Top o’ the Morning!

I don’t usually get up early. Especially now – what’s the point? I can’t go anywhere anyway! I have a routine of getting up, getting a cup of tea (I can’t tolerate coffee anymore, although I love it), a banana and a piece of Babybel cheese, and then going to a comfortable spot to read and enjoy my morning snack. In warm weather, I like to sit on the porch and breathe the morning air. So it’s usually 10 a.m. or later before I get going with my day.

But when we travel with tour groups, we often have to get up very early, and on those occasions I do have the opportunity to appreciate the early morning, or Top o’ the morning, as the Irish say, (and in order to fit into Becky’s April Square Tops!)

So for Lens-Artists photo challenge#93 with the topic morning, I am posting some photos I took early in the morning while traveling, mostly with tours, in 2018-2019.

ON SAFARI
On safari, it’s a given to get up really early, so you can have breakfast and go on a game drive in the early morning when the animals tend to be more active. So every day, our alarm was set for 6 a.m. – when I hear that alarm tune on my husband’s tablet, I still think I’m in Tanzania!

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On the patio of our lodge at Tarangire – 6:48 a.m.

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Same exact time the next morning – what a view overlooking Tarangire National Park!

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After this beautiful sunrise in Serengeti National Park…

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…we had a picnic breakfast in the park!

DES MOINES, IOWA
My husband tends to wake up really early whenever we’re sleeping somewhere away from home. Sometimes he wakes me up too. Here we got a great photo overlooking the river toward downtown Des Moines. You can see the capitol building in the distance!

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From Best Western hotel room window, 7:12 a.m. in late September

EGYPT
We were in Egypt in the winter, so I often captured the rising sun between 8 and 9 a.m.!

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The Great Pyramid of Giza, at 9:46 a.m.

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View from our hotel room at the Sofitel Winter Palace in Luxor, 6:53 a.m.

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We took a 5-day cruise up the Nile, in an Egyptian style dahabeya. This type of boat doesn’t have a motor – it’s towed by tug or unfurls its sails, but because of this, we couldn’t travel at night. We docked at Besaw Island one night, and in the morning, the trees were golden in the light of the rising sun, at 6:58 a.m.

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At the end of the five-day cruise, we had arrived at Aswan, where we had to disembark. We had a long day ahead, so I took this shot at 6:24 a.m. at the breakfast table on board.

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The next morning, we were at a rustic lodge in Abu Simbel, where I took this photo from the patio, with a view of several islands on this part of the Nile. Since the Aswan High Dam was built, this part of the Nile is now a lake. 6:57 a.m.

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This was part of our view from Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan (where Agatha Christie wrote her famous mystery, Death on the Nile) at 7:20 a.m.

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At 6:22 a.m. the next morning, we were already on a bus which would take us to the Aswan airport, to fly back to Cairo.

ISRAEL
In order to cram as many sites as possible into one day, our tour company in Israel required us to be on the bus no later than 7:30. So we got up at 6 a.m. every morning, and went downstairs to breakfast between 6:30 and 7:00.

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We were on the road already when I took this photo of the Sea of Galilee receiving rays from the early morning sun, at 7:52 a.m. in early January 2019.

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The next day, I took this photo at 6:57 a.m. from our hotel room overlooking Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee, before we went down to breakfast.

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We traveled south toward the Dead Sea, seen here between 7 and 8 a.m.

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We were in Jerusalem for the last few days of the tour. This is at the Church of All Nations, at 7:50 a.m. We explored the outside first, and were allowed inside at 8:00.

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Only a few of the faithful are at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to say their prayers at 8:05 a.m. The women’s section is more crowded because it is a lot smaller.

EUROPE
On our European cruise last summer, we only had to get up very early a couple of days. Usually, we’d wake up and go out on the balcony of our stateroom.

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I must have had insomnia, because I took this photo as we were cruising into Vienna at 3:56 a.m. in early July!

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The sun was full up on this cloudy day when I took this photo. It was 8:55 a.m. and I was getting my first look at Budapest just before our ship docked!

Although when I’m home, I stay up late (I’m writing this after midnight! – I’m late, sorry, Becky!) and get up late the next morning, when we travel, even on days we don’t have to get up early, we usually do because we are excited! I cherish these last trips we took before the quarantine put a stop to my planning for the next trip, scheduled for this month! But we won’t be stuck at home forever, and I look forward to more adventures soon!

