We took our first cruise in 2015, on the Baltic Sea, stopping at interesting historic ports, such as Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as some of the major Scandinavian capitals. I captured this wonderful scene in the town of Sigtuna, Sweden, which has a renowned boarding school and is often a destination for church retreats. The name of Sigtuna comes from an old English word for town (tuna), which was originally a Viking word.
After a wonderful lunch and a tour of the historic parts of town, learning about runic stones and mythology, visiting a 13th century church, and seeing a scary-looking contraption that was put on people who were jailed for drunkenness at the Town Hall, we were free to walk around on our own. We strolled down the street with lots of souvenir shops. Then we headed down to the lake on a sloping street past picturesque houses (some quite large) with pretty gardens. Along the lake was a park, including a spiral path with a faux runic stone in the middle, a miniature golf course that used tiny versions of local buildings for the holes, and many ducks who hoped for tidbits from an old couple sitting on a bench. There were lots of ducks in the lake as well, and this little girl on the lake shore trying to attract them. She was the picture of innocence and inquisitiveness of childhood and I loved her black hat! She is just one person (with many ducks!) in Sigtuna.
Becky posted a gorgeous sunrise for her Bright Square today, but I’m rarely up early enough for that! Even so, I have these beauties in my archives – a sunrise in Tanzania and a sunset in the Baltic Sea. In my (limited) experience, sunrises tend to be more subtle than sunsets, but beautiful nonetheless.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Anything to do with boats. All the photos in this photo essay are from my travels near and far.
26th Century BCE – 1st century BCE: Ancient Egypt
Modern Egypt: Today the Nile teems with cruise ships alongside fellucas (open air sailing boats with no cabins), fishing vessels and freighters.
1st Century CE: Palestine/Israel
Modern Israel: This is one of the vessels used today to take pilgrims across the Sea of Galilee. We sang hymns, watched a demonstration of casting a fishing net, and watched the flocks of gulls who followed our boat.
Middle Ages: Norman Conquest, 1066 CE
17th-19th Centuries CE: A failed ship, flat boats, and art
In Stockholm, Sweden, 1628, a ship became famous because it sank, 23 minutes after its maiden voyage! The Vasa was not pulled out of the canal until the 1950s, when the technology to do this had been developed, then it was reconstructed and the museum housing it opened in the 1990s. Why? Because it was top heavy! The photos above were taken at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, where the actual boat is on display (photo far right). The other photos are decorative mastheads and other items on the outside of the ship.
19th Century Flatboats:
1880s-Early 1900s: Impressionist Art
Native American Canoes: (L) in Maine (Oceanarium, Acadia); (R) in Alaska – this tribe still makes its canoes the traditional way.
1904-1914: The Panama Canal was completed in 1914, and received updates in the late 20th century to accommodate larger cruise ships and ocean freighters. These are some of the ships we saw passing through the canal.
20th Century: Steamships
2019: Amsterdam, a City of Canals, Ships and Boats
Amy at Lens-Artists this week invites us to explore the topic of narrow.
In my travels to “old” places – places built when there were no cars or crowds of tourists -I explored (or declined to explore) many narrow streets and other passageways.
Places like Old Town Tallinn, Estonia (where I got lost due to sidewalks and streets so narrow that I lost sight of our guide!)…
A van that is nearly as wide as this street in Old Town forces all pedestrians to the narrow sidewalk on the left.
There were also narrow witches!
In Stockholm, Sweden, I tried to imagine returning home to one of these narrow alleys on a dark afternoon in winter!
Dale ends our bike ride through Stockholm coasting down a narrow cobblestone street.
Stockholm, like many European countries, also has tall, narrow buildings.
Even older is Old Jerusalem, Israel…Like elsewhere, vehicles have the right of way, squeezing pedestrians to the wall.
Some of these climbing narrow streets are divided between steps and ramps.
Watch out for motorcycles coming through!
In ancient Egypt, clearly people were smaller to fit into narrow passageways into pyramids and tombs.
Dale and a few other adventurous souls (such as this woman from our group emerging from a pyramid) did go down these narrow steps into a now empty room in the Queen’s tomb in Giza. I took one look and decided to wait outside!
Tourists descend a long narrow hallway covered with inscriptions and paintings to reach the tomb of Ramses IX in Valley of the Kings. These hieroglyphics declaim the deeds of the king during his reign, and there are also symbols of gods to accompany him to the afterlife.
At the Chateau of Caen, France, a narrow stairway leads down to…where??
On Omaha Beach, in Normandy, are the remains of WWII German bunkers, which I declined to enter, also reached through narrow passages and stairways. (I’m glad I didn’t go in – my son’s photos show empty rooms with an inch of rainwater covering the floors!)
