Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge currently is about Earth elements and this week it is metal.
A castle on a hill…sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? And to us modern tourists, seeing one castle after another on the Rhine River is a dream come true – we admire their beauty and their history. Castles were built not just as residences for royalty, but fortifications against invading enemies. Positioning them on hilltops above a river (which would have been the main form of transportation in medieval times) was meant to be imposing; they were symbols of power and strength; a hilltop position provided a view up and down the river, to spot adversaries from afar. (Although note that one of the castles in this gallery is actually right ON the river, not far above it.) Many castles were dark, damp places, fires burning for warmth in only a few rooms.
Thinking about these castles from that perspective takes some of the glamor away. Even so, they are worthy of admiration. One of them – Marksburg Castle (the white one with red trim – 2nd and 3rd photos) – we were able to tour, but I would have loved to explore some of the others. What is amazing is that these structures have been standing for centuries – they were built to last and of course many of them have undergone significant renovations.
Although Americans are amazed to see and visit these representations of centuries of European history (since we have nothing either as old or as symbolic of feudal society), I suppose people who are used to seeing them all the time don’t think about their history and probably take them for granted. Another perspective, I guess.
Posted for Becky’s July Square Perspectives photo challenge, day 24.
On our “Grand European Tour” river cruise last summer, we went through a total of 63 locks! I guess many of them were at night, but we also experienced going down and up in locks quite often in the daytime also. This was my perspective (taken from the balcony of our stateroom) of descending into a lock.
If you were a bird living in a European urban environment, what would you consider desirable places to perch, or possibly even make a nest? Birds can be found everywhere, but the higher they are, the safer, perhaps. So for Day 17 of Becky’s July Squares: Perspective, I present excellent places to get a bird’s eye view: spires!
HURRAY! I am back on my blog after being AWOL for two days! I had technical difficulties and it took the computer tech more than 24 hours to fix it. So I am at the TOP of my world! Oh, speaking of top…
I’ve missed a few days of Becky’s April Squares with the topic top, so I’m going to post several photos. I happen to have several photos of the tops of European churches from our trip to France and river cruise in 2019, so here goes…
Most of the photos are of church spires, but my first photo is, sadly, a beautiful cathedral that lost its spires to fire last year: Notre Dame in Paris. Look on the right side of the photo, stare at the clouds and imagine the spires! We visited only a couple of months after the fire, so we were not even able to go inside at that time. I would love to visit when it has been reconstructed and looks magnificent!
The cathedral in Bayeux, France…this cathedral built in the Middle Ages was the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which recounts the story of the Norman (France) invasion of England.
We stopped in Bayeux on our way to Mont St.-Michel, which had been on my bucket list for several years. Here is the tippy-top of the abbey spire.
Really, when one tours Europe, one is amazed at the number of churches/cathedrals – every city has one! Here is the top of the cathedral in Würzburg, Germany – the cross on its steeple is lovely!
Next is Bamberg, Germany, with more beautiful crosses on top.
What I like about this one, in Nuremburg, Germany, are all the mini spires decorating the roof, and especially, the clock!
I must soon post the photos I have of this lovely church in Budapest, Hungary – St. Matthias. Inside, it is very colorful and elaborate, but the roof of this church, with its colorful tiles forming geometric designs is also eye-catching!
Cee’s Wednesday challenge, On the Hunt for Joy this week has the topic of “paint your front door.” Not literally, of course! She’s calling for photos of brightly colored doors or any interesting doors. And Thursday is Norm’s weekly door challenge.
Here is a collage of colorful doors from my archives:
The roofs in Europe are varied and interesting. So for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week with the topic of roofs, here are some European roofs.
Mont St.-Michel, France
Roofs with gulls
Roof with window
Amsterdam, Holland – These are my favorites due to their variety in architectural style.
2 views of the roofs of the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam’s largest art museum), including solar panels! The building was designed by Pierre Cuypers (who also designed other buildings in Amsterdam in the same style, including Centraal Station and Concertgebouw) and opened in 1885.
The rest of these Amsterdam roofs were photographed during a private boat tour, which included all the major canals and the harbor, so there were many types to see, both on shore and in the water!
Nuremburg Castle has existed since medieval times. Made of sandstone, it was a fortified group of buildings built on a ridge in the old center of town. The city expanded outward from there.
Views from the ramparts of the town below
Melk Abbey, Austria
Views of the town of Melk from the abbey
To end on a contrast, here are two views of dwellings in a Maasai village in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The Maasai build their villages in a circle, surrounded by fences. They use the surrounding land for grazing and herding their animals, mostly cattle and goats.
Nancy’s A Photo A Week challenge this week features landscapes.
These are some landscapes from my travels, and closer to home.
July in Austria – scene looking down from Melk Abbey, where the Inn and Danube Rivers meet.
Austria – cruising the Inn River near Schärding
June at Kinderdijk, Netherlands
February in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro – on a flight from the Serengeti to Arusha, Tanzania
Des Plaines, Illinois on a snowy February day
June at Devil’s Elbow Bridge, Missouri
June at the Painted Desert, Arizona
May at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
June in Arches National Park, Utah
December along the Nile River near Luxor, Egypt
The Weekly Prompts from GC and Me theme is Clock the Time. These photos of clocks are all from our 2019 summer trip to Europe. Most of these clocks are on tall towers. Interestingly, they all use Roman numerals (except the one on a sign), which until recent times was actually quite common.
On the Rhine River in Germany
The clock is only one of many interesting details on this church steeple!
Regensburg, Germany – not Roman numerals exactly, but sort of…
Schärding, Austria – clock on a sign!
Melk, Austria – Melk Abbey
Cruising the Danube in Austria – another intricate church steeple!
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge has the theme of nature; this week the topic is gardens.
Partial view of my garden in late July – there may be a butterfly in there somewhere…
In my neighborhood, kind of hidden, is this lovely pond and landscaped garden.
In front of the main building at Chicago Botanic Gardens, which is not far from…
…Ravinia, a famous and lovely summer outdoor concert venue north of Chicago.
Herb garden on Viking Gefjon (European river cruise ship) – the chefs do use the herbs grown here in preparing the delicious meals on board!
In Cologne, Germany – the sculpture has a story about it, but I can’t remember it…something about elves maybe?
Behind the luxurious 17th century Bishop’s residence in Bamberg, Germany, is this rose garden.
Here is the garden of someone who enjoys flowers but has no green space. Surround oneself with flower pots while enjoying a warm day on the patio. There’s plenty of room for neighbors and friends! (Melk, Austria)
Finally, the sumptuous and vast gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria (this is only a small fraction of those gardens).