What is danger?

We each have our own perception of danger don’t we? I have no fear of heights, but having been bitten by a spider I find them dangerous. I’ve been in a huge bat cave in Borneo, but because it was a climb up inside,  saw no danger.

Now, put me in a dark hole in the ground, that’s my idea of danger. Being enclosed like that is scary, really grim. But I did it anyway, some fears are meant to be conquered aren’t they?

 

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But I won’t be going down a lava tube again!

 

On the Way To . . .

Sometimes we find interesting places on the way to other places, Michelle at the Daily Post asks us to share them for this weeks photo challenge. Here are the ones I’ve chosen for you.
Taormina in Sicily is real jewel of a town and one of the ways of getting there is by train. We travelled from Fiumefredo and were delighted to find this stunning ceiling in the ticket office when we arrived at Taormina station.
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This road is on the way to the entrance of Sepilok, the orang-utan rehabilitation centre in Sabah, Borneo. It was a hot, and humid walk from our rain forest lodge, but well worth it for the amazing experience of seeing these wonderful creatures up close.

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The long road from the north of Ghana was dotted with villages, where people would rush out to greet us, and we could by eggs and fruit for lunch.

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This is the view from the air on the way to Sandakan, from Kota Kinabalu, Borneo. The coast is surrounded by coral reefs, the only time I’ve attempted to snorkel. I love the sea, but I’m not a strong swimmer, so I had to be brave to try it. It turned out to be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.
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There are lots of on the way posts to visit here, and you can join in too!

Trekking with a reward

Parco Dell’Etna in the north east of Sicily is a dynamic landscape. When I visited in 2013, there were nineteen eruptions, hence climbing up to the crater was prohibited. Etna, Europe’s highest volcano is 3323 metres high and also the most active. We spent a day driving around the national park, but soon realised that the best way to see it was with a guide, so we shared a 4 wheel drive with two other travellers.
We set off from Monte Sartorius, on a 5 kilometre trail to 2000 metres. A bright sunny day but getting cooler the higher we went.

This stuff isn't the easiest to walk on
This stuff isn’t the easiest to walk on
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This tree was damaged by an eruption

 


Getting higher . . .

But not as high as them yet
But not as high as them yet

Some of the lava has very sharp edges, some gives way under your feet, concentration is necessary!
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This path felt rather precarious, narrow, no grip and a steep drop.

The view was getting better
The view was getting better
Until . . .
Until . . .
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At last we reach our highest point with Mount Etna in front of us

Looking back down towards the valley

Down below the tree line
Down below the tree line
And way across to the Alcantara mountain range
And way across to the Alcantara mountain range

This was a two to three hour walk, steep in some places but not particularly challenging. It was a bit of a knee killer though and I could feel that I’d done something the next day, the reward outweighed the pain though!

Il Parco Dell’Etna

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and last year, just after my visit, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As recently as last month it was putting on a pyrotechnic display, closing the nearby airport at Catania. All was calm when I was there. Travelling friend and I stayed in an hotel with a distant view – if you craned your neck a little on the balcony, and ignored the buildings in the way.
We went up twice, first of all independently and we couldn’t resist a guided tour a couple of days later.
Here are some photos taken at about 2000 metres, cool and grey with mile after mile of lava from various past eruptions.


In June there were miles of empty roads, lots of stopping places for photos and an almost creepy stillness.
You quite quickly descend to sunshine and there the flora and fauna is pretty.


Etna can be seen from all over the east of Sicily and when you’re up there the views down are amazing.
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Going down.

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Towards the sea.

I enjoyed  looking back on my time on Etna, I’ll post some photos of the guided tour soon!

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

For this week’s photo challenge, share your interpretation of “on the move.” You can be the subject of your image, or you might want to experiment with movement or transportation in a different way.

Says Cheri Lucas Rowlands over at the Daily Post. So for this weeks challenge I decided I would focus on the coast. except that in the first photo you will just have to believe that I was heading for the coast!

Heading to the Isola Bella at Taormina
Heading to the Isola Bella at Taormina

And here are a few more shots on the move.

Would you like to join in? visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/on-the-move/

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold and Bastets Pixelventures

Krista at the Daily Post has picked the theme of THRESHOLD for the weekly photo challenge this week. She says,

A threshold is a point of entering; that point just before a new beginning — that split-second moment in time, full of anticipation. All the hard work is over; relief is palpable.

I find thresholds exciting, that strange space or feeling when things could be vastly different depending on a choice, so it inspired a poem.

threshold

Threshold

the threshold of disintegration

crumbling shattered overgrown

with vine tendrils both living and lost

where Capulet fingers perhaps lingered

 

flakes of rust eating into metal that

rests precariously no support for any arm

that dares to lean to stretch towards

the golden light still dawning

 

balcony of decay and neglect

standing on pillars of sustenance

destined to fall or rise from

the threshold of disintegration

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/photo-challenge-threshold/

Bastets pixelventures challenge is looking for pictures that inspire a poem so I’d like to add this post, I think it fits

http://wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com/2014/03/31/bastets-pixelventures-april-1-2014/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

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‘A place reveals itself on its streets, from pedestrians strolling during lunch time, to performers entertaining tourists on sidewalks, to the bustle of local markets, and more. Whether you’re shoveling snow from your own driveway or walking a familiar route to work or getting lost in a foreign city, a snapshot of a street (or road or path) can tell a tale.’ So says Cheri Lucas Rowlands over at the Daily Post.

I’ve chosen street life from four different countries, each with many tales to tell.

The first is my own city, Exeter, in England.

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Fiumefredo in Sicily.

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Okohia, my ancestral village in Nigeria

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The last one is in New Delhi.

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Click for a bigger view and join in with the challenge at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/street-life/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Josh at the Daily Post asks that we show a picture of ‘Inside’ for this weeks challenge. I’m a bit technologically challenged today because my PC is dying and my new laptop isn’t set up yet – wish me luck with that please!

I’ve found something to post though!

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Inside a Cappadochian cave.

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The rope I held to scramble into a cave formed by volcanic eruptions on Mount Etna, Sicily.

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Our guide deep inside the cave.

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Inside Gomantong caves Borneo.

To join in visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/weekly-photo-challenge-inside-2/

Beginnings on Etna

Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and it’s been very active in the last year. When I visited in June 2013, it wasn’t possible to climb it because of the eruptions in April.  I could still tour the area and the best views of Etna are possible from the 1800 metres Monti Sartorius,which I did climb.

Travelling around Etna you will see lava flow, both recent and ancient. Where there has been a flow, vegetation takes times to recover, but gradually signs of life appear through the ash.

etna

Where there are full grown trees, they have grown through lava from way back.  Christmas tree sized and the lava is not so old, and in places where there is only low growing plant life, soapworts for example, the lava is from very recent eruptions. So, the flora is beginning to re-establish itself.

Click on my photo for a closer view.

This post is for Cheri Lucas Rowlands WPC at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/photo-challenge-beginning/