Missing Downton Abbey?

Try this….

Netflix photo

Netflix photo

Gran Hotel is a Spanish TV series that ran from 2011-2013 for just three seasons. In my opinion, it’s more entertaining than Downton, especially now. For me, that show died along with Sybil and Matthew. Dame Maggie Smith is wonderful, but she’s not enough to save the program.
What is it about the third, fourth and fifth seasons? The first two are fantastic, then the writers seems to run out of ideas or something. Call the Midwife was so good until they went off the book. The only exceptions for me are Breaking Bad, Mad Men (so sad it’s over) and Parenthood.

Anyway, the leads in Gran Hotel are ridiculously good-looking:

Netflix photo

Netflix photo

These star-crossed lovers get into more scrapes (why isn’t Julio caught or dead?) and it’s very entertaining.

There’s a witty police detective and his hapless sidekick, two really scary madres who’ve perfected the face slap; conniving house maids and a truly repulsive husband. I watch this on my iPad while working out on the elliptical and it makes the time fly.

Oh, the setting is beautiful too–the Palacio de la Magdalena in Santander (see top photo). The time period is early 20th century and the costumes are great.

Netflix photo

Netflix photo

I took a couple years of Spanish in college, so it’s fun for me to try and understand the dialogue. I usually get the first and last words in a sentence. :)

Love the cinematography too.


Check it out! On Netflix with subtitles under “Grand Hotel.” I have not been compensated for this blog post, just sharing a fave.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Rain in May

We’ve been having really unusual weather lately. Cool and windy and now, rainy. I never thought I’d be happy to see rain after years in the D.C. area, but we’re in the middle of a drought. While walking Rocky, I took these shots after a brief rain shower:


Red Bottlebrush. The name fits, doesn’t it?


Common Day lily.

Monday is a holiday here (Memorial Day) so I’ll be back in a week.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Lost Kwanzans

While deleting photos off my cell phone (my least favorite photography task) I found these shots of Kwanzan cherry blossoms. I do miss these, along with lilacs and peonies.




Hope your week’s going well so far. I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind on WordPress “Likes,” and hope to get back to doing them soon. It’s been kind of hectic around here, but things are calming down now. Thanks for your patience.


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More Warnemunde

A few more images of Warnemunde, Germany….


They were working on the streets in this part of town, hence the white barriers.


I love the design on this florist shop.


This place is looking a little rough, but I like the wrought iron railing.



For some reason this doesn’t look like a casino to me.




I’m guessing these boats are emergencies. I liked the red and white against the blue sky.


The Baltic Sea. I always thought of it as ice cold. We didn’t go in the water, but there were plenty of people enjoying it.



Once again we had perfect weather.


We left at sunset, so I was able to get a shot of this boat during “Golden Hour.” I’m so glad we got to see Rostock and Warnemunde.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Warnemunde, Germany

Warnemunde is a seaside resort located in former East Germany and a district of the city of Rostock. The city was founded around 1200, and was a small fishing village for centuries. In 1323 Warnemünde was bought by the city of Rostock to protect the city’s access to the Baltic Sea.

According to Wiki, the population is around 8,400.

I’m not sure how to describe Warnemunde. It’s kind of like a beach town, but with really interesting architecture. Nothing like Southern Bavaria where I lived and worked when I was younger. I guess it’s influenced by the surrounding countries. I’ll just let you look and decide for yourself….






Really wish our McDonalds could look this good. They recently renovated one near us and it looks awful.



I’m pretty sure we had ice cream here and it was good.



I never see hollyhocks in California, so had to take a picture of this one. Did anyone else make dolls out of them in childhood?




Loved this place…the colors, the brickwork, everything.


More on Friday. Hope your week’s going well so far.


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Happy Mothers Day

It’s Mothers Day on Sunday in the U.S., so here’s a “Mother of Pearl” rose for all the moms out there….


Great weekend, everyone!


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Mint Condition

I found the sweetest vintage teacups and saucers in an antique emporium a while back. The price was right, so I grabbed them. Shades of mint, pale blue and pink with a touch of gold.




The flowers were a surprise.


Hope your week’s going well so far.


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Warnemunde Sunset

We arrived in the port town of Warnemunde, Germany, at sunset. So glad we were on the best side of the ship for this.





You can see a bit of the town on the right.


That little orange boat on the left? I’ll have a photo of that in full sun in a later post.


This is where we finally docked. It was great to be able to just walk off the ship and explore the town. I’ll cover that in a subsequent post.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Jacaranda Time

The Jacaranda trees are in bloom now, a little early. I looked at photos of them from two years ago and they were taken on May 25.

We’ve been having a lot of windy days lately, but I was worried about missing the blossoms, so I ventured out the other day:


I had to stand and wait for the wind to subside and then quickly take the photo before the wind gusted again. Even with a fast shutter speed, bokeh looks wonky if the wind is blowing hard.


I moved around a lot to get different perspectives and different-colored bokeh.


The seed pods are a little strange, aren’t they?


Viewed closely, the blossoms remind me of bluebells.


I took these shots around 5:30, so the sun was starting to dip.

Hope your week’s going well so far. I had to take Rocky to the vet because he seemed to be in pain. His back is acting up, so the vet prescribed muscle relaxers and painkillers. Hopefully this is temporary, but Rocky is 17. He hasn’t lost his mental acuity, though. I tried hiding a tiny pill in his treat and then cheese, and he figured it out every time. Will try peanut butter tomorrow…wish me luck.


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Travel Scan: Prague, Astronomical Clock

Writing about the astronomical clock in Rostock, Germany, made me think of the one in Prague, so I scanned this image:


This clock was first installed in 1410 and is composed of three parts: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; “The Walk of the Apostles” or “Apostle-go-round,” with the Apostles and a figure of Death (a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions for each month.

Great weekend, everyone!


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