For the last three years we’ve gotten up early on Christmas Day to head to the beach for sunrise. It has become a ritual for us, we load the car up with towels for us and the dog, fill our takeaway cups with fresh coffee and I make sure my camera is ready to go. Leading up to Christmas is always a mad rush of last minute shopping, tying up loose ends at work and preparing for visitors. The beach is relatively peaceful and quiet at sunrise, it is a beautiful and calming way to start the day.
To choose just one favourite place is not an easy task. My favourite place depends on my mood, the weather or what I am looking for in a favourite place at a specific time. For example, my favourite place for dark night skies, peace and quiet and the best sleep ever is my family home in rural New South Wales. If I am feeling sad and craving solitude my favourite place is curled up on the lounge with Bundy, watching old movies or reading a book. For this week’s photo challenge I have decided to go with a favourite travel destination, one I could happily return to again and again even though it is considered by many to be ‘too touristy’. I’m sure that you will recognise it without difficulty.
For me the pleasure in returning to Venice is watching the sun set over the lagoon, the golden light creates a warm glow that affects all it touches. The thousands of day trippers head back to their hotels and cruise ships, the streets are less chaotic and the soft light of glass lanterns makes everything seem so romantic. During the day I love exploring streets beyond St Mark’s Square, getting lost and finding little gems in which to enjoy an espresso or a bite to eat and a glass of wine.
After several extreme weather events a local wildlife reserve was in danger of being overcome by algae, weeds and dying trees, but all that has changed thanks to a group of dedicated people. I have watched and admired the changes happening as a result of an ongoing regeneration program which has seen the clearing of dead and invasive plants. Native plants have been planted all around the lake and as they grow they provide a source of food and sanctuary for wildlife as well as beautifying the area.
This literal interpretation of this week’s photo challenge: growth is my contribution to the challenge.
This is the last photo challenge of the year: 2017 Favorites and what a year it has been, plenty of ups and downs and far too much time spent in my head. My saving grace has been volunteering at a local shelter, being around dogs and working with people who love them as I do makes me happy so the fact that several of my favourite photos of 2017 feature dogs will come as no surprise.
Dear old Mason had a hard life, he arrived at the shelter in extremely poor condition and all he wanted was to be loved. A favourite with the volunteers, Mason would get lots of cuddles and he loved being out in the exercise yard if only to sit on or near you. Soaking up all the love and the attention he could, it was wonderful to see the expression on his face.
Bandit was another favourite among staff and volunteers at the shelter, he arrived in poor condition and was initially a little cautious. Looking at his scars it is possible he was used as a bait dog for fighting, but being a stray we’ll never know for sure. All Bandit wanted was to spend time with people and snuggle, a beautiful boy with lots of love to give. One of the volunteers adopted Bandit, no doubt he will now have the life all dogs deserve one filled with love and care.
8 year old Zeus would sit at the front of his pen and quietly watch everyone pass him by, dismissed because of age or possibly because of the way he looked. Zeus was a red staffy mix and some considered him to be a dangerous red nose pitbull, nothing could be further from the truth. Like Mason and Bandit, Zeus just wanted to hang with his people and he loved his time with staff and volunteers even if it meant he just had company while he rested.
Tigger the water baby. Never happier than when he was splashing around in water, you can see the joy on Tigger’s face as he sits under the running water. Tigger was a highly stressed boy in the shelter environment, getting him out of his pen and away from the noise of the shelter was a priority for staff and volunteers.
My boy Bundy. The love I feel for this little fellow borders on obsession, and as he gets older my desire to protect him and keep him safe and happy only strengthens. The poor boy suffers through endless kisses, photo shoots and tacky costumes without complaint although I am sure that the duck liver treats help immensely. At the moment he is lying outside my office door, stretched out on the cool tiles in an effort to remain cool. The urge to kiss his forehead and scratch his belly is strong however I know it is too hot for such a fuss and I don’t want to disturb him.
This year I made an effort to take more photos, not all of them are of dogs because we are lucky to be very close to nature and have access to local wildlife. Please enjoy my last few favourite photos from 2017.
I didn’t think that I would find many yellow photos, how wrong I was! From the yellow blooms in gardens to beer glasses on a roof in Amsterdam, yellow is everywhere and I could easily have tripled my contribution for this week’s challenge 🙂
Wildflowers, Queensland hinterland
Birdhouse in Botanic Gardens
Reflections of a sunset, Palmerston North NZ
Under the golden dome, Hotel des Invalides, Paris
Yellow room inside the Grand Trianon, Versaille
Cheese, cheese and more cheese, Lucerne markets
Spongebob Squarepants merchandise in Italy
Fields of yellow, Tuscany
Limoncello for sale
Sorrento’s monster lemons
Vatican Museum ceiling
Chicken and prawns with a champagne sauce
Newcastle’s Nobby beach club house
Decorative sliced lemon served as part of high tea
Having missed quite a few of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges I thought I’d take the time to browse through my collection of images and see if there was anything suitable for this week’s theme: Seating. Alas there are less images of seats, park benches and chairs than there are of me or the hubby sitting so I’ve decided to combine the two and share some interesting seats as well as great places to sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
Antique looking chairs in our hotel room, Hotel Magic Lucerne
Bench seat, Villa Monastero Gardens, Varenna
Tables and chairs complete with snow, Mt Pilatus Lucerne
Hubby joins the Egyptian antiquities display, the Louvre, Paris
Cathedral pews, Notre Dame Cathedral Paris
Alleyway with bench seats, Orvieto
Museumplein bench seats, Amsterdam
Cafe seating in San Gimignano
Napoleon’s chair, Palace of Versailles
Love seat, Via dell’Amore, Cinque Terre
Tiny bench seats, Civita di Bagnoreggio
Take a seat on I amsterdam installation
Handpainted ceramic bench, Sorrento
Dining chairs, Rue Mouffetard, Paris
Parisian park bench
Pinocchio taking a break, Orvieto
La Contrada restaurant seating, Hotel Villa Cipressi, Varenna
Torture chair, Medieval Criminal and Torture Museum, Volterra
Beautiful chairs to sit on, Room of Mirrors in the Empress’s Apartment, Grand Trianon, Versailles
Cee’s latest Fun Foto Challenge is all about signs this week and when travelling it is easy to find a variety of styles from the very elaborate to the functional and instructional type. One of my favourites from our travels in Europe is the ‘Slow down your on vacation’ sign, we spotted it in Assisi and we had been on the road for about 6 weeks and were feeling a little tired.