Travel blog for the years 2019 back to 2010

My current travel blog for the most recent decade. You can choose years below and then each year has further sub divisions for trips in that year.

Years 2017 to 2019 have yet to be added. Some years are also incomplete, 2015 and 2016. Just wanted to get this new format up and running.

On this page:

Travel 2016 ⇑ Top  ↓ 2015 

2016 saw travels in the UK throughout the year. It also saw a winter trip to Paris and a later trip to Thailand.


In this year:


Cambridge

At various times of the year.


English countryside in summer

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Melford Hall.


Lavenham Suffolk


Flatford Mill Suffolk


Hau Hin - Grand Centara hotel


Phra Nakhon Khiri


Wat Huay Mongkol


Wat Mahartar

Hadn't been to Paris for 30 years, or at least for a long stay, just overnight stops passing through. So a long weekend in Spring or the end of winter seemed like a good idea.

I had forgotten what a beautiful city it is and great for walking.



Famous sites of Paris

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Montparnasse Tower, a panoramic view of famous parts of the city.

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A panoramic view of the Louvre, although the end result makes it look a very odd shape.

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Inside the Louvre, royal apartments if my memory is any good.

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Eiffel Tower.

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Notre-Dame and Sacre-Coeur.

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Hotel des Invalides.

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Napolean's tomb.

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Montmartre.

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Places des Vosges, I think.

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Others.

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Palis de la Decouverte.

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Inside shot of the roof of Galeries Lafayette.


Rodin museum

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Well worth a visit with some very well known pieces and plenty of others to enjoy.

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I don't think this picture was a well known piece, but I liked it. Unfortunately it was on a stair well and I could not get a good angle for a photograph.


Pere-Lachais cemetery

Pere-Lachais cemetery, possibly not on most tourists list of things to do, but if you have time, is worth the effort. Quite an incredible cemetery, large, avenues, incredibly impressive tombs and then the list of famous people buried there.

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These two pictures are a map and an index of famous people buried there. Zoom in on them if necessary.

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Chopin, Bizet and Rossini.

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From memory, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde.

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Some very unusual ones.



2015 saw travels to Marrakesh, Holland and Germany.

My sister Anne and partner Betty were travelling through North Africa on a photographic trip and this afford me the opportunity to meet up with them in Marrakesh at the end of their trip. They live in Australia. So late April headed off to Marrakesh for a long weekend.

Autumn saw me driving off to the Harz mountains in central Germany via a quick stop in Holland.

In this year:

Marrakesh Marrakesh

Streets in Marrakesh, tightly packed and lined with all manor of shops.

Marrakesh

What hides behind the door, and there were many? My hotel hide behind a door far less ornate or colourful than this and it was quite the oasis behind it. Who would have known. When the taxi driver dropped me in front of this bland door in a blank wall and drove off, you can guess what I was thinking. How wrong I was

Marrakesh Marrakesh

Lots of colourful flowers out even though it was late April. Not that the locals thought it was that warm.


Jemaa el-Fna


The main area in the centre of Marrakesh. Surrounded by Souks or market areas, nearly all covered and with tight stgreets, where moped riders do their utmost to hit you while trying to get through. It's a maze, a warren of streets where it is easy to get lost, all covered, so no landmarks or anything to get barings on. Absolutely everything for sale in here.

Marrakesh Marrakesh

Betty and Anne.

Marrakesh Marrakesh

Someone found this little fella wondering around one of the stalls.


Architecture


Some photos of the Architecture from around Marrakesh. Some of it was staggering and some appeared before our eyes while we stood and watched a craftsman just create it from water and sand

Marrakesh

You can see this is still wet. The craftsman has filled it with what I thought was wet sand, but it must have had some form of cement or binding component in it. He then used small tools, some the size of nails, to carve the pattern and scope out the excess. He had worked on it all morning, repairing the original.

Marrakesh

Koutoubia. 12th century Mosque at the centre of Marrakesh.


Essaouira


Day trip drive to the costal port of Essaouira. With its 18th century seafront ramparts. It still has a thriving fishing industry and the boats are built locally. Also a great beach in the background of some photos. We were waylaid by a wanna be tour guide, who insisted on taking us around and showing us the ship building industry and how it was all done.


Jardin Majorelle


Former villa of the painter Jacques Majorelle, inhabited by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge from the 1980s, Villa Oasis is located on the edge of the Majorelle Garden.


Leiden


Amsterdam


Harz mountain region.


October saw me taking a short break in Rome. Somewhere that was always high on my list of cities to visit, but for whatever reason, I had not yet been. Well it surpassed my expectations. So much history, architecture and everything else possible. Simply loved it and will go back, many times I expect. Only down side, god it was busy, even the first week in October. Was also surprisingly warm and generally dry, 26C most days.

December saw my first trip to Prague. More on this later as well as details on a trip earlier in the year to the north of England.


In this year:

Vatican Vatican

Piazza S. Pietro. That's the queue to get in, right round the Piazza, but actually they were very well organised and it only took about 20 mins. the size of the people in the pcitures gives an idea of the scale of this architecture.

Vatican Vatican

Inside St Peter's.

Vatican Vatican

More inside and Vitican guard.

Vatican

A night shot of the Piazza which I felt came out really well and just had great colour and effect. Again you can see the scale of the architecture as that is the end of one of the curved Arch's in the photos above.


Colosseum, Palatino and the Forum area

First day and it was straight out to the Colosseum, something I had wanted to see for a long time. Glad I got there early and had 2 to 3 hours, because by 12 noon, it was heaving and you could hardly move. It was also hot, so the early start helped. The whole area is quite spectacular and hard to comprehend that it has been there for a couple of thousand years. There's the Arch of Constantine, the Palatine Hill (Palatino) where I understand all the knobs of Rome used to live, Circus Maximus is just down the road and then the hill overlooks the Forum area.

Colosseum Colosseum

Apparently, it originally had a roof of sail like material. Again you can see the scale by the size of people in these pictures.

Colosseum

In these pictures you can see a floor area at the far end that has been recreated to show where the arena floor was.

Arch of Constantine Colosseum area

Arch of Constantine. Can't remember what the other picture was, but still spectacular.

Forum area Forum area

Forum area.

