Urban Canals.126

A brief stop on the magere brug (thin bridge) over the Amstel, on an extremely rare clear morning bike ride to work last week. We’re looking north along the Amstel towards the building which houses the National Ballet & Opera, plus city hall for A’dam, with the moon setting off the the west.

Urban Garden.136

While our Amsterdam weather since December hasn’t been nearly as dramatic & dangerous as California’s, it’s still featured more rainy days than one really needs. So far as I can recall, the sun has managed to peek through the clouds on four days or so since about the week before Christmas, and on only one of those did it stick around very long.

This means getting out to parks is quite simply hard and minimally appealing. Seeing anything visually appealing once there, let alone bothering to take the phone out and photograph it? Even harder. Nonetheless, there was sufficient break in the rain — even a fleeting moment of sun — to lure me into the park on my way home from the gym this morning. By the time my camera was out, the sun had vanished. In the seconds between when I took the photo above and the photo below, the sleet had begun. Ah, well, gardens are still gardens, even in the sleet and wind. 🙂

Village Views.36



Urban Entrances.66

City Views.166

More of Monte, and of the more-urban parts of Funchal as seen from high up in Monte or from the cable cars on the way back down to the more-urban parts of Funchal. Also, the two lovely churches of Funchal, one much more famous than the other, for a very strange reason. I learned when I visited Vienna in October that the very last person to hold the title of Habsburg Emperor ended his life in exile on Madeira, because when Austria decided after experiencing WWI that it wanted to be a Republic, he refused to give up his title and become Joe Citizen instead. So he went into exile on Madeira, ended his life up here in Monte and is buried in the main church. It’s his image on those banners because it was the centenary of his burial and some folks find this a big deal. Or at least a way to attract more tourists. 😊 If you’re looking closely, you’ll also see people in metal-railed sleds that tourists use to slide down the steep streets, guided by two guys in those white caps and suits whom you see walking back up to the starting point, from the parking lot where the employee bus drops them (and possibly the paying tourists also – I didn’t do this ride since it felt silly, single) after each ride down.


Small Wonders.166


The countryside around Ribeiro Frio, in that intimidatingly steep and beautiful center of Madeiro. The cold river (I think that’s more or less what the name means?) is that white band you see down below; and the town (and stream) are famous for their trout. Yes, the fish, trout. In the tropics. Yes. As is Curral das Freires for its chestnuts. Roasted chestnuts were more omnipresent on the streets of Madeira last year than any place I’ve been with the possible exception of NYC in the winter in the 1970s. And trout more spoken about in Ribeiro Frio than any place I’ve been in an equally long time. This little tropical island was full of surprises, what can I say?

City Lights.16

Conditions haven’t been conducive to after-dark walks for more Light Festival or other season evening lights. But I still had this lovely autumn shot of an illuminated clock tower nearby — the time was correct, and no the sky isn’t light at 7:15 these days, neither morning nor evening.

City Lights.15

More from this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival; a thing I learned about doing it by boat is that you have to hurry to take the photos you want! 🙂


I think many of us first heard the name Madeira applied to a dessert wine; indeed, more than one person to whom I said I planned a holiday on the island of Madeira said “you mean it’s more than just a wine?”  Grape vines from which come the local vintages are squeezed onto slopes all around the island, including in this stunning steep cliffside of vineyards, waterfalls, coastal views and a lovely perspective on the village of Seixal. That’s a town you’ve seen in a previous post – in fact, if you check that post, you’ll see these cliffs as seen from the seawall which juts like a finger out into the ocean in the image above. And yes, there were posters all over the island for local elections when we were there. And yes, lots of the roads on Madeira are this curvy and vertiginous :-).

Village Views.35

The lovely south-coast town of Ribeira Bravo, wedged between the ocean & steep cliffs on all sides, on a rainy December morning.

Urban Canals.125

All from a delightful long walk over to and around Amstelpark, at a bend in the river where apparently Rembrandt liked to come for plein air painting, near this windmill in fact, according to the signs. 🙂


Sunset view looking west toward the village of Caniçal, driving back from our lovely end-of-day visit to Ponta de São Lourenço, which you’ve seen before :-).