aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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Tag: Weekly Photo
acropolis in progress
mammoth construction zone

Acropolis Athens

Acropolis (and partial view of the scaffolding)

I mentioned a while back that Patrick and I weren't all that impressed with Greece.  A large part of that unenthusiasm related to Athens and the Acropolis.  If you'd asked me before I went to Greece what is the number-one-must-see attraction in the country, I would have said the Acropolis of Athens.  Right?  It's the one Greek monument that everyone knows.  It's the one attraction we were most excited to see.

 Acropolis views
 Acropolis  Views from the Acropolis

 Views from the Acropolis

You have to understand that Patrick and I love, love, love ruined architecture.  I can see the place as it once was, so many years ago, with the walls standing, the floors in bright mosaics and tiles. 

Amphitheatre outside the Acropolis

Amphitheatre outside the Acropolis

At Pompeii, we walked amongst the ancient common man, so much like us though long since dead.  At Ephesus, we marvelled at the splendors of the ancients.  And, in the tiny town of Ivailovgrad, Bulgaria, we were amazed by intricate floor tiles created centuries ago.  We love ruins, even when nature takes over, destroying the artistry of man.

Acropolis view
The reconstructed temple View of the Acropolis from the Acropolis museum
Walking up to the Acropolis

Acropolis restoration (note the reconstructed Temple of Athena Nike, with the integration of the original stones)

But, the Acropolis in Athens is no testament to ancient man's work.  Right now, it's very much a work in progress.  Cranes and scaffolding cover most of the buildings and tourists are prevented from entering the interior.  Several of the surrounding temples have been dismantled and are being reassembled.  

Acropolis restoration

Acropolis

Acropolis restoration and scaffolding and a restored temple

There are a lot of issues surrounding the restoration project, not least of which whether or not the Greek government has the funds to finish the work.  So far, the UN has paid for 50% of the restoration project (currently running around $90 million.) 

. . . keep reading standing at the acropolis after the jump

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views of siena
cobblestone and brick

Siena

View of Siena rooftops

Like pretty much every other person on the planet, we love Tuscany.  Tuscany has everything going for it: architecture, scenery, food, wine, markets, and art.  If you want to rave about narrow streets and yellowing buildings, you can do that.  If you want to talk about churches that dazzle, you can do that.  If you want to eat some of the best meals of your life ---- truffle flecked pasta, prosciutto with melon, pizza singed on coal burned ovens, fluorescent green olive oil and ciabatta --- you can do that.  And, if you want to drink red wines that are earthy, smooth, fruity, or nutty, you can do that.  Tuscany is amazing.

The funny thing is that, though we love Tuscany, it took us a long, long time to visit Siena, the second most important city.  I think we expected it to be another Florence, another city overrun with tourists, where we wouldn't be able to see the charm through the throngs.  But, we did. 

The charms of Siena were almost immediately apparent in dull brick red and cobblestone streets, through the meandering alleys, over and across hills and stairs, and under bridges.  The Duomo stunned in black and white. 

It took us time to come to this city but, once we came, we came again and again.

Siena Siena
Siena
Siena Duomo Siena walls
Siena Siena
Siena Duomo
Siena Duomo Siena Duomo

. . . keep reading views of siena after the jump

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humbling pompeii
roman living

Pompeii

View of Pompeii Amphitheatre

I've never seen a picture of Pompeii that did it justice.  In fact, before going to Pompeii, I questioned whether it was worth the time and energy to go there.  The architecture looked less impressive than the ancient architecture in Rome at the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum.  The scenery was less stunning than that of the gorgeous blue and yellow Amalfi Coast.  But, we went because we were staying in Sorrento, were only 45 minutes away from Pompeii, and it seemed foolish to miss one of Italy's most popular attractions. 

Pompeii mosaic Pompeii mosaic
Pompeii walls Akila at Pompeii

 

Walking through the streets of Pompeii

And, I'll be the first to admit that our pictures don't do this place justice.  What's missing from the photography is a sense of the vastness of this place.  Pompeii was a living, breathing city with a population of around 10,000 people in about five square miles before 769 AD.  To put that into perspective, that's about the population density of New Orleans, Sydney, or Montreal today, and more dense than Miami, Antwerp, and Las Vegas.  Of course, our cities today are much larger than five square miles but, when we went there, we could feel how the city once bustled.

Pompeii baking Pompeii ovens
Oven Pompeii Pompeii oven

Cafe/restaurant; bakery and ovens

We started at the less touristed side of the city, at the point where most of the populace lived, and walked all the way to the main public areas at the far side of the city.  Like New York or Sydney or any major city today, Pompeii had places for worship, markets, government buildings, and public arenas and amphitheatres.  It had more than 33 bakeries with huge lava mills, turned by donkeys to grind the wheat, and ovens in which the bakers brought out thick flat bread, cut into wedges and sold to the citizens.  It had over 200 cafes where Pompeii citizenry --- especially the poor --- sat at long bars to eat from food ladled out of large jars set into the marble counters (kind of like a buffet).

Akila at Pompeii Pompeii streets
Pompeii

Houses in Pompeii

We walked for hours.  Hours and hours.  Into and out of houses.  Into and out of mansions.  Through gardens with fountains.  Through gardens with statues of gods and goddesses at the center.  Through places where there were vineyards.  Into mammoth buildings where judges and politicians discussed and determined the way in which the rest of the Pompeiians should live, while those ordinary citizens went about their business, raising families, improving their homes, and generally living the best lives they could.

Pompeii roads Pompeii fountain
 Pompeii

Marble and temples

It wasn't long before we realized that these people --- these people who lived over 1,500 years ago --- weren't all that different from us.

