Photography: My Shot — Swirling Pine Needles


Pine Needles Swirling in the Stream

After hiking for more than a week in Yellowstone National Park, we moved on to Red Lodge, Montana to continue our adventure. We decided to explore a course along the Silver Run Plateau, Trail #102, Loop #3 just outside of town.

The first part of the loop was quite rocky with boulders and large rocks buried in and around the path. The return half of the hike, however brought us nearer to the river which had much better footing and more intersting views. Along the way, we passed a feeder stream that had a very slow, but consistent flow. A large number of pine needles were “caught” in a side channel and they were swirling around in a somewhat circular motion as the water worked its way around some rocks and debris.

The pattern was very appealing and I found that watching the movement was similar to playing with a kaleidoscope.

 

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Metadata

File Name: DSC_3958.NEF
Capture time: 11:18 AM
Capture date: Sept. 17, 2018
Exposure: 1/100 sec @ f/11
Focal Length: 55mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18.0 – 55.02mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom & Photoshop

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See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Yellowstone and Bear Country



I recently returned from more than a week of hiking in Yellowstone National Park and all I can say is WOW! We hiked over seventy miles, but enjoyed every hard-earned inch. We are so lucky to live in a country that has such natural beauty in abundance.

Whenever I explain to other people that I hiked in Yellowstone one of the first topics to be raised is bears. Yes, Yellowstone has bears and by reading all the literature, posted warnings and sales pitches for bear spray one would think they were lurking around every corner. I am not making light of visiting areas in bear country. It needs to be a real concern and we did take it seriously, but not everyone sees the bears of Yellowstone when they visit the park.

My wife and I both had bear bells to make noise as we walked so we didn’t startle any bears in the vicinity. One thing worse than an unintended encounter with a bear is to startle a bear unexpectedly and have them feel threatened. Wearing bear bells sometimes brought snarky comments like: “I thought you were Santa Claus.” My retort would be: “Not Santa Claus, but no bear claws!”


Yes, Yellowstone has two types of bears. Grizzlies are more agrgessive than Black bears. – Picture courtesy of naturalunseenhazards.wordpress.com

All the hype does make one a bit paranoid, but I am not sure that is a bad thing. According to the National Park Service, over 100 million people have visited Yellowstone since 1980. During that time 38 people were injured by grizzly bears.

Here is an interesting breakdown according to their website Bear-Inflicted Human Injuries & Fatalities in Yellowstone

Type of Recreational Activity: Risk of Grizzly Bear Attack

  • Remain in developed areas, roadsides, and boardwalks: 1 in 25.1 million visits
  • Camp in roadside campgrounds: 1 in 22.8 million overnight stays
  • Camp in the backcountry: 1 in 1.4 million overnight stays
  • Travel in the backcountry: 1 in 232,000 person travel days
  • All park activities combined: 1 in 2.7 million visits

Also noted is that only eight people have been killed by bears in Yellowstone since 1872. To keep things in perspective, the website reminds visitors that more people have died from drowning, burns, etc.

We had two grizzly bear encounters in and near Yellowstone National Park. We were hiking along one of the paths around Ice Lake in Yellowstone returning to the parking area. Three hikers were hiking towards us and as they passed, they explained that a mother grizzly crossed in front of them with two adolescent cubs and they were going to hike around the lake to get back to their car. This was a significant, lengthy detour part of which was uphill along the roadway.



Picture courtesy of National Park Service

All the literature I read indicated that the chances of being attacked in a group of three or more was only two percent. I suggested to the group that we continue heading back toward the parking lot and risk a bear encounter since we were a larger group and had several canisters of bear spray between us.



Picture courtesy of National Park Service

We walked quickly, but deliberately toward the area near the road where the bears were spotted. We noted their tracks along the path. Apparently they didn’t like the debris in the wooded area any more than we did and they were walking along the relatively clear hiking path.

About one quarter mile from our cars, the three bears (not those three) were spotted about 300 feet ahead of us. The mother bear (very large!) stood up on her hind legs and spread her arms wide in an “it was this big” fashion. I estimate that she stood at least nine feet tall at that point. One of the rather large cubs also stood in the same fashion while the other remained on all fours looking our way. The bears were only there for a half-minute or so when they scampered into the woods.