Forum area Forum area

I think this is the Forum area where Caesar was stabbed. Old Joke, Caesar was stabbed in the Forum, also in the Duodenum and in the Oesophagus. The old ones are the best.


Others

Other sites from around Rome in no particular order, just things I found, liked and captured.

National monument National monument

Altare della Patria. National monument to the first Italian king and the dead of the first world war. Quite spectacular and I believe a fantastic view from the roof. Have to do that next time.

Villa Borghese Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese. A park in the centre of Rome housing a 17th house and gardens. The Borghese Gallery and Museum on the left and the Villa Medici on the right. Both in the park.

Villa Borghese

A very swank restaurant I found in the park. I simply wasn't dressed for it.

Villa Borghese Villa Borghese

Bougainvilleas. Some of the flowers out in the park.

Quirinale

Sunset looking towards St Peter's. From the Palazzo del Quirinale.

Streets

Rome is a fantastic walking city, if it's not too hot. I walked for 5 or 6 hours some days. Every street you turned down there might be history, Architecture or it was just fascinating.

Streets

Then at the end of some streets, the view was spectacular. Just a little side street and there's some ancient monument, church or some other stunning building at the end.

Church

Spectacular churches all over the place. Stopped in this one at lunch time to get out of the heat and cool off. Incredible interior and then a young man practising on the organ to the right with 2 teachers. So, relaxing, cool and great music to listen to.

Just a square I found, to sit and have an ice cream in and again, stunning architecture, one of which, turned out to be a university building.

Presidental palace Presidental palace

I think this was the presidential palace. The Piazza di Monte Citorio. The inevitable obelisk or column. They are all over the place in Rome and you will see many in my photos.

Marcus Aurelius Column. when peeled off and laid out flat it tell the stories of his military victories.

The Pantheon. Quite spectacular with it's oculus in the ceiling. Built by Marcus Agrippa.

Piazza Navona. Stunning architecture and surrounds and a great place for people watching.

Piazza Navona.

A small very ornate church I found by the river side.

Some view along the river, looking towards St Peter's.

Castel Sant'Angelo.

The Palace of Justice.

The Spanish Steps and a house near the top. Unfortunately the church was being renovated so the view was not great and the advert spoilt it.

Pretty normal Roman home with the garden on the roof.

Piazza del Popolo. The 2 spectacular buildings spanning the entrance to the Via Del Corso. View from high up in the Villa Borghese.

Piazza del Popolo. The inevitable obelisk.

A panorama of the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.


In and around the Old Town square

A Christmas trip to Prague in December was well worth it, although not as "Christmasy" as German and Austrian towns. this I suppose was not surprising, as apparently 70% of the population have no religion, due to the communist years.

The Old Town is really the heart of the city and everything revolves around the Old Town square. The area is rich in old architectural buildings, many of which are apartments or offices. These are all intact as Prague was hardly bombed in the war at all. Some of the buildings are quite spectacular.

Old Town Old Town

City hall with Medieval clock.

Old Town

Mediocre Christmas tree.

Old Town Old Town

Church of Our lady before Tyn. Very Gothic, fairy tale stuff.

The following are just an array of some of the spectacular building in the Old Town area and most are apartments, even the ones with ornate tops and turrets.

The Powder Tower, a 15th century city gate and the Municipal House, Art Nouveau venue, host of concerts, opera etc..


Charles Bridge

Some shots of the gates either side of the bridge and the bridge it's self.

The Charles Bridge with the Palace and cathedral on the hill in the background.


The castle area on the hill

The castle area was quite spectacular and well worth a good roam around, down quirky little side streets and weird painted buildings and ornate lampposts.

Below left, a wishing well and ornate doors to the Cathedral and one of the many buildings buildings in the palace grounds.

Some shots of the cathedral.

Other buildings in the castle area on the hill.

Ornate lampposts and other buildings in the area.

The cathedral and castle hill from below Charles bridge.

Golden Lane medieval street within castle walls.

More Golden Lane and Chrismas decoration.


New Town

Strangely named, as it was far from new, but I suppose it is all relative. Another great area with a wealth of interesting buildings.

National Theatre. Unfortunately undergoing renovations, but still clearly a spectacular building. Other buildings in the area.

The Dancing house and the church of Saint Ludmilla. All generally in the New Town area.

Other buildings around the New Town Hall.

New Town Hall, quite speptacular and a theatre just opposite the Church of St. Ludmilla.

Some of the ornate roof tops.


Others

The Parliament building on one side of the river and the concert hall on the other.

Odds and sods from around town.

The National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square.

And the man himself, in his square.


The Bone church and Kotna Hora

The Bone church near Kotna Hora. Don't remember all the details, but was around teh time of the 30 year war and too many to bury in the grave yard. So inventive priest did something different! Very weird and creepy. Also took a day trip out into the countryside Bohemia, which was nice, even if the weather wasn't.

Kotna Hora Bohemia. Famed for silver mining and the unusual shaped St Barbara's church. The guide said something about the palace being comparable to Prague Castle.

The statues here are supposed to be in some way related to those on the Charles Bridge in Prague.

St Barbara's church.

A selection of other buildings in Kotna Hora.


Took a trip "Up North" in June, holiday at home for a change. Booked a farm cottage near Barnard Castle in Teesdale. Kept referring to it as North Yorkshire, which I got the impression, annoyed the farmer, as he kept correcting me and reminding me, it was Teesdale. This area is right on the edge of the North Pennines AONB. Beautiful countryside.

Haven't yet finished updating this, so there is lots of text descriptions still to be done!

The Angel of the North, Gateshead. I expected it to be bigger.

Barnard Castle, home of the Bowes family, that's the queen mother "Bowes Lyon". A lovely little town.

Durham Cathedral, quite spectaculat. A lovely town as well.

And surrounds.


Various photos from around the Yorkshire Dales National Park and North Pennines ANOB. Unfortunately I did not keep details of where they all are.

Some photographics tricks with High Force waterfalls.

Ingleborough.

Views from Ingleborough.

Ingleborough.

Ribbledale viaduct.

Some of the Roman ruins from Hadrian's Wall.

The Wall its self.


On the way home decided to stop at a few places along the way, started in Richmond, but not impressed, so moved on. Stopped in Rippon which was really quite nice.

