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Prague- June 2015

The Czech people are fun loving, well-mannered and very friendly. The streets are clean and lined with small shops, restaurants and pubs. It is common to see the streets filled with bicycles, buses, horse drawn carriages, cars and pedestrians. This blog will show you some of the street scenes that illustrate the lifestyle of Prague.

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Prague June 2015

Chris and I traveled to Prague in June, 2015. I know…it’s now November 2016, but I confess that we came home from Prague to an on-going and complicated remodel on our house and I simply could not write this blog and edit my photos until now! Our expert guides,  Arthur Meyerson and Keron Psillas, treated us to many fun experiences and amazing venues for photo opportunities. With their guidance, we discovered the much less photographed sites of Prague and Czech Republic.

I am happy to introduce you to my upgraded web page. Any requests for will go directly to the new page where a large photo be displayed- after a few seconds a slide show of the featured gallery will begin.

Other galleries can be viewed by selecting the Galleries tab on top of page. Over time, I will upload previous blog photos.

And my blog can be accessed simply by selecting BLOG tab at top of page.

I have decided to divide my photos into three categories: Cityscapes; Portraits; Lifestyle. The first images, “Cityscapes,” will  give you a taste of the City of Prague and the Czech people.

Click here to enter new webpage and see photos.

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Holiday Greetings from Gretchen and Chris

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 [Gretchen, Kimber with fiancé Nate, Ryann, and Chris and Smoochie (Kitty)]

2015 was a fantastic year for us- especially the first half of the year when we travelled extensively. This activity started right on January 1st when we travelled to Pasadena to watch our Oregon Ducks (both Gretchen and I graduated from the University of Oregon- different years, and we did not know each other at the time) play Florida State for the right to play in the first College National Championship  game. Oregon won that game- so we decided to travel to Arlington, TX to view the Ohio State vs. Oregon Duck National Championship game. It was not in the cards for the Ducks that day. While in Texas, we drove to Houston to visit friends Arthur and Linda Meyerson. Then to close off a busy month, we again headed east  our visit to New Orleans to surprise Chris’ sister, Jayne, for her 60th birthday celebration.

In April we travelled first to Amsterdam- then onto Barcelona. June found us in Prague- then on to Istanbul (and fabulous Cappadocia). Our final 2015 travel was to Denver/Breckenridge to attend Brandi Carlile’s Red Rock concert- then to Breckenridge for a brief visit with Chris’ older sister, Kathy Covell. Chris travelled solo to Minnesota in October for a quick visit with Kevin, Tamara, and granddaughters Makaila and Zoe.

Our blogging activity was a bit undisciplined in 2015. Chris had only one Blog post for the entire year: Amsterdam.

Gretchen was a little more active:

Pasadena: Rose Bowl and greater LA with Sam Johnson
Arlington: National Championship Game, Dallas and Houston and more
New OrleansThe Big Easy
Portugal: Blog 1 (a delightful surprise),  Blog 2 (More delights), Blog 3 (the streets are alive), Blog 4 (portraits), Blog 5 (friends)
Barcelona (City life) and Girona (Country life)

Both of us plan to post our photos from Prague, Istanbul, and Cappadocia very soon- stay tuned.

NOTE: Many of you will get to read this twice since this Year End Summary notification is being sent to both Chris and Gretchen’s distribution lists.


A visit to Girona and the Country Life

This is the final Blog of my Barcelona trip in May. Enjoy!

Girona, is located 62 miles northeast of Barcelona. Girona is the capital of of the province of Girona. Got it?  Take a look at this map…Barcelona top right…Girona (Gerone) close by.

Mas El Guitart

20150429 091413 _GKT4623  From Barcelona we traveled to the country and the restful retreat called Mas El Guitart. (17813 La Vall de Bianya, Girona, Girona, Spain) ( 20150501 084556-_GKT5832   We checked in at the Mas el Guitart. (Rural House and Spa, Hostalnou de Biany). Mas el Guitart is located in the breathtakingly beautiful location that overlooks the farmlands in the valley and the Pyrenees of Bianya.  I must show you where we stayed! 20150501 085113-_GKT5838 The main house of Mas el Guitart was build in 1595. In 1992,Lali and her husband, Toni, moved into the house and transformed this historical house into a splendid rural guesthouse. The fabulous guesthouse overlooks the valley and the Pyreness and my visit there was a fantastic. I can tell you that I will forever have fond memories of my stay at Mas El Guitart. 20150430 121414 _GKT5451 Chris and I stayed in our own 2-bedroom house complete with our own sitting room and kitchen. 20150430 072353 _GKT5217 We had the perfect roommate. 20150430 063745 _GKT5153 Early morning light looking out over the fog-covered valley.

20150430 064654 _GKT5173 My early morning walk was fabulous, yet kind of eerie. The air was fresh and the sun struggled to break through the ground fog over the fields. While I was taking this photo the cows were beginning to stir and their bellows punctuated  the serenity of the morning farm scene. A real delight for me. 20150430 065050 _GKT5179 The early morning sun shining on the cows and calves in the lower field.20150430 070202 _GKT5205  As a little girl I spent many wonderful years on a farm and my stay at Mas El Guitart was a thrilling memory of that time in my life. The sounds of the cows and the fresh air were both relaxing and revitalizing. 20150430 064112 _GKT5159 A wise person coached me to always remember to turn around when I am out photographing. On this morning as I walked up the lane to my room I just happened to remember to turn around. Sweet.20150429 091752 _GKT4626 When I returned Laurie (our guide) was talking via Skype with his children. His face tells the entire story of how proud he is of these darling little kids!20150429 092319 _GKT4639 Here, Toni (owner/operator) stands with a couple of his friends surveying the valley below the farm.

20150430 130851 _GKT5468 By 8 a.m. the cattle were on the move! The cows respond to the bellows of their friends who urge them to join the herd in a higher field. This is my kind of place!20150429 092951 _GKT4657  Most of the early morning noise was probably generated by this guy! Picture is looking up from the lower field to the vegetable gardens and main house.

20150429 094608 _GKT4678 We drove along the back roads of the valley and passed many farms.


