2014 Favorites – Hotel

There is a difference between “Best” hotel and FAVORITE hotel.. Sometimes they are the same, but in my case, they are not..

The best hotel we stayed in was, by far, the Grand Hotel Continental ... This is a 5 star luxury hotel in Bucharest.. Beautiful building, wonderful staff, great breakfast, awesome service and the room was very nearly opulent..Of course, for the first time in my travels, I reserved a suite and the experience was such that I will do that again.. at least once a year…somewhere..lol

But my favorite hotel this year was, and still is, The Charles Bridge Palace in Prague.. Situated just a short walk from the historic Old Town and over-looking the Vltava River, it is in a perfect spot for visiting the city..

The rooms are spacious, well appointed and have wonderful views of the city…

Prague West 2


The staff is courteous, friendly and very helpful with anything you might need.. The metro station is 5 minutes away and a trolley stops 50 meters from the hotel..

Prague is a wonderful city anyway..and when you couple it with a stay at the Charles Bridge Palace, it becomes damn near magical..

Happy Travels!

Photography as Art                        Fine Art America

2014 Favorites – Cities


15 countries….21 Cities..  Since my New Year’s resolution in January of 2014 was to visit a new country every month, I can happily say “Mission Accomplished”.. But where do those trips rate?  This is difficult because every trip was awesome.. it just so happens that some places ranked higher on the awesomeness scale..

Athens from Acropolis

                                                     Athens from Acropolis

We started off the year going to Greece.. followed by Cyprus, Spain, the Czech Republic, Austria, Turkey, Sweden, Romania, Poland, Latvia / Estonia, Netherlands, Belgium and Italy… Unfortunately Croatia (at the end of the week) will miss this years cut..

This is where it gets difficult..

#1 – Stockholm, Sweden    <— Past Posts from Stockholm

There are a couple reasons I chose Stockholm..

City Hall DSC_0074


The photographic opportunities were amazing.. The city, itself, while being a walking friendly place, has an impressive public transportation system.

DSC_0349 DSC_0162


Stockholm is the definition of New Age technology meets Old World charm..

#2  Barcelona, Spain  <– Past Posts from Barcelona

For me, the difference between Barcelona and Stockholm, as a tourist, is negligible. Good food..good people and a wonderful year-round climate, makes it a great city to visit.

DSC_4013 DSC_4532 DSC_4909


#3  Riga, Latvia   and   Tallinn, Estonia   < —- Past Posts from Riga and Tallinn

What a wonderful trip this was…Able to see two world class UNESCO site filled cities in one 5 day trip.. Needless to say, modern amenities and old world architecture make this an easy choice..


DSC_4430 DSC_4447 DSC_4548



DSC_4568 DSC_5086 DSC_5408


So there are the top 3 from last year…although technically it is 4…

Now the Not Best trip…

Larnaca, Cyprus

To be honest.. it was a good trip. Not one of the best, but a lot of that was my fault for planning a trip in the really really OFF season

DSC_4052 DSC_4085 DSC_4158 DSC_4180


Beautiful scenery..interesting city..but almost no people..and no people meant almost everything was closed for the season.. It was difficult to even find a place to eat..  I will return to Cyprus on another trip..during a different time.. who knows, maybe it will move up the list..

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art


2014 Favorites _ Prelude


As the New Year approaches, we all have a tendency to look back at the past year and reflect  … and when the new year rings in, I will have completed one of my goals for the year..


12 months … 15 countries …21 cities..

That doesn’t include the trips to explore Ukraine, where I currently live…

Arch at Night


Over the next few days, I will the best and the not-best of this year long adventure… I can’t say “worst” because as a bastardization of a common saying goes –

Handlebars BW

The worst day traveling beats the best day working…



Tomorrow – Best and Not Best City ….

Happy Travels!!




Florence – 1st Things First

My friends invariably ask me 2 questions… Where are you going this month? and What do you do first? The answer to the first question changes every month… The answer to the second, however, is always the same…

Just wander.. roam..explore with no destination in mind…

Cold Drinks BW


Up and down the side streets, in and out of alleys…

Cold Drinks Early Evening Stars


Early evening … lights just beginning to come on… the streets in Florence were strangely empty of people… even the Piazza di Duomo

1st Look - Bell Tower Details-Duomo


Maybe because it was late November.. maybe because it had just stopped raining..  It was peaceful.. quiet..and very pretty.

