Beach Bistro

Here’s a random beach scene from Lloret de Mar. Everybody seemed to be having way too much fun for a weekday.

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Beach Bistro
The beach in Lloret de Mar, Catalunya, Spain

However, people here are on some kind of vacation, so the day of the week is unimportant. I had just arrived on a redeye from the states; it was Thursday, I think. And, I was just getting warmed up to the whole vacation thing.

check out the beach gallery

What better way to do that than take photos of others who are already warmed up. Eventually, I got into the rhythm of things, maybe even a little too much. By the time we left this town, I had managed to lose my passport, but that’s another story for another day.

Sitges Street

Walking along the streets of European coastal towns is an exercise in leisure. And if that’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is.

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Sitges Street
A leisurely stroll through the streets of Sitges in Catalonia, Spain

Actually, that goes for a lot I do on vacation – leisure and moron. Relaxation when traveling is a state of mind, sometimes easier said than gained. I do what I can.

more images from the Mediterranean in the gallery

In this case, I was in the town of Sitges, walking around on a Sunday. I was next to the main church that sits along the sea. Sunday notwithstanding, nobody was going in or out, just tourists, like me, walking around it, taking pictures, and practicing leisure.

Zen Pipe Smoker

This guy was sitting in a three-piece suit on a hot day, seemingly oblivious to everything around him. I don’t know if he was posing or just practicing the art of Zen pipe smoking.

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Zen Pipe Smoker
A cool character on a hot Barcelona day

Nevertheless, he seemed content to ignore anyone who stopped to look. It was his clothing more than the pipe that struck me. It was hot and humid, he appeared way over-dressed.

more from the monochrome gallery

There are loads of street performers up and down La Rambla, which made me think he was posing, yet he wasn’t collecting money. Now that I think of it, he probably works at one of the boutique hotels and was just taking a smoke break. Mystery solved.

Fishing Village

These boats are in Collioure in Southern France. It’s a Catalonian village known for sardines, among other things.

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Fishing Village
Small fishing boats along the French Mediterranean.

After I took the photo, I saw a couple of street artists selling paintings of these same boats. They seem almost picture-perfect, almost as though they were placed here for effect. But that could just be my jaded view of things, and it’s not something the French are prone to do.

more from the gallery

One of the primary industries here is sardines. The last time we came through, I ordered a plate of them at a seaside cafe. For all I know, these may be sardine boats that returned in the morning. The rest of the day, they are click-bait for photographers like me. That was a lame joke.

Rooftop with a View

When in Barcelona, the last thing on my mind is taking photos of the sunset. However, if one presents itself, I’m more than happy to oblige.

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Rooftop with a View
Sunset during happy hour

This photo is another that I took from atop the Fira Renaissance. The hotel is outside the main tourist area, so most of the people here were attending conferences. They would come up to the rooftop pool to socialize during happy hour.

travel photography gallery

It still amazes me how structurally sound these buildings must be to support a pool on the top floor – water is so heavy. There is also an indoor pool on the floor below. I guess there is no limit to what people can dream and build.

Taller de Tapas

Here are some people in the gothic quarter of Barcelona sitting outside at a tapas bar, talking late into the night.

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Taller de Tapas
A typical night scene in the gothic quarter of Barcelona

Scenes like this occur over and over, and I think, are typical of Catalonian culture. Not that I’m an expert, but it seems quite friendly and puts a lot of value on spending time with family and friends.

more night photography from the gallery

It’s not difficult to see the appeal, especially in places like Barcelona. Sure, every area has its problems, but it’s fun to see different lifestyles and wonder what it would be like to live there, if only for a spell.

Lighthouse of the Mediterranean

I’m aiming straight up at Phare de la méditerranée, which translates “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean.” Despite the name, it’s not a lighthouse.

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Lighthouse of the Mediterranean
One of the attractions of Palavas-les-Flots in Southern France

The top of the tower is a revolving restaurant with views of, you guessed it, the Mediterranean. There are a few touristy places like this because Palavas-les-Flots is a French vacation town. But it’s not over-the-top commercialized as you might find in other areas. There is a casino, but it’s low-key, not overly flashy.

more architecture photography in the gallery

One thing you will find a lot of though is ice cream. For whatever reason, they are crazy about ice cream, and in tourist towns, you’ll find it on every corner.

Platja de Lloret De Mar

This scene is a nine frame high-resolution panorama of the beach at Lloret Del Mar. If you wanted, you could zoom in to see the menu at KFC.

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Platja de Lloret De Mar
A high-resolution panorama in Spain

Not that you would or that I would go to Spain for KFC, I’m just saying. Printed at full resolution, this is over eight feet across – a lot of detail.

see the panorama gallery

For panoramas to work, they need the right subject and, the Mediterranean is full of these kinds of scenes. I was here twice in September, once for an over-night and, a week later, to retrieve my lost passport. It was on the second trip that I made this. After I did, I went to an outdoor cafe facing the beach, not too far from KFC.

Carnon Plage Scenes

Depending on the time of day, the scene at this beach is entirely different. I’m not sure which one I prefer better.

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Carnon Plage Sunrise
Sunrise at the beach in Carnon
Carnon Plage Midday
Midday at the same beach.

Having spent almost a week here, I had plenty of opportunities to take in the view. I think perhaps that I like the early morning view for the stillness of the water. If I think about it much longer, I’ll probably change my mind.

be sure and visit the beach gallery

The defining characteristic of Carnon Plage is the circularity of the shore. (BTW: Plage is the French word for beach.) Breakwaters were constructed to prevent erosion such that waves passing through form rings. The beach is therefore circular and, there is more of it than if it were merely straight. In the end, it makes for good picture taking, which for me, is all that seems to matter.

Melanie De Biasio

Probably the biggest festival of the year in Barcelona is La Mercè. Of course, we knew nothing about it until we were right in the middle of it.

Checkout Melanie De Baisio
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Melanie De Biasio
A midnight concert in from the Barcelona Cathedral during La Mercè
Here is a perspective with the cathedral that I took with my iPhone

We were walking around and stopped to listen to Melanie De Biasio perform a midnight concert in front of the main cathedral. Her music is a hypnotic jazz fusion that’s right down my alley. Like everything else, I’d never heard of her, but now she’s at the top of my playlist. 

During the La Mercè, many of the major plazas host outdoor free concerts, plus there are fireworks and parades each night. It’s called the festival of festivals for a good reason. In my case, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart.