it’s my Birthday and I’ll blog if I want to

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birthdayToday is my Birthday and I am having the most wonderful day – quiet and slow just like I enjoy my time to pass.

On my way back from the airport yesterday, I stopped off at Lidl and treated myself to roses and Raffaello and before I went to bed I placed the new lace runner (I bought it in a tiny shop in Lisbon) on my table, my birthday post balancing on top it.

It was nice to come down to such a pretty sight and enjoyed lingering over breakfast, reading birthday wishes, answering the phone, feeling much loved and special.

After a quick photo shoot for a magazine I wandered around a Christmas market (a little early I know) in Clontarf Castle, returning home with a cupcake for my tea.

And now I am enjoying a peaceful afternoon, reading and relaxing – a nice change to the busy long days I had in stunning Lisbon. And later I will venture into town for cocktail hour with some friends a perfect ending to a wonderful day.

my last day in Lisbon – Belem

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Against all odds it stayed quite dry today in Lisbon. So when I woke up and saw the sun shining I knew there was only one place to go – Belem.

I jumped on the Nr15 tram and was lucky enough to have a window-seat which allowed me some extra sightseeing time as the tram twisted and turned through the tight, curvy streets of Lisboa.

Not wanting to chance it too much I decided to take a stroll along the waterfront first and postponed the famous monastery and art  museum for later in the evening.

With the sun warm on my back, my rain jacket tided around my waist and my camera on my hip I took in big breaths of salty smelling air and enjoyed being out by the river.

After my time out on the water and a quick lunch in the sun I strolled down towards the monetary. But since I still had plenty of time and the sun was still high in the sky I decided to forgo the tourist queue at the monastery and wandered on to the botanic gardens.

I was greeted by towing palm trees, lots of green and some odd looking ducks. But as I wandered around the gardens I couldn’t help but compare it to the wonderful one in Dublin which (I am very honest here) beats it hands down – and it’s free! However I did enjoy my stroll, the fresh air and the birds.

Then it was time to venture into the monastery and I was extremely lucky. At three o’clock the crowds had cleared and I had space to see and enjoy the wonders that have made it famous, leaving me time to visit the museum afterwards  – avoiding the rain when it did then finally come.

Overall i enjoyed my trip to Portugal’s capital and I would go again to explore the corners I missed – due to time. And while I loved the sights and the people were very friendly, I will say that the food wasn’t great but the coffee and wine was!

ariving in Belem

ariving in Belem

02_park 03_detail 04_detail 05_feet 07_detail 06_detail 09_padraodosdescobrimentos 08_detail 10_lighthouse 11_tables 12_steps 13_window 15_nofishing 14_hook 16_steps 17_view 19_detail 18_window 22_window 20_canonball 21_canonball23_detail 24_detail 25_detail 26_window 27_detail 28_detail 29_bridge 29_me 30_tower 31_torredebelem

hidden Rhino - one was brought back from India and became a special symbol of Lisbon

hidden Rhino – one was brought back from India and became a special symbol of Lisbon

33_balconies 34_question35_green 36_window 37_art 38_roofs 39_church 40_view

Jeronimos Monastery

Jeronimos Monastery

42_detail

the botanic gardens

the botanic gardens

44_detail 45_orange 46_tree 47_palm

a leaf

a leaf

49_window 50_door51_flower 52_duck

cheeky ducky (have never seen a  duck tongue before)

cheeky ducky (have never seen a duck tongue before)

54_duck 55_chinees 56_peacock 57_peacock 58_statue 59_pond 60_pod 61_cock 62_washing 63_door 64_pillars 65_detail 66_detail 67_view 68_detail 69_view 70_detail 71_view 72_window 73_detail 74_bags 75_detail 76_detail 77_detail

the west door to the Jeronimos Monastary  (thank you stranger in red)

the west door to the Jeronimos Monastary (thank you stranger in red)

sadly not for me

sadly not for me

on my way to see some art - the Berardo Collection

on my way to see some art – the Berardo Collection

82_letters 83_metal

Warhol

Warhol

"artful" selfie in the museum of art

“artful” selfie in the museum of art

sun setting over the monastary

sun setting over the monastary

a bench

a bench

happy steps

happy steps

the ceiling I sat under

the ceiling I sat under

in the restaurant

in the restaurant

time to go home

time to go home

 

 

rainy day in Lisbon

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Today I wandered the streets of Lisbon in a perpetual state of wet, the skies wept all day long and my state of dampness just got worse throughout the day  – even though i was wearing a rain jacket.