 

 

 

 

Journey to Egypt, Part 21: Last Night on the Aida

January 1-2, 2019

Tonight was to be our last night on our lovely dahabeya, the Aida, so there was a celebration. When we returned from the Daraw livestock market, of course, the steward had cleaned our room as he did every day. Anyone who has been on a cruise knows about towel art: you come back to your stateroom to find a creation on your bed using towels. Today mine was these lovely swans, whose heads bent together form a heart.
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Dale’s was different: The towels were in the shape of an ankh, to match the one he had received from the crate maker the previous day.
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It also seems to be standard practice to make an ape on the last day. The ape was hanging in the hallway! Ahmed, the towel artist (our steward) poses with his creation here, with toilet paper hanging down – maybe to represent a sort of tree rope?
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The cooks had made a special cake and other special desserts for us on New Year’s Eve.
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Tonight the crew prepared a fabulous dinner (as they had every night!); not to be outdone on New Year’s Eve, this was our dessert tonight!
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During dinner, they came in singing and dancing, accompanied by tambourines.
20190101_19395020190101_194029Everybody loved the crew – they had been so nice and friendly, not to mention efficient in making us comfortable for the last five days!

It was sad to have to leave the next morning, so on our last afternoon and evening, we enjoyed the view.

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Boys on shore give us a thumbs up as our dahabeya takes off from the dock at Daraw.

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The city of Aswan – our cruise’s destination – at night.

We were up early the next morning, and were greeted by this beautiful sunrise.
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Now we looked forward to the last days of our journey to Egypt – Aswan and Abu Simbel!

 

Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge: Yellow

I’m just barely making it for Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge: Yellow!

Tulip in my garden
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Proliferation of dandelions (they’re more prolific this year than I’ve ever seen!)
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My grand-nephew Joshua’s T-shirt (doesn’t he look spiffy?!)
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Mexican-style tiles in a bathroom at a Chicago wedding venue (there’s some yellow in almost all of these!)
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Outer wall in Rishon le Tsiyon, Israel
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Sunrise in Tiberias, Israel (looking out on the Sea of Galilee from our hotel room)
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Sunset clouds, Jerusalem, Israel
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Colorful Israeli poster at Tel Aviv airport
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Egyptian flower, near Aswan (I’m starting and ending with flowers!)
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WPC: Works of Art

Sue W.’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Work of Art.  Works of art are everywhere – an artist’s painting, a mural on a wall, a beautiful building, or natural works of art – a sunset, a rainbow, blooming flowers, animals – and animals creating their own works of art!  A work of art doesn’t have to be spectacular – it can be quite “ordinary” as long as it is aesthetically pleasing. Here are but a few samples of works of art I have photographed.

Man-made:
Artwork at the Art Institute of Chicago:

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John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925), La Carmencita, 1890, oil on canvas

 

 

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Charles White (American, 1918-?), Abraham Lincoln, 1952, Wolff crayon and charcoal on paperboard

Colorful mural on a wall in Des Moines, Iowa
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Political art in a café, Des Moines, Iowa
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Modern sculpture, Mason City, Iowa
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Stockman House, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Mason City, Iowa
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Nature’s works of art:
An arrangement of orchids at a supermarket
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Lotus flower, Chicago Botanic Garden
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Wild sunflowers in my neighbor’s garden – she looked at this scene and said she had a natural work of art right in her backyard!
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Sunrise, Des Moines, Iowa (seen from our hotel room window)
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Trees bending over and reflected in a creek, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona
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Yellow-breasted weaver making a nest to attract a mate (not only is the bird a work of art, but he has created his own work of art in this intricate, tightly woven nest), Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
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Works of art can also be heard, rather than seen – here is violinist Joshua Bell playing “The Swan” by composer Camille Saint-Saens.

 

 

Tanzania Safari: Out at Sunrise on a Windy, Dusty Day

Feb. 10, 2018

We had an early morning departure on our game drive this morning – 6:30 with no breakfast. We’d take boxed breakfasts to eat during the drive. Because we were up before dawn, we saw a lovely sunrise.1024.JPG

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Vehicle tracks crisscrossing an open area with Lake Ndutu in the distance, as the sun rises.