It was very exciting indeed, but we were glad that we did not have a more intimate bear encounter. We made it to the cars without further ado. My only regret was that the action happened so fast I couldn’t get a picture.

Our second sighting a few days later was of a grizzly with three cubs along the Beartooth Highway near Beartooth Lake. We noticed a group of people along the side of the road, a certain giveaway that something interesting was happening, and we pulled over.

Sure enough, there was a group of three Grizzly bears about 450 feet downhill munching on a carcass that I assume was that of an elk. The speculation was that this was a mother with her cubs, but the bears all looked to be similarly sized…so who knows? The bears were more interested in eating than in what we were doing and since we were a lineup of more than a dozen people standing quite a bit away uphill, it was not a tense encounter.

Bears are large and they look fat, but don’t ever think you can outrun one and don’t for one minute think climbing up a tree is going to help. Read the placards above to see how to survive a bear encounter.

I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer. I enjoy wildlife, but I don’t have an expensive wildlife kit. The closest I come is my Canon SX50HS bridge camera that has a telephoto lens of approximately 600mm of reach. This isn’t the highest quality camera or lens, but I think you can get an idea of what we saw at the bear buffet along the Beartooth Highway.


group of grizzly bears


lone grizzly bear


two grizzlies bears


lone grizzly bear with carcass



After leaving Yellowstone, we stayed in Red Lodge, Montana one night and did some hiking along the Silver Run Plateau, Trail # 102, Loop #3 in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

There were warnings there as well.



There’s a reason for all these signs. One shouldn’t be afraid, but it is important to take precautions and be aware. They refer to it as being “Bear Aware” and they aren’t kidding.

Yellowstone even uses celebrities to help impress the importance of bear safety upon visitors.



We now have bear encounter memories that will last forever and we are very happy that they turned out the way they did.

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Sintra Portugal – National Palace and Quaint Streets

When traveling with a tour company, one thing to be expected is early morning departure times as a matter of the daily routine. The goal is to see as many sights as possible and when appropriate, leave time for independent exploration.

We were up early for breakfast and departure on May 10, 2018 when we left Lisbon, Portugal for Sintra. The morning was cloudy with scattered showers as the group disembarked the bus and walked to the center of town. The streets are very narrow and large vehicles cannot stay in the central area.


A gloomy morning in Sintra

A gloomy morning in Sintra


The main attraction for our group was the very well preserved National Palace of Sintra which dates back a thousand years or more. It is mentioned in many historical documents and fell under Portuguese rule in 1147 when the city was conquered by King Alfonso Henriques.

Like many of the old and ancient buildings in Portugal and Spain, there have been alterations and changes throughout its history as new residents took occupancy much like contemporary renovations for those who purchase a legacy house. After all, doesn’t everyone want the latest and greatest?


The National Palace in Sintra

The National Palace in Sintra


The Sala dos Cisnes (Swan Room) generally used for grand receptions, banquets, etc. is one of the largest rooms in the palace. Of special interest is the painted ceiling which is composed of 27 octagonal sections each containing a white swan and from which the moniker of the room is derived. Looking closely at the paintings, tourists will note that each of the birds is different than the others and wears a gilded collar perhaps indicating the privilege of wealth.


Sala dos Cisnes - Swan Room

While walking through the rooms at the National Palace, we also noted the nearby beautiful and colorful mountainside …


beautiful and colorful mountainside


beautiful and colorful mountainside

and exterior views.


exterior views

Portugal has been known for its Hispanic-Moorish tile work and there were abundant displays of this tile artistry throughout the building. Some depicted courtly events and hunting scenes.


tile work

Here is a closeup of one panel.


tile panel closeup

We cannot judge this art form by standards we have today because technologies and techniques are much different. The difficulty of working with tiles to create a scene is that the tiles don’t always meet in the most appropriate and best-fitting manner. The tour guide pointed out how the seam-lines in the section below somewhat mar the face of the woman in the panel.


example of a misaligned tile picture

There were many kinds of beauty to be viewed in the National Palace. Some of them were more subtle while others were quite opulent. The Coats of Arms Room (Sala dos Brasões) is said to be located at the highest point in the palace. The center section of the ceiling pictured below shows eight panels each of which contains one of eight coats of arms of Portuguese royalty. The gilded artwork was quite impressive


gilded ceiling in the Coats of Arms Room - Sala dos Brasões

The Palatine Chapel (below) captures visitors eyes immediately upon entrance as the offset square fresco pattern of white doves with olive branches resting on a light, reddish-brown background draw the eyes to the chapel’s altar.