And that wasn’t the only thing that dampened my mood this morning. While on my way up to the Castelo de San Jorge I stopped on some hidden flights of steps to take  a picture. A few moments earlier I had just passed three gypseyesque looking women, had greeted them, but while I had my head lifted up with my camera on my eyes I felt a presence and turned to find them reaching for my camera bag on my hip, one had her hand already on the zip. I got such a fright and it was more than obvious that they wanted to pick-pocket me so all I said was “thief”, loudly and clearly while looking them in the eye, and the three turned away, hurrying back down the steps.

Sadly that made me quiet upset as this has never, in all my travels, happened to me before, and I was only grateful to have caught them before the act, not after!

But my day got better and while I did have to endure a certain level of wet all day long I did see a lot on my wet wanderings around the Castelo / Alfama area of Lisbon. And here are my visual offerings of the day, so sorry there are so many!

gitterwindow

palm

outside Igreja da Sao Domingos

outside Igreja da Sao Domingos

scaffolding

a church on my way up to Castelo de Sao Jorge

a church on my way up to Castelo de Sao Jorge

first view of the day

first view of the day

some button blinds

some button blinds

yellowbluedoor

pretty blue pots

pretty blue pots

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Castelo de Sao Jorge

tour guide in Castelo de Sao Jorge

tour guide in Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

some old chains in Castelo de Sao Jorge

some old chains in Castelo de Sao Jorge

 

a detail in Castelo de Sao Jorge

a detail in Castelo de Sao Jorge

odd looking plants in Castelo de Sao Jorge

odd looking plants in Castelo de Sao Jorge

door in Castelo de Sao Jorge

door in Castelo de Sao Jorge

steps in Castelo de Sao Jorge

steps in Castelo de Sao Jorge

 

Castelo de Sao Jorge

Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

 

sun spots -  a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

sun spots – a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

colourfulroofstrees

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

wetflower

a naked women in the grounds of Castelo de Sao Jorge

a naked women in the grounds of Castelo de Sao Jorge

lemons in Castelo de Sao Jorge

lemons in Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

a view from Castelo de Sao Jorge

a peacock on the grounds of Castelo de Sao Jorge

a peacock on the grounds of Castelo de Sao Jorge

... and his friends

… and his friends

tuktukcolourfulhouses

castlepillar

doorway in Castelo de Sao Jorge

doorway in Castelo de Sao Jorge

balcony2

yellow

unlocked

unlocked

garland

inside a church

inside a church

a sleeping saint

a sleeping saint

tileschurchgreenwindowsoddwindow

wall flowers

wall flowers

outside  the Cathedral Se

outside the Cathedral Se

outside  the Cathedral Se

outside the Cathedral Se

 

inside  the Cathedral Se

inside the Cathedral Se

inside  the Cathedral Se

inside the Cathedral Se

inside  the Cathedral Se

inside the Cathedral Se

staying in bed and reading seems to be a very old tradition - inside  the Cathedral Se

staying in bed and reading seems to be a very old tradition – inside the Cathedral Se

se_reading2

a gremlin look-a-like - inside the cloister of Cathedral Se

a gremlin look-a-like – inside the cloister of Cathedral Se

a window in the cloister of the Cathedral Se

a window in the cloister of the Cathedral Se

a window in the cloister of the Cathedral Se

a window in the cloister of the Cathedral Se

inside the cloister of the Cathedral Se

inside the cloister of the Cathedral Se

inside the treasury of the Cathedral Se

inside the treasury of the Cathedral Se

inside the treasury of the Cathedral Se

inside the treasury of the Cathedral Se

rundowngreenwindow

 

window_pipesbalconypark

casadosbicos

casadosbicos2lamp_greenlisboa

some hand made tiles

some hand made tiles

birdcagegreentiles

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

view from Largo das Porta dos Sol

inside Igreja de Sao Vincente

inside Igreja de Sao Vincente

inside the cloister Igreja de Sao Vincente

inside the cloister Igreja de Sao Vincente

another door in Igreja de Sao Vincente

another door in Igreja de Sao Vincente

a hallway in the cloister Igreja de Sao Vincente

a hallway in the cloister Igreja de Sao Vincente

A woman sculpture crying at a tomb in the cloisters of Igreja de Sao Vincente

A woman sculpture crying at a tomb in the cloisters of Igreja de Sao Vincente

doors in Igreja de Sao Vincente

doors in Igreja de Sao Vincente

igrejadesaovicente_detail

a tiled room in Igreja de Sao Vincente

a tiled room in Igreja de Sao Vincente

on the roof of Igreja de Sao Vincente (very windy and I had the place all to myself - thank you rain)

