Monday, October 31, 2011

Spain and Portugal Day 8

Mosque in Cordorba, 12th century

Visited Cordoba today. Great former Mosque, now a church. In the ~16th century a cathedral church was put right in the middle of the existing Mosque, bad idea, even though the cathedral is spectacular in it's own right. The Mosque was built in 12th century.

Cordoba has what is termed a Jewish district, very narrow streets like a labyrinth, easy to get lost.

Heliostat tower shinning brightly in the distance. Mirrors too far away to see.

On the road to and from Cordoba we saw a Heliostat in operation. Mirrors focusing the sun into a central tower that then is turned into electricity by steam turbines.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spain and Portugal Day 7

It's been really busy and limited internet access the last several days. We're now in Carmona, Spain and using the Parador (old name for a hotel) here as a base for trips to Seville today and Cordoba tomorrow.

I will post a few photos from today's visit to Seville below and try to catch up on the last couple of days later tonight. Seville seems to have every building in the old section looking like a work of art. Strong influence of the Moors on the architecture. The Moors were defeated here in 12th century but the Spanish kings really liked their architecture and hired the Moorish craftsmen to build there Cathedrals and their Palaces.

Cathedral tower. Lower part is original Moorish tower associated with a Moskque but was made into a Christian church tower starting with the bell tower.

Hose and carriage in the central square of Seville.

This is the panel at the Spanish Square that was build in the 1920's. Each Spanish region had a panel, and this one shows Don Qixote and Sancho Panza, the mythical figure from Cervantes novel.

View from inside of the Alcazar Place showing the Moorish architecture even though this was built by a Christian King.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spain and Portugal day 3

Had an interesting day today. City tour of Lisbon. Palace, Cathedral, and then went to a great museum. Fado music in the evening. More to come.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Portugal and Spain

Arrived this noon in Lisbon after a long flight from Boston to Frankfurt and then on to Lisbon. Took a walk in some of the older parts of the city and am posting several photos that I made on the walk. We had dinner tonight with the tour group and are now ready to start the tour in earnest tomorrow mornining.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rail Trip, from the east, to the west and back again, Day 1

In mid-September (starting on 9/11) Susan and I went on a little trip starting in Amherst; we flew to St. Paul, MN and boarded an Amtrak train to meet up with Susan's sister and her husband; went eventually to the West coast (Seattle), with a stop in Glacier National Park; turned north to Canada after getting to Seattle; stayed in Vancouver, BC for a couple of days and then turned back east through the Canadian Rockies; stopped in Jasper, Alberta for a couple of days; and eventually ended up in Montreal for two days before heading south to Albany, NY, were we rented a car and drove home. All of the trip was accomplished on the train except for our flight to St. Paul and our rental car ride home. We ended up back home on 9/24.

Of course I made "snap shots" along the way with my point and shoot camera. The following is a description of our trip on a day to day basis starting on 9/11.

9/11 Sarah drove us to the Manchester airport for a 7:00 am flight to Minneapolis. Took a taxi to the Amtrak station in St. Paul. Our impression of the St. Paul station was that it was situated in the middle of a desolate, run-down area.

As we were at the station mid-morning and the train to the west was not due until 11:30 pm we thought we would sight-see either in Minneapolis or St.Paul. The Amtrak agent told us we could take bus 16 in one or the other direction and we would eventually end up in downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis. We chose St. Paul and that's when our education of the underbelly of St. Paul society began. Number 16 bus (on a Sunday) has all sorts of folks on it going from home to a shopping center or back, apparently shopping for food or other stuff. It was jammed and we were on it for an hour or more so had a great look at this slice of the St. Paul population.

We did eventually reach downtown St. Paul and had a nice walk around. After a nice dinner in St Paul we took a cab back to the train station, having seen enough of the people on bus number 16 for one day at least.

The cab driver was from NYC. He apparently came to the U of MN in the late 60's or early 70's for grad school in Geology and ended up staying. Did not ask how he ended up in his current position as a cab driver.

The following photos are of St. Paul and the station before our departure on the train at the end of day 1.

Lucy and Charlie Brown chatting

Flowers and construction in St. Paul

Tall buildings and clouds in a blue sky

Sky and cloud reflection

Modern buildings in St. Paul

The St. Paul Library

View from the Library toward the Mississippi River

Library ceiling

Inside the library

The "Heritage" Building

Inside the library

Garden view from the library

View from a window of the library

St Paul Church

St Paul Building

Silhouettes in the Science building

St Paul Station (not too busy)

St. Paul station before the train arrived

Sharon Arts Center selects my Shell proposal for their Share program!

Not having made any entries in my blog since the Guatemala trip in early February I thought it would be of some interest to post some photo news.

I submitted an entry into the Sharon Arts Center call for entry in their CSA program ( and was honored to be chosen ( as one of the contributing artists. I proposed to make a folio of five images of shell photographs, enclosed in a folio and with a title, statement, list of images, and colophon booklet. This will be a limited addition of 50 folios plus five arts proofs. The images will be selected from the portfolio of shell images on my web site (

The status so far is I have designed the folio and had it die cut at a local die cut company. It is waiting to be debossed with some decoration and my name. I have chosen the images and will post them in a couple of days (my desktop computer is currently down and I expect to be up and running again by the end of the week and will be able to get access to the image files at that time). I have also completed the test pages for the insert to go along with the images. Paper for printing these should arrive by Thursday so should be able to print these then if my computer is back and running. I have printed a set of 20 images so far, need 55 to complete the edition.

Shares for the CSA program can be purchased at the Sharon Arts Center website,

Shell images and photos of the folio and text pages should be posted in the next week or so.