Postcard from La Corrida

Friday 7 September 2018

Hello from the Costa del Sol!

We’re sailing out of Malaga, Spain at sunset. The band is playing at the pool, we’re nibbling on our nightly in-room caviar (!), and editing our photos.

The big decision tonight is where to eat dinner: Italian night on the back deck, steak at the Thomas Keller grill, or the Chef’s Dinner in the main restaurant. I’m lobbying for the sushi bar; I hear the toro is really good. There’s always in-room dining. Life is so tough shipboard.

Malaga is a pretty little vacation town. The flip side is the view from the old Portuguese fort overlooking the town bull ring. You can see our ship in the distance. We took a tapas tour with Fernando, a philologist who loved talking about how many English words came from Arabic. We’ve been blessed to have exceptional guides on this trip. They’re all locals with great style and stories.

Tomorrow, Cartagena, a town founded in the 3rd century BC. Cartagena comes from the Arabic words for New Town. New indeed!

Love to you all,

Postcard from Africa

Thursday 6 September 2018

Hello from Tangier, Morocco!

Today we rode a camel, visited the Casbah, the souk, and the Medina (where our marvelous guide Abdelmoghit El Jelili was born and raised).

We purchased spices from Africa and a bejeweled camel hand-made In the desert by Berbers. But we managed not to buy a magic carpet.

We drank mint tea and ate crepes overlooking the point where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic (that’s where the picture on the back was taken).

All in all we loved Tangier and its people. But now it’s time to cross the Strait of Gibraltar and head back to Spain to visit Malaga, Cartagena, and Ibiza.

Love to you all,

Postcard from the Beach

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Greetings from Portugal!

We’re in a seaside resort called Portimão. Not much to see here except beautiful beaches. September is high season but the beaches are so huge they don’t seem crowded.

The real reason we came here is for chicken piri piri. Mission accomplished. We’re at a beachside cafe that’s been here since 1976. And the piri piri is delicious!

Tomorrow our real adventure begins. We’re on the Road to Morocco!

Love to you all,

Postcard from the Cathedral

Seville, Spain

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Hello everybody from Seville Spain!

Yesterday was a sea day so we did nothing but lounge about. It was a perfect (non) Labor Day.

Today we traveled into Seville, about an hour and a half from the port of Cadiz, and saw the amazing Plaza de España and the Real Alcázar, the palace of the king of Spain (when he’s in town). The Alcázar dates back to the 13th century and combines Moorish and Gothic architecture with beautiful gardens and fountains and the most lovely detailed plaster work we’ve ever seen.

On the flipside Just a bit of the Seville Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the the world and truly awe inspiring. Tomorrow on to Portugal! Love to you all,

Postcard from the Whale

Valencia, Spain

Sunday 2 September 2018

Hi, all!

Just a quick note because the ship is about to sail and we’ll be out of cellular range until Tuesday.

Valencia is amazing – an undiscovered gem on the Mediterranean. This is where paella was invented but they make it with chicken not seafood.

Also home to an amazing group of buildings by Santiago Calatrava, the designer of the whale next to the 9-11 Memorial in New York. On the flip side is one the group. It looks like a giant eye in the sun.

We’re having a blast. Just had caviar service before dinner at the Thomas Keller restaurant on board. Next stop Cadiz!

Beautiful Barcelona

Hams at the Barcelona Market
Jamon Iberico – the pigs are fed acorns, we are fed the pigs. The circle of life.
Lunch at the Bouqueria
Not only a market, Barcelona’s Bouqueria is also a great place for a snack or a full meal.

 

Seal of the Spanish Inquistion — 16th Century
Nobody expects the Seal of the Spanish Inquisition

 

A 13th century “sign” carved into the Barcelona Cathedral pointing to the community well about two meters away
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The medieval carved head is a sign indicating that this street, The Street of the Mural Painters, is home to several brothels.
Lisa
My beautiful traveling companion.
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Love is love is love is pink pantyhose.
Rainy street scene
It rained hard on Sunday but that only made the city more beautiful.

Plaza Reial

Plaza Reial just off La Rambla, a perfect place for dinner and people watching

Postcard from the Ham

Barcelona, 31 August 2018

Hi, family!

We spent the day wandering the Gothic Quarter and the old market, La Bouqueria, with our guide, Lidia, ate lots of jamon Iberico, and ended with a visit to the Picasso Museum. Picasso gave the museum hundreds of paintings from his workshop and it was fascinating to see his development from a precocious 15-year-old to the genius we know today.

We ate dinner at a cafe on Plaza Reial just off La Rambla – more ham, late summer tomatoes, and Spanish cheese topped off with a perfect apple tart and coffee. Then we hunted Pokémon all the way back to our hotel in the old Jewish Quarter.

Tomorrow we board our ship and sail for Valencia, Spain.

Love,

Postcards from the Edge

SFO, 29 August 2018

Hi, family!

We are about to sail around the Western Mediterranean for the next three weeks.

This is the first of a bunch of postcards we plan to send you from our trip. We’re hoping to mail one from every port!

Next stop, Barcelona, Spain!

Love,

Machu Picchu and Galápagos: My Best Shots

I am very proud of myself.

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Photo Credit: Lisa Laporte

My habit, after a vacation, is to put away the pictures (well, stuff them in a folder on a big hard drive, anyway) and never look at them again. The thought of going through thousands of pictures to find the gems is just too daunting.

This time I did better. My friend, photographer Chris Marquardt, has written a useful little pamphlet called “1 Hour, 1000 Pics” that he gives away for free at 1hour1000pics.com. It describes a method for quick triage of your pictures. I tried to apply this every night on our recent trip to Machu Picchu and the Galápagos. And it worked! I used it to whittle 4000 images down to 30 that I’m pretty proud of. I’ve posted them on my SmugMug page and below. You can download full-size images from SmugMug and even buy prints there at cost. I love SmugMug!

You can also look at the Sway presentation I made for a more informal travelogue, and eventually Lisa and I will publish our joint Google Photos album with many more images (hers are better than mine and you can see them at Life of Lisa.com). But I consider these my best. And now I’m done. In a few months I’ll delete the rejects, saving space and photo guilt. What a relief.

All the photos with one exception were made with my Canon 5D Mark IV. The exception is a sunrise shot of Machu Picchu I took with my Google Pixel XL camera phone. Naturally it’s my best image of Machu Picchu. Go figure.

I organize and perform basic editing with Adobe Lightroom. Some of the images were imported into Topaz Studio for additional processing. And the HDRs were created with Photomatix Pro. Lightroom is a little slow with the 30MP images that come out of the Canon, so in future I’m planning to use Photo Mechanic for the initial triage then import the three star images into Lightroom for processing. Chris’s methodology works perfectly with Photo Mechanic and it’s much faster. Thank you, Chris!

The Galápagos is a treasure and a reminder of what the planet looked like before humans. We feel very blessed to have seen it. I hope you enjoy the pictures I brought back.