Posts Tagged With: photography

Vienna 2016 Revisited

One of the first things we did upon arriving in Vienna was head to Naschmarkt, yes, another public market, to find some food. While I apparently did not photograph the actual market I did take this where we ate:

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Which roughly, very roughly, translates to, “Why are we arguing? You are sausage, I am sausage… we’re both angry men (?) let’s eat well anyway!” (My German is marginal and my Austrian is even worse! Google Translate helped me make an educated guess.)

After lunch, satiated with wurst, we embarked on a short walking tour where we saw the ‘cabbage’, the opera house, and the Albertina museum. I did go into the museum and will touch on that in a bit.

During our tour a few things caught my attention including this:

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…this banana…

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…horses in pink hats…

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…and though I do know what the verb ‘fahren’ means I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this:

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Where’s Howard Stern when you need him?

(Story note: I started this several days ago, and have no idea where I was going with it, so I’ll pretend we went from here to….)

Schönbrunn was our next stop the grounds of which were beautiful and I played with some filters on my camera…

…ran to see this…(wasn’t sure I could make the walk to it in time and get back on the bus)…

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…got there and saw this…

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…snapped a few photos using filters again…

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…then headed back to the bus. Another quick note of interest before I move one is that we did get a tour of the palace and on that tour we received ear pieces to better hear our guide who was using a microphone. Awesome! Right? Well, yes, except when the Chinese tour guide and her group kept getting too close and her audio would interfere with ours. Our guide tried to rectify the situation but the Chinese guide either didn’t understand, or just didn’t care. We let them pass.

While in Vienna we ate good food…

…saw some sweet roman ruins…

…and some of us, for some crazy reason, decided to climb the 400 some-odd steps to the top of St. Stephen’s Cathedral…

…ok, maybe it was for the view.

At some point during our visit a few of us went to the Albertina Museum and saw some great pieces…

…and afterward I took this from the observation deck(?)…

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…and wondered, “What’s with the giant green rabbit?” Never did find out; that’s ok, after-all isn’t it better just to wonder sometimes?

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Budapest 2016 Revisited

Of all the countries we visited this summer I was most excited to go to Hungary. I suppose my interest was because I’d never been to a country that had been behind the Iron Curtain. I had no idea what to expect, but Budapest turned out to be exactly what I had expected.

Before going people asked why I was so interested in going to Hungary I had some amorphous thoughts but couldn’t articulate them. After visiting Budapest and riding through the city seeing the grungy buildings with plaster falling off, crumbled buildings here and there, people going about their lives, I realized this is exactly what I expected. A former Soviet Bloc country rebuilding itself. Among the decaying and crumbling buildings were of course restored and maintained places of national pride as well as new construction.

One of the points of pride we visited was Buda Castle (I had no idea Budapest was formed by the union of two towns). Below are some shots of the street leading into Buda Castle.

It was difficult to get a shot of the whole castle given the small space and increasing number of people. Moments after we arrived at the castle two tour buses unloaded.

Couldn’t resist….

Of course after taking this I noticed my group and moved on, and I had no idea where.  Oops.

The view from the castle was awesome:

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From the castle we headed to the Pest side of Budapest and along the way passed this

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…which looked really awesome, but alas was  not one of our destinations. Instead we went to the city center for some lunch were I found this, and did that:

…but didn’t buy this:

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We also took a sweet river cruise:

We also went to a bath house which was awesomely relaxing:

The morning we departed Budapest we visited another of what would become a theme of our trip, a public market….

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…where we bought some snacks for the road and last minute souvenirs like this sweet fridge magnet:

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Wish I could read Hungarian 😦

And of course no trip for me would be complete with out at least one amusing sign…

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…and random photos from a rest stop on the way to our next destination:

 

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Oxford 2016 Revisited

One of the last things we did before leaving London was take a side trip to Oxford the low light of which was that the bus took longer than scheduled both ways and the second bus broke down. Still, had a good time.

Full disclosure, I usually tune out tour guides even when they’re my colleagues, sorry, but I’d much rather wander and see stuff.  Why is that relevant? Well, because I don’t exactly know what most of these photos are of, though I do know they were all taken in Oxford, England. So here are some things I saw worthy of being photographed:

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Christchurch

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Same, but diorama filter on camera

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Thought it was pretty.

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I call this, “Skeletor”

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“Archie”

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“Dory”

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While in Oxford we stopped and wandered the market above, where I had this:

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Yummy meat pie with mash; why aren’t these shops here?

I’ll wrap this up with some photos of the cemetery in the middle, sort of, of Oxford; creepy cool.

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Day 8: Atrocities

This day started with a visit to a concentration camp. The camp is called Sachsenhausen and is located in Oranienburg, Germany about 22 miles north of Berlin. We had to walk from the train station to the camp and along the way I was struck by how ordinary the town was. Some of the houses we passed very near the camp looked like summer homes and all were very neatly kept. I also found it interesting that there were markers posted every so often with stories of the camp. I had wondered how Germans dealt with the legacy of the Nazi’s, I felt it would be under the rug somewhat but I was wrong. Entering the camp was a bit surreal and seeing the “Arbeit Mach Frei” on the gate was unsettling. Again, nothing makes history more tangible than travel. I have taught about the Holocaust, but to see the actual places where the plans were carried out is powerful. This camp was smaller than I had expected then I realized it was built in a populated area. We had a limited amount of time there so I walked faster than I wanted but covered a lot of ground.

