Walking with the Romans: Part 2

Roman Bridge over the River Guadiana. Merida Sapin

Roman Bridge over the River Guadiana. Merida Sapin

Merida is not a large place, with a population of around 64,000 people. A pleasant place, it is not different from many other Spanish towns, with friendly people, many bars and restaurants with one exception, that being that as being one of the Roman Empires capitals in the Iberian Peninsula it is home to some of the best preserved Roman Ruins in Europe. As a result in 1993 it was established as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.The town was founded in 25 BC, with the name of Emerita Augusta which means discharged soldiers – of the army of Augustus, who founded the city; the current name Mérida was derive from this, changed and altered by its conquest by the Muslims and other down through history. Its main purpose for all these conquers was to protect a bridge over the River Guadiana.

The path of the Camino Pilgrim will take you over this bridge with 64 granite arches that remain intact and in use to this day as a pedestrian walkway and is one of the longest Roman bridges remaining in existence.  At the end of this bridge stands the Alcazaba a fortress that was initially built by the Romans, but later occupied by the Moors. Over it main gate you will find a reference dedicating it to Allah.

from the Alcazaba in Merida Spain.

from the Alcazaba in Merida Spain.

In more recent history it was taken and occupied by Napoleon, and both opposing side of the Spanish Civil Wars, such was its strategic importance. Further into the town you will find sitting side by side, a Roman Forum and Theatre. The former similar to that found in Italica, was use for gladiator fights and as you proceeds down the stairs into the ring it offers life-size mock ups of the different types of gladiators, their specific armour and who they would normally fight. However of the two the theatre is the most spectacular. While breathtaking as a tourist attraction, it is still used for plays and festivals by the local population.

Roman Forum, Merida Spain

Roman Forum, Merida Spain

Roman Amphitheater, Merida Spain

Roman Amphitheater, Merida Spain

Equally as spectacular is the Temple of Diana. Surprisingly this building is surrounded by a simple fence low fence to protect it from errant tourists, is located close to the centre of town on one of Merida many pedestrian walkways, such that hundreds of working Spaniards walk by it ever day on the way to and from work.

Temple Diana, Merida Spain

Temple Diana, Merida Spain

more great stories and architecture tomorrow….

Text by W.E.Foreman Photos by JMeyersForeman

Early Morning coffee, Estella Spain

early morning coffee; Estella Spain,

early morning coffee; Estella Spain,

Soon we will be back in Spain, this time walking the Via La Plata from Seville to Santiago de Composella, and looking forward to sunrises and early morning coffee.  We have been planning and preparing for this journey for quite sometime now and we are almost ready to go.

Deciding what to pack was easier, we know we have to take less in our backpack, and yes I will be carrying less camera gear! We know we need to do more training, with no time to get out to walk I have taken to wearing my full backpack around the house, while I get the vacuuming and the chores done. I figure going up and down the stairs as often as I do is as good as any of the hills around Calgary.

I couldn’t find a map book with the route, so I have pulled together the information from the internet and made our own, and I have found an app for the phone. I will let you know how that information works out as we walk.

With some loose ends to tie up, we will fly through Toronto next week to visit the family, before heading to Portugal for a short visit with more family. We expect to be on the camino to Santiago de Compostela mid March. If you have any information you would like to share about Spain, or your journey we would love to hear from you.

Sunrise; Imperial Sand Dunes, Yuma Arizona

Sunrise, Imperial Sand Dunes, Yuma Arizona

Sunrise, Imperial Sand Dunes, Yuma Arizona 

I love getting up early to see the sunrise,  we drove out to the north end of the Imperial Sand Dunes, earlier in our visit. There were a few wispy clouds, and for a few moments they caught the colour of the sun and reflected it back. It was quite amazing how far the sunlight was reflected in the clouds. We were 40 miles north-west of Yuma, at the north end of the Imperial Sand Dunes.

What a beautiful way to start the day.

Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain; annual statistics

Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain

La Cruz de Ferro is a huge iron cross on the Camino de Santiago and is located between the towns of Foncebadón and Manjarín Spain, along the Camino Frances. We walked the Camino Frances the autumn of 2012, and arrived at the historic site of Cruz Ferro just before sunrise; that is Bill on the right side of the image, busy taking pictures of the people, the flags, notes and stones left by so many pilgrims before us.

