Madrid, Spain – Anticipation & Surprises – Part 2

If you spend any significant time in Madrid, sooner or later you will find yourself in or near the Plaza Mayor located in one of the oldest parts of the city known as the Hapsburg district thus named because it was governed by the Hapsburg Dynasty from 1516–1700. This is the general area that has the Botin restaurant mentioned in my previous post. The plaza is a symmetrical, building-lined square which at first may appear to be completely enclosed.


Visitors to the plaza enter through strategically placed arcades.


As a chief tourist destination it is a natural stage for street performers and artists. For a fee, this headless military officer will gladly pose for a picture.


We visited the square on two occasions and there was ample tourist traffic and activity to make it an interesting stop. Some readers may have read about the love lock fence in France. Continuing this tradition, Madrid has its facsimile surrounding the lamp post in the picture of the arcade above.


During our visit to Madrid there was an art installation throughout town highlighting sculptures reminiscent of Diego Velázquez’s Meninas which are featured in his paintings at the Prado Art Museum in Madrid. More information about Las Meninas


In parts of the city that were under construction and the environment was not safe for the actual Meninas, they had simple representations to include as many locations as possible.


Just west of the Plaza Mayor is another interesting stop that will not disappoint.


The Mercado San Miguel (Marketplace) is more than a hundred years old and started as a wholesale food market.

Today, this historical building stands out as one of the world’s main gastronomic markets. It allows visitors to experience the essence and most significant flavors of every corner of Spain.

From the finest Iberian ham and freshest fish and shellfish brought in daily from Galicia, to Mediterranean rice dishes and the most exquisite cheeses from Castile, Asturias and the Basque Country – at the Mercado de San Miguel, you’ll find all the highlights of Spanish cuisine. Spread out over more than 20 stands, the common denominator here is a commitment to high-quality tapas and pub fare.**


Fruit presentations are hand crafted providing the most pleasant displays and hopefully encouraging more purchases.


There are gastronomic delights for every taste and of almost any imaginable food group.


Whether it is Iberian ham …


or a memorable vintage, the Mercado has you covered.


We enjoyed this somewhat snarky mileage sign reminding us how far away from home we were.


We always enjoy seeing how different cultures represent products or events that are similar to those we have in America. This advertisement for car security system or insurance with chains placed around a parked automobile was quite clever. [Sorry the shot is a bit blurry as it was taken from our moving bus!]


We do quite a bit of gardening at home and naturally we gravitate to gardens whenever we have a chance to visit other destinations. The Parque (Jardines) del Buen Retiro is a large park with many displays of flowers, trees, shrubs, etc.


There is ample space to relax and enjoy the green atmosphere.


Amid one of the water features, there was a family of ducks!


One of the hubs in the park was a large fountain with a sculpture of Lucifer which is somewhat remarkable…

“The country’s capital city holds unique bragging rights for having what is commonly acknowledged as the only public monument to the Devil himself.

Located in the gardens of the expansive Parque del Buen Retiro, this statue is 666 meters height above the sea level. The Fallen Angel (Ángel Caído) is set atop a marble pillar in the midst of a fountain decorated with sinister demonic entities and some rather miscast reptiles. Lucifer is depicted at the moment he is cast out of Heaven, as inspired by a passage in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

This location is also a place to acquire snacks and perhaps take a restroom stop!


A bit farther down the walkway there was an impressive rose garden.


After admiring a dog or two, and having had our fill of plants and flowers for the day, we started to head back to our hotel. On the way, we walked through a residential section of town that had a few quaint, small restaurants like this eatery using ceramic hats to cover the al fresco place settings.


Always a sucker for impressive, old-looking wooden doors, I had to take a picture of this beauty.


Crossing the street near the Prado, we encountered this LGBTQ traffic signal.


This was our last day in town and we were going to make the most of it. We were eager to explore the neighborhoods near our hotel even those that were a bit of a walk away.

This interesting sign for a Cervantes restaurant was just a few blocks from our room.


