5 of the World’s Easiest Travel Destinations

By Thomas Lowe

Sometimes planning your trip can be almost as enjoyable as the trip itself — it certainly builds up the excitement. We all want our journeys to be as smooth and trouble-free as possible, but figuring out what transport to take can be stressful, so we’ve taken the worry out of it for you. Here are five of the easiest destinations to travel to.

1. New Zealand

New Zealand -- Photo by Michael Shannon on Unsplash
New Zealand — Photo by Michael Shannon on Unsplash

The tourism industry is booming in New Zealand — and they know it. This means that it’s a very easy country to get to, despite the long journey. Flights take 12 hours from the west coast of the US and over 24 hours from the UK, but if you can deal with this then it’s well worth making the trip.

Once you arrive, you’ll have no problems making your way round. There are daily bus and coach services on both islands, or if you’d rather have the freedom of driving yourself then hiring a car is straightforward. Main routes are well sign-posted and the roads are always maintained to a high standard.

However you choose to see New Zealand, there won’t be any shortage of stunning natural scenery for you to admire. Check out the top ten most beautiful views here.

2. The UK

Windsor Castle -- Photo by Traveling with Sweeney
Windsor Castle — Photo by Traveling with Sweeney

With more than five airports on the outskirts of London alone, the UK has plenty of transport links for the keen traveller to take advantage of, despite being such a small island. (Insurancewith recommends pre-booking your transport to your accommodation, to save you stressing about it when you arrive.) Find more holiday planning tips here.

Once you’re there, it’s easiest to travel from city to city by train. There are lines all over the country and most places have a train station, including country villages.

Local bus services operate in and around cities and will be much more friendly on your budget than taxis. Accessible transport is readily available, with most buses are adapted to accommodate wheelchair users and people with disabilities.

Bus trip tip: Be sure to buy your tickets in advance if you can (it’s much cheaper). Bus journeys normally cost less if you buy a day ticket instead of a return, plus you can take unlimited trips.

3. Germany

Hamburg, Germany -- Photo by Traveling with Sweeney
Hamburg, Germany — Photo by Traveling with Sweeney

Germany’s transport systems are renowned throughout the world for being so efficient, so whether you’re travelling by air or making your way over from another European country, your arrival should go smoothly and without fuss. If you’re a US citizen, all you need to enter the country is a valid passport and then you can stay for up to three months within a six-month period.

The train is the best way to get around once you’re there — there are options for every scenario, whether you want to go cross-country or just to the next town along, and the services are always clean and on time. If you fancy some fresh air, cycling is very popular in Germany, with bike rentals and dedicated cycle lanes in most of the big cities.

4. Canada

Vancouver -- Photo by Traveling with Sweeney
Vancouver — Photo by Traveling with Sweeney

You can travel to Canada by car, train, or plane, and the good news is that you only need to show your passport to be granted entry if you’re a US resident. (Click here to read more about the entry requirements for Canada.)

Canada has earned its reputation as a friendly country, with the locals only too happy to help out anyone who’s lost or needs a recommendation or two. It’s enormous, so you may have trouble deciding where to go first — we’ve narrowed it down to Vancouver, where a cosmopolitan city sits beside rugged mountains, and Montreal, which has lots of history, pretty cobblestone streets, and isn’t very far from Niagara Falls.

5. The Seychelles

Seychelles -- Photo by Yannick Bakker on Unsplash
Seychelles — Photo by Yannick Bakker on Unsplash

Looking for luxury? The Seychelles is the place to go. You don’t need a visa, even on entry — just fly in, get your passport stamped, and get ready to enjoy everything these beautiful islands have to offer.

Located off the east coast of Africa, the Seychelles are not cheap, but if you want a secluded paradise and you’re willing to pay for it, you can’t get much better than this. See the sights on a bike ride, or travel from island to island via ferry or catamaran for something a little more relaxing.


Capturing the Diversity of Ecuador in a Photography Workshop


Exploring the Richness of Ecuador’s Natural and Cultural Diversity

July 30 – August 10, 2017

Limited to 10 people.
Taught by Terry Abrams. Produced by Barbara Nelson.

