Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: switzerland

Beautiful things: Gates and doors

There are many things I like to take photos of: clouds, reflections, and cityscapes at night, to name a few. Gates and doors are not the most popular or common subjects to photograph, but while sifting through the photos I’ve taken over the years, I realized that I’ve encountered a number of them that impressed me or are simply beautiful. I’ve gathered a small collection of these gates and doors here for your enjoyment.

Perhaps my favourite of them all are these aged but colourful gates all aligned outside the imperial palace in Hue, Vietnam. This is certainly not what most people went to the palace to see but it somehow caught my attention. There were at least five arched doorways (maybe not even gates or doors themselves?) that were lined up in a row in such a way that it was very pleasing to the sight. Almost symmetrical, but not quite perfectly, which is where its beauty lies.

The second one is this gate somewhere in Basel, the first city that I visited in Switzerland. You can only see the outline of the gate itself but two things appealed to me: the elegant details of the curves on the gate and the vivid colours on the other side. The contrast between the dark silhouette and the bright exterior further accentuated the features of the gate, making it one of the most unique ones I’ve seen.

Onto one that took on a rather different style – a door covered with graffiti in Prague. The sprayed writings on the door made it look quite messy, and in fact the door couldn’t be any more ordinary. Ironically, that’s what made it special to me because it shows that the ordinary exists, even in a popular and acclaimed tourist destination like Prague.

Let’s stay in Prague for a bit and go to the Prague Castle, where two weapon-wielding giants guard one of its gates. The one on the left chose a bat as his weapon of choice while the one on the right had a sharp object, presumably a knife of some sort. Each giant was in action, arresting what seemed like tresspassers trying to bypass castle security. Don’t mess with the giants or you might end up under their feet like that…

This door-and-window combination, photographed in Saint-Γ‰milion, couldn’t be simpler, but its exquisiteness lies in the details. The three pots of flower, the octagonal hole in which one of them was placed, the aged walls, the intricate but delicate patterns on the curtains inside, the cobblestone street…a perfectly serene picture.

And finally…here’s a creepy gate that leads to a cemetery, I presume. I had actually completely forgotten where I took this photo and had to dig through my harddrive to find out that it was in…Edinburgh! Looking through photos of this particular trip, I believe this was taken at the Greyfriars Kirkyard. Indeed Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in Europe and I visited it plenty of times when I was living in Glasgow. In addition to the many spectacular spots that most tourists would visit, Edinburgh certainly hides some secrets very well, like this one… πŸ˜‰

What beautiful thing should I blog about next? Shadows? Clouds? Reflections? Hmm…

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Short travel reflection: Switzerland is ridiculous

You know you’re probably in Switzerland if…

– trains are ridiculous punctual (staff announced an apology for a 3-minute delay…definitely not happening in France)
– public washrooms are ridiculously clean
– lakes and rivers are ridiculously clear
– grass is ridiculously green
– people are ridiculously well-behaved
– villages are ridiculous picturesque
– everything is ridiculously…perfect

(Oh, and everything is also ridiculously expensive…perhaps not so perfect after all 😦 )

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, August 2012

From high places, part 4

In travelling through different cities, I still search for every possibility to photograph the cities from high (or higher-than-average) places. Part 4 of the “From high places” series will take us all the way to the end of my European adventures, where the last stop was Reykjavik, Iceland. As usual, the list will be in alphabetical order, so please enjoy as I share some of my favourite memories with you πŸ™‚

Bern (read about it)

It was raining in Bern, and the entire capital city of Switzerland was covered in a thick layer of grayness, as seen from the Rose Garden, this high place in Bern. The city was calm and quiet, without the usual audacity of a national capital. Even so, observed from a distance, the old town was nothing less than charming.

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Songs of the cities

I noticed an interesting phenomenon as I was traveling through Switzerland, Austria, and Slovakia. Whether voluntarily or not, I began associating certain points of interest with songs as I hopped from place to place. Sometimes a very obviously related song would automatically pop into my head while sometimes the connection came later, as I reflected. Some even become stuck in my head for a while. I noted these songs and the respective landmarks each one is linked to, and I thought I’d share them here.

Song: Johann Strauss II – The Blue Danube
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkzWF1UE1CI
Location: Danube river, Vienna and Bratislava

Whenever I passed by the Danube, whether it was in Vienna or Bratislava, the orchestral masterpiece by Strauss sounded in my head. My dad loved this piece and he would always ask me where in Europe the river is located, so when I actually got to see it, the song immediately began to ring. The gentle flow of the Danube accompanied by the light, fluttering beats of the dancing instruments…with a majestic sunset over the river, seen from the Novy Most in Bratislava – perfection at its best!

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The fountains of Bern

If Bratislava was the city of statues, then Bern would be the city of fountains. Well, of statues too, since each fountain was guarded by a statue. As I walked through the old town of Bern, I started noticing them on every street, standing in the middle as if observing every passerby. I also saw them labeled on a map of the city, spread out around Bern in various corners and intersections. So, let me introduce you to some fountains of Bern and their guardians that I have had the chance to meet.

First up, the Anna-Seiler-Brunnen (or Anna Seiler Fountain). She stands in the middle of Marktgasse, the main street running through Bern, and represents the founder of the first hospital of the city.

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