Bob Gibson Photography | Florida Photo Workshops

Join Bob Gibson Photography| Florida Photo Workshops for Magical Long Exposures
July 23-28 in Jupiter, Florida

Bob Gibson Photography

 “After searching for a Jupiter, Florida photo workshop for many months; I was excited to discover the collaborative team of Bob Gibson Photography + Casa Caretta.  To me, this photography workshop package was the perfect blend: bed and breakfast style retreat, on-site studio, transportation, and a clearly defined agenda for our daily photo shoot outings and editing.”  Bob Gibson can be reached @ Florida Photo Workshops or 1-800-583-1660 or on Instagram.

Taken during Bob Gibson Photography |Florida Photo Workshops |Wildlife & Waterscapes, June 2019.


Bourg: Perched Atop A Quiet Secret in Dordogne

Bourg, France, is a hidden gem on the right bank of the Dordogne River, nestled in the heart of the wine appellation of Côtes de Bourg, in southwest France. In the 16th century Bourg was its own fortified community that secured a prominent position at the confluences of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers.  In medieval times this tiny hamlet was invaded by Visigoths, ravaged by the Normans, fortified by the English, and hosted more royalty than anyone ever expected, having been visited by four kings. 
Scribbles and Smiles by J Christina
Chateau de Citadelle of Bourg @ image T. Sonnontine

Nowadays, Bourg sits discreetly among three prominent UNESCO Heritage sites:  Blaye, Saint Émilion and Bordeaux. This tiny ancient village once named Bourg-sur-Gironde, built in Roman times, tells a tumultuous 2000-year-old history. 


Saint-Émilion: Lost-in-Time Storied Village

Scribbles and Smiles by J. Christina
Saint-Émilion is a charming medieval village located in the heart of the famous Bordeaux wine area.
Saint-Émilion is a honey-colored wine village in the Gironde department in southwest France, where it gracefully adorns a rocky outcrop overlooking the Dordogne river valley.  In 1999, Saint-Émilion was awarded the title Cultural Landscape by UNESCO; protecting its ancient  architecture, landscape, and historic vineyards that still produce world famous wines today.  This quaint wine village will pull at your heart strings with its photogenic beauty, glistening limestone facades, and  vine-laced vineyards.
The most practical piece of advice I can give you for visiting Saint-Émilion is to wear sturdy walking shoes. You will thank me later, as you navigate up and down those captivating winding lanes, all inlaid with centuries-old shiny and slick ballast-cobblestones, beckoning you forward - to explore this remarkably rich village.
Saint-Émilion is a medieval, fairytale-esque town with a maze of curlicue stone streets filled with charming storefronts, enchanting squares, and flower-laden terraces just waiting for you to enjoy the splendor. The village of Saint-Émilion grew famous and wealthy in the eighth century through its wine trade and prominence on the route to Santiago de Compostela. Visiting Saint-Émilion is so much more than wine; nowadays, you can spend time just strolling the crooked and charming streets without ever visiting a wine château (but wouldn't that be a shame).

Scribbles and Smiles by JChristina
Saint Émilion Monolithic Church
Postcard perfect Saint-Émilion is more than just renowned wines - it will steal your heart with its landscape, history, and serene lifestyle. In this blonde-colored wine village, just east of Bordeaux, perhaps the most extraordinary site is what lies below ground, the Monolithic Church from the twelfth century.  1300 years ago, a Breton monk named Émilion, came to this ancient town, then named Ascumbas, to escape religious persecution.  According to legend he has an intriguing and curious story - Émilion lived and existed in this dark and damp  subterranean cavern-church, where it is said he performed miracles.  In this ancient story, Émilion was believed to have carved a limestone seat that aided women in fertility; and during this period more miracles appeared among his faithful followers.  Many believed the underground spring-fed pool of water used for baptism also cured blindness. 


