Category Archives: Places

Betty’s Bay

We are visiting the penguins at Betty’s Bay this morning.

Walking among the sea bamboo,

swimming in the waves,

looking out at the point,

When you are done enjoying them, stop on the Rooiels Road at the local cafe for something to drink and look through their books.

Don’t be mistaken, the Rooiels Road may the the most beautiful drive in the world.


Fukuoka. a port city on the west coast of the south island, Kuyshu recently suffered quite severe flood damage. These photo’s are in memory of better times

This is their story if you are interested.

Take it this is their founder

The cat

The garden

and the gate



Mis en scène – the ruin of Clisson castle, 30km south east of Nantes, in Brittany – west France.

View from the bridge

The famous lioness of Brittany, Jean de Clisson lived there.

Her husband was accused of high treason by the king of France. He was decapitated, his body dragged through the streets and his head displayed in Nantes on a pike.

The nobility was agast, since there was no public proof of his treason and it was not at all done to treat the body of a nobleman like that.

His wife also took umbrage and swore to revenge his death, which she saw as a cowardly murder.

She sold her estates and raised an army of soldiers who where loyal to her husband and Breton sympathisers.

They attacked two castles and a garrison where her husband used to be stationed. Everyone was killed save for a man or two to carry the message to the king of France.

Then she had three war ships built, painted black and fitted with red sails. The flagship she called ‘My Revenge’.

For thirteen years she plies the English channel and wreaks havoc on French ships. Once again all the men are killed save a few to take the message back to the king of France.

Eventually her luck runs out and her flagships is sunk. She drifts on the see with her two sons for five days before they are rescued by de Montfort sympathisers. But her one son had already died of exposure.

She marries for a fourth time and lives in castle Hennebont on the Breton coast until her death in 1359.

Back to the town.

They have a beautiful Roman style church

With priceless contemporary murals.

and an old wooden roof

Clisson is at the confluence of the Sèvre de Nantes and the Moines.

Tamed rivers

They have beautiful park land beside the river.

It being a beautiful summer day I picknicked by the river with the other French.


On my first visit to Japan I did three weeks in Korea in the middle of my visit. On returning to Japan I was tired of planning and booking accommodation so I decided to stay in Narita for a bit, since the airport was there.

What a surprise! A beautiful historic city with a thousand year old temple complex.

Here is the entrance

This first photo is of the water fountain for cleansing as you enter. I couldn’t wait to revisit the temple, so I went there on the first night, – hence the evening light.

On your right as you enter is the pagoda

The temples are more assembled than built. Nothing is fixed and so the building is wonderfully earthquake resistant.

In Japan every temple has its garden, as much a part of the temple as the building. In Narita, it extends as a wood on the hill behind the temple.

After a while, as you wander around the forest, you hear the sound of water rushing.

Near the top, you find the fountain, and behind it the calligraphy museum.

In Japan simplicity is very important. This is the work of one of their most famous calligraphers.

The view from the museum

As you go out there is another scene

Lanterns are very popular, and very beautiful, especially when they are lit at night.

This one seemed to need a bit of help on the lighting front..

That’s all for now, I will add another mini-tour of a Japanese garden for you soon.

They are and remain some of my favourite places on earth.

Celanova – Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova

In the province of Ourense, just north of the Portuguese border, in the area of Galicia, is the historical town of Celanova.

The monastery of San Salvador de Celanova is the most important building in their historical center.

Look what they do with their plane trees here.

I have heard if you want to know how people treat their children you should look at what they do to trees. There will be a strong resemblance.

The monastery was founded in 936 by San Rosendo.

One of the oldest  Mozarabic chapels in Spain is in their garden.

A humble little chapel next to the colossal later buildings. Once again the older the building the larger the building blocks.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra, pardon the pun.

Set in the rose garden.

Inside the cathedral, –

lovely carvings on the choir stools

And finally, the pipe organ

and the altar

If you were wondering, I am not there now. In fact I would have been in Belgium, if the world wasn’t on its head.

Fortunately there is still a stack of places waiting to be posted. So it is virtual travel for the foreseeable future for all of us.


A glimps of the sundrenched city of Salamanca.

They are in the dry western side of the country, just 200km to the west of Madrid and also in the province of Castile y León, or if you understand English better, Castle and Lion.

Suddenly I yearn for the sight of the blue sky through their open bellfries.

The university of Salamanca was founded in 1218. It is one of oldest Spanish universities and one of the oldest three in the western world.

If I remember correctly Vilnius in Lithuania has the oldest one and Bologne is also in the top three.

Perhaps the best know part of the university.

The Baltic states took many Jewish immigrants quite early and they brought their knowledge and planted it at the university of Vilnius.

Spain, in their turn, had many people come in from North Africa and they brought knowledge that was lost in the west during the middle ages. Our modern knowledge of medicine was founded from Epypt.

Lucern also came to us from the middle east. King Darius brought lusern along with his soldiers. The first thing they would do when laying siege to a city was to plant lucern, to feed both themselves and their horses. Lucern has a higher protein content than beef. Perhaps make a lucern stew next time you feel like trying something new. Apparently it is highly nutritious.

If you are American, lucern is known as alfalfa in your part of the world.

Is it not the most beautiful sight, the stone is like ivory in the hot sun.

A want to reread Sol y sombra, by the South African, Uys Krige. It is a travel book he wrote about his time in Spain.

I think the title and the country do justice to each other, ‘Sun and shade’, if you translate it.

He was war correspondent in North Africa during the Second World War and escaped from a prisoner of war camp in Italy in 1943.

More of my favourite authors were prisoners of war.

They know how to build there in Spain, that’s for sure.

I wish I could have spent more time there.

And finally, the famous casa de las conchas, or shell house.

Today a library, it was build by Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado, a knight of the order of Sint James. There are 300 shells on the facade, the symbol of his order and off course today, the symbol of the pilgrim on the route to Compostela. Or the Camino of you will.

To top it..

Till next time!