by Ferne Arfin, 22 April 2020

Pictures of wide open spaces

I woke up this morning to the strains of the Dixie Chicks singing Wide Open Spaces. “She needs wide open spaaaces,” they wailed. And the first thing that popped into my head was, “Don’t we all”.

With that in mind, I’ve collected some of my favorite pictures of wide open spaces. Surprisingly, they are not all outdoors and at least one of them is in the middle of a city. But all provide long views and more than enough space to dance away your cabin fever. I hope you enjoy these.

Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico

Wide open spaces , Anna Maria Florida, Sunset, Gulf of Mexico Beacn,

After the day-trippers have gone home, Gulf of Mexico sunsets on Anna Maria Island are spectacularly lonely. Wide open spaces at their best.

Monemvasia at sunset

wide open space, Monemvasia sunset, first sight of monemvasia, peloponnese

The setting sun lights up Monemvasia, a castle island set in the sea off the coast of Greece’s Peloponnese region. Connected to the mainland by a causeway, the island’s castle village is isolated by its wall. There is only one gate in. 

Another day in Monemvasia

#wide-open-spaces #monemvasia, #greece #greek castles #fortified villages #peloponnese

The joy of staying on the mainland near Monemvasia is you get to see it in all different lights at all different times of day. The causeway to the island is just a few hundred yards but the isolation is splendid. Locals call the walled village on the island “the kastro” or castle. The town on the mainland is called “the city” even though it has a population of only a few thousand.

Midday on the Santorini caldera

Santorini #Caldera #Greece #cliffs #clifftops #clifftop_villages #cyclades #cycladic_houses #clouds #dramatic_clouds #storm_front #thunderheads

The boxy white houses of the Cyclades cluster along the top of the Santorini caldera like sea foam. They say the villages were built on the edge, so that ship captains could see their ships coming home, laden with goods. Maybe. Or maybe it was just the pleasing aesthetics that charmed the village builders.

Launchpad for the Battle of Hastings

Port of Dives-sur-Mer , #william-the-conqueror #1066 #battleofhastings #normandy #dives-sur-mer #france

It was from the haven of Dives-Sur-Mer, sheltered from the open sea by the beach at Cabourg, that William the Conqueror launched his fleet in September 1066. Off to conquer England, he had prepared more than 700 ships, carrying 7,000 men and 2,000 war horses, in this tiny port in the Calvados region of Normandy. A huge plaque in the village church lists all the nobles who accompanied William.

In the Haute Pyrenees

#Pyrenees #picdumidi #cablecar #mountains #france #catalonia #snow #snowcappedmountains

It takes two cable cars and about 20 minutes of vertiginous swinging over chasms thousands of feet below to reach the 19th century Pic du Midi Astronomical Observatory in the Pyrenees National Park. The observatory tops the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (9,450 feet) in the Haute Pyrenees. From the breathtaking cable car ride, you can see across both France and Spain. And, in clear weather, both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean might be visible. Talk about wide open spaces.

The view from Buckland Abbey

#morning-mist #devon #buckland-abbey #RiverTavy #TamarRiver

Morning mist rises from a river bend that is the confluence of the Tavy and Tamar rivers in Devon. The view is from the grounds of Buckland Abbey, once the home of Sir Francis Drake.

Market square in Arras

#Beffroi-Arras, #Placedes-heros-arras #marketplace #france #pasdecalais

Even cities have wide open spaces sometimes. The medieval town hall and bell tower, known as the Beffroi, punctuates the vast open space of the Place des heros in Arras, Pas de Calais, France. Both the impressive Beffroi and the terraces of houses that surround the square were reconstructed from ruins after World War I. On Saturdays, the square is filled with a huge and famous weekly market. The rest of the week it is a peaceful open space, surrounded by open-air cafes, and shops.

Cape Cornwall – the connoisseur’s Land’s End

Cape Cornwall, #westcornwall, #heritagecoast, #dramatic-headlands #connoiseurs-lands-end

Cape Cornwall is sometimes known as the connoisseur’s Land’s End. The headland, on the extreme western edge of Cornwall, is surpassed by Land’s End as the westernmost point in mainland Britain by a few scant miles. It is where two great Atlantic currents divide; one part to the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea, the other part to the English Channel. Today it is part of the Tin Coast and the Cornish Mining World Heritage site (fans of Poldark take note).

