Sam’s Ses Challenge #18: Bridge

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 Bridge.

Here’s my contribution:

Tower Bridge is without doubt one of the most recognisable bridges in the World (despite often being mistaken for London Bridge by visitors).

Tower Bridge from the south bank of the Thames near City Hall

In Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London, I see Tower Bridge from several different angles, but I never actually set foot on it (hope that’s not too much of a spoiler!). So when I was in London last year, I took the opportunity to rectify this. Crossing the bridge at night, made for an even more memorable experience!

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London

Tower Bridge has been a part of London’s heritage since it was opened (no pun intended) in 1894. It truly is a marvel of Victorian engineering and architecture.

The two towers are 213 feet tall

The total length of the bridge is 801 feet

It links the London boroughs of Southwark, on this side of the river, to Tower Hamlets

The South Abutment Tower from the southern approach

Passing through the South Abutment Tower

Tower Bridge is like five bridges in one. On the outside of the two main towers, between them and the abutment towers, are a pair of suspension bridges.

The south suspension bridge

The Tower of London through the suspension structure

The suspension cables hanging from the main South Tower

View up the main South Tower

Between the two main towers is the road deck and two higher pedestrian walkways. The road deck between the towers is a type of bridge design called a bascule, which can open to allow ships to pass.

The three bridges between the main towers

The gap between the two halves of the ‘drawbridge-like’ road deck

The north suspension span and North Abutment Tower

Of course, the view from Tower Bridge isn’t bad either!

The South Bank, with HMS Belfast, City Hall and The Shard in the distance

The Tower of London, with the City of London behind

Tower Bridge from near the Tower of London

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 Heritage from Ben of the Daily Post, Traces of the Past from Paula of Lost in Translation and Jo’s Monday Walk.

 

 

Posted in Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Ancient Recycling in Zadar, Croatia

In times gone by, builders often recycled materials from previous structures in their own projects. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Church of St Donat in Zadar, Croatia.

The round Church of St Donat in Zadar

St Donat (which coincidentally is circular, like a donut) was built in the 9th Century by the Byzantines. It was constructed on, and to a large extent out of, the earlier Roman Forum, which predates it by around 1000 years.

Part of the Roman Forum

A Roma column, which was reused as a Pillar of Shame in the Middle Ages

The church rests directly on the paving stones of the Roman Forum.

St Donat resting on the paving of the Roman Forum

Pieces of Roman columns used as part of the church’s foundation

The massive entrance to the church

Upright Roman columns inside the Byzantine church

360 image of the main floor of St Donat

More Roman columns and other stonework used inside St Donat

Reused Roman inscription tablets

A similar intact tablet on display in the Forum outside St Donat

Another Roman tablet, this time used as a bench, just inside the door of St Donat

Running around the entire church is a balcony, which was once the Women’s Gallery.

Women’s Gallery viewed from the main floor

Steps up to the Women’s Gallery

The Women’s Gallery

More recycled Roman columns in the Women’s Gallery

Looking down from the Women’s Gallery, it’s easy to see how St Donat rests on the original paving of the Roman Forum

Sue demonstrating how the Women’s Gallery worked 🙂

Although the entire interior of the church is now painted cream, complimenting the stone from which it is constructed, the walls were probably originally decorated with colourful frescos.

I was surprised to discover that St Donat hasn’t been used as a church for over 200 years, since 1797, although it still hosts music performances to this day.

Looking down on the Forum from St Donat

The bell tower of St Mary, across the Forum

Window honouring R2D2?

Our last view of St Donat as we head out to sea

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 this photo themes of Cream from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? and All One Color from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

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Sam’s Ses Challenge #17: Blue

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 Blue.

Here’s my contribution:

The sky was blue, the water was blue, but I was far from blue the day I visited Crater Lake. In fact it was a real Bucket List moment for me.

The conditions couldn’t have been more perfect. The crater rim was still edged with snow and there was barely a cloud in the sky, creating the most amazing reflections on the surface of the lake.

How could anyone be blue in a place like this?

To read more about my visit to Crater Lake, stop by my post Crater Lake, Oregon’s Sapphire. In the meantime, here are a few teaser photos…

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 Reflecting from the Daily Post.

Posted in Adventure, Environment, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Garden of the Gods, Lanai, Hawaii

You have to agree, Hawaii is pretty isolated to begin with.

Our first view of Hawaii

And of the six main islands accessible to visitors, Lanai (or Lana’i) is probably the most isolated.

Crossing to Lanai

And Lanai’s Garden of the Gods, over six miles from the nearest paved road down rough dirt tracks, takes isolation to a whole new level.

But boy is it worth the trip!

Yet the thing that makes the Garden of the Gods so unique, is the feeling of isolation you get that goes beyond just miles. In fact, staring out across its red sandy expanses scattered with rugged boulders and almost devoid of vegetation, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re on Mars!

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 this photo themes of Garden from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? and Isolated Subjects from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

Posted in Adventure, Environment, Jaspa's Journey, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Aeri de Montserrat Cable Car, Spain

Danger is sometimes a matter of perception or opinion. What seems dangerous to one person, might not to another.

Cable cars are a great example of this (the aerial kind, not the ones on tracks). Statistically, I’m sure they’re one of the safest modes of transport in existence. But for those afraid of heights, hanging from a wire in the sky high above the ground can be pretty scary.

