Having only one night, we had to find the best tapas in town. Fortunate for us it was just around the corner. In Barcelona, that’s any corner.
I really don’t think you can go wrong, but Bo De Gracia was especially right if that makes any sense. There were quite a few things we ordered, but I remember sardines and olives the most. My wife doesn’t generally like sardines, but we both had to split the last one. And the fresh green olives have a taste and texture I’ve never experienced in America. It was all washed down with a local Spanish wine that complemented everything perfectly.
But I’m a photographer, so I had to pick up the camera and take this quick shot from the bar where we sat. The only people here were us and this couple. Probably because it was early in the evening. Around nine or ten is when these places start to fill up. By “these places” I mean the worlds best tapas bars around every corner of Barcelona.
Why do we call it a bank of elevators? My guess is that at one time, only banks had lifts. Rest assured, this is no bank.
Royal Caribbean ships have elevator banks that are functional, stylish and serve as a showcase for hanging art. No two banks are the same which is not only refreshing but helpful. Helpful, in that, on some of the larger ships, it’s easy to get disoriented. Having distinct elevator banks helps with getting your bearings. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot whether I was at the front or back of the boat. Unless you’re up top or by a window, it’s almost irrelevant, but knowing which direction to walk for a meal is an acquired skill.
Also, each night the crew replaces a floor tile in each elevator with the name of the day. So not only do you know which part of the ship you’re on, you’re reminded the day of the week. Little orientation hist never hurt anyone. Anyway, if memory serves me, this was at the back of the Oasis of the Seas, or was it the front?
A state of confusion is normal for me, at least until I have my morning Starbucks. And this where I get it on a ship.
There’s a lot to sort out in this image; art, mall, elevators, and a window looking out, to name a few. This is on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. What makes it confusing (at least to me) is that everything is on a different deck. I think they should rename it Skyscraper of the Seas. I’m just saying.
I took this from deck seven on my way back from a morning walk around deck fifteen. The Starbucks is on five. There are so many decks it’s hard to keep track of where to go, which is why I need a morning Starbucks.
I took this picture in the lobby of the Delta Toronto Marriott when I was there a few months ago. Have you ever noticed how hotels design lobby spaces to feel inviting? This one is a far cry from the Motel 6 we stayed at when I was a kid.
When I’m in a big city, I like walking into lobbies and taking pictures of the architecture. The lobby is where the hotel puts its best foot forward. The idea is to convey a sense of luxury and comfort at the same time. Comfort usually means plush furniture and pillows that make you want to sink into them.
Anyway, I was walking through in the evening, and the colors caught my eye. I had been sitting here a few hours earlier to meet someone, but hardly noticed it in the daylight. I’m continually surprised at how light affects a place. In my opinion, it’s the key to photography. On the top floor, there is a lounge with a spectacular view of the CN Tower. And my room had a pretty nice view of the lake as well. I think the hotel is rated four stars, but from a photographic perspective, it’s easily a five.
Earlier in the year, I was up in Toronto for a quick stay, and at night I wandered around taking photos. This arched walkway is a connector between the convention center and Union Station. Little did I know that this is also where I would catch the train to the airport in the morning. So I ended up at this same spot eight hours later to grab an early flight home.
It was a good idea because a snow storm came in that night and the streets were a mess, but the trains kept rolling. The flight ended up getting delayed anyway, but at least I was at the gate on time.
I used to live in Toronto a long time ago, and I’m sure I walked through this spot at some point. But this time I had my camera, and it seemed new to me. Nevertheless, much of downtown Toronto is connected by covered or underground walkways because of the long winters. I think we should do the same thing down in Florida for the long hot summers. Or, maybe not, we probably spend enough time indoors as it is.
Just before leaving Chattanooga we stopped here at the Frothy Monkey for lunch. The Frothy Monkey is a hip coffee bar attached to the old train station next to where the Chattanooga choo-choo sits on display. So perhaps these windows were once part of the old station.
