Kauai, Hawaii’s Garden Island

This time last year we were excitedly preparing for our long-awaited trip to Hawaii. While there we got to five of the six major islands accessible by visitors: Kauai, Molokai, Maui, Hawai’i (a.k.a. the Big Island) and Oahu. The only one we didn’t manage to see was Lanai… which just gives us an excuse to go back!

Before we left, we were repeatedly told that each Hawaiian island has its own feel and character. And slightly to our surprise, we discovered this is absolutely true. So, with snow already on the ground here at home, I thought the perfect escape would be to revisit these Pacific paradises, one by one, over the next five weekends.

The first Hawaiian island we set foot on was Kauai, after a direct flight from LAX to Lihue. We arrived in the early evening, with the sun setting behind the island. Stepping foot outside the airport was a particularly special moment for us, since it meant we had now been to all 50 US states.

Landing at Lihue airport

Landing at Lihue airport

Kauai is known as the Garden Island. And from the front cockpit of a reproduction biplane (see The Red Baron of Kauai) it’s easy to understand why.

IMG_6445At the heart of Kauai is the ancient volcanic peak of Mount Waiʻaleʻale. Standing well over 5000 feet tall, Mount Waiʻaleʻale is one of the wettest places on Earth. Between 1949 and 2004 it had an average annual precipitation of 374 inches, and between 1931 and 1960 this average was 460 inches. This explains the lush vegetation that cloaks the mountainous interior of the island.

Mount Waiʻaleʻale

Mount Waiʻaleʻale

High rainfall also produces high rates of erosion. Consequently, Mount Waiʻaleʻaleʻs steep slopes are deeply incised with sheer-sided valleys, such that much of Kauai is inaccessible, even to hikers.

The deeply-incised flanks of Mount Waiʻaleʻale

The rugged flanks of Mount Waiʻaleʻale

Manawaiopuna Falls (a.k.a. Jurassic Park Falls)

Manawaiopuna Falls (a.k.a. Jurassic Park Falls)

Most dramatic of the island’s valleys is the breathtaking Waimea Canyon, which featured in Jurassic Park. This 10-mile-long chasm, which reaches almost 3000 feet deep in places, cuts so deep into the flanks of the volcano it’s often called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon

On the east and south sides of Kauai, the steep flanks of Mount Waiʻaleʻale level out into a relatively flat coastal zone. This is where most of the island’s agriculture occurs, including cultivation of Kauai’s famous coffee.

Coffee plantations on the south coast

Coffee plantations along the south coast

Down amongst the coffee

Down amongst the coffee

Taro fields in the Hanalei Valley

Taro fields in the Hanalei Valley

In the northwest part of the island, the eroded slopes of Mount Waiʻaleʻale plunge straight into the ocean, forming the cliffs and valleys of the stunning Na Pali Coast. We saw this jaw-dropping stretch of coastline, which has been the backdrop for a whole host of movies (including Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean and the 1976 version of King Kong),  three times during our visit to Kauai.

We saw it from below, while hiking the first part of the wonderful Kalalau Trail.

IMG_6645IMG_6653IMG_6671IMG_6708We saw it from above, while hiking along the top of the Kalalau Valley, from the end of the road that winds along the rim of Waimea Canyon.

The Kalalau Valley on the Na Pali Coast

The Kalalau Valley on the Na Pali Coast

IMG_6570And we saw it from even further above, from the cockpit of our biplane!

IMG_6482I’m not a beach type of person. Just lying there, I start to go crazy after five minutes. But I love to walk along the beach, perhaps stopping for a paddle or a swim. We visited several of Kauai’s pristine beaches while we were there, but our favourite was undoubtedly Lumaha’i Beach on the north shore, which featured in the classic movie South Pacific.

Lumaha’i Beach

Lumaha’i Beach

IMG_6367

Sue getting a surprise on Lumaha’i Beach

Sue getting a surprise on Lumaha’i Beach

Lumaha’i Beach from the air

Lumaha’i Beach from the air

That said, watching the sunrise on Nukoli’i Beach near our hotel was also pretty spectacular!