After snapping some initial photos I walked over to one of the barracks that is now a museum. Of the many photos and artifacts that were in the museum I was most affected by the actual logs of people who had been sterilized; it was a stack of journals about 4 feet high.  The fact that the Nazi’s kept such meticulous records is disturbing; no, it’s more than disturbing, it’s shocking, offensive, and unfathomable. I go to the end of the barracks and panicked momentarily because I couldn’t find the exit, I had to get out. Luckily I found the exit relatively quickly.

Following the barracks I walked over to the pathology building and mortuary where medical experiments were conducted.  They actually had to design and construct a building for that purpose.  I then wandered the grounds first coming across mass graves and a wall with commemorative plaques from other countries, and finally toward the memorial erected in the center of the camp.  Upon exiting the camp I briefly stepped into the main museum and was met by an actual Nazi uniform which shook me a bit.  Overall a sobering experience.

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Day 7

It was a fittingly rainy day to visit the Wannsee House and Potsdam.  The Wannsee House is where the Nazi’s planned the final solution.  It is now a museum and educational site. What struck me the most was the beautiful setting of the house; a country retreat overlooking a beautiful lake.  The juxtaposition of the setting and what occurred inside the house is, well, bizarre. It was also very unsettling to see photos of Hitler in Germany.  I had several ‘shaken to the core’ moments, very similar to seeing the Vietnam memorial for the first time, or seeing the planes slam into the twin towers; a very visceral recognition, understanding, and acceptance that this was real, it actually happened.

It was apropos for us to visit the location of the Potsdam Conference after the Wannsee House.  The place in Potsdam where the conference was held was at least equal to the beauty of the Wannsee House.  I spent my limited time wandering the grounds rather than taking the tour of the building inside. It was moving to stand on the same patio where Churchill, Wilson, and Stalin sat following the war.

 

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Day 6: Landscape of the Dead

We had several hours to hang out in Paris following our visit to Normandy. We decided to spend that time meandering through Père Lachaise Cemetery.  Our goal was to first find the burial location of Jim Morrison but as we wandered I was both awed and amazed at the grave sites we were passing through. The cemetery felt a bit surreal which is  not unusual, but at some points it seemed we were passing through an abandoned city. I wouldn’t have been surprised if we had seen the door to one of the tombs open and it’s occupant step out as if to pick up the morning paper.  This place definitely had conveyed the atmosphere of a Tim Burton movie. Many of the tombs/crypts showed extraordinary craftsmanship and artistry; they were truly amazing. We eventually found Morrison’s grave as well as Oscar Wilde’s and they had one thing in common, other than being burial places, barriers to keep the public away. The barriers are close to the sites so they are easily viewed but apparently people were endangering the sites with their attempts at showing appreciation/reverence. I can only guess what people were doing to Morrison’s grave, maybe leaving too many objects, maybe adding graffiti, the story for Oscar Wilde’s was more clear.  At some point for visitors to Oscar Wilde’s grave it became a tradition to kiss the headstone. (“Headstone” in this case is  a bit of a misnomer, as it is really a huge sculpture.) His descendants felt that the abundance of lipstick prints was both damaging and not entirely appropriate so they had the headstone cleaned and surrounded by a glass wall.  Intrepid fans have found ways to still smooch the stone however. This was definitely an unexpectedly pleasant and enriching experience.

 

 

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Day 5: Normandy

Day 5 started with a very early bus ride to Normandy with a smarmy bus driver, I’ll save further descriptions of him for another post.  One of the reasons I took this trip was to be able to go to Normandy.  As with most memorials I have visited, nothing really prepares you and you’re surprised by what affects you and how you’re affected. There is nothing that can convey the shear number of casualties other than visiting Normandy.  As I walked among the marble crosses and stars of David I began to think of my uncle who survived D-Day.  He was a bomber pilot who volunteered for extra sorties beyond his assignment.  While reflecting on his bravery and contribution to the war effort I was reminded of my dad who passed in March. They both led long, charmed, amazing lives.  I walked, bringing them with me, feeling the weight of the place; couldn’t help but weep.

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Netherlands Post Visit – Fini

Alas I have run out of pictures to share from the Netherlands so this will be my last post until I venture abroad again; hopefully in the near future.  I will be continuing to post on my other blog http://geowoodward.wordpress.com/ which has photos from my adventures in California.  I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites from the Netherlands.

One of my favorite ventures was to the ‘Heineken Experience’, not just because 3 beers were included with the admission price, and there was a horse that shared my name, but because it was  a great place to people watch and I got to personalize an actual bottle of Heineken. The end of the factory tour is set up like a club, disco lights, loud music and table games so people are behaving as if they’re in a club.  One guy in particular caught my attention because he was having his wife circulate around the room collecting all the unfinished beers and pouring them into his glass.  Yep, he was getting hammered.  I happened to be leaving the factory at the same time they were and they were trying to collect their free gift, which could only be collected by visiting the factory store in a different part of town.  Heineken provides a boat from the factory to the store but the last boat of the day had just left; Mr. Hammered had difficulty understanding this, I felt bad for the employee that had to try and help him understand.

Categories: Amsterdam, beer, Geography, netherlands, photography, Travel, Utrecht | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Netherlands Post Visit – Utrecht

Just a few photos taken as I wandered the streets of Utrecht.

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Netherlands Post Visit – Neighborhood Park

One day while visiting my brother we took his girls to a local park that had some awesome play structures, critters to pet, and some, uh, art.  I was amazed at the number of people in the park, I mean it was a weekday evening; the parks in my hood aren’t nearly as full, but to be honest they’re lame.  None of the parks near me have these cool things to pet

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nor informational pigs

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or interesting…uh…art

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For some reason these statues made me think of this

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