54 Comments#WEPFF, 40th Anniversary Trip, Blogfests, Challenge, Photography, Travel, Writing Contests

Welcome to the Spectacular Settings Challenge!

Write...Edit---Publish BloghopBrought to you by WEP (click image for more info) and hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renée
This is a two-part challenge. You may choose to do both parts or just one. For this challenge you will:
Part A:

1. Share a paragraph from a novel, or an extract from a poem, or a photograph that stopped your heart with a spectacular setting etc.
2. Describe how your chosen ‘setting’ spoke to you. Why did you like it?
Part B:

3. Then you may choose to:
a) write your own ‘setting’ piece in any genre, or share a ‘setting’ from your WIP, or…
b) write your own poem which highlights ‘setting’, or
c) share a photograph that blows you away every time you look at it and tell us why.
d) share an artwork that shows a ‘setting’ you love and tell us why you love it.
e) write a small playscript which highlights ‘setting’.


I have chosen a poem by Oscar Wilde, accompanied by three of my own photos.

Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, poet and playwright who was fascinated by ancient history and the Greek scholars. While an undergraduate at Oxford in 1877, he travelled to Greece and was deeply moved by the experience. I can relate!

Photos were taken at Santorini, Greece 09/13

The sea actually is “sapphire coloured”, one of the many things that struck me about Greece. Like Oscar Wilde, I am captivated by the history of this ancient civilisation. It had been my dream since early childhood to go there, a dream that was finally realised in September of 2013.

“I stood upon the soil of Greece at last”

One of the most spectacular settings imaginable!



[I have chosen option 3c, using personal photos, except as noted.]

greek odyssey

All my life I’ve wanted to visit Greece and indulge my passion for ancient history, archaeology and mythology. When my husband first broached the subject of marking our 40th anniversary with a vacation, it came to mind immediately. Thus, we embarked on the trip of a lifetime!

The surreal planning process began two years earlier. To make things even more complicated, there would be time spent in Italy, (my husband’s birthplace) and Germany, (my birthplace). This was a logistical challenge, involving nine different flights, using Rome as our home base.

About seven months before departure, the reservations were booked.
Now it was starting to register. This was actually going to happen!

We wanted to see as much of Greece as possible in the two weeks allotted and dealt directly with a travel agency in Athens. As you can see from the dots on the map above, there would be many stops along the way.

Did you ever have a life-long obsession?
Were you able to satisfy it?

This is where I was in September of 2013. From the time I could read, I yearned to one day visit Greece, absorb the ancient history, culture and ambience; to be at the heart of Greek mythology. That first day in Athens, I rushed to the hotel’s rooftop terrace. Sharp intake of breath as my eyes focused on the culmination of my dreams.



I stood transfixed, heart pounding. Five decades of wishful thinking had become reality! Dating back to the 5th Century B.C., The Acropolis was proclaimed the preeminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list in 2007. At the summit is the Parthenon, most famous of all the remaining structures in Classical Greece. The day we climbed our way to the top was a huge milestone. My eyes glistened with happy tears. Can there be a more spectacular setting than this?

Overview of The Acropolis:

acropolis overview
A.Savin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Greece has innumerable spectacular settings, often used in books and movies.
See more of our own “Greek Odyssey” HERE.

What are some of your favourite spectacular settings?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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  1. Here from the WEP, a fan of both Wilde and poetry. Totally agree that Greece is spectacular! It’s a great feeling to tick off a long-standing one from the bucket list – I sooo relate. Enjoyed revisiting Athens and Acropolis through your images, thanks. Hope you get to visit Egypt also, equally spectacular and breath-taking, though not in a good situation right now.

    1. Welcome to The Den, Nilanjana. So, you’ve been to Greece before then and know how it is. 🙂 It’s too bad what’s going on in Egypt now, but that dream is still alive, nonetheless. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Hi, Debbie,

    HOW EXCITING. Greece has always been one of my obsessions too. Since an early age I had wanted to visit and finally did when I graduated college… and YES…. TOTALLY SAPPHIRE BLUE and crystal clear…. heart sopping.

    I enjoyed you photos and story. SOOOO happy you finally made your dream happen…

    1. Welcome to The Den, Michael. It’s nice to meet a fellow Greece enthusiast. You’ve been there and know exactly how it is. 🙂 Thank you for visiting!

