Photo Interpretation of Prolific photo challenge

Photo Interpretation of Prolific

Photography Series.

I never do two post in one day.

BUT….

I haven’t missed a weekly photo challenge yet this year

…and I don’t intend to start today.

 

Photo Challenge.

The word we were asked to interpret was prolific.

Prolific is defined as: Present in large number or quantities; plentiful. Producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive.

I’ll spare you my normal plethora of words and let the photos mostly speak for themselves.

 

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Tulips in Bloom at Vondelpark in Amsterdam. (see more of Amsterdam here)

 

Love locks along the Seine in Paris. (see more here)

 

Gravestones at Old Town Cemetery located at Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, Scotland. (see Stirling Castle here)

 

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Rocks, seagulls en masse on the rocks in the background, stunning turquoise beauty…take your pick. Baby Beach in Aruba. (see others here)

 

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Pink Dogwood in bloom. Roanoke, Virginia (see others here)

 

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

wpc: prolific

 

Snorkeling in Aruba

Aruba.

Stunning turquoise waters!

That was reason #1 for our choice to head to Aruba.

Following closely behind were: we could get a good flight there, we had friends who had been and loved it, and another big factor is that Aruba is the most revisted Caribbean Island.

Family Travel.

This trip was taken over our teenagers’ Spring Break. If you are new to my blog or have stumbled across this post, the hubby and I have three teenagers. Currently, Big Mr. is 18, Mr. D is 16, and Miss Sunshine is 14.

Our teenagers like adventure and so we knew that we’d want to have some scheduled during our time in Aruba.

Snorkeling.

Of course we decided to begin our Caribbean Island vacation with snorkeling!

With my teens and I having been born and raised (ok…they’ve not been fully raised-we’re approaching year 5 of living in Virginia) in Florida, we aren’t strangers to snorkeling.

However, this would be our first time in waters this clear.

Jolly Pirates.

We decided to book our snorkeling trip with Jolly Pirates.

We wanted to maximize our time on the water and opted for their four hour sail, snorkel, swim, and swing.

This trip would take us over the WWII wreck of the SS Antilla, Boca Catalina, and Malmok Beach.

Location.

We booked our trip and also filled out the waivers online prior to heading to Aruba.

This made the check-in process very quick.

The building for check-in is located right behind MooMba Beach, which you can see in the background. While I didn’t get a chance to visit MooMba Beach (something I’ll need to remedy…we aren’t so good at making food reservations when traveling with five people who are hungry at different times), it comes highly recommended as a must visit beach bar and restaurant.

I snapped the photo for my Thursday Doors friends, but I also love that they list their crew.

The Crew.

The crew was amazing!

We sailed on Easter Sunday.

Julio was the captain of our ship.

Johan and Milton were also part of our sailing adventure.

I’m pretty sure Tony was our lifeguard, but since I don’t see his name on the board, I’m questioning whether I heard (and remembered) his name correctly.

The four hour sail included an open bar, plus lunch.

All four of the guys were kept busy and yet were still always full of smiles.

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Fins, Masks, and Snorkels.

Fins, masks, and snorkels are included in your trip.

We did contact them prior to booking our trip to be sure that they could accommodate Big Mr.’s size 16 shoe.

They could!

This was wonderful because we were traveling with carry-ons only and needing to carry a set of fins would have been a hassle.

Turquoise Waters.

Yes, the Caribbean waters are as stunning as you see in magazines!

My favorite part of snorkeling was seeing all the brightly colored fish.

There is something quite serene about gliding along under the clear waters with them.

Pirate Ship.

This was a view of another of their ships for snorkeling.

There is a palpable excitement about sailing on a pirate ship.

Or perhaps that’s just gypsy wanderer in me.

Toward the bow of the ship, you can see someone jumping from the platform. While the hubby and teens did use this approach into the water (Mr. D even did a flip from it), I preferred to climb down the ladder.

Rope Swing.

However, I did get brave enough to step from the platform and ride the rope swing into the water (albeit, not on Johan’s back. The really brave piggy-backed on Johan while he swung and then did a flip in the air.)

As I mentioned in this post, as I released from the swing, I pinched my nose to avoid the water shooting up into it. Apparently, too hard when you wear a nose ring, because I came out of the water with a nose bleed.

