Reykjavik Addendum

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We took a nap because we were exhausted. After a few hours we got up and went exploring. Reykjavik is a very small town and easily walkable. The weather is good. A little overcast, but no rain. And it’s not as cold as we were expecting. We found Hallgrímskirkja, the big cathedral in Reykjavik and it is a spectacular place. We hope to go to the top of the tower when we get back here after our driving tour.

We also found the Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur stand. Everyone says the best food in Iceland is the Icelandic hot dog made by Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur and they also say this hot dog is the best hot dog in the world.

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I must say, I agree. It was delicious. The crunchy onions are a nice touch. Cynthia, unaware that there were crunchy onions added to the hot dog, immediately suspected the crunch was coming from the meat and was grossed out. She suspected that there must have been some ground up hoof, toenails or bone. She felt better when I explained.

Reykjavik is a fun little town. Coffee shops everywhere and very good dining options.

We leave tomorrow for Snæfellsnes after we pick up our rent car. I think we are off to a good start.

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Arrival Reykjavík

Solfar Sun Voyager - Reykjavik

After flying to Boston and sitting in Logan for 6 hours we caught our 5 hour flight to Reykjavík. We met up with our tour organizer and picked up all of our paperwork and got checked into our hotel. We were very lucky to get our room at 8:00 am. Official check in time is 2:00pm. The hotel manager, whose name is Thor, showed us a great kindness.

Iceland

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Today we embark on a driving tour of Iceland. We’ve been plotting and planning for months. We are flying to Reykjavík where we will rent a car and spend a little over two weeks driving clockwise around the entire island. 1,760 miles in total. Which, according to various mapping tools comes out to roughly 45 hours of driving once it’s all added up. My gut feeling is that it will easily top 2,000 before all is said and done. Also, I expect travel times are rather conservative and that it will take longer than expected to get to any given destination due to weather and road conditions. Thankfully there’s upwards of 20 hours of daylight each day during this time of year so we won’t be out in the wilderness and in the dark. The map does not include the off-road adventure to Landmannalaugar which will be about 10-12 hours of sight seeing in the interior using a private tour company. That’s 16 days total, 13 of which are on the road and 12 different hotels.

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Trip to High Island

Seagull Shrimp Buffet

I finally made it out to High Island to visit the Audubon bird sanctuaries. I drove to Galveston and took the Bolivar Ferry over to the peninsula. Had fun watching the seagulls get fed by the willing tourists and the shrimpers.

Cheeto Party!

Once on the peninsula I found my way to High Island and the world famous Rookery. Hundreds of Roseate Spoonbills and Snowy Egrets building nests. Used the Sony A99 and my Minolta 300mm lens combined with a 1.4 teleconverter.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Snowy Egret

Ireland – The Conor Pass

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The Conor Pass is said to be the highest mountain pass in Ireland. The road is quite narrow in places and passing oncoming traffic can be harrowing. I wanted to drive over the pass on the way to Dingle rather than taking the easier route down the main highway from Tralee. Cynthia was nervous, but agreed to cross if the weather was good. As it turned out, the weather was good and so we crossed. It should also be noted that we crossed on Friday the 13th. Cynthia is a little superstitious, so this was significant.

We were fortunate that there was not a lot of traffic on this road on the day we went over.

Here is a video I shot of our crossing using a GoPro Hero 3 Black mounted to the outside of the rental car. You can see the truly narrow point about midway through the video.

This drive offers one of the most dramatic and scenic ways of entering or leaving Dingle.

View from the top of Conor Pass

Conor Pass Waterfall

View from the top of Conor Pass

Ireland – Day 13

Today is our last day in Ireland before flying home tomorrow. We’re tired and we’re pretty much out of clean clothes.

The sun was out again today and we enjoyed walking in the good weather.

Our first visit was to the Trinity College Library to see the Book OF Kells. There’s no photography of the actual book, but you can take photos of the magnificent Trinity College Library.

Trinity University Library

Trinity College also has one of the Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera) sculptures like the one we saw at The Vatican Museums when we visited there last year.

Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera) Trinity College

Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con sfera) Trinity College

From there we walked over to tour the Chester Beatty Library which has an amazing collection of books, documents and other artifacts. No photos in there, but the sun was shining brightly on the Dublin Castle and the view from the Dubh Linn Gardens was quite nice.

Dublin Castle

This little courtyard contained the Garda Memorial Garden which pays tribute to police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Dubhlinn Gardens Garda Memorial Garden

We’re going to take it easy the rest of the day. Packing and relaxing before our early, early flight tomorrow morning.

This trip has been amazing. Cynthia and I both agree that the rural part was much better than the city parts, though both were great in their own ways.

Ireland – Day 12

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Today was a good day. The sun was out and we took the opportunity to wander the city in search of things to see. We made our way to the river and then walked over to see the Molly Malone statue. It was good to see, but not so great to photograph as there was a lot of construction going on all around her.

We decided to walk over the the Jameson’s Distillery and take the tour. As it turned out, the distillery is not actively producing whiskey, it’s just a museum now.

Aging Process - Jameson's Distillery

We took the tour and at the end the guide informed us that 8 members of the group would be selected for a whiskey taste test that compared Jameson to a scotch and an American bourbon. First he asked for women to volunteer. Only 3 raised their hands. Cynthia, who hates whiskey decided to step up and be the 4th. After the ladies were chosen the guide asked for 4 male volunteers. Of course all of our hands went up. I was chosen as one of the four so Cynthia and I got to both participate.

Cynthia drinks whiskey for the first time

Cynthia ended up actually enjoying the experience, and learned a bit about whiskey. We both received certificates as souvenirs to take home with us.

After the distillery we walked over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and enjoyed the gardens

The tired travellers at St. Patrick's Cathedral

From here we caught a cab to the Guinness Storehouse which is also just a museum, but an interesting tour nonetheless. After walking around and learning of the history of Guinness and seeing how it’s made you go up to what is called the Gravity Bar where you get a free Guinness and 360 degree view of the city.

Cynthia and her Guiness

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After these tours we were pretty beat and we went back to the hotel. This evening Cynthia took it easy while I met up with a friend to attend the Roger Waters concert at Aviva Stadium.

Fountain @ Guinness Storehouse

Ireland – Day 8

Today we set off to drive the Dingle Loop around Slea Head. We knew it was going to be a good day when we spotted a double rainbow over the Dingle Whiskey Distillery.

The Slea Head Drive - Dingle Peninsula

This drive was, hands down, the most beautiful and scenic drive of the entire visit to Ireland. The sun was shining brightly and the skies we blue with few clouds. The sea surrounding the peninsula was sparkling with waves crashing on the rocks. The road was quite narrow most of the drive and became exceedingly so at various points along the way.

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road

We drove for hours and hours, stopping frequently at many scenic overlooks just to take in the view. Cynthia was a little worried about some of the more adventurous photo opportunities I was taking.

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The Slea Head Drive - Dingle Peninsula

Every turn, around every narrow corner brought us to another fantastic site. Fortunately, there were plenty of places to pull over and park so that we could enjoy the view and take some pictures.

The Slea Head Drive - Dingle Peninsula

The Slea Head Drive - Dingle Peninsula

The Slea Head Drive - Dingle Peninsula

The Slea Head Drive - Dingle Peninsula

The Slea Head Drive - Dingle Peninsula

We wrapped up around 5:30 back at the B&B and took a short nap before heading out in the evening for some food and to listen to some live music. We ended up having dinner at Murphy’s Pub and got to see a local Irish band called Tintean.

Tintean - Kerry based Irish band

They were quite good. They played many of the songs you would expect, but also several we had never heard before.

Tomorrow looks a bit cloudy and rainy, but we hope to make the best of our last day in Dingle before making the trek back to Dublin

jayandcynthia

Ireland – Day 7

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All photos in this post are by Cynthia. She’s getting some great shots this trip so it’s her turn to illustrate the update.

Today we drive from Galway to Dingle Town. 152 miles in total. We departed Galway around 9:00 AM and arrived in Dingle around 5:30 PM. It was a long drive and the weather was very nice. Clouds, but no rain and some great periods of beautiful sunshine.