This photography workshop will teach us how to see beyond the richness of a new environment and quickly adjust to many different subjects to capture unique images.  We will be working in a broad variety of photographic styles at all different times of day and low light.  Time is allotted for uploading images and critiques both individual and as a group.

Photo by Barbara Nelson

Small, but dazzling, Ecuador’s richness lies in its wide natural and cultural diversity. With over 5000 years of history, Ecuador has the greatest biodiversity per area in the world, including 1600 species of birds and 25,000 species of plants.

On this trip into the pre-Columbian southeast part of the Southern Andes, we will base in two locations where we can experience both the Amazon rainforest and the Andes Highlands.


Ecuador - Photo by Barbara Nelson
Bustling market towns, traditional crafts people, remote indigenous villages, and pristine national parks far from the touring crowds. People just as diverse as the landscapes live peacefully together.

Ecuador -- Photo by Barbara Nelson

Marcas (5 days)  A small charming river town.

  • Excursions to visit Shuar communities with their unique customs and beliefs – a subgroup of the Jivaro who have lived for centuries in the rainforests.
  • Explore the rainforest’s landscape and diversity of natural life.
  • A spectacular drive in private coach from Macas to the highland’s town of Cuenca.

Cuenca (5 days)  A 16th century colonial jewel of the south and a UNESCO world heritage site.

  • Flower market, crafts market, cobblestone streets, churches, plazas and more.
  • Excursions to small villages where local artisans make and sell their fine works.
  • Handmade Panama hats originated here and are still its most famous export.

This workshop is for students who can operate their cameras on manual exposure and who want to go further with their photography. The class would meet daily for discussions, to view work and critique student’s work. We will be together photographing on some mornings from sunrise till late morning as well as afternoons, through the sunset, occasionally past twilight and into the evening. Students are expected to organize their digital images for review.

Ecuador -- Photo by Barbara Nelson

A list of suggested equipment and other travel needs will be emailed to all in the class.The class is built on a schedule of photographing and critiquing with some downtime planned for organizing your images. The schedule will be flexible for unscheduled special events, weather changes and such. The class will learn how to work with minimal equipment and maximum adaptability. We will work on analyzing the quality/direction of light, frame/compose the image and anticipate the unfolding activity. The diversity of Ecuador provides endless opportunities for photographers.

The Ecuador Photography Workshop is produced by BARBARA NELSON and taught by TERRY ABRAMS.


  • Hotels and breakfast, WiFi, and ground transportation related to the workshop. Local expert traveling with group.


  • Lunch, dinner, drinks and beverages. International air travel. Personal items and services.


  • As always, we strongly suggest travel insurance that gives good coverage for most circumstances including personal health issues that might occur with you or your family. It is also required that all check their health insurance to make sure it covers you out-of-country.



FEE: $3450. 00  SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $180.00
50% deposit required with reservation.

BALANCE DUE June 19, 2017
Check or money order payable to Barbara Nelson

340 Haven Avenue #3J, New York, NY 10033

*Refund Policy

All photos courtesy of Barbara Nelson

My Last Night in Siena, Italy

Soaking up the ambience of a night in Siena

“Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.” Samuel Johnson

"Piazza del Campo in Siena Italy"
Piazza del Campo

Like seals on a rock, people lounge across the ‘sand’ of the Piazza del Campo. The bricks of the scallop-shaped piazza are still warm from the day, adding to the sensation of sitting on the beach. Pure bliss is lazing in the sun, soaking up its last rays of the day, steeped in good conversation. The only thing missing is the ocean. It is truly the best of both worlds.

Medieval villas crowd around the outside, casting crenelated shadows across the brickwork in the late afternoon. Children in sandals scamper after pigeons. People stroll through, a dog leash in one hand and gelato in the other. Friends and lovers huddle together enjoying each others company. Siena’s social zone picks up its pace.

