CULTURE has countless meanings, depending on where you are standing at the moment. Here, in my home in the U.S., I (love to) think of something ‘other’…international…different from ‘American Culture‘.
So, in photos I have chosen to show one of my favorite cities…Istanbul…with a culture all its own…different, even, from surrounding countries because of its unique geographical position straddling two continents…part of the city in Europe, part in Asia, across the Bosphorus.
Istanbul is a striking study of East meets West…centuries-old iconic structures and mosques…
View of 2 Mosques, Bosphorus and bridge
Small street – Coca Cola delivery vs. wooden pushcart
The Ark in one of the centuries old Synagogues
Abundance of nuts and sweets!
Man selling pastries from cart, on steps of Mosque
Students at lunch; traditional glass of tea delivery
Busy Istiklal Street (not even in the home of Turkish coffee can you get away from the ubiquitous Starbucks)
Morning mist on the Bosphorus; standing in Europe, looking at Asia
Women wearing hijab, leaving Mosque, carrying Esprit bag…East meets West
Turkish Businessmen stopping for shoeshine
schoolchildren in uniform with iPod buds in their ears…and my favorite moment that I was too slow to capture…a burka-clad young woman on a moped!
Extra-ordinary! Continue reading
The Pic du Midi, in the Midi-Pyrénées of France, remains for me one of the most spectacular points on earth. It’s beauty is how it scrapes the sky, and the stillness and calm that accompanies being UP 2877 meters (9439 ft) in the air.
One of the smaller telescopes atop Pic du Midi
View from atop Pic du Midi
I’m pretty sure I can see Paris from UP here!
Hang gliders with nerves of steel!
Pic du Midi
Cable car leaving top of the clouds
How thick are these cables?
Deck overlooking Infinity
This is me, casting a big shadow high in the Pyrenees
What are these wires attached to?
Pic du Midi Observatory started its life in 1878…people Climbed to the top…with equipment! and completed construction in 1908..no cable car until 1952! The extremely sophisticated telescopes and equipment at the top have been instrumental (pun intended) for scientists around the world, including NASA, and now that it is open to the public, accessible by a two cable car ride, it feels like a sanctuary in the sky. People actually whisper, not to disturb the silence.
It is not the highest peak in the world, nor as famous as some of its cousins to the east…and perhaps that is the attraction. Straddling the border between France and Spain, its telescopes peer deep into space. One can overnight there, and I’m certain that is truly a ‘peek’ into heaven.
An aside…there Is a restaurant at the top of this ascent…no ‘golden arches’, rather a lovely restaurant serving either a two or three course meal, including wine. This Is France, after all…never mind that we are 9,439 feet above sea level, a proper meal is a proper meal.
Here is video of the ascent from the village of La Mongie at the bottom all the way UP. At minute 4:17 you can begin to see the Observatory at the top.
As they say in France, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (The more things change, the more they remain the same)
Often the smallest changes produce the greatest impact. The large ones, well…”Plus ça change…”
When we were very young, my brother, sister and I would pile into the family station wagon each summer for our annual road trip to…somewhere reachable by car. My father got the greatest enjoyment out of stopping as we crossed the state line from Pennsylvania to New York and saying, “See kids…see how different it is here…isn’t it grand in New York State?” We would look behind us, at the sprawling green hills and trees, look in front of us, at the sprawling green hills and trees, and slowly, eyeing each other for a spark of insight, mumble, yyyesss.
And onward to state lines up and down the seaboard. (Was our entire road trip one big inside joke for my father? Anyway, that’s a whole other story)
And So went the CHANGES we noticed crossing provincial lines and country borders between (and within) France and Spain…back and forth, hugging the border. The signs signaled a CHANGE, not so the countryside.
Now the food…
Ch ch ch changes…
Route Nationale 618; Hautes Pyrenees, to the left; Haute Garonne to the right
Entering the departement des Hautes-Pyrenees. Crepe cafe in the background.
Leaving Pais Vasco, entering Aragon
Enter tunnel in Spain, emerge in France…ta da!
Entering France near the Somport Tunnel
Later that day, returning to base camp in Spain, along the same road
Prime Meridian! Difficult to see, but we even crossed the Prime Meridian…Surprisingly, I felt the same on both the east and west side
This week’s Photo Challenge is COLOUR. I have taken the liberty of changing the spelling to the proper English spelling, in honour of my Canadian (member of the Commonwealth) husband’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, honey…hope you like your gift. (this is it)
I Love the colour found in Nature…the brightest, truest colors. We found some brilliant colours all around us while on a trip to Wales. I’ve been paying very close attention to green lately, and how Many different shadings and hues there are. A description of the countryside as ‘green’ totally misses just how rich and abundant the colours really are.
In the Brecon Beacons
Shadings of Green in Wales
Dark stone settled in vibrant green