The crew was amazing, grabbed some toilet paper, and the bleeding stopped almost as soon as it had started. They checked on me again later in the trip. It was a minor thing, but I’ve made a note to myself to remove my nose ring before future snorkeling trips.

In that same post from last Friday, I shared more of my personal experience surrounding the snorkeling and the little clip Miss Sunshine took of me snorkeling.

She also made a compilation of some of her own snorkeling, which she has said that I can share with all of you.

Memories.

I’ve mentioned one of my favorite parts of traveling with my teens is the memories that we create.

We created many memories during our brief time in Aruba.

I’ve shared a few photos from Aruba in this post and in the future I will be sharing more about our time there.

Stay tuned.

Have you been snorkeling?

Where? And did you enjoy it?

Let your light shine!

Amy

The Lyon Statue in Place De La Concorde Paris, France

Paris.

Paris is a city filled with history and amazing architecture.

Today is a traveling day for me, but I wanted to share a Thursday Door.

Place de la Concorde.

This door is from Place de la Concorde.

Place de la Concorde is the one of the major public squares in Paris. It is located in the city’s , 8th arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.

It was the site of many notable public executions during the French Revolution.

Our hotel was within a short walking distance of Place de la Concorde, which I shared in my A Corner of Parispost.

I also shared some evening views in the square in this post.

Statue.

At each of the eight angles of the octagonal Place de la Concorde is a statue representing a French city.

I chose to capture the sculpture by Pierre Petitot, representing the city of Lyon.

My choice was not because of the city, but because Lyon is my maiden name.

City of Lyon.

However, Lyon is a two thousand year old city situated at the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers.

It is the third largest city in France, after Paris and Marseilles.

Travel.

Have you ever traveled to Lyon, France?

Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you've been all along. -unknown photo quote over the Louvre in Paris France

Let your light shine!

Amy

Aruba Sunset

Aruba Sunset.

The weekly photo challenge this week is to share a sunrise or sunset. I couldn’t let that pass by without popping in to share a photo of last night’s sunset in Aruba.

Look for more photos when I return home!

The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire. -Pamela Hansford Johnson

Let your light shine!

Amy

Wpc: rise/set

The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh

Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is a city filled with many treasures.

Some treasures that I stumbled upon, I didn’t even discover what they were until I returned home and searched for them.

Mercat Cross.

One such treasure was the Mercat Cross.

In case you’re wondering what in the heck is a mercat cross (I know I was), it’s the Scots name for a market cross. They were first erected to display a burgh’s right to trade, as well as a gathering place to hear important public announcements.

Location.

Last week, I shared my photographs and the history of St. Giles’ Cathedral. You can see from the photographs that the Mercat Cross is located in Parliament Square, near the East Side of St. Giles’ Cathedral.

At the time, I just liked the architecture of the little building. I didn’t realize its historical place.

History.

While the first mention of the Mercat Cross is in a charter of 1365, this pillar was placed upon this octagonal building, at this location, in 1885.

I’ve since learned that there is an octagonal arrangement of cobblestones along High Street that mark the location of the Mercat Cross from 1617-1756. I know one thing that I’ll be looking for when I return in May.

Unicorn.

The Royal Unicorn sits atop the cross holding a shield. You can also see the Scottish Flag beside him.

Gathering.

The Mercat Cross is  a popular gathering spot for tours. The people gathered in the photos were about to head out on a ghost tour.

The Door.

Of course, no tour of a building is complete without sharing a door for the fans of Thursday Doors.

The tympanum above the door is in Latin and reads “Thanks to God. This ancient monument, the Cross of Edinburgh, which of old was set apart for public ceremonies, having been utterly destroyed by a misguided hand A.D. MDCCLVI, and having been avenged as well as lamented, in song alike noble and manful, by that great man, Walter Scott, has now, by favour of the Magistrates of the City, been restored by William Ewart Gladstone, who claims through both of his parents a purely Scottish descent. 24 November 1885” (source: Wikipedia).

Travels.

What little gems have you stumbled upon when traveling?

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Let your light shine!

Amy

St. Giles Cathedral

Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland. It has been recognized as the capital since at least the 15th Century.

Given that traces of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements have been found at Castle Rock and Arthur’s Seat, it should come as no surprise that Edinburgh is teeming with historical places.

