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Cruise on the Douro River, Portugal (with a day trip to Salamanca in Spain), June 2016

We recently went on a 7-day cruise on the Douro River in Portugal, a wonderful experience. This cruise started and ended at Porto and included navigating 5 locks, among them the highest single-lift lock in Europe.

We saw many examples of Portugal's use of solar power and hydro-electric power, and learnt why its world-leading investment in renewable energy is so good for its economy, as well as for the environment.


Click the above image to see the trip itself...


...or click this one to see my photos of some of the art we found in public places


We also visited the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum in Salamanca. Photography wasn't permitted there, but click the picture for my post about it.


If you are interested, these are also the direct links to my photoblogs:

[Cruise on the Douro River]
[Some Wall Art Along the Douro]
[The Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, Salamanca]


If you would like to skip the photoblog, then (as usual) click the chevrons (>>) below to move on to my next “normal” post


Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, Salamanca, Spain, June 2016

[Portugal/Spain visit continued from Part 3]

We had a day trip into Spain to visit the beautiful city of Salamanca in Spain, where because of the heat (close to 100°F) we spent the majority of our free time in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, one of the finest collections of such art and sculpture in the world.

We weren't allowed to take photos there (except in its wonderful Art Nouveau café, see later in this post), but I found online some work by artists and sculptors that we really liked.

If you click any of the following images you will be taken to the source of that image.

“Les Girls” by Demetre Chiparus


“Coy Dancer”, an Art Deco chryséléphantine by Ferdinand Preiss


A “Spring Landscape” vase by the Daum Brothers (more of their work can also be found here)


A beautiful vase (housed in this museum) by Émile Gallé (more of his work can be found here)


An Arsall Cameo Glass vase - Arsall was a trade name (from Art+Allemand) of the VLG glass company


We were allowed to take photos in the museum's wonderful Art Nouveau café (you may want to follow that link to see many images of the place).

I couldn't resist taking photos of the “Belle Epoque” espresso coffee maker, a work of art in itself!

Click either image if you would like to know more about it



If you like this...

[Index of all my photoblogs]



Fire place at the Casa Batlló, one of Gaudi's most famous and beautiful creations

Found a very long time ago on the fine pages of batchbatcharak, one of my favourite Categorians (click his tag to see why!).




This spectacular HD video was filmed over the course of 7 days at El Teide (El Pico del Teide), Spain’s highest mountain, located in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, one of the best places in the world to photograph stars.

This video is by Terje Sørgjerd, whose other work (such as this collection of his time lapse photography) is well worth checking out.

If you like this...

[Try the time lapse photography tag!]


This delightful lady is (IMO) one of the UK's finest imports from Spain. Tamara Rojo, who is Principal Ballerina at the English National Ballet, has recently also been appointed its Artistic Director.

I saw her talking about her new role (which she manages to combine with dancing) on BBC's Breakfast show. Her bubbly, positive personality reminded me greatly of the beautiful Brazilian-French actress Bérénice Bejo, whose smile as Peppy Miller in that wonderful movie The Artist could brighten anyone's day.

(If your day needs further brightening, you might also like these posts.)




Majorca, September 2012


Click the picture if you would like to see a post about our recent visit to the south-west coast of Majorca



Majorca, September 2012

The weather in England this summer (apart from the past few weeks) has been pretty awful, and the weather in the rest of Europe hasn't been so great either.

My spouse found a great last-minute deal for a week in a nice-looking hotel (the Luabay Galatzó) on the south-west coast of Majorca. It was full board, everything included, and we didn't expect to go many places or take many photos. Since Majorca is at about the same latitude as southern Sardinia and southern Italy, and only a few hundred miles from Africa, we thought we would be unlucky not to get some sun!

As it turned out, the weather was great, the hotel complex was very attractive, and I did take more photos than I had expected.

(A bad storm the previous week damaged a few things around the hotel, including the TV aerial feeds. We don't normally watch TV on holiday, but it meant that we missed the closing ceremony of the wonderful London 2012 Paralympics. I recorded it, though, and will post highlights later.)

Waking up later in the morning, after getting here around 4.30 AM... the view from our room


First impressions of the hotel and the weather were very encouraging!


Looking left, towards Santa Ponsa (the nearby small seaside resort of Peguera, or Paguera, is to the right, invisible from the hotel)



Roofs of the next level down... notice the hotel cat (see later)


Lots of terraces and green areas...


Walking around the main pool...


...you eventually reach the second pool, in the adjoining complex of Vista del Rey (this pool, frequented mainly by Germans, got very quiet later in the week)


There are various ways of walking down to Peguera... this way is via the steps leading down to the Vista del Rey pool (and a nice restaurant)



...or, retracing your steps, you can walk down through this seven-storey building, the Edificio Llevant, which juts a long way out from what is almost a sheer cliff (its shape reminded me somewhat of the tall keel of rock that divides Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings)


Taken from the top of the spiral staircase on the 7th floor... which is the floor where you enter, if coming from our hotel.... great views as you walk down to the lowest floors, which house a spa and gym (with a public entrance)


...either way down takes you onto a road, which eventually passes these gates


You can turn left and walk a short distance to a spot with a good view, still far above the sea...


...or you can turn right through a pine forest that takes you down to Peguera


I'm standing on a kind of knife edge of rock quite high above the beach and sea below... good idea not to try this if feeling wobbly! (Warnings but no barriers.) The rest of Peguera, frankly, is nothing to write home about...


An evening when we walked down to the Vista del Rey pool again, quite deserted


Reflections in the Vista del Rey restaurant windows (we only ate here once. The food at the hotel was very nice, and all food and drink there - including house wines, beer, Cava, etc. - was included in the price)



Another day, walking down through the Vista del Rey complex


Some very attractive villas and apartments down here


I could put up with living here for a while!





Most of the time the temperature was in the high 70's and low 80's, but we picked a hotter day to visit Palma (via local bus, which cost only 3.60 Euros per person each way, but unfortunately not all buses are air conditioned!)

Palma Cathedral, which the sea used to come right up to, so that the cathedral used to be reflected in it... unfortunately progress has moved the sea back...



This wonderful stained glass window, through which the sun was shining brightly...


... created some pretty rainbow effects on people and architecture inside



Just a nice picture on three large panels in the hotel lobby!


Sure enough, the hotel cat (a venerable creature obviously retired from being the official mouser/ratter) eventually found my spouse... (you may remember my post on Corsican Cats?)


Last evening at the main pool...


... the flight home left Palma at 4:50 AM, so we didn't have to leave the hotel until 1:10 AM (it was a long night!)





A slide show of Gaudi's wonderful architecture, set to the music of Queen - thanks to aldchronicle56 (Allan) for this one!




A great composition by Antonio Capel, from the Luis Sebastian Guzman Capel Gallery, Barcelona.