Weekly Photo Challenge: Roy G. Biv.

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The challenge this week is to share a photo that contains all the colours of the rainbow (or an actual rainbow).

If I am honest, I could not have asked for a better theme this week as today marks the start of the annual Hogueras (Bonfires) Festival in Alicante. The Bonfires of San Juan is a spectacularly colourful event where the people of Alicante, and its surrounding areas, take to the streets in droves in order to ring in the summer in the only way they know how – with a party.Alicante16 Alicante15

Las Hogueras is a celebration of music, colour, art, fireworks and extravagance which, to give them credit, only Spanish people can pull off with such class! So, with all that said and done, it´s time for this week´s theme: the colours of the rainbow. Here is my take on the challenge, I hope you enjoy!

So, there you have it, my colourful entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more,click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Off- Season.

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The challenge this week is to share a photo that expresses what “off-season” means to you.

Off-season is quite an unusual challenge but a good one to ease me back into the realm of the weekly challenge again. My entry may not be the most original entry but I went with the first idea that came into my head. I felt it was a winner. I figure the first thought that comes into your head is normally what the topic means to you anyway so; why fight it?

One place that I fail to grow tired of is the beach, especially during off-season. I relish the beach during this period and each time I go I have my trusty little camera in tow ready to snap anything that comes my way.

I just love how calming the beach is, it´s the one place where hours seem to pass like minutes. I just love rocking up with my little towel, my camera and a notebook to spend some of the most peaceful few hours I could ask for, bliss. Who needs expensive retreats when you have a beach on your doorstep?

Enough rambling, time to share some of the photos that I feel capture off-season at its best. I do hope you enjoy them.

So, there you have it, my humble entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more,click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh.

The challenge this week is to : “share a photo that expresses something fresh.”

Freshness is such a powerful concept, not only is it powerful but it is also something which holds a different meaning for each individual.  Freshness to you maybe about trying to fix something that´s broken, starting over or creating something better. To someone else it could be about the beauty of the morning air, the way the light dances through the trees at midday or the refreshing quality of nature in general. There´s no doubt that whatever your take on the theme may be, it will be beautiful and inspiring.

For me, freshness at its best is that first breath of morning air, the sound of the birds tweeting and the beauty that surrounds that moment. The Photo, or should I say photos, that I have chosen to convey this challenge are a mixture of the beauty of nature and a fresh look at the world around me.

I´m lucky to live in a country area where every morning brings with it a different breath of freshness, usually involving sunshine. This weekend, however, the weather was most certainly not conducive to the beautiful images of light and grace that I had envisaged when I first read this challenge.  In saying that, the stormy weather brought with it a new kind of light, an endearing one, one which sparked my creativity and forced me to re-evaluate my idea of freshness.

So, here are the end results of stepping outside my ideal of light and grace and challenging myself to take a fresh look at the area around me. I hope you like the results as much as I do!

So, there you have it, my humble entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more,click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Bringing freshness to its source

Bringing freshness to its source

Just a quick little note before I go. I have managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

The challenge this week is: “to share an image of a wall that reveals a place, people, or you.”

As a child, I found myself continuously amused at the saying:

 “If only these walls could talk…the world would know just how hard it is to tell the truth in a story in which everyone’s a liar.”

It´s funny how some sayings stick with you. The minute I saw this challenge not only did this quote spring to mind but also, surprisingly, Tangier.

Tangier, for me at least, is a perfect example of this, particularly as you wandered through the Medina and its crumbling buildings. The Medina, filled with character, has a magical quality about it. Walking through it is like being in a different era. However, while the guides focus on selling the hustle and bustle of this wondrous place, highlighting its excitement and vitality, your gaze cannot help but be drawn to the tragic dilapidation of its buildings and their crumbling walls. Especially if you have just come from Tangier´s modern zone which is the epitome of wealth.

This stark contrast of poverty and wealth immediately stirs up a sense of curiosity, so much so that these crumbling walls begin to take on a new meaning. They begin to reveal the pain, struggle and suffering that they have witnessed and, if you are anything like me, you find yourself asking: just how many secrets are hiding behind this rubble. Oh, “if only these walls could talk…”

Weekly Challenge Wall4

So, there you have it, my humble entry into the weekly challenge this week. If you liked it, and would like to see some more,click here to be brought to the challenge page.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Rediscovering Ireland: Coney Island, Sligo.

From Eagles Flying to a quaint little island; the next stop on my trip brought me to the lovely Coney Island.  While it may not be as famous as the Coney Island in the USA, it certainly has a lot to offer. Well, at least in my eyes anyway! At approximately 400 acres, the island is quite small to say the least but, as they say, size isn´t everything. The island is located just off the coast of Sligo, between Strandhill and Rosses Point. It´s a curious little island as, if you´re feeling adventurous, you can walk or drive there from Strandhill. Make sure to check the tide times before you go though, the last thing you want is your car to be swallowed by water! However, don´t worry, if you´re not up to the drive then you can always get a boat taxi from Rosses Point. That ruins all the fun though, if you ask me!

Coney Island, which got its name from the vast quantity of rabbits which can be spotted on the island, is an island packed with rugged beauty. Not only is it visually pleasing but, to add to its charm, it is packed full of legends which tell of faeries, mermaids and spirits.  If this is something that appeals to you then this is the island for you. While there, you can indulge in its folklore and visitors can even visit St Patrick´s wishing chair, St Patrick´s well, the remains of a washed up whale and some fairy forts: just to name but a few of the special attractions on this island.

Nowadays, the island is only inhabited by one family. Which, for me anyway, adds to the charm of this little retreat. As you wander around the island, apart from rabbits, you are hard pushed to bump into anyone on the single lane track that boarders the island. Such a fantastic place to go if you want to completely disconnect! Be careful though, as we learned, it is not advisable to drive round the island. Its track is not exactly what I would can roadworthy. We had the rather challenging task of doing a two point turn on a cliff edge, as we could not drive any further on the track. My advice: park up at the pub and explore the island on foot!

So; if you´re looking for an experience that´s a little different,  I´d certainly recommend a trip to the island. I have to say though, as much as I enjoyed the island, the highlight for me was most certainly the drive over. It´s more than a little memorable. At points in the journey you feel as though you´re actually driving on water. My friend and I were so taken by the drive over, it´s all we could talk about when asked about our trip there. It´s not everyday you get the experience of driving through the sea!

There you have it, a short and sweet post on a small and sweet Island. It´s a little later than I had anticipated, life gets in the way sometimes. I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip there.  I most certainly would recommend visiting the island. While I´m not sure if it would be everyone´s cup of tea; I do know that it was an experience I´ll never forget.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have just managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Rediscovering Ireland: Knocknarea Hill, Sligo.

Next stop on the trip was: Knocknarea Hill. By now, fourth post into this series on Ireland, you may be starting to think that I have a slight obsession with the outdoors. You know what? I probably have. I can´t help it – I just love being out and about; exploring, taking photos. Just enjoying the fresh air, really. That´s why I loved this trip so much! It just felt so good being in the outdoors, soaking up the natural beauty of my surroundings, for a whole week. No work to worry about.  Anyway, enough rambling. Time to tell you all about Knocknarea.image

I was quite excited about this hike. My friend, who does this walk on a regular basis, had been raving about how spectacular it was. She even went as far as saying that I would be in photography heaven once I stepped out of the car and, I have to admit, she was right. However, be warned; you need more than just your camera to venture on this uphill trek. There isn´t one specific pathway, so be sure to wear a good pair of sneakers or hiking boots to navigate the sometimes rough terrain. Apart from being rough, it´s also quite steep and,  after climbing the final 40 feet in this expedition, you will be glad you wore your sneakers. Not only because of the height of the hill but also because the loosely deposited rocks can make this part of the hike difficult at times. However, the pay off when you reach the top makes it worth every minute. All I can say is: if you were impressed by the mountain’s summit, you will be in awe once you reach the top.

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The hike itself takes about forty minutes in all. However, being the photo addict that I am, it took us about an hour in total to do the walk. I was literally winded on this walk, and not due to my fitness levels, the landscape that unfolded was just breath-taking.  The summit of Knocknarea is nothing short of fascinating, offering views of the town and surrounding county. It´s easy to see why William Butler Yeats referred to it as “The land of heart´s desire.” There was just such a variety of tones and textures; between the mountains, the sea and the countryside,  it´s hard not to be impressed by it.

Another little interesting fact about Knocknarea is that, once you get to the top, you will see a 40ft high stone cairn, Meascan Meadhbha. This cairn is said, in Irish folklore, to have been built for the mythical Iron Age Queen Maeve. They say that Queen Maeve was buried there after being killed by her own nephew. Queen Maeve´s death is a curious one, having killed her own sister, her nephew sought revenge and killed her with a piece of hard cheese which he launched from a slingshot – strange but apparently true. Anyway, people say that you should bring a stone up with you to place on the cairn for Queen Maeve, it is meant to bring you luck. However, when we did the walk, I was oblivious to this custom. It was only after, when I was speaking to my uncle, that he told me about the reason for, what I had called: a massive pile of stones on top of the hill. Such a curse to be ignorant to Irish folklore and history. I keep threatening to  become more knowledgeable about Irish history but, unfortunately, I never get round to it: maybe this summer I´ll be able to brush up on my knowledge. Anyway, back to the cairn. Since speaking to my uncle I was inspired to read up on it and was surprised to discover that it is actually the largest unopened cairn in Ireland. They say that under the cairn, apart from Maeve´s tomb, lies a passageway. However, what truly lies beneath will most likely remain a mystery as there are no plans to excavate it.