The Pilgrim office in Santiago de Compostela publish statistics each year then number of pilgrims  that have received the Compostela for their walk, during the year. Bill and I plan on walking the Via la Plata; our journey is scheduled to start mid March. The Via la Plata is a longest camino in Spain, about 1000k long. We have spent the last couple of months preparing for the walk, we plan to take our time, and visit many of the historic sites, and take plenty of photos. I think the photos almost goes without saying, those who know me and a few who have been following the blog will know that the trip is all about the photography!! About 4% of the people who arrived at the Camino office in Santiago de Compostela walked the Via la Plata, just over 1% walking from Seville.

The Via la Plata is referred to as the quiet walk, as so few, in comparison to the Camino Frances, follow this route.   Many pilgrim/bloggers have written about days of walking alone. Bill and I are looking forward to the walk, and the time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We plan on leaving Seville mid March, 2014, we are hoping for good weather!

Imperial Sand Dunes at Sunrise

Imperial Sand Dunes at Sunrise

Imperial Sand Dunes at Sunrise 

We woke early Friday morning to drive approximately 40 miles northwest of Yuma Arizona, to the north end of the Imperial Sand Dunes. The Imperial Sand Dunes located in the southwest corner of California, and bordering Arizona the largest mass of inland sand dunes, and is a mecca for ATV’s and off-road enthusiasts

This photo was taken from the Osborn Overlook off highway 78, looking east towards the sunrise we can see the vehicle traffic on highway 78 heading west. Osborn Overlook at the north end of the recreation area, just down the road camping, and ATV rentals. Sunrise is the quietest time to be in the area!

Winter Storm Warning for Calgary; Dreaming of someplace warm..

Caribbean Sunrise

Caribbean Sunrise 

The weather man is warning Calgary of sever winter weather ahead, and I am dreaming of some of the warmer places we could be.  Sunrise is one of the lovely quite times on the cruise ship. The sunrise isn’t always this colourful, and they are often over quickly.

Maybe I will brave the weather and see what photos I can get of Calgary today…..

 

 

Walking the Meseta, Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Walking the Meseta; cool fall morning on the Camino

Walking the Meseta; cool fall morning on the Camino

I remember this morning very well, the day before had been rainy and wet, so we were happy to see the sun. It was a cool morning, and we had started just before sunrise. From this little creek we climbed to the top of Alto de Mosteleres.

Many of the people we met thought I was a little crazy, because I carried a full size DSRL camera with a couple of lenses. But having the camera with me, meant that as I was looking for images, I was more aware of my surroundings, rather than just walking along, lost in my thoughts.

I found that walking with my camera, thinking about how to show our trip to family, friends and blog readers, I was more aware of how the light changed during the day, as well as how the landscape, and our surroundings changed as we walked. I thought about how best to tell the story of our journey. I also tried to learn more about the places we were visiting, so I could pass along some of the stories.

Since being home I have found a couple of extra benefits to carryin my camera. The first is the friends that I made through the blog.  But the most unexpected benefit is having images for the stock photography. The image above is just one of the many images submitted to Alamy, and one of several images that have sold since adding them to the site. It is always rewarding when someone chooses one of my images to accompany their writing and or publication.

Yes the camera was extra weight, and there were days that were tougher because of that weight, but I am glad I had the camera with me.

 

Meseta at Dawn; Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Growing up in the Canadian Breadbasket other wise known as Saskatchewan, miles and miles of farmland is not an unfamiliar scene. Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela through the meseta was like a trip home.  The fields and  the road went on, seemingly forever. The crops a golden color, the worked ground a beautiful brown, the sky pink as the sun was rising in the east. The scene was as familiar as it was beautiful.

The challenge as a photographer is to see even a seemingly old familiar scene (and to show it to others) in a new way. I saw this scene as blocks of color, and the detail of each cloud, line in the field, the weeds in the ditch and rocks on the road all distracted from the blocks of color I wanted to emphasis. The light was low, so I set the ISO low, the aperture for a high depth of field, and a slow shutter speed, then moved the camera sideways to blur all the detail. The image now emphasises the blocks of color as well as the beautiful pink hue of a new day.