We made one last dash to the Puerta del Sol or Gate of the Sun (not far from Plaza Mayor), another very busy, touristy stop in center of Madrid. This public square has the distinction of being the starting point for the six major roads emanating from the Puerta del Sol and there is actually a marker denoting kilometer zero for those streets..


One of the most popular statues in Madrid is “El Oso y El Madroño” (the Bear and the Strawberry Tree). The reasoning behind this particular statue is a bit murky, but you can read about it at the link below:


El Oso y El Madroño

We certainly had our share of adventures in Madrid and it was now time to call it the end of another day.


Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


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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 are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 –

Photography: My Shot – The Alhambra from the Hill of the Sun

The Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, Spain is one of those locations that is so monumentally beautiful and interesting that it defies description. Not only is the ancient architecture magnificent, the castle grounds and gardens are also magnificent.

The photograph below was captured looking back at the Alhambra from the Generalife gardens located on the Cerro del Sol (Hill of the Sun). We toured the facility for three hours or more and there remains more I would like to have seen.

Perhaps one day we shall return!

The Alhambra palace as viewed from the Hill of the Sun.
“The Alhambra palace as viewed from the Hill of the Sun”

Photography enthusiasts who visit the Alhambra be warned: You will not be able to stop taking pictures. One scene is prettier and more captivating than the last!

NOTE: A complete pictorial essay of the Alhambra will be published on in the near future!



File Name: DSC_3226.NEF
Capture time: 1:38:34 PM
Capture date: May 17, 2018
Exposure: 1/320 sec @ f/9
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Edited in Lightroom


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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 are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 –

Bridging the Gorge – Amazing Ronda, Spain

Ronda is one of the most visited destinations in Spain. The main characteristic and defining geographic attribute is the El Tajo gorge that separates the new and the old parts of Ronda.

El Tajo gorge

Well, if there is a ravine dividing a city,there is a need to connect them somehow and that is the function of impressive Puente Nuevo (New Bridge).

Puente Nuevo / New Bridge

The first time I looked over the top of the bridge and saw this view, I was stunned at how beautiful it was in the the early morning light!

El Tajo gorge

The bridge is an essential part of Ronda’s culture, allowing the newer parts of the city to easily mix with the old. It took more than forty years to build and should be seen as a marvel from many of the nearby vantage points.

The New Bridge Connecting old and new Ronda

We did not have time to walk down to the bottom of the gorge, but that too is another spectacular view of the Puente Nuevo (see the other photographs HERE)

Once across the bridge, we stopped to view an old city map created in the azulejo style of tin-glazed ceramics mounted on a building wall. The title, Viajeros Romanticos translates to Romantic Travelers.

City map made of tiles

Close up view of a city map made of tiles

We next visited the John Bosco house which was considered palatial in its day. It was bequeathed to the Order of Salesian Priests founded by Saint John Bosco and served as a retreat for that religious order. The picture below is of an interior courtyard.

Courtyard at the John Bosco House

What adds to the allure of this estate are the beautiful gardens…

Bosco house gardens

and vantage points of both east toward the mountains

The mountains from the Bosco house

and west toward the New Bridge.

The gorge from the Bosco house

The house is built on the edge of the ravine and looking straight down also provides a wonderful view of the old retaining wall.

The old retaining wall from the Bosco house

A short walk from the John Bosco house is a small park-like area with additional mountain views.

A Park in Ronda

Like most other old cities and older sections of cities, Ronda had a number of interesting streets to wander and admire. The handles on this old wooden door and metal accents give testimony to the pride Spaniards take in maintaining their heritage. Notice how the right-hand handle is broken and not replaced.

Aged wooden door with metal accents

And one of our favorite features to explore are the side streets and small plazas of these wonderful old-world cities. This is picturesque Plaza Mondragon.

old world plaza withe balconies and flowers

picturesque Plaza Mondragon

As we walked through Ronda, we visited one of the more unique churches, the Church of Our Lady of Peace.