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Along the way we visited Dunguaire Castle before turning west and north to see Murrooghtoohy, the place where The Burren meets the sea.

From there we headed south to the Cliffs of Moher, a must see on any visit to this region of Ireland.

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From the cliffs we proceeded down through the town of Lahinch, and on towards Killimer to catch the ferry across the River Shannon over to County Kerry. I hadn’t done any ferry research and didn’t know how often they ran, but as luck would have it we drove up just in time to catch one going across.

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We landed in Tarbert and proceed through Listowel and Tralee. This is where we had to decide if we would go the easy route to Dingle, or drive the Conor Pass. Since the sun was shining and the weather was so nice, Cynthia agreed to drive the Conor Pass.

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The Conor Pass is a very scenic drive up the side of a mountain. The pass is very narrow in places and the drive can be rather harrowing. We made it to the top without incident. The views from up there were just staggering. Cynthia even found some sheep way up there

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The drive down the mountain and into Dingle Town was very easy going, compared to the drive up from the other side.

We located our bed and breakfast, got checked in and then found some food at a local pub.

Tomorrow we are off to explore the peninsula.

Ireland – Day 5

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Today we made the trek to Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.

The weather forecast showed rain for the day, but we went anyway as it’s our only real opportunity. We decided to take the tour bus tp the ferry landing which was about an hour. Another hour on the ferry and we were on the island.

We stopped at the Pier House Guest House for some lunch. As luck would have it, the entire island was without electricity due to some maintenance going on with the power line that feeds Inishmore from the mainland. It was still a good lunch and we felt fortified for the adventure ahead.

We opted to rent a couple of bicycles and find our way to the ruins of Dún Aonghasa.

Cynthia Bike

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Cynthia hadn’t rode a bicycle in over 20 years and was worried she might not remember how. She quickly learned that the old adage “it’s like riding a bike” is not just a figure of speech and soon we were on our way.

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The rain was constant and there was a fairly strong headwind. We made it about 2 miles before coming to the realization that we might have bitten off more than we could chew with this bike riding adventure. We puttered around for awhile but eventually decided to return the bikes and hire one of the tour vans that circles the island.

This ended up being a much better plan. We went on to Dún Aonghasa and climbed the 20 minute hike up to the ruins. At this point we were especially glad we didn’t ride the bikes all the way here, only to have to ride them back.

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We explored the ruins, but the rain and fog spoiled the view of the cliffs so we made our way back down.

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After the tour we stopped by the cafe and had some hot coffee before heading back to the ferry to catch the bus and the ride back to Galway.

The weather made photography difficult, so we don’t have many photos of the adventure. In fact, most all of the photos in this post were taken by Cynthia as I was reluctant to pull out my own camera in the rain. It was a good time nonetheless. Inishmore is a starkly beautiful place, even on the rain.

Tomorrow we plan to drive around Connemara and find the Kylmore Abbey. Hopefully we’ll have better weather karma.

Ireland – Day 3

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Today we drive from Portballintrae to Donegal Town via Londonderry. 85 scenic miles of twisty and often narrow roads.

We stopped off in Londonderry to visit historic walls.

Via Wikipedia

The Walls were built during the period 1613-1619 by The Honourable The Irish Society as defences for early 17th century settlers from England and Scotland. The Walls, which are approximately 1 mile (1.5 km) in circumference and which vary in height and width between 12 and 35 feet (4 to 12 metres), are completely intact and form a walkway around the inner city. They provide a unique promenade to view the layout of the original town which still preserves its Renaissance style street plan. The four original gates to the Walled City are Bishop’s Gate, Ferryquay Gate, Butcher Gate and Shipquay Gate. Three further gates were added later, Magazine Gate, Castle Gate and New Gate, making seven gates in total. Historic buildings within the walls include the 1633 Gothic cathedral of St Columb, the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall and the courthouse.

Canon on The Walls of Derry

We stopped at a coffee shop and the climbed the walls and walked them the entire way round. It rained a bit and was sometimes cold, but it was good to get out of the car and walk around.

From there we drove on to Donegal and found our bed and breakfast and got checked in and then found our way to the city center to get a late lunch and visit Donegal Castle.

