#postaday

Spot the theme?

I’m interpreting the Weekly Photo Challenge to suit myself this week.  On Monday’s chilly walk I suggested that I still have a few warm Algarve images to share, and here they are in  Variations on a Theme

Those of you who know me will have spotted that the theme is Tavira.  I’m heading there this weekend and this will be my last post for a while.

I couldn’t leave without one more tribute to Paula.  She works hard and still manages to bring us Thursday’s Special each week.  Two views on the same subject.  What do you think?  Take care, till next time.

Silence in the Salt pans

Couldn’t you just lose yourself in this silence?  The end of another hot day in the Algarve, and the sun sinking gracefully into the salt pans.  The scene was so different when I walked out to Quatro Aguas earlier in the day.

A different quality of silence and not so easy to savour.  Almost harsh.  I like the gentler, reflective tones, when you can daydream a little.

How does silence look to you?  We had a different silence again here in the UK this morning, with a soft blanket of snow.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos – Lisbon

If you came on my Monday walk to Belém, in Lisbon, you will have guessed that this is the Monastery of Jerónimos.  Not hard to see why it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, but I hope you will join with me in celebrating its beauty.

My expectations were high, for this was the third time I’d come to Lisbon, hoping to visit the monastery.  They say God works in mysterious ways, and it’s not for us to understand.  I was happy simply to stand in the midst of all this glory.

A church dedicated to Santa Maria de Belém was the forerunner to the monastery.  This stretch of the River Tagus provided a safe harbour and anchorage for shipping back in the 15th century, and the monks of the Order of Christ gave assistance and spiritual guidance to seafarers.  The church was already in a state of disrepair when Vasco da Gama and his men spent the night before their voyage of discovery in 1497, praying.

King Manuel 1 sought a dispensation from the Vatican to construct a monastery on the site, and building began in 1501.  Completion was to take 100 years.  The elaborate style of architecture, involving knots, anchors and all things maritime, came to be known as Manueline, the work originally being funded by the spice trade.  Manuel chose the Order of St. Jerome, known as Hieronymites, to occupy the monastery, tasking them with praying for his eternal soul.  It was to be a final resting place for him and his successors.  The religious order was not dissolved until 1833.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first room that you enter is the monk’s dining hall.  Fortunately I can simply share a few azulejos, as Becky presents you with all the details in 500 years old this year.  You will be wowed!  I walk through the cloisters agape.  There is nowhere I can look that doesn’t delight me.  When I’ve almost looked my fill, I mount the stairs to look down on the courtyard.

An incredible moment arises at the top of the stairs.  You step into a chamber arching high above you.  As you perceive the body of Christ on the cross and the stained glass Madonna, you notice people gathered at a stone balustrade.  Stepping forward your eyes light up!  You are looking down into the body of the church.

Back into daylight,  the gargoyles and faces, intricate knots and flowers combine to seduce.

Until finally my mission is accomplished and, with sensory overload, it’s time to leave.  The monastery was secularised and handed over to a charitable institution in 1833.  The many twists and turns since then can be read on the monastery website.

It’s that time of year and the Weekly Photo Challenge suggests that you might want to share your 2017 Favorites.  For me the last post that I wrote is invariably my favourite, but I do have one particular image that sings out to me from this post.  I wonder if you can guess which it is?  It simply remains to wish you all a blessed Christmas, and good health and happiness in the New Year.

Scaling the heights (2)

Campolide is not an area of Lisbon that sees many tourists.  On a mission to find Aqueduto das Águas Livres, as usual I walked, disregarding the guide book advice to catch a bus.  It didn’t look far on the map.  The locals I asked assured me it wasn’t far.  But finding it involved a lot of interesting uphill and roundabout, as you can see from the gallery.

I already had some idea of what I was looking for because we’d passed beneath it on the coach into Lisbon.  Finally, perseverance paid off.

But the garden scarcely revealed a clue of what I was about to experience.

