Thursday doors, 22/3/18 Lisbon…

April 2017, Lisbon.

After a visit to friends in the Pedrogao Grande region of Central Portugal, I opted for two nights in Lisbon before my return to UK.

I hadn’t done any research on Lisbon at the booking stage, I was flying in and out and thought  I’d just pop in and make the time to see some of Portugal’s capital city.

I booked into a hotel just behind the main square, it wasn’t budget, but it didn’t break my budget and it was an absolutely perfect place to stay as a solo traveler who wanted a bit of comfort.

I’ve got to the age where I’m happy to have a long day doing it all. Solo traveling at my age is more about making the most of the day and just relaxing at night with a light meal, a glass of wine or two and a deep sleep in a comfy bed.

I had booked a walking tour online with a company called With Locals. A personal tour with a local guide, excellent communication beforehand via the online messaging service for the guide to understand what I wanted to see, and she provided an itinerary in advance.

I was so impressed with their service and my afternoon. I highly recommend this, if I had had longer, I would definitely have booked a second day with my guide.

I thought I had it all sussed, Day one, arrive by train, check in, meet my guide, stroll around in the evening. Hotel, meal, sleep. Day two, a whole day in Lisbon with my friend, repeat the evening and leave for an early doors flight.

The one thing Google maps doesn’t show when you look at the street view option is the elevation… I speed read Lisbon one evening whilst planning my walking trip but failed to notice Lisbon is built on hills, and very steep hills too.

Whilst sitting in the taxi on my way to meet my guide, as we were low-gearing up the street gradients, I had a small worry.

I have a hip replacement and I like to think I’ve moved on from that and I can climb any mountain, but in reality, I choose what I think I can do, with the limitations of my hip in mind. I failed that self-test in Lisbon.

On meeting my wonderful guide, I mentioned the issue and my concern if we were up-hilling it all afternoon.

Bless her, I seem to think she did a bit of an instant head route change.( Awkward client probably shot through her mind) I told her I was very into doors, buildings, and architecture and she just swung me into a comfortable route, which was a gentle gradient, stopping for one of those wonderful Portuguese coffees and a traditional pastry in an Art Deco building. Then downhill, through the steep streets for a long walk along the seafront. Lisbon is a place to return to…

Heading through the streets on top of the hill, plenty of doors….

Heading down hills, towards the River Tagus…Steep streets, tiled houses, unusual doors….

Linking with Thursday Doors

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Thursday Doors, 22/2/18, back to Stonetown, Zanzibar…

June, 2017, Tanzania.

I was lucky to spend 24 hours in Stonetown, Zanzibar, a place with a huge history of doors and for a door lover, a place that surpassed all my expectations. I regret my stay was so short, I would love to return. We only covered part of the town and there are many more doors that evaded me.

I’m only now editing the shots and the results are worthy of a second door post from this historic city, probably a third too.

The streets are small and narrow, with towering buildings, many in a state of disrepair. The buildings shade the rays of the sun and there is relief from the heat at ground level, but it’s humid and enclosed and very easy to get lost as you twist around the town losing your sense of direction, but so fascinating…

I normally use a DSLR camera, but in Stonetown I used my iPhone6 camera as it was the only way to catch the scenes in these narrow spaces.

For the history of Stonetown, the spice and slave trading, the door culture and shots of previous doors posted, please visit my previous post.

Please enjoy Stonetown as much as I did…

 

Thank you for visiting Stonetown with me…

Linking with Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton. Hit the blue frog link at the bottom of his post and visit some more doors today…

Thursday Doors, Speed bump village, Oman,15/2/18…

On the long drives across Oman from Dubai, towards the ferry to Masirah island, for a large part of the journey, the places we pass through have no name or signpost.

We now tend to refer to landmarks during the journey to mark our passing as there are few mapped names to refer to, for example, Flare roundabout, P-bush (easy to guess), Crinoid plates (ancient fossil rocks), The Mother of all Sabhkas (huge wet sand area), P-rock (for the second part of the journey, there are no trees and bushes in this area) and so on…

Flare roundabout…

 

The few small, lonely villages en route are flashed through, but there is one, now known forever to us as “speedbump village” that lines the lonely road and has four of the most lethal speedbumps known to man.