Donegal Castle is a quaint wee castle, but not much to look at, really. We poked around and then just wandered the city for awhile. We were both pretty tired from the day’s journey and headed back to the B&B. We rested up for a few hours.

It was during this time that something very interesting happened.

Outside our B&B window is a small flock of sheep in a neighboring field. Cynthia noticed one one of the sheep nearest to the B&B hadn’t moved since we checked in. It was just laying there while the other sheep grazed in the field.

This was causing Cynthia to be a little concerned so I went outside and climbed up the hill behind the B&B to have a closer look. That is when I noticed that the poor guy was trapped in a thorny bush and couldn’t free itself.

I was about ready to climb over the barbed wire fence to try and free him and then thought better of it. Last thing I need is to get tangled up in barbed wire out in the middle of nowhere.

Going back inside I found the B&B owner and asked him if he knew who owned the flock of sheep in the back and he said he did.

I told him what was going on and that the poor guy was stressing Cynthia out a little. And it was stressing me out, too…if I’m honest.

The owner said he would ring up the owner of the flock and let him know. About 30 minutes later we saw the owner of the sheep come over the hill and free the poor, stuck little guy. As we watched the sheep rejoin his flock. We thought that was that and were happy for a happy ending. But that was not the end of the story. As we watched the owner tend to the flock a rainbow appeared over the field. It only lasted a few minutes, but you should have seen Cynthia jumping for joy. It was Cynthia who captured the moment in this fantastic photo…

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Now THAT is a happy ending.

After that we decided to go back into town and find some dinner. We stopped at The Olde Castle Bar & Restaurant and enjoyed some pub grub. We went in search of some live music, but didn’t find any and decided to call it a day,

Tomorrow we’re off to Galway.

Ireland – First Full Day

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We got up bright and early and had ourselves the full Irish breakfast. Mmmmmm, blood pudding! Cynthia’s feeling much better after the whole incident with breaking my glasses.

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We only chose to stay in Dundalk because it wasn’t far from the airport and made for a good jumping off point to head north.

After breakfast we packed up our gear, loaded the car and headed off to drive to Belfast and then link up with the Causeway Coastal Route.

The first place we wanted to see was Carrickfergus. We stopped to see the castle and take in the view of the sea. It was a pleasant stop.

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The coastal route takes you along the upper north coast of Northern Ireland and is something to see. Beautiful landscapes along a winding, twisty road that sometimes gets down to a single lane for two way traffic. This can be quite intense as you drive along, having to yield to oncoming traffic with practically nowhere to go. To make matters even worse, there was a bike rally of some kind going on and we had to carefully and frequently pass cyclists along the way.

We made our way to Ballygally Castle around lunchtime and stopped to get some food.

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We also paused to take a few photos.

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Head of Ballygally Bay

Coastal Road Rest Stop

From there we continued to wind our way to Portballintrae where we had a hotel reservation for a few nights. We got checked in and cleaned some of the road from our weary bodies and went for dinner at the Porthole Restaurant. The food was fantastic. Be both had locally caught salmon and shared a bottle of wine to toast our success.

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For now we say goodnight to Portballintrae

Ballintrae Bay

Tomorrow we visit Giant’s Causeway, The Rope Bridge, Dunlace Castle and The Bushmill’s Distillery.

Using The DMCA To Fight Copyright Infringment

Notice to my readers, The DMCA is a U.S. law that governs U.S. hosting providers. If the site hosting your copyrighted material is hosted outside the U.S. the DMCA does not apply. I have found my images hosted on servers in China and Russia and all over the Middle East and I have come to the conclusion that those infringements are best left alone. The European Union does have the European Directive on Electronic Commerce (EDEC) which I have not researched.

Over the years I have been finding more and more of my photos being used on the Web without my permission. This is a quick guide to detecting and enforcing copyright.

The first step is to find if your image is being used. For this tutorial I will use one of my more frequently purloined photos. This photo of the Downtown Houston skyline is just such a photo.

Sabine Bridge

The first thing you need to determine is whether or not your photo is being used on the Internet without your permission. To do this, go to images.google.com. Here you will notice an icon in the search box that looks like a camera.

Google Image Search

Click on the camera and select “Search By Image” and this will bring up a dialogue box that will take you through uploading your image or providing a URL link to your image and searching Google with it.

For those using Google Chrome there is a nifty plugin called Search by Image that will, once installed, allow you to right click an image on the Web and search Google with it. Either way, the results are returned in the same way.

googlesearch1

As you can see in this example, Google shows you a set of images that are similar. Not surprising, there are a number of photos of the downtown Houston skyline by other photographers. But the list below is more telling. As you can see, there are several links to pages hosting my exact photo. Some of them are mine (obviously) and some of them are sites that I have licensed the photo to. And then there are the others. The copyright infringers.

At this point I click the link on a suspected infringer and collect the URL to do some research. For this example I will use my own Web site so as not to incur the wrath of an infringer who might take issue with me calling them out in a public forum.

Here we see this guy named Jay Lee who is portraying my photo as his own. What a jerk!

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Now at this point you have two choices. You can peruse the Web site hosting your image and try to find contact info for the person or company and try to deal with them directly. This method yields a variety of results. Sometimes the infringer will agree to remove the image, or they might offer to license the image or, more frequently than I care for, they will tell your something along the lines of “too bad, so sad” or even ignore you entirely. Some infringers tend to get downright nasty.

Due to the large number of infringers I tend to come across I opt to deal with the hosting providers. Most hosting providers have provisions for dealing with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices that will put the hosting provider in the position of dealing with their customer instead of you.

To go this route does, however, require some research and effort.

The first thing to do is find the I.P. address of the Web site. Simply opening a command prompt and using NSLOOKUP will accomplish this easily.

nslookup

Now that we know the Web site is hosted at 173.193.136.178 we just need to know the controlling entity for that IP address. To learn this we go to the American Registry For Internet Numbers, also known as ARIN.

arin

Using their Whois search to search the IP address we can see that Softlayer is the hosting entity for this Web site. We can then click on the Abuse Point Of Contact link to find out who to send our notice to. It is worth noting that if the hosting entity is outside of the USA, you might not get any response to your DMCA notice. If the IP address comes back as belonging to the RIPE Network Coordination Centre you are likely wasting your time if you try to file a DMCA.

poc

As we see here, the abuse contact for SoftLayer is abuse@softlayer.com. This is who we need to send our notice to.

As per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), there is a specific formula for submitting a valid notice of copyright infringement. This is the template I use and has been very successful.

Compose a new email with the subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement

Then, in the body of the email include the following text and links:

The copyrighted work at issue is located at:

Insert the URL of the page infringing on your copyright here

Specifically, this image:

If possible, provide the direct link to the infringed image itself. You can usually find it by right-clicking the image and selecting “Copy Image URL” and then pasting the link in to your message. This works well in Chrome most of the time. In some cases you have to view the source of the Web site to dig this link out. If you can’t find it, don’t sweat it.

The corresponding URL where our copyrighted material is located:

Insert link to YOUR image on your Flickr page, blog page, whatever.

You can reach me at insert your email address for further information or clarification.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Your Name
Your company (if you have one)
Your Web Site
Your Physical Address
Your Phone Number

The above template meets the required standards of a legitimate DMCA notice.

It is worth noting that some hosting sites provide online DMCA forms. These are preferable over sending an email when they are available. If you suspect a hosting provider might have such a form, a Google search using the name of the provider along with DMCA will usually lead you to the form.

Below are links to the more common hosting site DMCA forms

Once you have submitted your DMCA notice, whether by email or by online form, you can usually expect a notification that your notice has been received. Often it will include a tracking number that will be used for any communications and updates to the status of your notice. In my experience most hosting providers will have the issue resolved pretty quickly. Some of my notices have been addressed in less than 24 hours. The longest I have had to wait is about 3 or 4 business days.

Closing thoughts:

Not every notice will succeed. You will have to determine how much effort you are willing to expend enforcing your copyright. I would say my success rate, inside the USA, it about 95%. Your results may vary.