Rippon Cathedral.

Market Place Rippon, Town Hall and Obelisk.


December saw me taking a 6 day extended weekend to Berlin. Never been there before, thoroughly enjoyed it.

October saw my first real holiday this year, I took myself off to far west Cornwall for a week. Stayed just outside St Ives, near Hayle and spent the week touring the far west part of Cornwall and roaming around the coast paths.

In September had a day in London doing the Open House thing. That's going round all the buildings that are usually closed to the general public and getting a peak inside.



German Bundestag & Brandenburg Tor

Bundestag Bundestag

The Reichstag building in Berlin has been the home of the German parliament since it moved from Bonn in 1999. Took the opportunity for a visit and in particular to the glass dome on the top.

Bundestag  Bundestag

The dome allows as much natural light in as possible and the mirrors reflect it down into the parliament chamber below. Can't quite see the seats through the glass.

Brandenburg Tor Brandenburg Tor

The Brandenburg Tor or gate in English. Needs no explanation. Was once, right on the boundary between east and west Berlin.

Brandenburg Tor

And in day light.

Unter den Linden

Christmas decoration on the Unter den Linden, leading up to the Brandenburg Tor.


Berlin Wall

Took a trip out to the remnants of the Berlin Wall to the north of the city and it was very interesting. A small amount of the wall still remains and there was some very interesting photos and information about it. I had no idea that the majority of tunnels were built from the west to the east, I had always assumed the other way round. But apparently, most tunnels were built from the west to the east to try and help people escape. Most tunnels have names and it is usually a number and that number relates to the number of people who escaped through that tunnel. Below there is a selection of photographs through the life of the wall.

Berlin Wall Berlin Wall

Some of the people who died attempting to escape.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie.
Although not on what's left of the wall, very much that era. Also, very different surrounds to how it used to be.


Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg  Palace Charlottenburg  Palace

The home of the Prussian monarchy.

Charlottenburg  Palace

The Belvedere in the grounds, built as a tea house and viewing tower.

Charlottenburg  Palace

One of the out buildings.


Others

Berlin has a small island near the city centre known as "Museum Island". So obviously, it is jammed with museums. These are just a selection. I spent half a day in the German Historical Museum and that still wasn't enough. Didn't have time to get to any of the others.

Museum Museum

The Berlin Historical museum, day and night.

Museum

The Altes museum.

Gallery Theatre

The old National Gallery and the Maxim Gorki Theatre, a performing arts theatre.


Berlin Cathedral Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral, still on museum island, also day and night.


The Gendarmenmarkt area is actually a square, but at this time of the year, it is covered by a Christmas market and a busy one at that. The square is bounded by two cathedrals, to the south the German cathedral and to the north, the French cathedral. In the middle, between the two cathedrals is the Konzerthaus.

Gendarmenmarkt Gendarmenmarkt

The German and French cathedrals.

Gendarmenmarkt Gendarmenmarkt

The Konzerthaus with the Christmas market on the square in front.

Gendarmenmarkt

The rear entrance to the Konzerthaus.


The Antique Quarter is a lovely area of old fashioned cobbled streets around St Nicholas' church. On the Sunday afternoon, it was snowing and they had a choir singing carols, so it was a really nice place to wander around.

Antique Quarter

St Nicholas church.


Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. One would think a somber place for reflection. Not when I was there. There were kids running all over the place and teenagers climb on the stones, so it was a little unruly.


The Neue Synagoge, with it's spectacular dome. Today partly restored and partly open. Quite a history.


Finally, some odds and ends. Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, the Oberbaum bridge and in this case, the blue water pipes in Berlin, although they do come in all colours.

Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church

Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, still showing the scars of the second world war.

The Oberbaum bridge, once a boundary between East and West Berlin.

What are these water pipes that can be found all over Berlin and in a variety of colours. Berlin has wet feet, very high ground water. So these pipes can often be found pumping water from a building site, to a nearby canal or river.


St Agnes

A lovely little village on the north coast, not far from Perranporth. Really liked it and thought it had a lot of character.

Cornwall - St Agnes

Old fashioned village shop.

Cornwall - St Agnes

Pretty steep village, down to the beach. This just one of many old cottages on very tight, narrow, steep roads.

Cornwall - St Agnes

The route down to the beach. I just thought it was a lovely setting for the path, next to these old cottages. See next picture.

Cornwall - St Agnes

A view of one of those cottages, through the trees.

Cornwall - St Agnes

A view from St Agnes Beacon. A major high point in the area with spectacular views all round. Just outside the village. Looking south west, down the coast, towards St Ives.


Mousehole

A place I could quite easily retire to, if I had the money. I never knew that the Spaniards had landed in 1595, attacked the town and almost burnt it to the ground. See pictures below.

Beautiful panorama from a terrace outside a small cafe, just as you get to Mousehole, on the road from Penzance. Looking across the bay to the Lizard on the right and St Michael's mount to the left of centre. There were seals playing in the rocks below.

A panorama of Mousehole harbour. In November they actually drop great big wooden beams into slots across the harbour entrance to protect it from storms. They take them out in March. So if your boat is in, it stays in for months. I think you can just see the slot on the far side.

A view from the sea wall, with the huge beams laid out, ready to be used.

Squire Keigwins home. He died in the Spanish attack, but his house survived.

A frontal view of his home. It wasn't easy to take pictures, even with a wide angle lens. The streets were very narrow.

A plaque commemorating his death and the house.


Mullion Cove

What a lovely, tucked away little cove. I want to come back in mid winter to see some wild weather and where better to stay, than the hotel, which can be seen, on the cliff top, in the top left of this picture.

Clambered up the hill to the east, to get a picture of the harbour.

Climbed amongst the rocks to get this view out through them, along the coast. Shame about the smugged finger print on the lens.


Coastal views

Some coastal views with evidence of the mining industry.

The view from Praa sands beach. Another solitary coastal home.

St Michael's mount. Low tide.


Cape Cornwall

Apparently, the only place in England and Wales with Cape in the title.

A view of Cape Cornwall from Lands End. The latter being a tacky tourist attraction these days.

A fantastic private house overlooking Cape Cornwall. Lucky buggers

How did these people get the land and build homes in such spectacular locations. These were near Cape Conwall.

