I was shooting night photography on Osterlanggatan, in Gamla Stan. One of my favorite streets in the world.
Just beyond the outer rim of the North Sea dunes, slightly west of Amsterdam, the bountiful pastel fields spread as far as the eye can see. Strewn aghast, sprawled, multicolored layers of pigment spilling across the lowlands, creating a picturesque kaleidoscope of hues reminiscent of Van Gogh’s master work, Tulip Fields.
The fields, aflush with tulips of of every variety. It is as if the colors of the rainbow exploded and fell onto the open lands of Holland. And it is here they lay, flaunting themselves in the brightly colored beds, like pigmented stars soaking in the sun.
Twenty five years ago the Berlin wall came down. Although the unrest in Eastern Germany began in 1989 the actual demolition of the wall followed by the official reunification declaration was signed in October 1990.
Rebuilding Dusseldorf has been a monumental, albeit arduous task to say the least. Previously heralded as one of Germany’s chief industrial cities, it has since migrated into a modern municipality of technology and business. As a result, through the painstaking efforts of the city planners, the architecture is sleek and sophisticated mixed with a blend of neomodern . While traversing the city you feel as though you are in a futuristic, or even, dare i say it, “space age” megalopolis.
bratwurst or weinersnitzel? Now I knew this was probably not the healthiest thing to eat. Considering it would probably give me brain cancer, stomach lesions, wreck havoc to my colon and a host of other ailments yet undiscovered by man. But heck, there are worst thing to eat right? Well, maybe not, but I was in Germany,
and local custom dictates that every wide eyed traveler has to gorge themselves on bratwurst and beer upon entering the country.
In Paris the sun seems to shine a bit longer. The French air seems to blow a somewhat softer. The hours are slowed and days seem to pass seamlessly without any interruption between night and day.
Relax your gait upon your walk about Paris. A leisurely pace is best as it will allow the city to come to you.
The metro in Paris is the underbelly of the city that connects you from one area to the other. Because of this complex yet efficient transportation system you should never become stagnant in only one area for each quarter offers its own unique personality.
Paris is big. And its wide boulevards provide you with space in abundance. Space to exercise your privilege of exploration in a city overflowing with a potpourri of diverse people, the arts and world renown for its culinary expertise.
Through the years Paris has grown. But its essence remains unchanged. Or as the French would say, inchange’. Its style and spirit is much as it was in the time of Napoleon, de Gaulle, and Joan of Arc. The same as it was when captured in the thrashing brush strokes of Vincent Van Gogh. It is the same now as it was then. Just as it was when seen through his eyes, painted by his soul and lived in his heart.
The Sacre Couer Basilica is a stunning vision to behold irregardless of how many times you have seen it in the past. Among the most beautiful basilica’s in all of Europe. Built in the Romano Byzantine style, its pointed domes glistening radiant sunlight in the open air playing on the calcite stone. The front of the basilica facing Paris is nobly adorned with ornate statues of Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis. Standing vigilant in their task of safeguarding the sprawling city below.
In the dog days of July when most of the world is slurping down umbrella cocktails at the beach we had such an occurrence in Amsterdam. Yes in July! But don’t take my word for it. Check out the photos I have submitted for your appreciation.
You can actually walk fifteen minutes from Oslo Central Station and dip your toe into the Oslofjord. The country is a natural wonderland with endless forest, rivers, lakes, wild nature and opulent fjords. And its citizens have a long established tradition of
preserving the ecosystems and wild nature through sweeping environmental policy to protect its generous gifts. Standing at the mouth of Oslofjord the seamless panorama is overwhelming. As if this breath taking view isn’t amazing enough the architecture is streamlined in the style of Neo Scandinavian design. Very linear and contemporary.
Norwegians boast a strong penchant for the arts and theater. Coupled with a robust economy and practically zero crime makes Oslo the ideal place to whittle away a lifetime. The country is also cash rich due to the discovery of oil in the 70’s and 80’s. Which you get a chuncky piece of if you are lucky enough to have a Norwegian birth certificate.
The Dutch have a well kept secret. And it goes by the name Maastricht.
Bordering Belgium, resting at the very bottom of Holland but utmost in the hearts of every Nederlander, this jewel of a city is unequivocally among the top must see destinations in the Netherlands. Maastricht proper boast a vibe that is different from Holland North . Eccentric in design yet whimsical by nature. The people too pride themselves on their unique lineage in this region known as Limburg due to its definitive Belgian influence. Even the dialect is a bit softer as my ear for the Dutch language was trained in Amsterdam. In a country so small it’s diversity is a wonderment perhaps even the dutch take for granted.
Maastricht stands alone in it’s glory. It does not attempt to compete with its larger more well know brethren cities to the north. It is complete and secure in its own identity and uniqueness, blending the cultures of Belgium and the Netherlands.
In Maastricht you are encouraged to stroll the old streets and delight in the delirium of authentic Dutch charm thought to have long ago abated.
The cleverly alined houses bunched together along the Maas river invites you to traverse the bridge and experience the coziness of a southern Dutch village the way it was meant to be. The center of the fanciful hamlet transforms fluidly into openness giving way to a peacefulness almost tranquilizing. A place of arresting beauty, resonating with ethereal charm, awash in the residuum of a bygone era. The bridge at the Mass river is said to be one of the oldest in Europe. The Romans began building it 2000 years ago. It was left there for all to cross. Now is the time to treat yourself to Maastricht.~ZT