Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Serenity


Thanks to Tina for this week’s serene challenge.

MB has chosen a shot of Lough Gur lake from his HX homeland.

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It’s the weekend


What about a bit of caving?

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Unique


Thanks to Amy for this week’s Unique photo challenge. Read More

It’s the weekend


Hopefully, you won’t need any of these!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Trees


Thanks to Ann Christine for her Trees photo challenge this week.


If it’s trees you want, then you should’ve all been hanging out with MB last week in the Matka River Canyon, near Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia.

They’ve got oodles of trees over there!

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It’s the weekend


Matka River Canyon, North Macedonia.

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Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge – Wild


Thanks to Tina for the ‘walk on the wild side‘ challenge. If followers would like to see some superb shots from Tina’s African adventures then please click on that link.


Many of the major towns and cities in the Middle East have large bird markets. The markets are not restricted to just wild birds of course. In the Bird Market at Souq Waqif in Doha, Qatar, one can find turtles, domestic pets such as puppies and kittens, and more.


Sometimes wild is caged.

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Valetta


Valetta is the present-day capital of Malta built by the Knights of St John and dates from the 1500s. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and is small enough to explore in a day or two. MB spent a few days there last week ambling around the streets and seeing the sights.

The following pics give a flavour of the city. They come from a street food walking tour taken by MB and some general exploration. He will comment on a few of the pics below for the benefit of followers.


The famous (original) painting by Carravagio – The Beheading of John the Baptist. It’s the largest painting ever by the painter and the only one he signed, which he did in the red blood (paint) from the throat of the saint. The painting is on display and a permanent fixture at the Co-Cathedral of St John in central Valetta. Photo Nr 2 below is a shot of the church interior. The entire church is incredibly ornate.DSC03492

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One of the old city gates.DSC03378

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Valetta Harbour.DSC03349

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The Building known as Victory Kitchen fed thousands of hungry Maltese during WW2, when the city authorities had already signed their surrender to the Germans, but survived thanks to supplies from British ships which limped into the harbour, still under fire from German planes. Many ships were lost en route.DSC03334

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Flags are out in abundance during Spring religious festivals. MB believes the below flags honour St Martin, but he stands to be corrected.DSC03310

Traditional Maltese bread made in a traditional Maltese oven (2nd pic below), which is some 5m deep. The eight-sided Maltese Cross which features on the below oven and on the national flag represents the eight obligations or aspirations of the Knights – namely “to live in truth, have faith, repent one’s sins, give proof of humility, love justice, be merciful, be sincere and whole­hearted, and to endure persecution”.DSC03305

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Famous Pub in Valetta called The Pub. It’s most famous claim to fame is that it’s the pub in which famous British actor, hell-raiser and alcoholic Oliver Reed drank himself to death. The bar owner informed MB and his food tour colleagues that Reed consumed some 34 alcoholic beverages on that fateful day, depicted on the below t-shirt which is for sale in the pub. Reed died during a break in filming the movie Gladiator, leaving many important scenes in difficulty. His head was later computer-generated onto an actor double to complete the scenes. DSC03294

Salmon rarely meet a happy ending!DSC03287

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The pies on the right are the famous Maltese go-to fast food called pastizzi. They are made from filo pastry and have one of three fillings – cheese, chicken or peas.DSC03267

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Malta Miscellany


MB had previously travelled to Malta in November 1989 to watch the (Italia 1990) World Cup football qualifier game between Ireland and the home nation. Ireland needed to win to qualify and did so 0-2, compliments of two John Aldridge goals. Read More

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Delicate


Thanks to AC for this week’s Delicate challenge.

MB sticks with his son’s wedding of a few days back to meet the challenge:

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The Wedding of K&S


MB was in Malta in recent days for the wedding of son SB to fiancé KL.

Malta was selected as the wedding venue following the decision not to have the occasion take place in either of the home countries of Ireland and UK, and what an inspired decision that proved to be. The venue was a 200-year-old traditional Maltese farmhouse and surrounding grounds called Ir-Razzett L-Abjad, which is situated in the inland location of Iklin, approximately 20 minutes drive from the capital city of Valetta. It makes for quite a spectacular wedding venue.

MB will not go into Maltese history in this post (or any other!) which is vast, particularly in respect of the Knights of St John, The Order of Malta, the eight-pointed Maltese Cross, the unsuccessful Ottoman invasion and siege of 1565, the many spectacular churches and cathedrals, and, of course, the multiple locations that Malta has recently provided for the Game Of Thrones TV series. And much more. As this post is about a wedding, MB is aware that the ladies will only want to see some pics!

MB will not show any personal photos of family or friends, as he has no permission to do so, but will instead try to convey a sense of the occasion and venue with a small selection of more general pics, and hopes and son SB and new DIL KB (formerly KL!) will not kill MB for doing so!

Long life and happiness to the S&K.

Herewith:

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Street Art


Thanks to Patti for this week’s Street Art challenge.

MB was up at 5am this morning on the island of Malta for a photo tour with a local guide. Amongst the many great locations visited was the colourful fishing village of Marsaxlokk where the local Municipality are doing their bit to add to the local colourful culture.

The below shot Nr 1 shows the public seating along the quay painted in the same colours as the traditional Maltese fishing boats sitting in the adjacent water.

And what exactly are you doing in Malta MB???

Another time lads!

Regards.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Harmony


Thanks to Tina for this week’s Harmony challenge.

MB came across a great group of drummers beating in harmony in Budapest a few weeks back.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Less if More


Thanks to Amy for this weeks Less is More challenge.

MB reverts to his Budapest trip for a shot for this weeks challenge.

The 4m high bronze statue of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus is one of the better-known statues in the city. Its located on the front wall of the elevated Buda Castle, and is facing the Danube River and Pest side of the city below. The fact that the baby is slightly forward from the mother is supposed to signify the virgin birth, as MB has discovered.

MB’s shot is hopefully of the ‘Less is More’ variety, with the majority of the photo taken up by the blank overcast sky overhead. But overall, it seems to work.

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Sri Lanka


The awful events of Easter Sunday just past reminded MB of his trip some years back to stunning Sri Lanka. He met only with huge kindness and smiling friendly faces from all SL natives, regardless of creed.

MB had a particularly great few days in the company of mountain-top Haputale guest-house owner Mr Ali and family (Muslims) and Mr Sanath (Buddhist), a great friend of Mr Ali.

MB has read in recent days of some of the negative repercussion of the Easter Sunday killing of members of the Christian community. It will resonate with many Irish people who, like MB, lived in the UK during ‘the troubles’ of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. It’s relatively easy for a minuscule number of extremists to sow hatred and division and intolerance and fear, and those are ultimately some of the primary goals. But in the end, the vast majority of all people and peoples are decent and good, and evil inevitably looses out one hopes. But in times of grief and strife, the light at the end of the tunnel can be somewhat dim. The recent days killing of lady journalist Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland, following almost 20 years of relative peace and ‘putting all that shit behind us’, is proof that there will always be a few who believe ‘my beliefs uber alles‘.

So MB just hopes and prays that Mr Ali and Mr Sanath and their families are well at this time.

The story of MB & Mr Ali & Mr Sanath, with many SL pics:

https://michealdebarra.com/2013/08/23/sri-lanka-time-for-tea/