Many copyright infringers don’t know that they are doing anything wrong. They think the Internet is a bucket full of royalty free images and content. These kinds of infringers are often very apologetic and will remove the content.

Some infringers outsource their Web design to a third party. The Web site owner is lead to believe that their Web designer is making sure that the rights to the content are in place. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous Web designers.

And then there are the infringers who simply don’t care about your rights. They think that if you posted the image online, you should expect it will get stolen. The reactions of this type of infringer can sometimes be quite frightening.

Remember, if you are asserting copyright in the form of a DMCA Notice, you must be prepared to back it up legally. Once you have claimed your copyright you could be presented with a counter challenge if the person or company believes they have rights to the content.

And one last closing thought. In most cases, when you file a DMCA notice, the hosting provider will disable access only to the content you specify and leave the rest of their site in place. The one exception to this I have found is GoDaddy. Upon receipt of a valid DMCA Notice they will disable the customer entirely. That means you will have to work with their customer and GoDaddy to resolve it. This can be a HUGE pain, as I have learned from personal experience.

Good luck in your efforts. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

Valencia – Day 5

Cynthia continues to improve. We got up relatively early so we could go to the Cathedral and see the progress on the Virgin Mary.

She’s coming along quite nicely.

We took the day and walked around the area near the Ruzafa district where there are some magnificent Fallas

That night we stumbled upon the most magnificent Galician restaurant called A `Peregrina which is Spanish for “Of The Pilgrim” or something similar. The whole restaurant is themed in a style you might expect to see if you were walking the Way Of St. James, a famous pilgrimage Cynthia and I would like to walk some day.

Cynthia had said she just wanted some soup for dinner, but soup is not a common menu item so we decided to see what we could get here. Right after we were seated, the waitress brought us each a bowl of complimentary hot vegetable soup. It was, in a way, a miracle and set the tone for the evening.

Once again we had found a fantastic restaurant with wonderful food and a great atmosphere.

Valencia – Day 3

Today Cynthia woke up in pretty bad shape. While the one eye is getting better, the other is starting to have trouble. She is very fatigued and in need of rest.

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We had scheduled lunch with our friend Manel who we met during our first visit to Valencia. When he arrived at the hotel Cynthia simply didn’t have the energy to accompany us. This was unfortunate as Manel speaks little English and I speak little Spanish. Cynthia usually acts as the translator, but today we were on our own.

Manel and I had a good time using our iPhones to make the more difficult translations and it was a fun morning, if not slightly comical.

We made our way back to the hotel so I could check in on Cynthia and so that Manel could make his way to his other commitments. When I check with the desk clerk, Cynthia had left a note saying that she was feeling better and had walked over to the park to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.

When she did make her way to the room she was looking to be in pretty good spirits, but confided that while sitting on a park bench and enjoying the various dogs and birds passing and flying overhead she apparently looked so sad and pathetic that a passing cyclist stopped and offered her food (which she politely declined).

Suffice to say, she was mortified. It took me some time to convince her that she did not look like a wretched, diseased homeless person with a bad eye.

Since Cynthia was feeling better we decided go for a walk and get some lunch. We enjoyed sitting outside the restaurant and soaking in the sunshine.

After lunch we went back to the room and had a siesta.

When we woke up we were both feeling a bit better. I wanted to go to the City of Arts and Sciences to take some photos and Cynthia was going to go see some things she wanted to see. I ended up making a short trip of it as the City of Arts and Sciences was having some kind of event and I couldn’t really get the shots I wanted. When I got back to the hotel I ran in to Cynthia who was excited that she was able to photograph an unusual pigeon we had spotted a few days ago.

Painted Pigeon

We suspect he has been painted by someone. The bird seems ok and flies around the plaza without a problem.

We took the rest of the afternoon and evening to do some more site seeing. We’re still not 100% but we’re not giving up.

Fairy Falla

Laurel and Hardy Falla

Ruzafa Lights

Tomorrow and Monday are the days of the Ofrenda when the women of Valencia parade in to the Plaza Of The Virgin and offer to her their prayers and carnations. The carnations are used to make Mary’s gown. It’s quite a site.

Preparation for Ofrenda