The Lion’s Mound, Waterloo Battlefield

On June 18th, 1815, one of the bloodiest and most famous battles in history was fought in the fields southeast of Brussels, the present-day capital of Belgium. At the Battle of Waterloo, Lord Wellington and his allies defeated the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte once and for all.

At the time of the battle, Belgium was still a part of the Netherlands. The senior Dutch (and therefore Belgian) officer to take part at Waterloo was William, Prince of Orange. In commemoration of the Prince being wounded in the left shoulder by a musket ball during the battle, an enormous conical mound crowned with a massive cast iron lion was constructed on the spot.

Ever since, the Lion’s Mound has dominated the peaceful farmland that was once the site of such a vicious battle.

You can read all about my adventures on the Waterloo Battlefield (including climbing The Lion’s Mound) in Jaspa’s Journey 3: Jaspa’s Waterloo.

 

 

 

 

 

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Piles or Stacks from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Afar from Debbie’s Travel With Intent, and Clouds from Patrick’s Pix To Words.

 

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The Icefields Parkway of Canada’s Rocky Mountains

Canada’s Icefields Parkway runs 144 miles through the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. At its southern end is the picturesque Lake Louise while its northern tip is marked by the idyllic town of Jasper (no prizes for guessing why I’m particularly fond of this mountain oasis).

Bow Lake

Somewhere in Banff National Park

Our monster

Me at the Athabasca Glacier (the light is a bit funky, but I swear I really am there, not Photoshopped in!)

View of the Icefields Parkway from the snout of the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield

Equally dramatic somewhere in Jasper National Park

Sunwapta Falls

Sunset on Pyramid Lake, Jasper

Your constant travelling companions along the highway are the stark peaks of the Rocky Mountains, of course. But you’ll also see rushing rivers, peaceful lakes, ancient glaciers, tumbling waterfalls, and if you’re lucky, a critter or two.

Pyramid Lake and Mountain in the early morning

The entire length of the Icefields Parkway lies within two of Canada’s most dramatic and photogenic national parks, Banff in the south and Jasper (there’s that name again!) in the north. Together, these make up a sizeable part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s easy to see where Big Bend gets his name

The multiple waterfalls of the Weeping Wall

One of the Weeping Wall falls

So jump in the car and head west, for what has been voted one of the most beautiful drives in the World.

A Grizzly Bear not far from Lake Louise

Chipmunk at Sunwapta Falls

Big horn sheep disrupting traffic

And again!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Diagonal Line(s) from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Peaks from Patrick’s Pix To Words, Stark from Debbie’s Travel With Intent, and Layers from Jenn’s Traveling at Wits End.

 

Posted in Adventure, Canada, Environment, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site, wildlife | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

The Step Pyramid of Djoser – Part of the Saqqara Necropolis, Egypt

The Saqqara Necropolis lies outside Cairo, Egypt. It’s approximately 9 miles southeast of its more famous cousin at Giza, although it forms part of the same UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx.

The Pyramid of Djoser

At the heart of the Saqqara funerary monuments is the Pyramid of Djoser, also known as the Step Pyramid, for obvious reasons.

Built around 4700 years ago, in the 27th Century BC, the Pyramid of Djoser is considered to be the oldest completely stone structure on Earth. It originally stood 203 feet tall and was the prototype for all the Egyptian pyramids that would follow.

Djoser’s pyramid began as a single mastaba, a flat-topped, horizontal stone structure with slightly sloping sides. Another mastaba was then built atop the first. Then another… until there were six in total. And hey presto! the World had its first stone pyramid!

View south towards the Dahshur necropolis, which includes the Bent (left, in the background) and Red (right) Pyramids

The Step Pyramid enclosure at Saqqara was surrounded by a 34-foot-high wall and numerous associated structures.

The reconstructed entrance to the Djoser enclosure

The courtyard to the south of Djoser’s Pyramid

The Step Pyramid from the Courtyard of Heb Sed

Saqqara as a whole was the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis. It was in use for over 3000 years, and stretched 4 miles, north to south. Eventually though, it was abandoned and buried by the desert, leaving only the Pyramid of Djoser visible.

The Pyramid of Teti at Saqqara

The site was re-discovered in 1851, and ongoing excavations continue to reveal new structures to this day.

Ongoing excavations at Saqqara, within the Djoser enclosure

A local

Another cute local

Me and Rich at Saqqara

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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

This post was inspired by the photo theme of Horizontal Line(s) from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk.

 

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Early Morning At The Parthenon, Athens

I’m lucky enough to say I’ve been to quite a few famous places around this marvelous planet of ours. But finally getting to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens was pretty special.

Our very first view of the Parthenon from below the Acropolis

Not long after dawn we were met at the bottom of the hill by our fabulous guide, Marialena Christopoulou. She led us up the path to the Acropolis, until we got our first close-up view of the Parthenon between the columns of the Propylaia (the entrance to the Acropolis). The Parthenon was actually the third temple on the site. It was begun in the year 447 BCE and took just nine years to build.

The Parthenon is constructed entirely of Pentelic marble. Ringing the structure are 46 columns, each over 34¼ feet tall.

