooky and full of shadows.

Picnic area. This tree is beautiful!
At a state park in Wisconsin, in autumn.

Late afternoon sunlight shimmers on South Blue Lake-Bearskin Trail
Evergreen tree branches touch, framing the glimmer of light on a northern Wisconsin lake.

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Brilliant fall color in Des Plaines, IL

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Snow brilliance in Des Plaines, IL

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Steep Drops & Trails

Frank at Dutch Goes the Photo has a Tuesday Photo Challenge and this week’s topic is steep.

Last summer we took a road trip which included a visit to Bryce Canyon National Park. We did want to do a bit of hiking but knew that the steep paths would be too much of a challenge for us due to our age and arthritic knees! So we took the rim trail which afforded many amazing views. And stay away from the edge – it’s a long way down!
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Then in January of this year, during our trip to Israel, we visited the high plateau of Masada, where in pre-Christian times, a group of zealots who were living up there battled with Roman troops, ultimately ending in a mass suicide when it became clear that the Romans would conquer and either massacre or enslave them. The Romans built a huge berm to be able to scale the high plateau and found all the zealots already dead.

It used to be necessary to take a long, steep trail up to the Masada site, but fortunately one can now go up by cable car. From the cable car, I took these photos of the steep switchbacks of the trail with hardy souls hiking up.
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Another cable car about to pass us on its way down the steep cliff.
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Looking down at the last stretch of the trail from the top.
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Here are some people going back down the trail; this photo was taken from the cable car on the way down.
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Beautiful Sunsets

Dutch Goes the Photo has a Tuesday photo challenge and the topic is sunsets.

Beautiful sunsets are everywhere, but the most beautiful I have seen are when I am traveling – which I guess is logical, because although I do have photos of pretty clouds and sunsets at home, my view is usually obstructed by buildings, trees, and other suburban fixtures. Being in wide open spaces is where I have watched the sun set in awe.

I can never forget the sunsets I’ve seen from Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro – every time I go to Rio, it is a must to go up in the cable car in late afternoon and watch the sunset from up there. On my most recent trip, in Nov. 2016, here was the view as the sun set around 7:00 pm. I am only including one, although I took several beautiful sunset photos that afternoon.
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OK, just one more!
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Another wide open space where I have witnessed many awesome sunsets is at sea, while on cruises. In Oct. 2017, we were on a cruise from Boston to Montreal, so this sunset was over the North Atlantic, off the coast of eastern Canada. I like the different patterns of the clouds in this photo.
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Often when people think of sunsets, they think of Africa, which is famous for amazing sunsets on the open savanna. When we went on safari in Tanzania, I saw this for myself.
This one was taken at Tarangire National Park.
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Here’s another one I took at the southern Serengeti:
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The sunrises in Tanzania were amazing too (we saw many, as we were up very early each day to go on game drives), but this is a post about sunsets!

In France, we drove to Mont-St.-Michel and got there in the late afternoon, so we admired the sunsets and saved our visit to the island for the next day.  I like this photo because of the fence, but the sun set to the west, not over the island of Mont-St.-Michel, which is reached via a long causeway when the tide is low.
20190618_214400Finally, sunset over Jerusalem – we arrived late on a January afternoon, and enjoyed the view of the old city from Mt. Scopus. (This is not the best photo of the city, but it is a pretty sunset.)
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Finally, closer to home, sunset reflected on the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, MO
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City: Budapest

On July 8, we visited the last city on our river cruise. If we could have taken more time in Budapest, Hungary, I would have liked to see more of it – well, there’s always the next time! This is what I tell myself every time I have to pass up something on a trip in order to see something else.

Dutch Goes the Photo this week has the theme of City.  I am only posting here the photos that show the city overall; I will post more of Budapest in a later post.

Budapest is really two cities – Buda on one side of the Danube and Pest on the other. In the morning, we went to Buda, but the first photo is of Pest, looking across the river. That large white building in the middle with the orange dome is the Parliament building.
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Ferris wheels seem to be fashionable in cities these days! I took this photo on a bus tour of Budapest.
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Jewish Quarter street scene, Budapest
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Worship in the Middle East

Frank Jansen at Dutch Goes the Photo has selected worship as his photo challenge theme for Holy Week. I share the sadness of the world for the devastating fire at Notre-Dame de Paris. But there are many holy places around the world that inspire awe where people worship.
Below are photos of worship from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and the ancient Egyptian religion.