I once hit one on the initial journey, driving at night, too fast and it was an “Oh my God moment” as we crashed down on the other side. The OH was shaken awake and I crawled through the rest of the village.  Lesson learned. Omani speedbumps are not to be trifled with, especially out in this lonely place, the nearest Mitsubishi dealer is in Muscat, a mere 6 hours drive…

This hamlet consists of a few brick houses, a coffee shop, a laundry, men’s tailoring and a mosque. Oh, yes, and a shop selling food. See the picture, it’s not quite a supermarket!

I cannot imagine what the livelihood is out in this remote place, possibly date, goat or camel farming, but as always, there are doors to be photographed, even here.

They might be old, rusty and have seen better days, but the traditional metal door and decoration tradition is here, much to my pleasure.

The Coffee-shop

 

The Mosque…

 

Selling food…

 

I love the heart doors, seen in the unlikeliest of places…

 

Shame about the modern one…

 

Love this bright blue amidst the gravel plain drabness…

 

An interesting wall, but the door behind makes up for it…

 

I just managed to get both doors in, they just fit out here in the middle of no-where…

 

This door design seems to be a variation on a symbol theme, but the pink wall adds to the green and rust hues…

 

And just so you don’t think I’m completely crazy for repeating this journey time after time, the view at the ferry port…

 

 

Linking with Thursday Doors, hosted by Norn Frampton. Pop on over to see some more doors today…

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge, Weathered…

Well, for this challenge I could spend days in my photo archives of Oman creating a whole gallery of the weathered look, be it homes, people, geology, windows, doors, beached timbers, fossils and, so much more.

Oman is a weathered country.

From geology to every day living, the harsh climate of intense heat and along the coast, the pervading sea-salt in the winds leads to intense weathering.

I have so much to choose from, but for today, just a beautiful, traditional, weathered door from Mirbat, South Oman.

Weathered

 

 

Thursday Doors, 8/11/17, Small town Oman, doors and herons…

I think that most of you who read my blog, probably know now that I travel a lot in Oman and I also love what I find there. It’s a vast country and on every trip, although, often travelling over previous ground, I find something new.

We cover unthinkable distances on the round trip from Dubai to Salalah to Dubai. If you return up the coast road, a round journey of around 3,000 kms, you don’t get much time to spend poking around as there is always a ticking clock to get back to Dubai for commitments.

But, on occasions, I put my brakes on and insist on time out. Otherwise, we are just burning the same tarmac every time and not seeing “IT” …”IT” being life in the places we flash through. Seeing life, you also see doors!

In October 2017, we had a little overnight break at Al Saqla resort ( this time I’ve inserted a map so you know where I am on this post, blue line A to B, the post features that route)

We were heading to Muscat from Shannah port (A), a 6 hour trip along the coast, which is only serviced by one road through the coastal Ash Sharqiyah governorate. Heading north from Point A ( Shannah), the impenetrable dunes of the Al Wahiba sands are on the left, the Indian ocean to the right, it’s a 4 hour trip to Sur up the coast road, where the motorway to Muscat starts and the driving is easier.

The coast road takes you through towns that are far removed from the larger cities of Oman because of the vast distances. Agricultural ( basic) and fishing life ( main economy) are the lifeblood in this region. It’s run down, poor and traditional, but the life you flash past on the road through is totally fascinating to my eye.

This time I wanted to re-visit some very old doors on the coast road. I took a lovely door shot last year, so we tried to find the doors again. They are gone now, razed to the ground, but back-tracking through the town streets trying to place them, I came across a plethora of Omani doors.

I hope you enjoy my discoveries as much as I did.

