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I AMsterdam.

I finally made it to Amsterdam. That one European city you hear about all the time since you were about the age of 15. Why? Because there is legal marijuana and the Red Light District of course!

So, my objective of this blog post is to erase that image that people have of Amsterdam. The marijuana and the Red Light District is just a fraction of what the city has to offer. Sure, you can argue that it brings tourism which equals business which equals jobs which equals money, but in reality, it’s the wrong kind of tourism because it just brings people that will most likely disrespect the city (Las Vegas, that includes you too).

What I am trying to get to here is that Amsterdam is one of the best cities I have ever been too so far. Everything from the friendly people, to the endless canals, to the bicycles, to the variety of food, to the parks, Amsterdam is everything a city should be. Sure, the marijuana doesn’t hurt. This city has something to offer to everyone. If you enjoy museums, I recommend you check out the Anne Frank House (yes, I never actually realized she lived in Amsterdam), the Van Gogh Museum, and the EYE Museum of film. I also recommend exploring the city by bicycle, which was my favorite part of the city. They truly are the only bicycle city in this world. A fact that I learned from someone I met over there said that the canals are about 6 meters deep (roughly 18 feet), and that 3 meters of it is old bicycles dumped into the canals. Oh ya, and there are more canals than Venice, Italy. So that just gives you an idea of how many bicycles there are in Amsterdam!

Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. Of course I had a lot more where that came from, but I want to save some maybe for a future post, depending if you liked the pictures or not!

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Gourdon: A Hidden Gem on the French Riviera

When one thinks of the French Riviera, they will think of topless women, fancy cars, and kilometers of sandy beaches. Although true, there is a lot more culture and history in the South of France than some (mainly Parisians) might otherwise think. Gourdon is exactly what you imagine when you think of a Medieval French village. It was strategically built on top of a hill to defend it’s citizens during times of war. With only one entrance, this small village hosts one of the best panoramic views in the South. On the clearest of days, you can see the island of Corsica with the naked eye. Gourdon is known for their specialty items such as their fruit shaped candles, fresh goat cheese and seasoned ‘saucisson’. Although not nearly as popular as St. Paul de Vence, Gourdon has become a very popular destination for bikers, hikers, and anyone else who desires to escape the busy coastal cities. But don’t come here just to grab a quick coffee, because that will cost you a small price of €10.50! Please share your hidden gems of the French Riviera in the comments section!

-Ben

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Welcome to Nice, France

Enjoy some of my newest photos taken from atop of the world famous Castle Hill in Old Nice. Click here if you are interested about the history of Castle Hill!

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Please follow my blog for more pictures from around the world =)

-Ben

My Top-10 Hawaiian Sunsets

About 10 days ago I posted a picture of one of my favorite sunset shots that I took in Hawaii. You can view it here (Hawaiian Sunset at Turtle Bay Resort). In that blog post I explained that about 75% of my pictures from that trip were sunsets (but really, who can blame me?). So, today I am offering you a look at my top-10 favorite sunset shots that I took from that same Hawaii trip. How would you rank them?

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Please like, share, and comment if you enjoyed this post! Also, don’t forget to follow my blog for more photography from around the world!

Ben

The Milky Way from an Ancient French Monastery

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These photos were taken during July of 2012 without any sort of professional equipment, simply a Nikon D90 and a 10.2 mm lens. Of course, with a little bit of PhotoShop, the pictures came to life. As an amateur photographer, I was beyond excited with the results.

This location where the photos were taken, as we call it ‘Crouzet’, is located in the outskirts of a small village called Aubenas, France. The larger geographical area it is located in is called Ardèche. We roughly own 50 acres of the land around the building. Although it is hard to pinpoint exactly when it was built, it is believed to be around as far as the 14th century. During it’s long history, it first served as a monastery and then was later bought out and turned into a silk mill. The owner of the silk mill had two daughters and they happened to marry two Ricard brothers back in the early 1900s, which is how it fell into my family. Our tradition is to hand Crouzet to the first born son, and believe it or not, the first born child has been a boy in the Ricard family tree for as far as we know, and as the second born son, I am a little bit bitter about this tradition.

Today, we use this place as a vacation home during the Summer where we usually invite friends and family to stay with us for a week, or longer. Without TV or Internet, it truly is a therapeutic escape from life. I have retained some of my best childhood memories from Crouzet, and I hope to do the same for my children and grandchildren.

Please like and share if you enjoyed the blog post and the pictures. Comment if you would like to see more images from this magical place.

Ben

Cannes Intercontinental Hotel

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The Cannes Intercontinental Hotel is recognized as the most famous hotel in Cannes and was built in 1911. It is the hotel of choice for movie stars during the Cannes Film Festival and also has made appearances in an Elton John music video (I’m Still Standing) and an Alfred Hitchcock film (To Catch a Thief). This picture was taken during a light rain on a chilly December night. I hope you enjoy this photo and feel free to comment and share with friends!

Ben

Sunset in Cannes

These photos were taken on January 31st, 2013.

It was a rare 75 degree day in the middle of winter but I took full advantage of the warm weather by hanging out on the rocks overlooking the water with my shirt off. Believe it or not, my skin was a light pink color the next day. Who would of thought it’s possible to get a minor sunburn in January in the south of France? Anyways, I hope you enjoy these images and please share with your friends and family!

Ben

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