Cape Cornwall

The monument at Cape Cornwall.


Porthcurno beach

What a beautiful beach and such lovely clean water, and it was empty. It was October though.


The Minack Theatre

This was on the cliff top and right next to Porthcurno beach. What a fantastic setting for such a great idea. You have to wonder what happens in the middle of a performance if a storm blows in? Unfortunately, there was nothing on while I was there, but there was school of kids sort of performing.


Prussia Cove

Famous for its smuggling.

In this picture you can see that years and years of smuggling, has worn tracks into the rock from the smugglers carts.


Cornish pubs

The Admiral Benbow, Penzance

The Admiral Benbow, Penzance.

The Harbour and Ship Inns, Porthleven.

The Ship Inn, Mousehole.


Sunsets

Set the camera up on the tri-pod on the balcony to get these sunsets.

Overlooking St Ives bay.

This one, a very long exposure, hence the blurring of the fast moving clouds.


Odds and ends

St Ives harbour.

St Ives harbour. Hired an apartment for the week near here, just outside Hayle, in the tiny hamlet of Phillack.

No wind

This guy was complaining that there was no wind, all the way into the harbour and right up to the beach, "No wind", "No wind". Took him 20 to 30 mins. But he just stood there holding the sail and doing nothing else. No wind?

The beach at Hayle

This is the beach right next to where I was staying, near Hayle. It's about 3 miles long and yes, I think there are 2 other people at the far end of the beach. The lighthouse at the end is Godrevy. This picture was taken on my phone, so it is not touched up in any way.

The beach at Hayle

A view of the beach from a higher vantage point.

Just a tourist shop in Penzance

A tourist shop in Penzance, known as The Egyptian House.

Pretty exposed fishing for this fisherman, as he returns to Porthleven harbour.

Pendeen lighhouse.

Open House London ⇑ Top  ↓ 2012  ↑ Cornwall 

Every year in September, London has an Open House event. Many of the capitals fabulous buildings open their doors to allow the public in to view places they would otherwise never get to see. There are hundreds of buildings open, so a little planning is wise and clear decisions on what you want to see. You can get all the info from their web site. What's open, when and where. I had planned to go both days, but 8 hours walking and on my feet on the Saturday and poor weather on the Sunday meant I gave it a miss on the Sunday. Do more next year.

I had hoped to get into to see Battersea Power station, but decided in the end that the crowds would be too big. This was a once only opportunity to get inside before it is converted into luxury flats, shops and offices. I was right, the queue was 5 hours long at one point. One of the guys at work went and got there early and only queued for about 30 mins and the overall impression was, it was a disappointment. You couldn't really get to see that much as it is a derelict building. So glad I didn't waste my time. My favourite was the Foreign and Commonwealth office.


Foreign and Commonwealth office

Foreign and Commonwealth office Foreign and Commonwealth office

The internal courtyard.

Foreign and Commonwealth office

Looking out to the courtyard and the splendour of the rooms.

Foreign and Commonwealth office Foreign and Commonwealth office

Fantastic stairwell. A shot with no people in it, staggering. Dam a head! Should have cropped that.

Foreign and Commonwealth office Foreign and Commonwealth office

The Locarno Suite, staggeringly ornate.

Foreign and Commonwealth office

Not really the F & C. A view from the courtyard of the Inland Revenue, through the F & C, right on to Downing street and that is No 10 at the end, although it didn't come out very well in the picture.


The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, St James

The Royal Society The Royal Society

The Library and other rooms.

The Royal Society The Royal Society

The impressive ceiling in the stairwell and the list of Presidents.


The Banqueting House, Whitehall

The Banqueting House The Banqueting House

Some shots of the spectacular ceiling and the throne.


The Guildhall

The Guildhall The Guildhall

A selection of shot from inside the guildhall.


In September 2012, I took myself off on holiday, driving down to Austria via France, Germany and on the way home Belgium.

I drove far to far, over 2000 miles and spent far too much money on petrol, accommodation and just general expenses. But, I had a fantastic time. Austria and southern Germany being my favourite places in Europe.


Rothenburg Gasthof

Left the classic Gasthof near Rothenburg Germany. This Gasthof had, from memory, been in the family as accommodation since around 1628. Stayed there on the way down through Germany and on the way back as it was so nice and reasonably priced.

Had decided to take 3 days to drive down to Austria, so first day was to get across to France and head down to Reims. Find somewhere to stay and then explore this historic old city. It has a beautiful old town centre, as do many towns in Europe. It was once the place where French Kings and Queens were crowned. Has big boulevards and a lot of striking architecture.

Boulevards in Reims Boulevards in Reims

The huge boulevards in Reims.

Hotel De Ville

Hotel De Ville I think.

Other buildings

Other buildings around the city.

Etam

Unusual Etam shop with a green front.

Old Theatre

Old derelict theatre that looked as if it was once very grand.

Cathedral

The Cathedral in Reims, very spectacular architecture. This is a Panorama picture, where I have stitched two pictures together, as it would not fit adequately in one shot.

Cathedral

Some of the repair work being done on the stone work of the Cathedral.

Gargoyles Gargoyles

Some of the gargoyles on the Cathedral, which were being used for rain water drainage.

Germany - Heidelberg ⇑ Top  ↓ Rothenburg  ↑ Reims 

Drove on into Germany the next day and stopped for lunch and a stretch in the university town of Heidelberg. Hadn't been here for a long time, 1986. Still interesting and worth a visit.

Altstadt Altstadt

The Altstadt, in both directions. This is the main drag and well worth a wonder around.

Schloss view

Looking up to the Schloss, on the hill above Heidelberg.

Schloss view

And looking down from the Schloss. Another panoramic view stitched together from three photos.

Schloss Schloss

Views of the Schloss.

From Heidelberg I moved on to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which has to be one of my favourite places in Germany. That is why I stayed here on the way down through Germany and on the way back. This is one of the best preserved Medieval towns in Germany. Been here many times and always a great place to visit and stay. On this occasion, stayed just a few Km's outside in the small hamlet of Detwang. See Gasthof above. Rothenburg is almost the start of the Romantische Strasse (Romantic Road) a route through southern Germany, from Wurzburg down to Fussen on the Austrian border. It takes in 350 Km's of picturesque medieval towns and villages and castles.

