Rock Dancing

Some local fisherman catching dinner at Rancho Santana. 

A Late Morning Jog

Not the best day of my trip in terms of wave height... but it certainly was a beautiful morning. The sky was crystal clear and the offshore winds were creating a misty effect on top of the ocean's surface. It looked like the water was glowing.

The Seventh Day of Sunsets

Sunset - Day 7. A fitting end to the Nicaraguan holiday. A calming palette of color as the sun dipped below the horizon. 

Sunset, Dusk, and Night

Sunset - Day 4. These 3 photos were taken within 30 minutes of each other. It's amazing how quickly the scenery can change... and how quickly the sun goes to sleep during the winter months.

A Dragon's Flame

Sunset - Day 3. Not the most spectacular sunset of the trip, but still incredibly beautiful. It almost looked like a dragon was floating through the sky...

Sunset - Day 2

Not the most spectacular sunset of the trip... but I loved the blue shades in the sky (and in our "plunge pool").

Enter the Darkness

After a long day of travel (bus ride, 2 airports, and a long/bumpy drive), this was my reward. We arrived at the Ventana a las Olas villa (in Nicaragua) just as the sun had dipped below the horizon. I quickly took this shot before the darkness took over. 

Nicaragua - Surf, Sun, Naps, and Food

These 4 photos pretty much sum up my trip to Nicaragua (just missing a food picture)... fun surf, incredible sunsets, relaxing vibes, and beautiful scenery.

I had not been to Nicaragua for about 8 years and A LOT has changed. The infrastructure has improved dramatically (better roads, more consistent power, etc), the government has stabilized (no protests this time), and the country has spent quite a bit to encourage tourism. The last time I visited, I stayed at Playa Montelimar (close to the capital of Managua)... and I did not see another surfer my entire trip. This time I went further south and stayed at Rancho Santana. It was a bumpy 3+ hour drive from the airport, but it was worth it! My adventurous parents flew down flew down with me and we stayed at an amazing villa called "Ventana a las Olas" (courtesy of Waterways). The villa was perched on top of a hill overlooking Playa Santana. We saw some of the most incredible sunsets from the patio and enjoyed delicious, freshly cooked meals every night (lobster, fresh fish, pork, steak, and even a Thanksgiving dinner!!!!).

The great thing about this part of the country is that the wind blows offshore for 300+ days of the year!.. and there were about 15 different surf spots within a 15 mile radius (I surfed about 6 of them). There is everything from hollow beach breaks, to rivermouths, to cobblestone reefs, to scary outer reef breaks. Something for everyone!

La Fin!

The final posting from my trip to Paris last summer. It took a while to go through all of the photos, but it was nice to re-live the experience. Hope you enjoyed the photos! (next photos will be from trip to Nicaragua)

The Basement Cafe

Second to last photo posting from my last trip to Paris. I loved this little cafe in the 1st Arrondissement. It looks almost as if the building has been lifted up one level... and the basement has become the first floor. The contrast of textures were really cool. 

Miscellaneous Parisian Architecture

Love the old Parisian Architecture!... random shots from around the city.

The Triumphal Arch

If it's your first trip to Paris, I would recommend marching down Champs-Élysées as Napoleon, Nazi Germany, and the Free French forces did after military victories. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a street in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Champs-Élysées is arguably one of the world's most famous streets, and is one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world. Several French monuments are also on the street, including the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. The name is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. According to a much used description, the Champs-Élysées is la plus belle avenue du monde ("the most beautiful avenue in the world").

The Arc de Triomphe (in English: "Triumphal Arch")  de l'Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Étoile). The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. There is also a beautiful view of the city from the top of the monument.

Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the rallying point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns and for the annual Bastille Day Military Parade. Famous victory marches around or under the Arc have included the Germans in 1871, the French in 1919, the Germans in 1940, and the French and Allies in 1944 and 1945. A United States postage stamp of 1945 shows the Arc de Triomphe in the background as victorious American troops march down the Champs-Élysées and U.S. airplanes fly overhead on 29 August 1944. After the interment of the Unknown Soldier, however, all military parades (including the aforementioned post-1919) have avoided marching through the actual arch. The route taken is up to the arch and then around its side, out of respect for the tomb and its symbolism. Both Hitler in 1940 and de Gaulle in 1944 observed this custom.

