Shop Local

I was somewhere off La Rambla watching other people shop. Not something I’m fond of, shopping that is.

Daily Image
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.

more European shops from the gallery

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.

No Wifi

Something tells me that this AirBnB has no Wifi, no A/C nor Color TV. But it does have a stove and the South Dakota sky.

Daily Image
No Wifi
A house on the old set of Dances With Wolves in South Dakota

This picture was taken from what was once the movie set of Dances with Wolves and is now a museum and tourist spot along Highway 90. A structure like this makes me very appreciative of modern conveniences. Back then, it was way different.

more images of houses from the gallery

Feeling a sense of gratitude for what we have goes a long way to erasing the thoughts and feelings of what we don’t have. There are a lot of things I would like, but when I look at this house and imagine surviving through the long cold winter in the Dakotas, I’m pretty dang happy with what I’ve got: including Wifi, A/C, and a color iPad. (Nobody watches TV anymore).

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.

Daily Image
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.

Daily Image
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?

Carousel at Sea

Upon boarding one of these mega ships, the size plays tricks with your mind. Seeing a carousel in one little section doesn’t help.

Daily Image
Carousel at Sea
The carousel on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

I took this photo on the Oasis of the Seas last year. I was looking down from about eight decks above. And, there are another eight decks below that. So if your mind gets a little blown at the beginning, chances are it will last all week; which is about how long it takes to find your way around.

more cruise ship photos from the gallery

These ships would be impossible without a lot of elevators. Of course, with the amount you eat, it would be healthier to take the stairs. However, when entering a reality bubble, the standard rules and concerns don’t apply. At least that’s how it works for me.

Miami Marina

I took this picture at three in the morning as our ship entered the port in Miami. I am surprised it turned out given that we were moving at it was dark.

DAILY IMAGE
Miami Marina
A marina as seen from a ship entering the Port of Miami

Its the second time I’ve taken this same perspective from a ship. The first time was a year earlier when I used an f2.8 lens; this time I used an f1.8: the f1.8 aperture is wider which allows more light and, creates a better result without too much noise.

more from Miami in the gallery

Anyway, we were arriving back from Europe, so the early morning hour didn’t seem too bad. And, after being at sea for about ten days, I was not about to sleep in as we returned to civilization.

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.

Daily Image
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.

more from europe in the gallery

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.

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.

Daily Image
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.

more from France in the gallery

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.

The Fritz

Ocean Drive in Miami Beach on a Monday night. And the later I stayed, the busier it got. I repeat, it was Monday.

Daily Image
The Fritz
The Fritz on Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami

But then I shouldn’t be surprised, because when I’m on vacation, every day is Saturday and most of the people in South Beach are on vacation. So it could be Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night and the place is still going to be full of life.

more from Miami in the gallery

As I look at this photo, I wonder why they had two TVs set up outside? I get it with TVs in restaurants, but to set two up on the sidewalk seems a little extreme. It’s not enough that we are continually communing with our phones. I’m as guilty as anyone. But maybe it’s a good idea to get unplugged, if even for a couple of hours while we eat. Perhaps I’ll try that tonight, as long as there’s nothing important on.

Elevator Bank

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.

Daily Image
Elevator Bank
Elevators on Oasis of the Seas

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.

favorites from the gallery

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?