roman holiday


A scooter in Rome reminiscent of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in the 1953 movie "Roman Holiday."

esquiline venus


Venus emerging from the water - a statue from the Roman Imperial age - taken recently in Rome.

not forgotten


This will be the last of the auschwitz-birkenau photos for a while – I will post more in the future – but tomorrow I will post something more uplifting.

electric fences


Auschwitz II (Birkenau) is divided into several sections each surrounded by electrified barbed wire fences and guard towers with machine guns. Roads like this one, that intersected the camp, gave guards quick access to any part of the site.

So who was it who could do this to other people? The answer is complex, but the short answer is, ordinary people. And that is why we have to pay attention (see this short video).

remembering


James, who came with me to Auschwitz-Birkenau, remembering some of the people who died there.

auschwitz-birkenau


Looking back at the entrance to Birkenau (Auschwitz II) from the track where selection took place.

holocaust


I think that trying to understand this place (Auschwitz-Birkenau) and the events that led to it is important because unless we do how can we stop it all happening again? In fact I think that even now we do not fully understand because we have not been able to stop atrocities. What makes this place so different, however, is the scale of that atrocity. For instance, in yesterday’s picture of the cyclist, the background is the remains of the Birkenau camp which spread in every direction from where that photo was taken as far as my eye could see - an atrocity on a scale that I find almost incomprehensible - no wonder it is called "holocaust"

oświęcim


This trip was not one I was going to enjoy, not a happy tourism trip, but instead something I have felt for a long time that I needed to do. I Landed in Krakow, Poland and made my way to a small town called Oświęcim. I took this shot of an elderly cyclist riding past the place I came to see.

back to stanstead


Another night sleeping on the floor at Stanstead Airport waiting for an early flight.

gang of four


A shot fron earlier in the year - I met these kids in a Luxor back street. They were tough little characters, especially the guy with the knife, but once you got talking to them they were just kids - and nice kids too.

low tide


Low tide at Harwich on the Essex coast (England).

thaxted church


Inside a church at Thaxted, Essex, England.

contemplating the sky


I just had a brilliant day at Duxford Airfield: In this shot a civilian aircraft contemplates the sky.

the return


A shot taken today that repeats a shot taken April 10, 2006.

egyptian temple


About those Ancient Egyptian buildings – here is a shot from Egypt earlier in the year and you can see the rows and rows of columns that were needed to support the roofs, without arches only relatively short open spans could be supported – yet impressive none-the-less!

basilica of maxentius and constantine


The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine in the Roman forum: Built close to 2000 years ago this is an engineering marvel.

Although I was more impressed with the architecture of ancient Egypt, they did not understand the arch and instead used straight lintels which support smaller spans. The Romans understood the arch and in this building perfected its use with the huge spans you see in this photograph. The original building was three times the size of this remaining section with an unprecedented open floor area because the huge span of the arched/domed construction eliminated the need for the many supporting columns common in the ancient world. Even now we stand in awe of this construction—well at least I do!

unimaginable


I visited the Colosseum on my first day in Rome and on my last day I had an afternoon spare before my flight so I returned and sat inside for a few hours until closing time. I have read quite a bit about this place and know its history reasonably well, but it was hard to imagine it all once I was there. The bustle of tourists, cameras and tour guides are now the reality of this place and for me the history that once played itself out here seemed just a little too distant to touch. In my mind I knew the stories and even the names of specific characters who earned their living within these walls—I also knew about the mostly nameless people whose lives ended here—including the thousands of Jewish slaves who built the place—but their times and those days were now hidden behind the noise of traffic and an army of Gelati Ice Cream vendors (really good ice cream by the way). Never-the-less it was still a moving experience, to sit for a while to see and feel the place where that unimaginable history took place.

roman sky


The Colosseum, or more rightfully the Flavian Amphitheater, under a bright end-of-summer Roman sky.

arrival


Arrived – at a place I have always wanted to go – any guesses?

stansted


I just did a quick backpacking excursion in Europe to discover that at night airports like London Stansted become dorms where literally hundreds of people sleep waiting for the early morning flights to begin.

dundurn woods


Not Lothlórien of Middle Earth but the woods of Dundurn Castle of Hamilton.

(Note: The photos are on auto-post for a few days - if you have been leaving comments I will post them soon)

misty woods


I took this shot on a misty morning a couple of weeks back and quite expected to see Galadriel emerging between the trees. But this is not Lothlórien - these are woods closer to home - can you guess where? Tune in tomorrow for the answer.

water level

This is the tap on my cousin's boat house at Rice Lake - we use it to top the lake water level up in the summer.

time again


I have been here time, and time again taking photos, so when I visited today of course I took another photo. Strange how when I revisit places I tend to now remember them by the the photographs I once took there.