Rising From the Sea: Dubrovnik

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Our 2018 summer journey began at the deep southern tip of Croatia, in Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic. Where we navigated over 1400 miles, on this intrepid adventure, along the most magnificent stretch of Croatia, the Dalmatian Coastline. Sometimes, playing hide-n’-seek with the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, other times, marveling at the soaring Balkan Mountains in the distance. Dubrovnik is a natural beauty – one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Scribbles and Smiles JChristina
The walls of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik hardly needs an introduction as one of the world’s most carefully preserved medieval walled cities in the world. From afar, Dubrovnik dramatically ascends up from the Adriatic’s cliffs edge, dangling precariously high above the sapphire sea, accented with its red terra cotta rooftops - offering an unforgettable dreamscape vista. 

Our guide, Zoran, a veteran of the Croatian Army, shares his city, regaling stories from his youth, the war, and the history of this remarkable UNESCO Heritage site. Beginning in Old Dubrovnik via the south entrance, and emerging through the historic Pile Gate, onto Stradun, the main street of old town. Slowly strolling, on this dry and hot day - destination the Rector’s Palace.

Today, the Rector’s Palace is home to the cultural history museum, where it contains invaluable antiquities and artworks from the 15th – 19th centuries. Still, today visitors can walk through the notorious palace prison, where the infamous Ilija Dadić, dubbed Dubrovnik’s Monte Christo, was permanently imprisoned after five foiled attempts at escape. Zoran points out historic Murano stained-glass windows that were destroyed during the Homeland War, and explains that the Venetian Murano glass company donated all the replacement stained glass to restore the windows to their historic luster. 
Murano stained glass
In 1991, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was besieged by the Yugoslav People’s Army for seven months and the city suffered significant damage from the mortar shelling and bombs. A territorial war, that many only heard about on the national news, and local Croatians simply chose not to speak about this turbulent time in recent history. The repair and restoration of Dubrovnik’s historical and irreplaceable buildings took over ten years to complete, and reemerged as one of the top travel destinations in the Mediterranean.

Nowadays, in the pretty courtyard of Franciscan Monastery’s complex, the Romanesque cloister leads to the old Pharmacy Museum, one of the oldest in the world, where among the exhibits you can see various pharmaceutical tools, containers, grinders and similar utensils from the 7th century, from the once named, Republic of Ragusa. Stopping inside the Franciscan Monastery we admire the Romanesque cloister, from 1360, considered one of the finest features of Dubrovnik’s architecture. Consisting of rows of elegant double-pillared columns, embellished with reliefs of faces, animals, and leaves.


Elusive Montenegro

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Where is this elusive, tiny country of Montenegro, Europe's youngest country; and our 29th member to NATO? Montenegro is a pocket-size country in southeastern Europe, on the sunny, southern coastline of the Adriatic Sea. Formerly, Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia, until the break-up in 1992, and became a sovereign state when over 55% of the population voted for independence in  May 2006.

Montenegro is often called the land of six continents for its geographic diversity. It’s a country that offers tourists, intrepid travelers, and holidaymakers a versatile vacation destination; where you can tickle the turquoise sea or enjoy the soaring, snow-capped mountains in the distance. 

Our destination today is the UNESCO-protected town of Kotor, the magnificent Bay of Kotor, and the enchanting Our Lady of Rocks islet in Perast.  Traveling just 95km from Dubrovnik, with our tour guide, Tina, we find these picturesque villages and islands just waiting to be unwrapped. Luckily, our driver, Vlado, has traveled the Adriatic coastal road for over 35 years, maneuvering the sharp hairpin turns and the steep switchback curves on this narrow road with ease, offering breathtaking views at every turn. 

Kotor is a very popular European vacation destination, a real gem, located in the southernmost fjord of the Adriatic. The most impressive structure in Old Town Kotor, dubbed "Little Dubrovnik," is its city walls, dating back more than 1200 years, reaching 4 km in length, and stretching up to the San Giovanni fortress, that stands 260 meters above sea level. Another medieval and Romanesque building worth stepping inside is the Basilica of Saint Tryphon, constructed in 1166, with twin Baroque bell towers, and an impressive collection of European art.