At the end of March (on Rich’s birthday, in fact), we rode the Aeri de Montserrat cable car, up to the precariously perched Montserrat Monastery, just outside Barcelona in Spain. We’d been up the mountain the day before (blog to follow), but we really wanted to ride the cable car.

Montserrat and its monastery on our approach to Barcelona

Montserrat Monastery from the funicular heading even higher up the mountain

Over its 0.8 mile length, the 87-year-old Montserrat cable car climbs nearly 1800 feet. At first, we thought we’d picked a bad day to go, as the cloud base sat low in the valley in which the base station is located.

Low cloud in the El Llobregat Valley

Our chariot arrives

Less than two minutes after leaving the station, our cable car was enveloped in cloud, reducing the visibility to zero.

About to enter the clouds

Not the best view in the World

But another two minutes later, we broke through the ceiling of the cloud layer into a bright sunny sky!

Breaking out into sunny skies

Now that’s a view!

Approaching the top of the Aeri de Montserrat

The upper station

As we took in the vista from the monastery, the cloud below us burnt up and disappeared.

The view from the top is spectactular

Another car of passengers arriving at the upper station

The monastery perched high on the side of Montserrat (the Serrated Mountain)

The clouds breaking up

So the views were spectacular all the way back down.

One of the two towers that support the cable, on the way back down

Passing the other car

Over half way down

Approaching the lower station

The view up the mountain’s a little clearer now!

The two cars passing below the monastery

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 post was inspired by this photo themes of Danger from the Daily Post and Sky from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

Posted in Adventure, Environment, Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sam’s Ses Challenge #16: Twist

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 Twist.

Here’s my contribution:

Several theories have been forwarded to explain the famous Crooked Spire of Chesterfield Parish Church in England.

One legend claims it’s the result of the Devil landing on it! The truth is probably a little less exciting.

A wave of bubonic plague swept through England between 1348 and 1350. For a long time the spire’s famous twist was believed to be an indirect result of this epidemic. It was thought that a lack of properly skilled craftsmen following the plague, resulted in unseasoned wood being used in the construction of a design that failed to include enough bracing.

More recently, experts have suggested the twist is actually caused by of the weight (32 tons) of the lead used to replace the spire’s original wooden shingles (making the insufficient bracing even more of an issue). The lead on the southern side of the spire also expands more in the sunshine, adding to the twisting motion, and putting additional stress on the structure.

Whatever the cause of Chesterfield’s Crooked Spire, the results are undeniably dramatic. With it’s tip 228 feet above the ground, it twists 45° as well as leaning 9 feet 5 inches from true.

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 Knackered (British slang for tired or severely damaged) from the Daily Post.

 

Posted in History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Sam's Ses Challenge, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Subterranean Naples

Anyone who knows me knows I have a wanderlust. There are even books written about my travel adventures.

My latest voyage took me to six countries in and around the Mediterranean, including two I’d never been to before. One of our destinations was Naples. Having been to Pompeii and Vesuvius on a previous visit to this part of Italy, we decided to stay inside the UNESCO World Heritage Zone of the city.

Or should I say, under it?

Heading down the 136 steps into subterranean Naples

Centuries before the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed the Roman town of Pompeii, the Greeks delved into the roots of the Earth beneath Neapolis (as Naples was called at the time) to quarry stone from which to build the city and its walls.

Reconstruction of Greek mining techniques in an actual Greek quarry, 130 feet beneath the surface

Miners and rock moved in and out through shafts, which later became wells

Probably the tallest cistern/quarry we saw on the tour

Shaft/well entrance in the roof of the quarry/cistern

Later, the Romans excavated over 250 miles of tunnels connecting the Greek quarries. This produced a vast underground system of cisterns and aqueducts, which stretched as far Pompeii and beyond.

A typical tunnel between two cisterns

A larger cistern, the red line shows where the normal water level would have been

For centuries, hundreds of wells tapping into these subterranean reservoirs provided Naples with water.

A well heading back to the surface, complete with steps so cistern-cleaners could get in and out

Some of the re-excavated cisterns have been re-filled with water

In 1884, a cholera epidemic resulted in the aqueduct being permanently closed. Over the following decades, the wells instead became a convenient place for Neapolitans to dispose of their garbage.

One of the lower-roofed cisterns, although the original floor is several feet below the current one, thanks to the refuse thrown down here

An idea of the amount of rubbish that accumulated

During the Second World War, the tunnels were given a new lease of life, as air-raid shelters.

Depiction of Second World War bombs in one of the former quarries

Mock-up of bombs falling through a former well

More recently, the Associazione Napoli Sotterranea has begun re-excavating some of the refuse-clogged tunnels, and providing tours of some of the newly-accessible spaces and passages.

Artistic representation of the excavations

Old toys found during the excavations

Our guide, Yuri, tell us about this experiment into growing plants in the tunnels

Exploring the ancient underground labyrinth well over 100 feet beneath the city, was certainly the highlight (or more literally, low lightless) of our day in Naples!

Collecting our candles for the most exciting part of our tour

It gets pretty narrow at times

Please don’t go out!

Is there anyone there?

One of the most impressive rooms we were shown

Subterranean Sue!

A cellar once used by nuns

Another shaft back to the everyday world of modern Naples

Heading back up there ourselves!

This post was inspired by this photo themes of Wanderlust and Roots from the Daily Post, Earth from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?, and Winter-Water from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

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!

 

 

Posted in Adventure, Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments