City

Last Day in Rome

I can’t believe how time flies sometimes, especially when you’re having fun, but here we were, our last day in Rome, it had come round so quickly, but we had seen a lot in the short time we had been there.

On our last day, we decided to take the metro to Circo Massimo, not just a metro station, but an ancient arena where the Romans used to congregate in their thousands to watch chariot races, athletics, and gladiator games.

Things to do in Rome
Circo Massimo as it was back then (Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circus_Maximus_(Atlas_van_Loon).jpg)

As we walked across the, now, green expanse in the shadow of the Imperial palace on the Palatine Hill, I imagined what life would have been like back then. It would have been a thrilling experience to witness the events that took place.

We walked towards the Tiber River and across the Ponte Palatino also known as Ponte Inglese (English Bridge) with views of Isola Tiberina and the remains of Ponte Rotto (Broken Bridge) the oldest stone bridge the city.

Things to do in Rome
Isola Tiberina with the remains of the Ponte Rotto in the foreground

Isola Tiberina is a small island in the middle of the Tiber, connected by bridges on either side, and it was once the site of an ancient temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.

Nowadays, the Fatebenefratelli hospital and the Basilica of St Bartholomew are located on the island.

Things to do in Rome
Basilica of St Bartholomew

From there, we walked back over Ponte Fabricio, the oldest bridge in Rome, that still exists in its original state, and went in search of coffee passing by more Roman ruins, this was the Portico of Octavia which dates from around 27 BC. 

Things to do in Rome
Portico of Octavia

As we sat on Via del Portico d’ Ottavia drinking coffee, even the stone walls have a story to tell.

Things to do in Rome
Via del Portico d’Ottavia
Things to do in Rome
Via del Portico d’Ottavia
Things to do in Rome
Via del Portico d’Ottavia

We continued our walk, following the map, to Campo de Fiori, another of Rome’s captivating squares. This one had a colourful market full of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, meats, and flowers. it was buzzing with people everywhere.

We walked around it, searching for a restaurant to have lunch in, when we were, pleasantly, accosted by a guy who excitedly told us how the pizzas in his (boss’) restaurant were different to all the others, they had traditional bases rather than the thick crusts of other parts of Italy, and they were the best we’d find here!

Of course he was going to say that! We said the usual statement that comes from these situations, that we were going to look around, but we walked just five paces and decided that we would go back to his restaurant, if only for his enthusiasm for his work! But, we were glad we did! He wasn’t lying about the pizzas, the thin-crusted Margheritas, washed down with a bottle of white wine, were really delicious. In fact, we enjoyed them so much, we had a second round of both pizza and wine. Actually, one of the reasons we decided to have two rounds was because our waiter was both funny and charming, and he made us feel really welcome and glad we had chosen Campo De Fiori Ristorante. If you’re ever in the vicinity, I really recommend this place.

Things to do in Rome
Campo De Fiori Ristorante (Photo Credit http://www.campodefioriristorante.it/

After our scrummy lunch, we took our leave and walked through the cobbled streets of the city until we arrived at the Pantheon, Rome’s best preserved building from Roman times.

Things to do in Rome
Via del Teatro Valle
Things to do in Rome
Via del Portico d’Ottavia

It’s circular with a portico of eight, huge Corinthian columns at the front and two groups of four at the sides. The Pantheon’s dome has a central opening, called an oculus, and 2,000 years after it was built, it’s still the biggest, unsupported dome in the world.

Things to do in Rome
The Pantheon’s dome and oculus (Photo credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Internal_Pantheon_Light.JPG)

We sat on the steps of the Fontana del Pantheon, in the middle of Piazza della Rotonda, and watched the people milling around in the sunshine, in the shadow of this grand edifice.

