Sunday, December 31, 2017

Spain and Morocco - 7, Rabat

Hi, Our next excursion off the ship was to Rabat. This was a day trip and Ruthe chose to stay behind as she had caught a bug.

Our first stop was the Royal Palace. Security was tight although the King was only here when he had official business to conduct (above and below). He was away on the day of our visit.

Then it was on to the Hassan Tower (above and below) and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V (second below). The tower was planned to be the largest minaret and part of the largest mosque in the world at the time construction began in 1195. However, the current Sultan died in 1199 and construction ended with the tower rising to only 1/2 its planned height.

Construction of the mausoleum was completed in 1971. It contains the remains of King Mohammed and his two sons, one of whom was King Hassan II.

A group of Muslim women arrived to visit the Mausoleum.

This seems to be some kind of decorative lamp.

A special place is reserved inside the mausoleum for a holy person to sit and read the Koran aloud.

Ceremonial guards at the mausoleum (above and below).

From the mausoleum we drove along the water front (above and below)

to the Rabat lighthouse

which was just across the road from the Jewish Cemetery.

Towards the end of our visit we traversed some streets in the historic Kasbah where I captured the knocker,

this window,

a street vendor selling pottery and

a view of the ramparts.

Our last stop in Rabat was at the Hasan II Mosque built partially on land and partially out into the Atlantic Ocean. Once again, we were unable to enter the Mosque.

When we returned to Casablanca we stopped outside Rick's Cafe inspired by the movie Casablanca. However, it would not open for another 1 1/2 hours.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Spain and Morocco - 6, Marrakesh to Casablanca

Hi, On the way back to our ship we stopped at El Jadida, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ruthe an I enjoyed taking some photos of the country side and the rural communities we passed through (above and seven below).

Every community had a Mosque.

Donkey carts are widely used.

In one of the larger towns a street fair was in progress (above and below). Live stock is brought here for sale or trade.

Prickly Pear Cactus is grown as a crop. The structure on the left is an irrigation conduit.

In El Jadida I took a brief walking tour of the small city while Ruthe took a briefer stroll on her own (above and seven below). The city is unique for its synthesis of European and Moroccan architecture. The Portuguese who controlled this area from 1502 to 1769 built a huge fortification facing the sea.

This is the minaret of a Mosque (above and below).

Tile work in North Africa always is beautiful.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Railfanning 11-28-2017

Hi, Friend Dale Jacobson and I spent some time last Tuesday railfanning in the Baltimore area.

While I waited for Dale to arrive at our meeting place, the St. Dennis MARC station, I was able to photograph the last commuter train of the morning.

We were curious as to what was happening at Sparrows Point now that the former steel mill there was being replaced by a logistics park. In particular we wanted to see what Tradepoint Rail, the successor to the Patapsco and Back River RR, was up to. We found one of their SW1500s working the area off Grays Rd north of Grays Yard (above and below).

After finishing along Grays Road the crew went back to Grays Yard and picked up six more cars for spotting. We caught the train off the Wharf Road overpass (above and two below). At this point the locomotive and crew disappeared into a part of the park closed to the public so we left.

After lunch we staked out the CSX bridge between Havre de Grace and Perryville. The spot we chose, under the US 40 bridge, gave us a good view of the CSX bridge and a back lit view of the Amtrak bridge. This is how a correctly exposed photograph would look

While we waited we had some barge traffic for entertainment. The tow boat on the far left actually is not tethered to a barge but will pick up an empty out in the bay just beyond the Amtrak bridge.

I actually envisioned the scene with the Amtrak bridge as a silhouette, sort of like this.

Then I thought why not play with the color balance of the shot to warm things up.

Finally, about 2 hours after we got here CSX sent a north bound across their bridge. We never did see a south bound, which we had hoped to get here.

Our last train of the day was of the afternoon MARC train pushing from Perryville toward Washington, DC.

Thanks for looking/

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Trip to Wilmington, DE - 10/19 & 10/20/2017

Hi, I accompanied friend Dale Diacont on a quick trip to Wilmington, DE on October 19th and 20th. The main purpose of the trip was for Dale to present a program to the Wilmington Chapter of the NRHS.

After we got together near my condo in Silver Spring, MD we immediately headed over to the National Capital Trolley Museum, about 10 minutes away. Dale had never been there and wanted to take some photos.

After lunch we started north. Our first stop was at Havre de Grace, MD. Here are a few of the trains we photographed. First up was a northbound Acela.

Right behind the Acela was a northbound regional train.

After awhile we shot a southbound Acela and this southbound regional.

We then moved north to Marcus Hook, PA where we shot a number of commuter and Amtrak trains (above and six below). Then it was time for dinner and the NRHS meeting.

Our first stop the next morning was Kennett Square, PA where we hoped to get information on the East Penn Railroad's plans for the day. It turned out the people there were very nice and the information highly accurate. The crew drove from Kennett Square to Pocopson, PA where they picked up their train and power (four below). There are two former Pennsy cabin cars on display here: one is a former Pennsy cabin car in NYC green (above and third below) lettered Penn Central and the other a former Pennsy cabin car lettered PRR.

And now here's Dale.

The train took the connection off the former Reading RR line to Wilmington, DE at Chadds Ford, PA and headed west on a former PRR branch.

After the train stopped to drop a car at a lumber distributor in Kennett Square we photographed it on the west side of town and then again

passing a transload in Avondale, PA. Most of the train was dropped here before it came into our view.

It was very difficult to find open areas along the trains's route. Although we ran out of time so could not continue shooting I think things open up further along the route.

Thanks for looking.