Church of Our Lady of Peace

The most important feature is the altar of the Virgen de la Paz, the patron Saint of Ronda.

 altar of the Virgen de la Paz

 altar of the Virgen de la Paz - close up

We admired other buildings and churches as part of our walking tour including the clock tower of the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.

clock tower of the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.

Wildflowers growing from the walls of another church added to the historic beauty of the building.

Old wall with wildflowers growing

One of the most noteworthy historical assignations for Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting sometimes referred to as the “Ronda school.” The historic context of bullfighting is lost to the ages, but it is suggested that perhaps it was a right of passage for adolescent boys before transitioning to manhood. The absolute derivation will never be known.

Pedro Romero, a Ronda native, hailed from a line of innovative bullfighters, but he was the one matador who raised the ritual to an artistic form and thus is given the distinction of the Father of Modern Bullfighting. Read more about it HERE

Statue of a Bull outside the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda is a world famous bullfighting ring which is not in regular use anymore. It is a beautiful structure to behold.

the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Standing in the middle of the arena, one gathers a sense of the scope and popularity of this Spanish tradition.

the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Some youngsters could not resist reenacting the contest between man and beast.

Youngsters acting out a bullfight

This was our last stop in Ronda this morning before having lunch and heading to our next destination. It surely is a town that deserves more time and perhaps one day we shall return to explore further.

One last look back at the El Tajo gorge of Ronda!

One last photo of Ronda's beautiful gorge



Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


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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 are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 –

Seville, Spain – The Alcazar

We were excited to begin our second day in Seville because our walking tour was going to take us to the Alcazar, one of the oldest palaces currently in use by monarchs. Spain’s royal family resides there when duties call them to Seville or nearby towns. The Alcazar has also gained a bit of notoriety as the setting for some episodes of The Game of Thrones.

The Alcazar first served as a fort and was later used as a palace for the leaders of the cultures dominating the area. As noted in prior posts, centuries-old buildings contain vestiges of the societies that claimed ownership of them over time and the Alcazar is no exception.

Tourists will note elements reminiscent of the Renaissance and Baroque periods as well as architectural influences of the Arab and other cultures. The main entrance is through the Lion’s Gate adjacent to the Plaza del Triunfo which is just one of the first of many interesting sights visitors will see.

The Lions Gate of the Alcazar

Here is a close-up of the lion inlay.

The Lions Gate of the Alcazar

Picture by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Visitors pass through an archway to arrive at the Patio de la Montería (The Hunting Courtyard).

Entrance archway to the Hunting Courtyard.

This is a photograph from the other side showing the manicured hedges and roses as well as other garden and architectural accents. The stonework is old and it looks its age!

Entrance archway from inside the Hunting Courtyard.

There are many notable characteristics of the Alcazar, but the numerous courtyards creating outdoor and indoor rooms must be high on that list. As the name implies, the Hunting Courtyard is where the royalty would gather those participating in the hunts. It currently serves as an entrance to the Royal Palace of Seville.

 Royal Palace of Seville.

The striking facade of the Mudejar Palace, or Palacio del Rey Don Pedro, located inside the Alcazar was constructed around 1360.

the Mudejar Palace

Notice the intricate patterns which I found remarkable considering the time in which it was built.

intricate patterns - facade of the Mudejar Palace

Other buildings framing the palace entrance were vibrantly colored which does not show as well in this shaded area.

vibrant colors of the buildings

The Dolls Courtyard (Patio de las Munecas) in the Alcazar had incredible structural details. The name is derived from the small abstract stucco faces that decorate some of the arches. I did not know about this “hidden” feature at the time, but the Internet has come to the rescue!

One of the dolls
A close up picture of one the dolls heads, a “hidden” architectural element in the Dolls Couryard of the Alcazar.
Photo courtesy of

Square skylight dome of the Dolls Courtyard

The square domed skylight of the Dolls Couryard (above) allowed filtered light to fill the area which enabled the play of light and shadow to accentuate the detailed stucco work (below).

