Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Phototrip Memories #2

Phototrip 2008 had a deep influence on my life, it's for sure. I still remember every while of the trip and when looking at the pictures of The Wall Arch I'm even more happy that we finally managed to organize this wonderful trip. As you might know famous Wall Arch doesn't exist anymore! Yes, unfortunately it's true - you can check these sad pictures on Or I've just copied them here (of course it's property of

Below is my own picture taken on 5th May 2008. On 8th of August it collapsed!

It only shows us how fragile is life and how fleeting are famous views of the world. Unluckily it's not the only example. Another one is New Orleans. I had luck to be there in 2000 and I think it was one of the best city in the USA - in my opinion at least as nice and interesting as San Francisco. We can say actually it doesn't exist anymore! The same story I had with WTC in NYC. I was there in May 2001 and in September it disappeared. It only shows us that travels are precious and they can be your only chance to see something that lasts only for a while (yes, hundreds years is sometimes also a while). It also means that I'll never have another chance to take picture of Wall Arch - and I'm not happy with what I've taken there. So remember - always do your best to take a good picture - sometimes there's no second chance.
I know this is very sad entry, but what happened really hit me! This lovely National Park will never be the same. And you should hurry up to have a chance to see other arches - they can disappear tomorrow...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tuscany #2

As promised I'd like to write you few more comments on Tuscany. I've to say it again: this region is really wonderful, but probably best time to visit is May or October. Unfortunately as you know I visited it in August. And I've seen mostly cities, so more on them below.

Firenze - here you've to see at least two things - river with famous bridge Ponte Vecchio and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Both are wonderful, but probably only in the morning when there's no people there. Besides it's really hard to take a good picture of Cathedral, because even with very wide lens you can't step back, because of other buildings :( - so probably the best pictures I've seen were taken from the hill on the other river bank. Unfortunately I had no time for such picture and was trying my best with wide angle, but please rate it yourself...

1. The Bridge

2. The CathedralSiena - in my personal opinion this is the best city of Tuscany. I had luck and was there on 16th of August when there's Palio event (it's also organized on 2nd July). But because of my luck it was a lack of parking spaces. Fortunately we found very nice parking next to the train station - it's in 20 minutes walking distance to the city center and is rather cheap - I've paid only 2 EUR for 5 or 6 hours - very rare rate in Italy. After leaving the car we headed to the city and then we found out that there's Palio day! Very crowded city center, but also a lot of colorful parades. Just see few pictures...

1. Palio on Piazza del Campo
2. Around the Cathedral in Siena
3. The Cathedral of Siena (Duomo)

Montecatini Terme - we were staying in our villa near this city and discovered it only the last day of our stay. It turned out to be a nice place with wonderful spa park and old hotels. Very atmospheric place with a lot of green squares. I definitely recommend visiting this place just on your way somewhere else. Below:

1. My favourite picture from the whole trip to Italy:
2. Telephone
3. Guess what?Pisa - small, simple city with very famous tower. Yes, I can confirm it's really leaning! The tower was closed in 1990 because it was in danger of falling over, but after spending millions on construction works (as far as I know designed by polish engineer), it was finally opened once again and tourists can enter the 800-year-old tower again (but only if they're older than six and very patient and want to pay a lot of money). In August one had to wait at least 3 hours to get the ticket. Of course it's nothing bad - you can spend that time in one of nice restaurants around, but as I heard it's worth going up anyway. I wasn't up there, so can show you some pictures from below :(

1. The tower and vicinity

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuscany #1

So I'm back from my family vacation in Tuscany. It was my first time in the region, but unfortunately taking pictures there appeared to be difficult, because of two factors: weather and kids. Thus I'll try to describe my impressions about regions itself and try to give you few hints what you should definitely see and what is complete waste of time.
Let's start with lodging. We wanted to spend a week in one of the many villas in Tuscany. Because of prices (Italy is VERY expensive) we had only few choices and because of language even less. We were trying to arrange something over the Internet, but cheap villas are sold very early and many of others do not respond to your english e-mails or respond to them after 2-3 weeks! Finally I booked a room in Villa Pasquini and it was a very good choice. Place is simple, but has the atmosphere. It lacks pool or air conditioning, but instead offers very nice rooms and good food. And what's even more important it's in the middle of the interesting part of Tuscany and close to everywhere.
Then attractions. Because of kids I had to focus on cities and kids attractions like zoo or amusement parks. That's why all my photos are architecture kind. We visited cities like Firenze, Pistoia, Venice, Siena, Montecatini Terme, Pisa, Viareggio, Lucca and many others. Let's try to describe best and worst things of few of them. Today I'll focus on Venice. More in next posts on my blog very soon.
Venice has very expensive parking where price is calculated on daily basis, so you've to pay 24 EUR for 24 hours even while visiting the city for two hours only - rip-off! I don't even mention food quality or prices and other facilities. Also paying 80 EUR for gondola ride was too expensive for me - I prefered small (0,2 ml) beer for 8 EUR (only 8 as Italian said!!!!). Besides prices Venice is a really nice, but also crowded city. You should definitely go there, but it might be better choice to park your car outside of the island and go there by train or bus. I also suggest going there in spring or autumn, not summer. In summer it's hard to take a picture with no people in it.
But instead of reading my scribble, please just see some of my poor pictures taken in the city:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Antelope - I see you like it!

I'd like to say thanks to all of you, who voted on my recent Antelope picture I had displayed on this morning. And here it is just for wider audience:

I decided to show some of my pictures from Phototrip 2008 and actually you can find 5 of them on plfoto and some more, here in the previous entires of the blog itself.