Although originally a temple to the Greek Goddess Athena, the Parthenon has been put to other uses through the centuries. It has been twice been a church and also a mosque. Finally, the Turks converted it into a gunpowder store!

This last usage was ultimately the indirect reason for the Parthenon looking the way it does today. In 1687, a shell hit the Parthenon during a Venetian attack and, thanks to the gunpowder being stored inside, the building was blown to smithereens.

Following the near destruction of the Parthenon, another smaller mosque was built within its ruins. During the next couple of centuries the remains of the Parthenon continued to be looted for building material and sculptures. Most famously, Lord Elgin controversially removed many of the surviving friezes and sculptures in the early 1800s.

Reproductions (mostly) of the friezes from around the Parthenon inside the nearby New Acropolis Museum (many of the originals are in the British Museum, London)

A small section of original sculpture inside the New Acropolis Museum

View of the Acropolis and Parthenon from the New Acropolis Museum

Early renovations led to the demolition of the later mosque and the restoration of parts of the Parthenon, including the reassembling of several of the columns. These original restorations often produced as many new problems as they solved. However, the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments was established in 1975, and since then a more considered approach has been adopted.

The Acropolis and Parthenon from the Ancient Agora

With Marialena at the Ancient Agora

Our visit to the Acropolis and the Parthenon was something I’ll always remember, thanks in no small part to Marialena’s knowledgeable commentary (she’s a trained archaeologist). And visiting so early in the morning meant we beat the crowds, too!

Our last view of the Parthenon as we leave Athens

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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

This post was inspired by the photo theme of Columns and Vertical Line(s) from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk.

 

Posted in Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

London’s ‘Blow Up Bridge’

Around the north side of Regent’s Park in London, between Little Venice and London Zoo, Regent’s Canal glides peacefully though a leafy cutting. Just west of the zoo, the canal passes beneath a bridge carrying Avenue Road into the park.

The three-arched bridge in question is attractive enough, if a little unremarkable-looking. Yet it has a violent past, as revealed by this excerpt from Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London:

Regent’s Canal continues to carve its stately way around the northeast rim of Regent’s Park. With the mansions left behind, the narrowboat slides lazily between steep, overgrown banks thick with trees and bushes. On the left, the single remaining towpath hugs the outside of the turn.

“We must be nearly there,” announces Ernest, excitedly. “That’s the Blow Up Bridge.”

The brick arches of the bridge soar over the artificial waterway, supported on twin rows of five cast-iron columns, positioned on either side of the canal.

“I’ve wanted to see it for myself ever since I first read about it,” the Ratses confides.

“Sounds like a strange name for a bridge,” says Bisckits.

“Yes. Well, its real name is Macclesfield Bridge,” Ernest explains. “Actually, it’s the second Macclesfield Bridge, which is the whole point. The first one was destroyed in 1874, when a barge carrying five tons of gunpowder exploded beneath it.”

“Wow!” gasps Bisckits.

“Yeah!” agrees Ernest. “They rebuilt it, of course. They were even able to use the iron columns from the original bridge – they survived the explosion, you see. But ever since then, most people call it the Blow Up Bridge.”

“Neat!” says Bisckits appreciatively.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London and Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Arch, Dome or Half Circle from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Cee’s Which Way Challenge and Traces of the Past from Paula of Lost in Translation.

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Tryall Water Wheel, Jamaica

Roughly 10 miles west of Montego Bay, in Jamaica’s Hanover Parish, stands the enormous Tryall Water Wheel.

Originally constructed around 200 years ago, the 30-foot-diameter cast iron wheel was used to grind sugar cane produced on the Tryall Estate.

The wheel was damaged during the slave rebellion in the 1830s. However, thanks to subsequent renovations, it is today the last working water wheel in Jamaica.

Tryall Water Wheel is powered by water carried by aqueduct from the Flint River, roughly 2 miles distant.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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

This post was inspired by the photo theme of Liquid from Ben of The Daily Post and Barns or Dilapidated Buildings from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

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The Calli, Campi and Canali of Cannaregio, Venice

Can you belong somewhere you’ve never actually lived? Especially a place that’s engulfed by millions of tourists every year?

I don’t know the answer, but I hope it can be ‘yes’. Although, sadly, I’m not sure the few remaining true inhabitants of Venice would agree with me.

After multiple visits, Northern Italy’s wondrous lagoon city has me captivated. If someone offered me the chance to go and live there, I wouldn’t even hesitate.

And it’s not just sights like the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge and Saint Mark’s that have me mesmerized. There’s nothing I enjoy more than getting lost among the calli (singular calle; the narrow Venetian alleyways), campi (singular campo; the Venetian squares – campo literally means field), and canali (singular canale; canals) of the Cannaregio district. Although I’ve walked the area so often now, getting lost is harder and harder!

Whether or not the locals will have me, my heart will forever belong to Venice.

PS. Most of these photos were taken while researching the fifth book in the Jaspa’s Journey series, The Ses Collector of Venice.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first three – The Great Migration, The Pride of London Jaspa’s Waterloo -are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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

This post was inspired by the photo theme of Place in the World from Erica of The Daily Post and Jo’s Monday Walk.

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