Palatine Chapel with doves

The architectural artwork in the palace had numerous unique elements. Manueline Hall was obviously a very formal room with a sizable chandelier. Archived pictures show that a large table is often placed in the middle of the carpeted floor area although absent during our visit. What impressed me almost as much was the amazing stonework rope design around the entranceway.


stonework arch of the Manueline Hall

Another example of the tile work in the palace is shown below. The corn (on top) is used to symblolize success and prosperity. It may be hard to visualize, but sections of the tiles are created in relief, i.e. three-dimensional.


three dimensional corn tile work

Seeing the various rooms and learning about their history was interesting, but I was also drawn to look out a number of windows to view the colorful and aged courtyards with their planters, staircases and interesting designs.


outside courtyard with planters

One of the last areas visited in the Palace was the large kitchen which was restored in 2016.


the Palace kitchen

You may have noticed the huge coat of arms above the main archway leading into the kitchen.


Kitchen Coat of Arms

The kitchen was tiled in a manner that might be considered more traditional according to today’s standards and was the main focus of the 2016 renovation as the older tiles were not adhering well to the underlying masonry. Everything was large in scale. Notice the size of the pots.


kitchen tiles and large pots

When cooking large amounts of food to serve hundreds of guests with the tools available at the time, there must have been a tremendous amount of heat in the kitchen and thus there are two massive chimneys 33 metres in height. The photograph below was taken looking upward through one of them.


large chimneys in the kitchen

By the time the tour of the National Palace ended, the weather had changed for the better as indicated in the picture of one of the kitchen chimneys from across the street.


large kitchen chimney from across the street

The National Palace was not the only point of interest in Sintra. The town itself beckons tourists to explore. Even the doorways exude an aura of Portuguese history.


old, rugged doorway

The beautiful plantings outside and colorful displays in windows of the shops were very inviting. The streets were paved with traditional cobblestones similar to those used in Lisbon proper.


narrow street in Sintra


colorful merchant display

Here is a typical stairway in the central district of Sintra.


streetside stairway

Along the side were large planters with specimen plants.


specimen planters along the stairway

Geraniums were a favorite and festooned a number of walls along the pedestrian byways.


geraniums on the wall

Wherever one travels in the world, there are street vendors and performers. This gentleman had a cart and as I watched him unload, it became apparent that he had a conquistador-type costume with him.


Don Quixote street performer

He began to apply a dark brown skin tone and adorn the accoutrements of a Don Quixote outfit perhaps with the idea that tourists would stop by to take pictures with him and pay a fee for the privilege. Unfortunately, we were called to leave before the transformation was complete.


Don Quixote street performer


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Lisbon Portugal – The Belem and Tejo River District

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



Lisbon Portugal – The Belem and Tejo River District


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It was time for us to join the tour company for further exploration of Lisbon and the sites near the Tagus River (Rio Tejo). Our fist stop was the Coaches Museum. This was quite a unique collection of a variety of coaches used for historical events in Europe.

Not part of the actual collection, but quite interesting was the huge elevator which was able to accommodate dozens of people at a time. Here is our very knowledgeable guide, Paula, commenting on the unusual shape and size of the elevator.


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The coach pictured below was fairly typical of the items on display. Notice the photographs projected on the walls. There was as much information as one could want about the various coaches and their history. Some of the more modern vehicles had videos to show them in use. In addition to being modes of transportation, these carriages were distinctive works of art.

An exhibition note found online about the coach below describes it as follows:

Car Infantas

Car of the apparatus used by Infantas (children) D. Maria Francisca (later D. Maria I), D. Maria Ana, D. Maria Francisca Doroteia and D. Maria Francisca Benedita, daughters of King D. José I.


