Carrara Marble Quarries, Apennine Mountains, Tuscany

From the coast, the Apennine Mountains to the east of Carrara in Tuscany seem to shine brilliant white from the glaciers at their summits. Then you realise the peaks aren’t tall enough to support glaciers this far south.

The Apennine Mountains at Carrara, Tuscany

In fact, the white shine comes not from snow and ice, but from the marble that makes up part of this section of the Apennines, the mountain chain that runs down the spine of Italy.

One of the massive marble exposures at Carrara

The highest-quality Carrara (often misspelled Carrera) marble is relatively fine-grained and particularly favoured by sculptors, including Michelangelo.

Sculpture of an ox team at one of the quarries

Another sculpture, this time of a marble quarryman from days gone by

Marble sculpture of a marble sculptor

Marble from Carrara has also been used in the construction of buildings around the World, from the Pantheon in Rome to the Palacio Legislativo in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Nearly 2000 years ago, the Romans used Carrara marble in the construction of the Pantheon in Rome

Carrara marble was shipped all the way to Montevideo in South America to build the Palacio Legislativo, the Uruguayan Parliament

Just as impressive in their own way, are the quarries from which as much as a million tons of marble are extracted each year. Around 650 separate quarries have been documented, some dating back to Roman times. Over the centuries they’ve produced more marble than anywhere else in the World.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Ooh, Shiny and Grainy from The Daily Post, and Words Beginning with Ap from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

Posted in Environment, Europe, History, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Sam’s Ses Challenge: Wild – Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Wild.

Here’s my contribution:

Few names capture the idea of the Wild West like Tombstone, Arizona, and particularly Boothill Graveyard on the outskirts of town. Places like these fill our imaginations with lawlessness cowboys and the lawmen trying to bring them to justice.

Boothill Graveyard is an elemental place. The dry desert climate and rocky starkness, with only a few cacti providing a feeble touch of vegetation, fits perfectly with the idea of dust to dust.

The graves are piles of rocks on the sand and stones of the desert. While the grave markers speak of life on a knife’s edge.

Best known are the three graves of the men killed during the infamous Gunfight at the OK Coral in Tombstone.

Yet several others also tell of the harsh lives and violent ends all too common on this wild frontier.

A few of those grave markers record the grave resident’s less-than-peaceful passing with grim humour.

Expand your child’s mind (and your own) by travelling the World with the Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by the photo themes of Tombstones or Cemeteries from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Elemental from the Daily Post.

 

Posted in Adventure, History, Sam's Ses Challenge, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Jaspa’s Journey Books Are Award Finalists!

With today being (Inter-)National Book Lovers Day (thanks to Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? for reminding me!), it seems the perfect time to announce that both books currently available in the Jaspa’s Journey series have now been selected as book award finalists!

Jaspa’s Journey: The Great Migration was an Award Winning Finalist in the Children’s Educational category of USA Book News’ National Best Books Awards when it was originally published back in 2009.

Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London recently matched this status by being chosen as a Runner-Up in this year’s National Indie Excellence Awards in the Pre-Teen Fiction category.

The third Jaspa’s Journey instalment, Jaspa’s Journey 3: Jaspa’s Waterloo, is due to be published in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed it can also attain such success.

Don’t forget to get your copies of Jaspa’s Journey today!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

Posted in Author events, Jaspa's Journey, Publishing, Review, Travel, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Mate Tea and Chocolate Submarines in Buenos Aires

Despite experiencing scorching temperatures while in Buenos Aires last year, our guide, Pablo (aka Your Friend in Buenos Aires), was eager for us to try a pair of traditional Argentinean hot drinks.

He took us to Café La Biela, near the famous Cementerio de la Recoleta, to introduce us to the better known of the two, which is called mate.

A Mate kit

Pronounced maat-A, mate is a tea-like beverage popular throughout this part of South America. In fact, it’s considered the national drink of not only Argentina, but also Uruguay and Paraguay, although ironically Brazil is its largest producer.

The server, in this case Pablo, always tries the mate first

Mate is a very slow and social drink, and there is a time-honoured ceremony that revolves around how it’s prepared and shared.

To be honest, though, I found mate a little bitter. And while I enjoyed the unhurried social aspect of drinking it, I much preferred the flavour of the other hot beverage to which Pablo introduced us.

Mate is a bit bitter for my taste, even with sugar agdded

Across town in Café Tortoni, Pablo ordered each of us a Submarino. A few minutes later, several mugs of hot milk arrived at our table, each accompanied by a small bar of milk chocolate shaped like a submarine. The submarines were then ‘sunk’ in the milk, where they slowly melted to create warm, sweet, satisfying, chocolaty goodness!

Dive, dive, dive!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Tea and Satisfaction from The Daily Post, and Slow from Paula of Lost in Translation.

 

Posted in Jaspa's Journey, South America, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Soaring Over The Prairies

I love watching the landscape pass by below from a soaring aeroplane. Even the flat terrain of the US and Canadian prairies is fascinating. Especially in areas where colossal collages of gigantic geometric irrigated fields cover the dusty plains.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Collage from The Daily Post, Soaring & Colossal from Paula of Lost in Translation.

Posted in Canada, Environment, Photography, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Dramatic Sunset in Port Royal, Jamaica

Few visitors to Jamaica stray far from the resorts and attractions on the north coast. Even fewer get to Port Royal, the one-time Pirate Capital of the World, on a promontory south of Kingston.

The historic Royal Navy hospital in Port Royal

This is a shame, because Port Royal is a fascinating place. And the view we got from our hotel across Kingston Harbour towards the Jamaican mainland was just stunning.

Our hotel in Port Royal (which was, incidentally, one of the locations used during the filming of the first James Bond film, Dr. No)

View across the harbour to Kingston and the Blue Mountains beyond

This was particularly true on our second night there, when we witnessed this dramatic sunset…

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Delta and Sunny from The Daily Post and Abroad from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?

 

 

Posted in Caribbean, Environment, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Carcassonne in Carcassonne

The mediaeval Cité de Carcassonne in southern France is quite something to see. It perches on a hill, massive ramparts (partially reconstructed) surrounding an historic town.

Carcassonne basks in the golden dusk light

I first visited this UNESCO World Heritage Site a few years ago, on a whirlwind trip from Paris. (See my earlier post, A Short Detour To Carcassonne, France, which includes lots more photos of the ancient city itself.)

I originally learned of Carcassonne from a board game named after the city. Earlier this year I returned to there, and this time I even got to play the game on the ramparts of the citadel itself, with Rich and our friends Jamie and Griff.

As with all games, it was a transient experience. But still another goal checked off the Bucket List!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Transient from Andrea of The Daily Post and Teddy Bears, Dolls, Toys from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

Posted in Europe, Jaspa's Journey, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments