July 2, 2019
Ah – the Azores.
Been a while, I know…
Too busy traversing the planet to put fingers to keyboard. But in the meantime much has happened that needs reporting on and pics shown of – so it’s time for some catch-up…
First up – a few posts about the Azores, where I ended up unexpectedly on business the other week.
The Azores: another amazing place on the planet: green volcanic isles at the place where three of the largest tectonic plates (North American, Eurasian and African) meet amid a vast ocean – they’re bound to be something special. And they are. Especially their… flowers!
Now, any regular reader of these here blog pages will know I often mention and present pics of various plants and trees, but very rarely of flowers. Well that all changes here. This post is mostly all about flowers; in particular – the hydrangea.
Why? Because flowering hydrangea plants are literally everywhere. This was first pointed out to us by the driver of the taxi from the airport – kind of as a warning, so we wouldn’t be too shocked. These white, blue and purple flowers line roads and parking lots. They even act as hedges between fields (to keep cows from straying into neighboring fields), and they blanket-cover parks and botanical gardens – everywhere:
In some areas there appears to be some plan as to their placement and arrangement. In others – just the opposite – wildness reigning. ‘Civilizing’ the hydrangea isn’t difficult at all: they cut a few at the bottom of the stems and replant them where needed; mother nature does the rest – before you know it those stems have blossomed into another hydrangea bush.
Besides hydrangea – there’s plenty of other awesomeness – Azoresomeness! – on these islands. Herewith, a photo-primer thereon:
I’ll get onto Azorean details a bit later. Meanwhile, as I write this, I’m on a plane heading west…
…And on that plane – on the map I see on the screen in the seat in front, I see… locations of where ships sank in the distant past!
I see these macabre markings on maps on planes from time to time, and am always a bit perplexed by them. Why are they shown? What is the point?
I wonder, on modern-day ocean liners with the 27 floors, 18 swimming pools, and 600 restaurants – do their maps show the locations of plane crashes? Zeppelin crashes?! I don’t know as I’ve never been on one.
Anyway, the sunken ships shown on this map are the British passenger liner RMS Douro (sunk in 1882) and the Dutch Slot der Hooge (1724).
RMS Douro sank as a result of a collision with a Spanish steamer. Some of the crew and the captain thereof went down with the ship. The ship eventually came to rest 450 meters below the surface of the ocean. It was located more than a century later, in 1995 – and extracted therefrom were many a gold sovereigns that the ship was carrying. Interesting story.
The Slot ter Hooge sank 160 years earlier; its story featured not gold but silver…
But I digress…
As you may have guessed, I was heading east toward sweltering Paris….
I wasn’t long in Paris, while in the next location – Zurich – I met a full three Very Important Persons in a single day:
- The world’s most respected pensioner – Buzz Aldrin;
- the president of Armenia – Armen Sarkissian; and
- Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May!!!
Yes – I met those great individuals at this year’s Starmus, an event we love, respect, and support (for a few years already). More Starmus pics and tales – coming up shortly…
Meanwhile, all the pics from the Azores are here.