Sunrise on Nukoli'i Beach

Sunrise on Nukoli’i Beach

IMG_6437No visit to Hawaii would be complete without sampling a bit of local culture at a traditional luau. And it’s fitting that on the Garden Island we attended the first of our two luaus in Hawaii, at the Smith Family Gardens.

The Smith Family Gardens

The Smith Family Gardens

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

The entertainment was quite impressive, too!

The entertainment was quite impressive, too!

Kauai is without doubt one of the most beautiful islands I’ve ever visited. I can’t wait to return!

Opaeka'a Falls

Opaeka’a Falls, which featured in Elvis Presley’s movie, Blue Hawaii

This post was partly inspired by the theme Movie Reference from Nancy (of Nancy Merrill Photography).

While you’re longing for the green splendour of Kauai, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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The Eiffel Tower, Paris – Bucket List Destination #1063

Rising 81 storeys above the Champ de Mars, the Eiffel Tower was built to form the gateway to the 1889 World’s Fair, held to celebrate the 100 anniversary of the French Revolution.

The Eiffel Tower from the Champ de Mars

The Eiffel Tower from the Champ de Mars

Amazingly, it was originally only intended to remain in place for 20 years. Yet, over a century past its ‘best by’ date, the Eiffel Tower remains one of the word’s iconic structures. It’s angular silhouette continues to dominate the skyline of Paris.

IMG_0632

The Eiffel Tower from Montmartre

The Eiffel Tower from Montmartre

Almost 7 million visitors ascend at least part way up the tower each year. This makes it the most popular tourist attraction that charges an entrance fee on the planet.

From the Trocadéro across the Seine

From across the Seine

With some friends at the Trocadéro

With some friends at the Trocadéro

The Eiffel Tower comprises three visitor levels, the uppermost of which is 906 feet above the ground. And despite not being too keen on heights, how could I not go to the top?!IMG_0807

Rich's Dad, Bryn, at the top

Rich’s Dad, Bryn, at the top

I don’t mind telling you, the elevators made me feel a little nervous. Particularly the ones that take you up the angled legs of the tower as far as level two.

Underneath the Eiffel Tower

Underneath the Eiffel Tower

Going up!

Going up!

But boy were the views from the top worth it! Even on the chilly, hazy day we were there.

The Champ de Mars

The Champ de Mars

The Trocadéro

The Trocadéro

The Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe

The Louvre

The Louvre

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

Les Invalides - Napoleon Bonaparte is buried beneath the golden dome

Les Invalides – Napoleon Bonaparte is buried beneath the golden dome

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

This post was inspired by the themes Angular from Xiao (of the Daily Post), Architecture from Spun With Tears’ Thursday Challenge, and the letter ‘T‘ from Friztext’s A to Z Challenge.

From the top of the Arc de Triomphe

From the top of the Arc de Triomphe

Whether or not you’ve visited the Eiffel Tour yourself, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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Venice’s Grand Canal by Vaporetto

The Grand Canal is main waterway in Venice, and as old as the settlement itself. It snakes through the heart of this unique city, its sides lined with buildings that chronicle Venice’s economic and social history. Many of these buildings stand right up against the water, so the only way to see them is from a boat.

Not a bad front door!

Not a bad front door!

Of course, the most appealing way of travelling around Venice is by gondola, but that can be very pricey. The same goes for water taxis. Fortunately, there’s a third option, that’s much lighter on the wallet.

The vaporetti (singular vaporetto) are the transportation workhorses of Venice and its surrounding lagoon. Just like a regular bus service, these water buses have scheduled routes and timetables, to move locals and tourists from one part of the city to another, and between the lagoon’s numerous islands. They’ll even take you to the airport!

A vaporetto leaving the island of Murano

A vaporetto leaving the island of Murano

Unsurprisingly, several of the main vaporetto routes run along the Grand Canal, making them a great means of sightseeing, while crossing the city. And early one morning in August, during our most recent visit to Venice, we did just that.

