Aveiro’s Moliceiros

Aveiro has been called the Venice of Portugal because of its canals and the colorful moliceiro boats that carry tourists along the canals.

Moliceiros are long open boats that were originally used to collect seaweed.  The brightly colored boats are right at home on Aveiro’s canals, and fit nicely in a city where Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings are everywhere.

It was raining on our first day in Aveiro, but that didn’t keep us from exploring the city.  One thing the inclement weather did do was cut down on the number of people wandering along the canals, so we pretty much had the area to ourselves.

All the moliceiros were docked when we walked by, but the next day the weather was much nicer so they were back to carrying tourists up and down the canals.

Moliceiros

Johns Hopkins Glacier, Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is aptly named.  There are over 1,000 glaciers in the park, the most famous of them being the 7 tidewater glaciers.  Johns Hopkins Glacier is one of the few tidewater glaciers that are actually advancing.

Johns Hopkins Glacier gets its start on the east slopes of Lituya Mountain.  Lituya Mountain was the site of two of the largest landslides in history.  In 1958 an earthquake kicked off a landslide that dropped an estimated 40 million cubic yards of rock into Lituya Bay.  The resulting tsunami measured nearly 1,700 feet high and was the largest tsunami ever recorded.

In 2012 another landslide, measuring 5.5 miles long and .5 miles wide, fell on Johns Hopkins Glacier, and was possibly the largest recorded landslide in North America.

I like the way the glacier seems to form a series of steps or terraces leading back  from the bay.  The weather, as usual in Glacier Bay, was overcast, so the colors are quite muted.  You do get a bit of the unique blue hue of the glacier ice in the center of the glacier.

The scale of the photo is a bit misleading.  It looks like we were quite close, but we were actual a few miles away.  Glacier Bay is a beautiful, wild place.

Johns Hopkins CFX Graduated ND

Flamingo, Florida

Flamingos get a bad rap.  They’re so much more interesting than their use as tacky lawn ornaments would indicate.

The bird gets its name from the Portuguese word flamengo, which means “flame-colored”.  The pink coloration of flamingos comes from their diet.  Flamingos ingest large amounts of plankton and the beta carotine in causes the pink color.  American flamingos are brighter than European flamingos because there are higher levels of beta carotine in the diets of the American birds.

Interestingly, the flamingo exerts less energy by balancing on one leg that it does by standing on both legs.  Flamingos experience much less body sway when standing on one leg than on two.

I like the bi-tonal aspect to this photo.  I think the dark green of the water contrasts nicely with the beautiful pinks and oranges of the bird’s plumage.

Flamingo

Porto, Portugal

I love the colors of this photo of Porto, taken from across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia.  Porto is a beautiful, bustling city.  We enjoyed our few days in the city and we can’t wait until we can visit again.

Ribeira and Douro

Cloud Chamber, NC Art Museum

This interesting little structure is called Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky and was designed by British artist Chris Drury.  It’s an interactive artwork.  You enter the chamber, close the door and sit quietly in the dark until your eyes adjust.  There’s a tiny hole in the roof that serves as a pinhole camera.  Once your eyes adjust you can see the trees that surround the Cloud Chamber projected on the walls of the chamber.  It uses nature to create art.

The Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum is full of interesting artwork.  There’s also an amphitheater where moves are shown and concerts are held.  We’ve had some wonderful evenings at the park, watching a movie while, many miles away, lightning puts on a free light show against the clouds.

Cloud Chamber

Fort of São Miguel Arcanjo, Nazaré

The Fortress of Saint Michael the Archangel serves as the dividing line between the two personalities of Nazaré, Portugal.  To the south, where this photo was taken from, sits Nazaré.  It’s a bustling town with a beautiful beach, and a popular destination for vacationers.  During the summer the beach is crowded with sun worshipers.

To the north of the fort is Praia do Norte, a beach with a remote, wild feel and home to some of the world’s biggest waves.  The reason for the difference between Nazaré beach and North beach is a huge underwater canyon just north of the promontory where the fort stands guard.  The canyon acts as a funnel for the currents and focuses their energy to create waves that approach 100 feet in height.

The fort was built in the sixteenth century as defense against the pirates who preyed on the coastal villages.  It has been rebuilt and renovated several times over the centuries and a lighthouse was added in 1903.  Today the fort houses a surfing museum and is a great place to watch the world class surfing happening on Praia do Norte.

Fortaleza and Waves

Toklat River, Denali National Park

The interior of Alaska is stunningly beautiful.  This is a photo of the Toklat River in Denali National Park.  The Toklat is a braided river, which is created by an excess of sediment.  Over time the river fills with sediment, in this case from glaciers, and the sediment creates little islands or bars that the river must work its way around.

I really like the monochromatic feel of the photograph, with grays of the mountains, the sky and the river and just a touch of green from the trees.

Tundra Tour Landscape Detail Extractor

Avenida dos Aliados, Porto

Avenida dos Aliados is a beautiful avenue in the heart of Porto and is a great place to use as a starting point for exploring the city.  Lined with fine old Beaux Artes buildings, it’s been compared to Paris’s Champs-Élysées.  This is the view from Praça General Humberto Delgado, just in front of the Municipal Building, looking towards the Praça da Liberdade and the Hotel Intercontinental.

Located just a five minute bus ride from our hotel,  Avenida dos Aliados served as the hub for our explorations.   The avenue is just a few minutes walk from the Majestic Cafe, Livraria Lello, São Bento Railway Station, Mercado do Bolhão, the Church of São Francisco and many other tourist destinations.  It was also a great place to sit in one of the many restaurants to relax and plan our move.  We had breakfast at the famous Cafe Guarany and experienced Porto’s famous francesinha at an outdoor restaurant in the shadow of beautiful statue of Dom Pedro IV in the Praça da Liberdade.

Interestingly, until 2006 there was a tree-lined park in the center of the avenue.  When the metro station was built under the avenue, the park gave way to a paved square.  It would have been nice to experience it as a park, but Porto makes great use of the open space, using it as the chosen spot for concerts, festivals and other big events.

Avenida dos Aliados

Bairro Alto at night

On our last night in Portugal we had the pleasure of dining at Flor da Laranja, a Moroccan restaurant in the Bairro Alto district of Lisbon.

Ann Marie and I have lived in and around several large cities, including New York and Atlanta.  Usually, it’s not a good thing to wander the streets of these cities after dark.  Bairro Alto was different.  The neighborhood seems to come alive after dark and the streets are full of people.  We actually felt safer after dark in Bairro Alto than during the day.

I think this street scene captures the vibrant feel of Bairro Alto after dark.

Night Scene

Fire Pink, Kennesaw, Georgia

This beautiful little flower is a Fire Pink and was growing at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.  Fire Pinks are one of my favorite wildflowers.  Despite being a relatively small flower, it’s hard to miss.  The bright red color stands out against the dappled shade of the woods behind the flowers. A member of the carnation family, the Fire Pink is a favorite of the ruby-throated hummingbird, which feeds off the flower’s sugary nectar.

Fire Pink