Christmas shop

The classic Germany Christmas shop, with all the old wooden toys that they still make and still seem to be popular.

Rothenburg

Some views from around the town.

Rothenburg

One of the main gates to this walled city.

Rothenburg

A view across the vineyard.

And so on to Russbach in Austria the next morning. This tiny little hamlet in the Dashstein mountains, 40 Km's south east of Salzburg, is where I had rented a lovely chalet home for the week. Some of the photos were taken on the phone, so the quality so not good.

Russbach Russbach

This is the lovely place I rented.

Russbach Russbach

Some inside shots.

Russbach Russbach

Some views of the surrounding valley.

Russbach

One of the beautiful traditional chalet style homes. This one was just behind mine and I never did find out what the little bell tower on the roof was all about.

Sazburg, the birthplace of Mozart. Had some glorius weather while away, it was high 20's on this day, although I did also have a 6 and sub zero overnight and snow. Bit of a mixed bag really.

In the pictures below you will notice all the old fashioned shop signs, mainly metalwork. They don't allow modern ones in historic parts of Salzburg. Not even McDonalds! Why can't other countries do this.

Salzburg Salzburg

The main drag in Salzburg. Very busy with tourists.

Salzburg

Unusual little church, tucked away right under the rock face, which you can see right behind it.

Salzburg

The main cathedral.

Salzburg

View of the city from the Hohensalzburg castle.

Salzburg

View of the Hohensalzburg castle from the Mirabellgarten.

Germany - Berchtesgarden ⇑ Top  ↓ Hallstatt  ↑ Salzburg 

Berchtesgarden, often considered the heart of Nazi Germany, mainly because of it's association with Hitler and his mountain top retreat, "The Eagles Nest". A little reading seems to imply this is incorrect. The Eagles Nest was built by the Nationalist Socialist party and given to him as a birthday present and he rarely used it. So perhaps a bit of embellished history by the victors. Anyway, a beautiful area and town and well worth a visit, as well as a visit to the nearby lake Konigssee.

Berchtesgarden

A view from the town centre, up towards the Eagles Nest.

Berchtesgarden Berchtesgarden

Some views of the town it's self, which was very picturesque.

Berchtesgarden

Another view up towards the Eagles Nest.

Berchtesgarden

A view from above the Eagles Nest looking down towards the town.

Berchtesgarden

I thought this made a great photo of an older couple just sitting on the cliff edge enjoying the spectacular view. The Konigssee is just visible in the lower left of the picture.

Some views from the Rossfeld Panoramastrasse, The highest scenic highway in Germany.

Berchtesgarden

Two days later and the Eagles Nest has a fresh coat of snow. You can see the bus park in the lower right of the picture. There is then a brass plated lift 100M inside the mountain to get up to the Eagles Nest. Takes 40 people at a time.

Berchtesgarden

Looking back towards the Dashstein mountains.

Some views from around the Konigssee.

Austria - Hallstatt and the region ⇑ Top  ↓ Moselle  ↑ Berchtesgarden 

Hallstatt is a beautiful village and area in the Dashstein/Salzkammergut region of Austria. The town it's self is a World Heritage Site. It is absolutely stunning, as is the whole region and looks fantastic with a coating of snow. Well worth a winter trip here.

Hallstatt Hallstatt

Some views of the town and lake.

Inside the Dashstein mountains, the Ice Cave. This was really quite specatcular, as you will see from some off the photos. Unfortunately, because of the low lighting in some of the caves, I had to take the pictures, hand held, on long exposures, so some are a little out of focus.

Ice Cave

In this picture you can estimate the size of this Ice stalagmite. It must be 20 to 30M high. At the top of the stairs, you can see a black object, it's a piano. They hold concerts in the cave because it has great acoustics. Of course the temperature is not good for the piano, so it needs regular maintenance.

These picture give a sense of the size of these caves. You can see the walkways which we have come down and in one, in the upper left corner, you can see people still coming down the walkway. Apparently we are standing on 30M of ice in this cave. We were in the caves walking around for an hours. The caves were sectioned into two. The first set were just geological caves with an ambient temperature of 8 or 10C. Then we went through a blocked off door way into the Ice Cave and the temp dropped significantly to about 2 to 4C. Apparently the ice recedes during summer and autumn. It then rebuilds in the winter and spring in particular, when melting snow leeks into the cave system.

Then onto the outside of the mountains and up to the very top, in this case the Krippenstein.

Krippenstein mountain

A view of the Dashstein glacier from the top.

Krippenstein mountain

They have built this metal structure called the Five Fingers, which protrudes out over the edge of the cliff. It's some 2000M to the valley floor. You can look straight down through the floor and in spite of my fear of heights, I did manage to go out on it.

Krippenstein mountain

Hallstatt and the lake from the Five Fingers.

Krippenstein mountain

Finally, looking up to the Five Fingers from Hallstatt.

St Wolfgang, another picturesque lake side town.

Germany - Moselle valley ⇑ Top  ↓ Leuven  ↑ Hallstatt 

On my way back through Germany I decided to stop in the Moselle valley. Not been here before, but very much like the Rhein.

Cochem Cochem

Cochem on the Moselle river.

Stopped in Leuven Belgium for the night to catch up with a friend living there.

Leuven Leuven

Classic Belgium town hall.


A long weekend in Amsterdam was the prefect spring break, even if it was a belated company Christmas do.

Having never been there before, I found it a fascinating place and a really good walking city, every other street being a canal. I shall definately be going back. Must also try it out for Christmas markets, as it sounds very good.


In May, I drove over and spent a week in South Holland, touring old towns and the Tulip bulb areas of the Netherlands. September produced a trip to South Devon and October a trip to Budapest. Budapest also turned out to be a great place, in spite of the smoking, and will be somewhere on the list of places requiring a return visit.


Amsterdam

Classical Amsterdam, a canal, boats, houses and a bridge at the other end. Not quite the same site at night, when in the Red Light area, they are full of British and Antipodean tourists throwing up in the canals. Not a pretty site.

Bicycles

Well, this is definitely a country of bicycles and this city is mad about them. They seem to rule and have right of way over everything including pedestrians. You really have to watch out to not get run over by them.