Rural Portraits   20150430 134424 _GKT5504 The sign reads: Cahanya Del Bosc – entrada lliure (Forest Cabin – free entrance*) *literal translation20150501 082859-_GKT5802  Farm kitty relaxing in a wicker chair enjoying the morning sunshine20150429 102817 _GKT4760 Dandelion seeds in the breeze20150429 105958 _GKT4791 When was the last time you skipped rocks on a pond? Such a simple pleasure! (pictured Laurie Cohen)20150430 162933 _GKT5563Majestic beast

20150429 094934 _GKT4691 Local resident – Genuine

20150429 180205 _GKT4943 Calico kitty at the farm assists 20150429 111427 _GKT4818I I just love this face20150429 095520 _GKT4699     Exchanging baseball cards on the playground during recess

Postcards from Girona

20150429 121437 _GKT4900   Sant Joan de les Fonts – quaint stone buildings and narrow, cobblestone streets20150430 101204 _GKT532420150429 094403 _GKT4671  20150430 174252 _GKT5654 Evening walk at Banyoles Lake20150430 190550 _GKT5763 Hide ‘ n ‘ Seek fun at Banyoles Lake20150430 085317 _GKT5228  Dreadlocks Dude of Girona (Sam Johnson)20150430 105447 _GKT5403School children on field trip in the country20150428 183600 _GKT4443Sam sits at the top of the stairs leading to the Benedictine Abbey, Sant Pere de Galligants (monastery was built in 992) 20150501 083318-_GKT5823Ping pong game at the farm. Neither Chris nor Sam could keep the ball on the table. Here Chris dazzles Sam with his flair and style.


20150429 145755 _GKT4925   We decided to barbecue at the farm. Here Laurie shops the local meat market.

20150430 134803 _GKT5507 Great fun! Just watching the boys fix lunch was a kick for me! The huge farm kitchen and the outside barbecue provided everything that we needed to create this feast!20150430 134950 _GKT550820150430 135746 _GKT5516  The table setting was elegant…the view over the valley was breathtaking!20150430 141910 _GKT5545Lunch is served!20150429 093044 _GKT4660   After a restful, yet invigorating stay at Mas El Guitart, we head back to Barcelona. Good bye, dear Lali, and thank you!20150429 213422 _GKT5083  Thank you, Laurie Cohen, for being such a super fun guide and friend! You shared innovative photographic tips and techniques as well as insights into creating meaningful and unusual photos.  My best photos have been taken when I have traveled with you! I don’t think that I have laughed as much in a very long time! Great trip…can’t wait to travel with you again. Photo Workshop Adventures…you nailed it again! 20150502 113243-DSC00799  Saying good bye to Sam Johnson. We have had the best experiences and the most fun when we have  traveled with him! Great memories that I will savor for the rest of my life. 20150502 122925-DSC00808   Barcelona airport – on our way home!

Next blogs will come to you from Prague and Istanbul!

Barcelona City Life

Sam Johnson, Chris and I traveled from Amsterdam to Barcelona to meet up with our wonderful friend and Photo Workshop Adventures Guide, Laurie Cohen. We have traveled with Laurie before (London) and we enjoy spending time with Laurie!  I think that some of my best photos have been taken when I have benefited from Laurie’s skilled coaching.  Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia with a population of 1.6 million people and is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations.  We photographed markets and street scenes in Barcelona before traveling to Girona for a little taste of country living. This blog will cover our experiences in the city, its architecture, street life, street portraits, open markets and Barcelona after dark.

Antoni Gaudi

Many of Barcelona’s most famous attractions are buildings designed by the same person – Antoni Gaudi (June 25, 1852-June 22, 1926). Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature and religion.  Most of Gaudí’s works are located in Barcelona. 20150426 100633 _GKT2404

Casa Batlló

Casa Batilo (1904), one of Gaudi’s spectacular buildings, is located right in the center of Barcelona. 20150426 102748 _GKT2439   Art imitates life

Gaudí considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass and wrought ironwork. He also introduced new techniques to use waste ceramic pieces in his designs.

20150426 103628 _GKT2447  We took a self-guided tour inside this masterpieces. Once inside the building I took this shot looking straight up to the skylight above!

20150426 100258 _GKT2399 Inside Casa Batlló,  Laurie photo-bombing my shot of Sam.20150427 112600 _GKT3380 Basilica de la Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s most famous work

The  Basilica is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona.  Construction of Sagrada Família began in 1882  and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style.  Gaudí devoted his last years to the project but less than one quarter of the project was complete at the time of his death in 1926. Sagrada Família’s construction has progressed slowly, as it has relied on private donations. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.20150427 113159 _GKT3394  It is estimated that construction is 50% complete and that the completion date will be 2026.

20150427 125125 _GKT3478 Cranes and scaffolding common over the years and years of ongoing construction at the Basilica20150427 114355 _GKT3402 The stained glass windows reflected amazing colors on the pillars inside the Basilica.20150427 121836 _GKT3451  Craftsmen continue their work behind gauze barriers inside the Basilica. 20150427 092555 _GKT313220150426 192955 _GKT2940 In 1879, Gaudi was commissioned to design lamp fixtures in Barcelona. The lamp posts consist of wrought iron with a marble base and brass detailing.  Stunning!20150427 094719 _GKT3171 Barcelona’s architecture is much more than just Gaudí. Architects from around the world flock to the city to visit much of its more modern architecture. In this photo old is reflected in new.

20150426 125335 _GKT2660 Looking up at the new20150427 092126 _GKT3127 Looking up at the old20150426 131147 _GKT2699 20150426 132249 _GKT2727  Balconies are crammed with containers of plants, bicycles, barbecues and laundry20150426 163840 _GKT2835 Medieval Basilica de Santa Maria Del Mar (1329); classic and outstanding example of Catalan Gothic architecture.20150426 201032 _GKT3016 The El Raval Neighborhood, Barcelona, is an edgy mix of art, attitude and the neighborhood’s characteristic“against-the-grain” nature of the street life.

20150426 160115 _GKT2748   Clean, horizontal and vertical lines of modern architecture (1881 per Sagardi Restaurant) – Barcelona

20150427 154931 _GKT3628 No idea of the name of this unusual building…love the modern design on the left interfacing with the classic architecture on the right.

