• Andy’s E-BOOK — Photography Travel Guides

  • PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS!!

    All Images and writing on this blog are copyrighted by Andy Richards. All rights are reserved. You may not, without my express, written permission, download, right click, or otherwise copy my images for any reason. Copying an image and putting it on your blog, website, or even as a screensaver on your computer is a breach of copyright, EVEN IF YOU ATTRIBUTE THE SOURCE! Please do not do so.
  • On This Blog:

  • Categories

  • Andy’s Photography Galleries

    Click Here To See My Gallery of Photographic Images

    LightCentric Photography

  • Andy's Flickr Photos

  • Prior Posts

  • Posts By Date

    December 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Nov    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • Advertisements

My Favorite Images from the Mediterranean — 2015

Florence Italy Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Florence Italy
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Looking back on the series on our Mediterranean Cruise, it occurred to me that I came away with some “favorite” images. I thought I would revisit and showcase those images in a blog all its own.

La Segrada Familia Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

La Segrada Familia
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I grew up in the middle Northwest of the United States (Michigan), and have spent a fair amount of time on its East Coast. Except for some brief forays into Canada and a trip or two to the Caribbean, until 2013, I had never been out of the continental United State. To be sure, we have many wonderful venues in our great country and I have yet to see all of them. But going to Europe, where history is seen in 1000’s of years, in contrast to our U.S. history of 100’s of years, is a humbling experience. There is so much to see, appreciate and photograph. One day, I will do a travel favorite images blog. But for today – images from Mediterranean Europe; 2015.

Museu Nacional D'art Catalunya Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Museu Nacional D’art Catalunya
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

While it is certainly not my “best” travel photo and does not really capture the spirit of big, bold city of Barcelona, the first image I captured from our touring van of the Museu Nacional D’art Catalunya, resonates with me for some reason. It does rain in Europe, after all.

Palau De Musica Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Palau De Musica Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Barcelona is about modern art and architecture. But it is equally about Calalunya and Catalonian culture. So my shot of the Palau De Musica, with the Catalonian Flag prominently displayed, and the colorful art and architecture, represents Barcelona as well as I can.

Chateau la Dorgonne Provence, France Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Chateau la Dorgonne
Provence, France
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

When I think of France, I think of wine and romance. My favorites for our short visit to Provence were the first vineyard we visited – Chateau La Dorgonne – and my shot of the fountain at Aix en Provence.

Aix-en-Provence, France Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Aix-en-Provence, France
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I love Italy. The food, the art, the architecture, the culture and it’s enthusiastic and at the same time, “laid back” citizens. We didn’t really get to know Tuscany in an intimate way. I really would like to go back and spend some time there, like we did in Venice in 2013. Of course, the big draw for tourism is Pisa and Florence, and my shots of the Tower and the Passageway/Bridge were my “takeaways” from that day. Historically, these visits were a highlight of the trip. Photographically, while satisfying, I didn’t really make any particularly unique images.

Bell Tower Pisa, Italy Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Bell Tower
Pisa, Italy
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

 

Ponte Vecchio Florence, Italy Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Ponte Vecchio
Florence, Italy
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Rome speaks for itself. The ancient ruins; the Coliseum; the Vatican, and the many other historical places are amazing. It is again, a city I could spend a few days in with ease. I would like to see some of the neighborhoods, and leisurely enjoy its night life and its great restaurants and food. It is a magnificent and grandiose city, as one might expect. My favorite image was of a tour boat on the river with the Castel Angel in the background. Our driver stopped in traffic while I jumped out on the bridge to capture this shot. The boat was an unplanned bonus.

Castel Angel Rome, Italy Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Castel Angel
Rome, Italy
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

The shot of the Roman Forum is different from the one recently posted in my blog, but is also one of my favorite images from this trip to Rome.

The Roman Forum Rome, Italy Copyright Andy Richards 2015

The Roman Forum
Rome, Italy
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I didn’t get to see much of Montenegro. I would certainly return there if the itinerary or opportunity presented itself. Hopefully my image represents the spirit of the place.

Kotor Montenegro Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kotor Montenegro
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

The trip to the Acropolis is always impressive. But the shot of the soldiers, coming out of the Agora after raising the flag for the day, was an unexpected and nice photo opportunity.

Flag Detail The Acropolis Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Flag Detail
The Acropolis
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Intimate shots have always been a draw for me, and much of my portfolio “favorites” are of such shots, rather than the iconic images (which I also shoot a lot of imagery of). This garden shot is probably my favorite of this trip to Athens.

Detail The Agora; Athens, Greece Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Detail
The Agora; Athens, Greece
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I am looking forward to my next trip to the Mediterranean.

Advertisements

Barcelona; 2015

Catalan Flag on Gaudi Building Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Catalan Flag on Gaudi Building
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

In 2013, with great excitement, my wife and I flew from the U.S. to Venice, Italy. We spent 4 magical days in Venice, and then boarded the ship bound for 12 days in the Mediterranean. We got 6. Then the Cruise Line’s Flagship broke down. We were fortunate and things worked out well for us, as my blogs at the time reported.

Museu Nacional D'art Catalunya Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Museu Nacional D’art Catalunya
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

In September, we embarked on our “makeup” cruise, which mustered out of Barcelona, Spain this time. So, in keeping with the 2013 game plan, we arrived in Barcelona a couple days early and spent some time in this great city. This time, we also had our good friends, Paul and Linda with us, and their company made a good trip even better.