The Grand Canal from Santa Lucia railway station.  Venice's main waterway runs roughly 2.4 miles from near here to St Mark's Basin

The Grand Canal from Santa Lucia railway station.
Venice’s main waterway runs roughly 2.4 miles from near here to St Mark’s Basin

A Venetian 'bus stop' outside the railway station

A Venetian ‘bus stop’ outside the railway station

The vaporetti can be pretty crowded at certain times of the day, but it's all part of the fun!

The vaporetti can be pretty crowded at certain times of the day, but it’s all part of the fun!

The canals of Venice, Grand or otherwise, are full of working vessels

The canals of Venice, Grand or otherwise, are full of working vessels

A gondola parking lot

A gondola parking lot

The Pescheria (fish market)

The Pescheria (fish market)

Approaching the Rialto Bridge, the only bridge across the Grand Canal until 1854. Today it is one of four bridges spanning the canal.

Approaching the Rialto Bridge, the only bridge across the Grand Canal until 1854.
Today it is one of four bridges spanning the canal.

Passing beneath the Rialto

Passing beneath the Rialto

View of the Grand Canal heading towards St Mark's from the Rialto Bridge

View of the Grand Canal heading towards St Mark’s (taken from the Rialto Bridge)

A vaporetto heading back towards the Railway station, also from the Rialto

A vaporetto heading back towards the Railway station (also taken from the Rialto)

Following another vaporetto 'downstream' from the Rialto

Following another vaporetto ‘downstream’ from the Rialto

Looking back at the Rialto Bridge

Looking back at the Rialto Bridge

The sides of the canal are thick with brightly-coloured mooring poles

The sides of the canal are thick with brightly-coloured mooring poles

A gondolier readying his craft for another day's work

A gondolier readying his craft for another day’s work (note that he’s not in uniform yet)

The stunning Palazzo Barbarigo, decorated with mosaics made of Murano glass

The stunning Palazzo Barbarigo, decorated with mosaics made of Murano glass

The Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, home to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum

The Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, home to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum

Another gondolier getting ready for the day

Another gondolier getting ready for the day

Approaching the mouth of the Grand Canal

Approaching the mouth of the Grand Canal

Some friends reflecting on our Journey

Some friends reflecting on our Journey

The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute

The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute

The Dogana da Mar at the entrance of the Grand Canal

The Dogana da Mar at the entrance of the Grand Canal

San Giorgio Maggiore across St Mark's Basin

San Giorgio Maggiore across St Mark’s Basin

Our Destination - St Mark's Square and the Doge's Palace (taken from San Giorgio Maggiore)

Our Destination – St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace (taken from San Giorgio Maggiore)

Vaporetto stops line the Riva Degli Schiavoni near St Mark's Square (photo taken from the Doge's Palace)

Vaporetto stops line the Riva degli Schiavoni near St Mark’s Square (photo taken from the Doge’s Palace)

Destination reached... St Mark's Square

Destination reached… St Mark’s Square

This post was inspired by Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

While you’re daydreaming of messing about in boats in Venice, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

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Crater Lake, Oregon’s Sapphire

There’s real sense of achievement when you tick a big item off your Bucket List. Especially an item that’s been on it since the very first draft. The feeling of anticipation you get as you approach is a heady rush. Especially if there are last-minute obstacles in the way, and you’re still not sure if today will actually be the day…

Last year we visited Oregon for the first time. Absolutely top of the list of things I wanted to see in the Beaver State was Crater Lake National Park. But there was an eleventh hour hitch.

Earlier in the trip, we’d visited Mount St Helens in Washington, another volcanic icon that was on my very first Bucket List, only to find it cloaked in cloud. Disappointing.

Mount St Helens is in there somewhere

Mount St Helens is in there somewhere

On the morning we were due to visit Crater Lake, we left Bend early to call in at Lava Butte, part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. There we experienced a terrible sinking feeling, when one of the rangers told us they weren’t sure if the winter snowfalls had melted enough for Crater Lake to have opened yet!

At the summit of Lava Butte

At the summit of Lava Butte

As we got nearer and nearer to Crater Lake the butterflies in our stomachs got increasingly energetic. Would we even be able to get to the thing we’d come all this way to see?!

