Here is a little section of a restaurant along a canal in Venice. Our timing was fortunate because we were seated right away while others who came later had to wait; Italians are late eaters. We enjoyed an amazing meal seated along the canal on a warm summer evening. For the life of me I can’t remember what I ordered but I do remember it tasted very good.
As chance would have it we were surrounded by tables of Americans, even though there were people from other countries as well. On one side was a group of college girls and on the other was a couple of producers with their wives. There was a film festival going on and I could hear everything the producers were saying. It was one of those situations where you can’t help but hear the conversation, the tables were very close. Somehow the producers started talking to the girls since one of them was trying to break into the business. And on and on and on….
Being an American tourist myself I try to be a little circumspect, I know that a reputation proceeds us. There’s nothing wrong with American tourists, but every so often you can sure pick them out. I know I’m a little too quiet, but I prefer to soak up the ambience. That includes the gondolas, lights shining from windows on the canal, amazing Italian food, wine, and occasionally the conversations of my fellow Americans.
Here is a street scene from a section of Barcelona that’s not too far from the beach. I took this from a moving pedicab that we hired late one night from La Ramblas to the Hotel Arts. Our driver was a German fellow who biked all over Europe and stayed summers in Barcelona to work the pedicabs.
Taking photos from any kind of moving vehicle at night is a challenge, but with a high enough ISO and a wide aperture it’s doable. And a pedicab is a lot easier to shoot from than a taxicab, although I’ve tried that as well.
The days and nights we were in Barcelona were very warm. One of the things I like most about Barcelona is how people spend a lot of time socializing in front of little cafes and bistros. That goes for much of Europe but Barcelona in particular.
The markets in Collioure are on narrow streets that lead to courtyards filled will shops. This is a fishing village along the mediterranean that’s also a destination for French and Spanish vacationers on the account that its close to the Spanish border. In fact its part of Catalonia, a region with a separate language and customs that crosses the borders and envisions itself as an independent state.
The border crossing between France and Spain is up a mountain road at the very top. As I drove past I mistook the boarded up buildings for a tourist attraction, but in fact it was the old border checkpoints that were used before the EU. When you see those old stations it amazing to think that there are no more borders within the EU.
Anyway, I loved the colors of the houses here, they reminded me of homes in tropical regions where colors are used freely and in excess. I suppose that’s an earmark of a warm climate, colorful houses that reflect the atmosphere. Further north we tend to stick with muted or darker tones to endure the winter. The feeling here was almost magic as we sat at outdoor bistros and meandered along the narrow streets looking for bargains. I was too busy taking pictures to shop but my wife found a couple of dresses by a designer dressmaker at the little shop on the left.