Kotor-Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
The second UNESCO site is a short boat ride from the baroque shore of Perast, in the stunning Bay of Kotor, Our Lady of the Rocks. A photogenic Roman Catholic church, built upon the only man-made island in the Adriatic by seamen who discovered an icon of the Madonna and child on a seaside cliff and vowed to honor her by building a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of seafarers and fishermen.
Baroque shores of Perast, Montenegro
One significant historic treasure inside the church is the famous votive tapestry, the Holy Virgin, embroidered by Jacinta Kunić-Mijović from the quaint village of Perast. Legend weaves the story that it took her 25 years to finish, while waiting for her husband to return from exotic and faraway places.  A fabled story that she embroidered this iconic piece with gold and silver fibers and finally with strands of her own aging and greying hair. 

Nowhere else can you discover so much natural beauty, picturesque villages and pristine nature in such a compact area, as in Montenegro, another hidden crown jewel of the Dalmatian coast.  

J. Christina founder at Scribbles and Smiles, travel writer, and hobbyist photographer.  She writes a personal travel blog from North America. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Mr. Christie is right on-board with their travel jaunts around the world - sharing in their blogging endeavors. He supports, encourages, handles gadgetry and embraces the role of editor - hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina. 


Undiscovered Gem: Croatia

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What an amazing month-long journey discovering Europe’s unpolished gem, Croatia. Traveling the crossroads of central and southeast Europe, along the Adriatic Sea, exploring and hearing amazing stories of this once war-torn country.  Zigzagging through six great nations plus a very unexpected micro-stop along a tiny sliver of Bosnia and Herzegovina was an unforgettable experience.  As this adventure unfolded, many of you traveled vicariously, enjoying this grand journey right alongside us, sending messages and comments as you perused our postcard images on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  Thank you for joining this grand journey!  #Croatia #Montenegro #Slovenia #Italy #France #TheNetherlands #BosniaandHerzegovina

This journey began slowing in Amsterdam while revisiting world renowned art museums, touring hidden, off-the-beaten-path museums and gardens, cruising the historic canals and catching trains out of the city.   Then it was time to hopscotch down to Croatia’s Adriatic Coast.  It began in the deep southern tip of Dubrovnik, then migrated northward, logging over 1400 miles, while navigating the most spectacular stretch of coastline in the world, the Dalmatian Coast.  Playing hide-n-seek with the sea on one side and catching a glimpse of the coastal Balkan Mountains soaring in the distance.   

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Traveling to the Republic of Montenegro was a real highlight, heading to the mouth of the beautiful of Bay of Kotor, the longest and deepest fjord in Southern Europe, where sailing by a small boat to the coast of Perast, where Our Lady of the Rocks, was waiting. Our Lady of the Rocks is a manmade island with a Roman Catholic church built by seamen to honor a vision of the Madonna and child. One historic element is the famous votive tapestry, embroidered by Jacinta Kunić-Mijović from Perast. It took her 25 years to finish, while waiting for her husband to return from exotic and faraway places.  Legend weaves a story that she embroidered this iconic piece with gold and silver fibers and finally with strands of her own hair. 
Perast, Montenegro
Continuing on north, the trip went along the spectacular Adriatic coastal highway, past old fishing villages and new resorts, arriving in Split, the second-largest city in Croatia, on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea.  Split is where the remnants of the Diocletian’s Palace still exist, a UNESCO site that honors Split’s Roman heritage.

Then, zigzagging inland reaching the much-anticipated Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of the oldest and largest in Croatia, where 16 terraced lakes flow with natural turquoise water and majestic waterfalls. Hiking the mountainous region is a real challenge on this wet, foggy, and overcast day. 