Dolls Couryard with intricate carvings

The Ambassador’s Hall (Salón de Embajadores – below), sometimes referenced as the Throne Room, was a very important area of the Alcazar because it was used for public events and affairs. The arches were beautifully decorated with shades of blue. The pronounced curves have been referred to as “horseshoe arches.”

The Ambassador’s Hall

Here is a closer picture of some plaster details!

Arch details and colors

If this was not enough, a stunning dome made of gilded wood in the Ambassador’s Hall added an even more decadent accent.

Golden Dome Ceiling of the Ambassador's Hall

The Courtyard of the Maidens (Patio de las Doncellas) has a reflecting pool which would be integral to a Moorish design. The name refers to the legend that the Moors demanded 100 virgins every year as tribute from Christian kingdoms in Iberia. [1] Recent research indicated that the sunken garden was an original feature and thus was recently restored replacing a marble courtyard with center fountain.

Courtyard of the Maidens
<p>Additional plaster artwork among the arches of the Alcazar</p>
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When visiting a building of such historical importance and magnificence, it is really difficult to appreciate all it has to offer in the moment. In addition to all of the beautiful architecture and artwork mentioned thus far, the tile work along the walls was impressive.

The colorful tile below contains portraits of Charles V and Isabel of Portugal. [2]

Beautiful tile work with portraits of Charles V and Isabel of Portugal

Tile work pattern with blues, green and brown

Beautiful tile work

And then there was this wooden, door-like panel with a Moorish design…

Wooden panel with Moorish patterns

Once again, much like a child in a candy store, there was almost too much to take in at one time as we came to displays of beautiful tapestries. This tapestry was hanging above a doorway in the hall of Charles V.

Coat of Arm Tapestry

Here is a better picture of the entire hallway and notice the tiles and additional tapestries along the wall.

In the Sala de los Tapices (Room of Tapestries) the walls are covered with tapestries depicting various explorations and conquests. The originals were destroyed and these are reproductions. The Tapestry Room had to be built from scratch after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. [3]

Hall of Tapestries

Don’t forget to look up. The ceilings are also works of art.

Beautiful ceiling with wonderful colors

Another beautiful ceiling

As we walked through the palace, there were some striking rooms that looked out on to the vast gardens.

Sun room overlooking the gardens

One of my favorite spots in the garden was this curved tile bench with a hedge mimicking the outline.

Garden tile bench

There were a myriad of intersecting pathways to explore leading visitors to roses and other beautiful plantings.

Garden paths

Another garden path

Did I mention they have peacocks?

Peacock in the garden

Closer and more colorful picture of the peacock

As we left the gardens we used a beautifully carved portal near the Jardín del Retiro del Marqués.

Intricately carved stonework of the exit portal at the Alcazar's garden

This is one place in Seville where the more time a visitor has, the better. It was hard to see all of it while on a schedule with other planned stops!

[1] –

[2] –

[3] –


Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


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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 are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 –

Gardening – Winter Garden in the Desert

When we transitioned from the northeast to the southwest, it was a dramatic change on a number of levels. We left many of our friends and relatives behind and there was a huge void in our lives because of this.

While most noticeable, friends and family were not our only loss. We also lost our gardens and plants that we relied on for our three seasons of flower-filled joy. There are a number of plants we grew easily in the Northeast (Hunterdon County, New Jersey) such as hostas, astilbes, hydrangeas, morning glories, dahlias, etc. that either struggle in the Sonoran Desert or just downright die.

We have learned, of course, that there are trade offs. We have come to love gazanias which grace us with their bouquet of striking colors throughout the year and we are likewise able to grow geraniums in the spring through early summer and then again from late fall through the winter and spring if we avoid a hard freeze.

Here are some of our gazanias growing strong in January when football on television shows snowstorms in the northeast.

It is a bit unusual to have the alyssum (above) so full and lush this time of year, but we nursed them along. It is so delightful to experience that honey-like smell during a winter’s afternoon.