The sunset from Al Saqla…

No connection with doors, but the camel upholstery on the room sofa is too interesting to leave out…

The morning view….Yeah, a good day ahead…

Heading into town it was obvious we were in the uptown area for small-town Oman…

But then we found the Gold one, possibly the Arab equivalent of the Jones’s…

Winding through the small streets of town trying to find my old doors, this is what I found, car shots of doors, narrow streets, just all fascinating to my eye…

This one is my favourite…

Heading out of town via the harbour, herons, a couple of feet away from my window, not bothered by my presence, dhows in the harbour, locals taking time out and of course, the mosque…

Time to move on, out of town, heading up the coast again, past the house surrounded by it’s own little forest, you can’t see any doors here!

 

Linking with Thursday Doors, a weekly event hosted by Norm Frampton. Pop on over, click the blue frog link and check out some world-wide doors this week…

Thursday Doors, 19/10/17. Searching hard for doors, Theletra, Cyprus….

I’m now back home in Cyprus for a few weeks and after an intense few days of cleaning and gardening and needing an escape, I linked up with a good friend who enjoys poking around the old villages in our district with a camera and I was very happy to find that she also loves doors!

We headed off to explore the village of Theletra in the Paphos district of Cyprus. The old village of Theletra is nestled half-way up the mountain and the new village is now built above. The old village was abandoned because of an earthquake that made the village susceptible to landslides. The exact date is not verified.

But, I found it difficult to find doors in Theletra, there are frames, with views, but every abandoned house is open to the elements, but I did find one…

Please hover over for the photos for the story captions…

I found the only doors at the village church. The outer doors were modern, unattractive and not worthy of inclusion sadly, but inside, finally a worthy door centrally placed in the Iconostasis ( In Eastern Christianity an iconostasis (plural: iconostases) is a wall of icons and religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church.)

Linking with Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton. Pop on over to his link, click on the blue frog link at the end of his post and check out some gorgeous doors this week…

 

Thursday Doors, 12/10/17. Trying for the perfect door shot, Mirbat, Oman….

In 2016, I visited and photographed doors in the old town of Mirbat, Dhofar, Oman.  An ancient fishing port, the old town is crumbling away. I featured doors from Mirbat last year here. Please feel free to visit, it’s a special place…

I’ve recently returned from another trip around the Omani coastline and once we were back in Mirbat, I made a point to re-visit the old town. Progress in some of the remoter areas doesn’t include renovation of heritage and as I’ve been doing this round route for the past 4 years, I’m recording changes for myself, maybe as a history…

I’m on the road again today so this is a brief post regarding one particular, rather gorgeous, door (in my opinion).

In the 2016 Mirbat visit, we drove around the corner to see the most spectacular door, blocked by a white mini-van and a white truck. In vain I tried to capture it, contorting myself around a lot of wheels, but had to settle for half a door.

2017 saw us winding our way around the narrow streets trying to landmark the door. After a few tense exchanges ( I feel I have better geo-location capabilities than the other half when it comes to doors!) we saw it…

As we drove around the corner the WHITE MINI-VAN was still there, one year later. Was I a bit stompy? Yes! A 1800km drive with this door in mind, fab shot…hmmm… 

So, I’m out of the car trying to exclude it. Ok, this is nice, works for me, a bit of blue sky, the door, and traditional windows…

Let’s make it better, angling and a zoom, it makes a face, on nicely weathered walls…

But… the close-up is special. In my inner heart, I want to rip this door out, strap it to the top of the car, drive it home and renovate it…It’s the “covet” door. 

But, I am a guest in this lovely country and my desire is impractical, so my photos of this door will form a special door place in my heart, but, you know if the owner popped out and said “Yup, I’ll sell”, it would be on my roof rack in a blink! Look at it, the detail, the little inner door… Oh, yes, it’s my door!

For more on Mirbat, clink on this link for some unique Omani windows…

Joining into Norm Framptom’s Thursday Door challenge, come on over, click the blue frog link at the end of Norm’s wonderful door post and check out on what we all found this week…

Thursday Doors, 20/7/17, Stonetown, Zanzibar, a little taster…

Eid 2017 holiday break, a time to visit Zanzibar and Tanzania.

