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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

Nice, France

This is a section of Nice where cruise ships dock and people come ashore on a tender. That’s what I was doing when I took this picture.

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Nice, France
Nice as seen from the harbour

While waiting for transport to other parts of Nice, I walked up and around the narrow streets. It was in the middle of summer and hot. I remember trying to decide whether to have a beer or ice cream to cool down. My only hesitation was that it was nine in the morning so I opted for ice cream.

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The famous beach is west of here, but since I live close to beaches in Florida, I visited other parts of the city including an art colony in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. As that was up on a small mountain, it was a little cooler, but still quite warm. I ended up getting a beer there, but it was midday at that point. Such are my memories of ice cream and beer.

Collioure

This picture is from a drive we took from France to Spain along the coast; we made so many stops that it was a minor miracle we made it anywhere.

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Collioure
A street scene from Collioure in the southern tip of France

One of our favorite stops was Collioure. We intended to stop only for a few minutes but lingered half a day. We walked around, sat in outdoor cafes, and mainly enjoy the Mediterranean way of things.

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This is a street scene along the main road through town. I was walking around taking pictures of the side streets. The buildings are painted every color of the rainbow which made it even more fun to take pictures.

Pigeon Portrait

Here’s a common pigeon from Plaça de Catalunya in the heart of Barcelona. It’s a fun place to watch the craziness in all directions.

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Pigeon Portrait
A common pigeon in Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya.

It had just rained, and that’s when the reflections are best. I used the Platypod to get a low perspective and shot this at f2.0 which creates big colorful bokeh balls in the background. It’s a technique generally used in portraits, so I guess this we could consider this a bird portrait.

more birds from the gallery

The pigeons are used to people feeding them they’ll come right up. They have almost no fear of humans. A little boy next to me caught one in his hands and then released it. I only had the desire to capture one with my camera. I got several shots, but I think this is my favorite.