Something we miss about Europe is the feeling of turning a corner, and seeing something medieval.
Dom Toren, Utrecht, at night
Photo by CIA, Utrecht, the night before we left the Netherlands. What is it about where you are (or where you were, or where you want to be) that makes it special?
These window-shutters – spotted during the course of our meanderings in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, earlier this year – take the saying ‘home is where the heart is’ to a new level. In fact, they weren’t the only heart-shaped window decoration I spied in Switzerland during our first trip there together this past May.
Perhaps the Swiss figure that putting a little more love out into the world can only be a good thing?
Photo by CIA, Schaffhausen, Switzerland, May 2012.
A lot of people go to Luzern (or, Lucerne, for the Francophones) to see the famous wooden bridge (Kapellbrücke). And indeed, we saw the bridge…but Luzern has other things to offer the intrepid explorer. Not that much exploring is necessary. The directions were clear.
Luzern is an old city, strategically located, surrounded by its lake, and mountains. The city quickly developed an independent identity, and as with all medieval cities with an independent identity, it quickly established a need for walls. The canton of Luzern was one of the original members of the Eternal Swiss Confederacy, and its importance as a trade centre meant that it has long been an important regional hub, a role that continues today. Of course, such cities are often the focus of rivals, seeking greater influence, and it is Luzern’s city walls which we climbed to on this beautifully sunny Swiss day.
This heart-filled window caught my eye as we strolled along the gorgeous cobbled Schipfe pedestrian street in Zürich (local tips often get you to the nicest – hidden – places!). There’s not much more to say about this photo, other than that the sight of this window made me smile.
Photo by CIA, Zürich, Switzerland, May 2012.
A stroll around Luxembourg City by night is not to be missed – we learnt this on the way home from dinner one night as the photos below attest to. Not only are the buildings stunning in the way they are lit up, but the Petrusse Valley which cuts through the centre of the city makes for an incredibly dramatic night-time scene.
Photos by PJD and CIA, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, Easter 2012.
The tiny country of Luxembourg (look, it really is tiny!) was in celebration mode over the weekend with a royal wedding. It’s not a country that you see in the news very often, and it is probably not high up on any list of Europe “must-see” places (aside from if you are keen to do a micro-states-of-Europe tour, which we are, one day). However, it was where we found ourselves for Easter this year, as much a result of opportunity as of design. Luxembourg turned out to be an absolute treat, a place we were both so glad to have visited and which we have since been recommending excitedly to European friends as a fun weekend destination, and encouraging antipodean friends to consider adding to their itinerary if they ever find themselves in Europe. I’ve already written about Luxembourg’s wonderful MUDAM on a previous occasion (or two), but this week, spurred on by reading about Luxembourg in the newspaper over the weekend, we are dedicating a few posts to some of the other wonderful things about this little place. For today, here’s another of our favourite photos of the stunning and formidable city walls (which PJD wrote about earlier this week).
The landscape – manmade and natural – in Luxembourg really is quite astounding. So, I hope you continue to enjoy getting a little Luxembourgish with us this week…
Photo by CIA, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, Easter 2012.
Photo by PJD, Luxembourg, Easter, 2012. Evidently, the walls are now called the “Most Beautiful Balcony of Europe”. Some Balcony.
Before we headed back to the familar shores of Auckland and Wellington, CIA and I took the chance for a lightning visit to London to spend some time with friends who we may not see again for some time. We had both been to London before, but never together. This was a chance to explore the familiar parts of the city, Whitehall, the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, the Tate Modern and British Museum.
Better still, we took the chance to see some places in London neither of us had had time to see before. So we strolled on Hampstead Heath, and got a great view of London’s skyline. And before that, we went to a new gallery together. On the way, the tone was set by an encounter with the Gherkin.
The Whitechapel Gallery was opened in 1901, in an impressive building, designed by Charles Harrison Townsend. The Gallery size was doubled recently, an interesting discussion of which can be read here. We knew as soon as we saw the building we were in for a treat.
I am happy to be privileged enough to remember a moment like this one:
I went to Iceland.
Iceland is pretty nice.
In Iceland, I went on a road trip.
For road trips, it’s important to get the music right.
And we did.
Ásgeir Trausti’s new album is called Dýrð í dauðaþögn. It’s really good, and works well with the landscape, which from the car looked something like this: