2020 Photo Challenge: Shot From Above

Travel Words’ 2020 Photo Challenge theme for September is “point of view” and for this final week, the subject is shoot from above.

Looking down on Maasai villages from prop plane flying from Serengeti National Park to Arusha, Tanzania
Plane ride Serengeti-Arusha, Tanzania
Hotel room balcony view, Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan, Egypt
Ruins of Roman settlement during the siege of Masada, from Masada plateau, Israel
Looking down from the courtyard behind the abbey atop Mont St-Michel, France
Looking down on the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle in Germany
Looking down on hoodoos from the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
A trail we chose to view from above rather than hike down! Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Leading Lines

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #80 is about leading lines. Leading lines are one of the “rules” of composition: There are indeed “rules” of photographic composition, which like many other rules, are made to be broken. Whatever their skill level or experience though, understanding and knowing when to use the “rules” of composition can be helpful for any photographer. This week, our challenge will explore a key compositional element, Leading Lines. …Leading lines carry our eye through a photograph. They help to tell a story, to place emphasis, and to draw a connection between objects. They create a visual journey from one part of an image to another and can be helpful for creating depth as well.

This is how I spent the last two Junes, 2018 and 2019.

Our road trip (mostly) on Route 66: Sedona and Winslow, AZ
We visited the Painted Desert, too: first, horizontal lines.
Undulating formations which slope downward.
In Santa Fe, colorful pillars…
and a souvenir shop with paintings lined up along a counter.DSC_0626
When on Route 66, here’s a sight not to miss: Cadillac Ranch. It had rained the night before.

A year later, we were on a river cruise in Europe. One of the first ports of call was Cologne, Germany with its famed cathedral, with stained glass windows reaching toward heaven…
…and soaring arches decorated with sculptures of saints.
Later we crossed the bridge to return to our ship. The inner side of the bridge is covered with “love locks” – padlocks people leave in honor of their sweethearts. They stretch on as far as the eye can see!
Next stop was Marksburg Castle, which afforded beautiful views of the Rhein River and town below (I wish I could photoshop that pole out, but I don’t have the software).
And here’s a different view: a steeple rises up as seen through a turret.
Marksburg is definitely a “must” on any Rhine River cruise. It’s like a fairy tale castle!
Farther on down the river, a swan swam over near our ship.
We were passing through a lowland area.
I loved the small town of Miltenberg, which was so picturesque!
Inside a church, hymnals were stacked neatly in the narthex. One is drawn to the word Gotteslob, which perhaps means hymnal.
Our final stop on the cruise was Budapest, Hungary. A memorable part of the day we were there was a walking tour through the old Jewish Quarter.


Monday Windows: Marksburg Castle

For last week’s Thursday Doors challenge, I posted about Marksburg Castle, one of only two Rhine River hill castles that was never destroyed. We visited Marksburg during our river cruise last June. Today, I feature some of the windows of Marksburg for Ludwig Keck’s Monday Windows challenge.

Here is Marksburg Castle from below:
The castle has a variety of different windows.


Do those slits on the lower right indicate that another window was there at one time? 

20190628_104959 (2)

Four narrow shuttered windows and a triangular attic window!



Windows on different levels



A barred window converted into a display case


A large window for this narrow dining room to let in plenty of light for the diners.



Windows in the tower…was there perhaps an imprisoned maiden up there? (Rapunzel, let down your hair…) 😉

Thursday Doors: Marksburg Castle

Of all the Rhine River hill castles from Bingen to Koblenz, Marksburg Castle is one of only two that has never been destroyed nor fallen into disrepair, so it has been continuously occupied for nearly 700 years.  It is located above the city of Braubach in Germany and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The castle was used primarily for protection – it was built as a fortress – rather than a residence for royal families. 20190628_104719.jpg
It was established in 1117 and being so well preserved, it is a destination on many Rhine river cruises. Marksburg was our second stop in Germany. We toured it in the morning and in the afternoon, we were treated to a narrative about other castles we were seeing as we sailed down the Rhine River.

I am incorporating this narrative into a post for Norm’s Thursday Doors. There are many cool doors (some are more appropriately called entryways) but other interesting things as well.

At the castle, we were split into two groups, since the total number of people on the tour was very large. One can only tour the castle with a guided tour, which lasts 50 minutes. Dale and I were in the first group, that began the guided tour right away; the other group had to wait for the next tour about 15 minutes later. Meanwhile, they could browse in the gift shop, have a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, and admire the spectacular view! Due to the uneven terrain typical of medieval sites, the castle is not wheelchair accessible.
The main entrance, typical for a fortified castle, is via a bridge over the moat and through a large gateway. 20190628_113510
Marksburg was occupied by a number of different families over the centuries, whose coat of arms identify them. Our guide told us about each of them. To learn more about these families, follow this link.

In 1866, due to the Austro-Prussian War, Marksburg was taken over by Prussia. It then became housing for soldiers and was in danger of falling into disrepair due to government neglect. In the year 1900, the German Castles Association, with the help of the emperor, Wilhelm II, purchased the castle for the paltry sum of 1,000 DM (Deutschemarks). Court planner and Berlin architect Bodo Eberhardt then carried out extensive restoration at the castle. To this day, the headquarters of the German Castles Association has its headquarters at Marksburg.
For the benefit of the tourists, many of the rooms are furnished as they would have looked during the times in which they were occupied.

More doors:
The chapel was simply decorated; the ceiling was quite lovely.
As would be expected, the castle has several levels.


Fortunately, we did NOT climb this stairway!

There is also a room with very colorful and interesting armor as it evolved through the ages!



door detail



With the peepholes, this door looks like a face! 😉

The view from the top – I’m pretty sure this is the exact scene that is shown in Viking’s TV commercials!


There is another castle in the distance, on the opposite shore!

Some of us elected to walk back down instead of waiting for the bus.20190628_113743.jpg