Street Performance… it’s a living.

Street performers add an element to the tourist environment that sometimes defies historical significance of location, but they do add sparkle. I especially enjoy musicians that add their artistry to soften the harsh sounds of daily reality on the streets, subway stations, etc.

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Santiago, Spain

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Santiago, Spain

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Santiago, Spain

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Segovia, Spain

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Madrid, Spain

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Chicago, Illinois subway platform

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Downtown Chicago, Illinois

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Downtown Chicago, Illinois

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Santiago, Spain with a boot to collect donations.

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On the edge of adulthood…

…excitement, anticipation, anxiety, questioning, wondering…

This Bible passage seems to speak to young people as they look forward to graduation.
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Thoughts race through young minds on the cusp of a new world. Which direction should I go? Which school or vocation should I pursue? …and the age old question – What if I fail?
So many opportunities before them in high school and beyond. If one tries, there is an activity or pursuit that will fit their talents, personalities and interests.

I am usually in envy of young people with their whole adult lives ahead of them, but should I be? I am in a transition phase, as well, but I have many years of experiences and efforts behind me.  I already know what I can and cannot do so that narrows the field. (Lots of things I use to be able to do that are not options now)  I also know what I want to do which is also a plus.

The big question, though, is what SHOULD I do?

O.K., so maybe I’m not so different from these young guys and gals after all!  Maybe the Bible passage is a good one for all of us in any of our stages in life.  Hmmm…

You don’t choose your life… you live it.

~The Way

Another phase of my life goes by… taking a career break from traditional portraiture.

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This has been in the planning stages for the past 4 months and I was going to wait until mid October to announce my future plans, but I guess now is as good a time as any.

It’s been 16 years of growth and transformation, starting with 35mm and medium format film, darkroom processing and now the digital age with Lightroom and Photoshop. It is time to move on, so I will be closing the traditional portrait studio as of October 15, 2013.  All sessions scheduled up to that point will go on as planned and the current website will be up until May 1, 2014 to facilitate senior orders.  After that, I’ll start working on a new website reflecting the art of both Randy and myself.  The studio will then be transformed into Randy’s painting studio and workshop.  It’s his turn now.

I still love photography and hope to continue learning and exploring new, unusual techniques and push for a more and more creative style. Maybe even try an impressionistic painting style of photography.  I also plan to continue showing art work in galleries, promote the arts,  and hope to find time to put together other products using images.  (Greeting card line?)  I may ask to borrow some of your kids if I get an idea for some prairie photography because, after all, southwest Minnesota/Eastern South Dakota is a great place to raise children and that is a theme near and dear to my heart.

I will not be twiddling my thumbs and eating bonbons by the truck load, as I move into this phase of my life.  I’ll need to complete this year’s photo orders, try to be Randy’s farm hand/gopher, occasionally Granny Nanny (Grandkid #2 is expected in March 2014), clean/organize/paint inside the house and sheds (long overdue), continue involvement with community and art organizations, garden and go back to the classroom environment as a substitute teacher – look out, G-D!

Then, in my spare time, I’ll learn Spanish, how to knit/crochet, bike/hike or maybe even jog, work on songs with Randy (maybe my sister will dust off her accordion and we can hit the nursing home circuit!), read the books I haven’t had time to read and travel / hike anywhere I can, as well as visit friends and relatives.  Yep, lots to do.

Don’t worry, I’ll still blog about whatever trail I’m on or something that wanders through my mind and conjure up some “thought for the day” to amuse myself and the world from time to time.  Hey, I may even bring back “Photo Friday” with educational topics.

Thank you to all who have been on this journey with me…  It’s been a good ride.

Takin’ Care of Business

Segovia, Spain…a day in the life.

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Spain-1050288dmvcrWash day break to catch up on the news.

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Spain-1040993dmvpopLast drag on the cig before 10th grade math class…

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Spain-1050279dmvEven this little bird has found its own little spot in this world ~ a special perch on the aqueduct.  I guess we all have a special place and purpose and that makes the world go around.

