Bled Castle … Bled, Slovenia

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top


How lovely! This challenge allows me to expand upon my last post A Moment in Bled, Slovenia

On Top II

On a rocky precipice 130m above glacial Lake Bled sits Bled Castle ~ a mighty medieval stronghold.

On Top

The castle was first mentioned in a charter dating back to 1011 AD, and was referred to as castellum Veldes (the castle on the cliff). It was built with an upper and lower courtyard and is the oldest such structure in Slovenia.

View from on top

The reason for its location is obvious.

View from on top II

From atop the cliff you can keep a watch for the enemy, all while enjoying a cup of tea and taking in the glorious scenery.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Shout Outs

 Vero Supertramp

Northumbrian Light

Photographs by James Collett

Travel Monkey

Santiago the Shepherd






A Moment in Bled, Slovenia

Bled, Slovenia


Bordering Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south and south east and Hungary to the northeast, Slovenia is a lovely jewel in the crown of south central Europe and full of delightful surprises.

One such surprise is the beautiful resort town of Bled (pronounced “Blet”) nestled in the Alpine region of the northwest.

This view of Bled Castle was taken from a row boat while crossing the pristine waters of Lake Bled.

Motorized boats are not allowed on the lake.

The stillness of the lake makes it a perfect training ground for Olympic rowing, and Bled has hosted the World Rowing Championships several times.

It’s worth a visit.

Thanks for stopping by.

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

A Visit to Hever Castle … Hever, Kent, England

Pretty Hever Castle in Kent has a storied past. The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, it was here that King Henry VIII courted her and it was here her family lived when she met her unfortunate and untimely demise.

The castle was given to Anne of Cleves, King Henry’s fourth wife, after she fell out of favour and he divorced her (lucky girl), and after her death the castle met with a succession of owners who cared for it, or not.

William Waldorf Astor purchased the castle in 1903, restored it and lived there for a number of years. Heavy flooding caused serious damage in 1968 and eventually the castle was sold and restored as a heritage site. It’s been open to the public since 1983.

I’ve visited Hever a couple of times, most recently last September. To me it is a romantic place. Tudor history has always fascinated me, and to walk where colourful historical characters of the time have walked does, in some way, bring their stories more to life in my mind. As well, whenever I visit medieval castles I’m always surprised at how small the doorways and narrow the spiral staircases in the towers. At just under 5ft 8″ myself I feel like a giant in such close confines and am prone to claustrophobia. I have to chew gum, or something, to distract myself from having a panic attack. 😉

Currently I’m reading Queen of the Realm ~ a fictionalized account of Elizabeth I by historical novelist, Jean Plaidy. Her mother was Anne Boleyn, of course, so Hever Castle has been somewhat in my thoughts of late.

This silly little rhyme formed itself as we were visiting this beautiful castle. Funny where the mind goes.


Not so happy, was the bride

A daughter of the Boleyn tribe.

As Henry’s lust to Jane was lead

Poor Anne was doomed to lose her head.


Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

The Copper Horse on Snow Hill … Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, England

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand


Grand is the scale of things ... The Copper Horse on Snow Hill, Windsor Great Park


The Copper Horse stands at the beginning (or end depending on your approach) of the Long Walk at Windsor Great Park. At the other end of the 2.64 mile Walk is Windsor Castle.

The Long Walk

Needless to say it’s pretty grand …

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell Creative Works 2013


Shout Outs

Life In the Foothills


Restless Jo

A Gift of Roses

A Gift of Roses

There’s nothing quite like a bouquet of roses to cheer a girl up.

Yesterday was a rather unpleasant one for me.

Occasionally adrenal fatigue, something I’ve been dealing with for more than two years now, creeps up and hijacks my day like nothing else.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Certain emotional and hormonal stresses seem to trigger it.

I endeavour to be philosophical about it while I continue to seek professional help.

In the process I’m learning to take better care of myself.

And I’ve learned to live in the moment; to listen to every message my body sends telling me to pay attention.

But I guess, in spite of my best efforts to buffer my social commitments with appropriate down time, I over did it this Thanksgiving weekend, because yesterday my body shutdown and, in no uncertain terms (and certainly not pleasant ones), told me to rest.

Re-runs of Downtown Abbey on the DVD became the soundtrack of my day.  I’ve watched it so many times it requires no effort on my part to enjoy it.

So, today, feeling somewhat more my regular self, I selected a bouquet of roses from my recent photo archive (aren’t they divine?) to remind me that beauty abounds, even when we’re not feeling so good.

We just need to open our eyes … and stop to smell the roses. 😉

These roses served as part of the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society Coronation Arch 2013  ~ an art installation celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s coronation.

