Sunny San Juan

These are some photos from my day in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in March that I rediscovered in the past few days. I forgot all about them, and was pleasantly surprised to see these.

I hope you enjoy the tropical photos!

20130719-131749.jpg

20130719-131822.jpg

20130719-131852.jpg The walls of old San Juan

_______________

If the weather where you are is anything like it it here in New York, stay out of the heat!
Spencer

Hudson Valley Art and Writing Awards Winning Photos (Mine!)

For the third year in a row, I entered the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, which starts out on a regional level as the Hudson Valley Art and Writing Awards.
Awards are given in a variety of categories, 18 to be exact, and I entered 14 of my best photos, selected with the help of my art teacher.
On the regional level, I won a Gold Key for the 3rd year, the top prize, along with three silver keys, the second best prize. Here are my award winners

20130124-141633.jpg
My Gold Key Winner- Positano and the Amalfi Coast of Italy from above

The Silver Key Photographs:

20130124-141934.jpg
The Hummingbird at the Feeder

20130124-142036.jpg
Looking out at the Water

20130124-142552.jpg
The Happiest Place on Earth

Now, my Gold Key Photo goes on to the national level for judging.

For the second year in a row, I think that my silver key photos are better than gold, but the art community thinks else wise.

Remember, the 12 Photos of 2012 Poll is still open, so if you have not yet voted, there is plenty of time. It is a heated race this year, and I am surprised that there are no standout winners. There are seven contenders out of the twelve that could pull ahead with just a few more votes.

Keep the votes coming!
Spencer

I’m back with a little bit of Christmas!

Yes, it has been over a month since I last posted, but it was just a case of being so busy, and caught in in a variety of things, that I stupidly forgot to put up some photos.

However, I have been working on plans for improvement of the blog starting this upcoming weekend, including the “Twelve Photos of 2012” contest that I will speak more of in my next post.

For now, I wanted to share a little bit of homemade Christmas joy with you, I the form of DIY wreaths.

20121210-203341.jpg
I started with two inter-twined coat hangers, as you can see above.

Take some extra Christmas tree clippings, which your local Christmas tree farm would give for free (as they did for me) or at a minimal price, and attach them to the wire skeleton using floral wire, available at most craft stores.

The result is this

20121210-204420.jpg

Or, on a larger scale, the result could be this:

20121210-204454.jpg

For now, enjoy the month that could possibly be the busiest of the year, and I will be back on Saturday.

Spencer

Photos of the Week, August 26- September 1

Vermont for the Weekend:

The Photo of the Week is back! Yes, it is 2 days late, but that’s why I was able to get these photos!

My family and I enjoyed a nice long weekend in Vermont, visiting my Grandma, and enjoying some of the local charms.

We went to the Celebrate Vermont Festival in one of my favorite places in Vermont, the Town of Stowe. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos inside of the festival, where many local restaurants and businesses were showcasing their best.

After leaving the Event field, we went down to the little river that runs through Stowe. Here are some photos that I captured:

20120828-094609.jpg

20120828-094630.jpg

20120828-094712.jpg
I hope you enjoy these photos of wonderful Stowe, Vermont!

Spencer

Flashbacks from the Serenade, Part 2

As any cruiser knows, the food is the highlight of the ship!
Unfortunately, the food in the Main Dining Room was somewhat below what I expected, since we sailed on the Radiance of the Seas last year, same company, and very similar menus. The Main Dining room food on the Radiance was substantially better than the Serenade.

20120822-081843.jpg
The main dining room

Although the Radiance ranks higher for food in the Main Dining Room, the Serenade wins for the specialty restaurants! We went to both Chops Grille and Portofino. After those two dinners, Chops at the start of the cruise, and Portofino about halfway through, everyone at the table was stuffed to the gills, and quite happy about their meal!

20120822-081322.jpg
Chops Grille

At Chops on the first night of the cruise, we started out as the only table there, and another table wasn’t filled for 45 minutes. 3-4 tables were served that night! The waiters commented that “normally people don’t know about the specialty restaurants until the 3rd or 4th day!”

