Square Perspective 23: Inside a Lock

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.

At this point all was darkness inside the lock; the scant light illuminated only a spider!

Square Perspective: ‘The Bridge’

Most people on a cruise never get to see what the captain’s perspective is. But last summer, on our Viking river cruise, passengers were invited to go into the Pilot House, also known as “The Bridge.” While the passengers lounge on the deck with a drink in one hand and camera in the other, this is what the captain sees.

These are some of the controls and instruments that the captain keeps track of.
GPS technology provides the captain with various types of information – location, depth of the river, current, etc.

LAPC: The Lazy Days of Summer

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is about summer. Ah, summer! My favorite season of the year! Even with the distancing measures of Covid-19, I can enjoy the summer. (Imagine if the shelter-in-place had been in the winter – we’d REALLY get cabin fever!)

Two recent photos of our senior community that represent summer:

Daisies wet from the automatic sprinklers
A vigilant mama duck keeps watch over her young offspring.

Memories of summers gone by: on this day in …

Tourism in Europe: a group of tourists in Budapest (July 8, 2019)
A summer birthday party on a friend’s patio (July 8, 2018)
A week with family in northern Wisconsin – we rented two cabins on Lower Kaubashine Lake (July 8, 2017)

Flowers in bloom everywhere:

Gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schoenbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna

In summer, people like to be in and around water.

A pool party at dusk on a hot day in August (Des Plaines, Illinois)
Drinks on a boat with friends during a late June heat wave (Amsterdam)
Traffic jam on an Amsterdam canal

Monday Windows: Germany

I haven’t been many places lately, for obvious reasons, so most of my photography the last several months has been of nature. So I dipped back into my archives of our trip to Europe last year to find some interesting specimens for Ludwig’s Monday Window challenge this week. Here are some windows in Wurzburg and Bamberg, Germany.

CFFC: Yummy!!!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues exploring the senses; this week it is tasting.

We have 5 basic type of tastes registered by our taste buds: bitter, salty, sour, sweet and savory. Sometimes fat is considered a 6th taste.

The American diet contains a lot of processed foods, which add salt to them – salt is a preservative. So we eat too much salt, as well as fat and sweets. High-salt diets can cause fluid to build up in your body, especially if you have a heart condition like I do. A tell-tale sign is swollen ankles but also lots of coughing, the result of fluid build-up in the lungs. That is why I try to maintain a low-salt diet.

If we would stick to “real” food, that is, food provided to us by nature, we would be a lot healthier.

Garden tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes always taste the best! (citrusy: sour, also savory)20190817_193324
Baclava – Vienna’s Naschmarkt  (sweet – taste of honey)
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Vegetables and fruit for sale at Vienna’s Naschmarkt (mostly savory, some bitter)
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sweet & savory fruits!
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Breads in Israel – most breads are put in the salty category, but some, like pita bread, are classified as savory
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In Egypt, I fell in love with Middle Eastern food!!

We had a home-hosted dinner at the home of an Egyptian family in Luxor.

We also had a five-day cruise on the Nile on our own private boat with excellent chefs! Rice and peppers – definitely savory!
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A whole fish! – Nile perch (savory,  salty also)
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A New Year’s cake (oh so sweet!)
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Spices for sale at an Egyptian market – spices add flavor or heat to a dish, and some can be bitter.
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I don’t normally take pictures of food (except when traveling), but sometimes I can’t resist, like this savory shrimp appetizer at a restaurant!
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Holiday cookies from my church’s annual “cookie walk!” (Totally bad-for-you sweet, but the holidays are a time for celebrating!! Eat these in moderation!)
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I will end where I started – with fresh grown vegetables, from a local farmers’ market.

 

 

Top o’ the Morning!

I don’t usually get up early. Especially now – what’s the point? I can’t go anywhere anyway! I have a routine of getting up, getting a cup of tea (I can’t tolerate coffee anymore, although I love it), a banana and a piece of Babybel cheese, and then going to a comfortable spot to read and enjoy my morning snack. In warm weather, I like to sit on the porch and breathe the morning air. So it’s usually 10 a.m. or later before I get going with my day.

But when we travel with tour groups, we often have to get up very early, and on those occasions I do have the opportunity to appreciate the early morning, or Top o’ the morning, as the Irish say, (and in order to fit into Becky’s April Square Tops!)

So for Lens-Artists photo challenge#93 with the topic morning, I am posting some photos I took early in the morning while traveling, mostly with tours, in 2018-2019.

ON SAFARI
On safari, it’s a given to get up really early, so you can have breakfast and go on a game drive in the early morning when the animals tend to be more active. So every day, our alarm was set for 6 a.m. – when I hear that alarm tune on my husband’s tablet, I still think I’m in Tanzania!

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On the patio of our lodge at Tarangire – 6:48 a.m.

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Same exact time the next morning – what a view overlooking Tarangire National Park!

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After this beautiful sunrise in Serengeti National Park…

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…we had a picnic breakfast in the park!