All in a day’s work… Gypsy style

A day in the life of a Gypsy:

Pace the area going up to the famous Segovia aqueduct monument and show your saddest eyes.   Approach a tourist who happens to have a kind heart.

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Now, bring out your prettiest shawl and wave it in front of tender-hearted Randy. (Meanwhile, I am gesturing and shaking my head) No! 

Bonita y cuesta 10 euros

Muy bonita! 8 Euros…

No, gracias.

Siete Euros… muy, muy bonita.   Randy agrees to purchase the pretty shawl and takes out a 10 Euro, but she says she has no change.  No problemo, she offers two scarves for 12 Euros.  Randy goes for it and gives her 12 Euros to purchase two shawls. His reasoning:   But she has such sad eyes and needs business.

We get back to the hostal and look in the bag, only to discover she has switched the really fancy scarf for a scarf that is not as flashy.  The old” bait and switch” trick.

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Hey, that’s my fancy shawl she’s trying to sell!   It’s a living, I guess…

A Lutheran Goes to Pilgrim’s Mass

This post is for all my Catholic friends ~ Yes, I went to Mass and I sat quite still, for me, other than shivering in the frigid cold, hard pew.  We Lutherans have it so easy with getting in and out of church after less than an hour of sitting in a padded pew. We find other ways to suffer, I guess.

Eye above the altar in the Santiago Cathedral.

Eye above the altar in the Santiago Cathedral.

Pilgrim’s Mass is held in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela each day at noon for pilgrims.

2013Spain-1040694dmvThis nun has the most beautiful voice.  No organ accompaniment and just the pure sound of her God-given talent.  No organ accompaniment since it is during the Lenten season.

Spain-1040636dmvWill they swing the thing?

Spain-1040702dmvPilgrims who received the compostela the day before have their countries of origin and the starting point of their pilgrimage announced at the Mass.  As usual, we are a day late and a dollar short since we received our compostela 2 days ago.

Spain-1040679dmvThe highlight of the Mass is the synchronization of the “hymn to Santiago” with the swinging of the huge Botafumeiro, the famous thurible kept in the cathedral.  Incense is burned in this swinging metal container, or incensory. As the last chords die away, the multitude of pilgrims crowd forward to reach the spiritual highlight of the Mass, the rite of holy communion.  ~Wikipedia

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Will they swing it?  I don’t see the large gold container they swing in the movie, just that black bag hanging from that thick rope Oh, never mind… I see it now.  

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The rite of Holy Communion has commenced so it looks like we are witnessing a regular Mass as the one token Catholic in our group participates.  We are disappointed that they didn’t swing the thing. Shouldn’t have taken showers.  We must smell way too good.

Click on the link below to see what we didn’t see.  We are sitting on this side, so I’ll just have to imagine what it would have been like.

Pilgrim’s Mass link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUxSdgKnYkQ  

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After Mass we walk around and stand in line to see the tomb.

The crypt shows the substructure of the 9th-century church. This was the final destination of the pilgrims. The crypt houses the relics of Saint James and two of his disciples : Saint Theodorus and Saint Athanasius. The silver reliquary (by José Losada, 1886) was put in the crypt at the end of the 19th century, after authentication of the relics by Pope Leo XIII in 1884.

In the course of time, the burial place of the saint had been almost forgotten. Because of regular Dutch and English incursions, the relics had been transferred in 1589 from their place under the main altar to a safer place. They were rediscovered in January 1879. ~Wikipedia

Spain-1040719dmvOops! Just noticed this sign.

Spain-1040731dmvWe tour the cathedral and the line takes us behind the altar.  Peeking over the shoulder of the statue, I see the next mass has already started and a clear view of the thing they swing.

Spain-1040741dmvThese little electric offering candles even have fake wax dripping.  No tickets?

Spain-1040663dmvSt. James, the Moor slayer.

Spain-1040748 - CopydmvHow do you score the exit doorway of  the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela for your ultimate begging location?  Smart to laminate the sign due to the frequency of rainy weather, too. I gave her money, but it must not have been enough to earn a pose including eye contact for pictures.

