Saturday, October 30, 2010

Streets of Barcelona

Contrary to the forecast, the weather in Barcelona cleared up. We spent our days wandering parks and people watching. Of course, the work of Antoni Gaudí stood out. Park Güell was an obvious tourist hub, but we still enjoyed seeing how unique the work was.

His work also influenced many of the trinkets in the tourist shops.

Where there are tourists, there are street artists and vendors there to entertain them. I first saw a man making huge bubbles in Madrid, but I had the most fun photographing the bubble fun at Park Güell. There aren't a lot of things that can keep children entertained for as long as this performer did!

We passed quite a few odd sites in Barcelona.

And finally, Barcelona's big cathedral.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Day in the Clouds

After Valencia, we took a train to Barcelona. The weather report looked very bleak, so I wanted to get our outdoor adventure done on our first day there. We packed our ponchos and umbrellas and set off to Montserrat. Monsterrat is a large mountain featuring a beautiful monastery. Visiting Montserrat takes about an hour train ride out of Barcelona. Normally you can choose whether you would like to hike, ride a train, or take a cable car up the mountain. The rain caused the funicular trains to go out of service, and the rain also made for an unpleasant hike, so we waited in line over an hour for the cable car. This gave me the chance to leave my dad in line and go take some pictures from the ground. The clouds floated very low on the mountain, shielding the monastery from view.

When FINALLY got on the cable car. I am becoming an expert at dealing with heights.

When we go to the top of the mountain the rain died down, but I still kept my camera covered in plastic bags just in case.

The wind blew clouds and mist all around the mountain.

We took a funicular train up the mountain (they began running again after the rain died down.) Then we walked a trail down the mountain. It truly felt like we had escaped to a fairytale.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I went to the train station to buy our overnight train tickets to Barcelona, but found out the train was full. We went into emergency mode, trying to figure out what to do with our extra day. We ended up booking a great deal on a train ticket and place to stay in Valencia. As soon as we stepped out of the train station we knew it was a REALLY great choice!

Right outside the train station is a ring for bullfighting, and so I snapped a quick night shot of it with the beautiful train station in the background.

We couldn't get over the architecture in Valencia! It is some of the strangest I have seen.

We wandered the city and I found a fun doggie bathroom.

I got a kick out of going to the beach. Apparently I have been cured of my fear of heights.

The people at the beach provided a great variety of subjects. They were tons of fun.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


In case it's not completely obvious, I am VERY behind on this blog. I disappeared into the Icelandic wilderness and have been so wrapped up in my work there that I haven't even looked at pictures this week! I promise there will be plenty of stories about Iceland, but I am going to go in order.

We took a day trip from Madrid to visit Segovia. It was such a gem!

Our first stop was the aqueduct. It was constructed almost two thousand years ago and still stands. We were fascinated by the fact that it was built without mortar, so the granite blocks fit together perfectly.

On our way to Segovia's cathedral, we discovered the most adorable market I have seen so far.

The fruits and treats look very close to those we have at home, but are never quite the same.

In the center of the plaza stood a long table completely covered in old VHS tapes. I jumped when I saw Star Wars in spanish! I ALMOST bought it, because it made me that happy. Call me a nerd, but it takes one to know one.

Need a basket?

We weren't too thrilled about seeing another alcazar, but Segovia's has a really great tower. We ended up having a great time.

The view from the top was fantastic, of course.

Overall, it was a great day. Madrid had some amazing museums, but we fell in LOVE with Segovia.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Puerta del Sol

I took surprisingly few photos in Madrid. In my dad's words, "The best thing about Madrid was going to Segovia."

Granted, Madrid has some incredible museums and interesting sites to see, but I didn't take many pictures. My family tends to enjoy the smaller cities though, so Segovia was a delight. I will blog on Segovia soon, but I wanted to post my favorite work from Madrid first.

On our last day in Madrid, we dragged our bags to the metro station in Puerta del Sol. This wasn't our first time to pass through, but this was my first visit at dusk. The plaza was bustling with so many people, it reminded me of Times Square in NYC. The sunset was beautiful, so I took a shot of the fountain with the clouds in the background. At that point, my dad suggested I try a 360 degree panoramic. I thought he was CRAZY, since there were so many people walking around that it would be impossible to line up. Still, I gave it a try.

I was amazed with how well it fit together. It took me a while to fix the things photoshop missed, but it worked out nicely. This is how it looks as a straight panoramic:

I decided to use the polar coordinates feature in Photoshop to make it a globe:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Streets of Sevilla

When we first began exploring the streets of Seville, it was obvious we weren't in Portugal any more. There were similar european quirks, but we no longer had that familiar feeling of being surrounded by Portuguese. Still, Seville is a very charming city.

Neighborhood of Triana, across the river from the center:

I never get tired of trying new treats. Many of the treats look like something you would find back home, but the taste is completely different!

I noticed in Seville, and since then, Madrid, that many vendors sell scratch off lottery tickets on the street. The locals collect their winnings at lottery offices around the city.

Young girl waiting for her mom to buy some lottery tickets:

The strangest thing about Seville was the siesta. We had no idea how seriously they take their nap time there. From 2pm-5pm the entire city shuts down. My parents and I could not get used to it! We would walk around at a perfectly normal time of day, but all the shops were closed. Forget about getting dinner. Dinner doesn't start until about 8, so hopefully lunch was satisfying enough to last you a while.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Traveling with my parents has given me a unique opportunity to get some portraits of them together. I normally visit home for very short periods of time, leaving no time to do nice pictures of them. I love doing travel/landscape photography, but it's fun to squeeze some portraiture in as I travel.

In Lisbon, Portugal:

In Seville, Spain:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alcázar de Sevilla

After a full nights sleep, my parents and I felt refreshed and ready to get to know Seville a little better. Everywhere we read told us not to miss the Alcázar de Sevilla. The line outside gave the impression that it was the tourist trap of the century. I was not happy.

The place was flooded with people and it took us quite a while to get in. Thankfully, it was less congested inside.

We especially enjoyed the garden out back.

The ducks made adorable, willing models.

My mom always carries scraps of bread in her purse, just in case she comes across birds to feed. We noticed a large pond full of ducks and fish, and decided to throw some scraps of bread into the pond to see if the ducks would beat the fish to the bread. We had no idea we would cause a fearsome battle! I think the fish won.