Exploring the neighborhoods

Barcelona has many intriguing, colorful and lively neighborhoods. Just off the beaten track, these neighborhoods showcase a unique mix of old architecture, narrow streets and quaint little bakeries, bars and restaurants that entice a wandering tourist-photographer to pause, to enter or take a photo. I love to explore these neighborhoods where the locals both live and spend time enjoying themselves.  enjoy themselves.20150426 130857 _GKT2692 20150426 122303 _GKT2631 20150426 132625 _GKT2737 20150426 192228 _GKT2923 Laurie and Chris pause for a smoke20150426 194324 _GKT2966 Virgin Mary in a back alley20150426 162635 _GKT2784 20150427 100453 _GKT3224 20150427 100030 _GKT3215 Photographers-at-large -Chris, Laurie and Sam miss nothing! 20150427 110539 _GKT3371 The Arc de Triomf – Barcelona; built 1888 as the main entrance for the Barcelona World Fair.

20150426 163208 _GKT2821 Neighborhood fun20150427 084237 _GKT3060-220150428 100735 _GKT3936 Like everywhere else…cell phones rule20150428 100452 _GKT3914

Delicious temptations

Barcelona is no place to “stick to your diet!” Temptations are everywhere! Just check out some of the views from the street!20150427 092811 _GKT3135 20150427 094255 _GKT3163 20150427 155102 _GKT3634 20150428 121914 _GKT4072 20150428 135455 _GKT4198

Street portraits

20150426 162022 _GKT2764 20150428 172812 _GKT4360 20150501 194844-_GKT6478 20150426 202328 _GKT3025 20150501 191308-_GKT6373 20150428 135426 _GKT4184 20150501 191450-_GKT6376 20150501 191745-_GKT6385 20150426 122710 _GKT2633 20150426 162014 _GKT2758 20150427 102130 _GKT3267 20150501 192855-_GKT6429 Romantic? A strange way to show affection!20150501 193411-_GKT6448 20150501 194312-_GKT6458 20150501 194841-_GKT6475  20150428 124617 _GKT4162  20150428 142900 _GKT4237 20150426 115347 _GKT2572 20150427 140745 _GKT3511


20150426 191905 _GKT2901  Shoes! Any color any style – you can find it here20150427 144149 _GKT3557  Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, there is a flea market in  Barcelona’s Plaça de les Glòries, known as Els Encants. The flea market is Barcelona’s biggest and most popular market and is a mixture of junk shop, antiques fair, jumble sale and old school market all rolled into one.

20150427 145627 _GKT3573   Els Encats flea market houses 500 stalls and dates back to the 14th Century. The mirrored canopy afforded me tons of opportunity (and FUN) to play with reflections!       Note the 38-story Torre Agbar (Agbar Tower) in the background.   .20150427 142950 _GKT3532 Els Encats market vendors do not want anyone to take photos so I snapped a few on the down-low. Laurie taught me how to “shoot from the hip” so the photo above is an example of what shoot-from-the-hip looks like! Fun and a little sneaky don’t you think?20150427 144510 _GKT356020150427 142502 _GKT3518 Now how could I resist another shoot from the hip? I just had to capture the image of these extraordinary cranberry-colored-hair-flesh-colored-pant-wearing-shopper. 20150428 091500 _GKT3775 20150428 092221 _GKT3791 Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria  – large public market in the Ciutat Vella neighborhood of Barcelona

Barcelona after Dark

20150426 201614 _GKT3022 20150426 201719 _GKT3023 Neighborhood bars20150427 202015 _GKT3705 Hotel Gaudi – Carrer Nou de la Rambla – Barcelona20150427 203225 _GKT3718 Nighttime Reflections of Casa Batlló20150427 203302 _GKT3721 Casa Batlló20150426 194101 _GKT2962 Sub Rosa cocktail bar- Barcelona20150426 195044 _GKT2973 20150426 200535 _GKT3006  El Raval neighborhood 20150426 203110 _GKT3027  20150501 201944-_GKT6607 20150426 195925 _GKT2990

 The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

The magic fountain is a spectacular display of color, light, motion, music and water acrobatics . If you mix these elements together in just the right combinations, you end up with pure magic! The Magic fountain is listed as one of the most spectacular fountains in the world and I consider it to be a “must see” if you travel to Barcelona!

20150501 213950-_GKT6777 In the 1980s, music and a light show was incorporated into the fountain water display. 20150501 213118-_GKT6764

Looking down from the top of the fountain toward Barcelona and the four columns located on the first level of the fountain. Just to give you a little perspective of the size of this spectacular fountain “complex” – the four red-granite columns are 131 ft tall.)

20150501 210938-_GKT6718AlanEdit_Revised_001 A family sits at the base of one of the four columns to watch the “first level” fountain-light show. Note the light show from the upper cascading fountain and the light show in the sky that radiates over the entire area. Spectacular to say the least.

Barcelona was a Workout!

20150427 114040 _GKT3398  What happens in Barcelona stays in Barcelona20150427 151155 _GKT3580 Chris and Sam need some R&R!  What?  A vacation from our vacation? Next stop –  the countryside and a visit to Girona.


WOW…the Netherlands is the place to visit and we found it to be especially wonderful during our visit in May! The weather was perfect and that means that  both daytime and night time temperatures were comfortable and for the most part, rain free! Just what a street photographer loves! We walked for miles each day photographing the scenery and street life along the canals and narrow streets of the city. Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and is a happenin’ place with tons of color and activity!  When I think of the Netherlands I always think of narrow streets and quaint buildings, windmills, canals, bicycles, friendly, blonde-haired people, flowers and great food. This blog will show you what I saw!

I Am Amsterdam

20150420 123023 _GKT9944  Looking towards Rijksmuseum across colorful planters and I Am Amsterdam sign in the background.

Narrow streets  quaint historic buildings

20150420 125852 _GKT0026 20150420 103309 _GKT9817

Bicycles like I have never seen before!

