Lens-Artists Challenge #82 – Capitals
“Budapest is a prime site for dreams”
M. John Harrison
As our first-ever guest host Viveka says, cities are more than places with buildings and history, they are also made up of all kinds of people. My husband and I have been fortunate to have visited many capital cities around the world, some of which I’m featuring in today’s post. As I think about the list I’m amazed at the places I’ve seen, and also about how many remain on my “someday” list.
I’ve opened today’s post with Budapest, above and below, which was a beautiful part of our visit to several countries in Central Europe.
“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”
One of my most poignant memories from the trip was the Holocaust memorial along the banks of the Danube River. There are 60 pairs of shoes, cast in iron, memorializing the Jewish citizens who were required to remove their shoes before being shot and dropped into the river. The simple memorial, which included the shoes of children, for me brought home the horror of those terrible times more than any other I’ve seen.
“Visit Cape Town and history is never far from your grasp.”
I’m currently working to bring thousands of images into Lightroom from my years of Aperture use. Some of my earliest digital images captured our incredible visit to Africa. Above I’ve included an image of the sea taken from Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa. We found the city naturally beautiful and were awed by places like Table Mountain, The Cape of Good Hope and their glorious coastline. Don’t get me started on the beautiful animals – or my husband on their wine country 😊.
“Be simple, stay humble, care with love, hug with kindness.”
We found the people of South Africa to be friendly, warm and incredibly open. The mother and son above resulted in one of my favorite images because of the mother’s obvious love and the pure joy of the little boy. We were also amazed by the guides in our visit to Robben Island. All are former political prisoners (Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there) who were housed there during Apartheid.
“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster.”
We very much enjoyed our visit to Bangkok. Like most of Asia we found the city vibrant, the food incredibly delicious and the people warm and friendly (are you sensing a trend?). The traffic was not something I could live with as a general rule but the tuk tuks, mechanized 3-wheeled taxis, were great fun for getting around the city.
“Of all sound of all bells… most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.”
It happened that we were in Bangkok during Chinese New Year. The festivities and celebrations were incredible. It seemed every one of the zillions of scooters we saw was overloaded with orange trees, loaves of bread, flowers – you name it as Bangkok’s residents made their way home for the holiday. The image above captures a New Year’s street festival. The crowds were huge but orderly and enthusiastic. I loved the happy fellow roasting nuts along the main street.
“The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven.”
The image above represents our first view of the sprawling city of Jerusalem. From our vantage point we were incredulous at the size of the city and of course the busses, representing the masses of tourists. Little did we know what wonders awaited us as we made our way down the hilly streets into the beautiful Old City below. The walls of the city of David, the Wailing Wall, the Via Delarosa, and the Dome of the Rock were just a few of the many sights that awaited us.
“Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity.”
I’ve posted many images of the people of Jerusalem so today I’ll include only the image above. In it a student or tourist walks peacefully among the young trees that stand just before the entrance to the Old City. Although in many places Jerusalem is a very modern, vibrant city, it was the history and the tangible aura of spirituality of the Old City that most impressed us. It seemed to us to be one of the few places in the world where Christians, Jews, Muslims and non-believers leave their differences behind for at least the duration of their visit.
“Edinburgh is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. It breaks the heart again and again.”
Alexander McCall Smith
Our visit to Scotland was quite a whirlwind. We spent three weeks criss-crossing its winding roads and visiting towns large and small – each with their own unique flavor. In all we drove about 1,200 miles and found favorites in far-flung places like Ullapool as well as places with interesting names like the Firth of Forth. We hiked among beautiful natural places like Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye and Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain. We visited several of their reputed 2,000+ castles and saw many more. Our stay in Edinburgh was especially memorable as we arrived, unbeknownst to us, in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest art festival in the world.
“KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.”
Of course one cannot represent a complete visit to Scotland without including a gentleman in a kilt playing the bagpipe. This fellow was stationed at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle but we saw many others when we attended some local Scottish games. It’s a country steeped in tradition with a great respect for history and a reputation, well-earned, for their hearty, honest, hard-working people.
By now I’m sure you’ve had enough of my response to Viveka’s Capitals challenge. Patti, Ann-Christine, Amy and I thank Viveka for joining us and hope you’ll participate as well. Remember to link your response to her original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. We’ll be back on our regular schedule next week as Ann-Christine hosts Challenge #83. Hope to see you then.
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Note 2: This week’s header is from Buenos Aires, one of many capitals I’ve not included in today’s post.