Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Skywatch #71: Skywatching in Barcelona

While sitting on the upper deck of a tour bus, I was both skywatching and people watching. Needless to stay I was also indulging in my passion for drive by shooting. Look what I saw.

I saw cloudy skies and beautiful architecture.

I smiled at the bustling street scene. So vibrant.
I spied some fellow tourists (?). Shooting at me? Nah, behind me was the statue of Columbus, that's what's keeping them interested.
We passed by a museum, MNAC, where we hopped off the bus and explored the surroundings.

I was entertained by artistic fixtures on the street. Lobster thermidore anyone?

And more art fixture. This one's from an American artist, whose name completely escaped me at this time.

This is my entry for this week's SKYWATCH. Please visit other players' posts here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My World #53: 2009 - Too Blessed to be Stressed

It is that time of the year again to look back at the year that is closing and make inventory of what transpired during the year. We question ourselves whether it was a good year, a bad year, or a ho-hum year. Because I consider myself a photoblogger I just let my photos speak of the kind of year I had. Of course my title is a big give-away to the kind of year I had.

I look back at 2009 and two things stick out:
1. I finally bought a house - after a disappointing and disheartening 2008 of looking and putting and losing bid after bid after bid.
2. I traveled a lot. I was counting the vacation times I took this year - not including those I took a day here and a day there to just chill at home . I had 32 days days of vacation time, the most I have taken in one single year.

Pictorial highlights of my 2009.

Beautiful winter day in Lake Tahoe. This was somewhere just outside of Lake Tahoe I believe in what is an area called Taylor Creek.

Wintering in Grand Canyon wasn't too shabby either.

This is the replica of the famous one. Little did I know that before the year ends I was going to see the real one.

One of my most favorite places in the world - Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, just an hour's drive from the strip.

Spring in New York was simply awesome.

Late Spring was the best time to go to Yosemite for the waterfalls, don't forget to stop and visit Half Dome.

It was summer when we got the house and all summer we were busy moving in and getting settled. In the midst of all this chaos, we camped for 3D2N in Lake Shasta in NorCal, a 3-hour drive away.
Fall was the most exciting in terms of travel as we flew to Europe to go on a cruise. The places we saw are:
1. Rome
2. Paris
3. Rabat (Malta)
4. Izmir (Turkey)
5. Ephesus (Turkey)
6. Rome
7. Barcelona
8. Alexandria (Egypt)
9. Madrid
10. Athens
11. Cairo
12. Ephesus

Posts about this cruise are coming up in the new year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

SkyWatch #70

Since it's Christmas I thought I'd share more than one image. Images that I pulled from the archives. Merry Christmas everyone.
Fall Sky, Paris.
Winter sky. Driving by Highway 4, Bay Area.

Summer sunset, driving by Atlas Road, Bay Area.

Spring sky, Vancouver.

SKYWATCH is a weekly gathering of sky lovers and sky watchers. Join us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Umbrella Required

IMG_0313, originally uploaded by M'roy.

It is as cloudy and drizzly here today as it was that day in Alaska. It's almost Christmas and I'm getting really busy. I will continue my Europe postings when things settle down a bit.

In the mean time, I hope you are all having a wonderful time shopping for gifts, planning for meals, or packing for a trip.

Have a safe celebration.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Hunt #64: Fast

IMG_0518, originally uploaded by M'roy.

Tis the season to be jolly falalalalalalalala.......

It is the time to be with family over food, parties with co-workers, time to enjoy the cooler weather. It is the time to be joyful. It is not the time to diet or FAST. Eat now, fast and/or diet after the holidays.

Photo Hunt is hosted by TNCHICK. Join us in our weekly hunt.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

SkyWatch #69: Golden State of Mind

Golden State of Mind, originally uploaded by M'roy.

Before we left for our November Europe tour, I deemed it necessary (yes you read that right) to get another point and shoot camera as a back-up to the one I am using and to the bigger one my husband is using. I don't know how I convinced my husband to spend another $100+ on something that is truly not necessary, but I did.

So I went to Costco and got the Nikon Coolpix which was on sale the week before our departure. And this image was the result of testing it out. Taken from our front yard. I know I should have done some cropping here, mea culpa.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Week Calls For More Showers

IMG_0001, originally uploaded by M'roy.

We have been getting some rain and showers and drizzle this fall, which made me really happy.

Don't tell anyone I was doing driving and shooting in this weather :)

Europe posts will continue....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My World #51: State of Seine-Sation

When I took these photos I didn't know which river this one. I looked it up online and it says this one's Seine River. Now if I am mistaken please feel free to let me know, after all I don't want to pass incorrect information to you all.
This is one of those must-do when in Paris. If given another chance to visit the City of Lights, I would cruise the Seine.
Simply beautiful. We stopped and watched the water for a little bit, snapped some shots, and breathed in the crisp autumn air.
Is this La Conciergerie? Can someone tell me?
If I were picking a favorite among all the Paris shots I took, this would be it. It wouldn't be too difficult to imagine myself falling in love in and with Paris.

This post is for MY WORLD, a weekly meme where players feature their world. Please join us, or visit the players' posts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Photo Hunt #63 : Undesirable

A large sector of the population finds the red light district an undesirable area of town. To a smaller sector (I'm guessing male-dominated), it is the most desirable part of town.

This is Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska, a pedestrian thoroughfare above Ketchikan creek. In the old days, it was the red light district housing several bordellos. Today, it's a popular tourist stop for the restaurants, galleries, shops, etc.
Let's go inside Creek Street.
Near the entrance stands Dolly's House, an old brothel, now a museum.
Looking at the street from the front.
View from the back.

Join us in the weekly hunt here.