Things to do in Rome
Fontana del Pantheon
Things to do in Rome
Piazza della Rotonda

Inscribed at the top of the portico are the letters: M-AGRIPPA-L-F-COS-TERTIVM-FECIT which translates as Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius made (this building) when consul for the third time. Fascinating stuff when you think about it, but it happens that this building was built by emperor Hadrian in 126 AD who kept the original inscription after Agrippa’s Pantheon was completely destroyed, and despite excavations it’s still uncertain who can be accredited with the building of it.

Things to do in Rome
The Pantheon

I never went inside, like with many of the places I visited while I was in Rome, that’s another reason to go back, but I was just happy to be in the company of my mum and dad.

Things to do in Rome
Mum and Dad

In fact, I want to thank them for making some very special memories with me. It was time to cherish and I’ll never, ever forget it!  Where to next mamma and papa? Grazie!!  🙂 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

 

 

From Piazza to Piazza

Today we’re taking the metro to Flaminio and starting off our day at Piazza del Popolo, a circular square with three fountains. On the north side is a gate called the Porto del Popolo, once the beginning of Via Flaminia, an important ancient Roman road which led to the north of Italy. Piazza del Popolo would be the first thing that visitors, travelling from the north, would lay eyes on.

Things to do in Rome
Porto del Popolo
Things to do in Rome
Piazza del Popolo

Just looking at the piazza now, I reckon it would have been a grand sight, even back then, and one that would excite people into seeing more of the city. The piazza was used for public executions up until 1826, but, thankfully, these days it’s a much more happy and relaxed place and completely pedestrianised where people can come together to engage in more fun activities.

Depending on the story you choose to believe, Piazza del Popolo’s name is due the many poplar trees dotted around or it may have been named after the church of Santa Maria del Popolo which is adjacent to the main gate. The piazza is located at the top of three main streets, Via del Corso, Via del Babuino, and Via di Ripetta. Once called the Tridente, these three routes would have led to Rome’s main basilicas. The beginning of the tridente is marked by two churches, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto.

Things to do in Rome
Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto
Things to do in Rome
One of the streets that make up the Tridente

The three fountains in the piazza were all built by Giovanni Ceccarini in the 19th century. On opposite sides, are the Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) and Fontana della Dea Roma (Fountain of the Goddess Rome) which depicts Dea Roma armed with her weapons with the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, in front. In the middle of the piazza is the Fontana dell’ Obelisco (Fountain of the Obelisk) which is actually four mini fountains with a lion on each plinth and the fountain, as a whole, surrounds the obelisk of pharaoh, Seti I which is one of the tallest obelisks in Rome.

 

Things to do in Rome
Fontana dell’ Obelisco (Fountain of the Obelisk)
Things to do in Rome
Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune)
Things to do in Rome
Fontana della Dea Roma (Fountain of the Goddess Rome)

We walked through Porto del Popolo, onto the piazza, and stood watching a group of kids playing Sunday morning football. There were loads of people around, but there was no jostling to get a spot to see anything because there was plenty of room to take photographs and take a leisurely walk around the piazza.

Things to do in Rome
Sunday morning footie!

We left Piazza del Popolo and wondered up the steps to Pincio Gardens. We didn’t go into the gardens, but took a stroll along Viale della Trinita dei Monti towards the Trinita dei Monti church and the Spanish steps. The views across the rooftop of Rome were fabulous.

We arrived at the Spanish Steps, so named, not because they were built by a Spanish architect, but because the Spanish embassy is located at the bottom.

Things to do in Rome
Trinita dei Monti church

There are 135 steps leading down to Piazza di Spagna which were designed by architects Francisco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi and are adorned with planters of beautiful flowers all the way down.

Things to do in Rome
Piazza di Spagna

There were hundreds of people in the piazza and before we headed down into the throng of things, it was nice to stand at the top and look down on all the activity below.

Things to do in Rome
The Spanish Steps

At the bottom, is Fontana Della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Longboat) which is Baroque in design and created by Bernini’s father.