St. Giles’ Cathedral.

As a matter of fact, one of those historic places is St. Giles’ Cathedral. According to the Cathedral’s website, St. Giles’ was founded in about 1124, either by King Alexander I, who died that year, or King David I, who succeeded him.

If you think that King David I sounds familiar, then you may remember him from my post on Holyrood Abbey. 

King David I was the one who founded the Abbey in 1128. This was after being thrown from his horse and saved from being gored by a stag by the appearance of a holy cross.

Legend.

According to legend, St. Giles was a seventh-century Greek hermit who lived in the forest near Names, in the south of France, with a tame deer as his only companion. One day, the King of the Visigoths, shot at a deer, only to find it held in the arms of St. Giles, who had been wounded in the hand by the arrow. Then, after some visits, the King persuaded him to become the abbott of a monastery which he founded for him. Later he was canonized, becoming the patron saint of lepers, nursing mothers, and the lame.

 

 

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Know Before You Go.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is located along the Royal Mile.

Entry to the church is free.

A permit, which is available for a small fee, is required to take interior photos. However, I arrived close to closing time (story of my life). I did walk around the beautiful interior and lit a candle and said a prayer on the Holy Blood Aisle. But alas, I have no interior photos.

Holy Blood Aisle.

In case you are curious, the Holy Blood Aisle is an area where you can light a candle and also write a prayer request. The stained glass window there depicts the death and funeral of James Stewart, Earl of Moray.

After Mary, Queen of Scots, forced abdication, the government of Scotland was placed under her illegitimate half brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray. He was a friend of John Knox (founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland). After James Stewart was assassinated in Linlithgow in 1570, he was buried in St. Giles’ and John Knox preached at his funeral.

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Heart of Midlothian.

Another piece of history is located High Street, just away from the Cathedral’s West Eoor.

The Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped mosaic of colored granite built into the pavement and marks the entrance to the 15th century Old Tolbooth. This was the administrative center of the town, a prison, and one of several sites of public execution.

Prisoners were tortured here and spikes were used to display the heads of some of the more notorious who were executed.

The Tolbooth was demolished in 1817, but was featured in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Heart of Midlothian, published in 1818.

It is a tradition to spit on the heart. Some say it was for solidarity for those inside. Others say it was the prisoners themselves who spat upon it as a sign of disdain when they were released. These days spitting upon the heart is seen as done for good luck.

Cathedral Entrance.

I had to wait until the Cathedral was closed to capture the entrance doors for all the Thursday Door lovers.

 

Architecture.

The architectural style of St. Giles’ Cathedral is 14th Century Gothic, with many alterations.

The Cathedral has a collection of stained glass windows that date from the 1870s onward.

Crown Spire.

The Crown Spire is the Cathedral’s most famed piece of architecture. While you can see the Crown Spire peeking out in the above and below photos, the first photo from the side of the Cathedral gives you the best view of this feature.

The Crown Spire was erected in 1495, and rebuilt in 1648.

Parliament Square.

St. Giles Cathedral is surrounded by Parliament Square. Parliament House, which gave the square its name, was built here in 1641 and used by the Scottish Parliament until the Treaty of Union in 1707.

Duke of Buccleuch.

The statue in the foreground is of Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott. Otherwise known as the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, who was a politician and substantial landowner.

The bronze memorial was unveiled February 7, 1888 and it shows the Duke wearing the robes of the Order of the Garter.

The top gallery has huntsman chasing a stag.

On the lower level, there are bronze reliefs of episodes from the Scott family history.

Ancestry.

While I’m sure my genealogy diverges substantially, I still find it fascinating.

For those of you who are new to my blog, the trip to Scotland with my mother and aunt was an ancestral journey. My mother’s maiden name is Scott and her father was born in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada. His father was born in Bothwell (Holytown, Pollocks Hill…it varies on documents), Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Scott Lineage.

So far, we’ve been able to trace back the Scott line to my 5th great-grandfather, John Scott (b. around 1771) in Scotland. He married Esther Palmer in Renfrewshire on September 21, 1794. He is living in Redtown, Renfrewshire on the 1841 census. Esther, who was born in Stirling, Stirlingshire, is listed as a pauper in Redtown, Renfrewshire, in the parish of Paisley Middle Church by the 1851 census. She is also listed in the same location as a Coal Miner’s widow on the 1861 census. Also, I have her death record which states that she died of old age on October 12, 1861 and that the informant was the Inspector of the Poor.

