Places | Sydney Series

Sydney Series | Australia

I remember feeling excited about a visit to Taronga zoo. Why? Because to get there I went on a high speed boat and then a cable car ride. It’s a huge place to walk around and I was greeted by the beautiful sight of giraffes eating overlooking the spectacular Sydney skyline!

 

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Intricate pattern on the beautiful giraffes

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Photo Friday: Going Candid

The Art of Candid Street Portraiture | Crisol Street Photography

Have you ever tried Street photography?

It’s more difficult than you think!

This collection of black and white photos was taken at the Mercado De Motores, a weekend market in the Railway Museum in Delicias, Madrid.

During the day, a challenge had been set by the photography group Crisol Street Photography, I had joined during my stay in Madrid. The founder, Levi Shand, had asked all the members in attendance to think about ’emotion’ whilst taking a shot, so basically shoot street photography whereby the person shows their emotion.

Boy, I was not looking forward to this.

Why?

I just did not like invading people’s spaces when taking photos, it makes me feel really uncomfortable, but then, it’s not a bad thing to get out of your own comfort zone every now and then.

The only way I could approach this challenge was to take photos of people looking away, or people in mirrors or of children playing.

However, there’s one image, and if looks could kill…as they say…this was that occasion.

The young lady in the said shot did not look amused. After the candid photo of her, I approached her and told her that I thought she looked really stylish, (the lady in white) hence the reason for my shot to which she then wore the most beautiful big smile and posed for me…but then that’s not candid….?
What a Twist!
Anyway, here are the results…

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Motion

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Writing 101: Dear Sydney

Today’s assignment: write the post in the form of a letter.

I decided to write the letter as TravelMemos to the city of Sydney via Instagram as I liked the response from my first posting on the City Of Sydney’s Instagram page:

 

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Do you think this format works?
Kindly leave comments below.

Photo Gallery: Sunrise, Sunset…

Sunrise, Benalmadena Costa, Spain 2014

Sunrise, Benalmadena Costa, Spain 2014

Beautiful Sunrise, Benalmadena Costa, Spain

Beautiful Sunrise, Benalmadena Costa, Spain

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Sunset, Malaga Port, Spain

Sunset, Sydney, Australia

Sunset, Sydney, Australia

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Sunset, The Royal Palace grounds, Madrid, Spain

Sunset, Malaga, Spain

Sunset, Malaga, Spain

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The end of the day, Bil Bil Castle, Benalmadena, Spain

Sunset, Alicante, Spain

Sunset, Alicante, Spain

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Sunset, Alicante, Spain

Abstract Sunset, Arroyo de la Miel, Spain

Abstract Sunset, Arroyo de la Miel, Spain

Acknowledging nature.

A gallery of images from my Instagram Page of sunrises with a few surprises…Early Bird

You can follow photos from my Instagram page on a daily basis here.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Photo Friday: Malaga Series

Meandering in Malaga

According to The Guardian, Malaga is one of the hotspots to visit in 2015, stating it is packed with the triple whammy of new attractions for the cultural city-break traveller to enjoy.

During most of 2014, my daughter travelled each month to stay with me in Spain, finishing work Friday evenings, flying from Manchester to Spain and returning back to the UK early Monday in time for work. We both enjoyed this special Mum and Daughter weekend time together, something we lacked in the UK.

I was staying in Arroyo de la Miel, Benalmadena at the time. We took a tram to Malaga town centre for our usual walkabout. The sun was not shining and the clear blue sky was amiss, but this didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for our myriad adventures in the city.

We couldn’t believe our eyes, the city was enveloped in fog, and it was July, the height of summer!

But you know what…? As the photos reveal, it was just as beautiful….to me anyway.

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Afloat

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Have a great weekend!

Photo Friday: Madrid Series

The Art of Airport Architecture

This week’s photos comes from the beautiful Madrid Barajas Airport, Terminal 4, Spain. It is modern, huge and Breathtaking!

My son was leaving for London after staying in Madrid with me for a few days. We took a taxi to Madrid airport and unfortunately was dropped off at the wrong terminal. Luckily we heard that there was a ‘free’ shuttle bus departing every 10 minutes to take passengers to Terminal 4.