Things to do in Rome
Fountain of the Longboat

From there, we wandered through the piazza and found a cafe to sit and relax for a while over a coffee (wine!!!) before heading to the metro to go to the other side of the city and Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele is home to Giardini Nicola Calipari, a small garden which really comprises the whole piazza. Although there is a fountain and some ruins there, it isn’t as attractive as other gardens in Rome because it was a little run down and the grass was overgrown in parts.

However, there was a lively Hindu festival in full swing and the colours of the women’s saris together with the music added a touch of excitement in an otherwise drab space.

From the piazza we walked towards Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore and the grand domed basilica of the same name. We by-passed the impressive building and found a little restaurant tucked in a little cobbled alleyway. The weather wasn’t what you’d call warm, but it wasn’t cold enough that we had to sit inside, so still wrapped in scarves, we found a table and sat and watched the world go by as we enjoyed our lunch.

Things to do in Rome
Santa Maria Maggiore

We realized we weren’t that far from our hotel, so we took a slow walk back to Via Nazionale and stopped off for an afternoon tipple before we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our second to last night out in Rome.

Next time: Isola Tiberina

 

Reflections

A few years ago, I spent a fabulous day tramping around Dovedale in the Peak District of England. Along the 3 km route, we passed caves known as the Dove Holes, used the stepping stones to cross the river and meandered along the path until we reached Milldale, a village of beautiful stone cottages with gardens full of brighly-coloured flowers. It would be so lovely to live there! From there, we turned around and retraced our route and ended the day, back at one of my friend’s houses, with a BBQ and beers. It was such a great day out, not only for the green and glorious countryside, but I spent the day with some very good friends.

Things to do around the world
Dovedale, UK

In Cyprus, my friend and I and my mum and dad visited the Paphos Archaeological Park. I love these kind of places, I’m fascinated with the history and this one didn’t disappoint. There were ruins galore, remains of beautiful mosaics, and an ancent amphitheatre. I was in my element. I remember it being so hot that day, but it was nice to get out into the countryside with three of my favourite people.

Things to do around the world
Paphos Archaeological Park, Paphos, Cyprus

I arranged to meet my friend in Adu Dhabi and, one day, we took a trip to Dubai. We went up the Burj Khalifa, a real treat with phenomenal views for miles around. We stayed up there for a couple of hours and we were glad we did because the views became even more spectacular when the sun went down and the neon lights of the city came on. It was a trip to remember.

Things to do around the world
Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Wat Po in Bangkok reminds me how much I love exploring my city. I love just going out, with my camera, and visiting my favourite places and there are plenty of new places that I find all the time. There is a never ending source of things to see.

Things to do around the world
Wat Po, Bangkok, Thailand

I spent seven weeks in New Zealand and at first I really didn’t want to be there. I had just come from Thailand and I missed everything about it, but thank God I got over that because I ended up having the best time there. I did so much and saw some wonderful things in that short space of time, including these Mirror Lakes. The water is so clear and still, it created some gorgeous reflections.

Things to do around the world
Mirror Lakes, New Zealand

Whenever I used to go home, I always made the trip to Scotland to see my Nana, who is, sadly, no longer with us. This day, my mum and I had taken a trip to Edinburgh and we had lunch in the Halfway House. I spent the first 12 years of my life in Scotland, so I never really got to enjoy the city as an adult. It’s a beautiful place, and, although I wouldn’t choose to live there again, it’s nice to go back to my roots.

Things to do around the world
Edinburgh’s Smallest Pub, Edinburgh, UK

New Zealand again, this time in Bluff. I’d rented a car, from Dunedin, and taken a road trip down to the south coast. It was New Zealand’s winter time, so I had the place, almost, to myself. I took the Bluff Heritage Trail, through wind-worn forests with brilliant views out to sea. I was also treated to a couple of seals playing in the surf. On the way back to Dunedin, I spent a very cold night in a little cottage in Owaka, so cold that I had to wear five layers, all under a blanket. Brrr! I can still feel the cold. It was in New Zealand that I acquired a love of walking and sightseeing.

