Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fort Bravo, Spanish Coast and the Mar Menor

See the following post for background. On Sunday, Dave and I took another road trip. We headed to Fort Bravo near Tabernas, Spain.

This tourist attraction was built as the set for a number of Clint Eastwood western movies including "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".

It is sort of tourist trap but we had fun there. They do several skits during the day. Here a couple of actors ride into the scene.

You can ride a horse, etc.

The skits are all in Spanish so a little hard to follow but there is a lot of slapstick. The actors are having fun and encourage a lot of audience participation.

One of the actors saw me, or the kid next to me, raise our cameras. He shouted something and the skit stops, they all pose for a picture - then go back to the skit.

One of the actresses/bar maids was more than willing to pose for pictures. We had a couple of beers before heading outside into the sun.

On the way back we drove through the little town of Sorbas. It is built on the edge of a cliff above the Rio de Aquas. This is the view from the town square.

Yes, we drove down this street. I was glad I rented a compact car.

Here is the view from the end of the street pictured above.

Looking the other way.

Click to enlarge any of the pictures.

We drove along the coast for part of the way back. This house is stuck on the side of the mountain. Here the mountains came right down to the sea. We had a late lunch/dinner in Garrucha.

We stopped to look at the scenery along the road and saw this scene below us. We, too, were wondering if what you hear about nude beaches in Europe is true.

Guys, DO NOT, click on the picture below.

Guys, DO NOT click on this picture!

Hey, I warned you!

On Monday evening we hosted a dinner for our Chinese guests at a restaurant on the Mar Menor.

Click here for more information about the Mar Menor.

A nice evening.

Beautiful scenery.

Like I said.

And finally, sunset over the Mar Menor.

Spain - Alicante, Murcia and Alhambra at Granada

I recently spent 9 days in Cartagena, Spain on business - meeting with our Chinese partners and working with the SABIC-IP team on the license agreement. I had a few hours to kill waiting on my colleague whose flight was delayed so I drove along the coast near Alicante.

Following are pictures from around Murcia from various evenings. It stays light there until 9:45 PM, or so, which is about when the dinner hour starts. I know I mentioned this in a post last winter but it is even worse in the summer - everyone eats dinner LATE!

This is the Cathedral of St. Mary in Murcia. It dates back to the 15th century and is built on the remains of a mosque from the Moorish period of Spanish history.

The square outside must be a popular spot for wedding pictures.

Click on any picture to enlarge.

This is at Plaza de Santo Domingo.

This is a church of the same name.

Had beer and tapas here one night.

Plaza near by the reataurant above. Lots of these small squares in the city.

This is the Cathedral bell tower from the bridge over the river.

Here is night time shot of the Cathedral and the plaza in front of it. I'll take a tripod next time. It is tough to get really sharp pictures without one.

We ate at the Perela restaurant one night, also.

On Saturday, Dave and I took a road trip to Granada to see the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a Moorish castle complex dating to the 15th century. A UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is definitely worth the trip. It is a 3 hours drive from Murcia. Excellent roads and easy to get to. It is a beuatiful drive. There is still some snow on the mountains in southern Spain in July!
Click below for more information about Alhambra.

This was the entance gate to the main fortress area.

The fortress area. This was built by the Moorish kings as they were being forced out of Spain during the Reconquista and Inquisition that followed.

Here is a view of the city of Granada from the fort.

Another view.

That's me with the fort in the background.

This is a picture inside the palace of  Charles V.

A view of the second floor.

This is inside the Nasrid palaces. Very difficult to photograph without a flash.

Another view.

And still another.

The ceiling of this room is carved wooden panels.

A LOT of carved marble.

Another view of the city.

A garden in the Generalife.

Here are some links to more recent posts about Murcia, Alhambra and Cartagena.
Alhambra - 2012     <-----  Click Here  
Murcia - 2012     <-----  Click Here
Cartagena - Roman Theater - 2012     <-----  Click Here  

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Yosemite - Bridal Veil Falls, Steller's Jay and Half Dome at Sunset

After the excitement of San Francisco we spent a day at Yosemite National Park. Highly recommended. That is Bridal Veil Fall in the background.

We spent the night in Merced and then headed to the park early in the morning. Here is the Merced River rushing down as we drove toward the park. It is a pretty narrow, winding road but the traffic wasn't bad at the times we traveled.

This is, I believe,Upper Yosemite Fall. Just pulled off the side of the road and took the picture.

This is El Capitan, I think.

Half Dome.

Lower Yosemite Falls. The Upper Falls are behind the trees on the right. I think this is the spot where John Muir had a cabin for a while. Nice view out the front door.

A Steller's Jay.

These guys were hanging around the concession area picking up crumbs.

I think this Mule Deer must have been on the park payroll. He was right next to the path going up to Yosemite Falls.

Upper and lower Yosemite Falls. It really is a spectacular place. Should be on everyone's must see list.

Upper Yosemite Fall again.

The Merced River.

There are 2 groves of Giant Sequoias in the park. We took a drive and hike to one of them. Hard to get a picture that shows the size in perspective but know that the pine trees to the right and left are really big for pine trees. These are the largest living things in volume although other trees are taller.

See Sequoiadendron

This passageway was carved in this stump as a tourist attraction during the early part of the 20th century.

These trees are cousins to the Coast Redwood.

In the afternoon we drove up to the top of Glacier Point to see the sun set on Half Dome. Spectacular views. This is a long view of Vernal Fall and Neveda Fall. Glacier Point is almost 8000 ft in elevation.

The developed part of the park is relatively small. Mostly just the main canyon. However the park is huge and there is a lot of wild area for hiking and camping.

This is Half Dome as the sun is beginning to set.

A close up as the sun is setting.

I went back at re-editted this picture of Half Dome at sunset. I added a little more sharpening, tried to reduce the vignetting (not very successfully), and tried to reduced the haze slightly.

The new one is a smaller size but I'm interested in which you think is better.