Along the edge of the piazza is the promenade with many cafes and restaurants. There is a myriad of tables and chairs for diners and coffee drinkers set out in groups. Street musicians play their music while an entertainer in a red hat teases passersby to the delight of the crowd. The Campo truly is the physical and cultural heart of the city.

"Ristorante Fonte Gaia, Siena, Italy"
Carlos outside Ristorante Fonte Gaia

Our new friend, Carlos, runs the Ristorante Fonte Gaia. There he is in his white shirt and vest. One morning we helped him set out chairs before opening shop, and since then he has treated us to complimentary cappuccino and treats! What a sweetie…..see what can happen when you rub elbows with the locals?

The red-brick fan of the piazza radiates out from the facade of the Palazzo Pubblico. Spoke-like paving patterns were commissioned in 1349 by Siena’s then ruling committee, the Council of Nine, to symbolize power. It also represents the folds of the Madonna’s Cloak. Since then, it has remained the site for most of Siena’s public events. Executions and bullfights took place here in the medieval era, but fortunately became much friendlier with time by hosting festivals and the world-famous Palio.

"Piazza del Campo, Siena Italy"
Piazza del Campo

Once the site of a Roman Forum and later the central market place, the Campo is steeped in history. Surrounded by buildings that haven’t changed since medieval times, the facade of the Palazzo Pubblico, built in 1288, concave’s inward to accommodate the curve of the Campo. Originally the town hall, today it still houses the town administration. The Torre del Mangia (tower) was built to rival the tower of the neighboring town of Florence. When the Torre del Mangia was built around 1325, it was the tallest structure in Italy at over 290 ft.

"Siena Italy"
The entire urban center is extremely well-preserved

The Palio, a breakneck, bareback 90 second horserace, occurs twice a year. Originating from medieval times to represent each of the 17 Contrade of Siena (neighborhoods), it still remains highly competitive. Siena’s pride and joy, it draws a huge crowd. During this time, the Campo is transformed into a racetrack and turns into a dynamic swirl of activity.

"Seated on a tiny balcony outside a third story pub with the best view of the Campo, Siena, Italy"
Seated on a tiny balcony outside a third story pub with the best view of the Campo

Sadly, it’s my last night in Siena….I stand with all my senses working overtime. I don’t want to ever forget the magic of this place. I am polarized between two worlds, the medieval architecture and atmosphere so rare to find, and the culmination of modern-day Italy evidenced by the tourists. The sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and feel of this medieval city soak into my being, flooding my mind with colorful memories. Siena, my day at the ‘beach,’ will remain with me always.

"Soaking up the ambiance of Siena, Italy at night"
My Last Night in Siena….Soaking up the Ambience

For more information:

Ristorante Fonte Gaia, Piazza II Campo 121, 53100, Siena,Italy, Phone: 39 0577

"Author Susan Nelson"About the Author:

Susan is an independent travel writer with expertise in research, history, art history, and culture. She went to Italy for the first time in 2004 and has remained hopelessly infatuated. She loves walking the cobbled streets of Italy and exploring ruins that have existed for thousands of years. Giant aqueducts, earthy catacombs, duomos with first century house churches hidden underneath, mystical legends of the saints — it all takes her breath away.

Read Susan’s Blog
Follow @evabellalucia on Twitter
Connect on LinkedIn
Susan Nelson on Facebook

Photos courtesy of Susan Nelson

Don’t Just Visit – Move In To the Neighborhood

By Vera Marie Badertscher

We walked to “our” neighborhood grocery store in Paris’ St. Germain area on the Left Bank. We welcomed sons and grandchildren for a long weekend in a cabin in northern Arizona. We sat and stroked the black and white kitty-in-residence as we gazed out over olive groves to the blue, blue Aegean on the island of Siphnos in Greece.