63% of Amsterdammers use their bike on a daily basis and  32% of traffic movement in the city is by bike compared to 22% by car and 16% by public transport. 20150419 100915 DSC00088 The bicycle bell is the ever-present sound of the streets! Ding Ding…Delightful…really!20150420 102831 _GKT9805  Everyone rides a bicycle! 20150420 103042 _GKT9811 This woman executive is on her way to work…I loved seeing high-healed bicyclists wearing  business suits with attaché in the basket ride by!20150419 124923 DSC00138  20150424 173546-20150424 173546 _GKT2262 20150418 183739 DSC09994 Public parking garage just for bicycles20150418 184338 DSC00002 This garage had parking “slips” for over 20,000 bicycles. Parking was free.20150418 184705 DSC00009 Pedestrians and bicyclists peacefully share the road; everyone understands the rules.


Amsterdam has more than 62 miles of canals. The early canals were used as a mote that surrounded the city. Today the canal system (a result of fantastic city planning!) is a colorful, albeit quaint, way to move around the city.  As a result of the fabulous canal system the city has 90 islands and 1,500 bridges.   20150418 114713 DSC09901   Bridge view of canal boat carrying freight and passengers20150419 134708 DSC00216

20150419 193855 DSC00331  Canal cruising on luxury dinner boats is a popular tourist activity. 20150419 101229 DSC00095 Early Sunday morning view of the houseboats on the canal

20150419 152957 DSC00282 Beds of colorful tulips line the gardens along side the canals20150424 121919-20150424 121919 _GKT1944 Canals are the place to sit, catch some afternoon sun, relax and eat lunch – you never know who is watching you!20150424 133353-20150424 133353 _GKT2034 Orange-hat-brigade enjoying canal-side seating with a view

View from the street – take a walk with me

Street photographers love to catch a moment in time. Captured moments can be as simple as a kitty sitting on a window sill enjoying the morning sunshine while her people prepare breakfast.

20150419 134932 DSC00222 20150422 134538 _GKT0851 Conversations outside of a restaurant-bar20150422 132054 _GKT0837 Preparing to hit the road after shopping for refreshments20150419 155101 DSC00297 Large man – small dog – tiny red car

20150424 124022-20150424 124022 _GKT1982 Still Loving Vinyl

Food – don’t plan to diet when you are in Amsterdam

20150419 135232 DSC00228  Pastry, great coffee and ice cream  and fun friend meet up – doesn’t get much better than that20150419 142519 DSC00248 Inside looking out

Amsterdam’s markets abound!

We visited many open “farmers’ ” markets – the vibrant colors, smells and sights were fantastic!  We found that these open-air markets were one of the best ways to soak up (and photograph)  the local culture.20150420 144833 _GKT0102 If you want it you will probably be able to find it at one of the markets. Some of the vendors do not like their photo taken…so…I had to be quick!20150423 123034 _GKT1353 The fresh bread was amazing! Like I mentioned…don’t plan to diet when you travel to Amsterdam!20150423 122818 _GKT1338 Aged and direct from the farm – cheese of every kind and flavor20150420 142228 _GKT0074 Bicycle basket is the preferred shopping cart

Portraits – some people were just too cool and I had to capture their portrait.

Some of these people knew that I was taking their portrait…but the majority did not.20150420 142816 _GKT0080 Can you see why I could not resist taking this portrait? 20150420 162403 _GKT0194 Afternoon in the park

20150424 094538 _GKT1673  Man in blue car – photo taken out of our car window as we passed him on a country road20150424 124119-20150424 124119 _GKT1991 Vinyl Man20150425 192614 DSC00758 Who cares about the face?20150425 191147 DSC00742 U2 Bono Wanna Be20150420 120816 _GKT9922 Say Ahh20150420 143244 _GKT0085 New Hats…We Look Good20150420 143537 _GKT0090 Delish…try some!20150420 161702 _GKT0180 Say What?

Land of the blonde-haired people

75% of the Dutch people have fair hair (light-brown to light blonde). All I can say is that I saw blonde hair color everywhere.  I’m blonde so I will admit that it was fun for me to be with my fellow fair-haired people! 20150420 103047 _GKT9813

20150420 141012 _GKT0062 20150425 192703 DSC00766 Oh Yeah20150420 121946 _GKT9937   Blonde Besties20150422 130433 _GKT0819 Check Out the Game20150421 121136 _GKT0324 Blonde Boat Captain – Keukenhof Gardens

20150425 104109 DSC00647 The Hills are Alive20150424 101138 _GKT1706 Delft Designer


The colorful flower fields located approximately one hour from Amsterdam have come to symbolize the essence of of Holland. We traveled to  Keukenhof Gardens but made many stops along the way to view and photograph the amazing tulip fields. As you will see our timing was absolutely perfect! Color, color and more color!

20150423 112956 _GKT1252 20150421 160430 _GKT0556 20150421 163022 _GKT058320150421 125157 _GKT0449

20150421 130410 _GKT0470   Triumph Tulipa “Brown Sugar’ – Keukenhof Gardens20150421 163233 _GKT0589


Centuries ago, windmills usually were used to mill grain, pump water, or both. Of the 10,000 windmills in use in the Netherlands around 1850, about 1000 are still standing. We visited the village of Kinderdijk where we photographed and climbed to the top of windmills!   This group of 19 windmills located at Kinderdijk (built around 1740) is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. 20150423 171122 _GKT152220150423 165320 _GKT1505  Living in a windmill was not for the faint of heart!  For instance the windmills can only be reached by foot or bicycle. The millers used to have large families, 10 to 12 children was no exception! 20150423 165304 _GKT1504  Take a look at just one set of stairs inside the windmill.20150423 165105 _GKT1498 View from the top.20150423 173223 _GKT1602     Hard life for families who lived in these windmills – but oh, the serenity and the beauty!

Great Food – Friet & Mayo!

20150423 121938 _GKT1315  This is not health food…but who cares? Like I have mentioned, do not even try to maintain your low calorie diet when you travel to the Netherlands.  In the Netherlands fries are popular as fast food. The deep fried and salted Friets are served with a “healthy”  dollop of Joppiesaus (a trade secret mayonnaise-based sauce). In 2013 a fast food store in Amsterdam started selling fries with cannabis sauce.

Amsterdam After Dark


Those looking for sex, drugs and/or rock’n’roll will have no problem finding what they are looking for in the famous (or infamous) Red Light District in Amsterdam. After the sun goes down, sex remains the main hook for attracting people to this district. Believe it or not, prostitution in the district rakes in an estimated $500 million€ per year. You will notice that I posted a “no photography” sign at the beginning of this segment. I saw signs just like the one pictured above all over the Red Light District. Charles cautioned me not to take pictures because there are “big guys” hanging out that take exception to photographs being taken of the half-nude girls who hang out behind full sized street level windows.