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Read more about the coaches Museum HERE (click the EXPLORE button to see additional coaches and their history – some descriptions are in Portuguese)

A short ride by bus took us to the Monastery of St Jerome, one of the major attractions and UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Belem district (west Lisbon).

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos was built along the Tagus River and completed around 1600. King Manuel I decided to build a monastery in honor of the Virgin Mary and as gratitude for one of its premiere explorer’s, (Vasco de Gama), successful expedition to India. Precious commodities from Africa, Asia and South American expeditions plus spice trade taxes mainly subsidized the monastery’s construction.
via The World Is A Book

Vasco da Gama and his crew reportedly slept at the Monastery prior to leaving for their voyage to India.

The south portal (pictured below with the statue of Our Lady of Bethlehem) is perhaps one of the most stunning features of the monastery. It was designed by Spanish Architect João de Castilho (also known as Juan de Castillo). There is an abundance of sculptured filigree, statues of saints, noted historical figures and fine details. It is hard to believe that this is not the main door, however this is where visitors were entering the building on the day we visited.


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The details on the outside of the building were not the only impressive architectural element of the monastery. The vaulted ceilings of the attached Church of Santa Maria de Belem were massive, interwoven stone and masonry webs. It is an amazing and impressive structure bringing to mind descriptions from Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth.


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There is ample artwork to impress visitors as well. The alcoves were covered with paintings, statues and icons along with gold and silver ornamentation.


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This old, blemished wall looked its age and was a good foil for the stained glass window of the Virgin Mary.


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Perhaps the most famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, is entombed in the Monastery of St. Jerome.


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This is a very popular site and there are often long lines so travelers should plan accordingly.


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Not far from the Monastery is the Tejo or Tagus River. There are a number of sites to be seen along this waterway. The Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge spans the Tagus River. Visitors may notice the similarity in constuction to San Francico’s Golden Gate Bridge

In the Alameda district across from Lisbon is another impressive attraction, the Cristo Rei Statue which is reminiscent of Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Those so inclined can walk across the bridge or take public transportation to within walking distance of the statue.


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Along the waterfront is the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) which pays homage to the brave Portuguese explorers and navigators who risked their lives to find new lands and resources. There is a park-like area with the stylized pavements and decorative inlays.


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People can mount the monument to get a closer look at the artwork, nearby boats and the waterway.


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The main statue pays tribute to Prince Henry the Navigator who played a major role in the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Other statues call forth images of Vasco da Gama and Magellan among others.


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Traveling in a foreign country is definitely peculiar because we generally find ourselves out of our comfort zone. If there is a language difference and a number of significant cultural differences, this can be even more pronounced. After a single day in Portugal however, we felt more or less at ease.

One of the first things we do when we arrive at our hotel in a foreign area, is to secure a business card with the name and address of the establishment. If we then get lost, we are only a taxi ride away and we can just show the card to the cab driver. We took two cabs during our stay in Lisbon and both experiences were positive. Interestingly, as we learned, the customary tip for taxi drivers in Portugal is to round up to the next highest Euro. At the time we visited, the Euro was about $1.21 USD (+/-) which means the largest tip would be $1.21. Of course, tourists can tip more if they like.

Lisbon is a hilly city. It is known as the City of Seven Hills so be prepared to walk uphill sooner or later or to hail a taxi.



As you can see the street above was a bit steep as we headed toward the Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Lisboa (The University of Lisbon Botanical Garden).

We walk and then we walk some more when we visit new countries or regions. We love to walk around town and get a good sense of the city or area we are visiting. Like most major cities, there were McDonald’s restaurants in Lisbon. As you will note in the center of the shot below, the golden arches are rather muted. No large red background here. We stepped inside to note the differences between American McDonald’s and those in Portugal and while we did not purchase anything, it was interesting to note that they served coffee in ceramic coffee cups for patrons who had their coffee in the restaurant.



Again we were walking downhill which we know from our hiking will be an uphill on the return trip.

We have visited many gardens in our travels and I have to comment that this particular garden is not what I would call a display garden. It appeared to be more of a research garden. There were few dramatic landscape areas and only a scattering of flowers at the time we visited. We were a bit disappointed, but found some sections of interest. The tree below had an amazing display of air roots.



