Categotry Archives: Cruise 2010

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Cruise 2010 – HDR Photo Gallery 1.0

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Categories: Cruise 2010, Flashback

Hi Folks,

Over the past day I’ve been reviewing a lot of the photos which we took while we were away.  As you may know, I shot all my photos in the Olympus RAW format as well as small JPEG (for convenience) and most of the photos you’ve seen on this site to date have been from the small JPEG variety, as it was easier to upload while we were on the move.

Now that I have (frankly, a lot) of spare time on my hands, I’ve started to do some post exposure processing on some of my favourite photos.  What you can see below is a sample of some of those photos after they have been processed with High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing.  Some of the photos have been tone mapped, and some have been fused.  One photo is actually unaltered, just for good measure.

Please leave comments indicating which photo(s) you liked the best 🙂

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Khufu Pyramid – Giza, Egypt

St John’s Co-Cathedral – Valletta, Malta

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View from Montserrat – Spain

Nile River – Cairo, Egypt

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Rhodes Old Town – Rhodes, Greece

Park Guell – Barcelona, Spain

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Propylaea – Athens, Greece

Khufu Solar Boat – Giza, Egypt

 

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Parthenon – Athens, Greece

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

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Day 14: Montserrat and Barcelona

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Categories: Cruise 2010, Cruising, In Transit, Spain

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Today we disembarked from the Brilliance of the Seas and boarded a coach for a post cruise tour to the mountain monastery of Montserrat, about an hour and twenty minutes south west of Barcelona.  We ate an early breakfast in Windjammer before gathering our hand luggage and assembling in the Pacifica Theatre.

Many people on board have come down with a serious cough – myself included – since our departure from Malta.  Undoubtedly some stupid passenger went an infected the rest of the ship instead of staying in their stateroom – GRRR.  So we have at least a few hundred people sick disembarking in Barcelona where airports are only just starting to recover from Friday’s air traffic controller strike.

Once we checked in, we had to wait about half an hour before leaving the ship.  Our tour group collected our bags and joined the tour bus. 

Our journey took us out of Barcelona along the south, and up into the surrounding mountains.  With a little sleeping on the bus, we awoke to find ourselves climbing up to amazing heights as the bus rolled along towards our destination.

View from Montserrat

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Additional views from the mountain tops – about 700m about sea level

The first thing we encountered was the cable car terminal, from here we were able to take pictures up the mountain.  An excellent vantage point; we also took photos of the beautiful countryside.  We then re-boarded the bus for the final leg of the journey – some twenty minutes up a steep, winding road.  Luckily we encountered no trucks or buses coming the opposite direction.

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Rob outside the monastery

Weaving our way higher and higher the view increased so that we could look out to the sea.  The top of the mountain range was cloudy/foggy but did  not obstruct our view of the famous monastery.  Our guide gave us a history of the area as well as the background on the foundation of the monastery.  Outside the bus, the wind was cruel and merciless; the view was, however, spectacular.

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The Unbelievable cable car

We circled the ridgeline before making our way towards the basilica.  There is also a cable car/tram which enables people to ascend to the very top, but we did not have time to do this.  Instead, we walked “the long way” around to face the monastery.  The exterior is honestly more interesting from the initial view as you enter the compound, but once you are standing in the main courtyard, you are immediately arrested by the master craftwork of the entrance, not too mention the intricate tiling work throughout.

Next, we entered the side entrance which took us through a number of small shrines before exiting at a set of marble stairs.  One flight went down to the crypt, the next took us up, to ascend above the back of the main priory.  There were TV crews setting up TV cameras for something, and the vast church was silent except for the occasional click of cameras (without flash, thankfully).

Continuing on, we ascended a number of stairs to finally come out above the altar where intricate mosaic work encased some golden statues of the virgin Mary and baby Jesus.   Following from here, we climbed down a set of stairs to find yet another room of worship, off to the right.  Exiting to our left we left the Basilica and walked outside, along the face of the rock cliff past many candles burning.

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Inside –
1) Looking towards the altar
2) The famed “Black Madonna”
3) View from the “Black Madonna”

Given free time, we re-entered the Basilica and took some quiet photos of the ceiling and of the pews.  We visited the crypt, which appears to hold a Pope or Cardinal.  We exited and retraced our steps to visit with various marble statues and a number of wall mosaics listing cities of worship for whom thousands of pilgrims make a journey from each year.

Taking the short cut, we quickly browsed the souvenir shop (didn’t buy anything) and walked back to where the local farmers had ben setting up food stalls along the main road.  We sampled delicious goat’s feta and parmesan (which, unfortunately we couldn’t really take back with us) before rejoining the bus – thankfully air conditioned!

We’re currently awaiting two fellow Australians who are inexplicably twenty minutes late.  Once they return we will be on our way back to Barcelona to check in to our hotel.  We’ll be in town until December 9th, then flying back to Shanghai.

More to come..  Gaudi style

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Day 13: At Sea: Cheers to our companions and friends!

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Categories: Cruise 2010, Cruising

Today we are at sea on our final day cruising.  We are headed to Barcelona at about 20 knots, and should be disembarking at around 7:30am tomorrow morning.  We are doing a post-cruise tour to Montserrat which will drop us off in the city center at the end.

It’s nearly the end of our cruise and there are so many people to thank for our excellent voyage.  First off, a huge thank you to Pat (PC) and Kristi for saving our sanity during the early stages of the cruise and for taking us under their wing(s) – we’ll see you sometime soon! 

Then, our shore buddies (and Cruise Critic pals) Steve & Melissa (Go the Sox) who shared Athens and Egypt with us, and numerous quiz rounds.  We hope your wedding photos turned out great and that it’s not too damn cold when you get back to the windy city!

Our dinner companions Ray and Lillian, for the excellent conversation and food commentary – we hope their new home is a great one Smile  When we weren’t feasting in Chops Grille or Portofino, Ray, Lily and our excellent Main Dining Waiters did a marvelous job in boosting our spirits!

Then there’s Dennis & Donna who we had long chats on the tour bus with – as well as the many times we bumped into each other on shore visits.  We also have to sneak up on Chris & Jen (we’re their designated stalkers) we almost always seemed to run into each other be it Giza, Rhodes, Mdina or Athens!  Thanks to Le and Paul for organising the tour in Egypt and Mary-Alice for being such a stand up gal – actually our whole tour group were great.  Go Cruise Critic!

To Ryan and Carli – shame we didn’t hook up until late, but we’ll hopefully see you in the morning on the Montserrat tour.  Have fun in Adelaide and stay in touch Smile  To Don and Karen (Dotti), we hope you had fun on the tours and hope we might catch up with you on another cruise sometime.  We’ll always have the Hop on/Hop off bus!

We return to Barcelona and the journey continues – stay tuned for more.

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