As luck would have it, we got the best of both worlds. Although the east rim of the crater was still closed, the road around the west rim had just opened. Not only did we get to see this incredible natural spectacle, we got to view it in the best possible conditions. Snow still draped the crater’s rim and the sky was a sapphire blue to match the lake itself. Perfect.

Our first view of Crater Lake

Our first view of Crater Lake

For roughly 400,000 years, a volcano called Mount Mazama stood on the present-day site of Crater Lake. But about 7700 years ago, Mount Mazama literally blew its top, in a series of cataclysmic eruptions. When the ash settled (six inches thick across central Oregon, and as far afield as Nevada, Montana and Alberta), the top of Mount Mazama was gone.

Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone that formed in the centuries following the Mount Mazama eruptions

Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone that formed in the centuries following the Mount Mazama eruptions

IMG_4479With the magma chamber beneath the volcano now empty, the part of the summit that hadn’t exploded outwards collapsed inwards, forming a particular type of volcanic crater called a caldera. Before the eruptions, Mount Mazama had stood approximately 12,000 feet tall. Today, the highest point on the crater rim is Hillman Peak, 8151 feet above sea level.

Wizard Island from further around the rim

Wizard Island from further around the rim

Over the next few centuries, Mount Mazama’s caldera partially filled with water to form Crater Lake. Reaching a maximum depth of almost 2000 feet, it’s the second deepest lake in North America. And with no streams running into it, Crater Lake contains very little sediment. As a result, its waters are extremely clear, leading to its amazing blue colour.

The rim of the crater reflected on the clear waters of the lake

The rim of the crater reflected on the clear waters of the lake

It’s great to tick items off your Bucket List. But it’s even better to share those moments with friends and family. Luckily, I’m never short of companions on my Journeys, and my visit to Crater Lake was no different.

With Rich, Sue and Phyllis

With Rich, Sue and Phyllis

With some of my friends

With some of my friends

This post was inspired by the themes Achievement from Michelle (of the Daily Post), Anticipation from Nancy (of Nancy Merrill Photography), Sapphire from Jennifer (of Jennifer Nichole Wells) and Companion from Sue (of A Word In Your Ear).

Stitched panorama of Crater Lake

Stitched panorama of Crater Lake

While you’re admiring the sapphire beauty of Crater Lake, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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Apollo/Saturn V Center, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

The list of things in which I’m fascinated is pretty extensive. But right up near the top is spaceflight. So you can imagine, my first visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was a particularly special occasion.

With some friends in front of the Explorer mock-up

With some friends in front of the Explorer mock-up

I loved everything about the place, from the Shuttle Launch Experience simulator ride to the Rocket Garden.

The Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden

The Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden

And on that first trip, we even got to within a couple of miles of the real Space Shuttle Endeavour, sitting on her launch pad, ready to fly the next day (sadly we couldn’t stay to watch). But for me the highlight of the day was the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

T-minus about 40 hours - The Space Shuttle Endeavour on the launch pad ready for mission STS-123

T-minus about 40 hours – The Space Shuttle Endeavour on the launch pad ready for mission STS-123

With Rich, Sue and Endeavour!

With Rich, Sue and Endeavour!

Building a system to safely carry astronauts from the surface of the Earth to the surface of the Moon and back again would be an extraordinary feat of engineering today. But when you consider the relatively limited technology available in the 1960s, it’s even more awe-inspiring.

Even the arrows at Cape Canaveral are cool!

Even the arrows at Cape Canaveral are cool!

I can’t tell you how excited I was about seeing that Saturn V rocket. Before we went, a friend warned me I’d be disappointed. He told me that when he’d seen it, years before, it had been in a bit of a sorry state, exposed to the elements outside the enormous Vehicle Assembly Building. Thankfully, in 1996 (since my friend’s visit) NASA opened a brand new, purpose-built building to house the restored rocket.

The monstrous Vehicle Assembly Building - you could drive a bus up the stripes on that flag, they're that wide!

The monstrous Vehicle Assembly Building – you could drive a bus up the stripes on that flag, they’re that wide!