20150420 093106 _GKT9749 20150421 221309 DSC00541 20150424 172429-20150424 172429 _GKT2242 20150418 121110 DSC09919  Looking down an alley in the Red Light District – note the 5 or 6 large windows on the left  where girls of the district show their wares20150418 212147 DSC00050 Bar scene20150420 172304 _GKT0199

Our Extraordinary Group

Chalk up Amsterdam as a most wonderful and invigorating experience! We walked, we laughed, we ate, we photographed…repeat! Photo Workshop Adventures just knows how to put a tour together! Terrific hotels, terrific venues and the most outstanding tour guides EVER! You might be able to take a look at the photos in this blog and figure out that I had a most rewarding, fabulous and generally over-the-top time in the Netherlands.20150424 114841 _GKT1879 Here we are just outside of the church after photographing the ceremonious arrival of the  bride and groom!   The windshield of this 1962 candy-apple-red Chevy Impala convertible provides the perfect frame for our group.

20150422 124222 _GKT0784 Paul and Lisa Seinen,(Toronto, Canada); Gretchen and Chris (Seattle) and Sam Johnson (Palm Springs). Photo taken by Charles Boorsboom,(Delft, Netherlands)20150420 134955 _GKT0056  Charles Boorsboom, professional photographer and our extraordinary Photo Workshops Adventures Netherlands guide.

20150421 154807 _GKT0554   Charles provided us creative inspiration – he never missed an opportunity to show us a “new way of seeing” and photographing subjects…and in this case, tulips!20150422 152339 _GKT0902 Charles giving Paul a few invaluable long exposure tips.20150422 152507 _GKT0910 Sometimes help is not with photography…but with the photographer20150421 091431 _GKT0215   We loved traveling with Charles, our Photo Workshop Adventures guide, and Lisa, Paul and Sam!

Just in case you are interested in finding our more about Photo Workshop Adventures check out their website to see the amazing number of tours that this fine company offers. If you are a photographer…this company goes the extra mile to accommodate the needs of the their guests.


Next blog Barcelona!

Portugal Friends

This is the final Portugal blog. It has been difficult for me to select photos for my blog because we saw so much while we were there and the photo opps were extraordinary! So, that said, I will end this series with photos of street shots of photographers in action, the shots of the amazing Portuguese Lusitano horses, a few dogs and kitties and then finally homage to the fun people I toured with during my visit to Portugal.

Everyone is a Photographer

Everywhere we travel we see more and more people taking photographs.  Yes, I will admit that I get a kick out of seeing the new gear that people are using to take selfies  but more than that, I just love seeing the contortions that photographers and their subjects go through to get their shot. So, that said, here are some of my own photographs of self-styled photographers in action! 20140928 001413 DSC03836  “Open mouth…insert foot” – Lisbon20140920 114817 _GKT4584Cell phones pointed in all directions – Lisbon20140921 120247 _GKT5259                                                                                                                                                 Museu Nacional dos Coches – Belem, Portugal

20140920 134014 _GKT4711 “MuDa”, (the Museum of Fashion and Design), is located in Lisbon. The museum showcases the works of over 230 designers and artists. The delightful and brightly colored surfboards certainly caught everyone’s attention.

20140920 140656 20140920 140656 _CHG6735  Rossio Square – Lisbon20140920 140835 _GKT4733   Rossio Square – Lisbon20140920 140922 _GKT4735

“Ipad People” – Rossio Square, Lisbon

20140920 141804 _GKT4745 Rossio Square – Lisbon 20140920 185919 20140920 185919 _GKT4869Our fellow photographers on the tour miss no opportunity to capture the moment – here Sam Johnson captures JoAnne Rosen and Shelly Rosen photographing in Lisbon

20140921 095517 _GKT5112The Jeronimos Monastery, Belem20140921 101926 _GKT5124  There is really nothing wrong with using your cell phone as your camera. Small enough to fit in your pocket…always available…and the photos are surprisingly good! Photo taken Pastéis de Belem20140922 132648 _GKT5937Now this is some serious  camera equipment – Lisbon streets

20140924 103843 _GKT7363    Nancy Lehrer (Los Angeles) and Chris at the Monastery of Batalha

20140926 190622 20140926 190622 _CHG8160  Sam Johnson (Palm Springs) and Marsha Fouks (Toronto) and me somewhere in Portugal20140927 235806 DSC03656

Stretch out your arms to get closer – cute little girls standing by one of the many beautifully painted garbage/recycle cans in Portugal20140928 001341 DSC03826

Street art is everywhere and provides a great opportunity for photo antics20140929 234849 DSC05095

“Animal Team” – Portugal

4-Legged Friends

20140923 091849 _GKT6308   Chris couldn’t resist – we miss our kitty when we travel

20140922 094225 _GKT5508    “Eyes on You” – Portugal 20140922 094858 _GKT5525

“Naptime Nest” – Disoriented Pavilion – Portugal20140926 171509 _GKT8262 “Joy Ride” – Portugal20140922 095045 _GKT5543

“Contented” – Disoriented Pavilion, Lisbon

4-Legged and Sleek Lusitania horses  – the pride and joy of Portugal

We had the most amazing opportunity to photograph the beautiful Lusitania horses of Portugal. The Phoenicians used the ancestors of the modern-day Lusitania horses during wars as calvary horses.