DES MOINES, IOWA
My husband tends to wake up really early whenever we’re sleeping somewhere away from home. Sometimes he wakes me up too. Here we got a great photo overlooking the river toward downtown Des Moines. You can see the capitol building in the distance!

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From Best Western hotel room window, 7:12 a.m. in late September

EGYPT
We were in Egypt in the winter, so I often captured the rising sun between 8 and 9 a.m.!

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The Great Pyramid of Giza, at 9:46 a.m.

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View from our hotel room at the Sofitel Winter Palace in Luxor, 6:53 a.m.

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We took a 5-day cruise up the Nile, in an Egyptian style dahabeya. This type of boat doesn’t have a motor – it’s towed by tug or unfurls its sails, but because of this, we couldn’t travel at night. We docked at Besaw Island one night, and in the morning, the trees were golden in the light of the rising sun, at 6:58 a.m.

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At the end of the five-day cruise, we had arrived at Aswan, where we had to disembark. We had a long day ahead, so I took this shot at 6:24 a.m. at the breakfast table on board.

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The next morning, we were at a rustic lodge in Abu Simbel, where I took this photo from the patio, with a view of several islands on this part of the Nile. Since the Aswan High Dam was built, this part of the Nile is now a lake. 6:57 a.m.

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This was part of our view from Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan (where Agatha Christie wrote her famous mystery, Death on the Nile) at 7:20 a.m.

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At 6:22 a.m. the next morning, we were already on a bus which would take us to the Aswan airport, to fly back to Cairo.

ISRAEL
In order to cram as many sites as possible into one day, our tour company in Israel required us to be on the bus no later than 7:30. So we got up at 6 a.m. every morning, and went downstairs to breakfast between 6:30 and 7:00.

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We were on the road already when I took this photo of the Sea of Galilee receiving rays from the early morning sun, at 7:52 a.m. in early January 2019.

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The next day, I took this photo at 6:57 a.m. from our hotel room overlooking Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee, before we went down to breakfast.

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We traveled south toward the Dead Sea, seen here between 7 and 8 a.m.

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We were in Jerusalem for the last few days of the tour. This is at the Church of All Nations, at 7:50 a.m. We explored the outside first, and were allowed inside at 8:00.

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Only a few of the faithful are at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to say their prayers at 8:05 a.m. The women’s section is more crowded because it is a lot smaller.

EUROPE
On our European cruise last summer, we only had to get up very early a couple of days. Usually, we’d wake up and go out on the balcony of our stateroom.

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I must have had insomnia, because I took this photo as we were cruising into Vienna at 3:56 a.m. in early July!

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The sun was full up on this cloudy day when I took this photo. It was 8:55 a.m. and I was getting my first look at Budapest just before our ship docked!

Although when I’m home, I stay up late (I’m writing this after midnight! – I’m late, sorry, Becky!) and get up late the next morning, when we travel, even on days we don’t have to get up early, we usually do because we are excited! I cherish these last trips we took before the quarantine put a stop to my planning for the next trip, scheduled for this month! But we won’t be stuck at home forever, and I look forward to more adventures soon!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Travel 2019

Last year we were able to do quite a bit of traveling abroad. For Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge this week the theme is travel. He says: As most of use are not traveling at the moment, it might be nice to travel virtually through our various blogs and share some of those enjoyed moments with each other. So, let’s share some of those wonderful places that we have visited in this week’s challenge!

How could I resist my favorite topic? And of course, I couldn’t pick just one photo, but these are a few highlights of our Travel 2019.

January: Egypt
Light show at Abu Simbel
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January: Israel
The most meaningful place for me was the Garden of Gethsemane. This garden is full of centuries old olive trees, including one that was around when Jesus came here to pray on the night of his betrayal.
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June: Paris
This is just a colorful shop that sells flowers (among other things) en route to the Sacre Coeur Church in Montmartre.
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Bayeux, France: The cathedral in Bayeux is a lovely Gothic structure with beautiful stained glass windows. This is one of them.
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June: Amsterdam – Our second trip to Amsterdam in just over a year. The weather in June is definitely better than January but there are a lot more tourists in June! The owner of our Airbnb took us on a private boat tour of the canals and harbor on a hot Sunday afternoon.
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Later that day, we took our son to our favorite poffertjes place in Amsterdam – Die Vier Pilaren.
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After a week and a half in France and four days in Amsterdam, we went on a river cruise – our first!
June: On the Rhine River in Germany
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July: Our last port on the river cruise was Budapest. I love this classic view!
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Lens-Artists #89: A River Runs Through It

Amy at Lens-Artists has as her theme for this week’s challenge: river.

Starting out close to home, here is the Des Plaines River during a November walk on the Des Plaines River Trail. This is a very pretty stretch of the slow-moving river, but it is responsible for many floods in the cities along its banks due to heavy rain.
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The Des Plaines River, which gave the suburban city that was my home for over 30 years its name, flows 133 miles southward from southern Wisconsin to south of Joliet, Illinois, where it joins the Kankakee River and becomes part of the Illinois River. Contrary to popular opinion, Des Plaines, a French name, does not mean “of the plains.” It actually refers to either the sycamore or the maple tree, which resembles the European plane tree, and was named by French traders in the 18th century.

