Monthly Archives: May 2012

DUTCH STREET ART – Raamstraat, Den Haag.

Raamstraat is a shortcut for most people.

We really came to The Hague (‘Den Haag’ to the Dutch) to see the Vermeers, but there was an unexpected bonus. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Holland

IMAGES OF CHICAGO – art is easy

The first thing we noticed in Chicago was the architecture. The second thing was the aerial ballet performed by window washers.

I’ve been trawling through my photos of our recent US excursion, ditching dozens of feeble efforts and finding a few shots worth keeping.

There’s a theme emerging to some of the ones I like.

Art and architecture are relatively easy to shoot. Someone else has already done the real creative work and the subjects patiently stay in the one spot while I fumble with the camera settings, think about lighting and find the best angle.

I also enjoy putting human observers of the art into the shots as well. It is an important part of the experience. Art, especially in public places, usually has people sharing the space. I don’t like asking them to move. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, travel photography, USA

HIKING AT THE END OF THE WORLD – above Iceland’s deserted fiords

Climbing Mt Hvitserkur. That’s our team up ahead – there’s nobody else around.

My mainstream media client has just published my article about our fabulous trek in Iceland, so I can now release the full story on this blog. Let me simply say it is one of the best treks I’ve ever done in my life.

‘Stop a moment,’ says Rob. ‘You hear it?’

We’re the photographers in the party. On yet another high col we’ve lagged behind our hiking group to take yet more panoramic shots. My boots crunch to a halt. I listen.

‘Hear what?’ I ask.

‘The silence.’

For the first time I notice it. No murmur of traffic, no hum of a town in a distant valley. There’s not a blade of grass and not a breath of wind to rustle it. It’s impossible to imagine a deeper silence. It was probably often like that during the five days we’ve been walking, but I was distracted by the scenery. Continue reading

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Filed under Hiking, Travel- Europe

HASTA LA VISTA – six Spanish highlights

Great food, great company, striking art and plenty of sitting around in the sun.

We really enjoyed our time in Spain. We didn’t spend enough euros there to lift the Spanish out of their current economic problems, but we can heartily recommend that everyone else should go and do so – pronto.

Here’s a brief ‘best of’ from our trip. Continue reading

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Filed under Hiking, Spain

THE MIRACLE OF SANTO DOMINGO

The cathedral at Santo Domingo.

Santo Domingo and feathered friends.

Remarkable things can happen in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, though the modern miracles could never be as amazing as the events of bygone days…

A young man who was walking the Camino de Santiago with his parents caught the eye of an innkeeper’s daughter. Unfortunately her feelings for him were not reciprocated, so she planted a silver cup in his backpack, falsely accused the lad of theft, and had him hanged. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

His grieving parents sadly continued their pilgrimage to Santiago, but on their way past the gallows, noticed that their son, though still hanging from his neck, was surprisingly alive. Continue reading

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Filed under Budget travel, Hiking, Spain

CAMINO DE SANTIAGO – of food and drink and beds

Casa Magica, Villatuerta. It’s not five star; the magic is in the charm and the warm welcome.

La Casa Magica in Villatuerta is old. Camino de Santiago pilgrims have been pulling off their boots and hobbling across its rough stone floor for over 500 years.

Now the old albergue is on Facebook and has a website and guest wi-fi.

A bed costs ten euros and breakfast an additional four.

‘I’m sorry if we’re a little more expensive than some albergues,’ says our hostess Simone. Expensive? 14 euros for B&B?? We’ve paid that much for coffee and a croissant in other countries, and bad coffee at that.

Most people spending a month or so walking to Santiago will be doing it on a budget but this is ridiculous. We’ve never found any travel in Europe as cheap as this. Continue reading

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Filed under Budget travel, Hiking, Spain

FRANK GEHRY’S EXTRAORDINARY HOTEL – Elciego, Spain

A great work of art or a blot on the landscape?



In a small Spanish village in the wine-growing area La Rioja, one building stands out.

Hotel Marques de Riscal is a Starwood hotel designed in 2006 by Frank O. Gehry, well known to Spaniards and architecture students for his work on Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum.
Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Spain