My Steak was perfect, and the sides that were brought or the table were excellent. All of the deserts were “oversized”, meaning my slice of Red Velvet Cake was about 8 inches tall! I couldnt finish half of it. I now regret taking a picture!

As for Portofino, besides an odd pesto Minestrone soup, dinner was great. The Mushroom Risotto and “Bistecca (steak) Fiorentina” we’re some of the best things I have ever eaten on a cruise!

20120822-081438.jpg
Portofino

I’m not into seafood, but this did look great, being the most popular item on the menu:

20120822-080516.jpg

Desert, ahhh, the best! I had the tiramisu, which was in a bowl made of chocolate. Royal Caribbean is doing a great job with their specialty restaurants!

Here is a photo of the sampler of deserts,

20120822-081113.jpg

Going back to the Man Dining Room, I still had a number of great dinners there. The Service was not a problem at all, in fact, Myla and Jason (our waitstaff), were some of the best we have ever had.

Look for more “Flashbacks from the Serenade” throughout the week.
Enjoy!
Spencer

Buenos Días from Barcelona

Yes, this is it. The last blog I will be posting from Europe.

Yesterday Morning, we waited in about a 30 second line that turned out to be a crowd of Spaniards who didn’t know what “Mid-Ship” meant, and there fore, instead of walking towards the Security people to disembark, they thought it would make sense to wait until someone guided them over.
After that, which was barely a speed bump at all, we practically strolled off the ship.

We met our tour guide about a half hour later, and went straight into the action of Barcelona.
We visited La Segrada Famalia Basilica, designed by Antonio Gaudi
Here are some photos of La Segrada Famalia, the Church of the Sacred Family.

20120729-072005.jpg

20120729-072024.jpg
Opposite Facades, one from Gaudi’s Time- until the late 1920s, and one Modern, from the late 20th Century.

I have two more photos for you before we head to the Airport,

20120729-074927.jpg
The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Stadium

And last, but probably the best,

20120729-075227.jpg
How do you like this view of Barcelona?

I will update the blog in NY!
Enjoy!
Spencer

Our Final Port Day, Yesterday in Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast

Good afternoon from the beautiful Serenade of the Seas, we are currently traveling at 16.8 Knots back towards Barcelona, Spain. It is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit or about 25 degrees Celsius. It is very humid though, and it feels more like the upper 80s in the full sun. We are sailing in some of the smoothest seas that I’ve ever seen, and with a slight haze, it makes for a beautiful day on the Med!

Yesterday, we were picked up by our tour guide in Salerno, Italy at about 8:00 in the Morning, and our first stop was a place where I have always dreamed of going, Pompeii. If someone was to ask me what the best representation of a Roman City was, I would say Pompeii, not Rome! This is because Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash and preserved during the Time of the Roman Empire.

It was 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius blanketed the city in 20 feet of ash and killed practically everyone within the City Walls. In Rome, on the other hand, there are many artifacts and buildings from the ancient Empire, but the city as been lived in by other people since the Empire fell. Overall, there is more history throughout the years in Rome, but Pompeii paints a better picture of the ancient Roman City.

To save some time on our onboard Internet package, I am going to number the photos and caption them ahead of time.

In Pompeii, we visited the Forum (1), An Original Pompeian Street,(2) an ancient Roman Pub/Bar(3), some of the original preserved skeletons found on the site, with a plaster cast put over the top to create the correct body shape (4)(5). These people knew they were going to die and there was no escaping it.

20120727-191332.jpg

20120727-191338.jpg

20120727-191351.jpg

20120727-191401.jpg

20120727-191409.jpg

After Pompeii, we began our drive along the Amalfi Coast. Here is a great photo looking down over Positano on the Coast.

20120727-191547.jpg

We drove even further up above Positano for lunch, which was incredibly fresh, all organic, and there were incredible views!

Here are the views from the Restaurant, and some photos of our fresh Italian lunch:

20120727-191632.jpg

20120727-191642.jpg

Well, yesterday was another incredible day in what I have now decided is the best place I have ever visited, Italy.

Look for a brief ship tour blog post later on today.

I hope all of the photos are in the right order!

Ciao for now!

Spencer