When we got to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, we were ushered into a mock-up of Mission Control, where we watched a simulation of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Mission Control Theatre

Mission Control Theatre

The Eagle Has Landed

The Eagle Has Landed

Then the moment I’d been looking forward to for years finally arrived…

The doors from the theatre opened straight out into the main concourse. Towering directly above us were the five the massive engine nozzles that would have blasted the Saturn V off the launch pad! Open mouthed, I just stared and stared.

My first view of the Saturn V rocket

My first view of the Saturn V rocket

Detail of one of the nozzles

Detail of one of the nozzles

Then my gaze lowered to take in the 363-foot-tall rocket stretching out into the distance, slung sideways from the ceiling of the building. It was breathtaking!

Underneath the biggest rocket ever built!

Underneath the biggest rocket ever built!

The Saturn V in all her glory

The Saturn V in all her glory

“Are you crying?” Sue asked me in amazement.

“No,” I replied, although my eyes did feel a bit glazed! Standing there was a dream come true. A real Bucket List moment.

Stage 1

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 2

Now THAT'S a few tank!

Now THAT’S a few tank!

Stage 3

Stage 3

One of the Interstages

One of the Interstages

The housing that protected the Lunar Module during launch

The housing that protected the Lunar Module during launch

The Lunar Module intended to land on the Moon during Apollo 15, but which was passed over when the programme was cancelled

The Lunar Module intended to land on the Moon during Apollo 15, but which was passed over when the programme was cancelled

A Lunar Rover

A Lunar Rover

The Service Module

The Service Module

The Command Module (the shiny, conical part) and the Service Module (the barrel-like bit behind)

The Command Module (the shiny, conical part) and the Service Module (the barrel-like bit behind)

The Apollo 14 Command Module - it's amazing to think that three men orbited the Moon in this tiny capsule!

The Apollo 14 Command Module – it’s amazing to think that three men orbited the Moon in this tiny capsule!

The Apollo spacesuits were spacecraft in their own right

The Apollo spacesuits were spacecraft in their own right

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Saturn V Rocket!

Ladies and Gentlemen… The Saturn V Rocket!

I’ve returned to the Kennedy Space Center twice since that initial visit. The last time I even got to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched from Cape Canaveral on what would be her penultimate flight. And I’m confident that one day I’ll return, to see Atlantis in her new home there.

Lift off! Atlantis on her way to the International Space Station (Mission STS 132)

Lift off!
Atlantis on her way to the International Space Station (Mission STS 132)

But my first glimpse of those immense Saturn V engines high above my head will be forever burned into my memory.

IMG_7568This post was inspired by the theme Vehicle Details from Cee (of Cee’s Photography) and the letter ‘S’ from Frizztext (A to Z Challenges).

While you’re dreaming of launching into space at the top of a Saturn V rocket, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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An Afternoon in Alexandria, Egypt

Our approach to Alexandria on the Nile Delta was delayed, so it was early afternoon by the time our ship – Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas – docked and we were given clearance to go ashore.

Our first view of Alexandria, with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina centre stage

Our first view of Alexandria, with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina centre stage

Entering Alexandria's Western Harbour

Entering Alexandria’s Western Harbour

Ras el-Tin Palace

Ras el-Tin Palace across the Western Harbour

From just outside the port gates, we took a rather rustic horse and carriage into the centre of town. It was a great way to enter this historic country, but Rich’s allergies suffered for the rest of the day!

On the way into town

On the way into town

IMG_3158Bidding farewell to our rather dusty transportation, we made a beeline for the famous Bibliotheca Alexandrina, only to discover it was still closed for lunch. Alas, this wasn’t to be the last instance that day where timing wasn’t on our side.

The landward side of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The landward side of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

An Ancient Egyptian statue near the entrance to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

An Ancient Egyptian statue near the entrance to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

IMG_3172

The infinity pool on the seaward side of the library

The reflecting pool on the seaward side of the library

Alexandria Planetarium, with the library in the background

Alexandria Planetarium, with the library in the background

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the centre of Alexandria on foot.