However, many first names are used again and again, making the Scott line hard to trace. But, based on typical naming patterns, I believe John Scott’s parents to be John Scott and Euphemia ?.

Your Turn.

Have you been to Edinburgh?  If so, what did you find most fascinating? I return again in May and would love to know if you there’s anything I should add to my “can’t miss” sights

Have you studied your ancestral history? If so, from what part of the world do they hail?

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Safety, Science, and Religion

Edinburgh.

Edinburgh holds so many treasures that on a short visit it’s hard to even scratch the surface of all there is to do and see.

National Museum of Scotland.

One such treasure is the National Museum of Scotland. The museum is located on Chambers Street and is open daily from 10:00-17:00 (except: closed Christmas Day, and open 12:00-17:00 on New Year’s Day and Boxing Day).

Best of all entrance to the museum is FREE.

I love when a museum is free because then you don’t feel like you need to block off a full or half day. This is especially wonderful when you’re there for a brief visit and trying to jam in as many sights as possible (such as I was).

The day we visited the museum we had already had a busy day. That morning we had been to Leith to tour the Royal Yacht Britannia, which I’ve shared in a three part series here, here, and here. After that, we toured the Palace of Holyroodhouse. And while I haven’t written about the full tour, I have shared about the Holyrood Abbey.

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Galleries.

According to the map at the National Museum of Scotland website, there are 7 levels to the museum. The museum is divided into numerous galleries. We arrived late in the day and tried to see as much as possible.

Even still, we didn’t take in a fraction of all that there is to see.

Photography.

Because of our pace, I also didn’t photograph nearly as many displays as I would have like to have captured.

You may recall that I shared on of my favorite pieces, The Millennium Clock, in an older post.

I do have one or two other series from my time visiting the museum, but today’s grouping I’ve titled safety, science, and religion.

Lighthouse Stevensons.

The Stevenson family built or rebuilt every lighthouse around the coast of Scotland. During the time from 1786 to 1938, five generations of the family designed and built lighthouses.

The family introduced new ideas to lighthouse design.They used more powerful lenses, developed different signal patterns for each lighthouse to help sailors navigate, and also overcame the problems of building strong structures in remote and dangerous places.

Paris Exhibition.

The optic above was designed by Thomas Stevenson and exhibited in Paris in 1867. It demonstrated his design for the Tay Leading Light, one of two lights that guiding shipping into the River Tay.

Inchkeith Lighthouse Lens.

The Inchkeith Lighthouse lens is located in the Grand Gallery. This dioptic lens was designed by David A. Stevenson in 1889. It was designed for the lighthouse on the island of Inchkeith in the Firth of Forth.

The Inchkeith Lighthouse had been built in 1803 by Robert Stevenson and his father-in-law Thomas Smith, to protect shipping coming in to the port of Leith.

This lens was in use at the Inchkeith Lighthouse until 1985, when the last lighthouse keeper was withdrawn and the light was automated.

Atom Smasher.

You all know that I am a HUGE lover of science.

A small section of the particle accelerator used at University of Edinburgh for nuclear physics research from 1950-1972 is on display. It is also located in the Grand Gallery.

This portion of the accelerator is an electric circuit which produced a very high voltage. This type of circuit was used by John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton in the first accelerator to “smash the atom” in 1932.

Dolly the Sheep.

Many of you are already aware of Dolly the Sheep. In 1996, she was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. Out of the 277 eggs used in cloning, she was the only live lamb.

She was cloned from a Finn Dorset sheep at Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland. After her death, the Roslin Institute donated her body to the National Museum of Scotland, where she continues to be a celebrity.

DNA.

There were many other fascinating scientific displays that I wasn’t able to capture. One of those was a display of models of DNA. You can get a peak of the display on my cover, but the photo didn’t turn out well enough to share.

The Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins in 1962 and was for working out the structure of DNA. These models only represent a tiny section and the smaller model is believed to have been made by Crick for a lecture at the University of Edinburgh.

Prayer Wheels.

