Tuesday, April 30, 2024


When North Americans arrive in Spain, they learn quickly that local dining hours are much different than ours. For sit-down restaurants, lunch is served from 1 to 4 PM and can be the main meal of the day. They don't open for dinner until 8 or 8:30 PM. At that hour the customers are mostly Americans, Brits and Germans. The locals start rolling in about 9:30 or 10. This picture was taken after we had finished our dinner (8 PM booking, of course) a few blocks away and we went for a walk. The place was plenty busy.

I apologize that this hasn't been much of a St. Louis photo blog lately. I might pick up some images on Saturday but then Sunday it's off to New York for a five day street photography workshop, Packing it in while I still can.              

Monday, April 29, 2024


The royal palace in Madrid is a thing to behold. It's bigger than the Chateau de Versailles, albeit without the latter's vast gardens. After the horrors of the Spanish civil war almost 90 years ago, the country is now a constitutional monarchy with a functioning democracy (although the Catalonians and Basques might differ). It maintains a degree of grandeur of which the British would approve.           

Sunday, April 28, 2024


Mercado de San Miguel, just off Plaza Mayor in Madrid. It's not exactly where you would buy provisions for home, but more like the most high-end and energetic food court (in the American sense) I've ever seen. And at 5 o'clock on Friday it was packed with Spaniards snarfing down tapas, raciones, bocadillas, and swilling cerveza, vino, vermut and, most important of all, aperitivos.

This made us think of our old friend and former City Daily Photo colleague, Jilly Bennett, in Gorbio, France, outside of Menton. One late afternoon we were sitting with her in her town's tiny square when she recommended that we order an Aperol Spritz, a blend of Aperol, prosecco, ice and an orange slice. Heaven. It's on our table every weekend. Thanks, Jilly,      

Saturday, April 27, 2024


Richard Serra's room at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. Some people hate his stuff, some like it. We love it.      

Friday, April 26, 2024


A shoe store just off Plaza Mayor in Madrid, closed for the night.             

Thursday, April 25, 2024


We have good news and we have bad news: photography is not allowed in the galleries of the vast Prado Museum. That's it, both sides of the issue. Photo junkies like me get antsy if we can't press the shutter button at will. On the other hand, the policy forces people to put down their phones and actually look at the art. How refreshing.

The collection of European painting is stunning but the crowd control could be better. The line at security was terrible, maybe an hour long, but because we had pre-booked with a senior discount they let us cut the line. We had also purchased a 90 minute tour of masterpieces in English, which revealed so much we would not notice on our own. Five hours was all our old bodies could take but you could spend days there.


Wednesday, April 24, 2024


We spent part of Wednesday at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. It's an enormous place based on the collection of a very rich German-Spanish couple that grew and grew, and was eventually sold to the Spanish state. It isn't well known in the U.S. We could only cover a small part of it before our aged joints and muscles said enough.

After a leisurely lunch in the museum's cafe, we took a walk through some of Madrid's great public spaces. The Gran Via is hard to characterize, maybe something like London's Regent Street, full of grand buildings but longer and more varied, The metro stop gives a nod to Paris' art deco system.

Tomorrow we confront The Prado.          

Tuesday, April 23, 2024


We like this city. It has beautiful architecture and fabulous food (but you better like ham). It's clean. The people are delightful, without exception. Taxi drivers and restaurant servers are complimentary when I try to communicate in my limited Spanish (I guess not many Americans try). And, at the current exchange rate, it's very affordable for us. Y'all come.

Two activities on Tuesday. We took a bus tour to the historic city of Toledo, where these old bodies hiked up and down hills for hours. More about that later. In the evening, we went to a fancy dinner and flamenco show at Corral de la Moreria, which is supposed to be one of the top places, but what do I know. Well, this guy from Missouri thought it was drop-dead spectacular, heart-pounding and riveting. We've been to some excellent tango dinner shows in Buenos Aires, where the passion is on a slow burn. Flamenco is white-hot, with the fire of el sol espaƱol.


Monday, April 22, 2024


More from the El Rastro Sunday market. It's not that big, certainly not compared to Portobello Road in London or Feria San Telmo in Buenos Aires, but it's fun and colorful. Even old guy vendors can keep rockin' on while they peddle their wares.                  

