Buses and planes, boats cars and trains …

The best way of travelling hopefully? Let’s see.

A bus can be fun, but that’s strictly for local exploring. Unless you can get yourself to India and hitch a lift in God’s Own Palace … Though you’re much more likely to be catching the long-distance bus whose driving seat I feature here …

Air travel has lost its sheen, since Airport Security and Queuing became a A Thing, not to mention those CO2 emissions of which we’re now so horribly aware. Even so, there is something thrilling about watching the changing landscapes of the earth far below, and cloud formations too.

You could take to the water, and sail to your destination near or far…

On the way to Rotterdam

Car travel gives you the opportunity to please yourselves and follow your noses, and even to get off the beaten track, but again … all those emissions.

My own favourite way to get from A to a distant B is by train. I sit, I watch the world go by. I read. If I’m lucky, there may be coffee on offer. And the journey eases the transition from home to away by gradually introducing fresh landscapes, fresh outlooks. There’s something discombobulating about leaving – say – foggy England by plane and arriving two hours later – say – in sunny Spain. Here’s the TGV from Barcelona to Paris. It says it all …

Station architecture may be inspired, whether from the Golden Age of Steam, or assertively twenty first century.

All things considered, I can’t agree with the disconsolate boredom of this particular passenger. By the way, you, get your feet off the seat!

Or … there’s always the motorbike … as spotted in their dozens and dozens outside Mysore Station.

Bike park outside the Station

All the same, modern travel with all its advantages can seem busy, stressful. Sometimes, we might just want to exchange the traffic jam for something rather simpler.

John has provided this week’s LENS-ARTISTS CHALLENGE #215 – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and the places they take you.

Summer Travel: it’s worth it in the end

This is turning into a Sunday Thing. Experimenting with different types of poetry. But with added photos. Always with added photos. This week, as my contribution to Tanka Tuesday‘s task – to write a 4-11 (the clue is in the name: 11 lines of 4 syllables each – last line repeats the first) I thought I’d focus on summer travel.

Summer travel

was always fun.

But now passport

control (Brexit!);

Covid control;

train strikes and queues;

airport queuing – 

make journeys long

and so irksome.

Worth it though – for

summer travel

And to prove that travel’s always worth it, here’s my photo gallery. There’s just one problem. Most of these photos were taken in January, in February, in March … you get the idea – any month but August …

… Should have travelled by elephant …?

Temple elephant, Thanjavur

PS – the header photo was taken at l’Albufera, near Valencia, Spain.

Street art: a tour of Berlin, Spain, and ending up in England.

It was in Berlin that I first really discovered a love of Street Art. Maybe it’s because I got some background understanding by going out for the afternoon with Dave, of Alternative Berlin Tours. I learnt the difference between graffiti, street art, stickers and transfers, and something of the political anger and activism that can inform so much of it: particularly near the former Berlin Wall. This has now been re-invented as The East Side Gallery and I don’t show anything of that here because many of its images are so well known. Here are some examples we saw in Dave’s company, or exploring later on our own.

Having done Street Art Module One in Berlin, I was ready a year or so later to do Module Two in Valencia, It was here that I met an irrepressible type who peoples doorways and random bits of street furniture, painted by David de Limón.

Our tutor introduces us to David de Limón

And it was here too, as we once had in Seville, that we encountered street artists doing their day – or occasionally night – job.

Here are a few more:

I like the way that the windows become part of the fantasy here.

And here’s one just for Past Squares

And we’ll have a whistle-stop tour of Spain and view a few more:

Catalan independence is always the story in Berga …
… whereas relaxing over a drink with a friend is more Seville’s style

Maybe this is my favourite image of all, a bit of fun created from damaged plasterwork in Seville:

Another Past Square for Becky, and worth another outing, I think.

Although – hang on – no. My real favourite has got to be in Manor House Gardens, Hither Green, because the artist appears to have designed this image with my granddaughter in mind.