20140923 124122 _GKT6516  Tour leader, Keron Psillas, welcomes us to Companhia das Lezirias (Samora Correia)  – stables and training facility where she and her husband, Carlos Oliveira,      train their Lusitano horses. Here Keron gives us an idea of what we might see when Carlos brings the first horse into the ring – but I will tell you that there was no way that she could prepare me for the unbelievable beauty of these well-trained, elegant, powerful horses. 20140923 150139 _GKT6692   Waiting patiently in the immaculate companhia das lezirias stable20140923 153020 _GKT6840  Carlos Oliveira walks one of his horses from to the barn to the arena20140923 153508 _GKT6959  Lusitano horses were originally bred for war, dressage and bullfighting. They have competed in several Olympics and World Equestrian Games as part of the Portuguese and Spanish dressage teams.20140923 153513 _GKT6965  The Lusitano is an ancient breed – and they are very “people-handler-oriented”20140923 153410 _GKT694320140923 153221 _GKT6872  Lusitano’s are agile and calm, (remaining in the control of the rider even when confronted by a bull). This is exactly what I noticed…remarkably, Carlos would initiate play with the horse, the horse would show spirit by jumping sideways, rearing and lunging…and then in the next moment the horse would be calm and totally quiet. 20140923 153635 _GKT6973  This photo shows you the extraordinary temperament of the Lusitania horse. Lusitania horses are intelligent and easily excited – but once the play stopped the horse calmed down quite easily – note that Carlos leads the horse out of the ring with no harness

20140923 154557 _GKT7066  Lusitanos can be any solid color, although they are generally gray, bay or chestnut. Carlos brought the second horse to the arena.20140923 154858 _GKT710120140923 123600 _GKT6488  And then, the third horse! I just could not get enough…beauty, grace and elegance and intelligence.20140923 123246 _GKT6441    What an incredible opportunity to have this private access and tour of the facility so that I could photograph these magnificent animals. We actually stood inside the arena to get photographs! 20140923 150924 _GKT6708After seeing the Lusitania exhibition Chris was inspired to exhibit his own horsey moves

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art

Our hotel was located just across the street from the National Palace in Queluz.  We visited the beautiful palace and gardens before we were once again treated to the exhibition of Lusitania horses stabled at the National Palace.20141001 105955 _GKT8797  The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art is based in the beautiful gardens of the National Palace of Queluz. Here the riders prepare for the exhibition.20141001 110157 _GKT881020141001 105502 _GKT8778

The Portuguese School of Equestrian  Art is recognized as one of the four prestigious riding academies in the world 20140930 233111 DSC05551  Our timing was perfect – we first toured the National Palace and then we sat in the garden to watch the thrilling exhibition of these Lusitanos.20140930 230833 DSC05505    The main purpose of Portuguese School of Equestrian Art (PSEA) is to preserve and teach Portugal’s long and renowned heritage of classical horsemanship and equestrian art.20141001 111458 _GKT887320141001 111456 _GKT886920141001 111600 _GKT893320141001 111435 _GKT885820141001 111435 _GKT8859  Are you as thrilled by these horses as I was? All of these maneuvers were done in silence – the handlers did not make any audible sound  – the horse simply knew what to do.

20141001 111519 _GKT8888 20141001 111522 _GKT8899 20141001 111522 _GKT8901  20141001 111529 _GKT8921       The exhibition ended way too soon!

DSC05529 The riders bid farewell to us as they leave the arena and then quietly walk  back through the palace garden pathways to the stable.

New Friends

Chris and I renewed old friendships and made new friends on this trip to Portugal. Thank you to our tour leaders, Arthur Meyerson and Keron Psillas, for creating such a memorable and rewarding experience. Unfortunately I was not able to candid shots of every member of the photo tour group – but here are a few images that I was able to get – such fond memories for me!20140922 100249 _GKT5563  ”Arthur and Keron” – Disoriented Pavilion, Lisbon20140920 185647 _GKT4862  Nancy Lehrer (San Francisco) 20140920 130805 20140920 130805 _GKT4678

Marsha Fouks (Toronto)20140920 203312 _GKT4899

Carl Volpe (Los Angeles) and Judith Ewell (Williamsburg, Virginia)20140921 081822 _GKT4921

Chris, Arthur and Sam20140923 155948 _GKT7112

JoAnne Rosen (Seattle, WA) and Carlos Oliveira (Portugal)

20140927 071253 DSC02620

Shelly Rosen (Seattle and Kigali, Rwanda)

20140926 131752 _GKT8209   Chris and Sam – many thanks for the laughter and sometimes naughty fun!20140927 074855 DSC02666

Arthur Meyerson – group leader (Houston, TX)

20140929 215312 DSC04996

Richard Rose, Arthur, Chris, Sam

20140930 040740 DSC05276

Chris (Seattle)

20140928 225012 DSC04675

A special thank you to our great navigator, Paolo, who, with great skill and a witty          sense of humor, drove us to all of our destinations

Portugal- Meyerson Group

Here’s the group! Many thanks for this great visit to Portugal – a lifetime full of memories of fun times, superb venues and wonderful friends.

And this ends my trip to Portugal. If you have a chance to go…do! What a wonderful place to see and the people are warm, friendly and hospitable!

Next series of blogs will highlight our trip to Barcelona and Amsterdam.


Portugal Portraits

The Portuguese people are the nicest people I have met during my travels. They were generous with their hospitality and warm smiles and willing to interact with me. And when I pulled out my camera they were usually more than willing to allow a photo. Sometimes I ask to take a photo and sometimes I don’t…but where you see a real “in your face” portrait you can be pretty sure that I had some conversation with the person before I took the photo. To follow are random shots of the lovely people I encountered in the cities and villages of Portugal.20140923 091643 _GKT6306 Sweet young man – told me that he wanted to travel to America and he was curious if I was in the know about the American rock scene. My familiarity with the Zac Brown Band didn’t seem to impress him. 20140920 183955 _GKT4818  Not sure of the story here but this young man never woke up even though many people were tromping through the room where he was sleeping (ballroom in a restaurant)20140921 082537 _GKT4937   Morning workout at the Belem Tower20140921 083909 _GKT4958 20140921 110827 _GKT5193 Dad provides extra height so necessary to see about the crowd.

20140921 144029 _GKT5353 Morning bayside exercise routine – Sam Johnson on right

20140926 190026 _GKT8526 Beautiful young women – sunset Guimaraes20140921 203008 _GKT5452  Fado performer extraordinaire!  Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, very dramatic and melancholy. The stage for this amazing live music and performance was a quaint restaurant in Lisbon where we enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal and plenty of wonderful Portuguese wine.

