168634_10150094561426445_4433390_nThe Alhambra is one of my most favourite places ever, and I love how the hedges and the arch draw your gaze to what’s between them, deeper into the palace!

10341975_10152416817711445_8968715486407454732_nIt was a grey, wet day in May and I was exploring the beautiful city of Dresden/Germany.  The Zwinger is a palace built in Rococo style and I was loving the mix of gold, glass and greyish stone.

Suddenly I noticed something extra – the colourful splash of a bright red umbrella!  It added so much to the picture, bringing it to life.

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 8.13.45 PMNow you see it, now you don’t.  Just a random bit of wall and yet so instantly recognisable.  And then it’s gone.  An image that tells so many stories.  A city once divided, now united.  Where once there were soldiers, now there is a cyclist (admittedly, in Berlin they can be rather dangerous as well).

An image that tells a story of courage, of hope, of suffering. Of joy and then disillusionment.  The story of a miracle.

An image that for some in this city is just history. For many, the story of something that shaped their lives. For others (like myself) something remembered but only experienced from a distance.  Yet still it chokes me up a bit.

The power of an image.

Picture from

944420_10151641270301445_1795301226_nSplit-second story. Or long agonising hours, waiting…  This time last year, water levels on the River Elbe were rising.  And rising.  And then rising some more.  My friend’s parents live right on the river and it looked like their home would be flooded for the second time in 10 years.

A few of us went down to help fill sandbags. Hundreds of them.  It was all we could do.  Then the waiting began. In the end, their property was safe. Many others were not.

A split-second story, capturing hard work, friendship and the power of nature.

10325345_10152354778891445_8995714388448385218_nCertainly plenty of twists here!

In an added twist, this boat used to belong to the East German navy and is now (after a stint as a tourist boat) being transformed into a home and a place of counselling and “soul care” (!

10173636_10152319453961445_4594081035895332927_nI spotted this a few weeks ago somewhere along the marina in Platja d’Aro, Costa Brava, Spain.  I loved the juxtaposition of the green of the hedge and the white of the wall.  And isn’t the hedge a work of art in and of itself?  I could never get mine to look even remotely like this!

10300810_10152345872036445_9181357384113652617_nSnapped on the move: having just arrived back from a trip to Hamburg (the Central Bus Station is just out of view), now waiting for the S Bahn to take me home.  Cars whizzing past on the Autobahn next to the train tracks. Looking at the “Internationales Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC Berlin)” and the Funkturm (former radio tower).  People on the move, messages on the move.

10151354_10152342789481445_426261633618063148_nSpring has arrived when after a long, grey Berlin winter (actually, this one wasn’t so bad!), green starts appearing again in my courtyard!  Love it when this beautiful lilac bush starts flowering!

IMG_0423Finds at a second hand book sale.

“Scenes and Narratives from German History” (first published in London 1861) and  German textbook for Russians (published 1934), with handwritten translations into Russian.

10015163_10152319450376445_8380981034049890117_nTrees on top, in Platja d’Aro, Costa Brava, Spain

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