I was not aware of what to expect, however I fully appreciated the beautiful architecture and it’s bright, cheerful and warm colours. The architect Richard Rogers was inspired by the silhouette of a bird in flight. You can see this reflected in the bamboo-clad ceiling waves of graceful curves and the heavy supporting columns take off in oblique directions, like tree trunks and branches rising to meet the forest canopy.

Be sure to take a quick tour to Barajas if you’re ever in Madrid, it’s well worth a visit!

Madrid Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain

Madrid Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain

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Colourful Madrid Airport

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Fascinating airport design

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Airport ceilings

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The airport itself is an architectural wonder

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The place which takes you to another world

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Modern cool structures

Reflection shot

Reflection shot

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Undulating ceiling

Unbelievable ceiling and supports

Unbelievable ceiling and supports

Interplanet

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Have a great Grand National weekend!

Writing 101: Be Brief

I have decided on completing a previous task, briefly:

“Write about the three most important songs in your life.”

1. Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite “Mars”
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmk5frp6-3Q

Why?
I organised concerts for my piano students on an annual basis and I felt Holst’s music set a riveting and exciting tone to the event as the audience was arriving…

2. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller / Billie Jean” Medley
https://m.soundcloud.com/alexcervera/michael-jackson-vs-richard-grey-billie-jeans-thriller-alexcerveras-medley-version-www-alexcervera-tk

Why?
I performed in a cover band called ‘Rio’ as a keyboard/electric violinist/backing vocalist and this was always the audience’s favourite…

3. The Charlie Daniel’s Band “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cDm_ZHyYTrg

Why?
As an electric violinist in various bands this was my party piece, my showstopper! The audience actually thought I was miming… But I’m not that good …(at miming)…haha

Writing101: A Room With A View

Córdoba was my sixth stop in Spain and I was determined to see the Mesquita once I read about the splendours of the building and how it had retained its former structure, a myriad of red and white arches only to be surrounded by an external wall and converted into a Cathedral.

My travels in Spain were instinctive. No plan, no itinerary, no map, ignorant of each city’s history, icons, festivals, idiosyncrasies…

What was I thinking?

It was serendipity that took me on a wanderlust of Spain, and Córdoba was no exception.

Waiting in the Patio de Los Naranjos – the courtyard of the orange trees, the huge wooden door to the entrance of the Mesquita opened and I entered with a crowd of tourists and locals alike.

The experience was surreal…my eyes deceived me, I was plummeted into sheer darkness! This can’t be!

I had attended an early morning viewing, free of charge I might add, from between 08:30hrs until 09:30hrs, however, at the time I was unaware that this would be cut short for a service to be performed that morning.

Hurry, hurry, take a shot, take a shot…oh no! The back of my camera’s LCD screen is devoid of an image…It’s just black!
Ok, calm down and change the settings…what the hell, people milling all over the place, where do I start first? I’m literally spinning like a top as I don’t know where to direct my attention…then I see another photographer…ok, ok, just watch him a while and see what he’s doing. I start to shadow him, and he’s oblivious, thankfully.

Nobody, but nobody mentions that when you enter this unique building with the most stunning and fascinating architecture there’s no lighting apart from a little sunlight streaming in from the windows creating interesting effects. I was totally disorientated.

A few more test shots and I start to find a setting that my camera likes, no flash allowed don’t forget. Phew! Nearly getting there…a shot here, a shot there,

I am in awe. Dumbstruck. The hall of arched pillars before me is becoming overwhelming. Get a low perspective, check for symmetry, get near the sunlight for some shadow play…I want it all and I want it now!

I’ll post a photo gallery of the beauty of the Mesquita Cathedral later but for now here’s an image on my instagram page.

Writing101: Unlock The Mind

I signed up for Writing101 today.

Today’s assignment is: To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

This post was inspired by ThatEmily.Wordpress.com “Hotel Review.”

I arrived on 13 February 2014 to join my husband at the Grand Marina Hotel in Barcelona, Spain as it was our wedding anniversary. He was already on business in Barcelona and had checked in to the hotel 2 days prior. I was met at the airport and driven by taxi to the glorious 5 star hotel overlooking the marina. I entered our room (number 607) at approx 14:30hrs. What the hell…where was maid service? The bed was dishevelled, the towels were dirty, and the room was a mess. It was a bad start to my Wedding Anniversary/Valentine weekend…Why did housekeeping not know who was arriving on that day?

