While it's raining and cold in Virginia, it's sunny and 70 degrees in Lisbon and Spain, where we spent fourteen days.  

Lisbon is a busy, energetic port while Barcelona is grand, extravagant, boisterous and very tasty.  

In between those places, we sailed on Windstar Cruise's Wind Surf and luxuriated in a James Beard Foundation-food and AKAWineGeek.com gourmet travel experience.  There was much food and wine and sightseeing at Spanish ports (Ibiza, Almeria, Tarragona, Malaga, Tangier).

There was also photography.

Neither rain nor clouds nor cold will sway the tourists from their appointed rounds.

Doesn’t matter if the temperature was 42 degrees, the sky was cloudy, and it was raining.  Still the visitors were visiting.

Lafayette Square, on Pennsylvania Avenue, is where you can see the front of the White House.  

It’s behind two layers of metal crowd control racks, a short stone wall, and a ten-foot high, spike-tipped metal fence.  And don’t forget security in front of you, behind you, on buildings in front and back ... and still the visitors come.

Years ago, you used to be able to drive down Pennsylvania avenue, past the White House on the left, and wave.  Now, years later, it’s a big park and plaza. The Avenue is closed to traffic, protected by two-foot high metal traffic barriers. It’s welcoming, not overly restrictive.  But in the past two decades, it's clear something's been lost.