LAPC #245: Urban Environments

This week Tina asks us “What is it about your environment that is the most special to you?” Given our nomadic life, our environment changes quite frequently…and that’s fine with us!

Over the years, we’ve lived in the city, country, small towns, and suburbs across the USA and now throughout Europe. After experiencing all these environments, a few things never change. Most often, we are drawn to cities. And when we get there, we eager to learn about new and different cultures, the local history, architecture, flora and fauna, and of course, the food. This week, I’ll share some photos from our most recent visits to Sevilla and Rome.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.

Carl Sandburg, American poet

Last month, we climbed to the top of the Seville Cathedral–but not in the traditional way. Instead of stairs, we walked up 35 connecting ramps which lead all the way to the top of Giralda, the bell tower, 342-feet above the city.

Why ramps and not stairs? Before it was a cathedral, this building was a mosque, built almost 1,000 years ago. In the Islamic tradition, the bells are rung five times a day, calling followers to prayer (the adhan). The architects designed the building for the bell-ringers who wanted to ride their donkeys to the top instead of climbing the stairs.

In this photo, you can see the Moorish influence on the architecture of this building dating back to 1100 A.D.

If in doubt, just walk until your day becomes interesting

Rolf Potts

An essential part of exploring a new urban environment is walking through the streets and visiting the parks. Seville has several beautiful city parks–The Principes and Parque de Maria Louisa. They are a vital part of city life. As you can see, a steady stream of people were walking the paths this Sunday in Seville in March.

Home is the here and now


One afternoon, we stumbled across a wonderful street scene. A woman in the crowd spontaneously joined the dancer performing the flamenco.

When you see a fork in the road, take it.

Yogi Bera

For us, an essential part of exploring cities is the food. We are egalitarian. We eat at restaurants that offer simple or more elaborate meals. One of my favorite places in Rome is Roscioli where you can eat a table in the deli area, at the bar, or in the wine cellar.

This night at the bar, we shared a “flight” of mozzarella topped with anchovies, and paired with fried zucchini. I hope it looks as delicious as it tasted!

In 20 years, you will be more disappointed by what you didn’t do than by what you did.“ 

– Mark Twain, American writer

In every city, we always visit the local gardens. Here is a spectacular one on the grounds of the Galleria Borghese in Rome. I love how the garden is arranged in linear rows that end in this star-shaped floral feature. Even though it was early in the season, it was already beautiful.

Someday, we’ll have a permanent home. Someday. Until then, we’ll keep exploring! What’s the next city? Malaga, Spain, a beautiful city on the Costa del Sol.

A special thanks to Tina for hosting this week’s Environments challenge and giving us her marvelous inspiration. We’re looking forward to seeing your preference(s)–city, country, suburb, small town. Be sure to link to Tina’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can easily find your posts.

More thanks are due to Siobhan for her terrific Glowing Moments challenge last week. She gave us a chance to showcase light-filled scenes and memorable people and experiences. Looking ahead, it’s my turn to lead the challenge, so be sure to stop by here next Saturday at noon. In the meantime, I’m hoping that your week is filled with plenty of light and creative inspiration.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

51 replies »

    • Hi, Anne. I’m delighted to share and I’m delighted you enjoyed this post! We are in the midst of packing and storing our things before we leave for Malaga. 🙂 Have a great week and hopefully a beautiful one. More photos to come!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Beautiful post as always Patti – I absolutely loved your opening image and the story about the ramps. Easy to visualize that scene!! Your quotes this week are especially wonderful too. You brought your travels to life for us – can’t wait to see Malaga next!Very much enjoying traveling along with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks, Tina. Your challenge was a great topic for me. 🙂 We’re getting ready to leave Florence in 2 weeks. It’s amazing what you can accumulate over a year! Another storage room in another country. Here we go again! 🙂 I’m hoping you’re well and enjoying lovely spring weather.


    • Hi Janet. The donkey story was a great one. I loved it. What a clever idea! Ramps and not stairs. It was much easier walking up and down. You enjoy the city, but you’re more at home in the country. I understand that. The country calls to me from time to time. We’re spending a few weeks in the English countryside this summer. I’ll let you know how this city mouse fares!! Wonderful to hear from you, as always.


  2. Hi – I enjoyed hearing more about your travels and had to smile at the egalitarian approach to singing out- and we used to have that approach – we hardly done out anymore because my husband (and me) are disappointed with so much overuse of dangerous industrial seed oils (canola oil and vegetable oil – which are bad for humans) and the GMO crap – anyhow / when we used to dine out- we learned that sitting at the bar or alternative areas (like the deli or patio) had many perks –
    And how cool to learn about the ramps and how it helped them climb on donkeys

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Yvette. Yes, it’s so true. We have to be so careful in the USA about what we are eating. So sad and ultimately so tragic for us. One of our fellow bloggers, IJ, reminded me that all food is sacred. I totally agree. And yes, the donkey and the ramps were a fun bit of history (or legend)! Thanks for your thoughts, as always.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well it so not just the US with chemicals – in Northern Italy they had one of the biggest COVID breakouts and they also have one of the highest levels of Glyphosate Herbicide use…. and many argue there is a connection to this in the environment and food and then immune function (like dr Zach bush from VA)
        Anyhow – wishing you
        Safe travels and I wonder what your permanent home will be like – or maybe you will always be in travel mode

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting. I took a look at the stats on glyphosate. It makes me shudder to think of all the chemicals we’ve used and continue to use worldwide. We’re wondering where our permanent home will be, too! I’ll keep you posted.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I always enjoy hearing about, and seeing, the places you’ve seen and lived. Like you I love exploring cities and we seem to enjoy the same things in them – the architecture, the culture, the open spaces and the food!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jane. Yes, I guess we do get around!! 🙂 And thanks for your kind words about the photos. You’ve been traveling, too, I see. It really helps to keep a fresh perspective. Enjoy the spring!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sevilha is just up the road from me, and I have, in fact, climbed the Giralda tower, and also sipped a glass of wine overlooking it, with another blogger (Sue Judd). Small world, Patti, because I will be in Rome in 3 weeks and definitely hope to visit the Villa Borghese.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful scenes from different places Patti 🙂. Seville has been on my mind for quite some time but not yet materialized. Rome – I guess I can never have enough of 😀. I went to the Borghese in December 2022, but it was a rainy day, so I couldn’t explore the gardens to my heart’s content.


  6. top selection, Patti. Mediterranean environments are so relaxed.

    In case, your path traveling Europe leads you to Germany (Ruhr Area, Dusseldorf, Cologne), drop me a note upfront.


  7. Beautiful, beautiful, Patti! Thank you for taking us. My favourites are the first and the last one. Looking forward to more of your adventures!


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