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Tricia A. Mitchell
13,324 followers -
Trotting the globe. Passionate about the power of citizen diplomacy.
Trotting the globe. Passionate about the power of citizen diplomacy.

13,324 followers
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Around the World in 18 Barbers' Chairs
Full photo essay: https://goo.gl/e1xksd

Sitting in a barber shop in the coastal city of Split, Croatia, I struggled to answer the stylist’s simple question: How long were Shawn and I visiting Croatia? I had learned a smattering of Croatian words, but the names of the months had so far escaped me.

Remembering the calendar hanging above my head – albeit adorned with nude calendar girls – I flipped through the weeks and pointed to a date. As I exposed each month’s voluptuous model, the 70-something barber’s moustache-framed mouth curled into a mischievous grin. However awkward the method, I had satisfied his curiosity. Clearly I was in male territory, though.

The funny encounter got me reminiscing about all the haircuts Shawn and I have had around the world. With my naturally-curly hair, I’ve been more reluctant to get my hair coiffed, perhaps only summoning the courage in 8 countries. In contrast, Shawn has had his locks lovingly trimmed – even aggressively buzzed – in about 18 countries!

#photoessay #travel #aroundtheworld #haircuts

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A Sunset Safari in South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park

As golden-hour rays of sunshine cast shadows upon South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park, we remained cautiously optimistic that we’d spot wildlife. Our open-air safari vehicle rolled through the stunning landscape, characterized by sage-colored foliage and terracotta-hued soil. Water droplets sparkled on the vegetation, the result of an earlier rainfall that had quenched Addo’s parched terrain.

Embarking on the late-afternoon game drive moments earlier, the guide cautioned our group that no ‘Big Five’ animal sightings could be guaranteed. The Big Five, a term originally coined by hunters, describes creatures considered the most challenging to hunt: elephants, lions, buffalo, rhinoceroses and leopards.

Read more: https://triciaannemitchell.com/2017/08/12/addo-elephant-park-south-africa-safari/

#WorldElephantDay #SouthAfrica #travelphotography #elephants #animals #naturephotography #safari #gamedrive #AddoElephantPark
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Sculpting Tomorrow’s Artisans: The Stonemason School in Pučišća, Croatia
Full post: https://goo.gl/GjPudH

Venturing into Pučišća’s Stonemason School feels like entering another era. The soundtrack is the hammering, sanding, and chiseling of stone. A snow-white dust dances in the air, hugging every surface, and carpeting the ground. Classic urns, intricate fountains, and a regal lion fill the school’s sun-drenched workshop. Indeed, the only details that may transport you back to the present are the sweatpants, t-shirts, and earbuds worn by the aspiring stonemasons.

The Pučišća Stonemason School (Croatian: Klesarska škola) has trained students in the art of stonemasonry for more than one hundred years. Located on the rugged Croatian island of Brač (pronounced Bra-ch), in the sleepy town of Pučišća, the school currently has 79 students, two of whom are young women. While most of the students come from all over Croatia, there are also a handful from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and even the Czech Republic.

#Croatia #Brac #Europe #art #stonemasonry #travel
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Into the Forest: Watching a Wild Deer Feeding in the German Alps
Full post: https://triciaannemitchell.com/2017/02/08/wild-deer-feed-bavaria-wildtierfuetterung-graswangtal-oberbayern/

Sitting on the wooden benches of a rustic shelter, our group waited patiently. We shivered quietly and watched for signs of life in the frosted forest before us. It was twilight, and we had come to watch a feeding of wild deer in the Graswang Valley in the German state of Bavaria. These feeding sessions, called Wildtierfütterung in German, are a popular local tradition, and just one example of Germany’s penchant for respecting the environment

During the harshest winter months, Bavarian authorities help care for the deer inhabiting these forested mountains by offering them food. They do so not only to help the deer survive the winter, but also to ensure the animals don’t devour too much of the forest’s foliage. Previously, the deer would have come into the valley to forage independently, but because some of their habitat has been developed by humans, the Wildtierfütterung is a necessary intervention.

