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Sunrise in Kardamena, Greece, July 2022

Several mornings during July, I ran into Kardamena from where I was staying.  My hotel, Acti Beach, is around 2 miles away from Kardamena.  Getting up early and watching the sunrise develop during the Golden Hour is an unforgettable experience.  Two years ago I was here in August and the sun rose over the sea. In July, the sun rises behind the mountains. Therefore I saw the sun start to rise by the golden colours appearing on the white buildings of the town as I ran towards Kardamena.

Sunrise in Kardamena, Greece, July 2022
The rising sun creating shadows on the walls of the whitewashed buildings.
Sunrise in Kardamena, Greece, July 2022
The sun appears from behind the mountains.

I run with my iPhone13 and I was able to stop for a few minutes and capture the golden rays. The fun is getting back to the hotel and seeing what the results are like.  These pictures were taken on different mornings and when posted on my social media, they received a positive response.  I certainly want to get back to Kos in the future and experience more sunrises on this beautiful island. This is the last of my Kos Island sequence and hope you enjoyed them.

Sunrise in Kardamena, Greece, July 2022
Sunrise on the sun loungers at Malibu Beach
Sunrise in Kardamena, Greece, July 2022
A view of the sunrise from a jetty at Kardamena.
Sunrise in Kardamena, Greece, July 2022
Sunrise in the harbour with golden rays on the Pirate ship.
Sunrise in Kardamena, Greece, July 2022
The day begins.

Here are my links to Kardamena and Kos

I love Kardamena 2022

Reach for the sky

Back in 2020 when I first visited Kardamena

And where it all started with my daughter’s wedding on the beach in Kos


Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022

A return visit to Kos and more pictures of the beautiful seaside village of Kardamena. An idyllic spot and a perfect base for the rest of the island. The long straight harbour front with the tropical trees adds character to the place and there are some delightful places to eat out and watch the world go by. Food is a must in Kardamena.

Thomas’s Meze is a favourite restaurant of ours and I enjoyed the traditional Greek foods that were served. The sea bass was particularly tasty and the bones were expertly removed by our waiter. The pictures show the before and after result. Other favourites included home made Moussaka and Feta Filo.consisting of feta folding in pastry, sprinkled with sesame seeds. The local honey that is poured over the pastry comes from those bees that I saw in the mountains. It was also a chance for me to become re-acquainted with Retsina. The taste of this Greek resinated wine is not to everybody’s liking with some people spitting it out as soon as they taste it! For me it is a refreshing taste and goes well with fish and other Mediterranean foods.

Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
Spot the bottle of Retsina.

We also dined at the restaurant, Avli, which is based in one of the oldest houses in Kardamena. The restaurant is in an old courtyard which is cool and adds a local greek atmosphere to the proceedings. My choices here were the home made stuffed vine leaves to start with followed by the catch of the day which was red snapper. Both were delicious and prepared well.

Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
Vine leaves starter at Avli restaurant.
Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
Entrance way to Avli restaurant.

Breakfast was taken at the Harbour lounge on the sea front where you could watch the yachts and the various ships such as the Pirate ship leave for a tour of the islands. The owners prepare a sumptuous breakfast which can either be English or Greek depending on your tastes.

Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
Greek breakfast at the Harbour Lounge.
Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
Watching the sails from the Harbour Lounge.

Coming back from Kos Town on our final evening, we had our last meal at Chris snack and cocktail bar. A friendly family run restaurant where we had some simple but tasty home cooked food. The seating is on several tiers and we sat close to the sea, enjoying the sight of local children catching a crab and watching the pirate ship come home for the evening.

Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
The pirate ship on its way home to Kardamena.

Eating out in the town was excellent and was a welcome break from the all-inclusive food at our hotel, which was fine but unadventurous. After breakfast or evening meal, then it was only natural that we wandered along the streets of Kardamena. There was a chance to see the shops, view the boats in the harbour or see the antics of the local cat population. Here are a selection of photographs out and about Kardamena during the day.

Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
View of the islands south of Kardamena.
Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
Villagers in the setting sunlight.
Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
Villagers and the tourists.
Kardamena, Kos, Greece.July 2022
The central building.

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My last post on Kardamena was back in 2020 and is fun to compare to this one.


Lesser Kestrel, Mountains in Kos

The album “Reach for the Sky” was released by Sunderland Brothers and Quiver in 1975.  The cover is very evocative and has an eagle flying across the sun.  My picture of the Lesser Kestrel flying over the valley between Kardamena and Pyli reminds me of that LP record.  It is one of many pictures taken on a day out with the wonderful photographer Sarah Longes (Twitter @miradordesign).  With my 200mm lens working to its limit, Sarah taught me to be patient on taking photographs. Not one of my strongest virtues but I am learning. 

Lesser Kestrel, Mountains in Kos
A pair of lesser kestrels take a rest from hunting
Lesser Kestrel, Mountains in Kos
If you look closely, a bee is following the kestrel as it sets off in flight.

Sarah spotted where the lesser kestrels were hunting on the edge of the valley.  The view from our photography spot was spectacular and one of the interesting features were the large number of bee hives scattered across the landscape. Sarah has a sixth sense of where to find wildlife. I have known her virtually for a few years now and luck would have it we were both on Kos at the same time. She is a super photographer and teacher.

Gecko lizard in the mountains of Kos Island
A gecko lizard out and about.

We left the Lesser Kestrels hunting in the mountains and moved onto Pyli to walk around the village.  Pyli features a natural water spring.  Although it was the heat of the day, there were several people filling up containers with spring water.  It was quiet when we visited, although two coach tours did descend on the area whilst we were having lunch in a local restaurant in the square.  

The water fountains at Pyli, Kos Island
The water at the springs in Pyli is particularly sought after for its mineral content.
The water fountains at Pyli, Kos Island
Yannis, a local resident, filling up containers. The water will be taken to restaurants throughout Kos.

Following lunch, we made our way to the Alikes Salt Lake that was next to the town of Tigaki.  The lake was teeming with wildlife in spite of the serious levels of pollution present.  The salt works are no longer operational and are visited by a few tourists and locals.  More interest is from the paragliding sails that pepper the horizon.  The salt lake was interesting with graffiti on old abandoned buildings,  several varieties of birds and even some turtles swimming around.  It was here that once again I learnt to be patient, as I photographed the birds, resisting my natural temptation to rush forward to get as close as possible.

Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Evocative image of the Black winged Stilt flying over the salt lake.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Turtle and Bird not talking to each other.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
No talking please whilst flying.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Looking out for food.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
These legs were made for wading.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Nice reflections.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Amy Whitehouse looks out from the abandoned salt works.
The salt lake was so hot and this dramatic view of the mountains puts it in perspective.
Aliki Salt Lake, Kos Island
Heading out for the paragliding.

Our final stop was the Traditional Windmill of Antimachia.  This is a restored windmill and the intricate sails were quite magnificent as they turned around.  I chatted to the owner of the Windmill and accompanying restaurant/bar and showed him Chesterton Windmill near Leamington Spa.  The owner was very interested, and I hope that I have forged an international link between the two windmills.

Antimachia Windmill on Kos
The striking Antimachia Windmill on Kos

A memorable day and thank you to both Sarah for allowing me to accompany her on her photography tour and Simon her husband for chauffeuring us around Kos.  Hope you as the reader enjoy the pictures.

If you want to know more about Kos then there are two sites I would recommend,
Visit Kos Island Greece
Visit Greece

For the pictures of Sarah Longes then I would recommend her Twitter feed as she regularly posts there. Comment on her pictures and Sarah is sure to reply!

Sarah in photographic action in the mountains.

If you want to discover the song “Reach for the Sky” by Sutherland Brothers and Quiver then there is a YouTube link with the lyrics.