The garden had resident cats probably serving as mousers. This tabby on the roof was spotted in several areas and had a friend or sibling that was remarkably similar.



On the walk back to our hotel, we encountered this happy drainpipe festooned with a floral array. I had to return the smile as I took the picture.



Pictured below is another interesting trash/recycle bin we encountered.



Street vendors made a variety of commodities available especially huge strawberries and the fruit dealers seemed to be popular with the commuters.



The main thoroughfare in Lisbon is the Avenida da Liberdade (Liberty Avenue). It is a very wide street with pedestrian walkways separating the lanes of traffic. The walkways are paved with an intricate design that we were led to believe were copyrighted and used just for the city of Lisbon. There were special work crews adept in repairing the swaths of walkways and maintaining the integrity of the artwork.

These pieces of intricate artwork were created with the use of limestones referred to as calçada Portuguesa (Portuguese pavement). The cobblestones are made into small squares and placed to create a design in black and white. Care should be taken when it is raining as these tend to be a bit slick when wet.

The “Avenue” is a great place to walk and window shop. There are also nice areas with water features, plants and restful benches. It is worthy of a stroll if you have time.



Our home base in Lisbon was near the Marquis de Pombal neighborhood which seemed to be a more or less central location relative to areas we were interested in investigating. It was a nice, but long-ish walk to Rossio Square, the Tejo River and shopping areas.

A Statue of Marquis De Pombal, the Portuguese Prime Minister from 1750 to 1777, is one of the highlights in this area of the city.



As you can see, the statue is in the middle of a large rotary which can be very busy at times, but there were plenty of traffic lights and ample opportunities to cross the roadways.

Here is a more picturesque shot of the statue. This is a popular stop for tourist buses because of its central location and proximity to the Edward VII Park (more about the park in a following post).




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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2


National Pantheon - Alfama

One of the main attractions for tourists in Alfama is the National Pantheon. The dome of this historic structure can be seen from many viewpoints in and around the town. To learn more about this church that was constructed over a period of hundreds of years, visit the link below which states:

A visit to the National Pantheon is indispensable, not only because of the architectural and historical features, but for all the symbolism it represents in Portugal’s history.

Cool Lisboa: National Pantheon

After the visit, enjoy the street to the right of the Pantheon (above) which has a curved row of colorful houses.


Interior dome of the Pantheon

The large dome is impressive from the outside, but even more impressive from the inside. While we didn’t visit the Pantheon’s terrace, it is reported to be a great vantage point from which to view the Tejo River and much of Alfama.

One of the activities we most enjoy when visting other countries is walking around the local streets to get a better understanding of the culture. We appreciate the differences and marvel at the similarities we find in foreign destinations. There were numbers of houses that dried their laundry the old fashioned way, on a clothesline. These displays often create in interesting and colorful image. (Notice the plants growing along the roofline in the gutter.)


Clothesline with wash

This was one narrow walkway that we sought out because we read about a surprise nearby. There is a large amount of graffiti along certain alleyways. This art form does not seem to be as much of an outcast as it was years ago and has now become more or less accepted.


Narrow alleyway stairs with graffiti

This is what we wanted to see. Not the black doorway at number 26, but…


Doorway and wall with surprise

this traffic sign. It is one of the oldest in the world. The sign is said to have survived on this wall since 1686.


Old traffic sign circa 1686

Here is the translation Via:

It says: “Year of 1686. His Majesty orders that the coaches, carriages and litters that come through the gateway of Salvador go back the same way.”

The Rua Norberto De Araujo (below) is a street with an ancient Moorish wall built in the 10th century which curves under and around the Portas Do Sol.


Old Moorish wall near Rua Norberto De Araujo

Near the Rua Norberto De Araujo and terraces, there is a tiled tourist map of the Alfama district with a suggested route marked in red.



Prior to leaving the district and heading back to the hotel, I stopped to check out this unique alcove-arch near the public restrooms off of the Rua Norberto De Araujo stairway. It is a series of comic book panels depciting the history of Portugal. As I took the photograph, I could hear a guide explaining the major events depicted.

History of Portugal in Comic Panel form

Alfama certainly is an interesting area of Lisbon to visit. If you are interested in a walking tour of the area, this web page might be a worthy resource.

A Walk Through Alfama


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Breaking away from our routine of traveling to national parks in the United States, we decided to journey overseas with a noted tour company to see a part of the world in which we have been interested for a long time. So off it was to Portugal and Spain.


Map of Portugal with Lisbon noted

Map Via

We arrived in Lisbon relatively early in the day. After we checked in at our hotel, we were anxious to get out and about to visit some of the sights we researched. High on the list was the Alfama district in Lisbon.

One of Alfama’s distinctions is that it is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. It is located along the Tejo river and is very picturesque. The concierge at the hotel explained that we needed to take a taxi to the tram stop and then take the number 28 to Alfama.


Tram #28 headed to Alfama

The #28 tram’s route traverses the city’s center thus making it a very busy mode of transportation as tourists use this to arrive at many of Lisbon’s popular attractions. It is less expensive than a tour bus, but there is no guide to point out the sights. We had to be careful as there were two different #28 trams. We determined we needed the one with the destination noted as Prazeres.

You can read more about it HERE

This popular tram usually operates from 7AM until 11PM daily. Check out the current schedules to be sure.

NOTE – Pickpockets often frequent this tram so be careful and keep your valuables close. We had no problems at all (besides the usual language barrier).

Little did we understand that the tram was going to drop us off quite a distance from the main section of Alfama and that we also needed to board a small van to take us to Alfama’s central location; no extra charge. Streets are so narrow in places that cars cannot navigate them. Bicycles and smaller motorized transports are plentiful on these narrow side streets.

As we were walking to board the jitney, we passed a trash can that was quite unique. We didn’t realize that this was customary in Portugal and Spain. Trash/recycle receptacles are sometimes painted and serve as a work of contemporary art. The city sponsors some to the container art. Apparently a number of other European cities have adopted this colorful method of camouflaging these streetside bins.


Art covered trash=recycle bins

We managed to find our way to the small van and disembarked near the Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Viewpoint of the Doors of the Sun) which is a large terraced area with an elevated point of view looking over Alfama. The first thing visitors are going to notice is the famous red roofs. This is Alfama’s trademark!


Landmark red roofs of Alfama seen from Miradouro das Portas do Sol

In the picture above, the river is barely visible, but some of the prominent buildings can be clearly seen. The large building in the upper left (with the two towers) is the Church or Monastery of São Vicente de Fora which Wikipedia translates as “Monastery of St. Vincent .” Just off to the the right of the Monastery is the dome of the National Pantheon.

Saint Vincent is Lisbon’s patron saint and a statue to honor him stands as a sentinel at the Portas del Sol close to where most visitors will arrive at one point or another during their explorations. There are several vendors and street merchants at this location trying to capitalize on the crowds that often gather in this area.


Statue of Lisbon's patron saint, Saint Vincent

Here is another photograph of Alfama taken from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia which is another great viewing area. The Tejo river is located along the horizon. More central with a single tower visible is the iglesia de Santo Estevao (Church of St. Stephen).


Another view of the port of Alfama seen from Miradouro de Santa Luzia

As we began to make our way through the old streets of Alfama on the way to the Thieve’s Market, we passed by ancient structures. Here is a crossover near the Campo de Santa Clara (market square).


crossover near the Campo de Santa Clara (market square)

The Thieves Market is similar to flea markets around the world. It is only open on Tuesday and Saturdays in the square near the Panteão Nacional and São Vicente de Fora dating back to the late 1880’s.


Vendors at the Thieves Market in Alfama

There was a large variety of goods for sale including books, crafts and other typical flea market wares.


Wheelbarrow with dishes for sale

More about our Alfama excursions will be posted soon!

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Adventures in Oregon: Inland to Crater Lake

We loved the adventures we had driving southward down the coast of Oregon. We saw much of the ocean and nautical scenes as well as a variety of mountain hikes and nature preserves. It was the type of hiking we enjoy the most.