Wanting to admire the view of the marina from the balcony, I tried with all my might to open the sliding glass door (on the left) to the terrace but it was very stiff to open so I left it and wandered into the bathroom to put out my toiletries and freshen up. My husband went onto the balcony using the glass door on the right. It flew open with his hand still on the door, needless to say he trapped his thumb between the door and the stationary glass panel wall, almost cutting his thumb off!

When I went into the bathroom, which was not only large but also had an adjacent large shower room and toilet too, I noticed that there was no overhead light in the shower room. Why? It was far too dark especially as it was enclosed with no windows.

We promptly went down to reception to ask for maid service in the room and the first aid box… all within the first 30 minutes of arriving…

We then went on to the roof terrace and found a beautiful sun trap to enjoy the stunning February hot weather…but low and behold, the terrace furniture had seen better days…the fabric on the chairs was ripped to shreds and not the most comfortable of seats…What was going on and could it get any worse?

Returning back to the room, I wanted to make a cup of coffee and couldn’t understand why the tea, coffee and kettle was on a high shelf along the corridor at the entrance of the room. I looked for a plug socket for the kettle but couldn’t find one. I rang down to reception and asked where I would find a socket to use the kettle. The response I received was to use the bathroom socket or to use the socket under the table.

So I was expected to get down on my hands and knees in order to use the kettle or go into the bathroom to make a cup of coffee, in a five star hotel in the middle of Barcelona overlooking the marina!!!!! What was all that about?

The next morning on our way out to breakfast a young receptionist asked if everything was ok to which I relayed all of the above incidents. I ended the conversation by mentioning that it was my wedding anniversary as well as Valentine’s day. That evening after a day of sightseeing, when we arrived back at the room, there was a pathetic tiny box of chocolates on the bed. The box measured 3″ x 3″ and contained 4 chocolates. No flowers, no wine, no fruit….nothing, but 4 pieces of chocolate in a tiny box, it was embarrassing to say the least, I wouldn’t have bothered with such a poor gesture!

On the third day I noticed that our coffee cups were still dirty after maid service and the kettle was still on the floor, to which I was surprised to see the laminate floorboards had moved and the underlay was on display. How much more of this could I take coupled with the fact that on that very same day the sound of high heels was clattering around from either next door or above. This was annoying.

On the day of our departure, the doorman hailed a taxi from the queue in front of the hotel and instructed the taxi driver to take us to the airport. My husband offered a 50 euro note to pay for the fare to which the taxi driver insisted he didn’t have any change. It was stalemate, the taxi driver wouldn’t budge to find change and we didn’t want to hand over the money. Finally, I decided to get out of the taxi in the pouring rain and ask around for change. How can a professional taxi driver not have change? Needless to say, a very disappointing experience at The Grand Marina Hotel in Barcelona, Spain from beginning to the very end. Would I stay there again? What do you think?

Here’s a promotional video of the
Grand Marina Hotel, Barcelona, Spainlooks great doesn’t it?

Photo Friday: Manchester Series

This week’s photos comes from in and around Manchester, a follow on from my previous post…but a little more creative.

Manchester is one of the nation’s most vibrant cities and is notable for its architecture, culture, musical exports, media links, scientific and engineering output, sports clubs and transport connections.

Manchester has something for everyone.

 

Manchester Town Hall from the NCP rooftop carpark

Manchester Town Hall from the NCP rooftop carpark

 

Fountain Street, Manchester

Fountain Street, Manchester

 

Sunset on Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre

Sunset on Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre

 

'Fire Window' Manchester Cathedral, designed by Margaret Traherne 1996 after the bombing in Manchester

‘Fire Window’ Manchester Cathedral, designed by Margaret Traherne 1996 after the bombing in Manchester

 

The Lowry Footbridge, MediaCity, Salford Quays

The Lowry Footbridge, MediaCity, Salford Quays

 

Number One First Steeet, Manchester

Number One First Steeet, Manchester

 

Dark Alley, Manchester

Dark Alley, Manchester

 

Iconic City Tower, Manchester

Iconic City Tower, Manchester

 

Civil Justice Centre, Manchester

Civil Justice Centre, Manchester

 

One Angel Place, Manchester

One Angel Place, Manchester

If you enjoyed this post, consider recommending it through Twitter or Google+ or ‘liking’ it on facebook. This will enable me to grow an audience and continue bringing content on a frequent basis. Thanks for reading and for your support. Have a great Easter!