Echills Wood Railway

Whilst I was researching our family walk around Kingsbury Water Park in October, I was reminded that there was a fully working model railway track.  During Covid restrictions it was not working and therefore I had not looked at the Echills Railway site for a while.   I tend to read too quickly.  Being able to speed read is a gift but it can cause you problems as some of your information gets lost and your mind fills in the gaps.  Whilst I saw it was open, I missed the fact that it was only working on Sundays and not Saturdays!

Echills Wood Railway
Hoping to get a ride on the trains
Echills Wood Railway
All aboard and ready to go
Echills Wood Railway
Are you ready for the train journey?

I had to break the news gently to the Grandchildren who were upset about not going on the trains. However when we arrived on the Saturday morning, there were shouts from the children that it was open.  We soon discovered that it was not open and the Railway team were running through rehearsals for their Halloween and Christmas extravaganzas.  More disappointment. But wait a minute! Katie, my oldest daughter, is not shy about tackling difficult situations and asked one of the railway team whether a ride was possible.

Echills Wood Railway
Back in the train yard
Echills Wood Railway
Approaching the tunnels
Echills Wood Railway
Just waving
Echills Wood Railway
Waiting at the station
Echills Wood Railway
Tunnel coming up!

Much to the joy of the family the person we talked to said we could travel with him. We had three very excited children once again.   We sat in the carriages and off we went.  The railway track is landscaped and has much to see.  First off there were many gnomes next to the track waving us on and secondly there were lots of trains moving around.  We discovered that the Echills team are getting ready for their Halloween and Christmas Extravaganzas and checking out their movements around the track. The trains are miniature in size but they can pull a load.  We passed through several stations with ‘Picnic’ in their name. We enjoyed going through the tunnels and stopping at the main turnaround station.  The enthusiasts who run Echills are friendly people, with hand waving to everyone and smiles and shouts as the trains passed one another. 

Echills Wood Railway
Trains queuing up for the station.
Echills Wood Railway
So the story goes (part 1)
Echills Wood Railway
So the story goes Part 2

The railway is a fun experience and entertaining for children and adults.  I enjoyed the attention to detail of the scale models of engines and trains.  When we arrived back at the main station, there were several trains parked and much discussion amongst the staff about the engines and carriages.  We carefully negotiated the platform thanking our driver.  I took many pictures and hope they convey the friendliness and enthusiasm of the Echills Wood members.  Reflecting on the day, we were very fortunate to get a ride on one of the trains. Thank you to Echills Wood railway for an enjoyable day out to Kingsbury Water Park and we look forward to travelling again.

Echills Wood Railway
Letting off steam
The beautiful surroundings of Kingsbury Water Park

I have been to Brussels many times but never to the Atomium and it is one of the places on my travel bucket list.  We were in Brussels for an intensive feedback with Marie Curie funding at the European Research Council. Our visit was not helped by delayed and cancelled flights with Brussels Airlines. When we eventually arrived, the conference went well and we were able to catch up with the program.  Once the day was done we took a taxi to the north of the city and walked up to the Atomium.  

Atomium
Fun with shapes and reflections
Sunstar on Atomium

The Atomium was part of the world’s fair held in Brussels in 1958 (the year I was born) and consists of nine iron atoms in the shape of an iron crystal.  This is magnified over 165 billion times. It is an impressive structure and immediately commands your attention.

There is a plane in the centre if you look closely
Symmetry of the crystal
Looking up

They were getting ready for the start of the Tour de France so it was not possible to get a “clean” view of the front of the structure. There was fencing around the front of the structure with tents ready for the cyclists.  However it was a warm evening and the sun was out.  There were reflections on the metal structure of Atomium and with the low sun I was excited to be taking photographs.  We arrived when the building was shut but it was still possible to wander around and enjoy all those wonderful photographic angles.  It is a place where the locals gather and there were many people wandering around.  I converted many of my pictures to black and white so that the lines and metal texture came through.  Once I had done my photographs all taken with my Sony RX100v5, we headed back to the City for dinner. I was happy to have finally seen Atomium.