Les Deux Plateaux

The Palais-Royal, originally called the Palais-Cardinal, is a palace located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. The larger inner courtyard, the Cour d'Honneur, has since 1986 contained Daniel Buren's site-specific art piece Les Deux Plateaux, known as Les Colonnes de Buren. In 1830 the Cour d'Honneur was enclosed to the north by what was probably the most famous of Paris's covered arcades, the Galerie d'Orléans. Demolished in the 1930s, its flanking rows of columns still stand between the Cour d'Honneur and the popular Palais-Royal Gardens.

In this photo, you are looking at Les Deux Plateaux (more commonly known as the Colonnes de Buren). It is a highly controversial art installation created by the French artist Daniel Buren in 1985–1986. It is located in the inner courtyard (Cour d'Honneur) of the Palais Royal in Paris, France. As described by the architectural writer Andrew Ayers, "Buren's work takes the form of a conceptual grid imposed on the courtyard, whose intersections are marked by candy-striped black-and-white columns of different heights poking up from the courtyard's floor like sticks of seaside rock. In one sense the installation can be read as an exploration of the perception and intellectual projection of space." The work replaced the courtyard's former parking lot and was designed to conceal ventilation shafts for an underground extension of the culture ministry's premises. Some of the columns extend below courtyard level and are surrounded by pools of water into which passersby toss coins. The project was the "brainchild" of the culture minister Jack Lang and elicited considerable controversy at the time. It was attacked for its cost and unsuitability to a historic landmark. Lang paid no attention to the orders of the Commission des Monuments Historiques, which objected to the plan. In retrospect Ayers has remarked: "Given the harmlessness of the result (deliberate — Buren wanted a monument that would not dominate), the fuss seems excessive, although the columns have proved not only expensive to install, but also to maintain.

More importantly... does anyone know what that thing might be on the bottom right of the image? I don't quite remember that being there when I took the photo. 

Lazy Summer Afternoons in the Park

A view from the front and backside of Les Invalides... officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l'Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d'Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France's war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.

These two photos were taken on the same day as I did a loop of the 7th arrondissement of Paris (first was taken after sunrise... and the second was taken just before sunset).

A Secret Passage

Found this "secret" passageway when wandering around the 1st Arrondissement in Paris... was searching for the Maison Martin Margiela store (which happened to be up that staircase). 

Parisian Statue

Random statue found while wandering back to apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. 

Vive la République!

One of the best ways to get a quick tour of Paris... and to see all the beautiful bridges, is on the back of a Batobus. The Batobus takes you to the heart of Paris, with stops at all of the main tourist sites (including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre). With 8 stops on the route, you see a different view of Paris and lets you travel around the city the way Parisians originally did. This shot was taking right after we passed the Pont Alexandre III bridge. The French flag was blowing in the warm summer breeze. 

Le Lutetia Comes to Life

The Hôtel Lutetia, located at 45 Boulevard Raspail, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of the 6th Arrondissement of Paris, is one of the best-known hotels on the Left Bank. The hotel is an incredibly beautiful building and I happened to be walking past it as dusk was approaching. The lights had just come on and it was starting glow... it looked like it was coming to life.

The hotel is noted for its architecture and its historical role during the German occupation of France in World War II. The war began in September 1939, and numerous refugees fled to Paris from conflict areas and places occupied by German forces. The Lutetia attempted to accommodate as many as possible. Because of its reputation, it was filled with a number of displaced artists and musicians. However, the French government evacuated Paris beginning June 14, 1940 and the Germans entered and occupied the city. A number of the Lutetia's residents escaped; others were captured by the Germans. The hotel itself was requisitioned by the Abwehr (counter-espionage), and used to house, feed, and entertain the officers in command of the occupation, such as Alfred Toepfer and the French collaborator Rudy de Mérode. When Paris was liberated in August 1944, the hotel was abandoned by German troops, and taken over by French and American forces. From then until after the end of the war, it was used as a repatriation center for prisoners of war, displaced persons, and returnees from the German concentration camps.

Under the Bridge

If you were to tell someone in the US that you're going to go hang out under a bridge, they might think you're a bit odd... the bridge that Frank and Charlie (from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) hang out under comes to mind. However, in Paris, it's totally normal... and is actually desired. These are a few of the photos I took while doing just that.

A Window to the Louvre

The Countdown

Counting down the minutes until the sun sets over Musée d'Orsay. There is something special about big clock towers in Paris...

Paris Night Scenes

Some photos I took while wandering around the 1st and 7th Arrondissements while under the spell of a a jet lag haze. I'm surprised the photos aren't more blurry (considering I didn't have a tripod and I had been drinking wine for much of the day).