Last in this series…

One thing that I have noticed on trips abroad or even on a visit to central London, just down the road so to speak, is that tourists themselves are potentially a good photographic subject when travelling. I am an inveterate street photographer! Capturing the locals as they go about their business is great and can really give an understanding of the atmosphere of a place. Catching the tourists – and they often outnumber the locals at historic sites – can be a rewarding study of human behaviour πŸ™‚

The Forum in Rome is always full of tourists and people selling water (it gets hot down there). As an historically important site it is special but I wonder how many other visitors were surprised like me at how small an area it actually covers? On my first visit I was expecting something on the grand scale of Ben Hur or Quo Vadis. Of course, when you look beyond the Forum and go up to the palaces on the hills around then you start to get a cinematic sense of scale. But down in the bottom of the valley, it all seems rather small. Much here is about the detail – the carvings on individual stones – the inscriptions – because the buildings have long ceased to be imposing, now just shadows of their former grandeur.

As we walked amidst the ruins, admiring those details and trying to avoid spending too much time in direct sun, I came upon these two young ladies posing for each other…

…In many ways they were bringing life to an otherwise dead world. I wonder if they knew they were posing in the Temple of Vesta and the conotations of being a Vestal Virgin? But then I wonder if they were students putting together a portfolio of images for their course. Tourists, like locals, can be fascinating subjects πŸ™‚

Logically, travel photographs should show your means of travel, right? But, of course, they don’t. Most travel photo’s show images from the poster’s destination. Most of mine fall into that group too. But this shot is a genuine ‘travelling’ image.

When I was much younger, my train-spotting hobby took me far and wide around the UK and ultimately into Holland, Belgium and France I would book a week off work in the summer and, armed with a railrover ticket, head out for a week on the rails. There were no breaks in that week, except for one return home midweek to change clothes and get a decent night’s sleep. Washing was done in the toilet on the train and food was bought wherever it was available. Back then, in the mid 1970’s, there were trains that ran all through the night so plenty of sleeping options were available to the travelling enthusiast and it was quite normal to log close on, and sometimes over, 10000 miles in a week.

A good start to a week on the rails was to catch the first train of Saturday morning out of King’s Cross – a stopping service that departed at ten-past midnight with an ultimate destination of Newcastle. As one of the last services out of the capital on a Friday night it had more than its share of office workers heading home to the shires after an evening on the booze. Passengers quickly thinned out once the train got beyond Stevenage and by Peterborough it was only the long-distance passengers that were left. I believe the train rolled into Newcastle – and memory is not what it was – at around 0730. There was then time to grab something to eat from the station buffet before catching a train to Edinburgh.

And that is where you find me, on the train to Edinburgh as it approaches the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-upon-Tweed…

…Times have changed – you can’t stick your head and camera out of modern trains like I could then, so this image would be very difficult to replicate now. Things were different back then and it should be noted that I understood the risks involved far better than many youngsters today. My Grandfather was a railwayman and I knew to stick just one eye out to survey the view ahead. Even the camera only ever went out as far as needed to get the lens clear of the door-frame. Even so, it’s not a practice that I would suggest everyone should partake in. Even in the recklessness of youth I was more careful than most πŸ™‚

Day three on Facebook – that was 1st March… In 2017 We travelled to Barcelona for a holiday a few days after terrorists drove down La Rambla… I felt it was important to go there despite that tragic situation. It was the second time that my Wife and I had visited that fine city and we had a very nice time. However some things had changed and, probably because we tend to wing it, we found that visits to the Sagrada Familia and Parque Guell should have been booked in advance. I understand the moves to protect the past from too many tourists – it’s now the norm in a lot of cities. Hey-ho… We just wandered around the larger gardens outside of Gaudi’s section instead and I took this photo looking across the rooftops of the city with the ships leaving harbour or travelling down the coast…

…Did we miss the attractions that we couldn’t visit? For Epi and I, probably not as we had seen them before, but I would have liked my Son to have seen inside the Sagrada Familia. Instead we travelled up to the abbey at Montserrat and learned that he is very scared of heights 😦 Then, on another day, we visited the old Barcelona FranΓ§a Station – he had no problem with that or the many churches we visited within the city πŸ™‚