Things to do around the world
Bluff Heritage Trail, Bluff, New Zealand

In 2013, I graduated from The Open University with a Bachelor of Science with honours. I can’t tell you how proud I was! I wasn’t even going to go to the graduation ceremony, but a friend suggested I go, otherwise he thought I would regret it. I was glad I did. It was in Manchester and my mum came with me. The ceremony was a little nerve-wracking, but everyone there had all done something that was really worth this grand occasion. Afterwards, my mum and I took to the town and enjoyed a lovely meal and drinks in a Thai restaurant.

Things to do around the world
Manchester, UK

Another day out in New Zealand and this day took me on a jaunt along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. It was on a day when I was supposed to be going whale watching, but it was cancelled due to bad weather. So I wrapped up and went off in exploration of the local area, through farmland and forests, until I reached the black-pebbled beach, and sea. I did loads of other stuff in Kaikoura, like horse-riding, wine tasting, cave exploring and having a Thai meal in a restaurant that didn’t have a liquour license, but not to worry, I had two lovely bottles of wine in my hand that I had bought from the winery. How’s that for good luck?

Things to do around the world
Kaikoura Peninsula, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Whenever I’ve visited my rellys in Adelaide, they’ve taken me out and about to see stuff and we’ve gone to Granite Island a couple of times. It’s a small island next to Victor Harbour, small enough so you can walk around passed huge boulders, plants dancing in the sea breeze, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the cute fairy penguins which live there. It’s even better when you’ve got Ernie by your side telling you about all the different plants and animals there.

Things to do around the world
Granite Island, Adelaide, Australia

I love going to Adelaide and the last time I went was for Christmas in 2014. I wanted to do some exercise, so my cousin suggested we hike up Mount Lofty. So, at 6.00am we started our day, along with my other cousin and his daughter, Amy. When we arrived at Mount Lofty, we stopped at this map which showed the different routes available to the top. I asked “Where are we?” Amy burst out laughing. She pointed at the map to show me a large, red “YOU ARE HERE” sign. She giggled “We are here!” I didn’t live that down for the next thirty minutes, she couldn’t stop laughing! It was a fabulous morning out in the sunshine, followed by a well deserved coffee afterwards.

Things to do around the world
Mount Lofty, Adelaide, Australia

A few years back, I spent a month on Koh Tao with friends. One day, I said I was going to visit a resort called Mango Bay. The best and easiest way to get there is by boat, but I wanted to walk across the island and my friends jumped at the chance to come with me. It was such an arduous journey, slowly going up some very steep hills with nothing on our feet but flip-flops. When we finally made it to the top, dripping in sweat, we took a well deserved break at the Mountain Bar. The views from our vantage point made us forget how hard it was getting there.

Things to do around the world
Views of Koh Tao, Thailand

Another day out in Adelaide with my two cousins, Scott and Craig. We walked along the Torrens River before heading back to the city through the botanical gardens. I love trees and this Eucalyptus camaldulensis, or river red gum, was worthy of a photo. It was thought to be living between 1,500 and 2000 years ago and it died when it was 500 years old! Imagine the things it has seen in its lifetime. We finished our walk at my favourite bar in Adelaide, The Austral, somewhere I try to visit whenever I’m in town.

Things to do around the world
Ancient Tree, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Australia

Vachiratharn Waterfall is located in Doi Inthanon National Park, near to Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand and I went there when I first came to Thailand in 2008. Throughout the day, I did bamboo rafting and stood on the highest point in Thailand. In the evening, the tour guide asked me out for a few drinks with him and his friends. We didn’t go anywhere fancy, just a little roadside bar, but we had such a fun night and it made me realise that, as a solo traveller, there may be times when you feel lost or lonely sometimes, and I certainly felt that throughout my travels, but things happen that always have a way of making you feel good again.