"Kitty-in-residence as we gazed out over olive  trees and the blue Aegean on the island of Siphnos in Greece"
Kitty-in-residence on the island of Siphnos in Greece

I am a fan of renting a house or an apartment when you travel. I’m just sorry that I did not wise up sooner to the advantages of living like a native instead of hanging out with professional hosts at hotels.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do plenty of one-or-two-nights-in-a-place before moving on, and therefore must find reasonably priced bed and breakfasts, motels, chateaus, or whatever suits the surroundings. But my preference is for the slow travel that lets me meet more “real” people instead of just people who are there to be nice to tourists. A trip is counted as a success if I have met several people who are NOT employed as waiters, hotel receptionists or cab drivers!

"Outside of St. Germain Paris apartment waiting for a taxi"
My husband waiting for a taxi outside our Paris Apartment

Nowadays you can find an exciting variety of types of lodging when you travel, from the adventurous young people’s haven of couch surfing to rental of exclusive mansions that accommodate twenty people or even an entire island. Not being interested in either of those extremes, I stick with the biggest home rental company, Home Away and their subsidiary Vacation Rental By Owner. But there are numerous smaller companies, many specializing in one country, or even one city.

Are you nervous about trying something new? Here are some guidelines and tips.

1. Can I trust the renter?

Look at the pictures on the rental site. I don’t like to rent a place when I don’t see lots of pictures. Ask yourself, what are they NOT showing pictures of? You can send a note or call directly to the landlord asking for specific information about anything that concerns you.

The Home Away companies do not monitor the renters, that is true, but you can check the comments on their site. Additionally, Trip Advisor.com has evaluations of some rentals. Finally, Home Away has rental insurance you can purchase, that is similar to trip insurance, except it covers things like “property does not appear as it was described”, etc.

2. Money up front?

The deposit is standard, as is asking for a cash payment when you arrive. You cannot expect to be able to pay everything by credit card when you’re not dealing with corporations. When we rented an apartment in Paris, we knew that we had to pay the landlord upon our arrival, in cash–Euros not dollars! Since we were arriving on a Sunday, we were not sure how this would work, but he met us and walked with my husband to a money changing place nearby. Not the ideal situation, since the exchange rate would no doubt have been better at a bank, but on the other hand, if we had gotten Euros in the U.S., they would be more expensive.

3. Make a list of what is important to you.

The size of a rental, including number of bedrooms and how many each sleeps will be extremely important, but then you need to be honest about your personal likes and dislikes.

"Rental house on a hill on the island of Siphnos in Greece"
View from the window of our little house on Siphnos

• Where is it? You will find plenty of variety in most places. Even when we rented on the little island of Siphnos in Greece, we could choose between beach properties, those higher with a view, in town or rural.

• What is included? Swimming pool? Kitchen equipment limited or not? Wireless available? T.V.? Phone? Our rental in Siphnos came with a car, and our Arizona White Mountains cabin appealed because they had children’s toys and games and we were bringing family.

"The backporch of one of the family cabins we have rented in Arizona's White Mountains"
The backporch of our cabin in Arizona’s White Mountains

• Price? Don’t forget to check on whether there are extras. Most places charge a clean-up fee. Some charge for utilities used.

• Convenient to necessities? How are you going to get to a grocery store? Is it close to the things you most want to see and do? Our Left Bank apartment in Paris was walking distance to just about every museum and other activity we wanted to do in Paris.

"the Seine River in Paris at night"
The Seine, Paris

Of course if you have never rented before you are going to be a little nervous. But if you are staying in one place for a week or more, or if you are sharing a trip with family or friends, try moving in to the neighborhood instead of being yet another hotel guest.

"Vera Marie Badertscher"About the Author:

Vera Marie Badertscher publishes A Traveler’s Library where, with six other travelers, she reports on new books, movies, and other things that inspire travel. She also combines her love of cooking and history at her site, Ancestors in Aprons, that is dedicated to the idea that food memories tie you to family and ancestors.

You can also follow @pen4hire on Twitter.

Photos courtesy of Vera Marie Badertscher

Maui Memories: Head to the Beach!

By Catherine Sweeney, BWT Founder and Editor

Happy May to everyone!

It’s time to think about spending some quality time on the beach, don’t you think?