The weather was a bit disappointing from time-to-time, but considering coastal fickelness, I think we fared fairly well. It was now time to head inland for our last and perhaps most anticipated stop, Crater Lake National Park.

We were aware of the wildfires in Washington and Oregon as we had followed them prior to arriving in Portland, OR. If we were skeptical, our doubts vanished at the airport where ash was landing on our luggage as we waited for our rental car and most the the staff were wearing masks. We were believers!

Along the coast, the wildfires made only a small impact on our visit, but when we arrived at Crater Lake after a good day’s drive, this is what we saw.


Smoke and smog over Crater Lake
This was the best view. There were times when it was worse.

We had booked our room at Crater Lake Lodge more than a year ahead of time and paid an upcharge for a lakeside view. To say we were disappointed, is an understatement. We visited the ranger station, but the news was not good. The smoke predictions for the week were bleak indeed.

We were betwixt and between trying to decide what to do. We took some rides along the rim of the lake, but really there was not much we could see. Crater Lake is supposed to be an astonishing color and reportedly has some of the purest water in the world, but it could not be truly appreciated.

After consulting the weather/wind forecasts with our minimal wi-fi connection, discussions with the rangers and the hotel staff, we decided it would be wise to cancel the rest of our trip and head home.

***NOTE*** – I must extend plaudits to the park and the hotel for their willingness to provide a refund for all but the day we were staying at the hotel. The room was costly and the hotel was sparsely populated with guests. It wasn’t pleasant for the park service or those guests who were playing board games in the lounge when they would rather have been out hiking.

We were able to change our flights, etc. and we were prepared to head for Portland the next morning. I decided to wake up early to see if the quiet morning atmosphere would yield a worthy view.


A nice view the next morning!

I could not believe how nice the lake looked. I could finally see some detail and the color of the light was picturesque. That island to the left is known as Wizard Island.


Mount Thielsen from Crater Lake at Sunrise

The photo above shows a mountain rising in the distance which I believe to be Mount Thielsen with a height of over 9,000 feet at the peak. Google Maps suggests that the access road is only 6 miles from Crater Lake, but then there is the road from highway 138 to the mountain.

You can read more about Mount Thielsen HERE

I was so excited to be able to see parts of the lake and the surrounding area, that I took this panorama to document the scene.


Worthy of a Panorama

As we were loading the car for the trip to Portland and doubts arose in our minds, I was able to snap some daylight photos of the lake.


Wizard Island with the smoke lifting.

There is Wizard Island looking pretty good!

Here is a closer look!


A closer look at Wizard Island

Although it was a bit perplexing, we were set on returning to our desert home. Along the way we kept checking the weather reports to validate our decision to leave. We were able to learn that the smoke was once again heading to Crater Lake and more scenes like the one below were to be in the offing.


Another view with the Smoke closing in.

All in all we were satisfied we made the best decision we could. We were heading out early and stopped for breakfast and lunch. We thought we would have a smooth trip to the Portland airport, but nothing could prepare us for the traffic which nearly kept us from making our flight; but that’s another story.


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cape Foulweather & Drift Creek Falls

Adventures in Oregon: Newport to Yachats

Adventures in Oregon: Heceta Head & Sand Dunes

Adventures in Oregon: State Parks: Umpqua to Shore Acres

Adventures in Oregon: From the Shore to the Falls

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Adventures in Oregon: From the Shore to the Falls


Adventures in Oregon: From the Shore to the Falls

Our maps and notes were showing the wear and tear of daily folding, unfolding and occasional markings incurred through our journey. Indeed our coastal exploration of Oregon was nearing the end.

One of the last points of interest we highlighted at the southern leg of our trip was the marine viewing area near Cape Arago State Park with views of Shell Island and Simpson Reef.


Shell Island

We were told by locals that we would be able to view wildlife at this viewpoint and a closer look revealed colonies of seals and sea lions on nearby Shell Island.


Seals basking on Shell Island

The water near Simpson Reef was a bit more shallow and appeared to be a tropical color.


More tropical-like waters near Simpson Reef

Read more about Simpson’s Reef and Shell Island via this brochure.

Our day began to take on a theme of land and sea as we were motivated to hike and explore the Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area farther inland. With maps and cell phone access, we figured it should not be hard to find.

