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Around the bend

The Ghan at Manguri, South Australia

The Ghan at Manguri, South Australia

If you ride The Ghan the 2,977km (1,850 miles) from Darwin to Adelaide, as a friend and I did in August 2016, you will stop at Manguri in South Australia. There is nothing in Manguri. There isn’t even a train station. This enormous train, which on average is 774m (2,540ft) long but can be up to 1,096m (3,595ft), slowly — very slowly — sighs to a halt in the desert. Manguri is, however, the gateway to Coober Pedy, aka the opal capital of the world. And when passengers return from touring the mines, the underground houses, the underground church, and the desert golf course, they gather beside the train for drinks and nibbles as the sun sets (feature photo at top). Quite marvellous.

This stop also gives an unprecedented opportunity to get up close to the train without stations or fences or people getting in the way, although a rather belligerent guard did prevent me from walking across the track to take a photo that included the entire train stretching away into the distance around the bend. (It’s the middle of a desert, I hardly think that another train would have taken me unawares!!) So although The Ghan’s vanishing point is not quite as impressive as it should be, the train itself most assuredly is.

The Ghan at Manguri, South Australia

The Ghan at Manguri, South Australia

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Footprints on the sands of time

footprints on a beach at Durban, South Africa.

These are actually my footprints on a beach at Durban, South Africa.

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;”

from: A Psalm of Life, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

December Squares #timesquare

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Gilded

Rear view of one of the "Fames" statues flanking the Pont Alexandre III, with the Grand Palais and French flag behind.

Rear view of one of the “Fames” statues flanking the Pont Alexandre III, with the Grand Palais and French flag behind.

One a recent visit to Paris, I was struck by the quantity of gilding flashing in the light. I didn’t remember there being quite so much gold on previous visits! These two photos are of two of the four statues that sit at the corners of the Alexandre III bridge over the Seine. “Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge, supported on massive 17 metres (56 ft) masonry socles [that] are crowned by Fames restraining Pegasus.” (source) I was confused by these “Fames”, and another wikipedia entry says, “In Greek mythology, Pheme (Roman equivalent: Fama) was the personification of fame and renown, her favour being notability, her wrath being scandalous rumours.”

The front view of one of the statues, in which a Fame restrains Pegasus.

The front view of one of the statues of a Fame restraining Pegasus. This photo gives a good view of a ‘socle’ also.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Gilded