Checking out the wine.

    Drawing on a wall in a restaurant of a woman eying a glass of wine. A double light shines above

    Monsaraz - one street of maybe two.

    The wall of a house painted white with a small, mature grape vine growing against it, a cobbled road disappears into the distance

    At Barrosinha nr, AlcΓ‘cer do Sal

    A flat metal statue of a black cat standing on concrete against a red door

    A hotel lobby greeting.

    A full size statue of a chimpanzee

    The Story Behind The Photograph: Two Boys Playing Cricket

    Two boys playing cricket on a remote highway in the mountains of Pakistan
    Two boys playing cricket just off the Karakoram Highway

    While traveling the Karakoram Highway through Pakistan I stopped in Passu for three nights. My memory of Passu in July of 1989 was it just being made up of a small collection of houses. Nothing else. One of those was the guest house that I stayed in. This was run by a lovely man who use to be in the Pakistan army. Because of his military career, and despite what the isolation of his guest house might suggest, he had a good knowledge of the world outside of the mountains where he now lived. I remember his son playing with a pen knife that I was carrying and asking how much it cost? I mentally converted the UK Sterling price to Pakistan Rupees, and told the young boy. The price would have seemed ridiculous in that small isolated world, and he could not believe what I just shared. His father gave me a knowing nod.

    Passu was near to the tongue of the both the Passu and Batura Glaciers. Surrounded by the peaks of the Karakoram mountains, I found it a spectacular place to immerse myself in the wildness of nature. The scale of all that surround me gave one a sense of insignificance. Traffic on the highway was next to nothing, allowing the safe space for these two boys to play a game of cricket just a cricket ball’s throw from the road.

    Grey, rugged, sharp mountain peaks with a little snow on them, surrounded by cloud
    Mountain peaks over looking Passu

    I write this remembering overcast days. Fresh clean, clear air allowing a clarity of thought. And the high mountain peaks, alongside the air quality and ruggedness of the terrain, all reminding me that I was near the roof of the world.

    Looking north from ArrΓ‘bida Natural Park.

    Low cloud hangs over a landscape of hills and stone

    Man with goat in the Hunza Valley, Pakistan in 1989

    Pakistan man with a goat on a leash. They are sitting in a large flower bed of yellow flowers on a terraced hillside with a large house above. Cloud covered mountains are in the distance.

    Passing the car ferry heading to SetΓΊbal as we are on the other ferry heading to Comporta. A very small boat with a couple of people fishing from it, sits between us.

    A green car ferry and very small fishing boat in the ocean between SetΓΊbal and Comporta on a very bright sunny afternoon

    Some more paintings from artist Veronika Blyzniuchenko. The stars in the lower left are sponsored by visitors, a percentage of the sponsorship going towards the restoration of the Basilica.

    Four paintings showing images of flowers and swans

    The Beauty is a Choice - A Lisbon Art Exhibition

    My wife and I were in Lisbon yesterday and met up with an old Portland friend who had been living Portugal for eight years. After lunch she took us to an art exhibition at the Estrela Basilica, by a young Ukrainian artist, Veronika Blizniuchenko.

    Looking up at the dome of the Estrela Basilica in Lisbon, from a gardened cloister below

    It is not an easily found exhibition, situated as it is in the former convent behind the Basilica. While visiting the Basilica, Bluzniuchenko noticed the convent from its rooftop gallery. She approached the Basilica’s authorities and asked if she could use it as a studio and exhibition space. To her surprise, they agreed. If you are in Lisbon, I recommend hunting down the exhibition. You enter via a side door to the Basilica’s right and then following a maze of corridors to the convent.

    The exhibition is called, β€œThe Beauty is a Choice.” When we visited, no one else was there and the former convent offered a lovely refuge from the heat and bustle of Lisbon. Bluzniuchenko walked around her considerable exhibition with us, answering any and all questions and explaining what inspired her. She is a lovely person.

    A cloister in the Estrela Basilica showing arches, part of the garden and some paintings from an exhibition

    Her generosity of time was even more of note, as when we showed up she shared with us that her home town in the Ukraine had been the object of a new Russian offensive. That was very much on her mind as she painted and spent time with us.

    Through her work Bluzniuchenko is also helping to raise money for the restoration of the convent and may, with the help of our Portland friend and again subject to the authorities agreement, do some work on the gardens there.

    This painting Bluzniuchenko is gifting to the Basilica.

    A view through an open window, outside looking in, with yellow potted roses on either side of the window, the left one flowering, and a large painting inside.

    We found this very hidden Gelato shop today. What a gem it is. The owner trained in Italy and now makes his own. Delicious. Repeat visit assured.

    A black and white photo of the sign on a Gelato Store. The word Gulato with two clouds all on a white wall

    Highways in the sky.

    Parallel Contrails against blue sky with the edge of roof tops on both sides of the image

    Over the rooftops.

    A rooftop scene in Lisbon

    Taken in Sintra about a week ago. In the grounds of Biester Palace, a gem to visit to escape the crowds.

    Steps coming down to the photographer, trees and shrubs all around, sunlight flickering through the trees

    Late afternoon Lisbon light.

    Sunlight coming in through an open door, with pink and red flowers outside, and rooftops of a pink building behind that.

    April Photoblogging Challenge, Bonus Day 2: Unputdownable suggested by @jimmitchell

    A black and brindle French Bulldog pulling on a frisbee being held by a human

    An old church near to Comporta, Portugal.

    A black and white photograph of the end of an old church, with a bell on top and a stalk’s nest on top of that.

    Keeping an eye on you…or not.

    A small street drawing showing three faces intertwined with some eyes closed and some shut

    April Photoblogging Challenge, Day 30: Hometown suggested by @mattypenny

    A straight paved path across a field with a row of trees with no leaves in the distance and cars parked under them. It looks like a winters day

    April Photoblogging Challenge, Day 29: Drift suggested by @SimonWoods

    Houses on the water front at Lake Como taken from a boat on the lake

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