Madrid, Monday, May 30, 2011

Posted Posted in Europe, Sightseeing

Monday, May 30, 2011

Since the night before was a late one, I slept in until noon – which is just crazy, but since it’s my vacation I’ll take it. I had a lovely breakfast in the hotel and then went out for a day of walking all over Madrid, sightseeing, and enjoying this fabulous city.

Reina Sofia
Much of the afternoon was spent in the fabulous Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, where I learned a tremendous amount of history about Dali and Picasso. In addition to seeing the famous Le Geurnica. Here’s a photo montage of my favorite paintings.


Reina Sofia

Miro

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Madrid, Sunday, May 29, 2011

Posted Posted in Europe, Sightseeing

May 29, 2011

Jet lag got the best of me.  I slept in, went downstairs for breakfast, and then went back to the room to nap.  Then I rallied.
Museo del Prado

First stop was the Museo del Prado, Spain’s main art museum with the world’s best collection of (obviously) Spanish art.  Of course I couldn’t take pictures of any of it, but it was amazing.

Museo del Prado

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Madrid, Saturday, May 28, 2011

Posted Posted in Europe, Sightseeing
Sat, May 28
This was a true exploration day. The weather was warm and sunny, so I walked all around the city and absorbed the culture. 

Plaza de la Puerta del Sol
I was particularly intrigued by the Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, where hundreds of protestors had pitched their tents and tarps to speak out against the country’s financial crisis. Spain has a proud history of revolutions and revolutionaries, and this Plaza is often the site of protests. It was a city of tarps, tents, placards, speeches, and sweat. And it was fascinating to stroll around. 

My hotel – the Westin Palace

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11-30: Misool

Posted Posted in Asia, Indonesia, Scuba, Sightseeing

The weather in Indonesia was beautiful every day, but this day was near-perfect. White, puffy clouds in the distance and smooth, glass-like water as far as the eye could see. This was a day made for polarized lenses.

We had a packed dive schedule and – because of the number of live-aboards in the area – we had to dive 30 minutes earlier to make our dive sites before dozens of live-aboarders crashed down on our heads. (This is a funny comment, since often it’s the people in this group who are the live-aboarders. But for some reason we feel superior and obligated to our local dive sites.)

Dive #1: Boo Window
Boo was amazing. The current was light, but enough that fish were absolutely everywhere. We went down to 60’ to see some grey reef sharks swimming in the blue, then we gently paddled our way around the rest of the site. I gave up on macro in favor of hovering mid-water simply to look at the hundreds of fish around. I snapped a few pictures but my camera doesn’t do justice to the image of being surrounded by gorgeous, colorful schools of fish.


Fish and fish and fish and fish
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11-29: Misool

Posted Posted in Asia, Indonesia, Scuba, Sightseeing

Dive #1: Magic Mountain
When we arrived at the deeper pinnacle there were two mantas swimming through the cleaning station, but they both swam off when we got closer and never returned. So we spent much of our dive at 70’, puttering around and waiting for the mantas to show up again. They never did, but our safety stop was lovely. The light was gorgeous and the current perfect enough to have fish all over the place.


Life at seventy feet
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11-27: Misool

Posted Posted in Asia, Indonesia, Scuba, Sightseeing

I woke up Saturday morning with an annoying inflammation in my left ear. It wasn’t an infection because the outer-ear didn’t hurt, but clearing my ears caused pain. And since I knew the boat would be gone all morning on a two-tank dive today and planned to see the manta rays on Magic Mountain tomorrow, I thought it best to take a day off from diving and keep my head dry so I could be 100% for the mantas. It was a great decision, since I spent the day lounging all by myself, reading, and occasionally wading into the water from our porch.

 The blue boat, leaving without me
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11-26: Misool

Posted Posted in Asia, Indonesia, Scuba, Sightseeing

On the walkway from the dive hut to the eating area is a particular tree that swoops down from the rocks and back up again. It’s fine if you’re the average Indonesian height, but if you’re an average Westerner you have to duck to avoid it. Unless you’re Julian. Then you bonk yourself right in the head with it. He used my camera to take pictures of his minor injury which I was going to paste here, but I later realized he’d deleted them. Darn him.

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