A PORTAIT JOURNAL

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

What are you interested in, when you visit new places? Is it the food, the landscape, or the climate that motivates you to chose a certain destination? Cities, or remote areas? Museums, or parks? Mountains, or oceans? People, or places?

Peru has everything a tourist or a photographer is wishing for. I saw and photographed many locals in all areas we visited during our trip to Peru, in 2019. Not necessarily the people (as I didn’t want to intrude into their personal life), but especially their traditional costumes, which are truly eye-catching, with their unique motifs and vivid colours.

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PE, Cusco: Beaten paths, yet to be discovered – wandering through the city

How to Peru in 2 weeks – Day #9: Museo de Arte Precolombino  – Twelve angled stone – Museo Kusicancha – Qurikancha Temple – Sacsayhuaman Fortress

 

At a high altitude of 3400 metres, Cusco is located at the west end of Huatanay Valley. Well protected by the surrounding mountains, the conquistadores destroyed the Inca buildings, and used the strong foundations for their colonial structures. But the solid streets and pathways remain unchanged, legacy of a strong civilization. Had they cars, maybe they would have built them wider, but they will remain in the same state for many years from now, even in this century when the city expanded so much, and the traffic in many areas looks impossible. The cobbled streets will stay famous for generations to come, and even though the Spanish maybe wished to destroy a culture, they couldn’t destroy the roots of it.

Cusco - view from plaza

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CA, Ontario: A visual history, Pembroke Heritage murals

Eager for a getaway, I was very happy when my dear friend O. invited us over, in the city where she’s been living for a while: Pembroke. Five hours from Toronto didn’t seem too long when the landscape we passed by was amazing, especially after we got off the main Highway 401. Nestled on the shores of the highlands of Ottawa River, the little and cozy city of Pembroke was first settled in 1828, due to the developing logging industry, as the first settlers found a rich region of white and red pines.

Pembroke mural - POINTER BOATS
POINTER BOATS painted by Craig Campbell 1990 In 1858 John Cockburn, an immigrant from England, established a boat building business on Pembroke’s waterfront: it was family run for 100 years. The Pointer boat was designed with two high pointed ends, and ranged from 18 feet to 50 feet. A fifty foot Pointer weighed 1/2 ton and could float in one and a half inches of water: known as the ‘boat that could float on heavy dew’. It was stable, tough, easy to handle, had quick response yet graceful in appearance.

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RO, Tulcea : Danube Delta – Sulina, the place where the river touches the sky

Getting stuck in the middle of Danube Delta, on one of the thousand little channels, seemed no fun once I realized there is no way of moving forward, neither backward, while dozens of mosquitoes were buzzing around, smelling fresh blood in their neighbourhood. Watching the snake rolling away on the floating moss, and the green frog smiling at me, I started to rewind in my mind how that happened. I was wondering if my desire to watch the birds was proportionally equal with the quantity of blood we are going to donate to the hungry mosquitoes from this shady channel, and the nearby swamp. Because you wouldn’t need a second glance to realize there is no passage, and the mosquitoes were not fed for ages. Continue reading

CA, Ontario: Photo essay – An idyllic winter wonderland

The winter might not be over yet in Ontario, but the last couple of days have been sunny, letting us hope the spring is around of corner. Canadians are pretty much used with harsh weather, but this winter especially was generous in snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, etc. But that is over, and who wants to remember tough moments, when the birds are out, chirping, and calling out for spring time?

I was overjoyed this morning when I could hear the birds in the whole neighbourhood, even though the snow sits generously on the sides of the street, waiting for higher temperatures to melt away. I couldn’t see the birds, but I could hear them singing on different voices from different directions. Pure bliss! Continue reading

RO, Alba – Freezing in the summer @ Scarisoara Ice Cave

After we visited Bear’s Cave and a local museum the day before in Chiscau, I was the first one to wake up (after a sleepless night) and explore the surroundings. I could talk a lot about my morning walk, watching the people doing their daily chores, listening the happy birds chirping in that glorious morning, and admiring the rich greenery surrounding the village. But the plan of the day was to visit another cave from this area, and by the evening to visit Corvin Castle in Hunedoara.

 

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RO, Bihor – Romania, a land of hidden gems: Bear’s Cave

It was a regular work day for Traian Curta, when, back in 1975 he was in charge with dynamiting a new area while working in a local mining exploitation company, when suddenly, a big grotto had opened beneath the ground. He didn’t want to get famous for being the first person to be lowered into that grotto, but he did it, and he was the first person who “visited” the cave up to the main gallery. After 5 years of explorations by amateur and professional speleologists, and building a basic infrastructure, the cave was opened for visitors in 1980.

Bears’ Cave is located in the Apuseni National Park, in the western side of the Apuseni Mountains, Transylvania, on the outskirts of Chiscau village, Bihor County, Romania.

Bear's cave - walking through the galleries Continue reading

CA, Ontario – Kissing birds and other stories – Bird watching around Lake Buckhorn

The month of December is coming to an end, and so is 2018. I’m not the type of person who usually makes a list of accomplishments, but I was thinking it would be nice to have a post with my best photos of the year. Then I realized that I have not made any posts this year with one of my favourite hobbies: bird watching. Observing the birds – these little and colourful creatures, gave me great joy this summer: I started noticing how much quicker a movement is in the air rather than on the ground, more than I did in the past. I started learning a lot from just observing them and seeing how they take care of their chicks, or how they feed themselves.

This summer I spent some time up north, around Lake Buckhorn again. Sometimes catching some fish, sometimes catching a good time, but definitely catching some pictures and wonderful memories.

The magic hour on Buckhorn Lake Continue reading