"Boats in the water off of Ka'anapali Beach at the Westin Resort Maui"
Ka’anapali Beach at the Westin Resort Maui

That’s just what fellow boomer woman traveler, Patricia Patton, is doing by hosting a blog carnival on her website, Boomerwizdom, with the theme: Beaches. Since my husband/co-blogger at Traveling with Sweeney and I just returned from Maui, it seems a perfect opportunity to share a few beach photos from the trip.

Maui Beach Memories

We stayed in five different locations on Maui and Molokai (part of Maui County) over a period of 10 days. Each places had its unique characteristics and we enjoyed them all. Yes, it was difficult to leave after getting used to sunny days with temperatures 80F+ and balmy breezes. But we always have our memories and photos to look upon for future travel inspiration. I hope you’ll enjoy these photos and perhaps get inspired as well.

Honokowai Beach Park

Honokowai Beach Park is a great place for hanging out with friends and family, but we stopped here on our drive from Napili to Ka’anapali specifically so we wouldn’t miss the sunset. This photo really shows the peacefulness of the setting sun, I think. Look at those clouds!

"Watching sunset at Honokowai Beach Park in Ka'anapali, Maui"
Honokowai Beach Park in Ka’anapali

Papohaku Beach, Molokai

We had this beach on Molokai’s west coast nearly to ourselves and this is apparently not uncommon for the many beaches of Molokai. But it was still amazing to find beautiful Papohaku Beach so deserted. One of Hawaii’s longest beaches, it is also called Three Mile Beach because of its length.

"Papohaku Beach (Three Mile Beach) in Molokai"
Our footsteps on Papohaku Beach (Three Mile Beach) in Molokai

Kumimi Beach, Molokai

Kumimi Beach, also called Murphy Beach or 20 Mile Beach because it is located near mileage marker 20 on Molokai’s east end, is considered the best snorkeling beach on Molokai. Though you can barely see him in the distance, my husband had just emerged from the water after an hour of snorkeling. The water is very clear and there are many rocks and coral with fish of all kinds. The water is quite shallow all the way to the reef across the opening of the bay and there are considerably more fish there.

"Kumimi Beach (also known as 20 Mile Beach or Murphy Beach, great snorkeling in Molokai"
Secluded Kumimi Beach on Molokai’s east end

Ka’anapali Beach

Each evening at sunset, guest from the hotels along Ka’anapali Beach stroll along the beach and walking path in front of area hotels to catch a glimpse of the sunset. This photo was taken from the Westin Maui.

"People watching sunset and boats on the ocean at Ka'anapali Beach by the Westin Hotel"
Ka’anapali Beach

Hana Coast

The famous Road to Hana is a beautiful drive, but after our stay in Hana we decided to take a different route along the the backside of Haleakala going south from Hana instead of backtracking on the northern route. In some places the road wasn’t even paved but the route afforded gorgeous views and chance to step out at this rocky beach. Another highlight of this drive was the running of the bulls that we saw.

"A rocky beach on Maui's eastern coast"
A rocky beach on Maui’s eastern coast

Grand Wailea Resort

Doesn’t this look like fun? The waves were perfect for cooling off at the Grand Wailea Resort.

Waves on Wailea Beach

Napili Kai Beach Resort

It was a gorgeous day for paddle boarding, snorkeling or just playing in the waves at Napili Kai Beach Resort. I opted to lounge in a beach chair and relax in the sun while my husband went snorkeling.

"Chairs on the beach at Napili Kai Beach Resort, Maui"
Napili Kai Beach Resort

Visit Boomerwizdom’s blog carnival for more stories about beaches — and submit a link to your own beach post if you have one!

I’m also joining in the fun at the Where’s My Backpack website where the theme is “Beaches”.

Have any plans to head to the beach soon? What are your favorite beach destinations?

Captivated by Elounda

By Susan Nelson

From King Minos Palace to the Gorge of Samaria to the tiny island of Spinalonga, the Greek island of Crete is an explorers paradise. Crete shares both a Mediterranean and North African climate. It is extremely mountainous, with a high range crossing from east to west, producing the Amari Valley, Lasithi Plateau and several caves.