Well Lit Scooters on a Narrow Street Cold Drinks River Scene


A great 1st night..

Happy Travels!

Photography as Art                         Fine Art America

Italian Trains

Train travel in Italy is a breeze..  Tickets can be purchased online at Italiarail and come in 2 basic types.. E-Ticket and Self -Print. The inter-city trains are usually e-ticket and the regionals are self-print..

Most trains from Rome will start at the Roma Termini Station.. Ours did..

Roma Termini Station

The central station in Rome is a lot like a small city, with designer shops, restaurants, and small stands selling everything from pretzels to souvenirs.  Needless to say, it is a pretty big place.


The trains are easy to find.. the routes can be a little difficult. At any given time there can be several trains, either going to or passing through wherever you are trying to get, and leaving within 15 minutes of each other.  Fortunately, the route signs are labeled with each stop that continually scrolls…keep your eyes open and pay attention and you’ll be fine..

Looking for Our Train

Track 6 - Our Train

As I said, the trains are clean and comfortable.. The seats in 1st class have power outlets and tables.

Inside 1st Class

The trip to Florence from Rome takes a mere 1 1/2 on the ICN (nonstop) trains with the regionals being a bit slower. Either way, it is a nice way to enjoy the rolling Italian countryside.

There are a couple train stations in Florence..The first being Campo di Marte.

Campo di Marte

It is a good 20-30 minute hike to the center of the city so if you are staying close to the Duomo your best bet is the next station, Santa Maria Novella.

With only a couple days on this whirlwind trip.. we dropped our bags at the hotel (Hotel Cardinal of Florence) and had a cappuccino on the terrace with this view…

From Terrace - Panorama From Terrace 2 Florence Rooftops

Then off to start exploring…

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art                Fine Art America

A Selection of Doors – Rome

It’s Thursday.. must be time for a new selection of doors..

3 Lions 73

As those of you who follow along with me know.. doors are one of my favorite subjects to shoot..an endless variety abound in every city I visit.

Sign and Trees Traslochi No Parking Sign


But in a lot of cases, no matter how different they are, they are also very similar.. especially in cities like Rome. Arched doorways and wooden doors..

Green 43 Green 23 Different Walls 67 Crooked 105 Broken Marble


Different..but the same..no?

238 Cavour Behind the Wall 32 Marble and Grate Different Walls 67 Long Step with Trees


Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art                          Fine Art America


Coliseum and Beyond

After a strenuous climb, a caapucino and gelato, we were ready to continue our walking tour of the city.

Hidden at the Top BW


Of course, with so many sites to see near the river, we had to make a couple of little detours on our way to the coliseum.. But not before we did a really touristy thing.. mail a few post cards from the Vatican Post Office..

Vatican Post


And some things we saw… not in any particular order

Angel with Cross


Altare della Patria

Castel Sant'Angelo Piazza del Popolo Sacro Cuore del Suffragio Temple of Portunus


Cool city, huh?

After meandering the alleyways and side-streets for a few hours, we finally arrived at the Coliseum..with the Arc de Constantinople standing right along side..

Collesium 1 Collesium Interior 3 Collesium Interior2


AC 1 Arch and Collesium


The sites of the Temple of Venus and Roma are right across the street …

Site of Temple of Venus and Roma


The Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus) was the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and also stands near by.. Unfortunately, access was closed for the day.. possibly due to the demonstration that was forming at the Coliseum..

It was beginning to get dark, so we headed back to the hotel… early train for Florence in the morning..

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art


Some Weird Art

I never know when the urge to take one of my normal photos and turn it into something completely different will strike..

I never know what the subject will be .. or why..

The photo below is a massively edited picture of the main train station in Antwerp, Belgium


Sometimes it is just a matter of trying out a new filter…one that might give a desired effect. Usually though, presets only give me part of what I am looking for. In that case, more “tweeking” is needed in an photo editor.  The above photo was actually taken on my I-Pad and processed using Snapseed..

Then loaded into Zoner Photo Studio for finishing..  Presets rarely match my vision.. Heck, sometimes even my vision doesn’t match my “vision”

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art   

If you are a fan of Black and White Art..check out Hotshoe.org..

Photo of the Day – Rome

As I said.. I will be getting back into the groove here.. and I am usually as good as my word..lol

Hidden Alley Church


This is a scene from the terrace of our hotel..it’s actually a small and old church hidden away in an alley.. Unfortunately, I never could get inside..

Happy Travels!

Photography as Art

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