Category Archives: Travel

Glow: Take 2

Last Saturday, I posted a few photos of the King’s Day celebration in Amsterdam, but I could only post photos from my phone.

I thought that the fireworks/city skyline photo from my phone was pretty sucky.  (Yeah, that’s a technical term.)   Now that I’m home, I’ve been able to download photos taken with my camera.  As promised, a night shot of Amsterdam & the King’s Day fireworks:

King's Day, Fireworks, Amsterdam

King’s Day, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, April 26, 2014

In a few days, when my brain as caught up with my current time zone, I’ll post other pictures from my trip.



Travel theme: Glow

There’s nothing more fun than to set up your camera & tripod for some long-exposure nightshots when suddenly you realize there is a fireworks show within view. I can’t download those shots today, but here is one from my phone. I love that it had an Orange glow – especially on today, King’s Day, where everything is orange.

For Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Glow.

King’s Day Celebration, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

A few other shots of the revelry captured with my phone in Amsterdam today.




Travel Theme: Sky

This week, Ailsa has picked sky as the theme of the week.   What better excuse — as if one was needed — to show off a few of the beautiful sunsets I experienced during my recent trip to the Adriatic.  It was only a little more than a month ago, but the weather here makes me feel like it has been months since I’ve been in a warm climate.  It’s now teeth-chattering cold where I live, so just looking at sun setting over an ocean makes me feel a little warmer.


Sunset, from the Grand Canal

Clouds, At Sea

Clouds, At Sea

Leaving the port of Durress, Albania

Leaving the port of Durrës, Albania

Sky over water beats wintery snow sky like rock beats scissors or paper!

Want to see other’s interpretation of this week’s theme?  Here are a few.  Head over to Where’s My Backpack for more links or to leave  your own link.

Sunrise, Sunset

From photographs taken in Venice, September 2013


Sunrise over the Grand Canal


Boats, Venice Canal, near sunset


Stone Walls (Travel Theme: Stone)

Ailsa’s theme this week is Stone.   I have so many photos that I could have chosen from — far too many for one post.   Here are a few stone walls from my recent travels:

Ruins, Durress Castle, Duress Albania

Ruins, Dürres Castle, Dürres Albania

Wall and Castle Ruin, Kruja Albania

Wall and Castle Ruin, Krujë, Albania

Fortress Wall, Mont St. Michel

Fortress Wall, Mont St. Michel

Like a Secret Garden (Musee Rodin)

Like a Secret Garden (Musée Rodin)

Paris Picnic, Along the walled banks of the Seine

Paris Picnic, Along the walled banks of the Seine

Old City Wall, Split, Croatia

Old City Wall, Split, Croatia


I’m a little late responding to Friday’s prompt, but it isn’t too late to participate.  You can too:  just post an image of Stone before Friday and link up to Ailsa’s blog.   Here is a sampling of other posts in this week’s Travel Theme:


Deep Blue Seaport (Travel Theme: Deep)

As soon as I read Ailsa’s post this morning, describing this week’s theme of Deep, I knew that I wanted to post one of the many (I mean many!) harbor and port photos I took on my vacation.   As you may have guessed from my last post, I spent some time in France.

But, before I went to France, I had a very different type of trip:  a cruise around the Adriatic.   I have always been skeptical – sometimes outright disdainful – about the idea of taking a cruise:  a floating city of tourists just seemed contrary to the type of travel I have always done.  But, when dear friends sponsored a trip through their restaurant, I caved.  The idea of going to Venice with one of the people I traveled through Europe with when I was a college student – when my love of travel first began – was too strong.   I never would have predicted that I would have as much fun as I did.

I’m sure I’ll write more about my experience on a city-ship, but let’s get back to Ailsa’s theme.  I’m not much of a water person; I’m a shore person.  As a non-swimmer, anything over 5 feet of water seems deep to me.   One of the geological features of the Adriatic Sea is not its depth, but its shallowness.   In the Northern Adriatic Basin, near Venice and Trieste, the average depth of the sea is only about 15 meters (49 feet).  Further south, just before the Adriatic flows into the Ionian Sea in the Strait of Otranto, the deepest point of the sea is in the South Adriatic Pit where it reaches a depth 1,233 meters (4,045 feet).

Cargo Ship, Port of Durres, Albania

Cargo Ship, Port of Durrës, Albania

Some of the ports of call on this trip were too shallow for the boat to dock so tender boats were used to take passengers to land.   In those places where the boat docked, I was fascinated by the port.   The Port of Durrës, Albania, is not a typical stopping point for tourists.  I found it the most fascinating place because it was an industrial port.  This is only one of many photos I took of the ships traveling in and out of Durrës.

As for the deep blue sea, regardless of the depth of the sea, the Adriatic was a beautiful shade of deep blue everywhere we went.

Want to participate in this week’s Travel Theme?  Create a post on the theme “Deep” and then share your link on Ailsa’s site.

Here are some of this week’s participants:

Ese’s Voice: Travel Theme Deep

Some Clingy Note: Travel Theme Deep

Max510: Travel Theme Deep

Lanterfanteren: Deep Thoughts

Looking Up

I laughed when I read Ailsa’s travel theme for this week:  UP.   I love taking pictures of structures while looking upward.    And, of course, I had a photo — one that I’ve taken within the last week — that was perfect for this week’s challenge:

From the bottom up:  Sanibel Lighthouse

From the bottom up: Sanibel Lighthouse

Sure, I could have taken it from a more typical perspective, one that clearly shows you the structure.  What I like about the photograph below is the deep blue sky and the puffy white clouds.

As one might think one should photograph it

As one might think one should photograph it

But,  after having seen the light from this lighthouse for years across the water, I finally paid the high toll ($6 to cross a bridge???) to drive out there, only to find the lighthouse a bit ho-hum. A little like the water tanks that dot the Midwest. I was expecting something a bit more picturesque, maybe like the lighthouses one sees in a lot of advertisements for Sanibel Island, which are surely images more reminiscent of the Outer Banks.  So, why not have some fun taking some different shots?

The trip wasn’t worthless, though. It was a beautiful day for a drive. It would have been even better if I had checked the schedule for Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge before driving out there on the only day of the week it was closed.  At least I no longer will wonder what the lighthouse looks like.

Historical Marker:  Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Historical Marker: Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Be sure to check out what others have posted for Travel Theme: UP. Here a just a few:

Travel Theme Up | PatriciaDDrury
Travel Theme: Up | Ese’s Voice
Travel Theme: Up | Adventures We Seek
Travel Theme: Up | Travel with Intent
Up | Artifacts and fictions
Travel Theme: Up | Across the Bored
Ailsa’s photo challenge: Up « Sounds like wish
Up | Sue Ann’s Balcony
Travel Theme: Up | StandingStill
Travel Theme Up | Cinova
Travel Theme Up | Le Drake Noir
Travel Theme: UP | SC Surf Butler
Travel Theme Up | Wind Against Current

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

 I have found landscapes in Morocco exactly as they are described in Delacroix’s paintings.  ~   Henri Matisse

This week’s WP Photo Challenge was Foreign.   I’ve been fortunate to travel to several countries.  Technically, they are all foreign to me, but Tangier, Morocco, seemed to play the part the best:  sights, smells, sounds, people, textures, light — all of them reminded us that we weren’t in America — or Europe — any more.

Walking through the market place, we felt like our photographs would need Smell-o-Vision to capture it all:  the barbers trimming men’s beardS, the women with large baskets full of colorful and aromatic spices for sale, weavers working intricate designs on their looms, the cat who stole a fish from a bin and the fishmonger who chased him a few steps scolding the thief.  We were on a guided tour and were warned to stay close to our guide.  After awhile, it became clear that this was not for our safety, but a measure of trade protection.  Only those known to the guide were allowed to hawk their wares.

At every corner we were accosted by an entrepreneur trying to sell us some sort of trinket — and unwilling to take a ‘NO’.  There were people ready to take your picture, snake charmers — with snakes!  As soon as the dark clouds rolled in, vendors were at your side with umbrellas.   Having an umbrella in your possession did not stop the sales pitches:  But, madame, this umbrella is so much better!

At lunch, while feasting on a tangy Moroccan stew and sipping lush mint tea,  my husband leaned towards me to whisper: These aren’t the droids we’re looking for! He was exactly right: everything was as foreign as the travelers in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine.

Without the scents and not fairly representing the beautiful Moroccan light, here are a few photographs from that brief trip.

A street in the old town

Colorful steps

Would you like my umbrella? I can make you a deal. I have sunscreen, too!

Travel Theme: On Display

This week, Ailsa’s Travel theme is On Display.

