Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126: –Subjects That Begin with the Letter A.

An Alphabet challenge! This week Patti invites us to share images that feature a subject on the letter A. We can also include signs and graffiti with the letter A. For an added challenge, Patti suggests capturing an image that illustrates a concept with the letter A, such as alone, abstract, or afraid. 

I have chosen Art, Arch, Architecture and Abstract.

The Rila Monastery in Bulgaria had me enchanted for many hours – and every time I look at the photos from that day…I remember the surprise that hit me when we entered the courtyard. Silence, and unbelievable beauty in the elaborately handpainted arches.

When it comes to impressive new artwork, one of my greatest favorites are The Kelpies in Scotland. We visited in 2014 when they were just put in place. The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies (shape-shifting water spirits), located near Falkirk, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Kelpies were designed by sculptor Andy Scott as a monument to horse-powered heritage across Scotland.

Abstraction indicates ”a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art”. This departure from accurate representation can be slight, partial, or complete. Many abstract sceneries are absolutely natural…while others are manmade. A frosty car mirror in the header and an autumnal lake with reflected leaves above.
David Hockney – ”Me draw on iPad”, Louisiana, Denmark.

Thank you for all your inspirational entries for Tina’s challenge last week! A beautiful highlighting of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.

We are looking forward to seeing your new choices – please include a link to Patti’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader. We hope you will join the fun!

Finally, stay tuned for Amy’s challenge next week – and until then, stay safe and well.

Thursday Thoughts – Scanisaurus – Europe’s largest stoneware fountain

Just outside the Ifö factory in Bromölla, live-sized ceramic dinosaurs sunbathe on a ceramic cliff surrounded by springwater. Or should be, but there was no water when we visited.

Plesiosaurs first appeared in the latest Triassic Period, 203 million years ago. They became especially common during the Jurassic Period, thriving until their disappearance about 66 million years ago. They had a worldwide oceanic distribution. Scanisaurus (Saurus from Skåne) bones were found on a small island, Ifö. (Ö means island in Swedish)

Scanisaurus is the masterpiece of Sweden’s renowned ceramic artist, Gunnar Nylund. It is a one of a kind artwork, made by hand and consisting of more than 3000 individual pieces.

In 2014 many of the original plaster forms that were used to make the fountain were rediscovered by Ifö Center’s artists. They are now under restoration at the Center and the goal is to produce new parts and restore Scanisaurus for the 50th anniversary in 2021.

The funny thing is, that the discovery of the plaster forms was what finally convinced ROA to come over from Australia to paint T-Rex in 2014.

This is my third post from Ifö Center. Here are links to the previous posts:



Thursday Thoughts – Painted Ladies

Today I have finished my Painted Ladies jigsaw puzzle – loved it. Painted really, so faces and details were very difficult to do. Thought mother’s birthday orchid also looked a bouquet of painted ladies…

Thursday Thoughts – A Cherry Walk

One of the most beautiful places in Skåne, Sweden, is the Hills of Brösarp.

A small taste of them – and rural harmony –

a late afternoon in Spring.

Gentle cowslips glowing in the grass. I guess you can tell, May is my favorite month.





Thursday Thoughts – Taking a Bath

In the header, the Orbeliani bathhouse, Tbilisi.

According to the legend, the king of ancient Iberia, Vakhtang I Gorgasali, (5th C) once hunted in the forests near the first capital of Georgia – Mtskheta. After some time, he saw a pheasant, then shot and killed the bird. The king sent his falcon to find the prey, but the falcon flew away, and the king lost sight of him. In search of the two birds, the king and his hunters finally found them – in a hot water spring. Amazed with this find of  sulphuric hot springs, Vakhtang decided to build his city here.

Thus, according to legend, the city of Tbilisi was founded. The word «Tbilisi» is translated from Georgian as a city of ”warm location”.

Since then, the baths have been of great value to Tbilisi – also depending upon the city’s proximity to the lucrative Silk Road. In the 13th century there were 60 baths here, but today they are reduced to less than 10.

Famous people who took baths here are Alexander Dumas and the poet Alexander Pushkin. A plaque on the entrance to the Orbeliani Baths shows a quote from Pushkin, where he describes the baths as ‘luxurious’. The bathhouse also has got a Pushkin Suite.

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Today the baths are still used by many locals, particularly the elderly, who come to benefit from the healing properties of the sulphur. It is said to help in the treatment of eczema, arthritic pain and digestive problems.
We rented a room with a bath, shower and toilet for one hour, but, the heat made us leave after 30 minutes. On leaving, we asked in the reception how hot the water really was – 45 degrees C! Icelandic baths hold 38-42 degrees, no wonder we had to give in…

You are not allowed to walk on the domes… but many children did. And grown-ups taking selfies, of course setting good examples…

If you ever visit Tbilisi, I recommend you try the baths – for the feeling and for the beauty of the interior! If you ask, you might be allowed inside just for a look.




Lens Artists Photo Challenge #78 – Special Spot Shots

Having delighted in all your favorite photos from 2019, We would love to invite you to some Special Spot Shots!

In November 1979 the historic city of Split, Croatia, built around the Diocletian Palace, was included in the UNESCO register of World Cultural Heritage. Today, the palace is well preserved with all the most important historical buildings. It is so well hidden behind new facades and modern stores, that If you don’t know where the southern gate to the palace is – you will not find your way in!

Somewhere behind those palm trees, lies the entrance to the palace’s cellars – let’s enter – My Special Spot!

Diocletian’s Palace  was built for the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, which today forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. It is referred to as a ”palace”, but the term is rather misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian’s personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.

