Well we’ve been back in the U.S. for nearly 2 months and Allison and I are still just getting caught up. Before I lose too much more momentum, I wanted to continue sharing some of the beauty that we encountered during our travels in the Mediterranean. If you’ve been following along, you know from Part One and Two of The Hunt that Allison and I became “collectors,” of sorts. Symmetry. Color. Balance and Negative Space. It added a fun dynamic to our daily routine when we would come across something and say, “Ooh, get a photo of the symmetry,” and “Whoa. Come check out this texture . . . .”
Doing so made us see things differently. It was a really rewarding creative exercise.
Anyway, today’s post features a collection that’s one of my favorites: Texture.
Developer’s Note: We like these photos so much, we removed the side bar on this post to give them all of the real estate.
Let’s start with Rome:
If you click to see the image full size, you can see the amazing grit of this old edifice. I love the marbling in the columns.
Marbled Floor Inside the Pantheon
It made the interior an echo chamber.
On Our Way to the Gelateria
Across the narrow street alongside the Pantheon, I was a little enamored with the quaint, crusty neighborhoods.
These were some of the first amazing sculptures that I saw in Italy.
Vatican City at Midnight
With the streets empty, one of the most striking things for me was the shiny cobblestones in the square below St. Peter’s Basilica, polished under the countless footsteps of the faithful and curious for centuries.
From Rome, we headed north to Florence. A place I can’t wait to see again.
Inside the Baptistery
The tiny tiles and details seemed endless.
Some of the most pleasant graffiti ever.
Sculptures outside Palazza Vecchio
Even right up close, the stone seemed so fleshy and lifelike.
Take a close look at the veins and tendons in his hands, and how his fingers press into her flesh. And then remind yourself that someone chipped that out of a block of marble. Just incredible.
Almas, the Street Artist
When he realized we liked his black and white watercolor paintings but he didn’t have the one we wanted, this sweet man dropped what he was doing and said, “Ten minute?” with a smile. We watched in awe as he sketched and painted the Duomo from memory. I have so much admiration for artists who work without an “undo” button. Unbelievable.
As you know, the next chapter of our travels took us to Athens, Greece.
Base of the Acropolis
The exposed, ancient stone here showed the wear of 2500-ish years.
Look at the precision cut and fit of those stones, and that scaly-looking transition.
I tried to imagine the work that went into this so long ago; that someone spent who-knows-how-long chipping away at this and adding the little details one at a time.
The tiny tiles of a section of floor on display at one of the many museums in Athens.
I loved the rough exterior of this old Greek Orthodox church, which was right in the center of a busy, modern open-air mall. They just built right up around it.
All too common
Allison and I were surprised to see so how much of Athens was run down, overgrown, and nearly everything within arm’s reach was covered in graffiti. Numerous sights like this one gave off a shoulder-shrugging vibe of the city having given up.
Although Athens had some amazing historical sites to visit, the real beauty of Greece seemed to be found once you left the city for the beaches, hills, and islands. The sea that surrounds the country is cold, calm, and exceptionally blue in color. Here, the slimy moss swayed forward and back with the gentle waves on one of many rocky beaches we found along the coast.
One of the two main highlights of our travels in Greece was the island of Skiathos. Happily, Skiathos gave off a very different mood than the weary, almost-sulky Athens. In contrast, this tiny island was something its locals were obviously proud of, and they took great care to show off its beauty.
In the more popular areas on Skiathos, nearly every structure seemed to have a fresh coat of paint. But while exploring its neighborhoods and back alleys, we found some wonderful old texture for our collection.
Hidden Beaches & Driftwood
On Skiathos, many of the beaches were unreachable by road; visitors must arrive by boat. With so little foot traffic, everything had an older feel on these remote beaches. I wonder when this old piece of driftwood arrived.
Finally, the climax of our time in Greece was our motorbike ride through ancient Corinth en route to Sparta, Mystras, and Leonidio, then back up the coast to Corinth and back to Athens. Truly, the Peloponnese peninsula had some of the most gorgeous, mountainous landscapes we’ve seen – and we live in Utah.
Bees & Thistles in Ancient Corinth
Warm, Speckled Asphalt
I wish I got a bit closer to the road for this photo, so you could see whatever it was that speckled this scenic stretch of road between Corinth and Argos.
Warrior Wildflowers in Ancient Sparta
Even the plant-life in Sparta seems to defy the Persians to this day. Click to see the tiny thorns on these poppies and their spear-like yellow guardians (second photo).
Like the island of Skiathos, the tiny town of Mystras was beautiful and well-kept. The town itself hugs the outskirts of Sparta, watched over by the towering Taygetus Mountains.
Breaching Snap Dragons
Like neighboring Sparta, some of the flowers in Mystras displayed a special toughness, like these snap dragons that seemed to break right through the mortar of this wall.
More exposed brick.
Lichens on Mount Taygetus
Near the top of the cloud-covered peaks of the Taygetus mountain range overlooking Sparta and Mystras, everything took on an earthy, moody, gray tone.
On the steep canyon roads toward Leonidio, we spotted this old, rusted bike chain pretending to be a viper.
Obviously there are hundreds more photos that we want to share from our travels. Many of those can be found on Allison’s personal blog, WanderTheWild.com (or will be found there, since we’re still catching up on posting the ones from Greece).