The view from Richmond Hill

The View from Richmond Hill, #thames,#london #RichmondHill, #England #iconic views #famousviews

The view of this bend in the River Thames from Richmond Hill has an unusual distinction. It is the only view in England protected by an Act of Parliament. The view was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds and J.M.W.Turner. It was also said to have inspired the naming of Richmond, Virginia because the city’s founder noticed a resemblence between this famous river bend (or meander as it is more formally known) and Virginia’s James River. 

The Ancient Agora of Athens

Athens, #ancient-agora-athens #greece #greeklandmarks #greek-temples #temple-of-hephaestus #open-space

In a city as bustling and crowded as Athens, it’s hard to find quiet, wide open spaces. But the Ancient Agora of Athens, just below the northeast corner of the Acropolis, certainly qualifies. Ironically, this 30-acre site, overlooked by the Temple of Hephaestus, was once anything but empty, peaceful and quiet. Back in the 6th century B.C., it would have been filled with noisy market traders and hearty political arguments.

October on Dartmoor

#Dartmoor #spring #england sheep #devon #landscape #social-distancing

October on Dartmoor in Devon, England, finds these black faced sheep doing what comes naturally and practicing social distancing. For the rest of us, this empty region of hills, bracken and moorland provides restful views of wide open spaces. ©Ferne Arfin

Dartmoor Views from Prince Hall

#Dartmoor #england #devon #riverview #west-dart-river #early springnational-park, lat

The West Dart River ambles across Dartmoor dividing woodlands and meadows from treacherous moorland.

#Dartmoor #view-from-prince-hall #england #devon #moor

The lovely view from the rear garden of dog-friendly Prince Hall ends in a distant glimpse of Fox Tor Mire. The mire was likely the inspiration for the deadly, man-eating Grimpen Mire in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles.

Le Touquet Paris Plage

Le Touquet Paris Plage #le-touquet-paris-plage #beach #france #pas-de-calais #english-channel #la-manche

Early season and the vast beach at Le Touquet Paris Plage is sunny, open and inviting.

From Snowdon Mountain Railway

#Mt-Snowdon, #Wales. #UK, #UnitedKingdom #Snowdonia-National-Park, #Irish-Sea-View #mountain-view #views #above the clouds #fluffyClouds

We’d been looking forward to our trip up Mt Snowdon on the historic Snowdon Mountain Railway. Then the mist rolled in, right after we’d crossed the tree line, and we thought we’d lost the chance to see anything interesting. But on the way back down, the fog blew away and this endless mountain view was revealed, rolling across the mountain lakes, Llyn Ffynnin-gwas and tiny Llyn Nadroedd, then across the lower slopes all the way to Anglesey and the Irish Sea.

A deceptively peaceful coast

West Cornwall

A gentle view of pastures, sloping from the B3306 in West Cornwall to the Atlantic coast. What could be more serene than this big sky view with its patchwork of fields? But approach from the sea and it’s completely different – a rugged coast rimmed with jagged cliffs and dangerous rocks just waiting to trap unwary sailors. Walk the South West Coast Path for great views of the dramatic coast. And imagine smugglers luring ships laden with goods onto the rocks with phantom lights.

The dizzying wide open space of the Cirque de Gavarnie

Cirque de Gavarnie

The Cirque de Gavarnie is a massive natural feature on the French/Spanish border in the Haute Pyrenees. On the French side, near the town of Gavarnie, it rises nearly 5,000 feet from the valley floor. The Grande cascade de Gavarnie falls over a series of terraces from a height of 422 meters. It’s the tallest waterfall in France and the second tallest in Europe. The waterfall freezes in winter when ice climbers tackle the vertical challenge.

The Big Space: Historic Dockyard Chatham

Chatham, Historic, dockyard, covered slip, ship shipbuilding, rare survival, timber construction

Not all wide open spaces are outdoors. The massive Number 3 Slip at the Historic Dockyard Chatham is a case in point. Built in 1838 to protect the construction of British Royal Navy ships from bad weather, it is a rare survival of its type. When it was built it was the widest timber span building in Europe.

Barley in the Yorkshire Wolds

yorkshire-wolds, england, UK, farm, barley, beer, green, flat, big sky

And you thought England was a small, densely populated country. That’s one misconception worth discarding. You can’t get more spacious than this flat, Yorkshire Wolds field of young English barley in the northeast of England. Barley is a major crop in the UK with about half of it going into beer and whiskey. Enjoy the view, dream about a free-ranging farm stay and remember the English pubs won’t stay closed for COVID19 forever. 

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Cirque de Gavarnie, France, pyrenees, mountain view, snowymountains

Blue skies, fields, farms, Yorkshire Wolds, Barley, England, freedom, space

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