Cynthia continues to chug away at the scrapbook for the trip to Spain. She’s completed Madrid, Seville, Segovia and Toledo.

Granada and Barcelona are going to be HUGE.

She’s already filled 1 1/2 giant binders full of photos, ephemera and her own recollections of the vacation. I bet this will be 4-6 binders by the time it’s done.

This has propelled me forward in processing my photos. I have completed the following galleries here at

Madrid Gallery
Mardid - Retiro Park
Madrid – Retiro Park
Madrid - Segway Tour
Madrid – Segway Tour
Seville - Alcazar
Seville – Alcazar
Granada - the Alhambra
Granada – The Alhambra

There’s a partial gallery for Barcelona, but it is not complete.

Oh, and I should not forget the nearly complete gallery for William The Well Travelled Sheep

William The Sheep in Spain!

[tag]Spain, Madrid, Segovia, Seville, Toledo, Granada, Alhambra, photography, Sony Alpha 100, travel, Europe, Segway, Memories, Jay Lee[/tag]


Still going through the pics from the trip. We’ve printed out the ones from Madrid we want to use in the scrapbook. Cynthia’s bought some supplies and she’ll likely start this weekend.

Looking at the shots from Figueres I am reminded how desolate and very depressing that small town was. We had taken the four hour train ride so we could visit the Dali Museum. Trust me, you had better REALLY want to see the Dali museum because that is ALL there is to see there.

While waiting for the train to take us back to Barcelona I set the camera to black and white mode and took a few pictures to help us remember the mood of that leg of our journey.

Click for full size

Click for full size

Click for full size

La Torre Del Oro

On our last night in Madrid (Oct. 24th) we hung out at La Torre Del Oro, a very interesting tapas bar in the Plaza Mayor dedicated to bull fighting.

Neither Cynthia nor myself are fans of this sport and we had no intention of witnessing a bull fight, but this little place was fascinating. Mounted on the wall were the heads of some notable bulls from previous fights as well as photo after photo of various toreadors.

And in the corner was a small television set showing previously recorded bull fights. It was like a bull fighting sports bar!

The bartender and Cynthia had a very animated discussion (in Spanish) wherein the rules and nuances of the sport were explained and discussed. I must confess, it was compelling to watch as the drama played out on the small TV. It was especially odd when they would show a slow motion replay of some particularly noteworthy cape swooshing.

I picked up bits and pieces of what was being said and I recall at one point, as the time was drawing near when the toreador would actually strike the killing blow, the matter of taking an ear as a trophy came up. That was when Cynthia looked at the mounted heads in the room and exclaimed “THEY HAVE NO EARS!

I enjoyed a few beers while this was going on, all the while just looking around and snapping a few pics like this one of a shrine/alter I can only presume was intended to keep the bull fighters safe from harm.

All in all, a very fun evening.

[tags] Spain, Madrid, Bull Fighting, Tapas [/tags]


I’ve been spending a few hours each day sifting through photos from the trip. It’s an arduous task. I am processing over 3,000 images collected while we were in Spain.

The main goal is to isolate the ones I want to print, edit them if necessary and then make a re sized copy for upload to the gallery.

On the one hand, it’s fun going through the images. On the other hand, it’s making me a little loopy.

While I was processing the pics from Seville I noticed that I had two pictures of the garden of the Alcazar that were pretty cool. They got me to thinking that I really was wishing for a super wide angle on that day to try to capture more of the garden in one shot instead of these two:

Click for full size

Click for full size

Thanks to Photoshop, I now have the shot I couldn’t get in the field….

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Back to work to the photo-mines….


I’ve started the process of going through the 2500+ pictures I took during the trip. Right now I am just sorting pictures into folders for each major city visited. Then I will go through and break it down by site. After that I will need to go through and cull out the blurries and the duplicates.

Cynthia has another 1500 or so on her camera that need to be downloaded and processed.

Then comes deciding which ones to print for our “scrapbook.”

And no, it’s not one of those cutesy-crafty “hey, pass me the Elmer’s Glue, construction paper and a pair of scissors” kind of scrapbooks that seems to be all the rage these days.

It’s just something to put the pics in and all the paper we collected. Things like hotel receipts, metro and train ticket stubs, museum tickets and so forth.

The one from our European vacation was 3 fat three-ringed binders full. I expect this one to be even larger.

As I’m slowly going through my pictures I keep finding some cool ones I forgot about.

Something about convex mirrors compels me.

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That’s the Edificio Metropolis in the background so I know this was taken somewhere near The Gran Via and Calle de Alcala.

