Posts tagged “photography

Florence: Hercules and Cacus

Posted on August 9, 2012

The light in Florence is unlike any I’ve seen anywhere else. It is so warm this city always seems to have a golden glow.   I was too late to get into the Uffizi Gallery on my first day so I bought a ticket for the next day. Back outside, I whiled away my time gazing up at the statues dotting the Piazza della Signoria outside the museum. It was a perfect, cloudless day and the sun cast some interesting shadows.   This is one of my favourite shots from my time backpacking in Europe. I love how when I “dutched” the photo, it created a sense that the statue of Hercules and Cacus clad in shadows seems to loom over the innocent beauty…

A Roman in Vienna

Posted on August 7, 2012

Vienna . . . personally, I didn’t like the Austrian capital when I visited in the spring of 2010 and I usually fall in love with everywhere I travel. It was too perfect with its oversized baroque buildings and wide boulevards celebrating a vanished empire that never really accomplished much.   One has to wonder really about the size issue in Vienna — even the statues of Archduke Charles, the Duke of Teschen, in Heldenplatz and Empress Marie-Theresa in her namesake square near the city’s Museum Quarter are gigantic. Bigger than most statues of important persons in other, more impressive European cities. Now granted, the archduke was considered a great general and a thorn in Napoleon’s side and the empress is one of the…

Bohemian Rhapsody: Český Krumlov

Posted on July 12, 2012

The journey to the medieval town of Český Krumlov did not start off well. Our guide failed to show in Prague after a night spent chasing the green fairy leading to a revolt among the new additions to our tiny tour who were threatening to go rogue and take off to Vienna on their own. In the midst of all the drama and hand wringing, all I knew was that I was going to make it to this magical little spot in the heart of the Czech Republic’s South Bohemia region. I had to see its delicate fairy tale castle that looked like it had leaped to life from the pages of  a Brothers Grimm children’s book. Luckily, an Aussie travelling with us decided…

Belfast: Murals Remembering ‘The Troubles’

Posted on June 27, 2012

It was smiles all around today as Queen Elizabeth II, the 86-year-old monarch of the United Kingdom, held out her gloved hand to shake hands with Martin McGuinness, former IRA commander and current deputy first minister in Northern Ireland.   The historic handshake, unthinkable even a year ago when jaws dropped as the Queen visited the Republic of Ireland, symbolized a final reaching out across the great divide that ripped Northern Ireland apart in a three-decades-long conflict known as ‘The Troubles.’ More than 3,500 people died as republicans (Catholics) and unionists (Protestants) struggled for political control in a bloody campaign of bombings and tit-for-tat shootings that shattered families and stunted the country’s economy. Both of the Queen’s visits underscore the tremendous changes that have occurred…

Belfast: An Impressionist View of City Hall

Posted on June 25, 2012

Sometimes a bad jiggle of the arm when taking a photograph can create something unexpected. Belfast City Hall in all its classical style grandeur and copious use of marble represents the city’s boom time at the beginning of the 20th century when its dockyards were turning out massive ships, including the doomed Titanic. The good times would not last.   As such, the building stands out in a city filled with crumbling brick buildings in its core and drab apartment towers that line the main motorway. Belfast is not a stereotypically pretty city but it is interesting.   Tours of Belfast City Hall are available for free from Monday to Saturday in the late morning and afternoon. But to be honest, if you’re only…

Versailles: Wandering in the Sun King’s Private Gardens

Posted on June 23, 2012

Versailles. Few names conjure up images of total decadence, beautiful art and aristocratic ego run amok as the Château de Versailles. Located on the outskirts of Paris, France’s kings ruled their country and overseas empire from the sprawling palace from 1682, when Louis XIV (the Sun King) shifted his court here, until the French Revolution in 1789. Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were the last monarchs to reside at the chateau. Instead of the usual palace tour, which you’ll quickly get tired of if you’re travelling across Europe for an extended period of time, Versailles offers a musical fountains show from April to October when the gardens designed by André Le Nôtre are at their glory. Tickets cost just €8.5 for the…

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