The Istrian Peninsula is shared by three countries; Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, allowing a smooth segue across the border into tiny Slovenia with ease, the tiny country with “love” in its name. The journey went winding westward along the glistening Istrian Peninsula, stopping at the Bay of Kvarner, near the popular 5-star resort town of Opatija, often referred to as Opatija Riviera for good reason. Truly a magnificent vacation destination created by the Habsburgs and still frequented by the Europeans.   It’s a beautiful town where you can reach out and tickle the azure Adriatic Sea, and enjoy Renaissance, Venetian and Gothic architecture that enriches the town's culture. 

After several hours the Julian Alps are within sight, rising up 2864 meters high at Mt. Triglav, continuing northwest, reaching Bled, Slovenia. Bled Castle dangles precariously high above the lakeshore with magnificent views and reflections in the mirrored lake waters. 

Before leaving Slovenia, visiting Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia is a must-see, where it’s still an undiscovered treasure.  Dragons are a prominent symbol in Slovenia, decorating historic bridges, castles and doorways. Ljubljana’s beauty is often compared to Prague with its eclectic mix of architectural beauty.

After a few nights, sadly, leaving Bled and her stunning scenery behind, making the final push-transitioning south to Trieste, Italy. Trieste is a seaport in northeastern Italy, sitting on a narrow strip of territory between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia, only 30 km from Croatia border.

Nearing the end of the first 15 days of this three-part adventure, Venice, Italy is on the horizon. There were only a few days in Venice revisiting and strolling the Grand Canal and famous landmarks.  Sadly, saying arrivederci to Venice after a few nights  - pushing-on, making for the finale in Bordeaux, France for the next several days. 

This journey will continue with blog posts and images for the next several days and weeks to come, spotlighting several specific destinations.  It's a magnificent adventure with highlights to share and destinations that some only imagine. Continue your travels here on Scribbles and Smiles, while enjoying traveling through Croatia, a once war-torn country in 1991-1995, find the love in Slovenia and imagine romantic sights in Venice, Italy. 
About J. Christina:
J. Christina is founder at Scribbles and Smiles, travel writer, and hobbyist photographer.  She writes a personal travel blog from North America. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Mr. Christie is right on-board with their travel jaunts around the world - sharing in their blogging endeavors. He supports, encourages, handles gadgetry and embraces the role of editor - hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina.


Discovering Croatia's Dalmatian Coast

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And we're off! Join our 2018 bespoke journey across six nations, kicking off in handsome Amsterdam, affectionally referred to as the Venice of the North, where we will step into  the world of Vincent van Gogh's art and cruise on  400-year-old historical canals, once again.

Amsterdam 2017
Travel  along with J.Christina by plane, tram,  foot,  private transport, and by European river cruise ship, all-the-while discovering postcard perfect destinations that will linger in your memory forever.
As our adventures unfold, wing on with us, as we  hopscotch  down to Croatia's Dalmatian Coast,
including stops in Montenegro and Slovenia where we will explore the length of this majestic Adriatic Sea coastline. 
Old Town Dubrovnik
Following the mid-segment of this sojourn as we overland along the Pearl of the Adriatic, traveling south to north, where we will cross the finish line into Venice, Italy.  It's a quick stop to regroup, reminisce about Croatia's sights and sounds, while admiring the glories of Venetian architecture while strolling along the Grand Canal.  Sadly, we will say arrivederci to Venice all too soon - pushing-on, making our segue on to Bordeaux, France. 

Join the finale! Come on along and explore with J.Christina in  Bordeaux, France, a city with a 2000-year-old history, often referred to as the "Port of the Moon."  We will celebrate our birthdays and toast our 25th wedding anniversary, while plying the waters of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, onboard a European river ship.

Arm-in-arm let's complete this final bookend of our month-long journey immersing ourselves in southwest France - one ancient wine village at-a-time. Here we will stroll through picturesque hamlets, admire beautiful medieval villages, taste the terroir, and lunch in historic châteaux. Come on along, travel vicariously  from the luxury of your armchair to places some only glimpse on a postcard.   

