Wordless Wednesday : If I Could Talk to the Animals

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Getting all your Ducks in a Row

Wait for us Mama!

Wait for us Mama!

To the Top of the World by Cable!

Well, it was not quite to the top of the world,but at 2200 metres, Monte Baldo on Lake Garda is pretty high.   It looms over the commune of Malcesine, not too far from Riva del Garda. The mountain top can be reached by not one, but two, very steep cable car rides.

According to Wiki –

Behind Malcesine rises the 2,218 m (7,277 ft) high Monte Baldo. A two-stage cable car ride—the second leg using one with rotating cabins—takes passengers to 1,750 m (5,741 ft)  above sea level.    From there the highest point can be accessed by walking a few kilometres to the south along the ridge.

On our trip in the cable car, which held about 40 or 50 people each trip, there were many young people carrying very large rucksacks.  It was only when we got off the second car and climbed the few hundred metres to the summit that we realised what these rucksacks contained.  Yes indeed, these were the brave people who were taking a short cut back down…by paragliding!    They were brave because if they ‘overshot’ the landing on the way down they would end up in the lake!

So many other things were going on at the top, and  along with a very small church and a few restaurants there were some llamas, sheep and goats, people lying in the sun, having picnics, watching the para gliders getting ready, strolling around, and generally enjoying the view from the top.    There was even some patches of snow to be seen around the shaded side of the mountain.

It was a fabulous way to spend a sunny day in Italy.



Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge : Animals in Nature

My photos of animals this week are domestic animals, as the wild animals in Ireland are more elusive!





Check out more posts here

Weekly Photo Challenge (2) : Family

Feeding time, Fota Wildlife Park

Feeding time, Fota Wildlife Park

2012-09-01 15.56.44These animal family photos, the first two taken in Fota Wildlife Park in Cork  are photos that always remind me of a close knit family, always looking out for each other.

My favourite animal

My favourite animal

Home time

Home time

Elephants and duiker busy ignoring each other.

Elephants and duiker busy ignoring each other.

For more posts in this challenge, check out this link: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/photo-challenge-family-2/

Cee’s Which Way Challenge : 2014 No. 1

While out and about on my travels today, I came across this sign which I think is perfect for this challenge.   The sign is surrounded by fields, so it could either mean that we should look out for cattle crossing the road at this point, or, it could mean ‘Beware of the Bull’

Beware of the Bull...ooops, the Cow!!

Beware of the Bull…ooops, the COW!

For more posts check out http://ceenphotography.com/2014/01/08/cees-which-way-challenge-2014-1/

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge : Blue and Yellow

Cee’s challenge this week is the post some photos in a blue and yellow theme.

On a recent walking holiday in Italy, we took a well deserved break one day (from the early mornings and late nights!) and went to visit an old town called Bolzano.   We were taken on a ‘guided’ tour of the old buildings in the town by a guide who must have been on her first job, as she had very little information on the town, except for what was contained in a little one page leaflet!   A lot of us got bored after a short while, and veered off to window shop – a much more interesting pastime!

Look at the bling we found:


And the prices of each piece were thankfully way out of our price bracket!



And I love the different colours of the houses along the narrow streets.



Walking with Lion (cubs).

While travelling in Zimbabwe, we visited Antelope Park, which runs a programme called ALERT – African Lion and Environmental Research Trust, where orphaned lions are cared for, and may eventually be released back into the wild.    We had the most fantastic experience of going for a walk in the bush with these 8 month old cubs, and their handlers.  These cubs look upon the handlers as their ‘parents’ and respond to their commands, and before we went out on the walk, we were given a talk on the ‘do’s and dont’s’ of walking with wild animals.

Rules of the walk

Rules of the walk


It was a pretty daunting list..Do Not Panic…Stand your Ground (Really – with a lion chasing me?)   Do Not Run… but once out in the bush, it was all good, they are pussycats really – of the large variety!  We were even able to pose for photos with the cubs, with the handlers keeping a close eye at all times


Relaxing with his handler

Relaxing with his handler




I love the Beauty/Ugliness and Practicality of Baobabs!

One of the trees we came across on our travels in Zimbabwe, is the Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata), also known as the cream of tarter tree, which is a very unusual looking tree.  These trees are normally found at altitudes below 600m, in hot dry regions.   Once the tree loses its leaves, about the beginning of winter, the baobab looks like an upside down tree, with its roots in the air.

Some legends say that God planted the tree upside down – it was first planted in the Congo Basin, where it complained of the wet, so God removed it to another area, where it complained of the cold.   Annoyed by the tree’s discontent, God took it up and threw it into the hot dry regions of Africa, where it landed upside down and has stayed like that ever since.

In March this year, the baobabs still had leaves, so though not as ugly, they still look very impressive with their knobbly bark and wide girth, sometimes looking like an old goblin.   It is not surprising that there are so many myths and legends surrounding these trees, as they are unlike most other trees, and have been around for such a long time, with stories being passed on from one generation to the next.

The wood is very fibrous, and the trees store a great deal of water, which also means that these trees can live for thousands of years.  They have great ‘stamina’ and if the bark is stripped it simply grows again. The bark is used to make fibre mats and baskets, and the bark so removed does not cause any permanent damage to the tree.

Baobab with leaves

Baobab with leaves


Baobab trees can often be found with hollow trunks, and an opening at the side, sometimes the size of a door, and local people use the inside of the tree to store grain from wild animals, or even as shelter in a storm, and bats love to live inside, (which doesn’t make for a very pleasant visit, with the stench of ammonia!)  The trees store so much water in the bark that they can help the villagers get water in the dry season, the leaves are rich in vitamin C, and a good substitute for spinach, and can also make good feed for animals, and the fruit and seeds are a good substitute for cream of tartar.

Baobab fruit

Baobab fruit


If you visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world). then you should definitely visit the famous Big Tree, a few kilometres from the Falls.  This tree is about 2000 years old, and its diameter is more than 7 metres.   Over the years, many visitors have carved their initials in the tree, (we noticed one dated 1923), and for this reason, and to protect the tree, a  fence is now in place – you can look but don’t touch…or carve!

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We also came across some wonderful specimens in the Mana Pools National Park – the one above looks like a slightly ‘younger’ tree, maybe 1000 years old!

Finally,  the fruit of the baobab,  when cracked open, it contains little pods of cream of tartar, the tree is sometimes known as the ‘dead rat tree’, because of the appearance of the fruit….yuk!!

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