It was early spring when I landed in Iraklion, Crete, fresh off the overnight ferry from Peiraus. The throngs of summer sun worshipers had not yet begun, so great deals were to be had. After stopping for a cheese and egg crepe and cup of steaming hot Nescafe, I rented a small car for 15 euros a day and set out east to explore the island before during the “calm before the storm” of the coming tourists.

"Colorful little boats bobbing in Elounda, Crete"
Colorful little boats bobbing in Elounda harbor

Captivated by Elounda

Following the coastline I found my way to the colorful little harbor village of Elounda. Neatly kept shops and homes with small gardens and low rock walls reflected a people that care about their little village. Blue and red boats, some with the Greek “eye,” bounced and jiggled along the harbor. Old gentlemen in ironed slacks and jackets sat outside cafes drinking coffee and playing cards.

"Boats in harbor in Elounda, Crete"
My Bed and Breakfast was down around the bend on the harbor

The waterfront took me around a wide curve to a bed and breakfast, overlooking the bay where I stayed for a few nights. Bare rolling hills framed the small village from behind, shadowing quickly as the sun began to set. Occasionally, dogs barked and birds chirped. Sheep bleated as a shepherd herded them across the road. Warm and bright, with friendly people, Elounda captivated me.

"Windmill near the harbor in Elounda on the Greek island of Crete"
Windmill across the street from my room

Strolling back toward town to tame my ravenous appetite, I followed the sound of a party to a small restaurant that appeared closed. Confused, I walked around the side and saw two men standing by a doorway. I barely spoke before they ushered me inside and seated me at a large food-infused table surrounded by a sea of laughing faces. I tried to back out, it appearing to be a private party of some kind, but they wouldn’t have it.

Within seconds, large plates of food were placed into my hands. Two men were clapping and dancing around the table. (Why does Zorba the Greek come to mind?) The women kept refilling my plate with delicious seafood that I hardly recognized. Everything had a good dose of olive oil. There were plates of pickled and marinated vegetables, slabs of herbed fish, sauteed octupus chunks, artichokes with wild rabbit, shrimps, sundried tomatoes with goat cheese, spinach pie, cheese pie, grilled lamb chops and bottles of wine appearing in endless supply. It couldn’t have been a merrier bunch.

"New friends in Elounda, Crete"
Maya and Angela on either side of me – “Girls just want to have fun!”

Attempting to converse with mouthfuls of food was a challenge. Commotion ran high, and names were exchanged in a swirl of activity. I met Maya and her boyfriend from Lithuania, Angela from Manchester, England who was an ex-pat and worked in a coffee shop, the restaurant chef and owner, and many others. Maya informed me that it was the eve of the restaurant’s grand opening.

Spinalonga was mentioned in our conversations as the town attraction. This island sits in the middle of the harbor and is the second most visited site in Crete after King Minos Palace. Immediately, I found myself hopelessly intrigued and knew I must investigate on the morrow.

"Looking out at the one-time Venetian Battlement Spinalonga from Elounda Crete"
Looking out at the onetime Venetian Battlement Spinalonga

Spinalonga is just a short distance across the water from Elounda. Used by the Venetians, (who had occupied the island since 1211) as a trading base during the 16th century, piracy and the threat of advancing Ottoman Turks caused them to build a stronghold on the island. Incorporating the ancient walls that already existed, they created a complex of fortifications including double rows of tall walls and huge towers.

"Island of Spinalonga from Elounda, Crete"
Island of Spinalonga

The Ottoman Empire did invade Spinalonga and took possession from 1714 until 1903, when it became a leper colony until 1957. Supposedly, the Turks refused to vacate Spinalonga so the Cretans sent their lepers to the island. Needless to say, the last Turk left in 1903.

Today it is one of Crete’s main attractions as an archaeological park that receives a thousand visitors a day. Boats shuttle tourists daily every 30 minutes from Elounda harbor to see what remains of this fortress.

