Friday Photo: Spooky Souvenir

Since it was Halloween yesterday and the #FriFotos theme is Souvenirs this week, it seemed appropriate to put the two together. I must warn you: this is not a photo for the faint of heart. This is not the ‘cute pumpkin’ version of Halloween; it is the ‘gruesome and creepy’ one. But it is an insight into Bolivian culture.  In fact, the creepiest sight in Bolivia is to be found in August, at the culmination of the Pachamama festival, when local people give offerings to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. These generally include coca leaves, sweets, cigarettes – all the vices of Bolivian people, which they naturally assume will appease the often-temperamental Earth deity. However, at the Mercado de las Brujas, or Witches’ Market, in La Paz, the offerings take a more sinister turn. At the stalls here, dead baby llamas are the offering of choice, a throwback to a medieval, or even prehistoric time, when llamas were offered as sacrifices to the gods. In Bolivia, and particularly here, in the Witches’ Market, old spirituality and superstition is alive and well. What’s the strangest ‘souvenir’ you’ve come across?...

Stavanger’s Old Town in Pictures

On the morning of the fifth day on our Norwegian cruise, I awoke, surprised to find that I was not rocking in my bed, as usual. All was still. I threw on some clothes and raced up to the deck, to find that we had indeed already docked – in the middle of a city. This was Stavanger, a former European Capital of Culture, Norway’s fourth-largest city. But the whitewashed, wooden houses that I could see gave more of an impression of a small, provincial town. I later discovered that these buildings make up Stavanger’s Old Town, and it is certainly its most beautiful quarter. Known locally as Gamle Stavanger (Old Stavanger), this is a protected area which looks like something out of a picture-book. In fact, what struck me most about Norway, besides its soaring mountains and aquamarine fjords, was that all the little villages we passed looked like toytown, with oversized dolls’ houses and perfectly manicured lawns. Even downtown Stavanger, with its 60s concrete blocks, still had such an air of precision about it that it wasn’t quite real. But in Gamle Stavanger, I could have very well been stepping straight into the pages of a fairytale.   With its cobblestoned lanes and little, white houses, it feels like an open-air museum, but people still live here – it is a living, breathing community. Though, on days when a cruise ship arrives and spills out its 3000 or so passengers, Gamle Stavanger can feel rather more like a tourist trap than part of a real town.   Bright flowers trail from window-boxes and trellises, adding splashes of...

Photo Friday: The Bean, Chicago

It’s the last Friday of March, so it’s our last City & Culture themed photo – for now at least!   There’s surely nowhere better on a sunny Spring day than super-cool Chicago, USA, and the Bean provides a dazzling centrepoint to the city. I had so much fun taking futuristic, surreal photos here.     Which is your favourite city to photograph? If you have any great images you’d like to see on Starry-Eyed Travels, then send them in – they could feature here next week!...

Triadic

All good things come in threes – and Riccardo Di Capua came up with the title Triadic for Iain Mallory’s photo. That leaves just one more – you. Submit a photo which captures the theme Triadic and you could be our next Photo of the Week. Simply submit your pic to katy@starryeyedtravels(dot)com by Thursday 5th January and yours may become our featured photo! For more details about Photo of the Week, click...

Photo of the Week

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for our Photo of the Week! If you haven’t played before, here’s how it works: 1) The photo will have no title or description. It is up to you to interpret it how you like. 2) You come up with a 1-word title for the photo. You can also add any other comments you like, but make sure your title is clearly stated. 3) The most creative, fitting or inspiring title will be announced on Monday. This becomes the theme for the following week’s photo. 4) Submissions are open from Monday for your photo on that ‘theme’. One will be chosen, featured in the Friday ‘Photo of the Week’ slot and the process starts again! You’ll find full Photo of the Week submission details here. Craig Zabransky (On Twitter @StayAdventurous) submitted the winning photo this week on the theme of Reflection, but now it needs a title of its own. Submit your 1-word title in the comments box below!  ...
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