Thursday, August 16, 2007

Debd's Blog and Detective Work

A comment on one of my book reviews led back to Debd's thoughtful site of Eastern Orthodoxy, homeschooling, and books. However, the first time I visited Deb on the Run (now nightly reading for me) I was distracted by the photo at the top.

It's an image used by the creator of the blog scheme Deb is using. It looked like Cornwall or Wales or ...

Where was it? Subsequent visits to her blog fanned the flames - I had to know.

So I viewed the html source of her blog page and found that the scheme is called Ocean-Mist. Googling "Ocean-mist blog" led to some Internet info on the blog scheme and it's author Ed Merritt. Several more pages had questions from users of the theme, wondering where the photo was from, and guessing Cornwall. Further Google research found the phrase "Ocean Mist theme by Ed Merritt ported by Crimson, Photo by rexfarucao." That looked Portuguese, and certainly worth a check.

The next Google stop was "rexfarucao." A stock photo site had two photos by this photographer - both from the Azores. And Rexfarucao's Flickr photostream, all of which seems to be about the Azores.

The Azores? I had heard the name but had never looked them up. A Flickr search for Azores finished the job. They're incredibly beautiful islands in the Atlantic, under the government of Portugal. Click here to see a photo that demonstrates this is the source of the amazing photo in Ocean-mist. Then see this charming photo that shows the slow pastoral pace of some of the islands. Mullemulle has a wonderful Flickr photo set from an Azores trip. Or look at this wonderful Flickr set by Janica Franco, of faces from the Feira Quinhetista, on the isle of San Miguel. Explore many more photos of this amazing place at the Flickr Tag for the Azores.

In the harbor of Horta, on the island of Faial, there is a tradition of painting on the wall a flag for your ship/voyage. It is said to ensure a safe passage. Here is a passage by Jaoa de Melo (translated to English) about this.

Before sailing away, everyone must draw on the marina wall [Horta - Faial] a flag for a dream country, some sails filled up with the wind of love and doom, a geometrical or sophisticated figure, and write down the name of the yacht or sailing boat that went by, and leave messages and poetic phrases – for this will mitigate the wrath of the sea gods and grant the trip back home.

Many of these flags are captured in a Flickr photo set by Joe Taruga. The quote above is from that photo set, as well.

These flowers bloom famously all over the islands.

I dreamed and explored for several hours one rainy afternoon. It was almost like visiting - but now I want to go there for real. I don't speak a word of Portuguese...

While nearly every Flickr photo I found of the Azores had "All rights reserved," the photo above, from the Flickr Photostream of Vida de Vidro, was shared. Many thanks!


DebD said...

And here I thought it was either a Norwegian or Scottish fjord. Great homework.

I *almost* got to go to the Azores once. Dh was on a business trip to Portugal and I tagged along. Unfortunately, we were not in Portugal long enough to merit the side-trip (on an island hopper no less!). These pictures inspire me to want to go. The Portuguese people are very kind and generous.

Thanks for the kind words about my blog.

Steve Emery said...

Deb - you're welcome! I look to your blog to continue opening my heart to God in new ways. The great beauty of the Eastern traditions touches parts of me that aren't reached any other way.

Rob B said...

I just stumbled across your blog post about the Azores. two years after you wrote it! have you been there yet? It is a wonderful place. I hardly speak any Portuguese but go there often and get by well enough using English.

Great picture!