Travel Theme: Mountains

Ailsa’s travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is: mountains!  I’m honestly a little surprised I have any pictures of mountains.  I’m not a climber and a lot of my travels have been surprisingly flat.  The few memorable trips I took driving out across the American West, I had a film camera and haven’t scanned most of my pictures from those trips yet, though there will be a few.  Perhaps not so surprisingly, the mountains endure.

Ireland isn’t noted for its snow-capped massive peaks, but it does have Croagh Patrick, or St. Patrick’s mountain.  Legend says this is the place where Patrick endured a 40-day Lenten fast, banished the snakes from Ireland, and fought a demon and won, thereby saving the Irish from their heathen ways forever.

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick, as seen from the parking lot of the Bertra House B&B.

Every year on the last Sunday in July, the penitent walk to the top of Croagh Patrick, to attend mass and go to confession at the chapel at the summit, which you can just make out in the photo.  The truly hardcore go barefoot.  To which I say, damn.

And then we’re off to sunny Tuscany, though on this day it was slightly cloudy Tuscany.  As I was on my Italy starter tour I hit the big three–Rome/Florence/Venice–and didn’t venture very far afield.  Next time I go, I’ll be up in those crazy little mountain towns.  For now, I just have to look at the mountains looming on the other side of Florence and wonder what it’s like.

Florence and the Tuscan mountains, from the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Florence and the Tuscan mountains, from the Piazzale Michelangelo.

There’s something really snug about being located in a river valley surrounded by mountains.  I understand the strategic benefits.

And here are some of the few pictures I have already scanned from my post-college, all-girl, westward-bound roadtrip; there will be more photos coming once I finish my blog about getting out there (really, I swear, I’ll finish it).

Up in the Grand Tetons.

Up in the Grand Tetons.

This was taken at a lookout near one of the summits, overlooking the Tetons and the Rockies.

Intrepid explorer Leslie checks out the scenery.

Intrepid explorer Leslie checks out the scenery.

I dig the snow on the ground.  In June.

And here are some mountains in Nevada, at sunrise.  If you’re ever going to drive across Route 80 in Nevada, sunrise is the right time to do it.

Nevada's stark landscape is softened by sunrise.

Nevada’s stark landscape is softened by sunrise.

Have you got any pictures of mountains to share?  Join the fun!  See you at Ailsa’s.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

A few years ago, my friend’s little girl asked me what was my favorite color.  It’s green, I told her, and then she squealed like only a four-year-old girl can and said, “HeeEEEeeEeeeeyyy!  That’s MY favorite color too!”  I asked her if we could share and she sized me up, mouth puckered to one side, head cocked, brow furrowed in thought and then–thankfully!–she nodded happily and said, “OK!”  From that point on we were favorite-color-is-green sisters.  She is now six and I’m pretty sure her favorite colors have shifted to pink and purple because she is a six year old girl, after all.  But I love that story, and it’s never far from the topic of “green” for me.  So this photo challenge is coming to you from me and my little friend Violet, even if her favorite color is purple now.

Public Gardens, Boston.

The Public Gardens are directly across the street from Boston Common.  On a map it sort of looks like it’s one big park, but the Common is clearly a city park while the Gardens always remind me of Fairyland.  There’s a swan boat floating nearby and willows twisting in the breeze.  I love this little structure. I have no idea what kind of birds those are; I’m totally willing to learn.

The Jewett Steps, Wellesley College.

One day during a summer trip to Boston I took a side trip to my alma mater.  Sensibly, the college does a lot of renovation work over the summer, when students are not present.  The Jewett Steps were always one of my favorite spots on campus so I was initially mildly disappointed to see the scaffolding but then I realized…it looked pretty cool.  I love how the trees are flourishing in the middle of all this straight, spare, pretty severe architecture, and that you can just see more trees through the arch in the distance and peeking over the sides.  It reminds me that nature will have her way with this, eventually, despite our best efforts.  I don’t want that to be for a fantastically long time, but it’s always there.  And!  That’s how it should be.

Where I live.  Beautiful Central PA.

Well.  It’s not exactly my backyard, but it’s really really close.

Chateau Renaissance, Finger Lakes, NY

Chateau Renaissance is this fun, interesting, quirky little winery on Keuka Lake.  The owners are pleasant and talkative and happy to see people.  The tastings are free and the tasting room is cozy.  They make a killer champagne rouge that I need more of, so if anyone’s going up that-a-way, please let me know.  And I have no idea why their back room has green lighting, but there you have it.  I felt like I was looking at some kind of movie set or something.

Venice, Italy.

Like there was any way I could not take a picture of the greenest boat in the world?  For some reason it pleases me to no end that it’s been dubbed the “Veritas”.

Murrisk, Ireland.

I had to finish with the Emerald Isle, land of my people.  The peak in the background is Croagh Patrick, St. Patrick’s holy mountain.  There are all sorts of legends that surround Croagh Patrick; this is where St. Patrick defeated the druids, banished the snakes, won the right to judge the Irish on Judgement Day.  The mountain is also surrounded by green, but as this is Ireland that’s like saying it’s surrounded by oxygen.  It’s true what they say: the Irish are wonderful hosts, and it is called the Emerald Isle for a reason.

Go here for more of this week’s photo challenge.  Thanks for reading!

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