A touch of colour

On the website the copyright of pictures is outlined as the creator of Atomium, the late engineer André Waterkeyn protected his design.  So please be aware if you copy any of my pictures which are being used on my website for personal reasons only  . 

https://www.atomium.be/copyright

My photograph of the winter lights festival in Reykjavik that was taken on my visit to Iceland has featured in the Rove.me travel web site. Although I did not get to see the Northern lights, the Winter lights festival more than made up for it. Enjoy my picture and visit in person to photograph the experience. Thank you to Rove.me for the feature. Here are a few more of my travel photographs from Iceland for you to enjoy.

The Sun Voyager – an ode to the sun – Reykjavik
Gullfoss – A spectacular waterfall on the Golden Circle in Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is an experience and the water is so warm especially on a very very cold day. This picture reminds of the “where’s Wally” series. Sandy is posing for the camera

A night shot from Ryekjavik and their Winter Lights Festival to counter the long winter days of darkness.



Next stop Singapore and it is 6 years since I have visited so I was interested to see what had changed.  Looking out from the airplane window flying into the country, the success of Singapore’s trade is seen by the numerous ships waiting to enter the port.  The flower lined drive from Changhi airport to the city brought back memories of previous times.  For this visit, I was participating in a conference at Nanyang Technical University (NTU) which is to the west of the island.  To the taxi drivers, it is the furthest distance from the airport taking 40 minutes and occasionally during my stay, there would be the occasional grumble that NTU was too far out for them. The University Campus is well planned and even in the heat and humidity, most of the places are easily accessible.  There are some interesting buildings including the Hive (a student learning hub), and the School of Art, Design and Media with its curving double buildings. Other interesting NTU departments that I visited included the Medical School which had a mixture of old and new architecture.  If you are interested, the conference that I attended was organised jointly by the University of Birmingham and Nanyang Technical University.

During the conference, there was also some downtime and I visited an old friend, Gareth Pearson, for a drink in the Marina Bay at night.  He also arranged for me to visit Altitude which is the highest bar in Singapore with spectacular views over all the city and the Island. Following this I came down to Sea Level and caught a taxi from the Fullerton Hotel to an evening reception at the Tanglin Club which is one of Singapore’s oldest and prominent social clubs. The meal and company were great and the bar was well stocked as can be seen from the pictures.

In between my numerous meetings and the conference, there was also a chance to briefly visit Clarke Quay and the surrounding area of the Singapore Cricket club which not had not changed much since my last visit. The weather at midday is hot and humid so I took some photographs but did not linger very long.

On my last night in Singapore we had a reception at the National Art Gallery. The bar in the Gallery is called Smoke and Mirrors and has commanding views over the Cricket club and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Its central position allows for great photographic opportunities of the skyscrapers around the city both day and night.

Singapore is one of THE places to visit in the world and it does not disappoint.  The place is always changing yet retains that British charm that made the place what it is today.

The coast of Singapore with the ships waiting to enter the docks

Founders stone for Nanyang Technical University

Chinese Heritage Centre (NTU)

Inside the Hive (student learning centre – NTU)

Inside the Hive (student learning centre – NTU)

The Hive (student learning centre – NTU)

NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

Selfie at the NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

The media centre at NTU University. A curving structure that provided many different views.

The media centre at NTU University. A curving structure that provided many different views.

The media centre at NTU University. A curving structure that provided many different views.

The media centre at NTU University. A curving structure that provided many different views.

The Cosmo Restaurant next to my accommodation at NTU

Singapore Cricket Club surrounded by Skyscrapers

Statue of Raffles in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall at Empress Place

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay from Altitude leading to Clarke Quay

View from Altitude

Marina Bay from Altitude

Colours of the Fullerton Building

Tanglin Club

Tanglin Club

Tanglin Club

A reflecting pool at the National Gallery, Singapore

Atmospheric view of Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Bartender busy at work

The winner is the conversation or the view?

How wide is that Hotel?

