They’re back! Spoonbills in their regular nesting place: a tiny piece of swamp forest tugged in between a highway and a lake. The archetype nature images in our heads are pristine, without human influence. And I have to confess: as a nature photographer I always try to replicate these images. Even when the pictures are taken in a densely populated and completely transformed area. I think we have a longing and even a need for dreams of purity and paradise. And well, it feels a bit like paradise here.
And now they´re back. All the way from Africa, ready for summer. Temperatures are still quite low here, but every spring when they return my heart leaps up.
And it’s not just one… It’s so many of them!
What a feeling to stand here in the middle of nowhere, and just see, hear, smell and feel nature all around.
This last little fellow brings back memories of the card playing game I had as a child. The bluethroat was my favourite card! I love this time of spring when all these birds have returned with a promise of lovely summer days to come
A special place in the Algarve is Salema Beach, Praia da Salema, near Vila do Bispo. There you can find well preserved dinosaur footprints right at the beach. As you can see, the toes are round and without claws, which indicates that these are the prints of a herbivore, an Ornithopod, a bit like an Iguanodon.
It is estimated that these prints are roughly 130 million years old, dating from the Early Cretaceous. Standing in these footprints of dragons long ago spurred my imagination with fantasies of time machines and walking between those animals in another era.
Let me show you one of the magnificent beaches in the Algarve! Lovely to spend some time here, in between the chase for dinosaur prints at Salema.
Incredible to witness these dinosaur tracks and imagine how some 130 million millions years ago, huge lizards roamed this place. Salema Beach has more footprints, but they are well hidden. You´ll probably need a local guide to help you out, for even if you are standing close to these vertical rock formations the prints are difficult to see. António Alfarroba pointed them out. As you can see this one does have claws, so it must have been hunting for prey here. I´m afraid I haven´t been able to find out the exact species – if you do know it, you’re welcome to mention it.
Something completely different. Bread. The very first I ever baked, and it means so much to me! You have no idea. I took a huge risk given the visitor I expected. Simple recipe: whole grain flour, yeast, water and the simplest oven you can imagine. And it worked! It’s like magic.
Lovely to see the first ones of the year. In the backyard here in Hollandsche Rading, the winter jasmine is abundantly flowering.
Seeing this I realised I desperately need more yellow and summer colours. So this one is of a summer that feels so long ago.
Last one is of a visit to the Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar. There are a few items on permanent display that bring out the inner child in everyone – at least, they definitely did in me. Like Leandro Erlich’s swimming pool, Ron Mueck’s Couple under an Umbrella, the Open Ended maze of Richard Serra and the tiny elevators of Maurizio Cattelan.
At the moment there is an exhibition of the Italian artist Guiseppe Penone, who works with natural materials like trees and marble and leather, using the objects as a kind of memory or footprint of what has been. If you allow your mind to wander in his world, thoughts of interconnectedness of all visible and physical objects come up, of memories in the physical world and how we give meaning to what we experience with our senses.
This picture below is of Tiger, tiger, tiger; the hidden tigers at the bottom of porcelain of the Ming Dynasty of Ai Weiwei.
Going back down memory lane. Huge flocks of pictures are quietly scratching my hard drive. It’s time set some of them free and let them fly out into the wide wild world. Starting with the Algarve, Portugal.
First one above is the lighthouse at Sagres. Suddenly you’re in an Old Testament scene. A goat herd walking home after sunset in Vila do Bispo
Sunset at sea through a deserted customs building in Vila do Bispo
Sunset ´on the rocks´ near Atlantic ocean in Algarve, Portugal
Algarve beach in twilight after sunset
Same coast from a different point of view and way, way after sunset
Back to Nicosia. So there was this war, and the division of Cyprus in a Greek and a Turkish part. Terrible event, I really don´t understand why people feel the need to start wars. What I do understand, is that crossing the border in the streets of the divided city of Nicosia now had become a major tourist attraction. And that flags underline the national identity everywhere. On both sides.
The Turkish side of the city definitely looks poorer than the Greek side. Abandoned houses create an urbex atmosphere of mystery, lost dreams and desolation.
Then again… this Turkish side of Nicosia also has its charms, with summer holiday feelings on beautiful terraces.
So we went to the Moufflon Bookshop at Pantazis Court in Nicosia to get some local books. Tugged away in an apartment building, rooms filled to the top with books on all imaginable subjects and with the most friendly and helpful bookstore keeper one could imagine. Loved her, and just had to take her picture while working.
Enough Cyprus for now. It’s time for some new adventures.