Acquitaine France and finding family!

Garden gnome

Garden gnome

My mother has been doing family research for years, as a result she has been able to find several members of her father’s family who come from Wales. One member of the family Richard now lives in the Aquitaine area of southern France. Mom first met Richard’s father George quite some time ago, and Richard has been kind enough to send mom a lot of his father’s family history research filling in blanks or branches in mom’s family tree, as well as an open invitation to visit his home if she was ever in the area.

We, Bill and I decided that we would pay a visit to Richard on mom’s behalf. It was a lovely visit to Aquitaine, and while there Richard took us to visit the Castle of Bonaguil, high on the hill just north-west of Agen.

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

Bonaguil Castle; copyright jmeyersforeman

We went out to a wonderful restaurant for dinner with some of his lovely friends, and watched the sunset over the beautiful valley.

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sunset after the rain; copyright jmeyersforeman

sunset after the rain; copyright jmeyersforeman

Richard also took us for a ride in his 1954 Austin Healey.

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Meeting and visiting with Richard was wonderful, he can’t thank him enough for the warm hospitality. It was a great treat to have someone show/drive us around the beautiful French countryside for a closer more personal view.  Thanks Richard for a wonderful two days.  We are off to Bordeaux!

 

Sunset, boats and Friday’s

sunset, boats and friday's

sunset, boats and friday’s

Between travelling to new locations, meeting new family and friends I have found a few minutes each day to watch a Photoshop tutorial and try some new creative techniques for manipulating an image! I love sunsets over the boats and harbour, playing with double exposure and textures adds a new layer of interest, pardon the pun.

I haven’t quite decided how far I will take the new techniques I have been learning, but we are off the Bordeaux France today. Hopefully we can find a wine tour!

Sunset at Llanes Spain

Bill at sunset: Llanes Spain

Bill at sunset: Llanes Spain 

Llanes, Austrias Spain has a very nice little harbour, a couple of nice beaches, and a lovely town centre with wonderful restaurants and shops, it was a nice relaxing place to spend a couple of days.

We were out one night trying to find a nice spot to watch the sunset, and capture a lovely view of the harbour for our memories of this wonderful little seaside town. When I looked back and saw Bill standing in the perfect spot I knew I had my photo. Yes, it could be anywhere, but I will remember that it was taken in the harbour of the lovely town.

Sunsets on the Atlantic Coast; Baiona Spain

Sunset at Baiona Spain

Sunset at Baiona Spain  

When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like this
When there’s no one complaining there’ll be days like this  – Van Morrison 

I have to admit that since arriving in Spain I have been looking forward to watching the sunset on this side Atlantic Ocean. Sunset is a wonderful time of day; the day’s business has been done or at least what could get done has been done. I know there are a few of you that burn the midnight oil either by choice or habit or a job, but for me being a morning person, the day’s business has been done, and a day where I can sit and watch the sunset reminds me of the Van Morrison song “Day’s like this” 

I hope you are having a  “day like this”

 

Sunset, Ciudad of Arts and Science, Valencia Spain

sunset at the Ciudad of Arts and Science, Valencia Spain

sunset at the Ciudad of Arts and Science, Valencia Spain 

Along an axis of just under two kilometres that was formerly the bed of the River Turia, in Valencia Spain, this complex of striking architecture – designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela – and an endless capacity for entertaining and stimulating the minds of its visitors. In its various buildings, known as Ciudad of Arts and Science, people can get to know different aspects of science, technology, nature, and art.

I previously posted about the Oceanografic which is part of this Science and Art Park, it was unfortunately the only building we were able to visit. The building on the left of the image, L ‘Hemisferic is home to an IMAX theatre, a planetarium and a laserium, while the building to the right just behind it is the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is home to an opera house and performing arts centre.

Most nights when we head out to do sunset photos we are alone, the evening settling in around us and the lights of the city start to flicker, Last night it was quite different, while we were standing at the northeast corner of the “pond” that surrounds the buildings waiting and watching for the sunset we were joined by a small class of photographers, experimenting with ND filters and long exposures, tourists from various parts of Spain, Holland, and the US all chatting away, enjoying the sunset and the shared experience of the beautiful evening.

 

 

Tarragona Spain

Tarragona Spain, at sunset

Tarragona Spain, at sunset 

While I have many wonderful photos and stories of Toledo Spain, we have moved onto Tarragona. About an hour south of Barcelona along the Mediterranean Sea, we thought a few days of rest with an ocean view would be a nice change from the hills of central Spain. It has been reported that Augustus Cesar wintered here, and there will be a big celebration during the month of May honouring his life and times on the 2000 anniversary of his death.

 

Hunting for the perfect Toledo Cathedral Photo

Toledo Cathedral, Toledo Spain

Toledo Cathedral, Toledo Spain 

Toledo is filled with narrow streets, and it is seemingly impossible to get a great view of the Cathedral. We are either peaking between buildings as we are here,  or looking up at it, as we were in the previous post. So today, I was on a mission to see the Cathedral, and get a memorable image. The image below is from the Alcazar Tower.

Toledo Cathedral

Toledo Cathedral   

We walked out-of-town, crossed the Tagas River on the Alcantara Bridge, a Roman bridge and headed to the Valle Hermitage, high on the hill for a sunset view of Toledo and the Cathedral.

Toledo at sunset

Toledo at sunset 

Toledo Cathedral at sunset

Toledo Cathedral at sunset 

Finally I found the near perfect reflection in the window of the tourist information office. I thought it appropriate the town map was hanging in the window.

reflection in the tourist information office

reflection in the tourist information office

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain,

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain on a Saturday night

Plaza Espana, Merida Spain on a Saturday night

We were sitting having a glass of wine in the Plaza Mayor, here in Merida last night. It was full of kids playing, parents with strollers, and old people walking hand in hand.  Thought out the square there are about 4 or 5 Tapa bars where music was playing, and people were visiting. I decided a long exposure showing people moving about was a wonderful way of capturing the light, and the life of the square.

Photos are available through my gallery.

Plaza Espana, Sevilla Spain in the evening

Plaza Espana, Spain Square in the evening

Plaza Espana, Spain Square in the evening

we had a warm cloudy night as we waited for the sunset and the street lights to come on around the Plaza Espana. Just as the lights came on the carriage stopped under the street light, as if to pose in the perfect light for this final image of the day.

The Plaza Espana, or Spain Square as it is called in English, is  located in the Parque de María Luisa was built in 1928 for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, and it is a beautiful place to spend the day when visiting Seville.

 

Seville Spain

Plaza Mayor, Metropol Parasol.

Plaza Mayor, Metropol Parasol 

There is so much to see in Seville that you would never see anywhere else. Here the Metropol Parasol, often called the Mushroom of Incarnation. It is both beautiful and functional it was built as part of the rehabilitation of the city centre.

boy chasing pigeons

boy chasing pigeons 

It doesn’t seem to matter where you go or what plaza you sit in, there will be pigeons, someone will feed the pigeons, a small child will try to chase them away, and I can’t help to try to get one picture. One of the many subject I like to watch and take pictures of.

Seville Cathedral and Giralda at the Plaza del Triunfo Seville Spain

Seville Cathedral and Giralda at the Plaza del Triunfo Seville Spain 

We sat in the Plaza del Triunfo watching people, the horse carriages and the sunset. By this time of day the tourists and locals alike have drifted away from the square and all was quiet. A beautiful finish to a wonderful day. It was time to find a Tapa bar and a glass of wine.