Sunday, April 21, 2024


Shooters everywhere. This was found in the weekly El Rastro flea market in the neighborhood where we are staying. From what we have seen in our brief time here, the city is handsome with old buildings well-preserved. The streets are thronged with people out for a typically late Spanish Sunday lunch. Everyone has been friendly. The hotel where we are staying is a little gem. Glad we came.         

Friday, April 19, 2024


A last look at tulips in Tower Grove Park before getting back in the air tomorrow. The route is St. Louis - Chicago - Madrid. We have lots of activities booked and the weather there sounds simply gorgeous.              

Thursday, April 18, 2024


During our walk around Washington University, my sister wanted to stop by Graham Chapel. The university has Methodist and Episcopal roots, but the chapel has been without affiliation for a long time. Mary Beth recalled that there were no classes at 11 AM on Wednesday and that there was always an interesting speaker here at that time. She recalled hearing Jane Fonda addressing the students during the Vietnam War.           

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


I left NY/NJ and came to St. Louis University in 1967 (I know - OMG). I was the oldest of four so when I ended up about a thousand miles away my mother thought her children hated her. Two years later, my sister, Mary Beth Crowe, Ph.D., enrolled at Washington University across town. Then mom was sure her children hated her, but the younger two stayed in the northeast. Wash U, as we call it, is much more prestigious than my place and is generally considered one of the top 10 or 20 universities in this country. She was always a more serious student than me.

When the family was here last weekend, my sister wanted to go for a memory walk. This is Brookings Hall, the old main administration building. The campus is gorgeous. St. Louis U isn't bad (look what became of me) but we've always felt a bit inferior.

Posts for the next few days may be hit and miss until we get to Madrid on Sunday.


Tuesday, April 16, 2024


As mentioned, we had family and friends come from all over for our daughter Emily's memorial service last Saturday. Of course, our son, Andy, and his family came down from Michigan. So these are all three of our grandchildren: upper left, Ellie, the local, 10; cousin Audrey, 8; and wild guy grandson Atlas, 5, in an unusual moment of repose, at the bottom. 

These cousins are tight friends, particularly the girls. Sometimes Atlas tries to bust up their activities. I have no Idea how Audrey learned to go bug-eyed on one side and cross the other eye to the middle. Who knows how many likes could get on Facebook or Instagram? Not that her parents would ever allow it.             

Monday, April 15, 2024


What do you do after a half century, when the joints are getting creaky? We went to brunch at our favorite French restaurant. The staff got wind of the occasion and gave us the most exquisite chocolate mousse at the end of our meal.

So now, briefly, back in the routine. I might as well mention it at this point: our daughter, Ellie's mother, died just before the end of the year after, as they say, a long illness. We waited to have the memorial service until winter weather and Easter had passed. It took place on Saturday and was quite beautiful. Family and friends came from coast to coast. Now, life continues for the rest of us. But Carolyn and i wanted to do something to mark our occasion. We arrive in Madrid on Sunday.                      

Sunday, April 14, 2024


A long time ago - everything is a long time ago now -  I was in my middle year of law school. It was St. Patrick's Day and I had only change in my pocket. My roommate and I decided we could not sit at home despite our lack of funds. There was a bar near the university that had cheap beer and pinball machines. It was crushingly crowded and I was literally pushed into the other person in this picture. I grew up in an apartment in New York. She grew up on a farm in Kansas. We were married 50 years ago today. It worked. It really did.

And the adventures we have had. Some people want to sit on a beach in Cancun or buy trophies in luxury shops. Not us. We went to Tibet, here at Everest base camp at 5,200 meters / 17,000 feet. And Tierra del Fuego and Fairbanks and Bangkok and Alice Springs and Cairo. And Paris, over and over again. Wow, did I luck out. She's the best.                

Thursday, April 11, 2024


The sky was getting dark early Monday afternoon (I have not edited the color of the sky in this photo). Granddaughter Ellie, clutching her beloved cloth lambie, stared at the sky with rapture. When totality arrived she let out a whoop. She may remember the day for the rest of her life.