We have had a couple of light frosts which leave our gardens looking funky when festooned with frost cloths. These are only temporary for a day or two and then they are removed and kept at the ready should we need them again. We haven’t had a significant frost in quite a few years. Last year there were no frost days in our particular area, but we stood ready to take action if necessary!

Our mid-fall planting of geraniums on either side of our front door are still doing well.

In a previous photo, we took a peek at the alyssum currently in bloom, but what wasn’t obvious was their potted companions; pink geraniums.

They really make a great team especially during those chilly winter days when we are glad to be reminded of the inevitable spring.

Here is wider view of the “companions” putting on quite a performance.

It isn’t always fun having these delicate plants “out-of-season.” In the middle of the covered array below are the same plants pictured above during one of our light frost days.

Another geranium giving us significant winter color is a pink trailer situated between two very large pots of twisted myrtle creating a floral exclamation point.

Whenever we pine for our morning glories and dahlias under the blazing 110 degree heat we recall these winter scenes and we are grateful and happy!

NOTE – Fresh plantings of gazanias and alyssum will continue to do fairly well through the summer with ample water and some shade. The geraniums struggle through the heat and are often treated as annuals.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section and I will answer to the best of my ability.


Read more gardening posts HERE


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

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 –

Merida, Spain – Ancient Roman Ruins

Merida, Spain is approximately two hundred miles southwest of Madrid and only a 3.5 hour ride from Lisbon. Tours of both Portugal and Spain often stop at this UNESCO World Heritage site to gaze upon the well-preserved ruins and monuments dating back to a time prior to the Christian era.

What makes Merida special among other cities on the Iberian peninsula is that it was one of the ancient Roman Empire’s most important cities and as such is home to numerous ruins. There are apparently more Roman monuments in Merida than any other Spanish municipality.

Just a short walk from the visitors center, the ruins become visible.

Distant view of the Ancient Roman Ruins of Merida, Spain

As we walked closer to the ancient structures, there were signs of the modern city which envelops this unique part of history (notice the rooftops and tower rising above the rim of the ancient walls in the background).

A closer view of the Ancient Roman Ruins of Merida, Spain

On the way to a central area, our guide pointed to a series of horizontal rocks (below) strategically placed in the middle of the “road.” Notice that there are three large structures that elevate well-above the surface. These served the purpose of our modern day speed bumps. Ancient vehicles would have to navigate these hindrances by slowing down to keep the wheels on each side of the middle obstacle.

Ancient Roman Speed Bumps

One of the two main attractions is the amphitheater. Visitor access is through the entry arch.

Archway leading to the amphitheater.

This is a view of one side of the circular area which is not fully restored.

Part of the  amphitheater partially restored

Perhaps this a better view from a bit farther away. The partially restored amphitheater shows the contrast between how it probably looked during the Roman Empire and how it was discovered; a then and now comparison.

A better view of the restored and unrestored amphitheater

Another view of the  amphitheater ruins

As depicted in many Hollywood films, this structure was used for gladiatorial combat. One can imagine the combatants walking through the entrance tunnels knowing what was facing them at the other end.

Gladiator tunnel leading to the activity circle of the amphitheater

Tourists walking through Gladiator tunnel leading to the activity circle of the amphitheater

 Opening of one of the tunnels leading to the activity circle of the amphitheater

With large crowds shouting for the victory of their favorite gladiator, the throngs needed a place to take care of their biological needs. A latrine area is pictured below.

latrine for attendees

As we walked through the restoration project, we noted some stones had a large “R” chiseled onto their face. The guide explained that the “R” signified that this was not an original stone, but a reproduction.

Restoration stone, not original

There were many original stones that have survived the centuries.

Many old original stones remain

Leaving the gladiator ring, we headed to the theater which is still used for summer productions.

Distant view of the theater nearby

Amid the scaffolding notice the statues between the columns. These are beautiful works of art representing this historic period.