Things to do around the world
Vachiratharn Waterfall, Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand

I like to be reminded of some of the things that I’ve done. I wish I had a photographic memory and remembered everything I have ever done, which is why I love to take so many photographs! 🙂

What makes you remember some of the things you’ve done? 🙂

Parks and the City #2

My favourite park, and possibly my favourite place to go, in Bangkok is King Rama IX Park. It’s not far from where I live and I go there to run most weeks. Sometimes, I go there just with my camera because, around every corner, there is so much to photograph and I never get tired of taking photos of the same things, but I always manage to find something novel.

There is plenty of wildlife to encounter. Here are a few of the birds and animals that I regularly see there.

Parks in Bangkok
Little Egret
Parks in Bangkok
Water Monitor, looking at me, looking at him (or her)!
Parks in Bangkok
Chinese Pond Heron. I love the light on the water, it looks like it’s been painted using thin strokes
Parks in Bangkok
Green Bulbul

There are so many beautiful flowers in the park too.

Once a year, in December, there is a flower festival called The Magnificent Plants that Beautify the Suan Luang Rama IX Flowers Festival. Fantastic name, don’t you think? It really is a great time to visit because they make a special effort to plant new flowers, so there is an outburst of colour during the festival.

During the festival, many people have stalls where they create beautiful displays of flowers for people to buy.

There is more than just flowers and plants to buy, there’s also Thai food and handicrafts.

King Rama IX is a huge park, covering around 200 acres and there are 2,300 plant species and loads of trees for shade on a sunny day, which is usually everyday here.

There are 6 different areas to the park.

Parks in Bangkok
International Garden with a Roman temple
Parks in Bangkok
The Garden of the Great King with the Ratchamangkala Pavilion
Parks in Bangkok
The Romanee Garden with flowers and plants that have been taken from other parts of Thailand to recreate the different environments from across the country.

Parks in Bangkok

Parks in Bangkok
Mangrove Forest walkway

The trunk of this tree reminds me of a giraffe setting out on a walk! Can you see it?

Parks in Bangkok

Then, there are the people who, like me, enjoy this beautiful green space a great deal. It depends on the time of day I visit as to whether there are many people about. The park gets busier as the sun goes down.

Parks in Bangkok
Sleeping
Parks in Bangkok
Chatting
Parks in Bangkok
Catching up on social media
Parks in Bangkok
Playing
Parks in Bangkok
Taking photos

And last but not least.

Parks in Bangkok
Getting married!

I hope you enjoyed our little jaunt around King Rama IX Park. Just one of Bangkok’s parks in the city! 🙂

 

 

 

Parks and the City

I love going on jaunts around Bangkok and, invariably, I’ll find myself in one of the parks in the city.  Sometimes, I plan to go there, but other times I’ll wander through on my way somewhere. It’s so lovely to see all that green hidden amongst the concrete, and, even though you can still see the buildings all around, it really feels like you’re miles away.

So, let’s take a wander through Lumphini Park…

Things to do in Bangkok

In 2016, park officials removed some of the 400 water monitors living in Lumphini Park because they have been damaging plants and scaring people, some of them are over 10 ft long!

Things to do in Bangkok

Jogging anyone? Lumphini Park, just like most others in Bangkok, is a popular place for people who wish to exercise once the sun starts to sink and it gets a little cooler! Although, these enthusiasts were out enjoying themselves at 3.40pm!

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

What a fabulous way to spend an afternoon, canoeing on the lake, right in the middle of the city!

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” Deepak Chopra

Things to do in Bangkok

There aren’t many people around, it’s far too hot yet, but this means I get the place, almost, to myself!

Things to do in Bangkok
Things to do in Bangkok
I hope you enjoyed today’s wanderings. Join me for the next one soon! 🙂 In the meantime, check out my Top 6 Parks in Bangkok!

