Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

October 21, 2019

CRUISING THE MED: JOURNAL ENTRY #1

[REMEMBER, CLICK ON IMAGES FOR FULL-SIZED VIEWING]   

 ... my brother asked me to join him on a little wanderabouting of the mediterranean ... all expenses paid ... hmmmmm ... i've a rather busy schedule, as most of you know, but i somehow managed to squeeze in time for three days in rome and thirty-four days aboard holland-america's liner the "ms rotterdam" ... by today's standards, with a capacity of 1400, the ship is relatively small, but, as far as i'm concerned, it's still wonderfully luxurious ...

... internet at sea is rather sketchy, most likely 'cause just like on land it seems many people are never disconnected, so here are some ground rules ... at sea i'll do best i can, which means it'll be way after midnight that i post ... i'm going to try to do one entry a week ... on shore we may find internet cafes, if we don't get lost, that is, like we did this afternoon ... i'm not going to "chronicle" our adventure, that's a decision i made before leaving ... instead, this'll be more of a rambling stream-of-conscious type presentation ... ditto for my photography, i'm not try to do a national geographic story ... i'm just lookin' and seein' and snapping as my whims and desires drive me ...

... so, take a moment and travel with us ...

... later i'll snap some pictures aboard the ship ... suffice to say, small as it is my cabin is so comfortable i think i could live in it full-time ... !!! ... of course, having 24/7 housekeeping service is rather nice, too ... i have to remember to put the little "privacy please" tag in the door, otherwise if i step out for even a minute when i return the room's been made up fresh ... 24/7 on room service, too ...
    
... across the street from our rather posh hotel, early in the morning ...
    
    
... my brother, who has never cared much for outside dining, starting to realize that he might have to change his opinion ...
    
    
... while waiting for our meals i wandered the intersection ...
    
    
... yea, here's that "stream-of-consciousness" thing ... is too much for me to try to chronologically order my pictures, so you might as well get used to a rather random presentation ... while mike sat for the afternoon at a streetside cafe, i wandered the streets of roam ... i bumped into the chiesa di sant' ignazio di loyola, a 400 year-old church ...
    
    
... maybe i'm just looking for it, but it seems to me that in italy it's still okay to enjoy watching a walking-away woman ...
    
    
... i titled this one "busted in rome" ...
    
    
... these were the pilot boats that met us as we entered the strait of messina ... i got the impression they were having great fun playing around in our ship's wake ...
    
    
... our little culinary discovery ... "style" of image, just me playin' around ...
    

... late at night, mike and i sitting outside at a little street cafe, i noticed that there were other brothers enjoying the city ...
    
    
... mike, strolling the night along the via del bufalo ...
    
    
... yes, absolutely, his opinion of streetside dining is changing ...
    
    
... very early in the morning, from the front door of our hotel ... by the way, by rome standards this is a very straight and very wide street ...
    
    
... in the vatican ... i'll post images sometime of things i saw, but this is one i was most happy finding ...
    
    
... the vatican ... pope fella lives off to the right in a nice apartment, he refused the traditional palace digs ... people are in the three-hour line that i didn't have to stand in ... my good looks and mike's bucks, how nice ...
    
    
... i didn't have three coins ... actually, since after the vatican i missed my ride back to the hotel, it turned out having some folding euros was a good thing ... luckily, i'd put a card from the hotel in my pocket, too, otherwise i wouldn't have had a clue where to direct the cabby ... oh, yes, cab drive in rome—put that on your "ultimate amusement park ride" life list ...
    
    
... i sooooo wish i had a motorcycle to drive in room ... cobblestones, worn slick, pedestrians who totally don't look, twisting winding streets—oh, what an adventure that would be ...
    
    
... no, not the sistine chapel ... seems there're a lot of painted ceilings in rome, this one's in the sant'ignazio ... (a four panel twenty-frame hdr merge, by the way ... translation: one-two minutes to shoot, over an hour to process) ...
    
    
... this little model is a symbolic church of heaven ... nice, but some h.o. scale lionel h.o. trains and tracks would make it even cooler ...
    
    
... the front of the church ... exposure was easy for this shot, but the perspective adjustments took almost an hour ...
    
    
... i turned my head, she leaned hers, i snapped, she pulled away ... henri, once more i thank you for the lessons ...
    
    
... the alley—whoops, sorry—boulevard next to the church ...
    
    
... creating this great fun ... first, the square in front of the church is so small that the only way i could photograph the front was to take six frames and merge them ... after that, well, i just wanted to somehow present the "flavor" of the building ... and, yes, the only geometrically accurate section is the very center of the image ...
    
    
... entertainment to go with my pasta ...
    
    
... another waiting-for-my-food snaps ...
    
    
... our hotel lobby early in the morning ...
    
    
... from the front door of the hotel ...
    
    
... stopping time, that's of the best ways to measure living ...
    
    
... if you're surprised that a rationale agnostic such as i would be fascinated with this image, well, perhaps sometime you can buy me coffee and i'll explain ...
    
    
... wow ... wow-wow-wow ...
    
    
... above the rotunda of this church there is no dome ... nope ... just a fantastic illusion painted upon a flat ceiling ...
    
    
... rome, athens, all-you-can-eat food, room service, private berth—nah, for me this is what this trip is about ...
    
    
    
    
... for both of us, the last time we were on a cruise ship it was painted green and taking us to the territory of alaska ... the troopship uss general m.m.patrick, beans and a cot and looney tunes cartoons projected on a white-washed bulkhead—oh, my, the rotterdam is a great step up in our wanderabouting ...

... athens tomorrow, i need to get some sleep ... g'night ...