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,

Bye-Bye Birdie

Dead-Twitter-Bird.pngI’m just done.

Yesterday I deactivated my Twitter account and kicked Tumblr to the curb. A couple of weeks ago I did the same with Instagram. A month or so before that I killed Facebook. And I survived. No, thrived!

Call me a recovering social media addict minus the withdrawal. I do have a read-only Twitter account with links to news sources. If someone famous dies, or there’s an earthquake, I can go there. Otherwise the daily spew of outrage and bile can go on without me.

If you used to follow me on one of those sites you can follow me here, instead. Or on micro.blog. I’m also playing with Mastodon – so far it’s much more civilized.

I’ll post my best pictures on Flickr and Smugmug. I’ll send actual postcards to my family (thanks to Bill Atkinson’s PhotoCard).

Lisa and I are heading out tonight for a cruise around the western Mediterranean. It’s my goal to post a picture a day here.

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If The Donald has something to say he can leave it in the comments. See you in a month!

Drafting My Day

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Watch iOSToday for my demonstration of an amazing iOS app called Drafts ($4.99 iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch).

A hat tip to iMore’s Vector podcast with Réné Ritchie, Merlin Mann, and Drafts’ author, Greg Pierce, for turning me on to this iOS gem.

Consider Drafts a starting point for text entry. The app takes significant effort to understand and configure, but trust me it’s worth it. Drafts has so many useful features you’ll definitely want to watch David Sparks tutorial videos on the Drafts web site to get started.

If you’re into Dave Allen’s GTD methodology you’ll understand it as a trusted place to brain-dump: a way to get all those “open loops” out of your brain and stored somewhere for later processing.

Drafts is designed for a keyboard but I use dictation a lot, especially on the fly with the Apple Watch. Note the complication in the upper right of my watch face above. Tapping the icon launches Drafts on the watch ready to take dictation. The 0 says I have zero unprocessed entries in drafts. That’s a handy indicator when I have text in my queue that needs handling.

So far I’m doing a lot of calendaring, messaging, and yes, blogging, with it. In fact, that’s how I wrote this post.

I’m hoping I can use it this week as I head off tonight to Tortola to sail around the British Virgin Islands with my son, Henry, and his pal HT.  Meanwhile Happy Holidays to you and yours! I’ll be back live on TWiT on January 2.

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.