One Of My Obsessions

I haven’t been out with my camera much recently, I haven’t felt that motivated, but, thankfully, I am over that lack of motivation and the last two weeks, I have been clicking merrily away, but more of what I’ve been getting up to will follow shortly. In the meantime, I was just sifting through my photos when I came across some photographs of my favourite building in Bangkok; MahaNakhon Tower. I love all kinds of architecture and over a period of 2 years I took loads of photos of the different stages of its construction.

These were taken in October 2015, it’s almost finished, but not quite. I love the pixelated effect.

This was 2016. If you’re ever in Silom or Sathorn, you can’t help but notice Bangkok’s tallest building looming up towards the sky.

MahaNakhon was completed late 2016, but, even now, I just can’t help myself taking photos of it, or pointing it out to whoever I’m with if I’m in the area. I love the bold structure against the blue of the sky and I love the way the clouds are reflected in the windows of the tower.

As a photographer, I love looking for interesting shapes, angles, and colours. It’s amazing what you can see when you train your eye to find things.

And there is just plain crazy!

Architecture in Bangkok

And to add to my little obsession, MahaNakhon are in the process of building an observatory which should be completed sometime this year. They say, “Unique architecture. Unrivalled experience. Offering dramatic 360 degree panoramic views across the city, the visitor observatory will open daily, providing soaring double height indoor spaces and a rooftop viewing platform from the highest point in Bangkok. Stand on the sky, with MahaNakhon’s skytray, a cantilevered glass balcony extending outside the building, enabling each guest to walk on air.”

And there’s gonna be a roof top bar!  Drink anyone?

What are your obsessions?

For more photography of this unique building, check out my previous posts! 🙂

A Rising Story

A Rising Story- Part 2

A Rising Story- Part 3

A Rising Story-Risen

Photo Walks Around the City; November and December 2017

On the last round up of what’s happening on the streets of Bangkok, I took relatively few photographs. But here they are. We’ve already said goodbye to 2017 and welcomed 2018 in with open arms!

Happy New Year to you!!

I hope 2018 brings joy and good fortune with everything we do!

Much love 🙂

House of Lucie

The House of Lucie is an art gallery that I have wanted to visit for a while and last year I went to see “Unseen Lithuania” by Marius Jovaisa, a world famous photographer known for his aerial photography.

The House of Lucie aims to honor master photographers like Steve McCurry, Sebastiao Salgado, David Bailey and Lord Snowdon. It also aims to discover and cultivate emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography worldwide.

Here are some of my favourite photographs by these masters photographers

And some familiar faces from across the world

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Audrey Hepburn by Douglas Kirkland

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Cassius Clay by Marvin E Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Micheal Jackson by Gene Trindl

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Bob Dylan by David Bailey

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Bob Marley by David Burnett

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Muhammad Ali by Howard Bingham

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Ornette Coleman by William Claxton

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Salvador Dali by Arnold Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Pablo Picasso by Arnold Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
David Bowie by Antonin Kratochvil

I loved looking at these photographs. I recognised most of the celebs but not others. Now, most of these people are no longer with us, so it’s lovely that these photographs remain to serve as a kind of memorial.

For more art galleries in Bangkok, check out one of my previous posts.

 

Photo Walks Around The City; October 2017

In October, I was in Phra Nakhon area, one of my favourite places to hang out.

I took a bike to the intersection where Lan Luang Road meets Ratchadamnoen Klang Road where King Prajadhipok Museum and Wat Saket are located.

I stood for what seemed like ages for a gap in the traffic.

Up the steps of Phanfa Bridge

Mahakan Fort, one of the two remaining forts that protected the city, the other being Phra Sumen Fort

Wat Ratchanatdaram (Loha Prasat or Iron Castle)

Architecture on Phra Sumen Road

Wat Bowonniwet Vihara where King Bhumibol resided when he was a monk

And my walk ended at Thanon Tinao. It doesn’t look busy at this time. Give it a few hours and it’s heaving

Photo Walks in Bangkok

Still plenty more to see in this city I call home. I hope you enjoyed my walkabout as much as I did walking about! 🙂

Visit morrisophotography for more photographs 🙂