Forty four years today…

Forty four years today I came into this world. A Drop of water from outer space, taking the shape I have now.

The only intention I am aware of – that this drop had when it landed here – is my shape: I seem to have all the parts in moderate proportions.

Columbia Hillen photography, travel photography

But why am I here? I am sure the universe would not waste material for nothing… am I ‘being’ enough for Life?

street photography, Columbia Hillen photograph

I know I was born old as I don’t seem to grow older… just stuck somewhere between a waterfall of questions…

art photography, Columbia Hillen photography

I believe we always have a choice of paths and that in choosing one over the other, we define ourselves.

black & white photography, Columbia Hillen photography

But I also believe in rebirth, that in every moment we can reinvent ourselves again and again and again… That’s all Time is, a chance to reinvent ourselves…

abstract photography, Columbia Hillen photograph

I wonder how far or how close am I to the intentions of the Drop that landed in this body, forty four years ago… And when it rains, would I recognize myself among the others…

The many shades of happiness

Coming to the end of another year and I let  myself carried away with the wave of all the rush to remember everyone… Have we “bought something” for everyone we know? How easy it is to be swayed in asking no questions….

yearly resolutions, landscape photography, Donegal beachAnd then it dawns on me: what if we could not “buy” things but we would have to make something for each person we care about? Make something using our hands and imagination?

Story telling in Donegal, ancient crafts in IrelandEven more, what if we forget about things? Simply focus on creating something memorable for all people that mean something to us? Have the power to give them a happy moment?

happiness moment, abstract photography…see that list disappearing, as realization hits: how much do I know about all these people beside hints about “things they like” or “things they hope will make them happy?” How much do I really know about their dreams and their hopes and what really makes them happy?

moon eclipse, landscape photography, photo of skyHow much does an oak know about me when it makes me feel so complete just by allowing me to rest under his branches? How can I share love like an oak does?

large oak tree, forest in summer, landscape photographyMy two dogs pull me out of my daydream and drag me out for a walk up Bloody Foreland. A little storm is brewing on the west, but, I say, we’ll be back before it hits.

Bloody Foreland Donegal, Donegal landscapeAs with all good things, we are caught in the storm… up half way the hill, I can see the dark cotton blankets coming towards me like curtains to different worlds… like veils protecting different truths…giving me a very very short glimpse…

abstract photography, landscape photography Ireland And seconds later I feel the full blast of wind and water against my face and my eyes and, up here, almost suspended between sea and land and sky, with all this energy running through me, I am as happy as I might ever be… as tingling lines of life run through my veins. And I feel them just like when I first set my foot on this place almost twenty years ago …. a place that makes me happy from inside out, with its wilderness, its howling winds and crying rains…it makes me content with just being, like resting in the company of an oak…

old tree root, landcape photography, memories of placesHow do they do it? How do trees and places and waves hand out love and happiness as if they know you?

abstract photography, columbia hilen photography, Irish photographersSo I make my short-term resolution. In the last few days I have left of this year, I will try to be silent and supportive like an oak, accepting and encouraging like a mountain, soothing and alive like a wave, for all the people in my life… and from the lessons I learn, I will know what the next step will be …

Autumnal thoughts

Why do I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders?
It’s light.
It’s light when I cloth my soul in a different skin.

landscape photography, trees joined beside the sea
It’s light when I burst into blooms of colors and scent.
Why can we only love what we see but fail to see the fear that blinds us?

landscape photography, lemon in a lemon tree
A night of weary thoughts rushes in through my pores, and it’s not the darkness I fear, but fear itself.
Why do I feel the weight of time on my shoulders? Or more likely the lack of time that presses down ever so slowly, and ever so fast like the night pressing down on the setting sun.

street photography, bird in captivity
It’s light and I’ve been awake in my dreams. It’s time to fall back into the sleep of reality again until I convince fear to like me.

landscape photography, island in the sea with sunset

Food moods – Rainbow salad for rainy days

It’s been raining and the sky won’t change its grey tones.
Why not get a rainbow in my plate with this salad created as I go along.
food photography, salad with peanut butter
2 carrots grated,
1 courgette grated,
1 small red onion chopped,
a handful of rocket salad chopped,
1 red peper chopped,
crunchy sugarless organic peanut butter,
horseradish,
extra virgin olive olive oil,
handful of dried currants
Toss them together and see the sky change colours.