In any case, it’s a cool place to hang out, and I’d do just that if I lived here. But we were leaving town on a Sunday afternoon and had many miles to drive. Nevertheless, my eye was attracted to these reflections. They’re similar to water reflections, only on a table top. I find that the whole reflection dynamic adds a new quality to the photo.
I ended up buying a Frothy Monkey cap as a souvenir. As we left, I threw it in the back seat of the car, and that’s the last I’ve seen of it. Maybe it’s still stuck under a seat or in one of my bags; I need to look for it. I wanted to have a little something to remind me of how hip this place is. Until then I’ll have to use this photo for that.
As we drove home from South Dakota, we stopped in Kansas City for the night. We intended to sleep and continue the next morning, but instead, we fell for the city and stayed an extra day.
To orient ourselves, we took one of those red bus tours. It left from here at Union Station, so when it returned, we came back inside to have a look around. In its heyday, this was a busy rail station. It fell into neglect and then restored to its former grand architecture. Amtrak now stops here, so it’s once again a working rail station, more than just a remnant of the past.
It was my first time in Kansas City, and I was pleasantly surprised to explore and learn a little. We went to dinner at Jack Stack BBQ, one of many BBQ options in the city. The line up to get a table was long, so we sat at the bar, ordered BBQ and watched the Kansas City Royals get their clocks cleaned by the Boston. Aside from that last part, it was an excellent day, and now we know to come back when we have more time.
A few years ago, I was in San Francisco and while walking around I stopped at Grace Cathedral. It’s in an area called Nob Hill which is a nice little hike up from my hotel in Union Square. I was looking for a place to rest and the cathedral seemed like a good option.
Because of the hushed atmosphere, I didn’t feel comfortable just walking around taking photos, although it probably would have been okay. However, my camera has silent shutter mode that allows me to take photos without making a sound. Churches are one place I use that, I used it a lot while visiting cathedrals in Europe. But it’s also useful at weddings during the ceremony.
For an American city, San Francisco has some nice cathedrals. My other favorite in the city is Cathedral Of Saint Mary Of The Assumption which I saw on a subsequent trip. I think the best time to photograph cathedrals is on a weekday when no one is there and the sounds are hushed. I suppose we could say that both sights AND sounds played a role in the making of this image.
This is the Westfield Mall under Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus. I was standing on a set of steps where path station and mall meet.
I don’t necessarily like going to the mall, but in this case, I can make an exception. I am convinced that Calatrava is one of the greatest architects of our time. That’s based on the feeling I get when inside his creations. There was also an exhibition of art from the Sistine Chapel. The juxtaposition of Michelangelo with the modern architecture was amazing.
We had no intention of going to the mall, we simply wanted to know what was here after touring One World Observatory. Anyway, there is a bistro just on the left and I sat there with a coffee while my wife looked for a certain type of shoes. I was also in the market for shoes but deferred that to spend the rest of the time taking pictures. After I got all the pictures I wanted we headed to Macy’s where I finally got my own shoes.
Here are a couple of shots inside the Cathedral of Barcelona. I took these on our first trip when we stayed right across the street. I walked over first thing in the morning, which was apparently a good idea because soon thereafter the crowds began grow. This cathedral is the centerpiece of the city’s gothic section and is a huge attraction.
These were shot handheld because I didn’t bring a tripod. Actually, I didn’t think it would be allowed so I didn’t even try. But as I recall, someone else did have one. Nevertheless, I shot these with the help of stabilization on the Sony sensor and the images came out fine. I have two very expensive tripods, but I’m finding I use them less and less these days due to the advancements in the digital sensors.
After looking around I went back to the hotel for breakfast. Then returned about an hour or so later. By that time the crowds were enormous. I was glad to have made the early visit and take these pictures. And maybe if I ever do that again I’ll bring a tripod, or maybe not.