I need to take a break from the blog for a few days to attend to some family matters.                 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


The truck stop where we pulled in for eclipse viewing. One after another, drivers of big tractor-trailers pulled in to watch the show. Several more arrived after I took the top picture. As soon as totality passed they were back on the road. The western view had the necessary emblems - McDonald's, the American flag and British Petroleum.               

Tuesday, April 9, 2024


We scouted traffic online before heading out yesterday morning. Traffic on the Interstate running south from St. Louis appeared to be in gridlock. We decided to head east into Illinois, stopping at a large truck stop parking lot about 55 miles / 88 km away. Plenty of room. I set up the tripod and got lots of ordinary photos of the moon gradually covering the sun.

Just after I took this shot the plate that connects the camera to tripod's ball head decided to come loose. It was the critical moment. I couldn't get it tightened fast enough to get the eclipse filter off the lens for totality. No images of it at all. So I put the camera aside and just looked. I saw the diamond ring effect. The sky was less black than seven years ago, more like sapphire. The wind calmed considerably but the temperature didn't seem to drop that much. Instead of making images, I had the experience.

Most important of all, my granddaughter, Ellie, was spellbound. It was the most fascinating experience of her young life.                     

Monday, April 8, 2024


It is a privilege to see a total eclipse once in a lifetime; we have two in our part of the world in seven years, This picture was taken in 2017. Our family plans to drive about an hour and a half southeast of St. Louis today to get close to the center of totality. The forecast looks good but there are no guarantees. Report tomorrow.                         

Sunday, April 7, 2024


Nothing wrong with phone cameras these days. Under the right circumstances you can get some very good images. Most of us have heard the saying that the best camera is the one you have with you. Nevertheless, I'd rather have my Fujifilm at my side.

Getting everything ready for the eclipse run tomorrow. The weather looks great. St. Louis will get 98-99% totality but not good enough. We will drive about an hour and a half southeast, where totality will last four minutes. Got my -20 stop solar lens filter. Hope we can find a space.                 

Saturday, April 6, 2024


[in Just-]

By e e cummings
in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan          whistles

Friday, April 5, 2024



Spring is looking pretty good here so far. Tulip beds are all over Tower Grove Park. One area contains fake ruins with a pond and fountain. It is a popular place for individual, family and wedding photography. I was sitting on a bench at some distance with a long lens and couldn't resist this.             

Thursday, April 4, 2024


You might think this sculpture at Laumeier was rather obvious - a well-ventilated cabin in the woods, open to every kind of olfactory experience. Those of us with a young person in the household hooked on the book and TV series A Series of Unfortunate Events (like me), might immediately think of the Lucky Smells Saw Mill. You would have to read the explanation, https://www.laumeiersculpturepark.org/tea-makipaa , to find out that it's about dogs. Yeah, I get it, but you would never guess on your own.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024


Doe, a deer, a female deer?. Not exactly. The photo doesn't show anything for scale, but this is a fiberglass piece in Laumeier Sculpture Park, 12 feet / 3.6 meters high. I'm tall, but I could walk under the belly. It is another invention of Tony Tasset, the sculptor who created the eye in Sunday's post. https://www.laumeiersculpturepark.org/tony-tasset-2015  Good thing it's a herbivore. Except it's fake.              

Tuesday, April 2, 2024


Back at Laumeier Sculpture Park with Ellie's school field trip. What might be going through their heads? The statue is more-or-less classical, with propeller blades or oars or thick cricket bats sprouting from odd locations. The boy on the right just wants a selfie. Ellie, to the left, looks like she has had all she wants. The next boy is far more interested in his phone (sigh). Appreciation takes time. I'll keep working on our kid.             

Monday, April 1, 2024


A tiny bit of the mighty Washington University Medical Center and School of Medicine, including Barnes Jewish Hospital. I've gone in for repairs now and then. It is one of America's top tier medical schools and research facilities and just huge, covering (my best guess) 20 city blocks. And it's never finished. There is constant construction and expansion every time I drive by.

See how other City Daily members take the cure at https://citydailyphoto.org/2024/03/25/april-gallery-medicine/ .