One of the pieces in the World Cultures Galleries that I fell in love with was the Prayer Wheel.

The Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland made this prayer wheel house. The monastery is Europe’s oldest and largest center for Tibetan Buddhism. The copper wheels were made in Nepal.

According to signage, prayer wheels are found all over Tibet. When the wheel is turned, the prayers inside are carried into the air, earning merit – or good karma – for the person turning the wheel. Also, the more turns of the wheel, the more merit will be earned.

Turning the Wheel.

Sometimes I listen to that still small voice…to that “gut instinct”. I felt compelled to turn the wheels. However, it wasn’t because I was hoping to increase my good karma, but because I didn’t want anyone’s prayers to be left in there, just waiting to be released.

I understand that this doesn’t jive with the box of my Protestant religion, but I’m okay with that. My beliefs don’t fit into a box.

I said a prayer for the release of everyone’s prayers as I turned each of those copper wheels. For me, it was not a moment of flippancy, but of pure reverence and I felt an overwhelming sense of peace as I finished.

Returning.

Since their closing time is late afternoon, we still had plenty of time to wander around Edinburgh. I decided to head over for an early evening stroll around Greyfriars Kirkyard.

As I’ve mentioned, I will be returning to Scotland in May. Since I have a few days in Edinburgh, I hope to pop back into the National Museum of Scotland to see some of the things I missed the first time.

Have you visited this museum?

If so, what was your favorite display?

Have you visited Edinburgh?

And if so, what is your favorite thing to do in the city?

Photo quote: And then there is the most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself freedom to do it later - Randy Komisar

Hotel de Ville

Paris.

Paris is a city of beauty and wonder. As I strolled about the city, I constantly found new things which caught my gaze because of their splendor.

Hôtel de Ville.

I love the architecture found in Paris and the Hôtel de Ville was quite spectacular. It is located in the 4th arrondissement on place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. It is the City Hall and houses the city’s local administration.

History.

It has been the headquarters for the municipality since 1357.

The original building was a mansion called maison aux piliers “House of Pillars”. In 1533, King Francis I decided the city should have a city hall worthy of Paris. After that, the House of Pillars was torn down and the new building, which was completed in 1628, was erected.

During the Franco-Prussian War, the building played a key role in events. One of which was that the Paris Commune chose the Hôtel de Ville as its headquarters. As the anti-Commune approached the building, the Communards set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying almost all extant public records from the French Revolutionary period and leaving just the shell of the building.

Reconstruction.

The Reconstruction lasted from 1873 to 1892. The interior was rebuilt inside the shell. The architectural style is neo-renaissance.

According the the Paris Visitors Bureau, it is possible to set a reservation for a guided tour.

 

Ceremonial Doors.

Not only did the building catch my eye, but the ceremonial doors are quite spectacular. When I saw them, I knew that I needed to capture them for all the Thursday Doors fans.

I don’t read French, but I can tell that the inscription on the doors is referencing September 4, 1870, the day when the Third Republic was proclaimed.

Versailles.

This history from Versailles sheds some light on the turmoil surrounding those times. The Third Republic would be definitively established in January 1875. The establishment would come down to a single deciding vote, and three amendments later, the 1875 constitution would remain in force until 1940.

We took a day trip out to Versailles. You can find my posts from the visit to the Palace here and here. We also made sure to visit the Queen’s Hamlet.

Statues.

The statues along the building are magnificent. There were around 230 sculptors who were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians, along with other sculptures.

From left to right, the best that I can read are: H. Estienne, P de Viole, F. Miron, and M. Lallier.

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Clock Tower.

While I didn’t have the best lens for the job, I did want to give you a closer view of the clock tower. You can also see some more of the many statues.

Facade.

The Hôtel de Ville is a very grand and extensive building. However, I didn’t want to leave you without a view of the facade.  In the distance, you can see the bronze sculptures which were flanking the gates where I stood to take the photos. The sculptures are titled Art by Laurent Marqueste and Science by Jules Blanchard.

Paris Square.

The square is the the oldest in Paris. This area was the principal port of Paris for centuries. From 1310 to 1832, it was Paris’s principal place of execution.

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom all of the history that took place in one location.

Today, the area is teeming with vibrant locals and tourists, all strolling along admiring the beauty of Paris.

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Let your light shine!

Amy