Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 19, 2017

Walk behind a waterfall

While in Iceland we visited its most famous waterfall, Seljalandsfoss. It is part of the Seljalands river and originates in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajokull.

The waterfall is spectacular. It is around 60 metres high in a stunning landscape.

Rainbows form in the spray from the falling water.

The best bit is that you can walk behind the waterfall. We had bought some gorgeous plastic raincoats at the supermarket in Reykjavik and they were put to good use.

We entered the track to the waterfall from the left side and it a reasonably easy walk. The path is wet, but surprisingly not too slippery.

Being behind the waterfall is breathtaking. The clips on the side of the supermarket raincoat didn’t work very well, so it kept flying up over my head. Juggling a camera that was getting wet while holding down the raincoat kept me busy.


The path out of the waterfall was steep and rocky. There was a bit of a holdup when a couple of people had to be dragged up. At that point I put the camera away and hauled myself up the slope.

The view from the other side was marvellous.

It was definitely worth getting wet and muddy to go behind the waterfall.

As we left I saw some brave souls walking up a very steep path to a cave beside the waterfall. I didn’t need that experience.

Seljalandsfoss is on the south coast of Iceland near Vik. It is lit up in winter, which must look stunning, but it is not possible to walk behind as it is too slippery. Seeing the waterfall is fabulous, but the walk behind it is a great experience.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 16, 2017

Sunny Helsinki

Our week in Iceland is over and we are now in Helsinki, our last stop before heading home to Brisbane. Summer has arrived and Helsinki is stunning. There are flowers everywhere.

The Helsinki cathedral looks spectacular with its blue backdrop.

The Russian church is surrounded by lilacs.

The Sea Pool is open and attracting crowds.

There is music in the street.


Esplanadi park is looking wonderful and Helsinki residents are enjoying the sunshine.


I have lots more to share on our time in Italy, Greece and fabulous Iceland. There will be more posts over the next couple of months while I am back home, planning my next visit in September. I will be back at Casa Debbio in autumn to get the garden ready for the winter.



Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 12, 2017

Diamonds are forever

The diamond in your ring might be forever but the gems on Diamond Beach in Iceland are fleeting.

The ice diamonds on the black beach are chunks of ice that float down from nearby Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, part of Vatnajokull glacier national park. ( Are you getting your head around the names?) The ice comes from Breidamerkurjokull glacier. Huge blocks of ice, more than 1,000 years old break away from the glacier and float into the lagoon, then out to sea.

The lagoon is littered with enormous bits of glacier.

If the day had been clear we may have taken to the water in a boat, but it was raining and windy so we passed on that.

Ice diamonds are washed onto the black beach where the sparkling blue, white and transparent ice chunks form gorgeous sculptures. Some are made smooth by the ocean waves and some are rough diamonds. Strolling through a field of diamonds is a delight.

As with many things in Iceland, you will not be alone for the Diamond beach experience. Don’t be put off by that, wandering among diamond ice is magical.

Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon is in South Iceland beside ring-road 1. It is a must see in Iceland.


Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 10, 2017

Skogafoss waterfall, Iceland

Skogafoss waterfall is huge! It is also considered one of the most beautiful in Iceland. That is saying something, I think we must have seen dozens of waterfalls on our drive along the south coast alone.

The waterfall is on the river Skoga, which originates from the Eyjafjallajokull glacier and the westernmost part of the Myrdalsjokall glacier. (Did you get those names?  There will be questions later). As the river approaches the edge of the moor, it runs over a layer of hard rock then it rushes down in a 15 metre wide and 62 metre high waterfall.

It is possible to get quite close to the waterfall and get some sense of the power of the rushing water, and get a bit wet.

There are just over 500 steps to take you to the top of the waterfall. They are a bit difficult at the bottom, but get easier as you climb. There are regular platforms where you can stop, admire the view, and catch your breath.

The view from the bottom of the waterfall is more spectacular, but it looks wonderful from the top too.

The white dots on the cliffs are nesting seagulls.

There is farmland beside the waterfall, where sheep graze, oblivious to their gorgeous surroundings.


Yhere is no entry fee to see the waterfall, there is ample parking and a cafe awaits you at the bottom.


Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 6, 2017

Until next time

It is time to leave Italy and return to Australia.

Time to say goodbye to Casa Debbio. The garden will be in the capable hands of Filippo.

Time to say goodbye to Ponte a Serraglio.

Time to drive past the gorgeous Ponte della Maddalena for the last time (this visit).

I will be back in September for a while to prune the garden and get it ready for winter.

We are not going straight home. We will spend a week in Iceland and a few days in Helsinki before heading for Brisbane. There will be photos.


Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 3, 2017

Neptune undercover

The fabulous Neptune fountain in the Piazza Signoria in Florence is being renovated.

The artwork will be restored and the waterworks renovated. The marble surfaces will be cleaned and any unstable marble will be removed and replaced. The bronze sculptures will be removed to allow access to the pipes carrying water to the spouts. The bronze figures will then be renovated and replaced…a huge job.

I feel a bit sorry for one time visitors to Florence who will miss seeing this magnificent fountain, but these things have to be done.

Meanwhile Cosimo de Medici will keep an eye on things.

The money for the project is being donated by Salvatore Ferragamo. The work is expected to be finished by a December 2018. The renovated fountain will be uncovered on December 10, the anniversary of it original opening in 1574.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 30, 2017

In the middle of nowhere

We were driving through the gorgeous countryside in the Maremma area of Tuscany, surrounded by new spring growth…

When we came upon the ruins of a tiny church between olive trees. We drove on a little further and found the road that led to the crumbling building.

We discovered it is the remains of the Monastero di San Bruzio, The Church of John the Baptist.

There is a surprise at every turn when driving through stunning Tuscany. This is an area that needs further investigation.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 26, 2017

Afternoon tea at Casa Debbio

Yesterday was a gorgeous day at Casa Debbio.

The sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot, there was a light breeze…perfect for afternoon tea on the terrace.

We don’t have a cover on the pergola yet so we used the other table under the umbrella.

The garden is full of flowers.

I prefer to leave them on the plants, but I did pick a few.

The afternoon was enjoyed by all…Angela, the cake stand is now cakeless.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 24, 2017

Airport food

We flew from Rome to Athens and had some time to wait at the airport…time for lunch.

I wouldn’t mind flying somewhere every day.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 21, 2017

Up close with the Karyatids

I was most impressed with the Karyatids (female figures) on the Erechtheion at the Acropolis when we visited last week.

The amazing sculptures are copies, the originals, 5 of the 6, are in the Acropolis museum. One was stolen by Lord Elgin and is in the British Museum.

We visited the Acropolis Museum. It is a huge building located 300 metres south of the foot of the rock. It sits above remains revealed during excavations.

Photos are not allowed in some areas of the museum, but I was happy that find that the Karyatids are not on that list.

The 6 korai are 2.2 metres high. Instead of columns, they supported the low flat roof of the south porch of the temple. They are dressed in pleated robes, like flutes of columns. Their elaborate hairstyles are both decorative and add strength to the neck area of the sculptures.

It is an amazing feeling to be able to walk around and admire these beautiful sculptures that were created between 421 and 406 BC. Oh to have seen them when they were new!

The faces are worn away, but you can see how stunning they must have been.

From the back the hairstyles seem to have survived almost intact. The lighting is giving the sculptures a different colour.

On the third floor of the building is the rectangular gallery housing the Parthenon sculptures. The display is big enough to accommodate the entire sculpted decoration of the Parthenon. As far as possible the friezes are in the position they would have occupied on the Parthenon.

The frieze has a total length of 160 metres and a height of 1 metre and comprises of 115 stone blocks. An actual event is depicted. The Procession of the Panathenia, a festival celebrated every 4 years in honour of the goddess Athena.

This metopes was taken down recently from the Parthenon recently after 25 centuries to be exhibited in the museum. The battles of the centaurs were a favourite subject of the Athenians, a metaphor for the struggles between civilisation and barbarism.

It is difficult to describe the magnificence of the antiquities on display. People have created wonderful things for thousands of years.

What a pity greed, aggression and war have destroyed so much. How amazing the world would be if time, energy and money was put to good use instead of bad. All lives would be better.

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