Wayne & Mary Alice (MA) Wendel's travel journal with daily updates, places seen, people we meet, photos and funny stories. We will also share some travel tips with you so you won't make the same mistakes we have. We hope you will follow us by signing up for an automatic email. We would love to hear from you with comments and questions.
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Monday, June 7, 2010
Iberian Cruise: Thoughts, Impressions and Summary
Thoughts, Impressions and Summary
MA and I arrived home on Sunday, June 6th around 5:00pm. We drove home in a hard rain with three of our suitcases getting soaked in the pickup truck bed. We were going to wash clothes anyway and the suitcases dried out in the bathtub. It was nice to get home after being on the road for ten days.
My impressions of London are it's a great city to visit with the history, monuments and landmarks. However, I would not want to live there. It seemed like everyone was in a hurry. The sidewalks are crowded with people, the streets are crowded with cars and buses and the places you want to see are crowded with tourists. What else? It is also a very expensive place to visit. Also beware of the many "money exchange" booths. We were shortchanged five British pounds, a little over $7.00 USD which I'm sure went into the clerk's pocket. If you're going to change currencies, figure out ahead of time what you expect to get and ask before you hand over your money. I liked Lisbon for the photography opportunities, diito La Rochelle with its beauty and more laid back lifestyle.
Experiment at Sea: Note in a Bottle
If you've ever read the comic strip B.C. you've see the theme of launching a bottle in the ocean with a note and it coming back to the launcher. Well I launched two bottles with notes at sea. We had two one liter plastic water bottles and I wrote a note in each one describing the ship and where we were at sea, the date, who I was and my address and email address, and a request to whomever finds the note to mail it to me. I asked whomever to write their name and where they live, when and where they found the bottle.
At the bottom I included two Bible verses; John 3:16-17 and Ephesians 2:8-9. I also included an envelope with my address already printed on it with $2 in bills to cover the postage. I launched the first one off the coast of Spain in the Atlantic Ocean about 12 hours after we left Vigo, Spain and I launched the second between La Rocelle, France and Guernsey Island in the English Channel. If they never mail the note to me at least they may wonder what the two verses are and look them up. By the way there are signs prohibiting the throwing of trash overboard. I figured a note in a bottle was not trash but communication media so it was OK. There were no witnesses anyway!
I am busy editing and loading all the photographs I took. Each stop will have its own gallery; London, Vigo, Lisbon, La Rochelle, Guernsey Island. I will take the best photos from each gallery and put them in one gallery titled "Best Of Iberian Cruise". I'll email you the link when all this is done.
I purchased a new camera a few months ago, a Nikon D3s. It is a 35mm Digital Single Lens Reflex with a full frame format. It is larger and heavier than any camera I have ever owned. I took three lenses with me; 16-35mm, 24-85mm, 28-200mm. I used all three at different times for different reasons. Carrying the camera in my backpack, I limited myself to just one other lens so I alternated which lens would be on the camera. The 28-200 was by far the most used because of the versatility of going from wide angle to a decent zoom. The 16-35mm is the sharpest of all three, make no mistake about it. However, I didn't want to stop and unload the backpack, change lenses and repack so I used the 24-85 a lot and the 28-200 the most. I have always advocated using a tripod, which I did when I had the time. On some of the walking tours I just didn't have the time to set up so I kept the shutter speed sufficiently fast enough for hand holding.
I discovered f/11 on this trip. Taking pictures of people, buildings and normal travel photos I could leave the f-stop at f/11 and get the absolute sharpest photograph with any of the three lenses. All I had to do was adjust the ISO (digital film speed) for the lighting and let the D3s do its thing. The D3s does not produce digital noise like most digital cameras. I have pushed it to the max ISO and I still cannot see any noise. It is a superb camera, the best I have ever used, Leica included. I will say this after carrying it around your shoulder for 10 hours walking around, up stairs with a backpack you know it at the end of the day.
I believe in prayer and answered prayer. MA and I pray for a safe journey on every trip, for the people we encounter and that we can be a reflection of the Christ who lives within us. The people we met on this trip know they have encountered two people who know Jesus and how He guides our lives. We also gave thanks to God after arriving home safe and sound.
1. Travel light; don't burden yourself with unnecessary clothes, photo equipment, souvenirs, etc. Hauling luggage all over the place in today's airports is no fun.
2. Never be in a hurry. Plan ahead. Always allow yourself time to get somewhere. When you rush and are in a hurry you forget things, leave stuff behind, and find yourself stressed. Take your time to get some place and allow for contingencies.
3. Keep your stuff in a bag, backpack, camera bag, shopping bag and keep it organized. You'll know where something is because you always put it back in the same place. Example: Passports and Credit Cards
MA is the keeper of the passports but we make a copy to carry with us ashore. Losing the real thing is something you do not want to have happen overseas. We only take the bare minimum of credit cards which I keep in a small wallet which in turn is in an inside zipped vest pocket or in a zipped small travel pouch around my neck and tucked into a pocket which I keep zipped up. Thieves are ever present and they will try to steal from you if you look vulnerable.
4. Take or buy bottled drinking water. Do not drink out of public fountains, etc. Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of viruses which sideline your activities.
5. Know what you want to do and research the location on Google. Learn from other people.