Cool Mountains

Thanks to Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack I have been searching through my mountain photos. We have visited mountains overseas, in Nepal, where the Himalayas almost encircle Kathmandu, and creep right up to Pokara, in Bhutan which is built amongst the Himalayan foothills, in Ireland where as usual we always search out the wildest places, in southern France with the Pyrenees, and in Switzerland where even a distant view of the Alps is breath-taking. Included here are mountains of Australia, an ancient land whose peaks have been wearing away for a very long time. Mount Warning is the centre of an old shield volcano, near the Border Ranges of NSW and Queensland. The Brindabellas, a small mountain range just south west of our nation’s capitol, Canberra, are often snow capped in winter, making a pretty sight from the city. Mount Sondor is part of the West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia, a mountain made famous by iconic aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira.

Travel Theme: Multiples

Ailsa has challenged us to find images with more than one of a thing in the frame, in other words multiples. I trolled through my travel photos and found these. I can’t resist candles in churches, or those green guys in Paris, and farmhouse desserts in the Languedoc, I was fascinated by the women in Barcelona and prayer flags in Bhutan. You might have to scroll through to see them all, some of mine are disappearing in the gallery.

Travel Theme: Transportation

my first car, loud burbling transport

my first car, loud burbling transport

camper vans on the ferry to Mull

camper vans on the ferry to Mull

mini van in Bhutan

mini van in Bhutan

sailing boat seen from ferry Sydney Harbour

sailing boat seen from ferry Sydney Harbour

This is my first entry in Ailsa’s travel theme, perhaps a sign that life is settling down a little and  can broaden my horizons. The first two are old photos I had scanned, fond memories of transport in days gone by. The more recent ones are clearly recognisable … but don’t worry …. the women carrying huge stacks of bracken were not trying to board the minibus!




Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

On our visit to Thimphu, the capitol of Bhutan we visited the Buddhist Arts and Crafts School where traditions are carefully passed from older to younger crafts people. We saw textiles (weaving, sewing, embroidery), woodwork, painting, sculpture, costumery and more. Young people sat quietly working on their projects, used to visitors passing through with their guides. Thanks to this traditional school there is a constant supply of creative young artists ready to supply the homes, temples and government buildings of Bhutan with all their favourite artworks.

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Thanks to the Daily Post I remembered these inspiring youngsters and their important role in maintaining the creative works of their country.

Sunday Post: Stairway

Monks on stairway at Punaka Dzong, Bhutan

Jake’s choice this week is “stairway” … he says “Stairway or simply stairs are names for a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, called steps. Stairways may be straight, round, or may consist of two or more straight pieces connected at angles.” Punaka Dzong is sited on a large curve of the river, so must be built up high in case of flooding. All of the buildings have impressive staircases!

steps follow the tree buttressed tree root down

This stairway is on a narrow walking track that leads into a steep valley in the Gold Coast hinterland … steps have been made against the supporting tree root. Isn’t it beautiful? Finally, here are some ladder stairs … fire-escapes … in New York City.

New York fire-escapes

Join in the Sunday Post with Jakesprinter and check out his cool graphics!

A-Z Archive: O is for Official, Oxen, Ornate, and Ooops!

Back to my Bhutan archive for these images, inspired by Frizz’s A-Z Archive “O” Challenge.

now our driver has the official pass to proceed

oxen, practical power in small areas

ooops, major bridge repairs mean we wait for a while!

buildings are ornate, here a river spirit is depicted in an outdoor alcove

There are some wonderful entries for “O” already  … look at these:

Orchids,  Okavanga Delta,  Oasis,  Owl,  Osaka Castle, and Orange

then look in your own archives and you might find an “O” image too!

Sunday Post: Culture

Some people retain their local historic culture better than others who give way to the all-pervasive western culture. We loved to see Bhutanese culture when we were there, the people so proud and natural in their national dress. We were able to visit a cultural festival in a remote place, where there were no roads, the only access was by foot, and involved crossing a narrow bridge over a rushing river. Our Bhutanese guide and driver delivered us safely and explained it all to us as we watched. Bhutan is a Buddhist country so the dances have a very significant role in maintaining the fabric of life, of keeping the balance of nature creating harmony for all creatures. Here are some images to enjoy! Click on the small images to make them larger and scroll through them.

