Monday, August 31, 2009

David and... palm trees?

If you have to look twice at this statue of David, you are not alone. I took this photo at the opulent Barnum Mansion in Sarasota, Florida. He obviously was into ancient civilizations, and decided to recreate what he could among the palm trees. The Remus & Romulus suckling the she-wolf is from there too. I really enjoyed visiting, and got some great plant shots I'll post another day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scenic Sunday: Klagenfurt

We don't usually take those little river cruises when we travel, but we did in the charming, old, Austrian city of Klagenfurt. I am delighted we did because, as you can see, it was a beautiful trip--definitely scenic in my book!
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Friday, August 28, 2009

People watching in Madrid

As you might know by now, I love people watching... I took these photos in Madrid; the top one, which is one of my favorites, is in Sabatini Gardens. I love the peaceful look on this man's face. If you look closely you'll see he might be worried as something is growing on his ankle. The other two photos are in Retiro Park, where my friend and I rented a rowboat and actually went out on the lake.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday: San Juan Sunset

Here's another man-and-nature shot I hope you enjoy: Sunset over El Morro Fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Worshipping in Tallin

I've been lucky enough to go to Tallin, the charming capital of Estonia, a couple of times. The old part is quite small, and very walkable, and it has a surprisingly Germanic feel. One thing that surprised me was how many beautiful places of worship were built in such a tiny space, all happily contributing to the city's life and landscape. Here are two of my favorites.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another day at the beach

Thought you might enjoy a few shots from another less-than-idyllic beach I visited in the Former Soviet Union, this one near Tbilisi, Georgia. The beach was covered in rather painful pebbles--who am I kidding, these were full-fledge stones, as you can see in that last picture--so I was happy I had my camera and was able to indulge in some excellent people watching. The old Prodigal likes to complain about pebble beaches in England, but he couldn't believe these photos! Made him quite nostalgic for the waterfront by our rental house in Deal--and indeed, there were certainly no cockles and shrimp to be had at the Tbilisi beach!
The water was quite pretty, though I can't remember anyone in my group actually swimming.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Maine

No need to go far to capture a beautiful sky--this one in Maine was perfect, especially above the conveniently all-white church. And no visible parking lot either!
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Macro-plantation fun

At the Dole Plantation in Kauai, I had a bit of fun with my double-macro lens. I'm glad I did, because I just found these photos and quite like them. What do you think?
Must see if I can figure out how to fit the darn thing on my camera again—I've done it before, right?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Lake Sevan

As you can see, Lake Sevan is actually very pretty, which is probably why we put up with the rough conditions ( Life at the top ) and had a wonderful outing.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Changing gears

The Jewish Quarter in Old Toledo is well worth a visit; the narrow streets are really glorified alleyways and the old buildings brim with charm. Of course, the Jews were kicked out of Spain in 1492 and, if you look closely (top and left), you'll see a cross at the top of the old synagogue. Unfortunately, the museum, which I understand has some beautiful, very old and valuable artifacts, was closed when I was there--must go back!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Scenic Sunday: In the Caucuses

Well, the viewing "station" on the Georgian Military Road was a little bit odd (see Everybody off the bus), but the view itself was spectacular. Never quite seen this shade of green on such as scale, almost as though the mountains are covered in moss.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Everybody off the bus!

Traveling from Tbilisi, Georgia to Erevan, Armenia, we took a long bus ride down the Georgian Military Road, through the beautiful Caucasus mountains. At one point, right in the middle of total isolation and people-less nature, we stopped at the huge, surreal Soviet-artified semi-circular monument you see above. I guess it was some sort of bizarre view-watching spot, like the scenic stops on our American highways. We decided the men sitting around were photographers waiting for tourists, but they never got up and they certainly never offered to take any photos.
Come back tomorrow and see the view--that was pretty spectacular.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Leningrad

A fabulous sky over The Admiralty, built in the early nineteenth century in the once and future St. Petersburg (Leningrad when I was there, of course).
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life at the top

The Jetson House ( Meet the Jetsons ) was quite unusual, but its surroundings were surreal. The house was on Lake Sevan, a resort in the former Soviet Republic of Armenia (now an independent country). I went there as part of a scheduled visit when I took a group of tourists to the Soviet Union. The interesting thing was that we were led to expect a quite ritzy resort and, indeed, the view was quite lovely (will post another day). The beach, however, was not, well, what I would call 'ritzy' -- and I don't just mean the big pebbles that covered it, or even the locals, though both were something to behold. The photo above shows the high-class changing booths and the photo on the left would, I think, easily qualify for another Worldless Wednesday post! Can you see the dandelion coming through? I love that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another parador panorama

Since everyone enjoyed seeing the fabulous converted fort I went to in Jaen, I thought I'd post a photo of the beautiful parador in Toledo. Didn't stay in this one, we were pre-booked at a converted nunnery, which was also lovely but considerably cheaper. We did pop up for a drink, and here was the view from up there.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Scenic walk: Leningrad (St. Petersburg)

Start at the hotel

don't take this taxi

follow the sailors down the river

watch a movie being filmed

do a bit a shopping

quick rest in the park

and end up at the Winter Palace (Hermitage).
Hope you enjoyed the walk!

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Here comes the sun

The sun is trying really hard to come out in this shot of the Zagorsk monastery in Russia.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I could get used to this

A couple more photos of the fabulous parador (fortress-turned-hotel) in Jaen, as well as the view from our room. Not bad, not bad at all.