CFFC: Summer Scenes

Cee continues her season theme in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and this week is summer scenes.

Swimming & sunbathing on a river beach on a hot day in the Netherlands


Black-eyed Susans at Mt. Prospect Town Hall


Swan family and ducks at The Moorings of Arlington Heights
Evening at a Wynona Judd concert in August
Summer garden
Planting supplies
Fountain at Ravinia’s summer concerts
Flowering plant in downtown Highland Park, IL
Pool party on a Des Plaines August evening


Friends at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

I could include many more, because summer is my favorite season!
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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.


Thursday Doors: A Walk Through Schärding, Austria

On the 4th of July, the day we spent the morning in Passau, Germany, we opted for an afternoon tour to the small town of Schärding, Austria (population approx. 5,000). Passau and Schärding are essentially border towns.  We even crossed a bridge on the Inn River that had a small metal plaque in the middle with D (Deutschland – Germany) on one side and Ö (Österreich – Austria) on the other!
The town of Schärding is a major port on the Inn River which is the dividing line between Bavaria in Germany and the Austrian state of Upper Austria.

The Bavarian family Wittelsbach owned the town until 1779. In the Middle Ages, due to its location, Schärding became a center of trade, particularly for salt, timber, ores, wine, silk, glass, grain, textiles and livestock. Originally the town was fortified; sections of the wall remain, but the castle that was originally there is no longer.

Schärding’s most beautiful feature is its central square with its rows of colorful, gabled buildings. The buildings are color coded so that illiterate people in past centuries would know what the building was used for. For example, the town hall (Rathaus) was yellow, and pharmacies were green. Nowadays, next to the Rathaus, the green building is a charming hotel, Hotel Stiegenwirt.


The town’s skyline is dominated by St. George Church. It is Roman Catholic; more than 80% of the town’s residents identify themselves as Roman Catholic.

When I was not attending a workshop to make herbal salt (I ended up not keeping it – the salt content was way too high for me!), I joined Dale to explore the streets of the town.
Two interesting clocks!
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Schärding’s coat of arms is painted on the side of a building.
Historically, Schärding’s population suffered an epidemic of the plague. A plague pole was erected when the epidemic was over, to thank the Virgin Mary for saving people from the plague.
There is a statue to St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, in the center of a fountain. The fountain is hard to see in this photo because it was surrounded by construction zone fences.
Looking out toward the river from Durchgang Wasstertor.
I don’t know what these masks were for, but they look like instruments of torture!
There was also this display of possibly religious relics, near St. George Church.
And now…Schärding doors!

Posted for Norm’s Thursday Doors 1/16/20.

Some historical information obtained from Wikipedia’s article on Schärding.

Beautiful Sunsets

Dutch Goes the Photo has a Tuesday photo challenge and the topic is sunsets.

Beautiful sunsets are everywhere, but the most beautiful I have seen are when I am traveling – which I guess is logical, because although I do have photos of pretty clouds and sunsets at home, my view is usually obstructed by buildings, trees, and other suburban fixtures. Being in wide open spaces is where I have watched the sun set in awe.

I can never forget the sunsets I’ve seen from Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro – every time I go to Rio, it is a must to go up in the cable car in late afternoon and watch the sunset from up there. On my most recent trip, in Nov. 2016, here was the view as the sun set around 7:00 pm. I am only including one, although I took several beautiful sunset photos that afternoon.
OK, just one more!
Another wide open space where I have witnessed many awesome sunsets is at sea, while on cruises. In Oct. 2017, we were on a cruise from Boston to Montreal, so this sunset was over the North Atlantic, off the coast of eastern Canada. I like the different patterns of the clouds in this photo.
Often when people think of sunsets, they think of Africa, which is famous for amazing sunsets on the open savanna. When we went on safari in Tanzania, I saw this for myself.
This one was taken at Tarangire National Park.
Here’s another one I took at the southern Serengeti:
The sunrises in Tanzania were amazing too (we saw many, as we were up very early each day to go on game drives), but this is a post about sunsets!

In France, we drove to Mont-St.-Michel and got there in the late afternoon, so we admired the sunsets and saved our visit to the island for the next day.  I like this photo because of the fence, but the sun set to the west, not over the island of Mont-St.-Michel, which is reached via a long causeway when the tide is low.
20190618_214400Finally, sunset over Jerusalem – we arrived late on a January afternoon, and enjoyed the view of the old city from Mt. Scopus. (This is not the best photo of the city, but it is a pretty sunset.)
Finally, closer to home, sunset reflected on the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, MO

Thursday Doors: Walking Tour of Bamberg, Germany

Day 7 (July 1, 2019) of our Viking Grand European Tour river cruise was spent in the beautiful city of Bamberg, Germany.  We arrived at the picturesque harbor in the early afternoon.
Bamberg was founded in 902 and is famous for its symphony orchestra and rauchbier, smoked beer. The city marks the northern end of the Main-Danube Canal. Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This is the first interesting door we saw, somewhere along one of the narrow streets of the old town.