#deer #nature #Germany #Bavaria #travel #travelphotography #animals
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A Descent into Malta's Mystical Hypogeum
Full post: https://goo.gl/HezbFc

Believed to be one of the oldest prehistoric underground temples in the world, Malta’s Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is a mysterious and impressive engineering marvel crafted by the island’s ‘Temple Builders’. Little is known about the sophisticated Temple Builders and why they eventually vanished from the island, leaving only their temples behind. Incredibly, some of their structures predate Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid at Giza.

Archaeologists think Malta’s Hypogeum was carved out of living rock as far back as 3600 BCE, and originally used as a sanctuary, then as a necropolis. The remains of approximately 7,000 people were found there.

In addition to finding human remains within the Hypogeum, archaeologists discovered pottery, amulets, beads, and this plump ‘Sleeping Lady’ statue. Made of clay, it depicts a reclined woman, perhaps symbolizing eternal rest. Today, the statue is in the country’s National Archaeology Museum in Valletta.

When we descended into the musty site, water droplets fell from the rock ceiling, which shimmered with moisture. Jammed next to the other visitors, I stepped carefully so I didn’t slip on the path. The air was damp and cool. I shuddered to think how foul the smell must have been millennia earlier when the chambers were filled with decaying corpses.

Occasionally, our female guide pointed out the Hypogeum’s highlights. At other moments, the audioguide prompted us, with a primordial beat in the background. I thought it was fitting that the musician who had created the audioguide’s haunting soundtrack had actually composed and recorded it inside the temple using stones, pottery, and a frame drum as instruments. Apparently wanting to be inspired by the Hypogeum’s surroundings, he spent a great amount of time underground there. On some of the walls, you could still make out ornamental swirls of red ocher, a natural pigment likely originating from nearby Sicily. Since red ocher has been found elsewhere on Temple People artifacts, it’s thought to be a spiritual flourish, perhaps symbolizing blood or life.

No one actually crooned inside the Hypogeum’s ‘oracle chamber‘ during our tour, but our guide explained that specialists had actually discovered that if a man were to call into the abyss, his booming voice would resonate eerily through the temple. Apparently, this doesn’t work for female voices. It’s unknown if the resonating effect was deliberate, and if it might have had a spiritual purpose. Perhaps someday we will know why, but for now, it’s fascinating to ponder such mysteries of the Hypogeum.

For more on the Hypogeum, see my latest blog post at the link above.

#Malta #Hypogeum #Maltaphotography #VisitMalta #LoveMalta #history #travelphotography #travelphotos #archaeology #culture
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A Guide to Exploring Valletta: Malta's Tiny, but Mighty, Capital City
Full post: https://goo.gl/dvZgyT

Malta’s capital, Valletta, is a grande dame undergoing rapid change. With more than 300 monuments crammed into the city’s small peninsular borders, Valletta has one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. This means that there are lots of things to do in Valletta, whether you’re an architecture aficionado, military-history buff or passionate wanderer eager to see a city reawakening from a long slumber.
Shawn and I were delighted to have called Valletta home this past year, living on one of the city’s most infamous streets – a narrow lane which was once a red-light district that lured sailors. When we first learned we’d be moving to Malta for Shawn’s studies, we thought we might develop island fever living on a tiny island nation for twelve months. Surprisingly though, there was so much to experience in and out of Valletta that our weekend calendar was always replete with activities.
A decade before moving to Valletta, I also played tourist in the capital city, making it my home base during a long-weekend visit. Back in 2006, Valletta was eerily quiet. Half of the city’s buildings were boarded up and abandoned. Accommodation in Valletta was so scarce that I literally had to sleep in a spacious maid’s closet for one night, until a proper room became available. Coincidentally, ten years later, my future in-laws would choose to stay at a boutique hotel located just across the street from the same guesthouse in which I stayed as a solo female traveler in 2006. It’s funny how life comes full circle like that!
As a solo traveler on that long weekend, I loved exploring Valletta’s streets and their characteristic golden-limestone buildings, radiant wooden balconies, and vintage storefronts. Therefore in 2015, Shawn and I were elated to have that impressive architecture, history, and culture just outside our doorstep for an entire year. Continue reading: https://goo.gl/dvZgyT