on the roof of Igreja de Sao Vincente (very windy and I had the place all to myself – thank you rain)

on the roof Igreja de Sao Vincente

on the roof Igreja de Sao Vincente

a ghostly ship  - Igreja de Sao Vincente

a ghostly ship – Igreja de Sao Vincente

wetness everywhere, the pavements were just big puddles

wetness everywhere, the pavements were just big puddles

 

 

walking around Lisbon

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Lisbon was playing summertime today and as I walked around I was treated to sunny skies.  Today, on my second day in this beautiful city, I decided to wander around the area known as Bairo Alto and all the way down to Chidado.

I started and ended my trip n the tram, the Elevador da Gloria, as it is just around the corner of my hotel. And I have to admit I was very grateful not to have to trust my feet for the steep climb uphill, especially this evening as they were very tired and a little heavy.

Halfway through the day I lost my tour guide … or maybe I was too slow for it and it made it’s own way. All my notes got lost, and before I did I replaced it asap. Now I have to plan my next days again and just hope I don’t forget anything.

The weirdest thing that happened today was that while having lunch on the Rua Garrett a group of famous Portuguese ( didn’t know them) started singing a medley of Christmas songs – English ones in Portuguese and the square went wild … I enjoyed the oddity and my tomato salad.

And now I am about to go out for dinner and contemplate buying a really expensive dress I saw and loved … just not sure my budget will stretch. I can sleep on it but I am not sure that i will even find the store again, Lisbon is a labyrinth of alleyways.

Here are the photos I took, well a selection of the (literally) hundreds I shot, leaving my memory card full and my battery empty.

hot chestnuts

hot chestnuts

falling apart

falling apart

inside the Elevadoe da Gloria

inside the Elevadoe da Gloria

tram

seatsgate

even though it feels like summer the leaves tell a different tale

even though it feels like summer the leaves tell a different tale

stunning vies over Lisbon

stunning vies over Lisbon

you can see the water from up teher too

you can see the water from up there too

stripes

roofroofsroof2

some statutes loving the view

some statutes loving the view

rooftops_panorama

bench

newspaperboystatue

some alleyway

a hidden cloister dedicated to the inquisition

a hidden cloister dedicated to the inquisition

beautiful tiles inside

beautiful tiles inside

tilesblue2

love the ceiling

love the ceiling

even the confession booth looks lovely

even the confession booth looks lovely

detail1steps

some scaffolding holding an old building up

some scaffolding holding an old building up

some scaffolding holding an old building up

some scaffolding holding an old building up

some scaffolding holding an old building up

some scaffolding holding an old building up

an old lamp - new bulb

an old lamp – new bulb

love this window

love this window

inside the church "La Trindade Coelho)

inside the church “La Trindade Coelho”

gold everywhere

gold everywhere

a lightfixture

a lightfixture

a bronze of a tram ticket seller

a bronze of a tram ticket seller

tram lights

tram lights

the steps  do Duque

the steps do Duque

washing drying

washing drying

lots of steps but greta views

lots of steps but great views

lots of colourful houses

lots of colourful houses

look up

look up

old shoeboxes

old shoe-boxes

standing guard

standing guard

on the square Carmo

on the square Carmo

gypsy woman

gypsy woman

outside the Convento do Carmo

outside the Convento do Carmo

the door to the Convento Camo

the door to the Convento Camo

inside the ruins

inside the ruins

On the square do Carmo

On the square do Carmo

detail6 detail7celingcloister2lampcloistercelingcloisterdetail4

mirrored

mirrored

a crown

a crown

a tiled house

a tiled house

a pink balcony box

a pink balcony box

the ceiling  inside the curch on Rua Garrett

the ceiling inside the church on Rua Garrett

lavender in front of an alter

lavender in front of an altar

I sat beside this man (a famous writer - I forget the name) while having lunch

I sat beside this man (a famous writer – I forget the name) while having lunch

glossy pavement

glossy pavement

lovely seats

lovely seats

at the national opera  - sadly nothing playing this week

at the national opera – sadly nothing playing this week

rundown house

rundown house

window4

think people still live here

think people still live here

around teh corner from the opera

around the corner from the opera

stairways up

stairways up

lamp

lamp

too high to hang ... wonder how it got there

too high to hang … wonder how it got there

they painted the street pink in the Rua do Carvalho

they painted the street pink in the Rua do Carvalho

seats

seats

a handmade lamp ... wish it would fit into my suitcase

a handmade lamp … wish it would fit into my suitcase

a lovely cafe

a lovely cafe

whitesflowerpotsfishing

the Elevador da Bica

the Elevador da Bica

back in the tram - this time the Elevador da Bica

back in the tram – this time the Elevador da Bica

 

