Month: May 2010

A Note on Travel Posts

The previous post was our trip to Spain from March 30 until Easter, which was over a month ago. Now, it may seem like I am just being lazy about posting to my blog (that’s only partly true :P), but here is why it can take a while to get one of these up:

Steps to creating a travel post

  1. Trip summary
    Make quick list of all places visited (photos usually help remind me of everything we did, but it is best to write it down).
  2. Sort photos
    Now, you may think this isn’t a terribly time consuming step, but if you have two photo-snapping-happy people and one digital camera, it can be a nightmare. After downloading them to the computer, we go through all the photos together to find the best ones. We are usually good at determining who took what (we have a good technique of taking a photo of one another when we swap), but whittling this list down is time consuming. To give you an idea, we took 1300 photos in Spain. After a couple hours, we had them narrowed down to 80 for Herr, and 78 pour moi.
  3. Photo clean up
    Here I copy my selected photos to a separate folder and go through every photo for touch ups. Most of my photos are fairly straight, but I still haven’t mastered the “exposure” levels on the camera. One day I WILL take a photography class. 😛
  4. Determine blog-useful photos
    Now I have to choose from those I made prettier, what ones highlight the trip and look good doing it.
  5. Upload photos
    This is a very painful step because I upload archival quality (well, the highest I can produce at least). Of those I chose for the blog, I then determine what ones have artistic merit and go into my gallery or if they go to my scrapbook (means they are online but not featured in my collection). Then I tag, upload, wait, and submit (20 times in the case of Spain, plus 2 failed uploads). Uploading a 7-9MB file can take 3 or 4 minutes, so I usually multi-task at this point.
  6. Write!
    Ha ha, it had to happen eventually. While those files upload, I start writing. For every attraction, I try to relocate the Web site. Sadly, this is also not terribly easy when the Web site is foreign (notice the .es for Spain and .cat for Catalanya); how the heck did I find them when I was researching our itinerary before the trip? 😛
  7. Finalize
    Once the photos are done I now code them into my writing and preview (veeeeeery important). Any broken graphic links or typos are fixed. Hopefully I find any grammatical or nonsensical sentences (I am so very fond of them). Once all is well, I hit “Publish” and hope I caught everything (I usually look over the published version for any missed mistakes).

All said and done, I think I spent about 7-8 hours on the last post. I was hoping to get our trip to Amsterdam done today as well, but well, we’ll see. 😛 I was really slowed down by the two conferences (one down in Garmisch) and the immediate Amsterdam trip that followed; for about a week I was playing catch-up with e-mail and projects, purchases and planning our upcoming trip. While trips are great fun, daily life does not stop for them. *sigh* Anyhow, hope you found this enlightening! Enjoy! 😀

PS Happy Mother’s Day!

Spain in Pictures

We left for Spain at the end of March and returned on Easter, so I am a little behind. 😛 To make it up, this post will be laden with photos (moreso than usual). We flew into Barcelona, took the high speed train to Madrid (the train had baggage security!), and flew back from Madrid.

Day 1: Barcelona

After an hour looking for our B&B the night before, we walked the few blocks to the Sagrada Familia. What a sight! It isn’t done (been under construction for over a century), but it will be in less than a decade. We will have to go back.

Sagrada Familia.
Sagrada Familia.

We trekked to another Gaudi creation, Parque Guell. Beautiful, although very busy. Live music in every corner. We walked most of it and toured Gaudi’s house.

Guell Park.
Guell Park.

Near the coastline we found Parc Ciutadella. It wasn’t as snazzy as Guell, but it houses a very lovely fountain. You can also find a zoo, a few museums, and the Catalan Parliament there.

Ciutedella Park.
Ciutedella Park.

Just in the north corner of the park was Barcelona’s Arc De Triomf. It was more pleasant than Paris’ because of the long promenade with some lovely architecture on either side whereas the Parisian arch is in the middle of a roundabout. 😛

Arc de Triomf.

We ended the day with a walk down the pier and a quick step into the Mediterranean. Our dinner was at the 7 Portes, a very old Catalan restaurant highly recommended.


Day 2: Barcelona

First stop: Casa Batllo. The house architecture was inspired by the sea. I would love to have something more organic like this whenever we get a house. 😀 We made a quick swing by Casa Mila, but the line was too long to go up and enjoy the sea of chimneys.

Casa Batllo.
Casa Batllo.
Casa Batllo.
Casa Mila.

Instead we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and walked down La Rambla, the most well-known street in Barcelona. After passing many booths, we arrived at the Colom (Christopher Columbus) monument. We took the elevator up to see a grand view of Barcelona then walked around the pier a bit more.

Las Ramblas.
Columbus monument.

With some time left, we went back north to the Cathedral that has a spectacular courtyard with duck pond and an old drinking fountain. By this point, I was feeling the beginnings of the miserable cold Herr had for several days, so it was soup and flan for me while Herr had black paella.


Day 3: Barcelona

Our last day in Barcelona we spent hanging around La Rambla area, which has great shopping, and toured the Palau de la Musicaa Catalana . Because the building is privately owned, we weren’t allowed to take photos, but it is a very lovely building with a beautiful interior. It would have been terrific to see a performance!

Unfortunately, we caught the train before that evening’s show. The AVE high speed train requires a baggage security check because of terrorist bombs a while back, but on the train they showed a movie! Like an airplane would! Okay, I thought it was awesome, even if it was an American movie dubbed in Spanish. 😛

In Madrid, we found our room was upgraded to a suite. Even though the rooms needed serious updating, I found it very nice nonetheless.

Day 4: Madrid

Our busy day in Madrid was a dreary one. We went to the Temple of Debod, a gift from Egypt to Spain for helping rescue temples in the flooding plain of a dam.

Temple of Debod.

We backtracked to the Renia Sophia to admire some artwork including several Picassos including the Guernica, although I found some line drawings a few rooms down to be much more interesting.

We made it to the National Library in time to run through their Paper in History exhibit (several of their most priceless books on display!), and then ran around the block to the Archaeological Museum (it literally abuts the library) before the museums closed.

National Library.

It was nearly 3 p.m. when we ate at the Hard Rock. With nearly replenished energy and happier feet, we found the entrance to Parque Retiro just as it started to rain. In the middle of the park is the Crystal Palace, a large open floor glass building.

We were soaked when we made it to the hotel (which may have been why our colds lingered for some time…), then we caught our flight the next morning. I would like to return to Spain when the weather is warmer to see Valencia. 😀