 

. . . keep reading humbling pompeii after the jump

8 comments

prague in black and white
timeless grandeur

Prague buildings in black and white

Street in Prague

We don't often do black and white photography largely because I love color.  I love the juxtaposition of bright against light, sky against tree, and strong against weak.  One of my all time favorite photo spreads on our site is this one with the children and balloons, done in black and white, with pops of color, because the color almost springs out of the computer.  And, our penchant for bright and vivid colors is the reason that we're constantly posting about flowers, trees, gardens, and flower festivals.

But, one of the biggest benefits of black and white photography is its timelessness.  If you look at an old photo in color, you can easily determine the decade in which it was taken by the type of color and the use of the lens.  But, the pictures we took recently in Prague in black and white could have been taken a decade ago or longer.  In monochrome, our eyes aren't distracted by the newness or oldness of the camera technology or other camera distortions.  (It's only a small part of the reason why Ansel Adams' gorgeous scenery photographs looks like it was taken yesterday.)

When I started going through our photography for Prague, I realized that I had to do a photo spread in black and white because Prague has this same sense of timelessness.  Buildings and cobblestone streets are perfectly preserved, down to the ruts used for horse-drawn carriage in the Stare Mestro (Old Town).  A little further away, the city becomes stark and square, with odd monuments built to celebrate Communism and the Communist regime.  There are very few buildings (other than the famous Tancici Dum or Dancing Building) that embrace modern steel and glass.  The city seems to have stood still, with parts of it squarely stuck in the 14th century and others in the pre-Cold War era.

 

Prague building in black and white
Prague cathedral Prague clock tower

Prague black & white

Prague in black and white church Prague fountain
Prague Communist monument
 Prague in black and white
 Prague church in black and white 

. . . keep reading prague in black and white after the jump

19 comments

August 2013


santorini doors
colors in rectangles
August 28, 2013

May 2013


schonbrunn castle in pictures
May 31, 2013

the harry potter studio tour
from diagon alley to hogwarts
May 7, 2013

October 2012


chewy and abby in austrian sunflowers
October 29, 2012

September 2012


ruined turkey
ephesus, pamukkale, and aphrodisias
September 1, 2012

August 2012


scenes from cappadocia
mars on earth
August 14, 2012

July 2012


hot air ballooning in cappadocia
awe-struck
July 13, 2012

the wild dogs of turkey
cute and friendly
July 6, 2012

June 2012


something beautiful
in cappadocia
June 29, 2012

the flag of turkey
patriotism in pictures
June 15, 2012

the colors of the spice bazaar
in istanbul
June 8, 2012

lamps at the grand bazaar
in istanbul
June 1, 2012

May 2012


istanbul's tulips
flower frenzy
May 24, 2012

portrait of pisa
leaning and straight
May 4, 2012

April 2012


san gimignano towers
views of vineyards
April 20, 2012

March 2012


tuscany with color
at motovun
March 29, 2012

plitvice national park in the winter
icefalls
March 23, 2012

hundred shades of gray
in county clare
March 16, 2012

February 2012


brilliant fonta magica
in barcelona
February 24, 2012

scenes from parc guell
in barcelona
February 17, 2012

emerald peak district
green, green, green
February 9, 2012

changing of the guards
at buckingham palace
February 3, 2012

January 2012


london at night
motion in light
January 27, 2012

harrods' sparkling winter
in london
January 20, 2012

chewy at the leaning tower of pisa
cuteness
January 6, 2012

December 2011


hummingbirds flutter
near poas volcano
December 16, 2011

skirts swirl
at mirador ram luna
December 9, 2011

the famous cornish gardens
trewithen, eden project, and heligan
December 2, 2011

November 2011


on the moors
dartmoor and bodmin moor
November 25, 2011

painswick rococo gardens
in the cotswolds
November 18, 2011

weekly photo: light on bark
November 4, 2011

rainbow cotswolds
colors in the country
November 2, 2011

September 2011


lions wake
in video
September 23, 2011

weekly photo: bonaventure cemetery
in savannah
September 16, 2011

weekly photo: a dog in bilbao
September 9, 2011

biltmore festival of flowers
in asheville
September 2, 2011

August 2011


penguins at boulders
on the cape drive
August 12, 2011

views from table mountain
in cape town
August 9, 2011

July 2011


kirstenbosch gardens
blooming colors
July 11, 2011

fig charleston
new south cuisine
July 1, 2011

April 2011


mabel francis potter's cupcake emporium
in savannah
April 1, 2011

March 2011


weekly photo: a tree in christchurch
March 4, 2011

February 2011


weekly photo: accomplishment
February 11, 2011

weekly photo: antico pizza
February 4, 2011

January 2011


one word portrait + american portraits giveaway!
January 28, 2011

doing now: a chandelier
January 21, 2011

candid canine: war eagle!
January 11, 2011

strange shot: two-headed giraffe
January 7, 2011

October 2010


one year of photography
October 1, 2010

August 2010


rainbow beijing
colors in a city
August 24, 2010

June 2010


kyoto in photos
streets and gardens
June 15, 2010

April 2010


the color of resiliency
the people of Cambodia
April 9, 2010

March 2010


art of man, power of nature
at angkor
March 31, 2010

just another city
bangkok
March 9, 2010

February 2010


sukhothai in sepia
filtered ruins
February 19, 2010

elephant beauty
at patara elephant farm
February 4, 2010

November 2009


essential resources for new travel bloggers: photography and SEO
November 5, 2009

October 2009


the red centre
shadows and movement
October 29, 2009

wordless whitsundays
stunning islands
October 7, 2009