Jake says:

“New to Word Press? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in my Weekly Competition to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in 2012 Water Dragon Event. Everyone is welcome to participate, if your blog is about photography,Videography, Graphic Artwork Or Writing .

Here’s how the weekly photo Competition works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. Show the world based on your interpretation what you have in mind for the theme, and post them on your blog anytime before the following Sunday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. Subscribe to jakesprinter so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.


Make sure to have the image link to so that others can learn about the challenge, too.”

A-Z Archive: M is for Mountain Pass, Morning Tea and Mandarava

Traveling in Bhutan a few years ago we left the capital Thimphu to climb westwards through the mountains. The first high mountain pass is Dochula, at an altitude of about 3000m, roughly 45 minutes drive from Thimphu, on the way to Punakha. From Dochula, if you have clear sky, you can see all of the Bhutanese high peaks except Chomolhari.

The beauty of this place is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chortens – 108 stupa built by the eldest Queen Mother Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. The chortens were built in memory of the war between India and Bhutanese militants. Chortens are “spiritual monuments” and they symbolize Buddha’s mind, body and soul.

Prayer flags flutter in the constant breezes, and travelers beat a hasty retreat into the Dochula Resort where the stoves are alight and tea is brewing.

The Bhutanese guides in traditional dress cluster together around the fire, helping themselves to morning tea, while we politely sit at tables and are served.

I was thrilled to find a huge silk thangka depicting Guru Padmasambhava with his two consorts, Mandarava and Yeshe Tsogyal. I had been doing a Mandarava practice, so I particularly photographed this beautiful artwork, holding it dear as I journeyed.

Isn’t She beautiful, just like you! Can you feel that divine sweetness emanating from you? I love doing these archive trawls with frizztext, digging out old favourite images and remembering the fun of traveling. You can join in too:


Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Attending a festival in Bhutan, the Buddhist monks had their own dedicated viewing space. They sat apart in peaceful comfort looking directly over the dancing and feasting below. I could see them through the open doorway of their rustic shelter.

This photo is my entry in the Weekly Photo Challenge, you can join in too!

A-Z Archive: D is for Dance, Dzong, Dragon and more

Some of my blogger friends will have noticed that I started a new blog for these photo challenges. I have a vague idea of keeping dadirridreaming for things to do with home, yoga, spirit, the natural environment where I live. So this blog, and the A-Z Archive is the place for me to explore my photo archives and dig out those special shots I want to see again. I have had the good fortune to travel quite a bit in the past 10 years, and the most fascinating destination was Bhutan. This is a small Buddhist Kingdom in the Himalayan mountains, where instead of Gross National Product they measure Gross National Happiness. When we visited I was practising Dzogchen, so our guide took us to some special caves and temples, which was a great privilege. Here are some “D” photo from Bhutan. I have tried different ways of publishing the photos, but I think I like BIG best ..what about you?

Bumtang Dzongkag sign on the mountain pass

Prayer flags fly high over every mountain pass, here the sign tells us that we are entering the Bumthang District, and displays a map to help us find our way. There are no straight roads in Bhutan despite the sign!

Dancers at Ngang Lakhang festival, Bhutan

Men wear flowing robes for this vigorous dance.

Donkeys block the narrow mountain road

Driving was hazardous, roads very narrow and cliff hugging, I think the donkeys would feel safer than we sometimes did.

Danger, heavy loads on narrow roads!

Sometimes our way was blocked by fallen rock, but this time late one afternoon, it was a timber truck that had fallen over, luckily in a valley and not on a hillside.

Herder's dog follow us on trail to cave

We were walking for hours uphill to reach a special cave, when three dogs appeared and kept us company for the rest of the trek. One walked in front, another in the middle and the last at the rear. We felt they were spiritual guides in the guise of the fierce sheepdogs.

Trongsa Dzong, the centre of government, religion and defence for the Central Trongsa District

The Dzongs of Bhutan are magnificent structures, built for defence at strategic points where all traffic had to pass through the Dzong. Now they are still centres of administration and religion.

Dragon logo on Bhutan's airline Druk Air

One of the thrills of Bhutan is flying in, as the pilot brings the plane ever lower while following a narrow valley, until suddenly it widens and you touch down at Paro!

To join in the Weekly A-Z Archive photo challenge see Frizztext’s site challenge/ and check out some of the other entries.