Kaohsiung Stadium

Kaohsiung Stadium and Fokuangshan Monastery

The Stadium was built for the 2009  World games. The roof is made of 8800 solar power panels making it the largest solar-powered stadium in the world. The panels also provide the shade and collect water.

Solar panels for roof, also provide shade and collect water.

Kaohsiung World Games Stadium

For peace and quite, the village of Fokuangshan, has Taiwan’s largest Buddhist monastery. In Mandarin, Fokuangshan means “Buddha’s light mountain”. It was established in 1967  by Buddhist master Shingyun for the pursuit of Humanistic Buddhism and contains 14,800 Buddha images.

Fokuangshan Monastery

It’s impressive Buddha statue stands watch over the village.

Fokuangshan Monastery Standing Buddha

After a wonderful relaxing and informative day in Taiwan, it was time to sail away as the sun sank into the sea.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Where do you want to go today?

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Fo Guang Shan Museum

Fo Guang Shan Museum

In Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Buddhist Temples are common. A museum has been created to showcase the Buddhist Culture.

Entrance to Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Museum

Elephants and Lions are a prominent theme.

The courtyard between the entrance and the sitting Buddha

On the other side of the entrance is a courtyard with many pagodas depicting the various time frames of the Buddhist history.

Inner court near Meditation hall

At the far end of the courtyard is a sacred worship space containing a tooth of the Buddha.

At the top is a statue of a sitting Buddha.

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Kaohsiung Lotus Pond

Kaohsiung Lotus Pond
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Rabaul

Rabaul is a small town in Papua New Guinea. It once was a thriving city on the edge of a volcanic caldera in the northern part of the country in an area called
New Britain. It is at the junction of three major tectonic plates, the Pacific Plate, Australia Plate, Caroline Plate and four smaller plates; Solomon Sea Plate, Woodlark Plate, and the north and south Bismarck Plates.
A volcanic eruption in 1994 buried the city, and airport under many meters of ash, and created a causeway to a neighboring island.

Princess Photographers ford boiling streams and climb volcanic ash mounds to get the perfect picture

In the first picture, the mountain on the right is still hot. Plants have re-established themselves on the surrounding mountains. In the foreground is a hot spring of boiling water that the local people use to boil eggs they hunt from the warm ash. Birds dig a meter or more into the ash to lay their eggs where the earth will incubate them.

Pacific Princess visits Rabaul PNG

On the top of an adjacent mountain the government is collecting seismic readings from sensors in the ground surrounding the cauldera. The picture of the Pacific Princess was taken from the side of the recording office.

Since the small island has been joined to the main island, it has become a popular spot for swimming and picnics. This is were the young boy sitting in the tree greets the tourists to his new home. Since this area is still active the town has been built on the other side of the main island and only a small part has been built around the original bay where the ship is docked.

I selected four of my best pictures to enter into a photo contest on the ship. However, I could only enter one of them into the contest, so of the four here, I entered the last one of a sunset reflected off one of the ship windows, and managed to capture a man running on the track.

Rabaul is an interesting port in PNG.

 – Where do you want to go today? –

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Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Cairns is a beautiful little city that is making the best of the waterfront harbor.  When we arrived at dawn, they had reserved a space at the dock for us next to the Crystal Symphony, a ship about the same size as The Pacific Princess.

 

It is a favorite place to begin a diving cruise over the Great Barrier Reef. It is also a wonderful place to take an eco tour in the rain forest or a picturesque train ride through the mountains.

Marlin Marina, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Cairns Lagoon, Queensland, Australia.

Having visited the reef on an earlier visit, this time we just enjoyed the beautiful day and hung out with the flying foxes.

Flying Foxes

Flying Foxes in downtown Cairns..

They live in the trees in the center of the city and have not been domesticated. They are very noisy and messy. They are bats after all.

just a little nip on the neck

These tortoises are a bronze sculpture on the wharf. That nip on the neck is going to be felt for a long time.

Although the beach is so inviting, alligators and stinging jellyfish make them an unfriendly place for people. The solution is to create lagoons and swimming pools to cool off.

Cairns, Lagoon, Queensland, Australia

Where do you want to go today?

 

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Gibraltar city

Gibraltar City Tour

Almost every port has a bus tour of the city. In this case it is the whole country, but it can still be done in an afternoon. You will notice sometimes it is raining and sometimes it is sunny.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Keep your eye on the brass cannons to the left. They are an important part of the history.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

The city is a mix of old and new architecture.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

Only part of the original walls remain. There is still a barracks and parade ground on the top of the rock, and a large WWII cannon.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

The bus tour began about 2:15 in the afternoon, shortly after we docked. It was raining. Our driver took us out to the southernmost part of land to see the lighthouse on Europa point. We took our pictures through the rain covered windows.

Gibraltar lighthouse thru a rainy bus window

Gibraltar lighthouse thru a rainy bus window

On the flat point of land near the lighthouse is a mosque.

It is the “Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, and it is the southernmost mosque in continental Europe, and is one of the largest mosques in a non-Muslim country”.
Click the link for more facts about the mosque.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim_Mosque

The driver asked if anyone wanted him to stop so they could get out and take pictures. No one was interested enough to get wet. The rain was running down the windows like sheets.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

As the bus drove around the mosque I found an opportunity to take a better picture.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

On the opposite side of the rock is an interesting array of holes that lead to tunnels within the rock. Behind the holes you can imagine cannons pointing out to sea.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar city scenes

The bus tour of the country ended about 3:50 PM, under sunny skies, back at the cruise terminal dock.

Gibraltar city scenes

Gibraltar cruise ship dock.

