A nice fall day

A Nice Fall Day

fall, autumn, photography

There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of Autumn leaves.  ~ Joe L. Wheeler

Today was a really great fall day.  Although it was grey and gloomy, the temperature was good and you could really feel fall sinking into your bones.  I spent the day taking a walk through my old hometown.  I also spent some time in the Pittsfield Cemetery doing a little photography.  I hope to do a bit more fall shooting in the next week or so, but for tonight, some images to help you have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Voices from the Past

Voices from the past

My POW and I in 1966

 

The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments.  If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by. ~ Alek Wek

My maternal grandfather and I had a special relationship right from the start, the advantage I think of being the first grandchild.  As my late granny often said, “your diapers were the only ones he ever change, never touched his own kids, but you were special.”  He doted on me, played with me and paid a huge amount of attention to me.  Naturally, we became close, very close and one of the little games he used to play with me when I was a baby was to make a fist and go “pow” when his fist touched me and I would laugh.  So as I started to speak I would say “pow” every time he came near and over time would come to call him Pow it became his family name.  I would hang out with him in his workshop, he’d take me for walks and most famously we would drink together.  Pow, with his mug of beer and me with a shot glass of milk.  We would slam back a drink and then I would yell, “more beer Pow!”  There is family famous a shot of the four year-old me and my Pow drinking at the kitchen table in my grandparents kitchen.  They occupied the first two floors of the house and my parents, myself and little sister lived on the third floor.

Although I was only five years old when my grandfather passed away, I have some specific memories of my time with him.  Once when I was in the hospital, I was frequently sick as a child, I remember waking up to find him and his best friend, my great uncle Joe sitting by my bedside.  I remember vividly that they brought me a bag of cowboys and Indians, very exciting as the cowboys actually sat on the little plastic horses.  I even remember sitting at the table with him drinking “beer” and at times over the years while growing up would from time to time mention details about him that would surprise my family that I remembered.

Several years after my paternal grandfather passed away I remembered some cassette tapes I had of recordings I had made of him and I talking when he was in his late 80’s.  At Christmas one year I had the cassettes turned into CDs and made copies for members of my family.  The effect was amazing, it made me realize something about remembering the dead.  We tell stories, we have photographs so we remember what people did, we remember what they look like, but we most often don’t have any recordings of their voices, so we forget what they sounded like.  The most frequent comment I got from family members was oh my god, I forgot about his laugh.  He had a great rolling laugh.

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My paternal grandfather

The success of that gift got me thinking about something I had remembered.  My grandfather and great uncle Joe had traded audio tapes back in the early 60s, including exchanging messages with my uncle stationed in Vietnam.  My great uncle had recently passed away and my granny was going to be with his wife, her sister, and help her go through his things and take care of the estate.  I asked my granny to send me any tapes she might find, these were the old reel to reel recording tapes.  She said she had found some and sent them to me.  Unfortunately, these turned out to be old 16mm films, some innocuous, some quite racy.

A few years later my great aunt passed away and once again I asked my granny as she went to take care of the estate to look again.  Once again I was told there were nothing and I gave up hope.  When about a month later a box arrived, full of reel to reel tapes.  The box was a random collection of blank tapes, club tapes of comedy acts and commercial comedy tapes of people like Bill Cosby.  And of course, the gold, the mailed tapes between family members including between my grandfather and my great uncle.

I sorted through the tapes and with no reel to reel player available I sent the tapes to be converted to CD by a company.  When I received the CDs I was excited to click through and listed to the files.  It was awesome to hear the voices of my grandfather, gone for 30 years, to hear my late, great uncle Joe and even my granny when she was much younger.  Then the bigger shocker, on a tape from my grandfather to my great uncle Joe I hear him yell, “Michael, get over here.”  Then there it was, the voice of little three year-old little me, saying hello to my uncle Joe.  It was a difficult and wonderful moment, a moment, I had no memory of, but a moment when I was so young, so pure, so loved.  I could hear the love between me and my POW, so many years in the past.  It brought tears to my eyes, like it does now, it shows the absolute power of voices from the past. ~ Rev Kane

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A Little Rest for the Weary

A Little Rest for the Weary

bryant park, nyc, new york

I like the pause that tea allows. ~ Waris Ahluwalia

I’m writing this post while taking a cup of tea on the deck of my sister’s place.  Also typing this on an actual keyboard instead of with my thumbs which is more exciting for me than you can imagine, I really hate posting from my phone and typing with my thumbs drives me nuts.  I’ve linked into individual posts or links to more information about each of the places throughout the piece where possible, enjoy.

It was a wild two months and it was both long and went by too fast like every other trip.  Tonight, just to get back into the groove a little recap, some minor highlights from the trip.  Although while on the road I got out some good reports and some photos, I have a lot more photos and a lot more to say about my time abroad.  I’m taking comfort in the familiar at the moment, the little things I posted about.  The biggest is that after three days stateside I’ve finally stopped thinking about which language to speak in before I speak and just using English.  The last five weeks or so I’ve been in non-English speaking countries with wide varieties of English availability which was both awesome and challenging.  I have to admit it is nice right now to just talk, but it’s a brief respite as I move to Oaxaca, Mexico in three weeks.

Hiking

The trip I was on had a really good balance.  I spent the first two weeks hiking the West Highland and Great Glen Ways in Scotland.  Followed up by a short taste of hiking the Camino de Santiago.  Scotland was fantastic but I set a rigid schedule that was a bit faster than I should have, an additional day on both trails would have made both experiences even more enjoyable.  I was blessed with both pretty good weather and minor amounts of midges on both trails, something that doesn’t always happen hiking in Scotland in the summer.

My  experience on the Camino de Santiago (Primitivo) wasn’t as pleasant.  The trail is a bit too suburban for my liking.  Too much road walking and too much proximity to people’s houses and their dogs, three of which took extreme exception to my presence.  I think a lot of people do their first long-distance hiking experience on a Camino and come to the hike with more of a spiritual focus.  This is not me at this point in my life and so I think it’s easier for others to have a better experience on the trail.  I think that’s great that the trail can work for them in this way, it just didn’t for me.

Spain – Part 1

Before and after the Camino my landing pad was Oviedo.  A really nice city in Northern Spain.  I grew to have quite a bit of affection for the town.  It’s compact, walkable, loaded with restaurants, cultural sites and cathedrals.  The people were welcoming and there was just a really comfortable vibe there.  After abandoning the Camino I decided to go to the beach in Spain.  I went up to a town named Gijon and spent five days relaxing and enjoying the waves, walking on the beach and the trails along the coast.  It was a really nice place to wind down after my hikes.  I finished my first swing through Spain by spending a few days in the city that is the endpoint for all Camino hikes, Santiago de Compostela. Santiago was an interesting place, the central cathedral is supposed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul.  It’s a heavy tourist destination between hikers and religious tourists with a lot of places to see and lot’s of good photo opportunities.  I finished this leg with a couple of days in Fisterra on the coast, the end of the Primitivo hike.

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Oviedo

Portugal

I visited three different cities in Portugal.  Porto, the second largest city in the Northwest of the country near the Spanish border, then to a little place called Aveiro and finally down to Lisbon.  Each was different, Lisbon was very much a big city, Porto had a complex landscape of big city, tourist town with a healthy dose of poverty.  Aveiro was very much the picturesque little tourist town.

Morocco

I landed in Marrakesh and what a frantic and amazing place it was.  The medina, the souks and the main square are everything you’ve ever heard they were and more.  I liked Marrakesh but it also wore me out.  I left there by train through Casablanca to Tangier where I spoiled myself for two days in a five star hotel with a rooftop pool.  I would leave Africa by ferry to Barcelona.

Barcelona

I really can’t believe I haven’t written about Barcelona yet, but posts are coming I promise, it was a really amazing place, for now just some photos.

Back in America

So I’m back in NY visiting family and planning on visiting some friends and doing some writing and photography as I prep for my move to Mexico.  Lot’s more coming in the next couple of weeks my friends, I hope you have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane

 

 

 

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It’s the little things

It’s the little things

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I haven’t posted in a bit, I was in Morocco,  first Marrakech and then Tangier.  I won’t be writing about them tonight,  my time in Morocco was amazing, complex and draining.  Appropriately, so was my 32 hour ferry ride from Tangier to Barcelona.

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I’m in Barcelona tonight after spending a wonderful day here.  Especially exciting for me was the discovery of an amazing cemetery in Mountjuic.  If you’ve been following this blog for a time you likely know I love photographing cemeteries and this was a spectacular one.

It’s week 8 of my 8 weeks in Europe and Africa and I’m getting a bit threadbare.   On any long trip you develop a craving for the familiar, little things you desire and have become accustomed to in your day-to-day life.

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I always get really specific food cravings when I travel and roast beef and gravy is the big one right now.  I’ll be burrowing someone’s oven shortly after arriving stateside.  I’m also oddly jonesing for Mexican food.

