AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – The city is an intoxicating jumble of old and new, a place where street art, sex shops and cannabis cafes coexist with world-class art museums, well-preserved Golden Age architecture and traditional bruine kroeg.
COUNTY DONEGAL, Ireland – Up here in the northwestern tip of the country, not quite sure where exactly. If there’s a town name we haven’t seen it. Anyway, it’s a desolate place this time of year and the wind is bitter cold. I begin to understand the appeal of the heavy wool sweater I just bought at a farm a few miles back. We walk into a tiny store and buy a postcard and some tea and candy. Seeking to strike up a conversation, I ask the storekeeper, “So, how cold does it in the winter here?” He looks me over for a minute or two, takes my euros, and then offers and opinion. “This is it,” he says.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On assignment in our "51st State." It's more "American" here than I would have ever imagined. There's a Subway across the street from my hotel serving desayuno (that's breakfast to all you gueros), and even a Sam's Club and a Starbuck's nearby. Of course, there are many differences too. The Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan) district where I'm staying is full of narrow streets, exotic chicas/chicos and grand old architecture. And of course, muchos muchas turistas. Of the many pictures I took, I especially liked the composition of this street scene captured from the rooftop pool of my hotel.
21 months later and we ain't outa the woods yet.
Shots from the Road: HomeGrown Surf Shop
DAVENPORT, California – Surf's always up in this tiny unincorporated beach town just north of Santa Cruz. I took lots of shots on the scenic drive down Highway 1 from San Francisco en route to an overnight stay at the Davenport Roadhouse. This detail of the local surf shop (shot early in the morning before it opened) is one of my favorites.
Shots from the Road: Mars Cheese Castle
KENOSHA, Wisconsin – Originally coined by folks from Illinois as a derogatory term for visiting Wisconsin sports fans, the term cheesehead has now been thoroughly embraced by all but the most humorless and/or curmudgeonly Wisconsinites. Proving either our amazing good nature or the perverse knowledge that our neighbors to the south can never really fully embrace our term for them (which won't be revealed here in this "family blog").
Fact is, Wisconsin is known for making cheese. That's the way it is. So what the hell. Get over it. Accept it. Welcome it. Salute it. Fly that flag, sister. And revel in the existence of such undeniably cheesy places as the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Shots from the Road: Lake Louise
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Located at an elevation of 5,741 feet in Canada's first national park (Banff), the water of Lake Louise has a transcendent turquoise color that if anything looks even better during the kind of rainy, overcast day I was there. Scientists say the color is produced by something called rock flour – particles of rock eroding into the lake from nearby glaciers.
SYDNEY, Australia – Two Australian Aboriginal street musicians introduced me to the musical instrumental known as the didgeridoo, and I knew immediately that I had to incorporate it into my music. Its primal growl made me feel like I was being transported back to the beginning of time.
FIRA, Greece – A young street musician earns a few euros in the town of Firá, a city with breathtaking views perched high on the cliffs above the Aegean Sea on the island of Santorini.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – While touring the hurricane-torn Lower Ninth Ward here this week, I saw the flooded home of the music legend, Fats Domino, who never moved from the poor neighborhood where he grew up. Friends and fans scrawled a heartfelt goodbye to the man they loved and thought they had lost – "R.I.P Fats, you will be missed" – but as it turns out, Fats survived.
I REMEMBER TRAVEL
Journeys in sight and sound by Mike Starling
All text, images and music in the I Remember Travel weblog ©Mike Starling unless otherwise noted. Music published by Bean Hoy Music (BMI). All rights reserved.