A closer view of the theater, scaffolding and statues

Let’s take a closer look at some of these statues

Closer view of some of the statues

Closer view of some of the statues

Closer view of some of the statues

Some had names of their likeness (Tiberio Claudio Nero and Druso El Mayor)…..

Closer view of some of the statues

and Cayo Julio Cesar Agusto

Closer view of some of the statues

Walking through these old and almost unfathomable ruins, one cannot help being awestruck by the history and craftsmanship represented by these stone structures.

Beautiful ancient stonework

See a brief video of the Theater.

The areas immediately surrounding the ruins have been modernized with gardens, paths and water features. Rather than detract, they frame the Roman creations.

Light pink and purple flowers among the ruins

Gardens enhance the surrounding area

The importance of the UNESCO World Heritage site does note escape visitors as there are reminders throughout the town. This was a view from the front window of our bus. Notice the replica of a Roman column ruin at the center of the traffic circle.

Traffic circle with replica of a Roman column in the center

As with many magnificent finds such as this, there is often a yin and a yang. As the town plans for modern buildings, additional ruins are often uncovered. In many instances, construction must then stop and assessments made. This often delays, or in the worst case, cancels any renovations or building. As we can imagine, this must be very frustrating to current residents of Merida wanting to upgrade their properties.

Modern reconstruction delayed or canceled because of finding ruins

On the way out of town, we passed another impressive sight, a portion of the Acueducto de los Milagros (Miraculous Aqueduct). Only a small portion of the aqueduct bridge stands today. Many of the granite blocks were taken to be used on other structures before the aqueduct was a protected legacy.

Acueducto de los Milagros

Storks are fond of nesting atop tall structures and being an ancient, historical piece of history does not concern them. The White Stork is given protected status in Spain and many towns make sure they are cared for because they are of interest to tourists.

Storks nesting atop the Miraculous Aqueduct

Of course after such an excursion, we needed to stop for lunch. This is the Parador de Merida.

Parador de Merida - a fine lunch or dinner stop

The ride through the countryside to our next stop, Seville, was charming and picturesque.

Countryside on the way to Seville

Even the requisite rest stop provided intersting sights such as large pig legs and other meats offered for sale. One sign is for Paleta Ibérica Bellota, acorn-fed free range pigs. Interestingly enough hams from front and rear legs are differentiated: paleta is ham from the front leg while jamon would be from the rear leg. One famous producer is Fermin in Salamanca, Spain. (read more HERE)

Hams for sale at a highway rest stop

Learn more about The Roman Theatre of Mérida HERE


Next stop, Seville


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Adventures in Oregon: State Parks: Umpqua to Shore Acres


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.


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…


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…


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:


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.


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.



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.




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.


Anyone who spends a bit of time reading posts on, 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.




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


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


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


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.



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


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


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

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 –

Photography: My Shot – Larnach Castle Garden, Dunedin, NZ

When we visited New Zealand in 2009, the only camera I took with me was a very small point-and-shoot Canon AS590 IS, which at that time was considered fairly good for its class. Even with this small-ish 8 megapixel count, I was able to capture some amazing pictures.

The photograph below was taken at Larnach Castle in Dunedin, New Zealand. The sky was overcast and the colors were vibrant in themselves. This photo was edited a bit in Lightroom, but trust me when I say that this was a striking picture before the editing process.

I encourage everyone to record their adventures as large or small as they may be with whatever camera or smart phone they have with them. The images will be a treasure to review and appreciate over time.

Interestingly enough, there were a number of plants in this garden that we grow in our Sonoran Desert area.

Stormy skies over Larnach Castle Garden, Dunedin, NZ
Stormy skies over Larnach Castle Garden, Dunedin, NZ

You can find more information about the Larnach Castle & Gardens HERE



File Name: larnach_cast_grdn_)133.jpg
Capture time: Early Afternoon
Capture date: December 17, 2009
Exposure: 1/1000 5.8mm
ISO: 80
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom


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