We walked through the market square on this hot afternoon and headed for Bamberg Cathedral (official name Bamberger Dom St. Peter und St. Georg), a large structure built in Romanesque architectural style.
20190701_143606 Bamberg Cathedral
It is the burial place for Pope Clement II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, among others.



We entered through this door, flanked with statues.
DSC01464 Bamberg Cathedral
A main entrance to the cathedral


20190701_145420 Bamberg Cathedral
Interior door

Inside the cathedral


Cathedral clock tower
DSC01469 Bamberg Cathedral tower

We then walked to the Neue Residenz (New Residence) of the prince-bishops on cathedral square, which is L shaped because it was never finished. However, its opulence was immediately evident! The palace was begun in 1604 and the two wings built by Johann Leonhard Dientzenhofer in 1697-1703.
20190701_145545 Neue residenzThe palace has more than 40 state rooms with stuccoed ceilings, in which, as in Wurzburg, we were not allowed to take photos. So I took these photos of doorways outside the building.
We wandered the expansive, manicured rose garden behind it, the hedges and flowers surrounding statues scattered throughout, presumably of former prince-bishops who had governed Bamberg and lived in the palace.
20190701_152021 Rose garden of Neue residenz.jpg
20190701_152034d.jpgOver the walls of the rose garden is a view looking down over the old town center of Bamberg.
20190701_152111 Bamberg rooftops from the Rose Garden
20190701_152114 View from Rose GardenHowever, I thought the old palace, or Old Court, was a prettier building. It had been built in the 11th century. Today it houses a history museum.


The Neue Residenz is visible through this arch.

I got a close-up shot of one of its doors, with some beautiful ironwork decoration.20190701_150407
The walking tour continued through the old town center.
Most impressive was the old Town Hall, which dates back to around 1467. Gothic in style, it received some Baroque and Rococo touches in 1756. The murals on the sides of the building were painted by Anwar Johann.
20190701_153159 The old town hall


DSC01499 Town Hall
This building is wedged between two bridges over the Regnitz River. The photo below, which shows this, is not mine. I downloaded it from a Wikipedia website about Bamberg. Credit goes to:
By Qole at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5,
The story goes that the town hall was built on an artificial island because the bishop didn’t want to give up any land. An armed (!) conflict between the mayor and the bishop ended with an agreement that the citizens couldn’t build their burned-down town hall on land. The bridges connect the building with the city center.

Kayakers paddle under the bridges.


We of course saw much more of the old city center and some members of our tour found a brewery to sample Bamberg’s famous smoked beer.

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Sign above the entrance to Schlenkerla Brewery


Stumble stones in front of a house denote where Jewish residents of Bamberg lived, who later were killed during the Holocaust. Both of these people died in Auschwitz.


The resident of this house needs to collect their newspapers!


Small entrance to a crowded shop

Picturesque buildings lined up along the river – this area is known as “Little Venice.”
DSC01495 Little Venice
DSC01408 Little Venice
The spires of Michaelsberg Abbey rise above the riverfront.
DSC01404 Michaelsberg Abbey
After free time, our tour group meeting place was in front of this building, with a bull over the doorway.
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I hope you enjoyed a “walk through Bamberg” with me! This post is also for Norm’s Thursday Doors photo challenge. Check out the posts by other door fans!


Lens-Artist #64: Countryside and/or Small Town

Lens-Artists #64 has the theme Countryside and/or Small Towns. We saw many beautiful places on our European vacation in June/July. Yes, it was exciting to visit large cities like Paris and Amsterdam, but the most beautiful places were the rural areas and small towns. I also include beautiful country scenes from other trips.

Kinderdijk, the Netherlands, on the Rhine. This is a popular place for cruises to stop because of the beauty of the many windmills. Each windmill is the home of a local family.
Wine-growing on the Main River in Germany
Farm near the border of Germany and Austria
Village in Normandy, France
Besaw Island on the Nile River, Egypt
2-3 lake where we saw flamingos-Arusha NP.jpg
Lake in Arusha National Park, Tanzania
Desert of rural Israel
Scene from Devils Elbow Bridge, Missouri
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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado


North of Sedona, Arizona

WWPC: Ways and Means in Miltenberg

Miltenberg, Germany, a beautiful small city with some 9,000 or so inhabitants, is located in northern Bavaria on the Main River. This post features ways – how people move around – and means – what is used to get around – in this picturesque town, for Which Way Photo Challenge, now with a new host, Alive and Trekking.


This photo was taken from the Main River, not at Miltenberg, but representative of personal watercraft.