 

Departing Dublin, Landing in Lisbon

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Today I set all my stress aside, rose early (in the middle of the night really) and made my way to Dublin airport. For weeks now I have been looking forward to my trip away and I couldn’t wait to depart Dublin for a trip to Lisbon.

The wonderfully weird thing was that the flight was filled with part tourists, part Portuguese and a huge party of Catholic priests so I spent the two and half hour flight discussing exorcism, confession and the immaculate conception of Mary. No wonder the time flew (sorry pun) by and I felt safe in the knowledge that surely the prayers of all these holy men would be enough to hold the plane in air.

I have never been to Portugal and the once magnificent city of Lisbon seemed the perfect place to start exploring this part of Europe. So when I landed before Lunch in Lisbon I just couldn’t hide my excitement .

Now after my first day of walking Lisbon’s cobblestones my feet are sore, my head is tired and my heart is full. Here are a few shoots I took on my wanderings.

Rossio Square - walking on black and white

Rossio Square – walking on black and white

Rossio is Lisbon's main square and dates back to Roman times but has been reinvented time and time again

Rossio is Lisbon’s main square and dates back to Roman times but has been reinvented time and time again

drinking fountain on Rossio

drinking fountain on Rossio

waiting to be turned on (Rossio)

waiting to be turned on (Rossio)

bubbling water (Rossio)

bubbling water (Rossio)

fountain4

looking up from the ground

looking up from the ground

view up to the Barrio do Castelo

view up to the Barrio do Castelo

TuK-Tuk ride anyone?

TuK-Tuk ride anyone?

looking unkempt

looking unkempt

the sun caught on the Christmas lights on Rua  da Prata

the sun caught on the Christmas lights on Rua da Prata

windows

windows

had my lunch is this quirky cafe / vintage shop called  "The Other Face of the Moon"  (A Outra Face da Lua) just off Rua da Prata

had my lunch is this quirky cafe / vintage shop called “The Other Face of the Moon” (A Outra Face da Lua) just off Rua da Prata

the view you have when walking out

the view you have when walking out

corner in Baixa - the 'aging' heart of Lisbon

corner in Baixa – the ‘aging’ heart of Lisbon

a church bell

a church bell

fenced off

fenced off

tiled houses are a common sight

tiled houses are a common sight

street signs

street signs

door knockers  for my cousin

door knockers for my cousin

corner2

reflecting beauty

reflecting beauty

arches down at Praca do Comercio

arches down at Praca do Comercio

street lights on the Praca, down by the river

street lights on the Praca, down by the river

the Igreja da Misericordia didn't survive the 1755 earthquake (like most of Lisbon) but the portal was left standing with Our Lady of Mercy in center stage

the Igreja da Misericordia didn’t survive the 1755 earthquake (like most of Lisbon) but the portal was left standing with Our Lady of Mercy in center stage

a cheerful cafe

a cheerful cafe

another knocker

another knocker

Dom Jose I, king at the time of the earthquake, looks out to the river that caused the distruction

Dom Jose I, king at the time of the earthquake, looks out to the river that caused the distruction

at the harbour

at the harbour

maritime motive

maritime motive

looking across the river

looking across the river

panorama

panorama

Triumphal arch at the end of Rua Augusta

Triumphal arch at the end of Rua Augusta

detail on the Triumphal arch

detail on the Triumphal arch

the other side of the Triumphal arch

the other side of the Triumphal arch

falling down, even though Lisbon is a thriving city you can see the decay everywhere, but you can also see a lot of renovation taking place too.

falling down, even though Lisbon is a thriving city you can see the decay everywhere, but you can also see a lot of renovation taking place too.

still on the Rua Augusta, Lisbon's longest pedestrian street

still on the Rua Augusta, Lisbon’s longest pedestrian street

blue tiles

blue tiles

tipsy window

tipsy window

on the square again (Rossio)

on the square again (Rossio)

up the hill

up the hill

fuss for nothing

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Well if I had known that getting your wisdom teeth out really isn’t bad I wouldn’t have freaked myself out.