On the way back to our Airbnb farmhouse through the Normandy countryside, we drove down the narrow roads of villages, flanked by houses on both sides.
A car in front of us navigates a sharp corner into another narrow street.
A lot of traffic in Amsterdam travels its canals, which narrow on approach to bridges.
Floating traffic jam!
Bridges have these traffic signals indicating when it is safe and permissible to proceed (or not!).
The day after our tour of the canals, we went to the “red light district” where we were told not to take photos of the sex workers who lived on either side of these narrow alleyways. Probably also not a good idea to photograph potential clients – good thing this one came out blurry!
In Amsterdam, we stayed in an Airbnb 2nd floor flat, with a narrow stairway winding up to it. That was one of our son’s obligations to us for paying for his trip – carry our suitcases up and down! The stairway was so narrow and windy that he had to carry the suitcases one by one in his arms!
Nancy Merrill has a perfectly lovely prompt for this week’s A Photo A Week Challenge: Sunshine! Sunshine is what I crave most after enduring a cold winter in the Midwest, and spring begins to show its face.
There is nothing like a sunny day to warm my face, my heart and my mood! I have so many photos of sunshine because I am a sun worshipper! So here is a “day” of the sun…from its rise to when it sets.
Brings the new day
The sun follows us all the way
7:00 a.m. – Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee – Jan. 10, 2019
(Tiberias, Israel – taken from our room at Hotel Leonardo)
8:30 a.m. – Sun rises over the Dead Sea, Israel – Jan. 12, 2019
10:00 a.m. – Sun peaks through a crack between mast and sail – our first morning on our cruise on the Nile River, Egypt – Dec. 29, 2018
Noon – Sun filtering through dark clouds – over the Caribbean Sea, March 22, 2017
(Panama Canal Cruise – south of Florida)
1:06 p.m. – almost total solar eclipse – Aug. 21, 2017
(Chicago Botanic Gardens, taken using my special viewing glasses placed over my cellphone’s camera lens)
4:14 p.m. – Late afternoon winter sun peeks through clouds, silhouetting the trees, in Des Plaines, Illinois – March 8, 2016
7:20 p.m. – Winter sunset over Africa – Feb. 2, 2018
(Taken from my airplane window on the way to Tanzania)
9:03 p.m. – My favorite sunset photo! First evening of our first cruise, Baltic Sea, Aug. 7, 2015
And then it is night.
We wait again for sunlight
This is my last opportunity to post for Becky’s December Squares (Time), as we will be leaving tomorrow for a two-week trip to Egypt followed by 10 days in Israel. I will have lots of photos to share when we get back home!
Meanwhile, here are some amazing clocks in churches in two German Baltic towns: Lübeck and Rostock.
This timepiece in St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck does much more than tell time. As you can see, it is surrounded by major constellations and on the inner circle, the phases of the moon are shown.
This two-story astronomical clock tells the time, the date, location of the Zodiac signs and positions of the sun and moon.
This amazing clock was built in the 1960s by a local clockmaker, Paul Behrens. He maintained his masterpiece until he died.
Above the clock is a ledge on which appear, each day at noon, eight figures which come out on one side and go back in on the other side, passing in front of a figure of Jesus. Learn more about this amazing masterpiece here.
At St. Mary’s Church (coincidentally, it has the same name as the church in Lübeck) in Rostock, Germany, is an even more amazing timepiece! This astronomical timepiece was built in 1472 by Hans Düringer, a clockmaker from Nuremburg.
It consists of three parts: At the top, when the clock strikes each hour, apostles of Jesus appear from a door on one side. Judas is last in line, and as they reach the door on the other side into which they disappear, the door slams shut before Judas can go through it!
In the middle is the clock, which tells the time, Zodiac, moon phases and month.
At the bottom is a calendar, which according to Wikipedia, is valid until 2150. (This is the fourth in the series of calendars, which lasted from 1885 to 2017 – I photographed it in 2015. In 2018, it was to be replaced by a fifth calendar, valid until 2150.)
This medieval clock is the only one of its kind with its parts all still in working order.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge has a series about colors. This week is vibrant colors. Every season of the year has its vibrancy. Autumn, of course, offers the most striking display of vibrant reds, oranges and yellows.
Winter has its own vibrancy: the bright lights and colors of Christmas and the sun shining on fresh fallen snow.
Spring arrives with colorful flowers – daffodils, tulips and flowering trees!
Finally there’s summer with more flowers, cruise vacations (affording clear views of gorgeous sunsets!) and also the 4th of July fireworks!
The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn – one of my favorite songs of all time, based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-9.