I was lucky enough to be in Zurich for work in early December, just in time to see the Christmas markets, enjoy some Swiss/German traditions like Gluhwein, and wander around the old town on a Saturday afternoon before flying home. The extra time made the long trip quite nice. I hope to be back some time with enough time to venture out into the Alps, but that will have to wait!
It’s true. I’m a huge fan of the black comedy In Bruges, and like many others, I’ve been somewhat fascinated with the city in Belgium since I first saw the movie.
And then, here we were planning to take the riverboat cruise in Holland and Belgium and yup, there’s a little trip to Bruges for an afternoon. Oh yeah!
It was as adorable as I thought it would be, with the swans and the gothic and that fairytale stuff.
It was also way more crowded that I thought it would be as well. Locals told us to really explore the town when it’s quiet, you need to spend the night, after the tour groups like ours leave. Definitely something to consider, but I was able to find a few quiet spots along the canals and storefronts.
Oh also, Michelangelo’s Madonna. That’s not too shabby either.
Living in Oregon, and just an hour from the coast, I have learned a few things about photography and the weather. No matter what the weather may look like mid-afternoon, there is no guarantee of a great sunset at the coast. Fog, the marine layer, can float in at any time, taking what seemed like it could be a great sunset, into a foggy, gray, landscape.
Now, the coast of Australia along the Great Ocean Road is very similar to the Oregon Coast, as you may have noticed from some of the photos I’ve shared already. Add in the fact that I had one free day during my trip there a few months ago to take the bus trip down to the Twelve Apostles for the sunset, and I knew going in, I would just have to deal with whatever the weather brought me.
Luckily, the weather and the sunset that evening were fantastic.
I’m skipping a bit ahead of the photos from our trip to The Netherlands and Belgium in honor of Memorial Day. On April 18 we made a stop for a tour of Margraten American Cemetery. It was there that we learned how important the cemetery is to the local Dutch populace. Each grave it taken care of by a local resident, and usually that responsibility has been passed down through the generations. On the anniversary of each death, flowers are placed at the grave, like the ones below.
The gentleman who led our tour is also a member of a group called Faces of Margraten, which endeavors to locate as many photos of the over 10,000 people buried in the cemetery, and then every May they hold an event where they display the 4,000 they’ve collected so far. The level of respect they have for the American soldiers who died fighting to free the Netherlands from Nazi rule, even after 70 years have passed, was both encouraging, and depressing to know that too many Americans don’t have that same level of respect for those who gave their lives fighting. Maybe because the war occurred there, instead of on our own soil, we lack the same level of understanding, or maybe we just suck at teaching people history. Either way, if you’ve never been to an American cemetery on foreign soil, I highly recommend it.
“Each for his own memorial earned praise that will never die and with it the grandest of all sepulchres not that in which his mortal bones are laid but a home in the minds of men.”
This is the first of many posts to come from our trip to the Netherlands and Belgium in April. We took a river cruise, so we didn’t really get to choose when we went to a specific place, we had one chance to see what we wanted to see, and capture the photos we could.
As a photographer, sometimes you are faced with that situation, and you just have to make the best of it. Our morning at Keukenhof fell into that category, as it was a pretty rainy morning. Never mind the rain and the crowds though, this would be our only chance to check out the tulips, so we weren’t going to let that stop us! Besides, some times the raindrops really help make for some interesting photos too, like these.
Of course, aside from the beautiful landscape and flowers in the gardens, they also had some amazing tulip displays in one of the pavilions as well, where it was nice and dry.
I’ll have quite a few more photos from the garden, and some more stops from this trip, in the coming weeks!
The gorge is named after the clipper ship Loch Ard, which ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island on 1 June 1878 approaching the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne. Of the fifty-four passengers and crew, only two survived: Tom Pearce, at 15 years of age, a ship’s apprentice, and Eva Carmichael, an Irishwoman emigrating with her family, at 17 years of age. According to memorials at the site, Pearce was washed ashore, and rescued Carmichael from the water after hearing her cries for help. Pearce then proceeded to climb out of the gorge to raise the alarm to local pastoralists who immediately set into plan a rescue attempt. After three months in Australia Carmichael returned to Europe. Four of her family members drowned that night. Pearce was hailed as a hero, and continued his life living until age 49 and being buried in Southampton, England.
Also, it’s downright beautiful!
I’ll have a few more from the Gorge mixed in as well as a couple of other stops on the Great Ocean Road!
Finally, a work trip where my wife was able to join me! It’s actually a nice change of pace, because having her there as a tourist encourages me to take an extra day on the weekend to spend seeing the sites as opposed to trying to get home and see her on the weekend. For this trip to the UK we spent the extra day in London, and made a point to tour the Tower of London, because while we both love taking photos, we have an equal appreciation for history, and the Tower has plenty of that!
Looking out of one of the Towers into the courtyard, the Crown Jewels are actually in the building on the left. Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed inside of that building, but it’s absolutely worth a visit anyway!
As for the rest of the Tower, there are some great photo opportunities both inside, and looking outside of the Tower structures.
Of course, there are also the traditional views of the guards and the Tower’s ever-present ravens, who pretty much have the run of the place.
I’ll have a few more photos from the Tower, and from the time in London mixed in with the daily(ish) posts on the blog, so look forward to those as well!