The construction of Diocletian’s palace is assumed to have begun around 295, and the ground plan of the palace is an irregular rectangle measuring east: 214.97 m, north: 174.74 m, south: 181.65 m

There is a legend, probably from the 10th century, telling how Croatian king Držislav (named King Solomon), captured by the Venetians, played a chess match to gain his freedom. He won all three parties and was set free, and in some versions, he also got power over the Dalmatian cities. Thus, the chessboard ended up in the Croatian flag.

The northern gate is one of the four principal Roman gates into the Palace – originally the Main gate (the Golden Gate) from which the Emperor entered the complex. The gate is on the road to the north, towards Salona, the then capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia and Diocletian’s birthplace.

The second most important gate was the Silver Gate – here seen from the monumental central square, the Peristyle, inside the palace.

The Palace was built of white local limestone and marble of high quality, most of which was from the Brač marble quarries on the island of Brač, of tuff taken from the nearby river beds, and of brick made in Salonitan and other factories. The stones we walked are the original ones – which gives you quite the feeling and perspective!

As the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace, it holds an outstanding place in Mediterranean, European, and world heritage. Diocletian’s Palace was also used as a location for filming the fourth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.

The old city is very much alive – not a museum.

The Palace was decorated with numerous 3500-year-old granite sphinxes, possibly originating from the site of Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. Only three have survived the centuries. One is still on the Peristyle – as seen above.

After some hours of breathtakingly being transported through history, we left by the same gate we entered, the southern gate, where the emperor used to arrive by boat. As we already had noticed, today’s modern sphinxes rule the city – the cats. This sphinx sitting on the left hand side – watching you arrive and watching you leave.

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Surely he has got the true sphinx look !

Now we are looking forward to seeing Your very special spot shots – maybe a room in your home, a garden, a mountain, a city, an exhibition, a lovely café…a place that is special to you!


Thank you for so generously sharing your own 2019 with us! We have enjoyed so many interesting galleries – and it was so hard to pick just some of them, but…

Have you seen these:

Sue’s eclectic gallery

From Beyond the Window Box and Judith we get gardening and beautiful views of Berwick upon Tweed

Paulie of The Life in My Years shares some stunning memories – and life lessons – with us

Su Leslie sends a glorious gallery from New Zealand

Davide‘s gallery will surprise you

Be sure to link to my original post, (Links posted within the Reader are not working correctly) and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. And, of course please visit Amy’s blog next week for Challenge #79!

As always, Patti, Amy, Tina and I hope you will join us.




Thursday Thoughts – David Gareja Lavra

David Gareja Lavra is a historical and architectural monument within the monastic complex of David Gareja. It was built during the first half of the 6th century under the guidance of San David Gareja, one of the thirteen Assyrian monks who arrived in the country at the same time. He came to bring Christianity to Georgia, and he founded around 15 monasteries in the arid and desert like nature on the border to Azerbaijan.

David Gareja is a Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the Kakheti region, and the complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.

Despite the harsh environment, the monastery remained an important centre of religious and cultural activity for many centuries; at certain periods the monasteries owned extensive agricultural lands and many villages. The renaissance of fresco painting chronologically coincides with the general development of the life in the David Gareja monasteries. The high artistic skill of frescoes made them an indispensable part of world treasure. From the late 11th to the early 13th centuries, the economic and cultural development of David Gareja reached its highest phase.

We left early in the morning on a private tour, because the roads were all very narrow and bumpy – no buses could go there. Road builders and machines were constantly working and in some places we had to drive in the nearby fields instead of the road.

We wondered where these sheep would get any food, but loved to see them – and their shepherds on horses.

I loved the landscape, the low ridges, the long views and the serenity of the lines. We also saw gigantic areas with olive trees, according to our guide a co-operation with EU. When ready, the olives would be exported for the EU market.

We passed some salt lakes as well. Millions of years ago, the whole area was covered in water, and today these lakes are the only remaining waters to be seen. They have no outflow in this hot and dry area, so what is left is – salt.

This means that the soil is saturated with salt and difficult to cultivate. Even the ground water here is too salty. In order to use it as drinking water, it has to be filtered. This windy day, salt was flying in the air, and you could feel it on your tongue when speaking.

While driving, our knowledgeable guide told us of The David Gareja monasteries and their long history of wars and vandals, destroying and rebuilding. The Mongolians och Timur Lenk were devastating, but that was nothing to the Persians killing of 6000 monks celebrating Easter in 1615. After the prayer in all 15 monasteries, all monks were locked inside the churches and killed. The rich artworks and other treasures were destroyed or stolen. After this blow, the D G monasteries never came back to their former glory.

Then, what seemed a final blow, came after the violent Bolshevik takeover of Georgia in 1921 – David Gareja was closed down and remained uninhabited. In the years of the Soviet–Afghan War, the monastery’s territory was used as a training ground for the Soviet military, that inflicted damage to the unique cycle of murals in the monastery.

After the restoration of Georgia’s independence in 1991, the monastery life in David Gareja – Lavra – was revived. Today it is the home of 13-30 monks.

We only visited Lavra, and we were not allowed to see how the monks really lived their daily life. But, the guide told us that in one of the higher located caves, the monks had their meals – kneeling at stone tables.

The area is also home to protected animal species and evidence of some of the oldest human habitations in the region.

Part of the complex is located in the Agstafa rayon of Azerbaijan and has become subject to a border dispute between Georgia and Azerbaijan, with ongoing talks since 1991. But as there are strong economic and cultural ties between Azerbaijan and Georgia, they both have peaceful intentions in the determination of borders.

On leaving the monastery, my head was filled with thoughts of how a monk’s life must be out there in the desert. I wonder how young or old they are today, what their cave cells look like and how cold it is there in the long, lonely nights. Questions without answers.

A fact is – that Georgians are, and have always been, a strong people. They have been invaded by so many other powers, countries and people, but every time they have risen again. How they have remained so friendly and good at heart is a true enigma.