The weekend before Christmas, the wife and I headed out to spend the weekend in Helen, Georgia. Helen is fairly well known for it’s Alpine Christmas decorations, which seemed like a fun thing to see, and is very close to Unicoi State Park and the Chattahoochee National Park.
Sounds like a great place to get out the camera gear and see what we can capture, right? Continued
It’s been an annual tradition for the last few years on my website to put together my favorite photos of 2013. This year, since I now have a blog specifically devoted to photography, it only seems appropriate to bring that tradition over here with me! As I’ve often said in previous years, I make no claim that these are the “best” or most popular photos that I’ve taken during the past year, but they are my favorites. I hope you enjoy some of them too.
The slideshow above does require Flash, so if you’re looking at this post on an iOS device, just go over to Flickr and check out the set!
Here hoping you have a great 2014!
Our final day was again spent docked in Marseille, but this was the day we had already planned to take an excursion out to Cassis for the morning. Cassis is a seaside town, which made it fairly quiet this time of year, but again, the weather provided us with some noise as there were a few rain showers and plenty of waves rolling into the shoreline.
After we returned from this trip, someone asked me what the one thing I most enjoyed about the trip was. My honest answer was being in the Colosseum and the Forum in Rome, because of the historical significance of those sites. No question those were two things that I had always wanted to go and see for myself, and was thrilled to have had time to spend walking around them and soaking that up. However, if they had asked me what I enjoyed photographing the most, hands down it was Cassis. Continued
After our departure from the port at Livorno, we were scheduled to sail to Monte Carlo. That plan, however, was not to be.
With rainy, stormy weather, we were looking at 18-20 foot seas that evening, with that continuing into the next day. With Monte Carlo being a tender port, that would mean boarding small boats that would transport us from where the ship anchored into the actual port. With seas that high, those tenders would not be running, so there wasn’t much point in sailing to Monte Carlo. Instead, we simply headed for Marseille a day early. I will admit, I was looking forward to seeing Monte Carlo, but you can’t argue with nature, so we’d have to make the best of some free time in Marseille, even if it was a bit rainy there as well! Continued
After our morning in San Gimignano, it was off to spend the afternoon in Siena! Siena, was also an important city in this area of Italy that was eventually conquered by the Florentines, but unlike San Gimignano, Siena remained a center of banking, thus it has always been a somewhat important part of the region, even if there were times when the money ran out in Siena, which is why you’ll find a piazza that appears to lead nowhere from the Cathedral. They didn’t finish building the cathedral they had planned. Still, even if it isn’t the largest Doumo in the world, as they had planned, it’s still very impressive.
After our long day in Rome, we had another long day of touring, but this time we were in port at Livorno, and busing off to Tuscany. We chose a two-part tour, where we would spend the morning in San Gimignano, and the afternoon in Siena.
San Gimignano is an interesting place to visit, mostly because of what it wasn’t. During Medieval times and up into the 14th century, it was a stop on the way to the Vatican. It was well known for it’s medieval towers, which were built as a way for the wealthy family to flaunt their wealth. The higher the tower, the more wealth, and of course, the more you could see other families who might be trying to attack you. Eventually it got so out of control that the rulers of the city finally set a rule that no one could have a tower higher than the one at the Palazzo Communale, the community building. That situation remained in effect basically until the plague came to town, and the rest of Europe, at which point the city fell under the rule of Florence and lost any of it’s importance. In fact, it didn’t really have any strategic importance at all after that. Thus, the city is a great example of a walled medieval city, which still has over a dozen towers viewable from quite a ways away, because no one ever tried to conquer it, or rebuild it. It still has over a dozen of the medieval towers, and the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
What to say about Rome? Before this trip, I had never been there. Opinions on visiting Rome vary greatly, from “too crowded”, to “amazing”. The one thing everyone agreed on, though, was that you have to see it for yourself. As someone who has always been interested in history, of course I was excited to see it and to wander around some of the oldest structures that I have ever seen in person.