Ketchikan, Alaska. May 29, 2007.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

SkyWatch #68: Parisian Sky

The mad rush to see the sights in about 4 hours (minus 1.5 hours train to and from airport and about 30 mins to navigate around airport)began. We had to stick to our research to map out our itinerary. At home we made print outs on how to get from airport to Sight 1, from Sight 1 to Sight 2, etc. This way we thought we could maximize our time the best, in case we have no time to get to the hop on hop off bus.

Sight 1 happens to be Notre Dame De Paris (or Our Lady of Paris)
Fact: One of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world.

Fact: No time to visit inside. There was something going on inside judging by the crowd that was rushing to get in. Did not bother as you know clock is ticking. But husband and I had taken quite a few photos.

Personal Impression: Amazing architecture, reminds me so much of San Sebastian Church in Manila. I don't which one I am more impressed. Of course I haven't seen the interiors of this one.

Sight 2: Eiffel Tower (no surprise here)
Fact: Nothing more iconic than Eiffel Tower. Tallest structure in Paris and according to wiki it is the single most visited paid monument in the world (did not know that). Very impressive record.

Fact: Arrived to the tower from the back (I'm assuming) which is a pleasant angle to view the tower and where all of my shots were taken. Again, time constrainst prevented us from further inspection, like taking the ride up. The temperature which was chilly all day had taken a bit more of a drop when we were there, which only heightened the experience I thought.

Personal Impression: I was very impressed. We sat on a bench, ate our delicious Parisian pastries, fed the pigeons while watching the imposing beauty in front of us. Glad to have made the effort to see it. Will I plan a vacation around seeing it again? I don't know.

Sight 3: Arc de Triomphe (again no surprise here)
Fact: One of the famous monuments in Paris. It stands to honor the those who fought for France especially during the Napoleonic wars. The numbers are: 49.5 m in height, 45 m in width, and 22 m deep. It's architectural stye is considered as ASTYLAR (architectural term given to designs in which neither columns or pilasters are used for decorative purpose).

Fact: Watched from across the street when the sun was starting to set giving it a certain glow, making the experience much more satisfying.

Personal Impression: Seeing the monument in person even from across the street is much better than just looking at other people's pictures of it.

Mission accomplished. We had seen the sights, took photos, ate pastries, drank coffee, walked by the Seine, bought some souvenirs, fed the birds, helped by friendly Parisians (who says they're rude?) to find our way/s and best of all, made it in time to catch our plane.

This is my early entry to this week's Skywatch. All photos were taken November 11, 2009.
Next post will be filed under "also seen in Paris" category.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Adventure Begins

Long before we boarded Air France on the way to Barcelona via Paris, I have made inquiries on how to maximize our 6-hour layover in Charles de Gaulle. My sources? Yahoo Answers (where I always get accurate information in the past), co-workers who have been to Paris, other travel sites. All of them said with six hours, you can do it, with heavy reservations. My co-workers even went as far as saying it would be near impossible.

But they did not know me and my husband. When he zooms in on a goal, he will be hell bent on achieving it. And boy was I glad. I didn't think it would be possible to be honest with you. But we had to do it. The other option was to sit out the 6 hours in CDG, which was unacceptable. We have gone to the lengths of arranging this itinerary to include Paris, since we are going in this region anyway. We had to see Paris (as much as our limited time would allow).

(Train from airport to Paris center - busker inside train, a first for me)

Armed with research about Paris trains and the stops we needed to take for each sight we wanted to see, we first stopped at the Tourist Information Desk - a must when traveling - for additional information that we might have missed on our extensive research. The lady at the Tourist Information Desk was very helpful and in her deliciously heavy French-accented English confirmed what everyone else have told us - it's very difficult, nearly impossible, to see Paris in that little time. Train from airport to Paris is 45 minutes one way. And here's the kicker - there is a transport strike in Paris which would mean that the train we would be taking from the airport will not reach Paris center. A transfer was required in order to see the city, which means more delay, less sights to see.

With specific instructions on which station to transfer and what platform to take, we ran from the desk to the train station, which is a looong way. I don't mean to whine, but I was carrying a very heavy back pack. I felt like I was backpacking and running in a foreign city. I don't watch the Amazing Race but I felt like that's what hubs and I were on that day.

(Busker collecting "tips". We gave him $, he asked for euro. $ is very weak when we visited *sad* nobody wanted $)

Imagine our delight when the we found the train waiting for passengers. We got good seats and pretty soon the train was moving. We found a group of Americans on the train and from their conversations I learned they are on a layover too. Their final destination was Cairo.

From the window I managed to take some shots. Graffitis are universal I guess.

It's fall in Paris. One of the images I took as the train passes by on the way to Paris.
So, with limited time to explore Paris, can you guess which three sights we managed to visit and take photos of before we barely made it to the Barcelona-bound plane that evening?
This post is for MY WORLD. Fellow players, I know that I have always posted on my other blog, but the Christmas season is making it very difficult for me to maintain two blogs.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Photo Hunt #62: Curved

Today my entry is about road trips and my fascination for drive by shooting. I call this post: AS THE ROAD CURVED.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada February 2009

Arizona on the way to Grand Canyon February 2009
TNCHICK hosts PHOTO HUNT. Join the fun of the weekly hunt.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

SkyWatch #67

fall skywatch, originally uploaded by M'roy.

I'm happy to report that this is exactly how it is outside, blue skies and 46F. We do not have four distinct seasons so we are just having color explosions this late in the season. The photo, however, is from last year. Haven't used the camera since I got back from vacation last Friday.

SKYWATCH is a weekly gathering of sky watchers and sky lovers. Join us.