I love roses!

There … I feel better already.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Spring Contemplation … Dromoland Castle Grounds, Co. Clare, Ireland

Solitary 3

A stroll through the beautiful grounds of Dromoland Castle is the perfect place to contemplate an Irish spring.

I fell in love with Ireland when we visited for three weeks in Spring 2011. The combination of its raw beauty, colourful history, love of the horse and my Irish ancestry is what draws me.

I will return one day … soon.


Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy 🙂


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond … Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Lismore Castle

A couple of springs ago Lloyd and I spent three memorable weeks in beautiful Ireland. One of our last stops was dramatic Lismore Castle.

I’ve always been fiendishly interested in history and loved visiting castles, and while we couldn’t actually go inside this old fortress we did purchase tickets to wander its extensive and beautifully kept grounds.

Naturally, I had camera in hand.

When I captured this moment I was standing on a small stone stairway rising to ground level. My focal point was, or at least I thought it was, Lloyd disappearing into the garden. But as you can see it isn’t as simple as that.

The moss-covered stone wall to the right, the ground cover and and narrow dirt path in the centre, and Lloyd wandering off into the shrubs to the left create a surreal frame for the haunting, ancient castle looming beyond.

I’m thrilled with the effect.

And I think it fits in beautifully with this week’s challenge theme. What lies beyond makes the image so much more interesting.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette … Two for the Price of One

Two for the price of one because I am indecisive. I like both of these images for this challenge.

Interestingly they are at opposite ends of the colour spectrum, though obviously the second image has been digitally doctored.

The sunset shot is yet another from a series of more than 100 I captured in July outside of Edmonton, Alberta. I was the front seat passenger in a car going 100 km per hour down the main highway toward Calgary and was practically hanging out the car window to get this.

I’m pretty sure the terminal building at Edmonton International Airport is depicted here. Look carefully and you can see the tail fins of a couple of aircraft. I had no idea they were there when I captured the image.

This second image is taken from inside the Hermit’s Cave at Dromoland Castle in Co. Clare, Ireland. The gentleman featured is the carriage driver who gave us a guided tour and imparted a rather colourful history of the castle and its beautiful grounds. I’m particularly happy with how this image turned out. It was a bit of an experiment.


Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2012

Duelling Mallards … Birr Castle Gardens, Co. Offaly, Ireland

One afternoon last spring, while strolling through the gardens of Birr Castle in Co. Offaly, I was amused to catch sight of a sord of Mallard ducks waddling along the garden path.

Herewith my humble interpretation of their Mallardic movements …

Here they are … waddling single file toward the pond. It would be easy to surmise there could be trouble ahead with three drakes to every hen … 😉

… Then, into the fray … the drakes descend on an unsuspecting hen party. …

… Hmmm … I smell trouble …

… Oh, here we go … the drakes are in a real flap now. … and ol’ Henny is much amused. …

… It’s a scrap worthy of the National Hockey League … The drakes erupt into a major league flap. …

… Silly boys!… Seems Henny has been wooed by another suitor waiting in the wings …

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

The Castle and the Brewery … Kilkenny, Ireland

“To understand Kilkenny’s unique character one should retire from the busy streets to the lovely Castle Park and, standing within the shadow of the ancient pile, contemplate the great jumble of roof-tops, old and young, which tumble down to the quiet-flowing river beneath. Here dove-grey spires and battlemented towers proclaim a city old in Christian living and wise in human experience. One can feel the heartbeat of an ancient civilised community.”

Katherine M Lanigan, Gerald Tyler (Eds), ‘Kilkenny, Its Architecture & History’,
Appletree Press 1977.

During our wonderful trip to Ireland in spring 2011, we had the pleasure of staying overnight in the ancient town of Kilkenny.

Like most Irish communities, it’s been experiencing tough economic times as evidenced by boarded up businesses in the town’s centre.

Still, its historic essence is intact, so it was satisfying to take a gentle stroll along the River Nore, amble over the fields of Kilkenny Castle, contribute to the local economy by gift shopping in the old converted castle stable complex, and soak in the town’s storied religious and political past.

A prominent landmark located on the site of an old abbey by the river and just up the way from the castle is Smithwick’s Brewery. We happened upon it during our wanderings, and the sun just happened to be shining, between rain showers, at the right angle for me to be able to capture this image.

Somehow, to me, nothing says “Welcome” quite like a red door.

Even though I’m not much of a beer drinker, I’m always in for some history. Unfortunately a tour of the brewery wasn’t possible as we were there at the wrong time of day.

While we were in town we also visited two beautiful churches, but that’s a story for another day.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012