  3. I actually went to Greece for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I went to Rhodes, and I loved it! I think we’ll be making it an annual thing, we liked it that much. The acropolis at Lindos is amazing, too. I’ve also always been fascinated by Greek mythology.
    I love Wilde’s poem; it really captures the essence of Greece. Beautiful photos, too 🙂

    1. Welcome to The Den, Laura. Rhodes was part of our tour as well, but unfortunately, the Acropolis at Lindos was closed that day, due to a protest march! All the more reason to go back. 🙂 You must live a lot closer to Greece than we do if you can go every year. I’m envious! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for visiting.

  4. Your images and words make me want to see Greece sooner rather than later. In truth it was one of those places like Egypt which enthralls with its history and is on my list along with a few others. Thanks for sharing your impressions of such a beautiful country. Glad you have participated in WEP!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂 Greece and Egypt have been at the top of my bucket list since childhood and I’m so thrilled to have crossed one off! Greece surpassed all of my expectations and I hope you will be able to go, as well. Thanks for visiting The Den.

  5. England, Greece, Turkey. Those are more dream vacations, in that order. Which means I’d better start playing the lottery. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your pics and travel experiences. I love when people share personal photos of vacation spots – often you can’t trust guide books, brochures, etc. So the ocean really is that shade of blue…I want to dive right in. Hope it’s warm!

    1. Great destinations, all! 🙂 We did stop at Ephesus in Turkey as part of the Greece trip, but wish we could have toured other locales as well, particularly Troy and Istanbul. Lottery winnings would certainly help all of us live out our travel dreams. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for visiting.

  6. Your pictures are great. They are enhanced by they to you talk about them and describe your experiences. I want to travel someday, and Greece and Italy are at the top of my list. Thanks for sharing these images and words.

  7. i love those pics and definitely the poem written by Oscar Wilde. Greece is definitely a travel destination. I am so thrilled to see the pics posted by you.

  8. Of course it would be about Greece! How did I not guess that, haha. Love – love – LOVE your posts about Greece. I’m a fan of that culture, and that country, but more than that what I enjoy the most is your enthusiasm about this milestone, this ‘trip of a lifetime’. I’m so very happy you were able to do it, Debbie, and the fact that you did gives me hope for all those things people wish and wish and wish for… Dreams do come true, and you’re proof. That always makes me smile.

    And what a beautiful piece by Wilde! He paints a picture rich in detail — imagery, atmosphere, sound — with so few words. I think that’s what most amazes me about (good) poetry. Thank you for sharing it 🙂

  9. the wanderlust in me absolutely delighted after reading the poem. It’s so beautiful!! Loved your pictures. My dream for a really long time is to watch the Northern or Southern lights. I so badly want to feel that experience.

  10. I absolutely LOVE your Greece stories! Such beautiful pictures!! I’ve never seen that poem by Oscar Wilde, but I imagine the place. I didn’t realize he did poetry. I’m not sure why, doh!

    1. Welcome to The Den, Olga. It was the trip of a lifetime, one I delight in reliving here. 🙂 I’m happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting.

  11. Such beautiful words by Oscar Wilde! Your Greece pictures always make me smile. This seems to be a good challenge – thanks for sharing! 🙂

  12. LOVED the Oscar Wilde poem and your photos. Not one I knew – thank you.
    The culmination of your dream sounds incredible. I can so relate to the happy tears too. Antarctica was my impossible dream, and I dislocated my jaw on a daily basis, oohing and ahhing at the beauty. My eyes leaked too. Thank you so much for taking us to Greece with you.

    1. My pleasure. 🙂 Not that many people get to Antarctica. It must have been amazing! Thanks so much for visiting. I apologize for the late reply.

  13. Spectacular is right!!! Wow, stunning magnificence and all that history. What a fabulous way to celebrate your anniversary. All those dots on the map: wow! You sure did get to see a lot! Thanks for sharing your experience. The Acropolis is amazing. Maybe one of these days I’ll get to see it for myself…

    1. Hi Michele; It was the trip of a lifetime and I can’t stop reliving it, it seems. 🙂 I wanted to cram in as many places as possible, because it’s unlikely we’ll be able to go back (unless there’s a lottery win in our future LOL). We came home exhausted, but happy. The Acropolis alone was worth it and the pinnacle of a dream come true. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  14. I love Oscar Wilde.
    Have you read The Portrait of Dorian Grey? It’s a literary masterpiece.

