Cool W

This is a fashionable hotel at the end of the beach in Barcelona. It’s a cool beach with a cool hotel and cool people walking cool dogs.

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Cool W
The W Hotel on the beach in Barcelona

It’s so cool that I was starting to feel a little self-conscious. But I know that’s silly because the people in Barcelona are not so pretentious. They just have that way about them that seems fashionable to me.

more from Barcelona in the gallery

By the way, this photo is heavily Photoshopped. There were hundreds of people here. But, I picked out the most interesting and turned the rest to sand. If you zoom in, you’ll see some quirkiness. That’s just me and my less-than-cool sense of humor.

Boat Life

These marinas are cities within cities. People in them live semi-nomadic lives and form communities; coming and going with the wind.

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Boat Life
The marina in Barcelona

The marina in Barcelona reminds me of similar ones close to home. I’m heading back and have been looking at my photos from there. Marinas are enormous along the Mediterranean. We have many in Florida, but I think they are generally not as big as the ones in Europe. Maybe boat life is more prevalent there.

more boats in the gallery

Anyway, I know an American teacher who leads on-line courses remotely from her boat in Spain or Italy, depending on the season. No house required; have a boat, laptop, and internet connection; and the world is your oyster.

Shop Local

I was somewhere off La Rambla watching other people shop. Not something I’m fond of, shopping that is.

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Shop Local
A customer talks with a shopkeeper in Barcelona

There are a lot of things I’m not fond of, but having a camera turns the most hated activity into an artistic endeavor. Like taking pictures of shoppers, suddenly I can go shopping with my wife and have a good time.

more European shops from the gallery

But nowadays the only place it seems you can take photos of shoppers is in Europe. Here in the states, shopping is in a mall and the last time I took my camera, the mall cop and asked not to take photos. He said I could use a phone, but not a camera. If that doesn’t sound ridiculous, I don’t know what does.

Carnon Visit

My recollection of the last time I visited here in Carnon is a little spotty. I seem to remember something about fresh croissants every day.

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Carnon Visit
Along the Mediterranean in Carnon, France

That, and the scenery and the excellent food and, let’s not forget the wine. My memory of the trip is a string of highlights all tied together. I’ve been thinking about it lately because I’ll be heading back in a few months.

More from France in the gallery

I have no agenda other than to get reacquainted with the customs of that region which, as I recall, are quite reasonable. I’ll be taking a lot of pictures, of course.

Reminiscing BCN

This is a repost of an image of Barcelona from a few years before. At least for me, it captures the juxtaposition of the new and old.

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Barcelona City Center

I’m coming back here in a few months, and I was reminiscing. Like any big city, there are different vibes for different neighborhoods. This is from the gothic section with the main cathedral as the centerpiece. I’ll come back here but also explore different areas.

more from Barcelona in the gallery

While walking back to the hotel, I noticed this street framing the central spire. Down every road, there is something different to see. It’s a city people want to live in. It has culture, art, history, architecture, sports, and, of course, food. What’s not to like?

Bike Lot

I expected to see a lot of bikes in Amsterdam, and I wasn’t disappointed. However, not until I visited the bike parking lot did it sink in.

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Bike Lot
A bike parking lot in Amsterdam

Surrounding the public transit stations are huge bike lots. Some of them are multi-stories high and comfortably house tens of thousands. Some like this were outside and stacked to make efficient use of space. Maybe it’s not so strange, but I was amazed nonetheless.

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Since everyone is accustom to it, biking seems like a natural thing to do here. It made me wonder why we can’t seem to get it together in places like Florida where I live. From a transportation perspective, we are like dinosaurs, relying on our cars to get everywhere. If we don’t figure out a better way, we may soon end up like the dinosaurs.

Amsterdam Night 1

Arriving into Amsterdam from Florida I had the advantage of my time zone. So I walked around the central section of the city late into the night.

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Amsterdam Night 1
The scene of central Amsterdam upon my first night exploring

At that time I was doing some software work for a client. These days I do most of that type of work remote, so I felt it unnecessary to mention that I was out of the country. From my hotel, I could take meetings as if I was sitting at home. Then, when done, I would step outside and explore the city.

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What brought me there in the first place was a photo exhibit I was participating in just outside the city. I was able to attend the exhibition, explore the city and, for all intents and purposes, continue helping my client as though I was sitting right at home. It was a new experience that worked out well on all fronts.

Streets of Nice

Here is another photo from Nice France. I took this as I walked around the streets above the harbor on a hot August morning.

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Streets of Nice
A small street in Nice, France

The hill above the harbor is steep, and I remember thinking to my self that I didn’t want to get too hot first thing in the morning. So I paced myself and took slow steps, trying to avoid exertion. That was a fool’s errand because I quickly became covered in sweat no matter how slow I walked. I ended up getting ice cream for breakfast to cool down. That’s just how I roll.

more bicycle images from the gallery

Nevertheless, I prefer to walk around these little streets as opposed to the more famous beaches of Nice. Beaches I have all around me in Florida, so when in Europe, I like unique places like this; even when covered in sweat and eating ice cream.

Streets of Salerno

It was one of the hottest days of the year, and for the life of me, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would carry a sweater.

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Streets of Salerno
A summer day in Salerno, Italy

Maybe the stores were air-conditioned in the shopping district of this Italian port city. In Florida, we freeze going to a movie in summer. You dress in shorts and flipflops but then need a jacket in the theater.

more from the Europe gallery

When I was here in Solerno, it rained cats and dogs in the morning, and within an hour the streets dried up from the heat. I got a wide range of pictures that day that included different types of weather. It reminded me of Florida summers but with a lot more to explore.

Manarola

This picture of Manarola is one I took from a boat ride along the Cinque Terre coast. It makes me want to pack my bags and go back now.

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Manarola
From Cinque Terre region of Italy

The villages lie one after the other along a rugged coast, all connected by train. So while they are somewhat remote, they’re easy to get to. They also have a trail that runs the length of the coast so you can backpack as well.

more from europe in the gallery

When you look closely at the construction on top of the rocks, the difficulty involved boggles the mind. Also, the terraced hillsides have been carved out of the most inhospitable soil for crops, yet they are fertile and well tended. If you let your mind wander, you’ll go back the many hundreds of years to see the first inhabitants removing one rock at a time. And that is why I’d rather be a tourist in this century.