Oh, readers, I’ve been a bad blogger. I made promises about “article archives” and haven’t kept them; I’ve teased about photos and haven’t gotten them up; I’ve talked about updates and getting back to you about Bowie and, instead, have been so swept up in the business (both busy-ness and business) of life that I’ve been remiss in the task list. Sometimes I feel a little like the slightly explosive maniac to my right (though I personally refuse to get blood on my keyboard) and if no sleep was optional, I’d take it.
Suffice it to say that though I remain challenged for time, it’s time to take a breath in the middle of the maelstrom to fulfill at least a bit of that litany I put to print. It seems only fair and some of the pics are just so pretty… :)
That was a good idea in theory; in reality it was impractical. I also realized it was unnecessary. For those of you who wish I still sent out emails about my articles (stopped because there too many articles and too few people reading the emails), the point was that I’d post the article links here every few weeks, people would subscribe, and every time I put up a new archive list they’d get a notice. Problem is, I write enough that it takes more time than I’ve got to make that list and, frankly, it’s a redundant effort as the lists are up at my pages on the various sites anyway.
So here’s the compromise: Again, it involves you subscribing. Up in the top right-hand corner you’ll see a subscription box in which to put your email ** (see below). Do that and you’ll get a notice every time I post something new here. And every time I post something new, the links to all my various publishing sites will be included down in the byline at the bottom. Click on those and you’ll be transported to my archives on those specific sites… voilà…like a magic carpet ride! For now, I’ll list them here as well. Just click any one and you’ll be taken to my archive at that site:
And remember, it’s always helpful to click on the actual article not just the ‘like’ on Facebook (those clicks tell publishers people are actually reading our work!); share as you’re so inspired and please comment when you’ve got something to say. But whatever you manage to get done, know I always, truly, appreciate the readership.
** For those who’ve contacted me about not being able to find the subscription box, see the screenshot here. You’ll note a yellow highlighted area in the upper right hand corner of the page (just below the banner). That’s the subscription box. Just go up there on your right – yep, right up there – fill it in, click and you’re all set:
Follow-up on Bowie:
This is for the dog lovers. As many of you know, our Golden Retriever, Bowie Blue, was struck down, paralyzed, when a disc in his neck exploded (per the surgeon). I wrote about it months back in a piece called Dog Days Of Healing Bowie…The Unknown Journey Of A Broken Pet. In the weeks, even months, that followed, many of you wrote asking me how things had gone, how Bowie was doing, and I promised an update. Here it is:
He’s back on his feet, literally. After major surgery (done with the caveat that ultimate success was unpredictable), he spent another week or so flat and challenged, until one day it was better; another and another, and before long, he was up and… running. Well, his version of running! We call him “the drunk uncle,” so reminiscent of those semi-hilarious inebriates who sway and stumbled and sometimes fall but remain always-cheerful. That’s Bowie. Beyond the uncoordinated gait, the fact that he can’t fully lift his legs while walking (requiring some very sporting “booties” to avoid scrapping the tops of his paws, a sartorial statement that elicits much chatter on the walking paths!), he’s back to normal, albeit a new normal. I jokingly say, “there goes his show career” as we watch him galump across the lawn in pursuit of a ball, but he remains a charming, happy, very energetic canine and all who know him forgive the lack of grace. The heart beats strong and loving, and that’s really all that matters.
What I Did On My Spring Vacation:
Hearing about someone’s travels can either be incredibly enjoyable (especially if the pictures are good!) or really annoying. I remember when friends of my parents regaled us with interminable slides of their trip to Greece and, obligated to sit and watch the unfolding of countless pictures of the couple in front of various monuments, I grew to hate travelogues. Sometimes even if the pictures were good!
For many it goes beyond boredom. Those who feel getting away, getting out of their day-to-day life, is impossible due to jobs, family, finances or health issues, often cringe at the tales and tallying of experiences travelers like to retell. Envy mixed with tedium. Others, on the other hand, get energized, realizing that somehow, some way, they’re going to figure out how to get… somewhere. And I know that just sounded like a West Side Story song. But as an adult, I find people’s sharing of their travels to be very inspiring. Every time my friend Carol Oken sends an email about one of her African safari adventures via her company Duffle and Compass, I’m ready to go. Seriously, Carol… ready.
Because I grew up in a family that couldn’t afford exotic trips; we went to local parks, adjacent states, and enjoyed whatever lakes my dad could get us to but they were not exotic. I went to a school that could sponsor day-trips to places like Deer Haven down the road (which we loved!) but never those epic field trips to places like the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland that some kids got to go on. I didn’t take my first plane ride until I was a sophomore in college and a theater production I was in won the National College Theater Festival that took us to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. That trip set the bar (not an easy bar to top!) and after coming home with a travel buzz that never left, I looked for any way to hit the road. In fact, I spent a total of about 6 years on the road with various bands and when I discovered the man I married loved trips and knew parts of the U.S. I had never been, we hit it running and haven’t stopped.
Traveling transports you. Certainly literally, but it can also have the effect of transporting you spiritually and mentally as well, embedding you in places and around people beyond your day-to-day life and experience. If you travel to a foreign country, there is the added element of new tastes, sounds, smells, visuals… a visceral experience that, if you are open to it, can thrill, expand and educate you.
My husband and I were delightfully educated on this most recent trip. We spend three weeks in Spain and Portugal, some of the time with a dear friend and his family in Madrid, Carlos Gardeta, a man who knows Spain like a historian and can answer almost any question with a stunning depth of knowledge and local color (our trip with him to Segovia was astonishing!). When we went beyond Madrid, we did so with our Eurail pass and a medley of maps, traveling the countryside, visiting sites that are absolutely mind-boggling, meeting new friends, visiting old; even taking the first steps on a fledgling film project to be shot over in Europe… in other words, a whirlwind.
Many of you have asked about photographs. As a photographer, photographs are my travel souvenirs. I have around 2000 from this trip, which is clearly a ridiculous amount until you consider how many astonishing locales we visited and, well, I’m a photographer! Of course, given my anal-retentiveness in how my photos are processed, this is going to take awhile, but until the galleries have been assembled, I’ll leave you with one image from each place we traveled. Thanks for asking about them, please enjoy the ones that follow, and when those galleries are ready, you’ll be the first to know.
The Museo del Prado in Madrid not only houses one of the finest collections of European art in the world, including some of the most iconic works of Goya and El Greco, but its own spectacular architectural setting is a highpoint of this great city.
Portrait of La Feria de Seville: this event is a most extraordinary visual and aural experience; one that so embodies the flavor, dance and tremendous beauty of the Spanish people.
Originally built as a mosque, the Castle of San Marcos in El Puerto de Santa Maria in southern Spain was transformed into a Christian sanctuary in the mid-13th century. At the top of the tower, a family of storks is raising its young, which you can see in the shadows!
Cadiz, the most ancient city still standing in Western Europe, was founded in the early 12th century and, beyond the long list of colorful stories and its involvement in the formation of Europe and Africa, it is a stunning cultural mix of religious and ethnic influences.
Cordoba, one of the most beautiful of the Andalusian cities of Spain, is home to the iconic Mezquita de Cordoba, as well as countless other sites of historical significance. Both modern and ancient, it’s also filled with smaller, more local sacred shines, like this one we found tucked in the courtyard of an old town neighborhood.
Segovia is one of the most visually magical places I’ve ever been, with its fairy tale castle standing majestic over the hillside (pics to come). History resonates here in profound ways, with its many stories of Knights of the Templar and ancient Crusades. Some of the most intriguing tales were shared by our host and “tour guide,’ Carlos Gardeta!
The walls that surround the very picturesque Avila, Spain have been standing in protection of the ancient city since the 11th century and housed behind those walls is a vibrant and historic town filled with breathtaking antiquity and great beauty.
Sitting on the edge of the Tagus River with water slapping at its bricks in an almost surreal setting, is the stunning, mystical structure called the Tower of Belém, surely one of the most breathtaking sites in Lisbon, Portugal. We arrived too late to explore inside, but the view from here was unforgettable.
Barcelona is one of the most vibrant, exciting and beautiful cities in Spain, part of the Catalonian region with its distinct language and history. There are so many astonishing things to see and experience here, but La Sagrada Familia, the indescribable cathedral dreamed to life by iconic architect, Antoni Gaudi, is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular. The building commenced in 1892, but was just officially opened in 2010. We felt lucky to have the opportunity to see the mind-boggling and truly one-of-a-kind interior.
Having been to the historic fortress city of Toledo before, we were charmed to return to some of the places we’d visited, even finding some of the same faces we’d met, as well as explore a few of the sites we hadn’t been able to get to. This dramatic and artistic backdrop to prayer was found in the Jesuit Cathedral of Toledo, one of the most beautiful of the many (many!) churches we’d seen.
There you go; a taste of each of the amazing places we visited. If you’re interested, I’ll be posting more on Facebook and at my Fine Art America site as soon as I can catch my breath. And, of course, I’ll be back to commentary right quick!
Follow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Twitter, Facebook, Huffington Post and Addicting Info; details and links to her other work @ www.lorrainedevonwilke.com. And don’t forget to fill in the subscribe box above for updates when new material is posted!