    Santorini is one of two destinations at the top of my favourite-places-to-visit list.
    I’ve even written a flash fiction piece on a picture prompt of Santorini, for a bloghop.
    It starts like this: Santorini rises from the water, a stark blue and white panorama of unparalelled beauty, classic and timeless; reminiscent of a confectioner’s masterpiece, a multi-tiered creation of ancient whitewashed buildings, with its assortment of dome-shaped, square and rectangular cliff dwellings which nestle, cosy yet resplendent on the hillside, like an untouched giant white wedding cake on display…

    (I can only imagine the true beauty of the island and don’t think that my description does justice to the reality of what it is…)

    1. Hi Michelle; Yes, I’m a fan from way back and have read “Dorian Gray”. It’s one of my favourite books. 🙂
      I love your description of Santorini, especially the wedding cake analogy! Nobody would know you haven’t actually been there. I hope you do get the chance to visit one day. It’s one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever seen.

  15. I liked reading about your travels and I can relate to the desire to combine various destinations in your trip. I have been dreaming about Italy and wanting to see other parts of Europe as well including Greece and non-European places like the pyramids of Egypt. Great that one of your dreams came true.

    1. Welcome to The Den, Deborah. 🙂 Italy and Greece are both fantastic – great if you can combine the two. The pyramids of Egypt have now moved up to number one on the bucket list since the other two have been crossed off. It seems we share similar tastes in travel. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  16. You couldn’t have chosen a more Spectacular place for this post! I remember climbing the hill to the Acropolis and thinking, “I’m here. I’m in a place where all those stories I’ve read about happened!” We lived outside Athens in Glyphada for a few months and I never tired of trekking up to the Acropolis. It was long time ago, but I’ll never forget how I felt. Maybe it’s time to go back.

  17. Oscar Wilde is now definitely on my –must read—list, thanks to your excellent choice to your stunning photos. It was like listening to Greek music while viewing the shimmering turquoise and the orange ball of sun.

    1. Oscar Wilde was an amazing talent who came to a sad end, like so many. Glad you enjoyed his poem, Angelika. I tried to select photos that fit. 🙂 Speaking of Greek music (which I love!), this would make some great background music:

  18. Can I just say, thank you for your offering of photographs, poetry, and an essay. The photos inspire such wanderlust, something I’ve suffered from for far too long. However, my travels have never taken me out of the country. I rely on books to do that, and now because of the internet the travel photos and stories of others. Someday though, someday that will all change.

    The poetry by Oscar Wilde inspires all the senses. His words were like a painter’s palate, and the painting was a picture of a land of history and mystery, Greece. It’s clear why you’ve chosen it to be your WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge. Thank you, for sharing your childhood dream with us!

    I can’t imagine a trip that required nine different flights, but if the opportunity arose, I would do it in a heartbeat! I can only presume to know how it felt to rush to the rooftop and view such a stunning site – The Acropolis. How could you not get a sense of the mythology or experience an intense closeness to ancient history? Beyond exhilarating!

    Love your entry to the WEP Spectacular Setting Challenge, there is nothing better than sharing such splendor with others. Again, thank you for sharing a dream realized and these magnificent settings. I am quickly adding new Spectacular places to my list of travel sites.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my entry, Yolanda. This trip was definitely the travel highlight of my life and I just can’t stop talking about it. People are probably getting sick of it, by now. NAH! Greece is just too beautiful to ever be boring. Oscar Wilde’s poem was the perfect fit, wasn’t it? 😀 I love how you put it: “His words were like a painter’s palate…”
      Your trip to Alaska must have been equally fascinating, especially since you actually lived there for a time.
      Thanks for co-hosting this challenge. It’s one of the most interesting blog hops I’ve participated in.

      1. Loved it Debbie, and I finally figured out that if I signed up for WordPress, even if I didn’t create a blog, I could better share with all my WordPress friends. Yeah, I’m a bit slow. 🙂

  19. Hi, Debbie the Doglady, my favorite canine keeper! 🙂 I guarantee that I would have cried, too, on that first day, as I gazed at those spectacular views of natural and man-made wonders of the world there in Greece. I am elated to know that your trip was everything you had hoped it would be, everything you dreamed about for so long. You planned your adventure well, a couple of years in advance. Sometimes when we plan that far ahead, finally make the trip and arrive in a faraway land, we experience a let down. Our dream destination seems anticlimactic or disappoints us in some way. Fortunately the opposite was true for you and your husband. You endured nine flights and time spent in three different countries. Judging by your enthusiastic storytelling and stunning pictures, Greece, your primary destination, met your expectations or exceeded them. What a splendid anniversary gift to each other!