Only the Dutch would have multi storey bicycle parks and so many different uses for a bicycle. This is just a selection of bicycle encounters I had.

Multi storey bicycle parks Multi storey bicycle parks

I have never seen so many bicycles in one place!

Bicycles Bicycles Bicycles

They are used for carrying the children, taking the dog for a walk...

Deliveries

and deliveries.

Architecture

A church Cheese shop window

Churches and Cheese shops.

Strange little house How to get your mattress in through te top floor window

Strange little old house jammed in and how to get your mattress in when you live on the top floor.

Zuiderkerk church Zuiderkerk church

Zuiderkerk church and it definitely leans.

Cafe de waag, Nieuwmarkt square A bridge

Cafe de waag, Nieuwmarkt square and one of the little lift bridges that look lovely at night, when they are all lit up. Unfortunately, I found it on my last morning.

Wonky houses Wonky houses

Wonky houses.

Miscellaneous

Outdoor male toilet

Something about France and the low countries, where they are more than happy to have outdoor male toilets. Strange we don't have these! Expect they are very useful after a nights heavy drinking. Having said that, I did see a young woman trying it.

Sexual attire

This reminded me of a Monty Python sketch from the 1970's "Condoms through the ages". The one on the left being "The Harry hold you firm".

All the houses seemed to be competing for the most decorative windows above their front doors. A selection below.

Stayed in South Holland for a week and toured around. For those who don't know, North and South Holland are provinces of the Netherlands.

Windmills, the old and the new. Something I had not realised before, how many of the old windmills were thatched and not just the roofs, but also the side walls.

Keukenhof

World renowned for it's Tulips displays in the March to May period, we paid a visit to catch the displays. Unfortunately, due to the warm spring we had, the displays were a little past their best and arriving a couple of weeks earlier would have been a better idea. As can be seen from some of the photograph's below, there's an awful lot of green, where the tulip heads have been removed on those past their best.

The whole area is geared towards Tulip production and the hotel was surrounded by Tulip fields, which would have looked brilliant, had they not already been harvested.

Keukenhof Keukenhof

Note sure what the flower is on the left, and an old Trabant being used as a flower display on the right.

Keukenhof Bulb Fields

Finally a picture of some of the bulb fields, although this was taken in North Holland near Alkmaar.

Leiden and Delft

Leiden well, it was OK, but didn't see anything of any great interest.

Whereas Delft is well worth a visit. Lovely old medieval town. The town square was worth it, sit out in the sun and eat and drink and then a visit to the Royal Delft pottery. All hand painted. Below are a couple of pictures I tried to take of the "Night Watch", a famous Rembrandt painting. All hand painted blue delft tiles. Lots of them and it must have taken ages to produce.

Leiden Leiden

Leiden. Old barges and a wooden windmill.

The Nigh Watch The Nigh Watch

The Nigh Watch.

Delft Delft

Delft.

Delft

Delft.

Den Haag and Gouda

Both worth a visit.

The Hague had a mixture of old and new, which did not work for me. The old was spectacular and worth seeing, but I felt there was too much new and it spoiled it. Gouda well worth a visit, although I believe it is best to go the last week in June or through July, on a Thursday. Then they do the cheese weighing ceremonies and I suspect it is worth seeing.

Den Haag Den Haag

The Binnenhof, where the Dutch parliament meet.

Den Haag

The Ridderzaal, where the State openning of parliament is performed. It's one of the Binnenhof buildings.

They were filming a TV series at the Binnenhof, hence no one in the pictures. It was about a Dutch type Mafia in the 1930's who nearly brought the government down. Or so the pretty young lady from the film crew was telling me. Frankly she could have said anything and I would have believed it.

How many people can you get on one bike, or rather children. This young woman had her hands full, but seemed to be coping. Amazingly, I don't recall seeing a cycle helmet in Holland at all.

Royal Palace Canal view

The Paleis Noordeinde Koninklijk, a royal residence and a typical canal setting.

Stadhuis Gouda Stadhuis Gouda

Gouda, different ends of the same building the Gemeente Gouda, the Stadhuis.

Cheese Museum

Gouda, The cheese museum. The marble carving on the front depicting cheese making is new. The original from the 16th century is inside and badly eroded by pollution.

Ferry Salcombe harbour

The South Sands ferry, Salcombe harbour.

Decided to go away in the UK for a change, so took a week off and went down to the South Hams part of Devon and stayed near Kingsbridge. A part of the country I had never been to or explored before. Lovely part of the country and well worth a visit, perhaps some better weather next time. Took a little while to get used to driving a big bloody Volvo around those small narrow country lanes.

Smeatons Tower

Smeaton's Tower, a former Eddystone Lighthouse which has been rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe.

Slapton

Slapton Ley and Sands

Slapton Ley and Sands. Fabulous long beach. This whole area was cleared and people forced to leave their homes in the 2nd world war, as it was commandeered for training for the D Day landings, and looking at it in this picture, you can see why.

Coastal Path

Went for a walk along the coastal path between Hope and Salcombe. Weather so so on the day I went, still very high winds at times. They had had 100 MPH winds the day before and horizontal driving rain, so glad I did not go that day. Still struggled to stand up in some very exposed areas.

Thatched Cottage

Old Thatched Cottage in Hope.

Rugged coastline Rugged coastline

Some of the rugged coastal views.

Rugged coastline Rugged coastline

Took the first picture of a couple standing on the edge of this bit of rock jutting out. Then took the 2nd picture standing on the edge of that rock looking down.

Salcombe

Liked the Salcombe and the Dartmouth areas, really nice, but becoming very exclusive. They say Salcombe is a ghost town now for large parts of the year, as a lot of homes are 2nd holiday homes and only occupied for small parts of the year.

Salcombe harbour View out through the heads at Salcombe

Salcombe harbour and then a view out through the heads when the weather had improved.

Harbour bouy with the words Fairway on it

Strange golf courses in Devon. Hell of a water hazard.

Dartmoor

Clapper Bridge

A Clapper bridge.

Widecombe in the Moor

Widecombe in the Moor, a beautiful little village.

Haytor Haytor

The Haytor area of the moor.

Hound Tor

Looking across the moors to Hound Tor, made famous in The Hound of the Baskerville.