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Other little things are nibbling at me like the lack of ice although Barcelona has been good on that front, I’m missing clean clothes, watching American football and most of all writing on something not dependent on thumb typing.

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I know I’ll grow restless again quickly after getting stateside and I’ll be Mexico bound in late October, but for now, some nachos loaded with salsa as an appetizer and a roast beef dinner while watching a Steeler game sounds like heaven.  I hope you’re in your version of heaven my friends and having a happy day. – Rev Kane

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It’s the little things

It’s the little things

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When you’re traveling in the developed world and particularly in the western world there are a lot if similarities. People are very similar, you might not know the language but very often you know the interaction.  Siblings, friends, parents with children react to each other the same way you are used to seeing them act.

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There are lots of little differences, like there rarely being ice in your glass.  The fact that breakfast is either more food than you can comprehend or just a pastry and coffee.  It’s the little differences like saying wee instead of little.

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One that always hits me is how multilingual people are outside the US. I was in conversation with several people and watched a woman effortlessly switch between, french, english, german and spanish.  The host at the hotel’s breakfast this morning did the same.  It makes me feel incompetent frankly, that I only speak one fluently and 3 at a rudimentary level at best.

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These little differences are one of the things I really love about travel, especially when I get to bring them back to my default life.  Those tend to be new types of foods or phrases but serve as little reminders of my life on the road, have a happy Monday my friends.  – Rev Kane 

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36 Hours in Aveiro – Part 2

36 Hours in Aveiro – Part 2

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I spent most of today taking pictures of architecture and all the amazing tiles.

Did one of the gondola rides through the canals.  On the boat rode I got a glimpse of an old cemetery.  I unfortunately got there 10 minutes to close, so hopefully I can get back before I catch my train tomorrow.

 

 

I also tried a local delicacy, ovos moles, basically a pastry shell filled with egg yolk and lots of sugar, tasted better than it sounds.

 

Got to see the local salt operation.

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And hey, the olive garden at the mall here is an actual olive garden.

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Enjoy today’s photos. – Rev Kane

 

 

 

 

 

 

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36 Hours in Aveiro

36 Hours in Aveiro

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Day 1

I arrived this afternoon, 4 euro for a one hour train ride is pretty nice. They call Aveiro the Venice of Portugal due to the canals and gondolas that used to collect seaweed, and now ferry tourists around.

I did a little exploring and shooting today, enjoy. – Rev Kane

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Porto – Day 2

Porto – Day 2

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So I had a list that if completed would mean 8 miles walking up and down the giant hill that is Porto.  It’s a beautiful city, but damn the hill is a big one.

I started at Livraria Lello a beautiful bookstore famous for being where JK Rowling wrote the first couple chapters of Harry Potter.  Unfortunately now it’s a 40 minute wait to buy a $5 ticket, to get in line to get into a packed bookstore.  So I took this picture and moved on.

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The city has a number of parks and gardens, I found the Crystal Palace Gardens to be amazing. even if I never found the palace.  I took a lovely break in the shade there with a cup of raspberry sherbet.

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Spent the rest of the day locating churches, vistas and a little fejoada, brazillian black bean stew. It was a wonderful day, tomorrow off to Aveiro.

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Welcome to Porto

Welcome to Porto

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Rolled into Porto this afternoon, a very warm afternoon.  I took a minor siesta and then set out to explore Porto.  I headed down to the river, Porto is very hilly.

Over the last few years, due to my blood sugar issues, I’ve rarely eaten bread, rice or pasta.  On this trip, I’ve been eating a lot of carbs and not a lot of protein so I’ve been jonesing for meat. I fixed that tonight with a unique dish to Porto, a Francesinha. A Francesinha is a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries mine had a fried egg bonus.

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All in all a nice night and some good photos, enjoy – Rev Kane

 

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No Rest for the Wicked

No Rest for the Wicked

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So last night was one of those cup issue nights. You know half empty, or half full?  You see there was a fiesta in the harbor last night.  So of course, there was a band, a rock band, an  enthusiastic and energetic rock band.  They wrapped up their final set at 5AM.  As you can see from the photo, my room was close to the harbor.

The hotel owner had warned me the band might play as late as three. You have a choice, be miserable or go with the flow.  There is another band tonight, lol, welcome to Spain.  No big deal, just sleep in, well until 9:45 when they started firing the cannons for the flotilla.

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I gave up and did the hike to the lighthouse at the end of the world.

It was a beautiful day and hike.

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Took a little dip in the ocean afterwards and had a nice dinner, definitely a half full kind of day. – Rev Kane

 

 

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