#Malta #Valletta #travel #travelphotography #travelguide #guide #Mediterranean #history #architecture
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Malta's Cliff-Diving Dog Captures Hearts Around the World
Full post: https://triciaannemitchell.com/2016/10/16/malta-diving-dog-titti-jack-russell-terrier-peters-pool/

It was a sweltering September afternoon on the sunny island of Malta when we headed to St. Peter’s Pool. With its dramatic limestone cliffs and access to the Mediterranean, St. Peter’s isn’t a pool in the conventional sense. And at this point, it should ceremoniously be renamed ‘Titti’s Pool’ in honor of its most famous diver: a Jack Russell Terrier dog who has captured the attention of animal lovers worldwide.

Upon reaching a point overlooking the picturesque swimming venue, I had already spotted Titti – a stocky, black, white and brown ball of energy. St. Peter’s Pool is photogenic in its own right, but the swarm of swimmers sporting mobile phones and cameras instead tried to capture Titti’s every move. This proved to be tricky because of the dog’s sprinting maneuvers and high jumps alongside her master’s ankles.

See more of Titti in action via the above link.

#Malta #dog #diving #Mediterranean #travelphotography
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Exploring Malta's Roman Ruins at the Domus Romana Museum
Full post: https://triciaannemitchell.com/2016/08/28/malta-roman-villa-museum-ruins-domus-romana-rabat/

Malta was ruled, occupied and colonized by a great number of different peoples throughout the last few thousand years. Not surprisingly, since the island is in the heart of the Mediterranean, the Romans were among them.

Situated just outside the popular and atmospheric walled city of Mdina is the small Domus Romana Museum. It was once a townhouse for a Roman aristocrat living in the ancient Roman town of Melite, in what is now Mdina and Rabat. (In Latin, domus means ‘home’ or ‘residence’.) It’s believed that it was built in the 1st century CE.

#archaeology   #archeology   #Malta   #travel   #mosaic   #travelphotography   #mediterranean   #history  
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Harvesting Sea Salt on the Maltese Island of Gozo
Full post: https://triciaannemitchell.com/2016/08/07/harvest-sea-salt-gozo-malta-mediterranean/

On the northern coast of the Maltese island of Gozo, mounds of snow-white salt sparkle under the summer sun in salt evaporation pans. About 300 of these pans cover a section of Gozo’s northern coast, called the Xwejni Salt Pans. It’s believed that such pans have existed here since Roman times!

#Malta   #Gozo   #mediterranean   #foodie   #seasalt   #salt   #travel   #travelphotography   #travelphoto  
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Into the Blue: A Mediterranean Sailing Trip from Malta to Comino
Full post: goo.gl/f4uiEx

As the sailing yacht, the Moon Song, gracefully cut through the glittering water of the Mediterranean, I tried to recall some of the peoples who had made the islands of Malta their stopping point the last few thousand years. Whether aspiring conquerers, merchants, or explorers, they had all traveled on this maritime superhighway on which Malta is strategically located. Some, like the Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs had successfully established themselves here for a time, while others, like the Ottomans, had famously failed.

Having lived in Malta’s diminutive capital, Valletta, for seven months by this time, I thought I had already uncovered most of the city’s varied vistas. However, from the waters below this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shawn and I were now seeing the city with new eyes. From our starting point in the Grand Harbour, Valletta landmarks like the Victoria Gate and Siege Bell Memorial looked dollhouse-sized, while the city’s fortifications, which we regularly stroll through at sunset, appeared formidable and unbreachable.

Now that the boat’s white sail had been raised, our hosts for the day charter, the members of the Gatt family (who own Sailing Charters Malta), took on an even more relaxed stance. At one of the two helms, father David navigated the boat with a confidence that comes from nearly four decades of sailing. On the second helm wheel, younger David, the nine-year-old son, mirrored him, his eyes wide with interest. Mother Glorianne and daughter Maria emitted a contagious blend of laughter while making jokes. This put me at ease as I tried to fend off a slight case of motion sickness, something I hadn’t experienced since my maiden sailing voyage in 2013 with a Croatian team training for a regatta.

#sailing   #sailboat   #Malta   #travelphotography   #mediterranean   #islandlife   #comino   #Valletta  
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