A long weekend in Budapest made a welcome change at the end of October, a very interesting city. Had been to Vienna last year and these two used to be the main cities in the Austro-Hungarian empire. Again, a great city for walking, although the public transport was great and easy to use. It has a wealth of old architecture, but also a strange mix of old, new, communist era and old that is desperately in need of attention. Some of the old buildings were riddle with bullet holes.

A night view of the Parliament building Budapest

A night view of the Parliament building.

Buda

Buda is on the left bank of the Danube and is more the old royal side of what was once, 2 cities.

Fisherman's Bastion Matthias church

The famous Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias church during the day.

Matthias church at night Matthias church at night

Night shot of the Matthias church, and a night shot from the chain bridge of the church and Fisherman's Bastion.

Buda Castle

Buda Castle by night. For some reason I don't seem to have a day shot of it. It's a museum these days.

Chain Bridge at night

A night view from the Buda side, of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.

Castle Hill buildings

Unusual buildings on Castle Hill. I believe they are all rebuilt after being destroyed in various conflicts.

Old building on Castle Hill

Another old building from the Castle Hill district.

Gellert Citadel

Gellert hill with the citadel on the top and of course, the obligatory Russian statue, although the old soviet star has been removed. Some great autumn colour on the hill and in other photos further down.

View of the Danube

View from the citadel of the Danube, with the chain bridge in the foreground and the Parliament building beyond it on the right hand side. Yes that is pollution in the distance,too many cars.

Gellert Hotel

The Gellert hotel at the foot of the hill, has a spa in the hotel grounds.

Museum Museum

A museum building just down the river from the Gellert. Don't know what sort of museum it was.

Communist symbols

Relics of the Communist era.

Pest

Parliament building Parliament building

The spectacular Parliament building. Day and night views and this was right opposite my hotel on the other side of the Danube.

Parliament building Museum building

The back of the Parliament building and another museum building in the area.

Autumn colour Autumn colour

Autumn colour.

St Stephen's Basilica St Stephen's Basilica

St Stephen's Basilica.

Central Market Hall Central Market Hall

The Central Market Hall, a spectacular building with views outside and in. Well worth a visit. Sample the food area.

Dohany street synagogue memorial to the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs

The Dohany street synagogue and the memorial to the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs.

Andrassy Avenue. This is one of the major boulevards leading out of Pest to the north east, ending at Heroes Square. Its a bit like some of the major boulevards you get in Paris and has some spectacular buildings along its length. A long walk as it is about 2 Km's long.

It's very fashionable in parts with flash homes and shops. The Opera house is also on this boulevard as I think is List's house.

Andrassy Avenue House of Terror

Andrassy Avenue, including the House of Terror, a museum covering the Fascist and Communist control of Hungary.

Andrassy Avenue Andrassy Avenue

Two buildings next door to each other on Andrassy Avenue, one in great condition and the other in desperate need of some attention.

Heroes Square at the far end of Andrassy Avenue. The avenue was built in the 1870's to easy traffic problems and to provide better access to city park, which is just beyond Heroes Square.

Heroes Square

A panorama of the square, taken from 3 hand held shots. It shows the museums on either side of the square. I suspect you have guessed by now, there are museums everywhere in Budapest.

Heroes Square Heroes Square

Some of the Heroes, don't ask me who they are.

Museum Heroes Square

One of the museums on Heroes square, at night.

Just beyond Heroes square is the city park. You can find another major Spa here, with pools etc.. the Szechenyi Gyogyfurdo. You can also find the Vajdahunyad Vara, which is sort of a museum, but has famous castles and building from all around Hungary recreated.

I had forgotten that Hungary was carved up after the first world war and various parts went to other countries, because it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and backed the Germans. So I had no idea that Transylvania, Dracula country, had been part of Hungary.

Ice rink

This amazing looking build, believe it or not, is the entrance to the Ice rink on the edge of the city park.

Recreated castle Recreated stately home

Some of the buildings in Vajdahunyad Vara.

Szentendre

On the Sunday, I took a train trip out into the country side to the village of Szentendre on the banks of the Danube. Its a bit of an artists type colony, but picturesque and has apparently been there for over 1000 years.

Church Wooden home

The local church and one of the wooden homes with clogs hanging in the doorway.

Fancy tiled building

Came across this unusual building with a tiled front, but because of the buildings opposite, I could not get back far enough to take a picture, to do it justice.

Fancy iron work

There was a lot of fancy iron work on the buildings.

Fancy iron work Fancy iron work Fancy iron work

A lot of very strange iron signs hanging in front of buildings. I never found out what they meant.


Took a brief trip up to the Derbyshire Peak District in May, to explore and take some pictures.

In August, went to my first Notting HIll Carnival. Jostling crowds and the need to take pictures very quickly, meant that my pictures were not as good as I had hoped.

September saw me make a quick dash across to the Black Forest in Germany, as I had a week free before starting work again. About time some would say, having only worked 11 weeks in the last 3 years.

The end of November saw a long weekend enjoying the delights of Vienna and the Christmas markets. I loved this city and think it is the best one I have ever visited. Spectacular and especially at Christmas with the markets and the snow.


Went up to the Derbshire Peak district at the end of April, just prior to starting work, after 2.5 years unemployed. Stayed in a nice B & B near Matlock.


Stanage Edge

Below are some of the pictures I took while walking along Stanage Edge, which is 4 miles long and 460m high. I spent the best part of a day walking along the top of it, and back. It's in the east of the peak district, near Sheffield. The area, near Hathersage, is believed to be the setting for Jane Eyre and it has been used a lot in films and television. In fact, the BBC were filming a new version of Jane Eyre (I think) while I was there, with Dame Judy Dench and some other actors I did not know. They had big Winnibago's up on the moor, parked near where they were filming.

Edale valley

This last picture is not Stanage Edge. This was the Edale valley, not far from Casleton (my mothers maiden name) and mam tor.

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House

Owned by the dukes of Devenshire for god knows how long, cannot remember, the house and gardens are quit spectacualr and well worth a visit. Not the current duke, but his father (I think) was married to one of the famous Mitford sisters and there was an exhibition about her and the two familes.

The fountain is powered by gravity and is feed by lakes further up the hill side. It has been known to reach heights of 300 feet, but was only doing about 100 feet, the day I was there.