View Larger Map

It’s going to be fun going through these…

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

Flying back from Madrid, our flight was delayed for 2 hours. We met some nice folks at the airport who were also on their way back to Houston. Two biologists/scientists (one of whom is a professor at Rice) and a gentleman who owned a cosmetics factory. It was good to have someone to talk to and pass the time in the airport.

Our initial flight was to Newark where we would change planes and then continue to Houston. Due to the delay we had to make arrangements for another connecting flight.

We cleared customs in Newark and the had to re-clear security. We had just enough time to get on the plane and come to Houston. All told it was just under 24 hours total travel time with the early arrival to the airport, the delay, connecting flight and cab ride home.

Upon arrival to the house everything was right where it was supposed to be. We’re so lucky to have had our good friend Jim keeping an eye on the place and coming over a few times a week to water the plants and feed the fish. It also appears that he did not rent the house out to vagabonds, hippies or musicians in our absence which is always a plus. There’s nothing worse than coming home from an extended vacation to to find someone subletting you residence.

I can’t even describe how nice it was to lay down in our own bed.

The next day we got up and went to collect the birds. They seem no worse for the wear and tear and things here at the house are pretty much back to normal.

I’m still jet-lagged a bit and am struggling to get my internal clock re-synched with U.S. time. I’m sure I’ll be right as rain soon and am especially glad we gave ourselves a few days at home after the trip before going back to work.

Ready To Come Home

We caught the train from Barcelona to Madrid yesterday. 4 1/2 hours all told. Most of it on the high speed AVE line. We are now checked back in to the hotel where it all began, Hotel Plaza Mayor.

It’s odd to come back after travelling far and wide for the last few weeks. It’s like coming home in an odd sort of way.

This morning when I got to the breakfast table in the lobby of the hotel I found two birthday cards on my table that Cynthia had been carrying with her the whole trip! She’s so awesome!

Madrid is much quieter now than when we left it a few weeks ago. The end of September is considered the beginning of the “off” season. Now that it’s late in October it’s gotten much cooler and the tourist crowds have lightened quite a bit.

We walked over and took the tour of the Royal Palace we never got around to before. No photography allowed. WAH! It’s gorgeous. We also took the guided tour which we never do. That proved to be rather interesting and we learned a bit more than we might have otherwise.

Tonight we’re going to go out to dinner one last time to celebrate my birthday.

Our flight back to Houston is tomorrow morning and frankly I am ready. Ready to bathe in my own bath tub, ready to sleep in my own bed and ready to watch some American television (In English).

Keeping the blog up to date has been challenging, but fun. Late hours processing images and putting together the entries took it’s toll a little in terms of getting enough sleep but I think getting it written down while it was still fresh will pay off in the long run. Ultimately these posts will serve as a guide to put together our travel scrapbook and are also something I can look at to remind me of the awesome month I got to spend with Cynthia in this remarkable country.

Cynthia has agreed that bringing a laptop along has been a good thing. Initially she didn’t think that I should take a computer with me but after a few weather reports and Google map directions to obscure restaurants she has changed her tune. She’s even on board with the blogging as she will be the one to put together the scrapbook and did not have to keep her own hand-written journal of the trip. Plus she really gets a kick out of it when people comment on the entries.

Thanks to everyone who followed along. It was very cool to have this cyber-tether back to friends and family back home. Sort of a life-line to keep me from getting too homesick which I am surprisingly prone to.

We’ll see you when we get back, after we’ve gotten caught up on some sleep, re-stocked the fridge and picked up the birds.

Barcelona – Last Day

It’s our final day in Barcelona. We are taking it super easy as we are pretty much exhausted. Tonight we pack up and we take a 4+ hour train ride back to Madrid where it all began.

Today we got up, got dressed and headed over to the Boqueria for breakfast. We’ve come to love our little cafe there for a cafe con leche and a Spanish omelette.

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After breakfast we walked over to the Museu Maritim De Barcelona.

I’ve been to a number of nautical and military museums in my life. This is, by far, the best one I have ever seen. The building itself is the restored Drassanes Reials (Royal Shipyards of Barcelona) and at it’s center is a Full sized reproduction of the galley from which Don Juan d’Austria oversaw the defeat of the Turkish Navy at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 to give Spain mastery of the Mediterranean.

We specifically got there early so I could make sure I got this particular shot of the replica

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You really should click to see the full size….especially you, Joe Linbeck!

We’re back in the Hotel resting a bit. We’re going to head out here shortly for another walk around the city.

We’re going to miss Barcelona