Big Waves In Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

While in Malta last month, we spent a couple of days on the smaller, quieter island of Gozo. We opted out of car rental and took the public bus instead, which worked just fine for us on the first day. On the second day we hired a private taxi and driver for five hours, which we shared with one of our couchsurfing hosts and a Finnish guy I’d met in Xewkija the day before. At €50 between the four of us, it was an efficient and economical way to get around the island.

One of the places we visited on Day 2 was Marsalforn, a little resort town on the north side of the island. Their bay was pummeled by waves whipped up by the strong winds that day. While the sun was blazing, the sea was ferocious against the sea wall — a sight to behold!

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

Our Finnish cohort decided to take on the walkway in the bay. You can probably guess what happened… (click to enlarge thumbnails)

Marsalforn, Malta

Of the four of us, I was the only one to explore further afield, and was rewarded by some interesting rock formations around the corner. The rest missed out!

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

Marsalforn, Malta

June 17, 2015
Album: Malta 2015

Andorra: A Preview

Ruta del Ferro (Iron Route), Andorra

Ruta del Ferro (Iron Route), Andorra

This will sound hard to believe, but I didn’t take many pictures in Andorra. Not because there weren’t many pictures to take — to the contrary! Just look at this scenery. I could’ve taken more, but I chose not to and instead enjoyed long bouts of walking without pausing for photos. I lugged the big camera everywhere I went, but I took fewer photos in Andorra over four days total than I did in one day in Tomar. Imagine that.

Even as a photographer, there is something to be said for enjoying an experience without feeling the need to record it. (Don’t even get me started on selfie sticks.) Last Tuesday I saw Cirque du Soleil’s free show in Andorra from the front row, where it was impossible to even attempt a photo without security bearing down on me because I was directly in their line of sight. I was just grateful they didn’t confiscate my camera at the entrance where they check all bags, because they don’t allow recording of any kind during the performance. Although there were moments throughout the show (which was incredible) that I would have loved to photograph, it was also very liberating to view a performance without trying to find the perfect angle or moment to capture. I just watched it with my jaw half open.

That said, this sporadic attentiveness to picture-taking partly explains the uneven coverage of my time in Andorra, but it doesn’t faze me because I know I’ll be back with the rest of my little family one day to enjoy more of this.

Ruta del Ferro (Iron Route), Andorra

sculptures along the Ruta del Ferro (Iron Route)

Ruta del Ferro (Iron Route), Andorra

two of the very few people I encountered along the Ruta del Ferro (Iron Route)

Llorts, Andorra

Llorts

Escàs, Andorra

the view out the front door

a curious pooch in La Massana, Andorra

a curious pooch in La Massana, Andorra

July 21-24, 2015
Album: Andorra 2015

Moreira Folkfest 2015: Video

Moreira Folkfest 2015

I’m back from Andorra and already at another festival in Portugal, this time a very local one: Moreira Folkfest, promoting folk dance and music. Organized by Grupo Regional de Moreira da Maia, this is the 9th edition of the folk festival with two national groups and five other countries participating. Today the groups were from Belarus, Israel, Costa Rica, and Colombia (Slovakia ended up withdrawing).

Portugal: Grupo Regional de Moreira da Maia, Grupo Folclórico “Modas da Nossa Terra” (Terceira Island in the Azores)
Colombia: Artística Cacica Dulima
Costa Rica: Compañía Folclórica Luz de las Candilejas
Belarus: Kryzhachok Belarusian State University
Israel: Ensemble Shalom

I’m working on the photos — they’re all nightshots so they’ll need editing. As per usual, performance lighting and white balance is brutal. Meanwhile, I’ve compiled all 11 videos that Paulo shot into a playlist below.

July 25, 2015

Postcards From Gradara, Italy

Gradara, Italy (5)

Preparing to leave for Barcelona and Andorra tomorrow, so I will have to skip the commentary and announce this a postcard day. You can find more information about visiting Gradara here:

http://www.gradara.org/english/

Gradara, Italy (4)

Gradara, Italy (8)

Gradara, Italy (3)

Gradara, Italy (6)

Gradara, Italy (2)

Gradara, Italy (7)

Gradara, Italy (1)

June 21, 2015
Album: Italy 2015

Dingli Cliffs, Malta

Dingli Cliffs, Malta

I shot this photo at Dingli Cliffs in Malta last month. It was a glorious albeit windy spot to view the Mediterranean. If you squint you can see the tiny, uninhabited islet in the distance called Filfla.

I chose this picture for Sunday because it is mentally whisking me away to that bench where I looked out over the sea, lost in thought.

Paulo and I started volunteering today at a detention centre in Porto for migrants who are in Portugal without authorization and are awaiting deportation. Although we had a pretty good idea of what to expect as volunteers, we wouldn’t know for sure until we actually did it. As it turns out, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and as soon as we passed security it got me thinking of how easily the roles could’ve been reversed. As someone who has been classified as an “illegal” at some point in several countries (each for different reasons but I was never deported), it is only luck that kept me out of detention. Alright, maybe luck and pluck, but definitely luck.

Today I was also at the receiving end of some dire news from a good friend and it reminded me of how very far away I am. I mentioned some downsides of expat life the other day, and this is one of them: distance.

June 15, 2015
Album: Malta 2015