Chatsworth Chatsworth

The house and grounds.

Chatsworth

This stepped water fall in the gardens, reminded me of a similar one at Linderhof palace in germany, which was one of the homes of mad King Ludwig.

Chatsworth

Tulips at the base of the waterfall.

 

Went to my first Notting Hill Carnival and thoroughly enjoy it, but hard work on the feet.

A selection of pictures below and I have to say, some of the girls were very obliging when it came to posing for photos.

Carnival Carnival

Some of the costumes.

Carnival Carnival

Some of the children.

Carnival Carnival

Some of the beautiful young women and as I said, they were not shy about being photohgraphed

Carnival

Brazillian Drumming band school from Liverpool, and they were brilliant.

Carnival

A little busy down the side streets.

 

Having found a job in September, I found myself with a week free, so took a quick trip through France, down to the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) in Germany.

Decided to stop in Strasbourg for the night, on my way down. Turned out to be a very nice place, as cities go. Outskirts much the same as any modern city, but the centre was old fashioned and medieval, surrounded by water.

Strasbourg

The moat or waterway which surrounded the city centre, which is on the right of the picture.

Strasbourg

More of the waterway, in the Petite France quarter.

Strasbourg Strasbourg

A restaurant on the river and next to it, an even smaller restaurant, closer to the river. Wonder what happens went it floods.

Strasbourg

A night shot of some of the restaurants.

Strasbourg

One of the space age trams in the city. Looked like something straight out of Joe 90, for those of you old enough.

Strasbourg

The Palais du Rhin on the Place de la Republique, a former imperial palace.

Strasbourg Strasbourg

Very strange Cathedrals they have in this part of France and nearby Germany. They seem to have a sort of open latice work for the spire structure.

 

After Strasbourg, I moved over the border, into Germany and the Black Forest.

Spent the remainder of the week just touring around.

Gengenbach

The Rathaus (Town Hall) Gengenbach. In the winter they use the 24 windows (1st and 2nd floors and the 2 loft windows as a giant advent calendar.

Gengenbach

Just your typical Volksbank in Gengenbach. Banks in the UK look just like this!

Rottweil

Crammed in painted buildings in Rottweil.

Not sure where

Not sure where this was. Just another pretty valley with a town in it and in this case, a clock factory in the foreground. In fact, there is a route you can follow through the Black forest, which is famous for it's Cuckoo clocks "The Deutsche Uhrenstra├če", the German clock route.

The little hamlet of Schiltach.

There was a guy here taking pictures, with some very flash camera gear. He had a gas filled ballon, with a craddle slung underneath it and a camera mounted in the cradle. He allowed the ballon to rise into the air on a rope and took pictures from the camera via a remote control unit with a viewer. Impressive.

Schiltach

Schiltach.

Schiltach

More Schiltach.

Schiltach

Grape vine growing in Schiltach even though it is very cold and gets snow in the winter.

Schiltach

The tourist office in the town square or triangle as was the case.

 

Countryside

Typical alpine countryside near Todtnau.

Waterfall

Todtnauer Wasserfall. Some slow motion photography.

?

Although it was autumn, it was surprising how green these trees were, more spring like.

 

Took a brief trip to Vienna at the end of November. Being back at work for a couple of months was hard work after not working for 3 years. So I needed the break.

This has to be one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited, in terms of history, architecture, walking and of course Christmas markets, as I came at just the right time for those. A nice hot cup of Gluhwein and a Kasekrainer (bratwurst with cheese in it) are perfect for wandering around the markets in the snow. And I say markets, as there was one in every platz.

Some of the pictures are a bit blurred, as I used my small Casio instant camera, as opposed to my Canon and it was cold, so trying to keep your hands steady for night shots was not easy.

 

Christmas - Markets and decorations

Vienna Christmas market

Frohe Weihnachten - Merry Christmas. Some shots of the Christmas markets. decorations in the parks and on the hedges and nearby Christmas trees.

Vienna Christmas market

I know this photo is out of focus, was cold and snowing, but I liked the effect it created.

Some of the Christmas decorations in the streets.

The Rathaus (Town Hall) during the day and at night, with Christmas market out front. My hotel was just behind this.

Architecture

 

- Palaces

No internal photos of any of the palaces, as they don't allow it. Very annoying.

Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg Palace. This image is 3 photos stitched together, so it has lost some perspective.

Hofburg Palace

Another view of the Hofburg Palace.

Parliament Parliament

The Parliament building, during the day and at night.

Schonbrunn Schonbrunn

The Schonbrunn Palace.

Belvedere Belvedere

The Belvedere Palace.

 

- Others

Opera house

The Opera house. Apparently, the little tent on the top of the building is where the children perform their operas.

Church

Church of St Charles Borromeo.

Tube Stations Tube Stations

Tube station entrances, pretty fancy.

St Stephen's Cathedral

Other odds and sods shots I took while walking around.

Christmas shop

Pretty little Christmas shop tucked away in a quiet little courtyard.

Shopping court

A little shopping courtyard I turned in to in my exploring.

Odd photos

I think this was a hotel, with the small unobtrusive Underground entrance in the right hand corner.

Music

Musikverein

Musikverein - This is where the New Year's day concerts are staged. Like to go to one some time, but they tend to be booked out at least a year in advance and tickets range from 300 to 900 euros.

?

Spectacular building inside and out.

Mozart's home

Mozarthaus. Didn't make it to Beethoven's, as I ran out of time.

Statue of Strauss

Statue of Johann Strauss in the Stadtpark.

Riesenrad & Danube Tower

The Riesenrad in the Prater park to the east of the city, was made famous in the Orson Welles film "The Third Man", about Vienna just after the war. It's part of a large amusement park.

Amusement park

This was one of the rides in the amusement park. As you can see, it is pretty high and the chairs spin round and round and go up to the top and back down. You sit in an open chair with your legs dangling. Not for me and it was -2C that day, so bloody cold.

The Danube Tower with it's magnificent views, but not that day, too cold and misty. The top two floors are a restaurant and cafe, which revolve. They were booked out, so went to the observation deck just below. Bloody cold up there.

Danube Tower

Can you make out the bungee jumping platform, closed for the winter. they must be mad.