20140921 220133 _GKT5467    Fado – very animated, extremely dramatic, full of angst20140925 122943 _GKT7857 Darling little child with backdrop of historic Portuguese tiles– Tomar Templar Castle20140925 145023 _GKT7916    Worker peeks through protective gauze during renovation of historical building – Tomar

20140930 003215 DSC05133  Historic carvings cleaned and preserved at the Palacio Real de Queluz

20140930 033855 DSC05258  Woman relaxing in city central square – Sintra 20140927 034939 DSC02437 Family style dining – Amazing seafood lunch -Restaurante Dom Peixe, Matosinhos, Portugal20140926 120431 _GKT8108   Busy street scene – Coimbra20140923 092834 _GKT6336 Bring it – Lisbon20140926 173052 _GKT8306  Dignified man  – Ourem 20140926 182054 _GKT8404 Village medieval festival – Ourem

20140923 122554 _GKT6405  Beautiful Lusitano horse waiting in the deluxe Companhia das Lezirias stable 20140926 185250 _GKT8483 Street-side bar – bring up a bale and have a seat20140926 185257 20140926 185257 _CHG8146 Little girl at sunset – Ourem20140927 011054 DSC02285 Fisherman – Foz do Douro, Porto20140927 012012 DSC02316 Man on street – Porto20140927 233229 DSC03441 Artisan open air market20140926 185855 _GKT8520-2 Three beauties sunset walk streets of Ourem20140927 233338 DSC03457 20140927 233546 DSC03498 20140927 234809 DSC03544 Open air market – we had so much fun mixing it up with the vendors and the shoppers – some of the vendors, like the man pictured here, had movie star good looks20140928 000045 DSC03680 This great tourist was delighted to stop for a moment so I could take this fun portrait of her next to this beautifully painted garbage can. 20140930 023307 DSC05184 Staying in touch in Sintra20141001 031825 DSC05658 Reminiscent of the 1950’s – these two natural strawberry blonds relax along the waterfront20140926 131752 _GKT8209  It’s a tradition for Chris and Sam to buy at least one new hat during a trip together20141001 034600 DSC05720 Catching some z-z-z’s 20141001 113810 _GKT9013

Some of my favorite images are close up shots of people. The next and final blog will highlight images of the friends that I made while I visited Portugal. For those of you who like horses…the next blog will be to your liking.

Portugal the Streets are Alive

Portugal was so much more than I had expected!  Truth be told, I really did not have  expectations! I am a street photographer, and I just love to take pictures of the normal  (and not-so-normal!) day-to-day lifestyle activities of the people in any city we are visiting. Everything that goes on is of interest to me – what people are doing as they walk the streets, ride the street car, attend a parade or wade through flooded streets during a torrential downpour. This blog will cover the truly wonderful people that I encountered on the streets of the cities and towns we visited while we were in Portugal. I hope that you have fun seeing these shots. I really had fun shooting them!

Random Lifestyle Images

  20140921 080448 _GKT4920  Early morning – we were in a cab and I just happened to glance over at this statue – simply can’t figure out how these guys could be comfortable, much less sound asleep on the narrow base of the statue

20140920 124456 _GKT4650   Portugal streets full of street graphics…art and graffiti20140921 110352 _GKT5167 Belem – we were surprised that a parade just “showed up” while we were there

20140921 111639 _GKT5225      20140921 113131 _GKT5239   Belem parade20140921 105901 _GKT5142   In the land of scrumptious food, and especially in this quaint and historic town…McDonald’s…really? 20140921 114822 _GKT5251   It’s not uncommon to see Portuguese residents of all ages relaxing and napping in their beautiful parks 20140921 092734 _GKT504420140922 094400 _GKT5509 20140922 093048 _GKT5491      Caution: wearing high heels might prove to be a problem

20140922 094944 _GKT5531      20140922 100414 _GKT5567  . Disoriented Pavilion is a blossoming street art exhibition that can be found in a derelict urban site in Lisbon.  Chris photographing flower covered wall  in the pavilion.20140922 122651 _GKT5891   She said “yes!”20140922 142213 _GKT5993 We had one morning of torrential rain – check out the water in the streets!20140922 142902 20140922 142902 _CHG7258   Shops and hotels were flooded – the city drains simply could not handle the amount of rain that was falling –  note the “gusher” as the manhole covers blew off and the drains erupted into 4-5 ft. gushers. Lots of drama!20140922 143633 _GKT6036   After the rain stopped I noticed all the manhole covers that were dislodged throughout the city – note the water level just under the top of the drain hole! 20140922 142820 _GKT6023 People were stuck on “islands” and completely cut off from taking shelter from the torrents of rain.  The streets were instantly flooded with 12 inches or more of fast-moving water.20140922 145108 _GKT6038   Even though we huddled in storefront doorways we got thoroughly drenched  so we hailed a cab and made our way back to our hotel20140923 092829 _GKT6335  I bumped into wonder woman on a neighborhood park bench during one of my early morning walks20140922 192246 _GKT6161  Totally inhibited – not.  Don’t you just love her willingness to play?20140923 091947 _GKT6312  Fast-forward Grady in years to come?20140923 094629 _GKT6362  Cute loving note left for Anna in the neighborhood that overlooks Lisbon

20140924 124147 _GKT743620140926 125908 _GKT8184 Sam taking photos of the enormous fresh meringues in the window of this bakery – meringues measured 5”X8”! 20140926 172616 _GKT8294  20140926 180348 _GKT8370  We visited this village while they were preparing for a medieval community festival – roasted pig was on the menu20140926 185728 _GKT8504   Now this has possibilities 20140927 214152 DSC02891-2 Street aliens Lisbon20140927 224138 DSC03218     A typical tour group in Lisbon – “look this way”20140927 224149 DSC03229    “Now look behind you”

20140927 232316 DSC03367 20140927 232430 DSC03378      20140928 000954 DSC03769    20140929 025859 DSC04778-2 20140929 031443 DSC04824 Turned the corner and couldn’t believe my good fortune to see this man working in the window of his quaint cottage – probably one of my favorite shots20140929 031537 DSC04827  Views from village of Obidos

20140929 034533 DSC04885 Rare to see telephone booths

20140930 023114 DSC05178 Roasting chestnuts in the central square

20140930 023305 DSC05183  Pewter man staying connected20140930 032308 DSC05240       20141001 090818 _GKT8686  6 a.m. and the horns and drums can be heard in the courtyard just outside our hotel – morning “changing of the guards” ceremony 20140929 033344 DSC04876  The good ol’ boys observation bench – watching the pretty girls and weird tourists walk by 20140928 002231 DSC03868   End of another wonderful day! Chris and Sam walk back to our hotel. Portugal street life is full of action, color and unexpected fun! Next blog is where I get up-close-and-personal with portraits.

