Thursday, September 25, 2014

On The Road Again – Traveling Through Spain & Portugal

Good Morning Everybody,

It’s true – LaDawn and I are heading back to Europe for a little teaching, portfolio development, and sight seeing.  This is our third time in three years that we have made an ambitious, exciting and fortissimo (photographically-speaking) two month trip to Europe. 

The rewards are fantastic.  In addition to all the marvelous travel experiences, it also has allowed me to really develop quite a portfolio of images for wall décor, calendars, and fine art posters. As a matter of fact, several of my regular clients have purchased many of my images for their homes and businesses.


We are also actively working with charity auctions in the area which feature the wall art created from these trips. Our participation has already raised a substantial amount of dollars for these charity events.


The bottom line is - that although we’ve trimmed back on our regular studio workload, the direction we are now taking the studio/business is very exciting and just as rewarding.  That’s the back story, now on with our travels.

Over the next several weeks I’ll share with you lots of images, photographic tips and tricks, travel tips for the traveling photographer and hopefully a few stories along the way.  Let’s get to it.

On The Road Again–Heading To Spain and Portugal

Text from Delta Airlines on Wednesday September 17th – Your flight for 9/18 has been CANCELLED! Just what you wanted to hear after the bags are packed, in LaDawn’s case over-packed, and car rental and hotel accommodations are confirmed – right?  It seems the airline pilots for Air France had decided to go on strike [link] cancelling all flights through Charles de Gaulle airport until the end of September.

Thankfully… Delta was able to reschedule our flight from Thursday Sept 18th for Friday the 19th through Atlanta directly to Madrid.  If the truth be known, LaDawn and I were thankful for the day delay and free time to complete some additional workload.

Sunset to Spain

As we left Atlanta and headed out across the Atlantic ocean, the sunset was really beautiful glistening off the jet’s wing.  I’m a huge fan of in-flight photography, always carrying one camera on my shoulder, and this trip was no different.

To SpainWe finally landed in Madrid, collected our bags and picked up the rental car.  For any other international travelers reading this, I just want to say that I love Auto Europe for planning car rentals in Europe. Their staff is amazingly knowledgeable, courteous, and professional.  They make the process effortless almost to the point of pleasant.

We fired up the Garmin GPS and headed off in the direction of Salamanca, Spain a beautiful and historic city about three hours west of Madrid. Hit the link above to get an idea just how beautiful the city is.

DAZNOTE: Actually the Garmin sort of lost its mind and went completely blank for several minutes/hours – I think it was downloading new maps into the system. Anyway, we resorted to my iPhone for most of our travels that day.  The reality is that the iPhone/Android phones works beautifully for international travel.

DAZ TRAVEL TIP #1; Purchase the data plan from your phone carrier – about $25/100megs. Then DON’T push emails to your phone – this cuts done substantially on your data usage.  We just check email on the iPad once we’re connected to the WI-FI at our hotel/apartments. With the data plan, we can easily YELP dining locations, check maps, and Google as needed.

DAZ TRAVEL TIP#2: If you are not on Amazon Kindle, you should be. We think of Kindle more for our tablets but having your travel guides off line right on your phone makes for a great resource while touring the sights.

Arriving At Salamanca, Spain

airbnbFor most of this trip we are booking our accommodations through The benefit of using Airbnb is the fact that we are right in the middle of the action in most cities we will visit.  It’s a much more immersive experience than simply booking a hotel. We are renting entire apartments as we travel so we have all the conveniences of home right at our fingertip, including kitchens and balconies for about the cost, and sometimes less, than a hotel room.  It really is pretty cool.

As I said above the city lies on many hills and is a stunning medieval city with historic stone buildings and churches everywhere including cobble-stone streets and walkways. Stone, granite and more stone is everywhere. Salamanca is the home to the oldest university, University of Salamanca 1134, in all of Spain and the student body and tourists make up a great deal of the economy for this location. We arrived at our apartment and after a brief introduction to the city by Javier, our host, we were off exploring on our own.  Jet lag – who cares – we’re in Europe!

Exploring at night was especially beautiful.  Here is a photo taken as we crossed the Tormes River by way of an old Roman bridge built in the 16th century.

Salamanca night

As we walked the sights and sounds of the city were as vibrant and inviting as they could be – even late into the evening!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today. I’ve got a lot more to share with you about these last several days so please stay tuned.

See ya’ soon, David

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