    1. HI Shady; Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂 As you noticed, there were no let downs in Greece, but we did have some trouble at the outset of our trip. No matter – it was all forgotten soon enough. The anticlimax came once the trip was over. How can anything else possibly compare? I do believe that was the travel highlight of my life and now I can die happy. 😀 It was an amazing 40th anniversary, for sure. Here’s hoping we can do something just as spectacular for the 50th! Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend.

  20. I love Oscar Wilde! His words are perfect with your amazing photos. The blue of the water is like a jewel-perfect. I have had many moments that were jewels to me. When I heard Rise Stevens say “Budapest in the film, Going My Way, I wanted to go there and I did! I remember this beautiful church and seeing the Parliament buildings from the tiny boat we were all in on the Danube. I love Gothic Cathedrals and took in every spot I could see when I was at St. Stephen’s in Vienna plus I finally made it to Chartres! This was a moment of bliss and tears in my eyes. I also saw Neuschwanstein and loved every moment including my favourite the grotto way up high in his castle. I think the man was brilliant even if he was a bit unstable. The other wow moment was seeing The Rape of the daughters of Leucippus by Rubens. I was a kid of 4 and 5 when I would look through art books and I loved this art piece. I did not know what it meant but I knew how rich the colouring of the fabric was. The taffeta and satin. The metal worn by the men and the hair and flesh of the women. I was enthralled and wished one day to see this. When I was in Munich, I did not expect to see this piece and there it was! I started to cry because it was a dream come true.

    1. Oscar Wilde certainly did capture the spirit of Greece with his poem. I was so thrilled to see he was right! 🙂
      You’ve had some wonderful travel experiences too, Birgit. I’ve been to Vienna and Neuschwanstein, but not Budapest or Chartres. To see your favourite painting up close must have been so exhilarating! In case anyone isn’t familiar, this is it:

      Thanks for sharing your dream-come-true moments and have a good weekend.

  21. Woo hoo Debbie! Travel metaphorically stops my heart! I adored Oscar Wilde’s poem eulogising Greece–who could resist his golden prose? I’m currently re-reading Portrait of Dorian Grey with a student. What descriptions! I, too, want to be like yourself and Wilde and cry: ‘I stood upon the soil of Greece at last!’ Every trip I’ve planned there has been interrupted by fire, earthquake, unrest…Hmm. I’ll just have to jump on a plane and go!

    Loved your photo essay. Your adoration of Greece was to the forefront. I relate to the excitement of planning and then seeing it all coming together. Of course not everything goes perfectly on the road, but that’s one of the excitements of travel. To see the Acropolis! To hear ancient voices calling from the ruins. Now that is a dream worth dreaming!

    So thank you Debbie. It’s been amazing blog hopping and being met with surprises at every turn. The quality of the entries is top notch. I hope you enjoy it as much as Yolanda and I are. And thanks for your promotion via social media. Your support, and those of others of like mind, is why we’ve hit the floor running!

    Denise 🙂

    1. Dorian Grey is a favourite of mine too. Wilde’s poem captured what I was feeling about Greece and I hope you get there, one of these days. Still a lot of unrest going on, though.
      People are probably getting tired of the subject matter, but I just can’t help myself! I keep reliving this fantastic trip in my mind, like a movie.
      So glad you enjoyed my entry! 🙂 Thank you for hosting this challenge, which has been my pleasure to promote. It’s one of the most interesting blog hops I’ve participated in.

  22. This is great, Debbie. You are so good at these challenges. Which reminds me, I haven’t done the photo one you tagged me on. I will do it, promise.You sure do make it sound so enticing to visit Greece. I’ve been to Italy which was a great thrill as I love Roman History. I can just imagine what Greece would be like. I feel your excitement and enthusiasm every time I read your text and see your photos. Glad you got to fulfill a lifetime wish to go there.

    1. Italy is definitely just as thrilling as Greece, not only from a historical standpoint but everything else too. 🙂 Hubby’s immediate family still lives there and needless to say, we enjoy visiting them. Wish it could be more often! I should try and curtail these posts about Greece, as I’m sure people will get tired of them, but I just can’t help myself. The experience was so remarkable. ♥ Glad you enjoyed my entry for this challenge and I’m looking forward to your “8 Photos of Happiness.” No rush, though.

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