We were with Livingstone again and only five passengers. Three members of our group had left even earlier to go ballooning over the Serengeti (cost: $616 each!). This morning’s drive was somewhat disappointing. I guess I shouldn’t complain about seeing 2 male lions, …

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This lion didn’t seem to mind the dust stirred up by wind and a vehicle driving by.

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Although Lake Ndutu wasn’t far off, the injured lion decided to stop for a drink at a muddy waterhole.

…several zebras, …

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A group of zebras, consisting of a female with two foals, were standing near the watering hole – they seemed thirsty but didn’t dare approach while the lion was there.

… 4 female lions,

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This lioness satisfied her thirst and then walked over to a field to join her sisters.

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Three lioness sisters

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One of the lionesses rolled over in the grass to scratch her back.

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Aaahhh! That feels good!

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sisterly love

SONY DSC…a cheetah running away in the distance, wildebeest, and several birds.

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Mother zebra (who appears to be pregnant) and her foal

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lovebirds

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Common drango

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Marabou storks

It was quite windy and therefore quite dusty on the roads. David remarked that the weather resembled the dry season. Besides the lions, zebras and wildebeest herds, we saw a gouged out dead zebra (even the vultures had left). SONY DSCThen David received over the radio a report that the balloon trip had been cancelled because it was too windy. We turned back toward the lodge to pick up the three who had returned to the lodge. Only one of the three ended up coming with us, and out we went again.  The wind continued strong, and we kept the windows closed most of the time, although the top was open.

We rendezvoused with the others and had our breakfast in a field free of predators. 2-10 picnic breakfast
A few female elephants with young calves crossed our path.

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The elephants like to stir up the dust. Sometimes they spray dust on themselves, possibly to get rid of insects.

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Foraging elephant calf

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This calf tries to catch up with mama.

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He found her!

Soon I found myself just wanting to return to the lodge. The wind and the dust were too much. Livingstone was driving rather slowly – probably being cautious due to low visibility because of the dust – and it seemed we’d never get back. Was he even on his way back? It was past 11:00.

We got back around noon (we actually got back before Elias’ group) and met up with those who stayed behind in the lounge area, engaged with their electronics. We had lunch at 1:00 pm, during which we had an interesting conversation about haiku, the end of the trip, and American politics. There is not a single Trump supporter in our group. We are all progressive Democrats! Afterwards, we returned to our cabin.

I took a shower, washing off all the dust from my body and my hair. Tonight I’ll wear clean clothes. I decided not to go on the 4:00 pm drive today!

What I did do was finish the drawing I had started the previous afternoon in my Mindful Travel Journal. I sat on the little veranda of our cabin in my purple bathrobe with my colored pencils spilled out on the chair beside me. Dale was off somewhere or taking a nap.Sketch - in front of cabin at Ndutu Safari Lodge

WPC: Rise/Set

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week is sunrises & sunsets.  On safari in Tanzania, we were often up by sunrise, leaving sometimes before breakfast to be able to observe animals early in the morning.

Sunrise – Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania – Feb. 7, 2018
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Sunrise, southern Serengeti, Tanzania – Feb. 10, 2018
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Just as often, we were just returning for the evening when the sun set. All vehicles are required to be out of the national parks at sunset. This last picture was taken just as the sun was getting low in the sky and the sky beginning to glow yellow and orange, silhouetting an acacia tree.
Sunset, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania – Feb. 11, 2018
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CFFC: Sunrise, Sunset

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is sunrises/sunsets/night photos. Africa is a great place for sunrises and sunsets! Even on the plane, which arrived at Kilimanjaro after dark, I captured a pretty sunset:
2-2 sunset on airplaneSunset over Tarangire National Park, taken with Samsung Galaxy 7:
2-5 sunset over TarangireThat same sunset (this is classic!) taken with my camera, Sony 380:SONY DSCOne morning, we got up before sunrise to see animals early in the morning. This is the sunrise over Ngorongoro Crater, using Samsung Galaxy 7:2-7 sunrise-Ngorongoro
Southern Serengeti sunset (Sony 380)SONY DSCA few minutes later, after the sun went down:SONY DSCSunset that same day (Sony 380):SONY DSC

2-11 sunset over Serengeti