Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

This week, Michele, of the Daily Post, invites us to “share a group of photos where orange is either the dominant color, or provides a bold highlight.” Easy!

Travel Theme: Slow

1. Am I right to assume this little gem of a car, parked outside the Houses of Parliament in London, might be a bit slow for today’s roads?_DSC0109

2. Driving through the countryside requires patience. You never know when you’ll encounter large and slow vehicles, such as this one in Tuscany, Italy._DSC0182

3. If you are in a hurry in Venice, the gondolas are not the best choice. They move slowly through the many canals, not only because they are beautiful, but also because the gondolas can’t go fast. And, yes, there is also some traffic congestion…_DSC1275

4. Being slow is not just for vehicles and people. These little creatures are so slow, they totally justify expressions such as “at a snail’s pace” and “snail mail!” _DSC0161

Go to Where’s my backpack? to see other entries for this week’s Travel Theme.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

“There is one thing the photograph must contain: the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough – there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph.” (Robert Frank, photographer)

Humanity and knowledge. This crowd on the steps of the promenade, at Riva deli Schiavoni, is a mix of all nationalities, people of every culture, every shape, color, and size, satisfying the strong human desire to see new places and learn new things. In Venice, Italy. _DSC1410

Humanity and Sports. Nothing brings humans together like the love of sports. On these occasions, the world becomes small, nations forget their grievances, and humanity is at peace for a set period of time. At the 2014 World Cup, Brazil._DSC0470

Humanity and Resilience (I). She’s homeless, but she hasn’t lost her dignity. She sets her desk at the park and writes. In Santa Monica, CA. _DSC0485

Humanity and Resilience II. Regardless of their economic and social challenges, these Malian women, most of them mothers, dressed in colorful outfits and kept a dignified air about them, greeting important visitors to their village.IMG_1888

See other posts on Humanity.

Travel Theme: Merchandise

Ailsa, at Where’s my Backpack, invites us to share our shopping experiences in our travels with the theme Merchandise. Like her, when traveling with my camera, I have much more often enjoyed photographing local merchandise than doing any shopping. Here’s a small sample of that.


Travel Theme: Endearing

This week, Ailsa, at Where’s My Backpack, invites us to share Endearing photos. I found the ones below pretty endearing.

Travel Theme: Meeting Places

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is Meeting Places.

Men meet and hangout outside the marketplace in Bamako, Mali. DSCN1058

In beautiful Siena, the Piazza Del Campo is a definite meeting place, where both locals and tourists converge to sit and talk, eat, or just admire the beauty of the place._DSC0643

Young people in Venice, Italy, get together by the water for a beer and some idle talk._DSC0509

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between


Siena, Tuscany. Italy, 2014.


“Love locks” in Venice bridge. Italy, 2014.


Dog in Venice, Italy.

For this week’s photo challenge, Between, we are asked to “capture something in the middle of two things. It can be a literal interpretation of something between other things, or a more figurative approach.” Well, I guess I’m taking a literal approach.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

“Share your take on the idea of Room— it could be an actual room in your house, a favorite gallery in your local museum, a cubicle at work. You could also take this challenge in a more abstract direction, and show us where you feel like you have room — or lack it.”


The Places in Dan Brown’s “Inferno”

I love to read novels that take me to interesting places, especially to those I have visited. Last month I read Dan Brown’s Inferno, which takes place in Florence, Venice and Istanbul. Having just visited Florence and Venice in April, I felt like I was there, following Professor Langdon in wild adventures in those magical cities.

Dante’s Inferno is central to the plot and Brown takes us through many passages of the poem as Langdon struggles to decipher the coded messages left by the story’s villain. The story begins in Florence, where the villain jumps to his death from the “spire of the Badia,” formally known as Badia Fiorentina. From that point on, the story takes us to major landmarks in Florence, including the Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Garden, the Ponte Vecchio, the Baptistry, the Duomo, and the Vasari Corridor. The latter was built to enable members of the Medici family to go from the Palazzo Pitti to the Palazzo Vecchio without being seen. With Inferno’s success, the Vasari Corridor became a tourist attraction, although access is still limited, through scheduled tours.

While in Florence I visited and photographed these landmarks.

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From Florence our hero travels to Venice, arriving, as everybody else, by boat on the Grand Canal. From there he and his adventure companions meander through city landmarks such as the Palazzo Ducale, Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Piazza San Marco, and Brown mentions many other attractions, such as the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of the Sighs, the Riva Degli Schiavoni, and the San Giorgio Maggiori Island, among others.

Venice is the most beautiful and enjoyable city I have ever visited. I can’t possibly do justice to its magnificence, but here are some shots of the places mentioned in the book.

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From Venice, the plot takes us to Istanbul, Turkey. There, Professor Langdon’s adventure ends at the Hagia Sophia, a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, that later became an imperial mosque, and is now a museum. I haven’t yet visited Istanbul so that part of the novel didn’t have the same special meaning, but the city is on my list of must-see cities and I certainly will relive the thrilling end of Inferno when I visit it.

Perhaps this post has raised your interest in Inferno. It isn’t a literary masterpiece but it’s an exciting read and I recommend it. Most importantly, I hope it has raised your interest in visiting these magnificent cities.