Together we will create, capture and record countless shareable moments to last a lifetime. 

About J. Christina:
J. Christina is founder at Scribbles and Smiles, travel writer, hobbyist photographer and often a digital nomad.  Writing a personal travel blog sharing adventures from Europe and beyond. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Where Mr. Christie is right onboard with their travel jaunts around the world - sharing in their blogging endeavors. He supports, encourages, handles gadgetry and embraces the role of  editor - hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina.

After many years of intrepid travel, they thoughtfully opened their treasure-trove of European travelogues, artfully sharing with a worldwide audience. All-the-while, sharing the joie de vivre through their words and images, so others can travel vicariously. J. Christina believes smiling with your eyes is a beautiful thing.

You can read their most recent dispatches from aboard an elegant European river ship, sharing the allure of Europe’s great rivers and their capital cities. Or, follow them through serendipitous discoveries in the Cote d’Azur, where J. Christina captures the essence of a  perched medieval village. J. Christina’s work has been featured on France Today, Bonjour Paris, The Good Life France, and Perfectly Provence.



Discover Antibes, France on the Côte d’Azur

a version of this post appeared on Perfectly Provence, February 5, 2019

Antibes, France is a Mediterranean resort town located in the Alpes-Maritimes department of southeastern France. The city is nestled on the coastline of the Côte d’Azur, snuggled between ritzy Cannes and Nice. 

Antibes is often associated with its mega-yacht capital of the world, Port Vauban. This rich and luxurious billionaires’ quay has a long colorful history with the Ligurians, Romans and Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. Today it’s the largest marina in Europe. The marina is dotted with thousands of moorings that accommodate mega-yachts in excess of 100 meters long. Complete with seductive names like Eclipse, Octopus, and Quantum Blue – all conjuring images of the owners, a roster of “Who’s Who.” 

For art lovers, Antibes is the place to trace the footsteps of Pablo Picasso, and his flamboyant lifestyle along the French Riviera. The Musée Picasso, France’s first museum dedicated to the artist, stands tall inside the 16th-century ramparts of the restored Château Grimaldi. The site once belonged to the powerful Grimaldi family of Monaco. 
Picasso arrived in Antibes in 1946, as a young and inspiring artist for a six-month stay. He lived and worked inside the chateau, creating, painting, and sculpting. It was here he created his notable Joie de Vivre, in 1946. Picasso went on to bequeath all of the art he created to the Château, on the condition that it remain on display to the public. For those who love art, there’s no better place than the French Riviera to trace the footsteps of Picasso, his art, his affairs, and his wide circle of friends.
Follow in the daily French lifestyle, by strolling the cobblestone streets of Old Town Antibes. Head to the Place Nationale Cours Massena, Le Marché Provençal, an authentic and lively early morning market. Here, stalls are laden with fresh fruits and vegetables, sundrenched flowers, and fragrant hand-milled soaps of the Provençal countryside.

Whether you call it the Côte d’Azur or the French Riviera, this region is a prime location for discovering historical art and cultural gems.  The Mediterranean seascape is rich with artistic treasures discreetly tucked away in peaceful gardens or safely secured inside ancient ramparts.  The French Riviera is waiting for you to stroll along its seaside, discover its small villages, and be enchanted with  its treasure-trove of history and beauty.

Office of Tourism and Convention Bureau
The Gare d'Antibes is the railway station serving the town, offering connections to Nice, Cannes, Marseille, Paris and several other destinations. The railway station is in the center of town. The nearest airport is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. 

* a version of this post appeared on Perfectly Provence, February 5, 2019

About J. Christina:
J. Christina is the author and hobbyist photographer behind Scribbles and Smiles, writing a  personal travel blog from the Midwest. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Where Mr.. Christie is right on-board with their travel jaunts around the world; sharing in their blogging endeavors. He supports, encourages, handles gadgetry and embraces the role of in-house editor - hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina.