Here is another photo from Nice France. I took this as I walked around the streets above the harbor on a hot August morning.
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.
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.
I left my wife in a shoe store as I walked around taking photos in the old streets of Barcelona. This is not your typical mall.
There’s something pleasing about photos of people juxtaposed to the surrounding buildings; especially when the buildings are very old or very new. Even if the people are just going shopping, it’s better than hanging out at the mall.
Malls are becoming a thing of the past. Or, maybe, they are morphing into something else, less mall-like. I’m not sure I buy into that because as long as you have to drive to a mall, it’s still a mall. But I digress. Where was I?
To be honest, I don’t remember taking this photo. No matter how many images I make, I usually remember each one. Pictures to me are memory boosters, I only have to look, and I’m transported back in time: I’ll have a recollection, however vague, of that moment. But for whatever reason, this one escapes me.
I was shooting with a wide open aperture and high ISO so that I could snap photos as I saw them. I was a little like a snap-happy tourist. I’ll call it street photography but, I was having fun, so maybe a bit of each.
Barcelona is one of those places where the architecture steals the show. The architecture is old, and it belies the fantastic amount of history in these walls. To me the street lamps have an 18th century feel to them, and perhaps some of them are that old. When they finally invent the time machine, I’ll be coming back here to take a few more photos to see if it looks the same. Hopefully, I won’t change history while I’m at it.
This image was taken in the gothic section of Barcelona on my last night there. I was standing next to the cathedral listening to musicians and taking photos of people walking down Carrer del Bisbe.
Coming from North America, this is an enchanting place. I can’t describe it in words, I try with pictures, and yet it still falls short. You have to experience it for yourself. I’ll be going back in a couple of months, so I hope to get out in the gothic section again.
Anyway, this is a street scene, a night scene, and an architecture scene all wrapped into a single image. I’m not sure what to call it, but it’s a lot of fun. For me, the appeal is shooting at night when everything takes on an almost mythical quality. You can imagine the same spot hundreds of years ago and see with your mind’s eye the same scenes, unchanged over the centuries.
This is the ancient village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert in southern France. Walking the cobblestone streets I was stuck by how old everything was, yet the people living here seemed quite normal. That sounds ignorant of me, but it’s hard to imagine this setting in the modern world, yet here it is and people live their lives here, one foot in today and another in yesterday. A paradox of sorts I suppose.
For instance some people have satellite dishes and iPhones and MacBookPros. Yet the door to their home could be three-hundred years old. I saw a doctor riding through the streets on a motorcycle making a house call. I saw chickens in a coup, there were children in school on a treasure hunt; all normal things for sure. It’s a product of having been raised in North America, where the entire country is younger than the doorframe to one of these homes.
Maybe our modern cities will look like this in three hundred years from now. Not likely, our homes are not made to last longer than fifty years or so. But this is what happens when you build structures to last, you create a link to the past that people like me can stumble upon and end up wondering about the intermingling of centuries. Your thought for the day.
This is another image of a Barcelona alley at night as I was walking around after a meal of Tapas and Sangria. Honestly, I could never find this spot in a million years, the area is like a casbah of sorts, narrow passages going this way and that, no rhyme nor reason for anything. It’s such a fun place, you can get delightfully lost and the worst that can happen is you end up in a bar sipping another Sangria as you contemplate your next move.
Of course not all cities are like this. The fact that you feel safe here speaks volumes about the people of Barcelona and their values. The only north American city where I’ve experienced something similar is in Vancouver, but that’s relatively new and doesn’t have the same old world character. Barcelona is a fusion of ancient and modern, cobblestones and Starbucks.
Another difference that comes to mind is that in north America if you stand somewhere and imagine what that spot looked like two or three hundred years ago you’d probably be standing in a field or forest. In many parts of Europe it might look similar to the present day minus the electricity and such. Europe has a long memory stored in the buildings, alleys and cobblestones that somehow seeps into me anytime I am here.
Actually, I have no idea if this is a typical day or not, I’ve only been here once. But because it was a Tuesday and not the weekend, I have to assume it was typical. I guess I’ll have to wait until I come back to be sure. The beach is protected by a seawall and the shops are all open and outdoor bistros serve beer, wine, coffee and pastries. Personally I could get used to this as a typical day. We stopped along here and had a drink at one of the cafes as we watched the everything around us. If I did live here I’d probably live to be a ripe old age, playing checkers or bocci ball with the other escapees from modern civilization. Then I’d sit and have a glass of red wine while I watched the people go by. Then I’d get up in the morning and do it all again. Just another typical day in Collioure, France.
This is the village of Gigondas which is in a mountainous area in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur northeast of Montpellier. Like many places in this part of France, Gigondas is known for its wine. Some of the vintners here refuse to change the methods of production that have survived hundreds of years from generation to generation. The town is on a hillside over looking the vineyards and these narrow streets climb up to a church overlooking the village. I took this on the way back down after surveying the surroundings and wondering how it is that these people manage to live apparent tranquil lives without all the big box stores and high tech gadgets. I think I know the answer to that.