Adjusting the holiday plan on the fly, the delights of the north of the island of Zanzibar had been covered in two days and a third night was overdoing it, so we added in a night in Stonetown, the old capital, and hub of the island.

I would have left Zanzibar with huge regrets if we hadn’t made the change.We are really not sun bed loungers at our age, I want to see it all whilst I can and recover once back home!

There is so much history in Stonetown which connects with the Middle East, in one way that is, thankfully, now not part of modern life. Zanzibar was famous worldwide for it’s spices and it’s slaves.

During the 19th century, Zanzibar was known all over the world as “A fabled land of spices, a vile center of slavery, a place of origins of expeditions into the vast, mysterious continent, the island was all these things during its heyday in the last half of the 19th century.”

A chequered past, Portuguese rulers from 1503 for two centuries, then in 1698 Zanzibar became part of the overseas holdings of Oman, falling under the control of the Sultan of Oman.

A lucrative trade in slaves and ivory thrived, along with an expanding plantation economy centering on cloves. With an excellent harbor and no shortage of fresh water, Stone Town (capital of Zanzibar) became one of the largest and wealthiest cities in East Africa. Of all the forms of economic activity on Zanzibar, slavery was the most profitable and the vast majority of the blacks living on the island were either slaves taken from East Africa or the descendants of slaves from East Africa.

The slaves were brought to Zanzibar in dhows, where many as possible were packed in with no regard for comfort or safety. Every year, about 40 to 50, 000 slaves were taken to Zanzibar. About a third went to work on clove and coconut plantations of Zanzibar and Pemba while the rest were exported to Persia, Arabia, the Ottoman Empire and Egypt.  Tippu Tip was the most notorious slaver, under several sultans, and also a trader, plantation owner and governor. Zanzibar’s spices attracted ships from as far away as the United States, which established a consulate in 1837.

The United Kingdom’s early interest in Zanzibar was motivated by both commerce and the determination to end the slave trade. In 1822, the British signed the first of a series of treaties with Sultan Said to curb this trade, but not until 1876 was the sale of slaves finally prohibited. Under strong British pressure, the slave trade was officially abolished in 1876, but slavery itself remained legal in Zanzibar until 1897.

The British Empire gradually took over; the relationship was formalized by the 1890 Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty, leading to independence in 1963, but a revolution in 1964 created the People’s Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. Several thousand ethnic Arab (5,000-12,000 Zanzibaris of Arabic descent) and Indian civilians were murdered and thousands more detained or expelled, either their property confiscated or destroyed.

On 26 April 1964, the mainland colony of Tanganyika united with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.

This is my kind of place, history around every corner, lives being lived in amongst the faded glory and, what was so nice, to stumble across and be a part of such fun Eid celebrations. So many happy people, out and about, dressed up in such vibrant outfits and enjoying the holiday. We were welcomed everywhere, but more on that another day, another post.

The doors of Stonetown are famed and fabled. It was yet another door heaven, every step revealed one that couldn’t be passed by. Delving into the the door history of Stonetown, it appeared the greater the wealth, the greater the doors to show it off. But there is so much detail, too much to add here without the reader’s eyes glazing over. This link from the Stonetown Heritage society is well worth a read if you would like to know more about this fascinating city of doors.

Enjoy these glorious doors from Stonetown’s past….please hover over the photos for captions.

 

This is only the first night’s door collation. There are more to come.

Apparently, there are 800 worthy Stonetown doors. I think I found a few that won’t be included in any official concatenation, but the rest of my shots are saved for those days when my Thursday has few doors…

Grateful thanks to Wiki and a variety of links for the condensed (really, it is whittled down) history of Zanzibar I have inserted. If you a serious door lover, it’s well worth googling “Doors of Stonetown” as there are numerous links and images.

Adding my offering into Norm Frampton’s excellent Thursday Door challenge… pop on over, hit the blue button and see doors from a multitude of places, plus some interesting backgrounds…