Yesterday when I entered my dentist with knocking knees and trembling lips I was ready to be sedated, but when I sat down into that evil reclining chair the lovely Pakistani dental surgeon took one look at me and decided I didn’t need sedation after all.

With one eye on my x-ray and one measuring my cheek he ensured me that I wouldn’t need to be put under but that a needle would do the job. letting the expert decide I leaned back opened wide and quickly shut my mouth again when I saw the length of the needle ready to inject me with local anesthesia.

Digging deep, looking for my courage that was hiding behind every other emotion I have, I let the lovely dentist do his job and he promised it would be over in no time. And it was! In under ten minutes he had tugged and pulled my wisdom tooth from its home, leaving me with a gap and very surprised.

I couldn’t (and still can’t) believe how fast it was and how painless. Other than that long needle I didn’t feel a thing, and now thanks to a battery of painkillers I am doing fine and I am so sorry I made all that fuss for nothing.

Now all I hope is that the filling i need will be just as painless!

 

losing my wisdom

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Today’s the day, my wisdom tooth has to go and at 5pm a man in white is taking it away. And I have to admit I am quite terrified about the whole procedure., but I don’t really have a choice and just want it to be over.

So while I know it is for the best, after all I am chewing the inside of my cheek and that is more than a little sore, I can’t help but try and talk myself out of it. After all – maybe, who knows, if my wisdom tooth goes so could any wise thoughts I may have.

And what is it with going to the dentist that is so horrific? Is it the smell, the sounds or just those big hands digging around in your mouth? And who, in their right minds, would ever consider becoming a dentist?

But no matter what the answer to these questions are I will just have to bite the bullet, open my mouth and let my tooth be pulled. And since the wisdom tooth is so close to it’s neighbour I have a bit of caries that needs attention too, woe is me as another visit to the dentist is on the books next week or so.

Luckily for me a friend will pick me up, even if I am in a doped up drooling state, and bring me home, so I will have a shoulder to cry on if all goes bad, and a hug even if all goes well.

But before my nightmare becomes real I have to lecture in my trembling state but I am sure my students will forgive me. And help me feel prepared I am charging my ipod shuffel in the hope it will play some soothing music to keep my calm in the chair.

And who knows maybe it won’t be as bad as I expect and maybe the hole in my jaw will fill up with brilliant thoughts and colourful dreams, making up for losing my wisdom.

You may not realise it when it happen, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

Walt Disney

DLight moments

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Yesterday I accompanied my neighbour and her toddling son for a short walk down to the DLight studios. It was market time again so we decided to see if anyone had anything to entice some pennies out of our pockets.

Sadly the market wasn’t great but we had a cup of coffee over a chat and I decided to see if I could find anything of interest to aim my camera at. So here are my DLight moments:

some flags adding a hint of colour

some flags adding a hint of colour

looking up

looking up

steps

steps

ladder

ladder

the view

the view

still life

still life

wall of faces

wall of faces

barrel

barrel

power on

power on

colours

colours

Sundays – 52 days to relax

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We all lead very busy lives, Monday to Friday we spin, twist and turn to try, we run to and fro, we stress and sleep little and rival worker ants and busy bees in our flurry to try and get every thing done.

And when it’s not the job it’s socializing, hobbies, family and housework that keeps our hands occupied and our brains buzzing. The 24 hours of everyday just tick over from one into the next, no pause, no break just a few hours every night we allow our eyes to close and our bodies to shut down.

Before we could surf the net every given hour and our phones lived in our hands or pressed against our ears once a week we had a day off, to reflect, relax and enjoy some undisturbed moments.

When I was a blond haired little girl Sundays was the day the family spent together, no play-dates, no shopping trips, no work … but as time moved by and I grew up shops opened their doors and invited everyone inside to a multicoloured world of commerce and money spending.

As c=jobs changed and become more flexible and less nine to five, people took work home with them and spent Sundays stuck behind a desk. Free-lancers became available twenty-four seven and so did their working hours.

Now I wonder what happened to those 52 days we once had to relax? After all if Sundays have mutated from a day of rest into a day just like the rest, how do we structure a regular day to relax?

So maybe, just maybe, we should just not follow advancement and modern times and learn a lesson from the “good old days” and decide that no one should have our Sundays.

Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.

Poet Joseph Addison

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