Aqueduto das Águas Livres was a monumental undertaking, designed in the 18th century to bring water to the parched city of Lisbon.  The main course of the aqueduct covers 18km, but the whole canal network extends almost 58km.  Construction began in 1731, the centrepiece a total of 35 arches spanning the Alcantara valley, conceived by Custodio Vieira, the tallest being 65metres high.  Opened in 1748, while still incomplete, amazingly it withstood the devastating earthquake of 1755.

Fascinating, don’t you think?  I thought I’d already used the title Scaling the Heights before, and so it proved, when I managed to Ascend to considerable heights, early this year in lovely Florence.  I do enjoy a good view.

 

Six word Saturday

Let’s have a touch of serenity!

Heaven knows, we need it at this time of year.  Serenity, for me, usually involves water.  The gentle bobbing of boats and whisper of tide, lapping shore.  A frond or two of green, framing sky and sea.  A powder puff of cloud….

Not so serene if you’re down there digging for clams, I suspect

Do any of these say Serene to you?  Let’s give it one last try.

Tavira is lovely, don’t you think?  Perhaps that should have been my six words.  Do go and have some fun with Debbie.  Happy weekend!

Bowled over by Beverley

If you mention The Minster in my part of the world, people automatically think you are talking about York Minster.  I had been told that Beverley Minster could hold its own in the beauty stakes, and set out one day to verify this.  I was already rapt in the intricate details when I learned that the Percy Canopy dates from around 1340, and is regarded as a masterpiece of the decorated Gothic style.

More importantly, the atmosphere in the church was warm and welcoming, and I didn’t feel like an intruder, which so often seems to happen.  I entered through the Highgate Porch and was struck by the vastness of the building and the height of the Nave.

I was immediately captivated by the carvings that adorned the walls of the North Aisle.  In the Middle Ages, Beverley was headquarters of the musicians fraternity in the north of England.  These detailed medieval carvings illustrate the period.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The minster owes its origin to St. John of Beverley, who founded a monastery here in 700AD.  He was bishop of Hexham and then of York before founding Beverley, and his bones still lie beneath a plaque in the nave.  The organ dates from 1767, the beautiful wood carving added in 1880.

I know that Jude would absolutely love it here because she has a thing for misericords, and there are no less than 68.  In medieval times clergy were required to stand when praying.  The Normans tried to make life a little easier by providing a misericord- a shelf on a hinged seat, just enough to perch on.  The name comes from ‘misericordia’, meaning pity, and decorating them with relevant carvings became an artform.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The High Altar is in regular use for Holy Communion, and behind it there is a beautifully carved altar screen.  Accessed through the Quire, in the south east corner of the church, St. Katherine’s Chapel is a place for quiet contemplation.

Although I was in awe of this lovely building, still I felt comfortable there, and would love to return.  Even the modern art work did not feel out of place.  The Beverley Minster website has a self-guided tour, both useful and informative.

Pedestrian?  I really don’t think so, though the minster did form part of one of my walks.  Join me next Monday?

Windows on my world

If you’ve ever flown in there, you’ll recognise this approach to Pisa airport.  It was my gateway to Florence, a city I’d always wanted to visit.  Once in a while I get a nice shot from a plane window.  The city was so much more than I expected and I went around with jaw dangling.  I wrote about Florence on my return until I could feel my readers dosing off, and simply had to stop.  It all came bubbling back when my lovely friend Gilly posted Santa Maria Novella.

I stayed just around the corner and walked past it numerous times, as did Gilly.  I had read of cloisters and frescoes and knew that I simply had to squeeze a visit in.  The interior entirely belied first impressions, and I wish I could have lingered.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The shots in the cloisters are understandably faded but maybe you can get an impression of their glory.  I scaled the heights and did everything I conceivably could in the short time I had in Florence.  And still there was more to see.

It’s all there!  Old, new and ever pleasing to the eyes.  Each and every window revealed more splendour.

The camera came home dying of exhaustion but I have never felt more alive.  The old mercado had been similarly reinvigorated, with a top floor full of exciting dining options.  I hardly knew which way to look.

I have to thank both Gilly and Michelle at the Daily Post for giving me this opportunity to look back through some wonderful windows.