Old City; Barcelona, Spain Copyright, Andy Richards 2015

Old City; Barcelona, Spain
Copyright, Andy Richards 2015

Barcelona is a city where there is a lot to see and do. It is very much, a cultural and historical center in the southern European continent. There are medieval touches, in a city that became a central player in the modern art and architecture movement; Art Nouveau. Known for its street life and nightlife, and for its food, there is little doubt that our 2 ½ days there did not do it justice.

Streets of Barcelona Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Streets of Barcelona
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

A little “quick and dirty” research reveals that Spanish government is a bit confusing. It is generally considered a “Constitutional Monarchy.” To Americans, who have been steeped in our tradition of totally independent representational government (indeed the very idea of a monarch was repugnant to the U.S. founding fathers), it is about difficult to follow “who is on first.” There is a national constitution and a national “Constitutional Court.” Much like our own government, at the national level, there is a 3-part ruling authority: The Congress of Deputies, The Assembly of Senators, and The Judiciary (which can be – very roughly – compared to the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate and Federal Court systems). Unlike the U.S. form of government (often – incorrectly, in my view – referred to as a democracy), however, there is still a “ruling” monarchy, whose power is unclear. It is said that the monarchy has the right to veto some acts (though this power is unclear), is the commander in chief of the Spanish Armed Forces, and has the right to appoint certain government officials. The monarch is not the chief executive, and has little executive power (and, hence, cannot really be compared with the U.S. President). Oh, and yes, it is hereditary.

Streets of Barcelona Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Streets of Barcelona
I was clearly impressed with the architecture on this one 🙂 Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Now here is where it really gets confusing. The Spanish Constitution provides for “Autonomous Communities” which are administrative districts which have their own governing bodies. Barcelona is a province of Catalonia (I believe they spell it Catalunya), which is one of these autonomous communities, made up mostly of the former nation (or perhaps in historical context, “nation-state”) of Catalunya. To this day the Catalans are fiercely national and cultural. They recognize 3 official languages, including Catalan, Spanish and Aranese (an Occitan dialect). They even have their own sign language. I know; don’t I sound erudite? :-). Wikipedia, such as it is, is a great source for quick and dirty research, though would not cite it for scholarly work – and you can rest assured, this is not scholarly, and I wouldn’t suggest relying on it for its historical accuracy.

Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

The point here (yes, there is one 🙂 ), is that there has been a political struggle over the years regarding this autonomy. I suspect that the nationalist view is that these districts are much like our U.S. separate states. But the Catalan view is much different. They view the Constitution as giving them near complete autonomy, and there has been a strong movement for secession from Spain over the past 25 years or so. Apparently, the Spanish Constitutional Court has ruled at least parts of Catalonia’s own “Statute of Autonomy” invalid. Each year – recently on October 11, there is a huge, but peaceful, demonstration in downtown Barcelona. We were touring there on 9-11, but were able to stay out of the area where the demonstration occurred, but were there just long enough for me to get my t-shirt. We saw a sea of people on the news later that evening.

Placa Real Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Placa Real
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I know people who visit Barcelona for weeks at a time. And there is enough there to justify that. So, in 2 days, we obviously would just scratch the surface. Even the surface was impressive.

Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

We arranged for a tour guide to pick us up at the airport and before dropping us at our hotel, take us on a 4 hour “highlights of Barcelona” tour. Unlike the 2013 trip which provided warm sunshine everywhere we went, we did have some raindrops to contend with in Barcelona (and, briefly in Florence). But we were able to successfully dodge them except for one stop.

Museu Nacional D'art Catalunya Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Museu Nacional D’art Catalunya
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Our tour started with Barcelona’s National Art Museum, Museu Nacional D’art Cataluyna. From the steps of this impressive building, you get an on-high view of the city. In the short time we had to visit, we did not get inside, but this museum is the national museum of Catalan visual art.

Museu Nacional D'art Catalunya  Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Museu Nacional D’art Catalunya
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

We drove through, but did not stop at the site of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, but ended that drive with another “high” view of the city, with views of the beach and the cruise port where we would embark in just a couple days. It looks like the Olympic Park would be one of the “must see” destinations if one were staying for a while.

Cathedral, Old City Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Cathedral, Old City
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Another part of the tour involved driving down into the city near the water and seeing some of the city’s architecture; notably the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia or simply Cathedral Sainte-Eulalie, often called Seu in Catalan, is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Barcelona. The cathedral is a gothic structure and is impressive, both inside and out. We would later in the week see that that cathedral was a landmark to be used to navigate portions of the city.

Museu Nacional D'art Catalunya Barcelona, Spain Copyright  Andy Richards 2015

Cathedral; Old City Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I sometimes have to be reminded that this is a Blog, and they are supposed to be short and punchy. Those who follow here, or who know me, know I don’t have “short and punchy” in my own constitution. Mine are always – perhaps painfully – long. So I will stop here and follow up with a “part 2” next.

Cathedral; Old City Barcelona, Spain Copyright Andy Richards, 2015

Cathedral; Old City
Barcelona, Spain
Copyright Andy Richards, 2015