I’ve never been one for buying lots of souvenirs when I travel, but I love visiting what I call everyday stores — grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores — when I am in a foreign country. Although I rarely have something to buy, I have at times found a need for things such as chocolate, sandwiches, bandages, and all-purpose-used-everywhere duct tape. I find it interesting to see those items in the grocery that receive the prominent display spaces, those that are packaged oddly by my local standards, and those that seem to be disproportionately over-priced compared to what I pay at home.

A few years ago, while in Paris, I tried to find a shop that was reported to have the best sampling of all things duck, including fois gros. Since it was in the area near my hotel, I thought I might stop by to see what they had. It took me much longer to find that I anticipated, and by the time I located the store at the end of an alley, it was unexpectedly closed for the afternoon. I had expected a place that was more food products than knickknacks, but from the windows it appeared that it was for those whose taste was for duck-based decorating rather than duck-based cuisine. Either way, I’m not sure how such a store could make enough money to stay in business.

As I walked away from the store and towards the subway station, I passed the windows of a boucherie and a fromagerie. Having stores only devoted to cheese or meat seems such an oddity to me. There are butcher stores in my town and a few speciality cheese stores, but you don’t see them on every other block. You also wouldn’t find raw product for sale in the windows. I stopped for a few minutes to take some pictures of the display cases. Half-plucked chickens and unwrapped cheese are things that I would never see in the United States. But, don’t those little pieces of cheese make so much more sense: just a taste instead of 1/2 lb. As for the feathers: I could do without those!

Plucking feathers is not an all-or-nothing thing in this Paris shop, apparently.

Cheese bites!

Travel Theme: Sunset

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is Sunset. How can I resist participating? I have been searching for the perfect photograph of a sunset since I first picked up a camera and I know that I will never capture it. But that is what is fun: it will continue to be a challenging pursuit.

I have hundreds of photographs of sunsets and it was lots of fun browsing through my catalog for examples. You didn’t think I’d only have just one, did you? I didn’t count, but I think after my first pass I had twice as many as my final selection. One rule I followed: no repeats. That meant that a few of my favorites are not included in this set. As far as I can tell, none of these have been posted here previously.

Many of my sunset shots have been taken at the beach. It’s one of my routines when I’m at the shore to go out every evening with my camera. The following sunset beach shots were taken in Southwest Florida:

My vacation view

Peaceful, deserted beach at sundown

Even the birds seem to gather looking for the flash of green when the sun dips below the horizon, before finding their last catch of the day.

Even windy, grey days at the beach offer suitable sunsets for photography.

Palm branches silhouetted against the setting sun

Not all island trips involve lazy days in the sand. A few years ago, I routinely worked in Hoboken, NJ. My office overlooked the Hudson, a terrific view of the island of Manhattan.  If I worked late, although I was facing East, I still had a sunset view. I would watch the New York skyline turn a golden color as the sun’s rays bounced off the water and reflected on the buildings. This shot, though, was taken from a rooftop garden in Manhattan, looking towards the GW Bridge and the NJ Palisades. I like that you can see that the lights are just starting to turn on.

Multi-hued sky and George Washington Bridge

Mountains also can offer a great view at sundown. When in North Carolina, you understand why the eastern ranges have names like The Blue Ridge or The Smokies. The hazy air makes for dreamy sunsets that look like they were painted by a watercolor artist who loved the color blue.

Blue Ridge Parkway, near Asheville, NC

Nearer to home, I took this shot last Spring while on a quick trip to West Lafayette, Indiana. I love the surreal look to the sky: dark clouds that are giving off no light, a sky that looks like it is in flames. I followed this sunset — or did it follow me? — for about 45 minutes. The sky was so vibrant! I hated to see it fade into the night.

Red Flame Sky, Inky Black Clouds

While I often wish that I was as aware of the setting sun when I am home as I am when I am traveling, that isn’t usually the case. While enjoying a little R & R it is so much easier to pay attention to the slow things in life, like sitting and watching the sun touch the water and then fade to a deep blueblack. That doesn’t mean that I never take photographs of sunset while at home. This one was taken from my dining room window:

The sun was screaming: Look at me!

Or this one, that I snapped with my phone as I was leaving the store a few nights ago. It stopped my in my tracks. A man parked near by looked at me oddly, wondering what I was doing waving my phone towards the sky. Isn’t it amazing? I asked him. When he shrugged, I felt pity for him that he did not see the beautiful show happening in the western sky.

Full spectrum sunset