With thanks to Patti for providing us with a chance to wander city streets this week in quest of images that amuse, provoke and stimulate us. It’s the perfect moment to join the Photographing Public Art Challenge too. As well as Monday Mural. All this and Past Squares and Monday Window too … This is taking multi-tasking to a new level.

The header image comes from the top floor of an apartment block in Málaga.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #170

Monday Mural

Monday Window

Past Squares

Photographing Public Art

A Red Letter Day?

This month, Jude is inviting us to hunt for red in her Life in Colour challenge. So let’s go on a Virtual Day Trip and hunt for red. I think we’ll travel in the bus that was conveniently parked in the next village when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire. West Tanfield is also where we see the poppies in the featured photo.

We’ll whip over to Bradford first, call in at the Bombay Stores, and get some headgear for you chaps.

Still in Yorkshire, we’ll pop in to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see Damian Hirst’s Virgin Mother.

Berlin next. We’ve only time to wander down a handsome street …

… before arriving for a quick visit to the Berlin Wall.

Right. That’s Germany done. Straight off to Spain. Are you peckish yet? Seeing all these peppers, tomatoes and pots of Moorish-style tea has made me think of food.

Where next? We could catch a wedding in Seville …

… and please don’t tell me we’ve come to Córdoba just to see this garage door.

We’ll forget that by visiting La Concepción Historical Botanical Gardens, Málaga.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve nearly had enough for one day. Time for a glass of wine, I think …

Then there’s just time to write a few postcards, and post them in that perky pillar box I know in Buxton.

I’ve realised that Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge is also about the colour red. Let’s make this post multi-task!

A Virtual Mini-Break in Bamberg

This is not the week to get out and about with my camera looking for Unusual Points of View for Jude’s Challenge.  Here’s why: *

The view from the bedroom window.

She’d like us to shoot something often photographed, but choose a less usual point of view.  I thought I’d combine it with a mini-break for us all.

Let’s go to Bamberg.  The old town there, a UNESCO World Heritage site, largely built on the rivers Regnitz and Main, between the 11th and 19th centuries can easily keep you busy and charmed for several days.  You can visit the main sites here.

But we have a job to do – Jude’s challenge.

This week's assignment - take a picture of a frequently photographed subject like a flower or a person's face from an unusual POV. How can you create an out-of-the-ordinary shot?

We’ll wander along the river to get a different view of the much photographed Old Town Hall.

A view of the Old Town Hall from the riverside of the Old Town.

Another view of the Old Town, seen from the comfort of a bar.

Then we’ll stroll about in Little Venice.

Little Venice, seen from the opposite bank of the river.

In the afternoon, we’ll go out of town and take a trip to Schloss Seehof .  It was built as a palace and hunting lodge for one of the Prince-Bishops of Bamberg between 1684 and 1695.  I wanted to capture the idea of this stylish palace being very much a place-in-the-country.

A view from the parkland.

Some of the parkland has become a nature reserve, with ponds and wetland. That’s the side of the palace I wanted to show here.

A short trip, I’m afraid.  But with travelling being so difficult nowadays, short, sweet and virtual is probably the way forward.

2020 Photo Challenge #36

* To be fair, it’s no longer raining.  But it was then …

Tree House at the Berlin Wall

Today commemorates the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  You’ll find plenty of posts celebrating this in different ways:  here’s one.

I thought instead I would share a tale I heard when we were in Berlin two years ago.  It’s an optimistic, positive story for unoptimistic times.

September 17th, 2017

The tale of a tree house

I love this story.  I hope you do too.

Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, one night in 1961, Berlin became a divided city. At first there was merely barbed wire fencing, then a wall. It was all done in such a hurry that mistakes were made. One tiny part of Kreuzberg that belonged to the Eastern sector got isolated in the West. The Americans – for it was in their zone – could do nothing about this unremarkable patch. It became an unloved and unlovely rubbish dump.

Then along came Osman Kalin, an immigrant Turk. He wanted a vegetable patch. He cleared the land and started to plant seeds.  As his patch became productive, he gave vegetables to schools, to the local church, to anyone in need. He cobbled together a rather ramshackle tree house.  He became something of a local hero.