Portugal More Delights


Chris and I are “street photographers” and that means that we are more inclined to take photos of activity on the streets of a city and not so inclined to take shots of scenery. We have come to realize that we have to take photos of scenery to provide “context” for each trip to create a more complete visual overview of the beauty of the the places that we visit.The best light for photography is achieved at dawn and at sunset. You guessed it – on our photo tours we get up before the sun comes up to capture that glorious early morning light and we pay close attention to where we might get the best shots at sunset.  I have begun this blog with assorted sunrise and sunset photos – followed by beach shots – then concluding with images of magnificent Portuguese porcelain.

Sunrise – Sunset20140926 074004 _GKT7981  Our travel companion, Marsha Fouks (Toronto) high atop Ourem Castle – poised and    ready for the sunrise. 20140925 070506 _GKT7655 Very early morning light – pink and yellow hues of the sun just beginning to send light over the ground fog in the valley. 20140925 074202 _GKT7703 Sunshine highlights the outline of the hills and tree tops in the valley – morning fog is delicious!20140925 074611 _GKT7708   Golden early morning sunlight on the Ourem Castle 20140926 074738 _GKT7993  Early morning “dawn patrols” not for everyone – Chris reluctantly responds to the alarm clock!20140925 075112 _GKT7711 20140925 075156 _GKT7713 Plaque on the wall outside the gates of the cemetery reads:                                         “Anchored in this port – Free of the storm – The dead only ask for tears,  a prayer, and a longing”     (translated by my dear friend, Marc Fidalgo)20140925 080446 _GKT7723 Early morning golden light in the cemetery – silent and peaceful! 20140926 220031 DSC01961  A blanket of vibrant lime green moss covered the concrete stairs, pathways and railing in this garden – the morning light served to  highlight the unmistakable beauty of this site.

20140929 031053 DSC04811  This beautiful hibiscus, highlighted in the morning sun, was a stunning  color spot in a street-side garden.20140927 071742 DSC02634  End of the day – golden,late afternoon filtered sunlight over the hotel infinity pool and the Douro River, Porto20140927 075405 DSC02698     Night fall reflections of sky and moon over the hotel’s infinity pool and Douro River–  Arrabida Bridge in background

Portugal – Turquoise Water and White-Sand Beaches

20140930 052408 DSC05319   Overlooking the popular and active Atlantic beach, Praia do Guincho – note the fisherman perched on the cliff and the para-sailors and surfers

20140920 125914 _GKT4666 Portuguese people know how to relax and enjoy warm afternoons by the sea 20140920 130458 _GKT4675  Beach-side patio restaurants were packed with hungry sun worshippers20140920 132315 _GKT4688 20140920 132422 _GKT4690 I couldn’t resist taking this picture of this silhouetted mermaid by the sea – she simply could not have any clue how beautiful she looked! 20140921 085216 _GKT4973   20140921 091000 _GKT5003  Wonderful cobblestone patterns on the walkway along the coast20140921 090410 _GKT499320140921 091325 _GKT5014 Our great friend, Sam Johnson (Palm Spring, CA), taking photo of Monument to the Discoveries ( Padrao dos Descobrimentos) 1940, Lisbon20140921 091308 _GKT5012  A closer look at the top of this magnificent monument –20140921 091250 _GKT5007  Check out the little face at the top! Cute or what?20140924 153029 _GKT7552  20140924 161056 _GKT7586 20140924 161454 _GKT7602  20140924 161855 _GKT7613 Totally fun travel companions! Pictured at the beach –  (l-r:) Carl Volpe (Agoura Hills, CA), Sam Johnson and Chris Grady – guy in blue shirt right side of photo had no idea what we were doing and why we were giggling – 20141001 042009 DSC05762 Beach behavior: men stand and observe and women lie down and rest – I have noticed this behavior @ beaches everywhere I have traveled. Can anyone explain that to me?20141001 031554 DSC05656  Perfect sand to create sculptures – this man is an expert sculptor with lots of time on his hands

20140927 004127 DSC02154       20141001 031910 DSC05662  Permanent homage to Caitlin   20141001 032837 DSC05681    20141001 033043 DSC05688 Portuguese fishing boats and nets – Caicais20141001 035330 DSC05725  We had many great days at the beaches in Portugal – sunshine, warmth, blue skies and turquoise water…and wonderful people

Portuguese Porcelain

20140922 135526 _GKT5966     I was completely unprepared for the beauty of the porcelain tiles that were so abundantly displayed on the walls of buildings and in restaurants and hotel lobbies throughout Portugal. This is a close-up of  tiles that I saw on the wall of a building.  Although the design is contemporary –  I suspect that these tiles are very old. 20140922 112306 _GKT5814 20140927 222632 DSC03162  We ducked in to the railway station to get out of the rain and saw these amazing tiles  installed in the lobby –  20140925 151525 _GKT7944   Portuguese porcelain art was under the influence of the Asian culture during the early decades of trade with China and India. The national ceramics began to be designed with Chinese motifs by the mid-seventeenth century, easily identified by the cobalt blue drawn figures.20140920 182206 _GKT4776   The walls of entire restaurants were clad in exquisite cobalt blue porcelain tiles 20140930 001010 DSC05111 Queluz National Palace in Sintra20140929 020407 DSC04689  These classic tiles are elegant and so distinctive. Rich Portuguese families invested in intricate designs utilizing the finest and most detailed artisan tiles for their homes and gardens.     20140930 000246 DSC05109  20140920 181931 _GKT4770  Hotel lobby20140930 222103 DSC05471  These amazing tiles were installed on this historic bridge…note the tiles on the sides of the bridge as well as under the bridge

20140927 234255 DSC03511 Can you tell that we are having a grand time? You bet we are! More Portugal blogs to follow – you haven’t seen the Portugal people yet! Nor have you seen what’s happening on the streets! Those will be my topics of my next blog.

NOTE: This is the second post in the Portugal series. In case you missed the first post, click here to view.