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.
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 gretchenimages.com 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.
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 Orleans– The 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.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
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
From Barcelona we traveled to the country and the restful retreat called Mas El Guitart. (17813 La Vall de Bianya, Girona, Girona, Spain) (www.guitartrural.com) 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! 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. Chris and I stayed in our own 2-bedroom house complete with our own sitting room and kitchen. We had the perfect roommate. Early morning light looking out over the fog-covered valley.
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. The early morning sun shining on the cows and calves in the lower field. 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. 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. 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! Here, Toni (owner/operator) stands with a couple of his friends surveying the valley below the farm.
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! 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.
Rural Portraits The sign reads: Cahanya Del Bosc – entrada lliure (Forest Cabin – free entrance*) *literal translation Farm kitty relaxing in a wicker chair enjoying the morning sunshine Dandelion seeds in the breeze When was the last time you skipped rocks on a pond? Such a simple pleasure! (pictured Laurie Cohen)Majestic beast
Postcards from Girona
Sant Joan de les Fonts – quaint stone buildings and narrow, cobblestone streets Evening walk at Banyoles Lake Hide ‘ n ‘ Seek fun at Banyoles Lake Dreadlocks Dude of Girona (Sam Johnson)School children on field trip in the countrySam sits at the top of the stairs leading to the Benedictine Abbey, Sant Pere de Galligants (monastery was built in 992) Ping 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.
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! The table setting was elegant…the view over the valley was breathtaking!Lunch is served! After a restful, yet invigorating stay at Mas El Guitart, we head back to Barcelona. Good bye, dear Lali, and thank you! 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! 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. Barcelona airport – on our way home!
Next blogs will come to you from Prague and Istanbul!
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.
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.
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.
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. It is estimated that construction is 50% complete and that the completion date will be 2026.
Cranes and scaffolding common over the years and years of ongoing construction at the Basilica The stained glass windows reflected amazing colors on the pillars inside the Basilica. Craftsmen continue their work behind gauze barriers inside the Basilica. 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! 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.
Looking up at the new Looking up at the old Balconies are crammed with containers of plants, bicycles, barbecues and laundry Medieval Basilica de Santa Maria Del Mar (1329); classic and outstanding example of Catalan Gothic architecture. 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.
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. Laurie and Chris pause for a smoke Virgin Mary in a back alley Photographers-at-large -Chris, Laurie and Sam miss nothing! The Arc de Triomf – Barcelona; built 1888 as the main entrance for the Barcelona World Fair.
Shoes! Any color any style – you can find it here 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.
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. . 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? 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. Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria – large public market in the Ciutat Vella neighborhood of Barcelona
Barcelona after Dark
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!
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.)
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!
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
Narrow streets quaint historic buildings
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. The bicycle bell is the ever-present sound of the streets! Ding Ding…Delightful…really! Everyone rides a bicycle! 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! Public parking garage just for bicycles This garage had parking “slips” for over 20,000 bicycles. Parking was free. 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. Bridge view of canal boat carrying freight and passengers
Beds of colorful tulips line the gardens along side the canals Canals are the place to sit, catch some afternoon sun, relax and eat lunch – you never know who is watching you! 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.
Food – don’t plan to diet when you are in Amsterdam
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. 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! The fresh bread was amazing! Like I mentioned…don’t plan to diet when you travel to Amsterdam! Aged and direct from the farm – cheese of every kind and flavor Bicycle basket is the preferred shopping cart
Portraits – some people were just too cool and I had to capture their portrait.
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!
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!
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. 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! Take a look at just one set of stairs inside the windmill. View from the top. Hard life for families who lived in these windmills – but oh, the serenity and the beauty!
Great Food – Friet & Mayo!
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.
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. 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.
Paul and Lisa Seinen,(Toronto, Canada); Gretchen and Chris (Seattle) and Sam Johnson (Palm Springs). Photo taken by Charles Boorsboom,(Delft, Netherlands) Charles Boorsboom, professional photographer and our extraordinary Photo Workshops Adventures Netherlands guide.
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! Charles giving Paul a few invaluable long exposure tips. Sometimes help is not with photography…but with the photographer 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. www.photoworkshopadventures.com
Next blog Barcelona!
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! “Open mouth…insert foot” – LisbonCell phones pointed in all directions – Lisbon Museu Nacional dos Coches – Belem, Portugal
“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.
“Ipad People” – Rossio Square, Lisbon
The Jeronimos Monastery, Belem 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 BelemNow this is some serious camera equipment – Lisbon streets
“Animal Team” – Portugal
“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.
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. Waiting patiently in the immaculate companhia das lezirias stable Carlos Oliveira walks one of his horses from to the barn to the arena 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. The Lusitano is an ancient breed – and they are very “people-handler-oriented” 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. 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
Lusitanos can be any solid color, although they are generally gray, bay or chestnut. Carlos brought the second horse to the arena. And then, the third horse! I just could not get enough…beauty, grace and elegance and intelligence. 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! After 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. 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.
The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art is recognized as one of the four prestigious riding academies in the world 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. 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. 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.
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! ”Arthur and Keron” – Disoriented Pavilion, Lisbon Nancy Lehrer (San Francisco)
JoAnne Rosen (Seattle, WA) and Carlos Oliveira (Portugal)
Shelly Rosen (Seattle and Kigali, Rwanda)
Arthur Meyerson – group leader (Houston, TX)
Richard Rose, Arthur, Chris, Sam
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
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.
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. 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. 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) Morning workout at the Belem Tower Dad provides extra height so necessary to see about the crowd.
Beautiful young women – sunset Guimaraes 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.
Fado – very animated, extremely dramatic, full of angst Darling little child with backdrop of historic Portuguese tiles– Tomar Templar Castle Worker peeks through protective gauze during renovation of historical building – Tomar
Woman relaxing in city central square – Sintra Family style dining – Amazing seafood lunch -Restaurante Dom Peixe, Matosinhos, Portugal Busy street scene – Coimbra Bring it – Lisbon Dignified man – Ourem Village medieval festival – Ourem
Beautiful Lusitano horse waiting in the deluxe Companhia das Lezirias stable Street-side bar – bring up a bale and have a seat Little girl at sunset – Ourem Fisherman – Foz do Douro, Porto Man on street – Porto Artisan open air market Three beauties sunset walk streets of Ourem 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 looks 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. Staying in touch in Sintra Reminiscent of the 1950’s – these two natural strawberry blonds relax along the waterfront It’s a tradition for Chris and Sam to buy at least one new hat during a trip together Catching some z-z-z’s
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 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
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
Belem parade In the land of scrumptious food, and especially in this quaint and historic town…McDonald’s…really? It’s not uncommon to see Portuguese residents of all ages relaxing and napping in their beautiful parks Caution: wearing high heels might prove to be a problem
. 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. She said “yes!” We had one morning of torrential rain – check out the water in the streets! 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! 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! 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. Even though we huddled in storefront doorways we got thoroughly drenched so we hailed a cab and made our way back to our hotel I bumped into wonder woman on a neighborhood park bench during one of my early morning walks Totally inhibited – not. Don’t you just love her willingness to play? Fast-forward Grady in years to come? Cute loving note left for Anna in the neighborhood that overlooks Lisbon
Sam taking photos of the enormous fresh meringues in the window of this bakery – meringues measured 5”X8”! We visited this village while they were preparing for a medieval community festival – roasted pig was on the menu Now this has possibilities Street aliens Lisbon A typical tour group in Lisbon – “look this way” “Now look behind you”
Pewter man staying connected 6 a.m. and the horns and drums can be heard in the courtyard just outside our hotel – morning “changing of the guards” ceremony The good ol’ boys observation bench – watching the pretty girls and weird tourists walk by 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.
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 – Sunset Our travel companion, Marsha Fouks (Toronto) high atop Ourem Castle – poised and ready for the sunrise. Very early morning light – pink and yellow hues of the sun just beginning to send light over the ground fog in the valley. Sunshine highlights the outline of the hills and tree tops in the valley – morning fog is delicious! Golden early morning sunlight on the Ourem Castle Early morning “dawn patrols” not for everyone – Chris reluctantly responds to the alarm clock! 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) Early morning golden light in the cemetery – silent and peaceful! 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.
This beautiful hibiscus, highlighted in the morning sun, was a stunning color spot in a street-side garden. End of the day – golden,late afternoon filtered sunlight over the hotel infinity pool and the Douro River, Porto 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
Portuguese people know how to relax and enjoy warm afternoons by the sea Beach-side patio restaurants were packed with hungry sun worshippers 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! Wonderful cobblestone patterns on the walkway along the coast Our great friend, Sam Johnson (Palm Spring, CA), taking photo of Monument to the Discoveries ( Padrao dos Descobrimentos) 1940, Lisbon A closer look at the top of this magnificent monument – Check out the little face at the top! Cute or what? 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 – 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? Perfect sand to create sculptures – this man is an expert sculptor with lots of time on his hands
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. We ducked in to the railway station to get out of the rain and saw these amazing tiles installed in the lobby – 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. The walls of entire restaurants were clad in exquisite cobalt blue porcelain tiles Queluz National Palace in Sintra 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. Hotel lobby These amazing tiles were installed on this historic bridge…note the tiles on the sides of the bridge as well as under the bridge
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.