Initially, the East didn’t mind. But when East Berliners successfully started to tunnel under his patch and escape he came under suspicion. The authorities came to interrogate him, and he welcomed them in his usual hospitable way. They gave up and left him alone.

In 1989, the Wall fell. A newly united Berlin City Council began to see Osman’s ramshackle domain as an embarrassment. They gave him notice to quit. The local and wider community was horrified. 25,000 people signed a petition demanding he be allowed to go on growing his vegetables.

He stayed. He’s 95 now, and doesn’t work so much on his vegetable patch, though his son does. He lives in a flat nearby rather than in the tree house. He’s still a much-loved local hero.

I heard this story on a walking tour offered by Alternative Berlin Tours, led by the remarkable and endlessly interesting Dave. Very highly recommended.

 An entry for Six Word Saturday. In her post, Debbie too has chosen to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall

A day at the hospital, and a Prince-Bishop.

We went to the hospital today, to buy some wine. Yes, that’s right …. let me explain.

In 1573, an exceptional young man, Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn was elected Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. He was well-connected and well-educated. By 1582 he had founded the University of Würzburg, which flourished and became a model for other seats of learning.

He was a skilled administrator who reduced taxes, improved the economy, and the administration of justice (unless you were thought to be a witch or a Jew: he fought hard for the purity of the church as he saw it).

But he had a lasting monument, aside from the University, and that was the Julius Hospital. Here is the legend.

When his niece married, he sent her a present: a casket, and three valuable fruits – lemons – symbolising the bitter, hard lives so many had, in contrast with her life of ease. Disgusted, she sent it back. He returned it. Three times in all. Then he gave up.

Silly young woman. Had she opened the casket, she would have found the deeds to lands and vineyards guaranteeing solid riches in perpetuity.

Julius used these riches rejected by his niece to found a hospital. This hospital was open to all citizens, rich and poor. It includes a poor house, an orphanage, an old people’s home. His clever investments have allowed the hospital to continue into modern times, though now it is a state-run institution.

But it has a restaurant, and it has a shop where the wine produced in its vineyards may still be bought. And that is where we went today, and tried a few samples before buying a few bottles. ‘Zum Wohl!’

Schlossgarten Weikersheim

Today we went to the Tauber Valley. We were off for kaffee and kuchen with Stephan and Gina’s family, and we planned to be tourists on the way.

Here is Weikersheim. It’s a mediaeval town. It’s a musical town: every summer it welcomes an international cohort of young musicians keen to work and play together.

It’s a town with a fine castle and gardens. And as we arrived, the long promised deluge arrived, so we only briefly glimpsed its fine Renaissance exterior, its Baroque statues, and its whimsical little dwarfs that populate the garden.

Earlier, we’d visited Tauberrettersheim, a town boasting a bridge designed by the architect of Würzburg’s Residenz, Balthazar Neumann.

After hail and driving deluge, we visited a church high up on a hill, the Bergkirche at Laudenbach, a pilgrimage destination for those en route for Compostela in Spain.

Later still, there was cake in excellent company. Three kinds of cake. A good day.

Snapshot Saturday: a peek at a peak

This bulky cliff of long thin fang-like rocks that we could see last week from our Black Forest hotel while on our European Escape piqued our interest.  So on our last afternoon, while Malcolm was having a rest, I set off to explore.

I had only the most basic of maps: but this is Germany, land of the Walker’s Waymark.  Once I knew I was off to Falkenstein, there was no problem.  I yomped up to the woods outside town, turned right, and set forth.

I even tried to get a little lost, but however hard I tried, I was never far from a reassuring sign pointing me onwards to my chosen destination.

Once there, I found I couldn’t have more than a peek at a time.  That solid mass of rock visible from our hotel was never once in full view.  Instead, one, two, possibly three peaks at a time pointed skyward from my path below.  Here they are.

This post is in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Peek.