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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Gibratar views

Views from Gibraltar

Gibraltar has a commanding view of Spain to the North and to the East, and to Africa in the South across the Mediterranean Sea.  The bay to the east is called the Bay of Gibraltar by the English speaking British. However the larger Spanish city across the bay is called Algeciras and they call it the Bahai de Algeciras, naturally.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar looks over at Algeciras, Andalucía, Spain

Algeciras is a city located in the province of Cádiz in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. It’s metropolitan population is over a quarter million. Compare that to Gibraltar’s population of almost 33,000.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar’s view of North Africa and Southern Spain

Above right is the southern tip of Spain. Above left is the northern part of the sovereign country, the Kingdom of Morocco, on the African continent.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar, looking south to Morocco.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

There is a cable car that takes passengers to the summit from the city. The buses however are a better way to see more of the sights.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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inside Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar is mainly limestone. It is dissolved by rainwater which creates large caverns in the center of the rock. Some of the dissolved limestone is left behind as the water evaporates and runs over the harder surfaces or drips onto the floor of the cave. This creates spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The forms are flowing, and have been for thousands of years. With the rain outside, it is a welcome place to take shelter.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The guides like to share a little verse to help remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. They say “the tights go down and the mites mound up”.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The addition of color lights emphasises the form and depth of the caves.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

The colors change frequently,

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

and it is possible to over do it.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

In 1974 ancient paintings were found on the cave walls and dated to 15-20 thousand years ago. Recently a Neolithic bowl and two Neanderthal skulls were found in Gibraltar suggesting inhabitation since 40,000 BC.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Remember, without the lights, it will be extremely dark inside the caves.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Don’t lose track of the exit.

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

Inside the Rock of Gibraltar

– Where do you want to go today? –

http://www.gibraltar.com/sightseeing/st-michaels-cave-gibraltar.html

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Gibraltar

Gibraltar

There are a few misconceptions about Gibraltar. It is not the southernmost point of Spain nor is it the closest point between Europe and Africa where the Atlantic Ocean joins the Mediterranean Sea. And “Barbary Apes” are not apes but are a species of monkey called macaques.

The rock of Gibraltar

The rock of Gibraltar

In the map below, you will find three languages. Spanish at the top, Gibraltar is English, and Arabic at the bottom in northern Africa. I doubt that from the top of the rock it is possible to see the Atlantic Ocean, however, I do not know where in the Strait of Gibraltar the dividing line is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The dark blue lines on the maps are international borders.

img_2334

The picture above and below are screen captures from a “Galileo” GPS app on my iphone. I was on the cruise ship docked at the cruise ship terminal. It is indicated by the blue dot inside the white circle. (donut) The numbers at the top, 0.00 km/h and 27.0 m, are the speed I am travelling, and the elevation above sea level 27 meters. The numbers at the bottom are the latitude and longitude of the iphone when the screen capture was made.

The highest point of the rock is listed in Wikipedia as 36° 7′ 33″ N, 5° 20′ 35″ W. and 426 meters high.

img_2333

The Gibraltar airport is an interesting place. The best place to build an airport is on flat ground. In Gibraltar, the flattest ground was across the narrowest part of the isthmus but that was only about one kilometer wide. To make a long enough runway, they had to build out over the water by filling in the sea with rocks and sand.. It happens to be only 500 meters from the Spanish border. Another interesting point is that there is a road which crosses the middle of the runway. It is actually the highway that links Gibraltar with the rest of the mainland.  When an airplane is taking off or approaching for a landing, the highway is closed. Surprisingly, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic as well.

Pedestrian and bicycle path across Gibraltar airport

Pedestrian and bicycle path across Gibraltar airport

Border crossing into/out-of Gibraltar

Border crossing into/out-of Gibraltar

Border between Spain and Gibraltar

Border between Spain and Gibraltar

Border control  between Spain and Gibraltar

Border control between Spain and Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar Airport and ships on Meditteranean Sea

Gibraltar Airport and ships on Mediterranean Sea

 

In the satellite image from Google Earth the red line near the top is the international border.

Gibraltar airport

Gibraltar airport

The Spanish city of La Linea de la Concepcion is just the other side of the border control gates.

gibraltar2

 

Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar

Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar

The Barbary macaque population in Gibraltar is the only wild monkey population in the European continent. Although most populations in Africa are facing declining populations due to hunting and deforestation, the population of Barbary monkeys in Gibraltar is growing.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_macaques_in_Gibraltar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Gibraltar

 

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Cartagena 2

Romans in Cartagena

The people of Cartagena remember and celebrate their history. There are many museums and a few festivals to remind themselves and the world they have been inhabiting this site for over two millennia. At one time the Phoenicians, later the Romans.  Part of the earliest defence walls are still visible within  the museum.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Also on display are bones in a burial crypt below a 16th century hermitage.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

And look what is inside each little compartment.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Maybe I should have saved this post for Halloween.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

On a brighter note, the open air theatre has come to light.  Action on restoring the site began in 1998, not so long ago. Imagine when the Romans left, and the city was very poor. People would come to the theatre and take building material back to their own homes. Others lived in the center of the space. As the restoration began, artifacts of their lives were found. The neighbourhood was “cleaned up”.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

The smooth flat stones are part of the restoration to provide a safe walking surface and  to suggest how the theatre would have looked in its prime.

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

Cartagena Spain

 

 

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

http://www.teatroromanocartagena.org/publicas/el_teatro_romano/historia_de_un_hallazgo/_PH4bsPUExzDpr_RXGcMNnw
http://europeupclose.com/article/exploring-the-historic-sites-of-cartagena-spain/

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