Leaving the church we are still disappointed they didn’t swing the thing. By the way, the thing is called a  Botafumeiro.  The thing is a lot easier to say.

Myth, Mist and Melancholy

It is often said the Camino de Santiago does not end at Santiago de Compostela, but at Cape Finisterre on the Atlantic coast. We are not true pilgrims today as we cheat and hop on the Monbus to go to “the end of the world.”  

Spain-1040561Finisterre (Fisterra in Galician) was both the end of the known world until Columbus altered things, and the final destination of many of the pilgrims who made the journey to Santiago in past centuries. There are various explanations as to how this continuation came about (one such is that it was based on a pre-Christian route to the pagan temple of Ara Solis in Finisterre, erected to honor the sun) but is it also known that a pilgrim infrastructure existed, with “hospitals” in Cée, Corcubión, Finisterre itself and elsewhere. Pilgrims in past centuries also continued northwards up the coast to the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Barca in Muxía, 29km north of the “end of the world” itself.  ~   http://www.csj.org.uk/route-finisterre.htm
Spain-1040384Our attentive bus driver pays close attention to the road as we cruised through towns and countryside, picking up passengers along the way. 24 Euro a piece for a round trip ticket from Santiago. The time each way varies depending on the number of people getting on at the stops along the way.  Our trip took about 2  hours each way. It would have taken 3 long days of walking, so that doesn’t seem to be such a long ride, after all.

Spain-1040403Dreary, rainy day the whole way to Finesterre.

Spain-1040410Our energetic friend, Jane, is taking in the scenery along the way.

The two South Korean gals are also on this bus and have reservations to stay in the hotel at the end of the world. That sound kind of interesting, doesn’t it!  They have walked ALL the way from France, which includes hiking the Pyrenees and O’cebreiro, so I’d say they deserve it.

Spain-1040462The welcoming committee is ready greet us at the bus stop.  Hey, guys!  We’re here!

Spain-1040458It is the kind of cold rain that chills a person to the bone, so we find a handy coffee shop to warm our insides before tackling our excursion for the day.

Spain-1040472Finisterre’s main industry is fishing along with tourism, but seem to keep it real rather than over-dressing the town for the tourists.

Spain-1040465Monument dedicated to Galician emigrants who, being dispersed through all world around, took part in creation of better world. This monument is not far from the Finisterre Bus Station.

Spain-1040470This anchor was spared from an old ship sent to the metal scrap and now is part of a monument near the fish market dedicated to the local sailors.

Spain-1040572Fishing nets are resting for the day.

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Closer inspection finds donuts in the nets.  Huh…I’m assuming the donuts are bait and they aren’t catching donut fish.

Spain-1040491Only one bastion of fort San Carlos survived till nowadays. It was built in XVI century to defend the city and harbor of Finisterra from pirates.

Spain-1040507There is maritime museum in inside the fort now, but it is closed today.

Spain-1040523Fisterra is on the rocky Costa da Morte which in Galician means “Coast of Death,” named because of the large number of shipwrecks along these shores.

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Pilgrims still leave rocks.

Spain-1040565Time to head back so we can catch our bus back to Santiago.

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We are here.  Due to the cold, sometimes heavy rain, we do not walk to the far tip to the lighthouse.

There is also another possible final destination, and this is Muxia. You can walk from Finisterre to Muxia along the “Costa da Morte” or walk straight from Santiago to Muxia.

According to the legend, Muxia is the location where the boat carrying the body of the apostle St. James arrived. One legend even has it being a stone boat. Don’t think I’ll sign up for a ride in a stone boat.  Doesn’t sound very seaworthy.

Spain-1040467We are cold, wet, as well as hungry and it is time to catch the bus back to Santiago.

Finisterre is known for its fresh seafood, but to Randy’s dismay we are short of time to sit down and eat a delicious meal and it is too early. We are starving since we haven’t eaten much and our time in Finisterre has been spent taking photos in the rain while trying NOT to ruin the camera. Wonder where our off the beaten path, menu de la dia will be tonight?  Pulpo? (octopus) We’ll find out in Santiago.