If I were to describe the soul of Elounda, it would be this; spellbinding, soul-stirring, exotic, friendly and peaceful. If you should happen to stumble upon a restaurant at the eve of its opening, you will be warmly welcomed!

Only a few days in Elounda and I was on my way to explore more of Crete.

"Author Susan Nelson"About the Author:

Susan is an independent travel writer with expertise in research, history, art history, and culture. She went to Italy for the first time in 2004 and has remained hopelessly infatuated. She loves walking the cobbled streets of Italy and exploring ruins that have existed for thousands of years. Giant aqueducts, earthy catacombs, duomos with first century house churches hidden underneath, mystical legends of the saints — it all takes her breath away.

Read Susan’s Blog
Follow @evabellalucia on Twitter
Connect on LinkedIn
Susan Nelson on Facebook

Photos courtesy of Susan Nelson

Photography Workshop in Northern Portugal


Editor’s note: This announcement was originally published on Traveling with Sweeney.

Capturing the essence of northern Portugal

By Barbara Nelson
Workshop dates: June 17 – 28, 2018

Lisbon street scene -- Photo by Barbara Nelson
Lisbon street scene — Photo by Barbara Nelson

Join us to be inspired by the sights and scenes of northern Portugal and be challenged to capture your perspectives in photographs during the workshop. We will often have unique access to people and places as we travel from Lisbon to Porto, ending our workshop in Santiago de Compostela (in the Galicia region of Spain)

Itinerary Highlights

Iconic Lisbon tram -- Photo by Barbara Nelson
Iconic Lisbon tram — Photo by Barbara Nelson

We will meet in the capital city of Lisbon, staying for 3 nights in the historical section of the city (the only part that was left standing after the 1755 earthquake).  This district still retains its Kasbah-like layout with winding and steep lanes and stairways. Here you will also see captivating street life scenes and wonderful views of the Tagus River.

Lisbon street scene with street musicians -- Photo by Barbara Nelson
Lisbon street scene with street musicians — Photo by Barbara Nelson

From there, we move north to Porto, whose picturesque historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There will be many photo opportunities here, but the city is also a wonderful base for our side trips that include:

Terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley -- Photo by Barbara Nelson
Terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley — Photo by Barbara Nelson
  • the intricately terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley (the birthplace of port wine), visiting vineyard owners, old villages and the people who live there, and a 9th-century monastery
  • the Alto Minho area to visit at least one of the old transhumance villages
  • a traditional village of indigenous people with a large weekly market featuring local handicrafts and products
  • Barcelos Market, visiting fishing villages on the Atlantic coast along the way.
Portuguese woman at the market -- Photo by Barbara Nelson
Portuguese woman at the market — Photo by Barbara Nelson

On our way to Santiago de Compostela, we will spend time photographing around Viana do Castelo. The workshop ends in the historic, medieval town Santiago De Compostela, famous for the destination of all who are walking the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). Workshop participants are free to spend personal days here or return home.

The class is built on a schedule of photographing and critiquing with some downtime planned for organizing your images for review. We will be together photographing on some mornings from sunrise till late morning as well as afternoons, through the sunset, occasionally past twilight and into the early evening. The class will meet daily for discussions, to review work, and critique each student’s photographs — individually and as a group. The schedule will be flexible for special events, weather changes, and such.

In this photography workshop we learn new skills and practice known techniques for capturing the essence of places and people in this beautiful and historical region. This workshop is for students who can operate their cameras on manual exposure and who want to go further with their photography. The class will learn how to work with minimal equipment and maximum adaptability. We will work on analyzing the quality/direction of light, frame/compose the image, and anticipate the unfolding activity. We will practice in-camera techniques such as multiple-exposure in camera, black & white, HDR, and more.

A list of suggested equipment and other travel needs will be emailed to all in the class. For details and booking, visit Barbara Nelson Photography on the web. Contact Barbara Nelson at bnelson2@earthlink.net