Once upon a time in Cnoc Fola

Once upon a time, there was a girl who dreamt of a specific place by the sea.

Cnoc Fola Festival, Donegal festivals

She did not know if the place was real, but that did not matter, as it was real for her.

crafts in Donegal, summer in Donegal

She had grown up in the high mountains of Transylvania and she loved the mountains.

seafood in Donegal, Cnoc Fola events

But she missed the salty fragrance of the sea, mixed with the scent of pine trees.

Story telling in Donegal, ancient crafts in Ireland

Books were describing this place, Bloody Foreland, as the last vestige of the ancient people of Tuatha de Dannan, where magic is still alive.

festivals in Donegal, wild atlantic way holidays

And she could see this place so clearly in her mind’s eye.

fish and seafood Donegal, Donegal people

Its colors and its people…

Teac Jack Donegal, Bloody Foreland Donegal

The dancing and the laughter…

Irish dancing Donegal, sean nos dancing

The crafts and the crops…

basket weaving, creel making Donegal,

mussels picking Donegal, fresh seafood Donegal

…but some say it was just a dream.

Concert for pots and pans

Reminiscent of an invitation to dine within the inner temple of the kitchen in the Oitavos Hotel in Cascais, I have to thank Chef Sebastian Fratye for such an experience.

fine dining at Chef's Table

It may not be overly exaggerated to view the experience of dining at the Chef’s Table as akin to that of a classical concert – sizzling pans, knives on cutting boards and bubbling pots weaving their melodies to produce a culinary crescendo – with the listener enjoying the benefit of ‘tasting the music’ afterwards.

dinner at The Oitavos Hotel Portugal

Extending the metaphor, an overture of black eyed bean salad with dried tuna and a sprinkling of red pepper and red onion swerved as a prelude to greater things to come, the salty tuna complementing the earthy, full-bodied beans.

people in kitchen of Portugal hotel

A second starter of sweetbreads and crawfish in a tarragon and Muscatel sauce was a fine example of how almost anything can be combined if knowledge and skill is aplenty.

gourmet eating in Portugal

Then came the soft, mellow tones of scallop, lightly kissed on a hot pan flavored with butter, garlic, coriander, mustard and lemon confit – a well-performed adagio.

kitchen of restaurant in Portugal

And the climactic finale – 40-day matured Portuguese Black Angus steak accompanied by an aromatic Douro red wine from Vila Regia, which Nuno Antunes, the F&B manager, said emerged from the vineyards the Champalimaud family own in northern Portugal. The encore: a dark chocolate dessert that literary opened its petals before us as pastry chef Joaquim de Sousa delicately dripped his sweet, creamy sauce over it.

pastry chef decorating desert

If you did not believe in magic before, watch this. And if you did, you see how right you are.

The way of the menhir

I have touched the silent menhirs in Carnac, Brittany several years ago and I left with more questions than I came with.

I needed to try my hand again, in Portugal, just outside the beautiful Evora, where the Almendres form one of the most interesting megalithic monuments on the Iberian Peninsula.

I rushed my pace to get to the stones, up the narrow, tormented path, until I thought I heard a whisper…

…ever so soft, almost as if someone was getting ready to say something.

There was no wind. But when I looked around, something fell into place, when my eyes began to delight in the details at the side of the road.

So I spent about one hour on a 15 minutes walk and remember every second…

That soft voice must have been a better self, trying to teach me… Where was I rushing to? The stones had been there for thousands of years, they were not going anywhere and their stories were outside themselves.

They just drew the stories strongly towards them, with their mysterious apparent silence.

But they are shouting for those who can hear: “on the way to the menhir, it is the road, not the destination.”

a travel photography blog

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 374 other followers