That´s it for today´s post. It´s a little later than I had anticipated, I had too many corrections to focus on today. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. Stay tuned for tomorrow´s post.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have just managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Rediscovering Ireland: Eagles Flying, Ballymote.

From graveyards to wildlife. My next post brings us to the beautiful Eagles Flying Centre, a sanctuary for Birds of Prey and Owls. The sanctuary, located amid the beautiful landscape of North-West Ireland, is one of the biggest centres for Birds of Prey and Owls in the country. The centre, which is run by Zoologist Lothar F. Muschketat, is very different from anything I had ever experienced before. Not only is the focus of the centre on educating people about these glorious species but, also, they have a hospital and rehabilitation centre where they dedicate their time to healing injured birds from around the country.

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Eagles flying is situated on 27 hectares of land. As you make your way around the grounds you really feel like you´re in another world. There are some donkeys, peacocks, hens, pigs, goats, rams, dogs, cats, and ferrets – to name but a few animals, roaming freely in their well-kept habitats. It´s so refreshing to see animals being allowed to wander freely; such a change to all the zoos that I have been to before. Somehow, whenever I go to a zoo, I instantly free sad. Seeing those beautiful animals caged up just feels wrong to me. However, the atmosphere here is completely different. The animals are lively, friendly and uninhibited by human contact. In fact, some of the animals, come running up to you as soon as they see you, which, in my mind anyway, shows just how well looked after they are when they are not afraid or threatened by humans.

How big is that pig?! Goose

The whole experience was a fun one. I was lucky enough to go with a friend and her godson. I say lucky because the staff are fantastic to young children. They were bubbly, full of chat and made the children feel so at ease around the birds and animals which, considering the size of some of the birds, is not an easy task. One of the staff members, who found out about my fear of mice through my friend, even tried to help me get over my fear. However, unlike with the children, he failed to put me at ease! But, hey, at least he tried, right? It´s not his fault I´m a lost cause!

Shortly after we arrived the interactive flying show started. The show itself was overseen by the knowledgeable and humorous  Zoologist Lothar F. Muschketat. I have to say that I loved every minute of the show. The main stars of the show were Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, Vultures and Owls. All of  the birds delighted in the act of swooping over your head or, in some cases, landing next to you to say hello. During the show each bird has a moment in the spot light. And, while the birds themselves focus their attention on wowing the audience with their grace and beauty, Lothar provides the audience with detailed information about each bird including their unique hunting and flying skills. One fact that I took away with me is that birds only fly for three reasons: the first one ( quite obvious) is to get from A to B, the second is when they want food and the third is when another bird is attempting to eat them. The rest of the time the birds remain happily perched on branches watching the world go by. While this is actually logical – common sense, really,  I had never taken the time to think about it.

After the show it was time to head to the petting zoo. Which, if I´m honest, was one of my favourite parts. Seeing how excited the children were as they got to play with rabbits, with mice, with sheep and have real piggy backs on the humongous pig was just priceless. At one point Lothar even brought out a snake for the children, and me (the biggest child),to play with. He was so patient with the children, teaching them how to stroke the snake, how to behave around the snake and telling them all about the dangers of being around snakes. He was fantastic. Even when one of the younger kids thought it would be a good idea to run and jump beside the snake Lothar remained calm and just explained the danger of the child´s actions. They did think I was a bit different though;having a fear of mice but yet being able to hold and play with a snake. However, once I quickly explained that any animal that eats mice is a friend of mine, they laughed and saw the funny side of my illogical fear.

All in all, it was a memorable experience. So many things stuck out for me while I wandered through the centre. It was great to see how at peace the animals and birds were in their home, how much freedom they had to roam about, how friendly the staff were and how much time and dedication they gave to each of the animals. It´s an experience I would most certainly repeat again. It´s something that I feel would provide you with a different experience each time you go because, as we all know only too well, animals and birds are spontaneous so each visit would be unique.

If you would like some more detailed information on the sanctuary then feel free to click here to be brought to their website.

That´s it for today´s post. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. Stay tuned for tomorrow´s post.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have just managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo