Lens-Artists Challenge #239: Finding Peace

Ann-Christine challenged us last week to share how we spend Alone Time. I discovered that many of us enjoy doing similar things–reading, hiking, taking photographs, and spending time in nature. This week, Tina takes the challenge a step further and asks us to share how and where we Find Peace.

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? I’ve tried many things–meditation, escaping into books, and writing stories. I’ve tried exercise. But at times when life seems unpredictable and chaotic, I crave and search for new islands of peace.

Last week, when we visited Seville and Granada, I discovered the Moors’ secret for creating an oasis of calm.

The Alhambra in Grenada is spectacular with its gorgeous Moorish palaces, its gardens, and its fort. The complex is stunningly beautiful and serene despite the fact that its primary purpose was defensive.

How did the Moors do it? They knew how to create a peaceful environment. They piped in water and irrigated reflecting pools, like this one, as well as fountains interspersed throughout the gardens and inside the palaces.

They believed that splashing water broke the tranquility, so their reflecting pools are absolutely still as you can see here, and their fountains softly bubble.

Here you can see the Lion Fountain in an interior courtyard of one of the palaces. It’s surrounded by graceful columns, arches, and areas of sun and shade, which create areas of calm and serenity.

If you look closely, you can also see soothing jets of water trickling out of the lions’ mouths and in the basin.

They used scent as another sensory element. As we walked through the gardens, we smelled sweet myrtle. Hedges of it line the pathways leading through the palaces. They also planted hundreds of orange trees–which smelled enticingly sweet, but (ironically) taste so bitter that they’re shipped to other parts of the world to be transformed into marmalade and other products.

The sultan’s aim was to create a paradise on earth. I think he came very close to that!

But what about me? Where do I find peace? You won’t be surprised to hear that I find peace in the rocking motion of a train. As the scenery speeds by, I am comfortably seated in an iron capsule, enjoying the landscape which leaps into view and slides away.

This image was captured on the Glacier Express scenic train on the way from Zermatt to Chur, Switzerland. I intentionally blurred the scene in camera.

The love of travel (and motion) runs in our family. Our son captured this sunset out the plane window on a recent flight to Kelowna, Canada.

Like him, I love the contradiction of traveling by air. The scene out the airplane window appears to change very slowly even though we’re traveling about 600 miles per hour. So, for the duration of the flight, I can almost believe that we are suspended in time.

We hope you join us this week in sharing your favorite ways to find peace. Be sure to visit Tina’s site, which is always inspiring and beautiful. If you join us, use the Lens-Artists tag and link to Tina’s original post. We’re all looking forward to your inspiration!

A very special thanks to Ann-Christine. Last week, her Alone Time theme reminded us that our community is diverse, but shares a lot of common interests. What’s happening next week? It’s John’s turn to lead us. Be sure to stop by Journeys with Johnbo next Saturday at noon EST to join us.

Until then, have a week filled with satisfaction, happiness, and plenty of inspiration.

58 replies »

  1. I can’t believe you managed to get shots in the Alhambra without including people! I went in February and it was still thronged with selfie-seekers. Which did detract a little from the peace of the place. But yes, those refuges in southern Spain are indeed oases of tranquility. As are all your shots

    Liked by 1 person

    • It wasn’t easy to get shots without people! The tour guide told us that 8,000 visitors come every day! Yes, I agree about the selfie-seekers. They were there en masse. Yikes. I kept lagging behind the guide, which didn’t make me popular, but I was determined to get a few good shots! Thanks, as always, for your kind comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Patti,
      Beautiful pics. Also, it seems like Alex has inherited his mother’s eye. He sent me a pic of snow falling in Vancouver and I was very impressed by his skill. I think we will be visiting the Alhambra in May so in certain the place will barely have room to breathe.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Maureen! We had a lot of fun taking photography classes when he was young. I’m not sure who’s following in whose footsteps! Alhambra will be crowded in May. Book the earliest or latest slot. We were at 10:00… It’s so beautiful. You’ll love it, I’m sure. 🙂


  2. It was an April day, a good number of years ago, that we were there. It was not so blue and quite chilly, and the Lion Fountain was being restored. So, not quite the same experience, Patti, but I can recollect feeling serene, listening to Spanish guitar and gazing upwards at the Alhambra. It’s stunningly beautiful, inside and out. And I love your son’s sky photo! Happy Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy Sunday, Jo! I’m delighted you were there. It was crowded and chilly, but still stunningly beautiful. I kept trying to imagine what it was like in the sultan’s day. Definitely not as crowded! 🙂 My son will be happy to hear that your thoughts on his photo!


    • It was May 2010 when I was at the Alhambra last and the Patio de Los Leones was being restored and it was hot, hot, hot!! So hot that we didn’t make it to the Generalife gardens. I keep planning to go back, alas………still haven’t made it. Wonderful photos of one of my favorite places!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve found the Generalife in Granada incredibly peaceful considering how busy it was. I think you’ve found the secret, a brilliantly planned space with calm and serenity in mind. Your photos are goregous, Patti, I can’t wait to see more of your travels in Granada.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sofia. Yes! It’s true. It is peaceful there despite the crowds. The guide told us there are 8,000 visitors a day! I believe it. It was hard to get a moment to take photos, but I did manage to get a few. 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement, Sofia! I always appreciate that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with Sofia, the secret is a brilliantly planned space with calm and serenity in mind… lovely images of the Alhambra….sadly, I never got there but did love the Real Alcazar in Madrid.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I know exactly what you mean about the serenity of still water, and also that feeling of being suspended in time during a flight 🙂 Beautiful photos as always – I love the intentional blur on that shot from the train!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such great photos! I commented above in reply to Jo since it reminded me of our trip to Granada in 2010. But had to comment on the rest of your photos too which are just lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The timing of our trip couldn’t have been better. Thanks so much, John. I had to hold my ground and take a few shots amidst all the selfie sticks! Thanks so much for your kind words. They mean a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. An amazing island of peace Patti, glorious! I’ve not been to Alhambra so thank you for taking us there. Your images are gorgeous, especially your opening view of the reflecting pool. It’s simply stunning – and to have found it peaceful among throngs of visitors truly speaks to it’s beauty and serenity. Your portrayal of its many calming features belongs on an inviting travel brochure! Wonderful post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tina. It was amazing, despite the crowds. 8,000 people a day! It took patience to get a few unobstructed images amidst the selfie-sticks! I love how the Moors used sensory features to invite serenity. I love that idea! A travel brochure! Have a peaceful week, Tina.


  8. I love your images, Patti. I have not been to the Alhambra yet, but I am sure that now with the people there it will be a little more difficult to find peace there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ana. I think it is difficult, but we still managed to find it when we walked through the gardens. BTW, the gardens at Real Alcazar in Sevilla are also amazing. But you probably knew that already!! I hope all’s well with you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know Seville either, I have traveled very little to the south. In August when I have vacations, I don’t really feel like going to the south to get hotter, I prefer to flee to the north.
        We are all fine, my best wishes to you too. 😘


  9. Gosh this took me back Patti. My daughter and I visited the Alhambra back in March 2002 and I have similar photos of the Court of the Myrtles (the first one) and the Patio of the Lions although the lion fountain was being repaired at that time. Paradise gardens are beautiful, but possibly this place is not as peaceful as it should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jude. Thanks for giving me the names of the two places within the site! You’re the second person who said the Patio of the Lions was under construction. I’m sure it’s not nearly as peaceful as it was intended to be, but I still thought it was well-worth seeing. I love the UNESCO World Heritage sites. I’m so thankful they’re being preserved. I hope all’s well and you’re out in your gardens now!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is definitely a site to see. As tourists ourselves we are all part of the same problem. It is still too cold to spend much time in my garden, but it is certainly time to go visiting others – the magnolia is in full bloom, as are the camellias.


  10. The Alhambra is one of my favorite places in Spain. I remember feeling the calm when entered. I didn’t expect it. But you slow down, pay attention to the sites and sounds, because that is exactly what it is intended to so. The reflection, the soothing water, the shrubbery, all of it intentional. I didn’t remember the orange trees and found it interesting that they ship the fruit to places it can be used.

    I can appreciate the peace you find from the train, and loved the blurred photo. A great look at finding peace. Loved it!


  11. Alhambra is really something, but from what I remember I was greatly disappointed when we visited 40 years ago. I had seen it so many times in books, and in books there are not 8000 people…I am glad you could still find peace there, I couldn’t. Through your beautiful photography, I can find the peace. Thank you for taking us!


  12. The Alhambra keeps exalted company when it comes to the beauty of architecture. I like that blurred photo of the Swiss countryside: like a composite of all the beautiful Swiss country that one has ever seen. Lovely set.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Amy. Thank you so much! Alhambra is very photogenic! I just had to be patient and wait to find a spot without people blocking the view. 🙂 And thanks for the compliment on Alex’s photo. He has a good eye. 🙂 Have a good weekend, Amy.


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