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Thursday, May 30, 2024

FLYTOGET AirPort Express: Oslo to Airport Direct.


Flytoget’s express trains offer the simplest and fastest journey to and from Oslo Airport. 



Bergen to Oslo Scenic Train.

Got up early for a 20 minute walk with luggage from the ship to the train station for the VY scenic train ride from Bergen to Oslo. ÖY!


We started our day with a bus tour in Bergen and then spent the afternoon exploring the city on foot. From the cruise dock, we took a 22-minute walk to the train station. It was a straightforward walk, and we made sure to confirm our train schedule and platform. 

We learned that we should board the train 20 minutes before departure. Following our visit to the train station, we strolled through the shopping area and stumbled upon a fascinating bakery where we could see the bread being baked and the dough being rolled right in front of us. It was quite an experience! 

After that, we continued to explore the harbor area and ended up at a brewery, where we enjoyed a couple of nice beers at a beautiful table right by the water. We also checked out the outdoor fish market and a local carnival before getting ready for our train journey to Oslo the next day. 


We did a quick walk through Bruges with a stop at ‘the’ brewery.

Honfleur is a fun nad quaint place to visit!

We had a great day in Honfleur. Loved the chocolate shop! Ended with a beautiful sunset.

L’Envie for mussels and chardonnay on the water.

Honfleur 163e Fete des Marins Pentecote 2024 Lundi 20 mai.


Today, we took a bus tour from our dock in Portsmouth to Truro. I learned that Portsmouth is an island city. It was the site of the D-Day landings and served as headquarters for Dwight D. Eisenhower. There is lots of history here. We drove up to a high point where the ground was made out of chalk to get an overview of the area.

On our way back, we drove through little quaint villages and stopped at the sea, where we saw one of England‘s longest seaside boardwalks, remnants of a military fort, and a cool lighthouse. 
We drove past a new, built-up shopping area, which we returned to on a shuttle. You can identify this area by looking at the tall spinnaker that they built. 


During our tour to Truro, we came across a naked drummer statue, charming buildings, and streets, as well as a large, old cathedral with lots of interesting details and free restrooms. I had the chance to meet the town crier, while Carol lit a candle with her cousin. 

We also purchased some foot cream that is no longer sold in the US due to the closure of their stores. In addition, we strolled around the city center, explored the shops, and ended the day with visits to Primark and Marks & Spencer.


The main shopping street of Falmouth was a quick walk from where our cruise ship docked. Lots of shops and quaint bakeries are along the street, which goes on and on. It is a nice difference from America because we didn’t see any banks.

After walking through Falmouth, we stopped at the ‘front, a friendly, unpretentious pub in a great location with views across the harbor.
We had two beers.
Offshore Pilsner, winner of World's Best Lager is brewed on the rugged north coast of Cornwall. The perfect balance of continental hops and Czech yeast
Tintagel Brewery's Pendragon IPA is brewed with Cornish Water, English barley malt spiked with malted wheat, and 3 special American hops.


Porto city walk and port wine tasting.

We had a good day for a city walk around Porto with a wine tasting at the end. Porto is really busy with lots and lots of tourists competing with lots of construction in the center of the city. We walked through the city streets and saw many shops, including a McDonald’s which Had chandeliers in it. We also saw the coffee shop. We are J. K. Rowling spent time writing The Hobbit, and the line was really, really long to get in there. We also went to the city train station, which was impressive and showed off some of the blue tile work that is famous from the area. We ended our tour with a port wine tasting, and the port we had was much better than the port we used to have. The weather was great and we enjoyed our day.
We ended the night with a gathering of Facebook and cruise critic Viking fans and a chef’s table tasting of the best halibut I’ve ever had.
A beautiful sunset capped everything off. 


 Malaga is a beautiful city with a mix of history, culture, and vibrant street life.