Sheep penned up on the side of the street

Sheep penned up on the side of the street

An interesting park and column in the centre of Alexandria

An interesting park and column (not Pompey’s Pillar) in the centre of Alexandria

A mosque? An apartment block? Or perhaps both?

A mosque? An apartment block? Or perhaps both?

At Kom-al-Dikka we saw our first ruins in Egypt… which were Roman!

Roman ruins in Egypt!

Roman ruins in Egypt!

IMG_3195We gradually wound our way back to the grand square called Midan Saad Zaghloul. From there we followed the shore of the Eastern Harbour around to Fort Qaitbey.

Saad Zaghloul Pasha statue in Midan Saad Zaghloul

Saad Zaghloul Pasha and Cleopatra looking out to sea from Midan Saad Zaghloul

Alexandria's Eastern Harbour

Alexandria’s Eastern Harbour

The Eastern Harbour, with the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque on the right and Fort Qaitbey on the right

The Eastern Harbour, with the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque on the left and Fort Qaitbey on the right

View across the Eastern Harbour to Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque

View across the Eastern Harbour to Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque

Looking across the Eastern Harbour towards Fort Qaitbey

Looking across the Eastern Harbour towards Fort Qaitbey

Monument to The Unknown Soldier

Monument to The Unknown Soldier

King of Mango!

King of Mango!

Fort Qaitbey was built in the 1480s on the site of Alexandria’s Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Infuriatingly, the fort was just closing as we arrived.

IMG_3216IMG_3219We did, however, get to see an enthusiastic and energetic parade on the causeway leading up to the fort.

IMG_3221With the Sun starting to set, we cut through the Ottoman District (Anfushi), past the gorgeous Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque. The sights, sounds and smells of this residential part of Alexandria were like nothing I’ve experienced before or since.

Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque

Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque

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Ottoman District (Anfushi) of Alexandria

Entering the Ottoman District (Anfushi) of Alexandria

Egyptian funfair!

Egyptian funfair!

We had a wonderful day in Alexandria, but barely scratched the surface of the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’ . Hopefully, I’ll be able to return one day and delve much deeper!

IMG_3227While you’re dreaming of Egypt, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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The New Prisons of the Doge’s Palace, Venice

The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most infamous landmarks in Venice. It links the opulent grandeur of the Doge’s Palace to the arched, minimalist cells of the New Prisons. In fact, the bridge gets its name from the sighs of desperation exhaled by those crossing it into captivity.

The Doge's Palace (left) and the New Prisons (right)

The Doge’s Palace (left) and the New Prisons (right)

The Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs

View from the Bridge of Sighs

View from the Bridge of Sighs

The Palace end of the Bridge of Sighs

The Palace end of the Bridge of Sighs

The twin arches where the Bridge of Sighs enters the New Prisons

The twin arches where the Bridge of Sighs enters the New Prisons

Despite their name, construction on the New Prisons actually began way back in 1580. One of the original designers was actually a prisoner with a life sentence, Zaccaria Briani, who received three years remission in return for his help!

IMG_3554IMG_3555IMG_3559The prisons are for the most part three storeys high, and arranged around a central courtyard.

IMG_3608Many of the cells still retain their original wood cladding, meant to help keep out the damp.

IMG_3573In several places you can see abundant graffiti carved into the wood or stone of the cells by their inmates. Or drawn on the arched ceilings using the black smoke from candles.

IMG_3579 IMG_3580 IMG_3627After the magnificence of the Doge’s Palace, the tour through the New Prisons is a slightly harrowing experience. But fascinating nonetheless.

IMG_3560 IMG_3572 IMG_3614This post was inspired by the themes Minimalist from Jen (of The Daily Post) and Arches from Ailsa (of Where’s My Backpack?).

You encounter some dodgy people in prison

You encounter some dodgy people in prison

While you’re imagining the awful fate of those incarcerated in the New Prisons, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

Me (right) and Ernest doing some research for Jaspa's Journey 5: The Ses Collector

Me (right) and Ernest doing some research for Jaspa’s Journey 5: The Ses Collector

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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