National Gallery

Shapes and lines at the National Gallery

This is a view

Discussions before dinner

St Andrew’s Church at night

Dramatic night vista of Singapore

Night on Marina Bay

Marina bay skyscrapers

Sunset – Heat and humidity after the rain

 

Visiting São Paulo is an experience. It is the third largest city in the world with 17 million inhabitants. As soon as you leave Guarulhos International Airport, you enter into wide multi lane (10 to 12 lanes each way) freeway which straddles both sides of the Tietê river. Slowly you do become aware of the smell from the polluted River as you drive into the city. The amount of traffic is incredible and they all drive as if they were Ayrton Senna. This was a business trip for the University of Birmingham and we had three dental schools to visit across the centre and outlying suburbs of São Paulo. We stayed in a small boutique hotel, Estanplaza Paulista on the Alameda Jaú near to Paulista Avenue. The hotel’s position gave us access to local restaurants and shops in the area. We arrived very tired on the Saturday night and woke up to sunshine in the morning.

Paulista Avenue
We wandered up to Paulista avenue and found that the whole road was closed to traffic and there was a large street party taking place. People were dancing and generally having a great time. We walked along the length of the avenue chilling out and enjoying the atmosphere. There were many good photographic opportunities.

São Paulo Museum of Art
We also took time to visit the unique São Paulo Museum of Art. There is a wide range of interesting paintings and the Museum Web site on provides a good source of information.  There was an exhibition “Imagens do Aleijadinho” which displayed statues of the African-Portuguese influence on the development of Brazil. Some of the exhibits were disturbing although the photographic record of the area the statues were found was fascinating. The Museum is on several floors and the paintings were imaginatively exhibited in a large exhibition area. There were canvases by both well-known artists plus fun contemporary exhibits such as “the Table”, where the blackboard was under the table.

Jungle Park
We spent time in the “Jungle Park “called Parque Trianon (officially Parque Tenente Siqueira Campos) which is only small in area but is key how the Atlantic Forrest would have been in São Paulo. The high tree canopy with the dense vegetation makes it dark and gives respite from the noise of the large city around it.  Then it was back out to the street party and we returned later in the afternoon and it had become even more crowded. Bikes, dancing, skateboarding on normally busy roads and underpasses and lots of street stalls. When there is an excuse for a party then Brazilians know what is needed to make it a success.

Reflections on São Paulo
Take home memories from this time in Brazil. The food and the drinks especially the Ciprihania made with cachaça (sugarcane hard liquor), sugar and fruit. The traffic congestion around the city, the picturesque University Sao Paulo campus with Capybara roaming free (previously I had only seen them in zoos). The Brazilian friendliness and positive view on life is also refreshing.

Hope you enjoy all the pictures as well.  I may have taken a few too many!!!

Spectacular buildings on Paulista Avenue

Dancing on the Avenue with the Professor

São Paulo Museum of Art

Street shapes

I just love Coconut Juice

Surfing the City – this would be a packed freeway during the week

Biking the avenue

Walking the Avenue

Street Graffiti

More street graffiti artwork

Lots of fun on the avenue

Any excuse to have a party

Dancing in Brazil is a serious pastime

Selfie in the sunglasses

Head above the clowns

The street party in full swing – taken behind the Museum of Art

More Biking in the street

Selfie in the park (Picture by Phil Tomson) – wearing the clothes I travelled in as I lost my suitcase – I have a similar picture from 1997 on the same seats.

Beautiful paths only a short distance away from the City

City residents sit in the cool shade provided by the park

It is a popular place

A glimpse to what the “Jungle” looked like

The City surrounds the small park but the noise is cancelled out.

 

Image of the mix of Christianity and art

Some disturbing images

Books and photographs

Browsing through the collection

The blackboard under the table

There were many striking images

Intersting architecture and walkways

There was one big street party under the Museum

The morning rush hour coming into São Paulo

The USP campus with views over the river of São Paulo

Capybara roaming free but they are a nuisance to the University Boat Club

Sunset over São Paulo

The final word is a Glass of Ciprihania – a real knock out drink 🙂 This one was made with Passion Fruit.