There were some quirky twists and turns which led us temporarily astray, but perseverance and a trip down a bumpy road that was hard packed led us to our desired destination; the parking area near the trailhead to the falls. We chatted a bit with a couple familiar with the hikes and gained some advice about which trails to consider.

We thought that the view of the Golden Falls would be better if we headed there first to capture the best light. It was after 3PM and the sun was beginning to cast shade on the gorge. The flow of water was not dramatic, but steady and picture-worthy.


Approaching Golden Falls

My assumption is that the yellowish color of the rocks along with the tones cast by the sun inspired the name of the Golden Falls.


A closer view of Golden Falls

Our last adventure this day was the hike to the Sliver Falls.


Silver Falls

This proved less dramatic than the Golden Falls, but we wanted to complete the circuit and appreciated nature’s offerings along the way.


Another view of Silver Falls

This was a full day so we were glad to find our lodging for the evening as we prepared for our long drive inland to our final destination; Crater Lake National Park.


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cape Foulweather & Drift Creek Falls

Adventures in Oregon: Newport to Yachats

Adventures in Oregon: Heceta Head & Sand Dunes

Adventures in Oregon: State Parks: Umpqua to Shore Acres

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Adventures in Oregon: State Parks: Umpqua to Shore Acres


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As anticipated when traveling along a nation’s coastline, one is likely to find a number of lighthouses. Although technology has rendered them less important than in the past, the lure of the sea and the mystique that accompanies them gives lighthouses a certain panache.

I am as much of a sucker for this type of thing as the next person and was therefore anxious to see the lighthouse at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.


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This was one stop, however that was somewhat disappointing because the lighthouse was not open to the public. It was fenced in and surrounded by houses. While it had all of the requisite characteristics of other lighthouses…


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it was not as picturesque or architecturally engaging as others we had seen.

The Umpqua Lighthouse State Park had much more to offer than the lighthouse as we pulled into one of the main parking lots near the beach and put on our explorer’s garb. I have always liked beach combing because of some of the treasures Davy Jones tosses our way.

There was a series of jetties and one in particular seemed interesting because of this…


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We could not discern exactly what this boat was doing in the water. It was surrounded by barrels and there was a floating platform about twenty five yards behind. The craft seemed functional, but did not give the impression it was used for seafaring adventures very often. Here’s a closer look:


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As we walked along, we appreciated that we were not the only living creatures on the beach. This set of bird tracks went zig-zaging up the rocks toward the water creating an interesting pattern.


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With much to do this day, we did not linger before heading farther down the road. Sunset Bay State Park was a worthy stop. The tide was low and the colors of the water, surrounding rocks and trees were picture-pretty.


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We read about yet another lighhouse at Cape Arago near Charleston and were once again tempted to stop and capture some photographs. These were all from a distance as we could not get close to the building.


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This was a beautiful day. The sky was blue with wispy clouds and a soft breeze. After a number of days of mist and rain, the sun was most welcome. The seaside offered wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean.


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Anyone who spends a bit of time reading posts on JBRish.com, knows that I like gardening and I enjoy flowers. If you also appreciate plants, gardens and beautifully arranged formal garden settings, I would encourage you to stop and spend time at Shore Acres State Park garden near Coos Bay, OR.


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This display of Rudbeckias, which we grew in New Jersey, was thick and dazzling.


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Dahlias have always been one of my favorite flowers because of the intricate petal patterns and nearly unlimited variety in size, color and shape.


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The Hot Poker Plant (Tritoma) was one I have never grown, but these specimens were very colorful placed along the nearby hedge.


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There were a few greenhouses that had open doors and we took advantage of the “invite” and stepped inside. There were baskets of Impatiens, Angel Wing Begonias, Tuberous Begonias, Streptocarpus, Gloxinias and more.


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Visitors couldn’t ask for a more exquisite setting. There were an abundance of plants in a manicured and beautifully hardscaped botanical venue.


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cape Foulweather & Drift Creek Falls

Adventures in Oregon: Newport to Yachats

Adventures in Oregon: Heceta Head & Sand Dunes

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com