We decided to skip our included tour, which was an hour ride out to Mijas and then an hour ride back because my allergies were really bad. I took Mucinex-D, which helped, but I didn’t want to spend two hours on a bus today.
Instead, I asked the new ChatGPT-4o for suggestions of things to do, and it gave me a list of ten activities. We chose the following, and it worked out great.
**A Walk Through Malaga:**
**Calle Larios:**
This main shopping street is perfect for a leisurely stroll, window shopping, and people-watching. The pedestrian-only, wide streets make it fun to walk around and check out all the shops, restaurants, and bars.
**Plaza de la Merced:**
This lively square is home to the Picasso Birthplace Museum and a great spot to enjoy a coffee or a meal. It's also a fun place for people-watching, with plenty of outdoor café tables.
**Atarazanas Market:**
Visit this bustling market to experience local life and sample some fresh Andalusian produce and tapas. This market was amazing—one of the most impressive fresh produce markets I’ve ever seen, with lots of fruit, fish, and meat.
**Picasso Museum:**
Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and this museum houses an extensive collection of his works. The museum was enjoyable, covering Picasso's life and many styles. For a minute, we thought the graphic showing the elevator was the way to the bathroom, but we figured it out.
**Malaga Cathedral:**
Known as "La Manquita" (the one-armed lady) because one of its towers was never completed, this impressive cathedral is a must-visit. As we were walking the streets, we first thought the back of the cathedral was the front. It was so impressive that we took a turn, saw the front, and were corrected.


Our afternoon in Cartagena was filled with a unique experience-an advertised tapas and wine tour that, to our surprise, also included beer, adding a delightful twist to the usual offerings.

As we were guided through the city on our tour, we learned about the history of Cartagena. One reason discovery was that there are ancient ruins under the city center. This presents both opportunities and problems for developers. In some cases, Developers are allowed to upgrade buildings with the stipulation that they maintain and restore the façade of the building. If they break ground and find ancient Roman ruins, then they have to stop development and call in the government to determine whether or not they continue to develop the location.
Our tour was a gastronomic delight, with three stops where we sampled a variety of tapas and beverages. We were treated to three different types of tapas, each with its unique flavor profile, and a selection of drinks including basic sangria, red or white wine, and beer. While one of the sangrias stood out for its exceptional taste, another was less impressive, reminiscent of Kool-Aid. The beers, though not region-specific, were refreshingly cold.
The weather was sunny and 70°, perfect for walking around the area.


Last-Minute Tour Switch
Originally, we planned to join the Barcelona city tour after our pre-trip stay at the Nobu Hotel. However, a 3.5-hour bus ride around Barcelona on our first day made the city tour redundant.
Instead, we opted to join our cousins who had signed up for a 4.5-hour tour to Montserrat. We went on standby, waiting by the bus until 10:30, when two seats became available. Joining this tour turned out to be a fantastic decision.
The bus ride to Montserrat took less than 45 minutes and ended at a train station. From there, our group boarded a train that climbed steeply through the mountains to a quaint town and abbey.
When we got to the mountaintop, our first destination was the restroom. The line for the women’s room was 30 deep and the men’s room had no line. I went into the men’s room, and there was no one in there, and there were eight empty stalls. I went back outside and told the women who were waiting in line, for a women’s room that only had two stalls to go into the men’s room.
They initially declined, but I insisted, and one brave woman went in.
I told them that it wouldn’t be a problem because they’re going to be inside a stall, and it’s the men who are using a urinal who would possibly be uncomfortable. I said that in Boston, they have restrooms like this. It shouldn’t be a problem. 
Then I told them that I’d check again because they wanted to know if any men were in there and I came back out and I said I’m pretty sure there are no men in there, but I can’t guarantee it because one man might be in one of the stalls. Then one man walked out! Everyone was shocked and started laughing, but I said no he didn’t come out of the men’s room. He came out of the nearby back room for the workers.
Then I checked again, and the coast looked clear, so more of the women piled into the men’s room. 
The tour included a selection of educational videos about the area's history and the natural processes that formed the striking rock landscapes. The abbey is home to monks and young boys who study academic subjects in the morning and focus on music in the afternoon. Known for their choir, these boys learn two instruments and sing as part of a renowned boys' choir, returning home on weekends.
During the tour, we sampled four types of liquor: hazelnut, aromatic, walnut, and cream. I particularly enjoyed the walnut liquor, purchasing some to enjoy with tea back on the ship, much to my cousins' amusement.
While waiting to tour the Basilica, we stumbled upon a wedding, complete with Roman reenactors. A humorous moment ensued when a Roman centurion was asked to take a photo; I captured this amusing scene of him photographing the wedding.
The Basilica itself was stunning, adorned with intricate wall and ceiling art and sculptures. At the front, we encountered the rare black Madonna. Tradition suggests touching her orb brings luck or answers prayers—I wasn't sure which, but I touched it regardless.

