The Vacation of a Lifetime continued

A spectacular 12-day Mediterranean cruise! Departed from Barcelona, Spain and made stops in Cannes/Nice/Monaco/Monte Carlo Casino in France. Then on to Italy with stops in Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. Next up was Rome, Italy where we toured the Colosseum and Vatican City. Then on to the Acropolis in Athens Greece. Another stop in Mykonos, Greece for great food and ouzo. Up next was Santorini, Greece (Mamma Mia!). Our last stop was Valetta, Malta with a special trip to Mdna or Città Vecchia- the Silent City, a fortified medieval city.

Malta: Valetta, Mdna or Città Vecchia

 

Malta

Valetta, Malta

Blue Grotto Malta

The Blue Grotto, Malta

Maltese Port

Ancient fishing village of Marsaxlokk, Malta

Medieval City of Mdina

Mdna, a medieval walled city originally settled by the Phoenicians in 700 BC.

Medieval Mdina

Mdna, a medieval walled city originally settled by the Phoenicians in 700 BC.

Casa Mdina

Casa Mdina. Mdna, a medieval walled city originally settled by the Phoenicians in 700 BC.

Mdina Door

Mdna, a medieval walled city originally settled by the Phoenicians in 700 BC.

Mdina Statue

Mdna, a medieval walled city originally settled by the Phoenicians in 700 BC.

Mdina Streetscape

Mdna, a medieval walled city originally settled by the Phoenicians in 700 BC.

Mdina Wall

Mdna, a medieval walled city originally settled by the Phoenicians in 700 BC.

Mediteranean Volcano

A smoldering volcano in the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean sunset

A beautiful end to the trip of a lifetime!

Gorgeous day in the City of Gold Mines

Victor, Colorado – the City of Gold Mines – is located at nearly 10,000 feet on the southwest side of Pikes Peak, in the Cripple Creek Victor Mining District. This well-preserved mining town sits on the side of Battle Mtn., a unique setting of 1890’s structures and turn-of-the-century architecture, with clean, cool mountain air and plenty of year-round sunshine.  http://www.victorcolorado.com/

Today was the perfect day for a visit.

A garden and a ghostly mine

I love driving around in Colorado!  This weekend was no exception.  After lunch on Saturday in Castle Rock, it was on to Garden of the Gods, an amazing geological park just outside Colorado Springs.  I would love to explain to you all the different rock formations and how they came to be, but I’m no geologist.  In fact, some who know me might even say I don’t know schists from Shinola!   But what I do know is how to point a camera at pretty rocks!

Garden of the Gods

 

Cathedral Spires

 

Garden of the Gods in black and white

 

Sunset buck

 

Today I happened upon an abandoned mine above Central City…the Coeur d’Alene mine.  When I left Denver, the weather was sunny and mild.  As I drove higher up into the mountains, the clouds started to flex their muscles and show off by spitting snowballs…little tiny ones. It got cold and windy, the sky turned a grayish white – not optimal photography conditions.  But the mine was striking in its imposing, rusty splendor.  I was drawn to quiet deserted corners.  I apprehensively peered into doorways and tried to jump up to see in windows.  I imagined the power of the now forgotten machinery as it may have once been: roaring and belching the smoke of productivity.  I watched, waited, listened…for the stories.  I heard them.

Tractor and shed

 

Wheat and bolts

 

Danger window

Rusty shingles

Rusty National

Rusty buckets

Rusty bolts

Nails in the wall

Big Bolt

Coeur d'Alene Mine

 

 

 

Perspective allure

Glamorous moments are found in the most unexpected places:  wandering past an often ignored bush along a sidewalk, peering into a dried up field of weeds, or catching the long, low rays of sunlight at day’s end.

Enhance your view of the world by looking at it from a fresh perspective.  Underneath, sideways, crooked or askew.  Above, below, or cross-eyed.  Darkened, lightened, softened, or hardened.

The allure is often left in the dark and unexplained.

Images of a walk in the park and a stroll under a bridge (Red Cliff, Colorado).

At what point do we acknowledge autumn’s arrival?

When is it each year that we relinquish the carefree days of summer?

When do we trade the universal perfume of freshly mown grass for the unmistakable scent of raked leaves?

Is there a specific moment when we no longer notice the smells of swimming pools and wet towels, but embrace the aroma of crackling fireplaces and baking pies?

Does autumn officially arrive only once we have donned our first sweatshirt, noted the earlier hour of twilight each day, or witnessed the first golden leaves of change on the trees?

Is there a specific moment in time when we are no longer aware of the rhythmic clacking of skateboards traveling past the house or admit to missing the hollow echos of nearby bouncing balls and the exuberant, joyful laugher of children?

Is autumn’s arrival evident only once we recognize a new quiet; a quiet hauntingly void of the sounds of chirping crickets and singing birds?

Do we hear autumn’s arrival in the thunderous sound of crowds cheering favored football teams to victory in the chill of the evening air?

Is this when autumn has truly arrived?

I believe autumn arrives the moment we notice.