The Chicago River is prominently featured in many photos of downtown Chicago and can be viewed from any of the bridges on  main thoroughfares of the city. This photo was taken at Michigan and Wacker near the site of the original Fort Dearborn.
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Chicago celebrates its river by dying it Kelly green every St. Patrick’s Day (although they didn’t do that this year – celebrations were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic), by constructing a pleasant river walk lined with eateries, which is still under construction, and opening a River Museum that tells the story of the Chicago River and offers nice views of the river from its windows. The river is most famous for an engineering feat undertaken at the turn of the 20th century: the main stem of the river’s flow was reversed so that it now flows out of Lake Michigan, through a system of locks. This increased the volume of the river, which now empties into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

The Colorado River is the most iconic and important river in southwestern United States. It is responsible for carving some of the most beautiful scenery of the west, including the Grand Canyon and others preserved in 11 national parks. This photo was  taken at the Grand Canyon and is strangely the only photo I have of the river!
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The Colorado River starts in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and meanders southward 1,450 miles to the Gulf of California. The river and its tributaries provide water for 40 million people in the Southwest. Native Americans have occupied the Colorado Basin for at least 8,000 years and the culture of the region is strongly influenced by their presence. The Desert View Watchtower, from where the above photo was taken, was designed by Mary Colter who took inspiration from the native peoples that inhabited and continue to dwell in the region. Below is the Watchtower from the inside and outside.


No tour of American rivers would be complete without the Mighty Mississippi! Below are two photos of the river just north of St. Louis on the Illinois side of the border. It was nearly sunset when we got to this spot.
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A view of a couple of the bridges across the Mississippi at that spot
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Flowing southward 2,320 miles from its origin near Lake Itasca, Minnesota, it is the second longest river in North America. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi watershed drains 32 American states and 2 Canadian provinces. Native Americans have lived along this river for thousands of years, including the mound builders who are now thought to have been one of the major ancient civilizations in the Americas. The region along which it passes is very fertile and it is now a common riverboat cruise vacation, inspired by the steamboats that have plied its waters for the last two centuries, as well as other riverboats carrying cargo, animals and people as a main form of transportation.

Jumping to another continent, Africa is home to the longest river in the world, the Nile. The Nile was at the center of the ancient Egyptian civilization, which grew up along its banks where the land was fertile. The ancient Egyptians depended on its annual inundation, which no longer occurs due to dams, especially the High Dam of Aswan.
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Sunset on the Nile:
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Fishermen on the Nile

The Nile originates south of the equator and flows northward 4,132 miles to empty into the Mediterranean Sea. The ancient Egyptians called the river Ar or Aur, meaning “black” due to the color of the mud created by the sediments when it was flooded. Because of the direction of flow from south to north, the ancient Egyptians referred to their southern territory as “Upper Egypt” and the northern territory and the Delta “Lower Egypt.”

The most famous river in the Bible is the Jordan River. Many songs and prayers refer to it and today many pilgrims go to the river to be baptized.
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A friend about to be baptized at Yardenit Baptismal Center
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The Jordan River connects the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. 156 miles long, it runs north to south along the border between Jordan, the Palestinian West Bank, Israel and Southwestern Syria.

Another river in Israel is the Dan. The Dan River originates in Israel and is the largest of the three principal tributaries of the Jordan River. The Dan River flows from Tel Dan, the site of the biblical city of Dan (Laish). The river is fed by the rains and snowmelt that pass through the rock of Mount Hermon and emerge at its foot to form hundreds of springs.
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The Tel Dan Nature Reserve has hiking trails and encompasses the ruins of Tel Dan.

Last summer we took a river cruise in Europe, on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers.
Cruises on the Rhine River are popular, because one can view a series of medieval castles rising on the hills along its banks, as well as sample a variety of wines grown in its vineyards that cover the hillsides. This photo was taken from Marksburg Castle in Germany.
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Wine growing and castles are beautiful scenery on the Rhine.

The Rhine is the second longest river in central/west Europe, about 760 miles (1,230 km) long. It originates in the Swiss Alps and flows north to empty into the North Sea. The Rhine and Danube rivers comprised most of the northern inland frontier of the Roman Empire.

Through a series of locks, a river cruise travels from the Rhine into the Main River and then into the Danube. The Main River is located entirely within Germany.
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We went through a series of locks.

The Main River is 326 miles (525 km) long, the longest tributary of the Rhine. Major cities along the Main include Frankfurt and Würzburg.

The Danube River is the second longest river in Europe (longest is the Volga) and flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world.
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The Danube, called Donau in German, flows 1,770 miles (2,580 km) southeast, originating in the Black Forest of Germany and emptying into the Black Sea. Four national capitals are located along the river: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade.

A tributary of the Danube is the Inn River which flows through Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany.
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Ducks on the Inn River at Schärding, Austria
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The Inn is 322 miles (518 km) long and forms part of the Austria-Germany border at Passau. There is a coin-sized marker on this bridge, indicating the border: on the left is Germany, on the right is Austria.
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