The return to the ship was smooth. Later, at tea time, I enjoyed the walnut liquor in my tea, and our final night in Barcelona was celebrated with a delicious paella dinner on Spanish night. 

A must see in Barcelona: La Rambla, St Josep market.

La Rambla, St Josep market. 

The best Barcelona brewery: Fabrica Moritz!

The best brewery I found in Barcelona was Fabrica Moritz! I loved the design and decorationsthere. The brewery was nice and large with lots of places to sit. 

I won't spoil the suprise of the sights you see on your trip to the basement rest room. Amazing! LOL

Best smash burger in the world: Smash Hiro Barcelona!

Smash Hiro in Barcelona has the best smash burger in the world. 

My journey to Smash Hiro is a testament to the power of social media in travel. Inspired by my friends' posts, I ventured from Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to this hidden gem, documenting my experience along the way.

It was great. 

In addition to the burger being delicious, I ordered it all in Spanish! 


Made it to La Sagrada Familia by train.

I made it to La Sagrada Familia by train after figuring out how to buy a ticket and getting on the correct train in the correct direction.

A Beautiful hotel in Barcelona, Nobu Hotel.

Enjoying an Estrella Damm at the Nobu Hotel Restaurant Bar, Barcelona overlooking Sagrada Familia.

May be an image of beer and text

Traveling Again: Boston to Barcelona via the MBTA

Traveling Again

May be an image of 3 people and train
We packed for our first airplane trip in four years with the essentials that would fit in an overhead carry-on, just as we always do.
We were headed to Barcelona for a few nights before embarking on our Viking Ocean cruise along the Trade Routes of the Middle Ages.
I picked up my prescription for seasick patches at CVS. After reading about the possible side effects, I decided to try avoiding them and use the electronic band I ordered if necessary.
We walked to the Green Street Orange line MBTA station and used our Charlie cards to enter. There was enough money on the card for both of us.
The next inbound train arrived in 2 minutes. It was a new Orange line train, clean and efficient, delivering us smoothly to State station by 7 PM, after the rush hour.
At State, we followed the always confusing signs upstairs to switch to the Blue line, reaching Airport station quickly as the next train arrived in just 1 minute. Despite the announcer’s request for no smoking, a young man across from me puffed on his vape.
At Airport station, we boarded a shuttle that stopped at the car rental, Terminal C, and then the renovated International Terminal E.
The lobby was crowded with many people who seemed to have nowhere else to go, according to Carol.
We proceeded directly to security, having checked in online, only to discover our boarding passes didn’t have TSA PreCheck because I’d forgotten to add it to our online reservation. We were turned away at the first/business class line because our record wasn't found in the system.
At the check-in counter, which was 63 stalls away, we learned we needed to check in physically as part of a random security measure requiring passport presentation. Surprisingly, we had to check our carry-ons too.
I took the opportunity to add TSA PreCheck to our boarding passes.
Back at security, an older couple was slowly placing their belongings on the conveyor belt. I seized the moment to step ahead, but a security officer quickly reprimanded me, "There is no cutting!" I was sent back to wait my turn.
“Were you cutting?” He asked. In my best Larry David impression I could muster at that point in time I said, “Yes I was.”
Unlike in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, no further consequences applied to me. 
After finally getting through security, we enjoyed the baked haddock at Legal Sea Foods, asking for it to be fully cooked after the first attempt.
I bought a Smartwater in a metal bottle, preferring it over the paper cups used on the plane.
We boarded LEVEL airlines in Group 1, settling in to watch the Woody Allen film *Midnight in Paris”. I enjoyed it, ending my years-long Woody Allen boycot.
They provided water in bottles and distributed plastic bottles filled with amenities, including an eye mask which I used to take a short nap.
I’m eagerly anticipating the warm weather and sights of Barcelona.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

LECIA Q3: Initial Setup - Connect to FOTOS App


I found this NEW Leica Q3 (Part 1) Tutorial | All you need to know very helpful. 

There are A LOT of settings in the Leica Q3 and it's going to take me a long time to figure them all out.

One thing that I found helpful was to SELECT the 'Connect to app' selection when first setting up your camera. It automatically sets up a few settings including time, date, and time zone, so you don't have to do it manually with the camera. 

It also gets you to learn how to connect the FOTOS app.

You scan the QR code for your camera in the app and the camera information is shared with the app. It connects using WiFi. The camera's WiFi network name and password are preset and can be changed in the camera menu.