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Prayer at the symbolic tomb of King David (not his real tomb) – Jerusalem, Israel

 

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The Western Wall (or the Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem is the only remaining vestige of the ancient temple of Jerusalem. Every day people come here to pray for loved ones, either those lost or those far away. It is customary to write the name of the person you are praying for on a scrap of paper and insert it into a crack in the wall. Every week these papers are collected by rabbis and kept in a sacred place – they are never thrown away. When a person is finished praying at the wall, they walk backwards, still facing the wall. Some maintain this all the way across the square; others after a short distance from the wall.

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A Muslim man praying in the “mihrab” at Al-Azhar Mosque – this niche in the wall of a mosque indicates the direction of Mecca. Muslims must face Mecca when they pray.

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Open courtyard at Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, with two of its minarets rising up behind. Five times a day, verses from the Koran are broadcast from these minarets, calling Muslims to prayer. 

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Altar at the Church of the Virgin Mary (or the “Hanging Church”), a Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo. Those of Orthodox faith do not have statues in their churches, which are considered idolatry. Instead they have icons, or images, of the Holy Family, disciples and saints.

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At the Garden Tomb site in Jerusalem (where it is believed that Jesus was buried), groups of Christian pilgrims gather for holy communion.  The “wine” (grape juice, actually) was served in tiny cups made of olive wood, which we were given to keep as a remembrance.

The ancient Egyptians had a pantheon of gods that they worshipped, and many of their temples contain images of pharaohs and others worshipping the gods.

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Altar and shrine in the sanctuary of the Temple of Horus in Edfu, Egypt. Horus was one of the most important gods for the Egyptians and is often depicted with the head of a falcon.

 

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A typical scene portraying a pharaoh making offerings to a god. The image on this pillar in Kom Ombo, Egypt shows the pharaoh (left) making an offering to Horus, the falcon god (right).

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Akhenaten was considered the “heretic” king because he tried to introduce monotheism to the Egyptian religion. He banned the worship of many gods, claiming that Aten (the Sun, represented by a disk with rays flowing downward) was the one and only true god. In this relief at the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo, Akhenaten (in front) is shown worshipping Aten, along with his wife, Nefertiti, and two of their daughters, by offering up lotus flowers (the sacred flower of ancient Egypt) to the sun god. After Akhenaten’s death, the Egyptians reverted back to worshipping their many beloved gods.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Round

Frank at Dutch Goes the Photo’s Tuesday photo challenge this week is round.

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Sculpture at Dr. Evermore’s Forevertron (near Madison, WI)
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Macy’s Christmas balls
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Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago
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Biblical Layers: Tels in Israel

Dutch Goes the Photo has a weekly Tuesday Photo Challenge; the theme this week is Layer.

Israel is full of archaeological layers, called tels. We saw several of these when we toured Israel last month, including Hazor, Meggido and others. These were cities or communities built over time one on top of the other. The original city was generally built on a natural mound or hill of land in a defendable location. The sides of the hill would be reinforced and the city built on top. After a war, the city would be leveled by fire or other destructive force, and a new city built on top of it. This cycle is repeated several times over the course of time. There was an advantage in building on top of a previous city in that the infrastructure (such as water supply) would already be intact and the stones used for the buildings were readily available. Archaeologists can learn much of the history of a place by excavating and studying these tels.

One good example of a tel is at the archaeological site of Hazor. This sign, although hard to read on this photo, shows a timeline on the left side which indicate the periods during which Hazor was occupied, and the written text next to it speaks of two distinct periods.
20190109_101731d.jpgPhotographically, the best example I have of this layered construction is found at an archaeological site in Old Jerusalem. By looking down or up at the site, the layers of occupation are easy to see.

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At the very top is the level of the present day city of Jerusalem. The walls on either side are from Biblical times. The bottom layer is the oldest and in this spot is mostly unexcavated rubble.

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Flights of stairs lead up to each layer of the site.

Here is a close up of a wall of an ancient temple, with layers of bricks.
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Another example of layers can be seen at Masada. Throughout the site, there is a black line which divides the original layer of the structures from the reconstructed layer on top of it.

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Below the jagged black line is the original construction as it was found after thousands of years. The buildings were reconstructed with similar materials and technique above this line.

For more information about tels, see The Tel (Mound)
and Biblical Tels: Meggido, Hazor and Beer Sheba.

For more about Hazor, Masada and Jerusalem, stay tuned for future posts on this blog!