A small collection of some of my favorite images from my 28-day trip to Europe. Things I did, subjects that held my fascination, colors that attracted attention and places that helped create memories. I will try to explain with each image, why I like it and why the subject was interesting so that you can feel a little of what I felt. But sometimes, words just come in the way.
For factual documentation, the above was shot in Canada, not Europe but the image and what it evoked when I saw the place, are a good starting point for this blog/photo post. The colors, the moisture in the atmosphere, the fresh air and so few people. I stood there for many minutes just looking at this green patch in someone’s backyard on a side street in Mississauga.
This is Lake Thun. One of the lakes that meet at Interlaken, Switzerland and the coldest body of water I have swum in, yet. Didn’t swim much but lasted longer than the rest of the entourage – long enough to spend some time in the middle of nowhere with my toes scraping the sandy, rocky bottom – exploring my fear of “something will take a bite out of me”. I would like to swim in a frozen body of water – where a hole has been cut into the layer of ice on top. Preferably somewhere in Russia.
I don’t know what this little tart berry is called. But I love it. I ate handfuls every chance I got. The color and flavor were just perfect. Even now, I can feel my mouth flooding with juices. I love sour fruits. Tamarind being my local favorite in India.
This very enterprising bird is the Alpine Chough. Enterprising because they have made tourists their food source. There were birds sitting in queues on the glass wall and tourists throwing crumbs in the air, watching the birds dive to catch. This also has a downside – if tourists stop visiting, the birds, over generations, will have forgotten how to forage for themselves. I also used to have a couple of pet Mynahs and this one posed for the camera like my twins used to. In this image, the lens is probably 5 inches in front of the bird.
This was shot when I went to visit the Eiffel tower for the second time on the same date. By the time I got out from the tower at closing time : 0100hrs, it had started to pour and bus timings were unknown, cabs were few and understandably looking for the maximum fare. I stood at the head of the line, yet people behind me hailed cabs, got into them and sped away. I was soaked, with my camera safely tucked inside a plastic bag. A cab came up to the head of the line and the driver beckoned – even as I walked to him, others behind me ran to him. He told everyone he had come only for me. He didn’t even know what my destination was and once I was seated, he apologized for the behavior of “these Paris cab drivers” and asked me where I wanted to go. Paris, I am coming again soon.
The Louvre is frequented mostly by tourists who want to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. I was one of those tourists till I actually saw the painting and them had three hours to kill till my next pre-scheduled tour started. That is when I walked into the apartments of Napoleon Bonaparte III and couldn’t stop making pictures, all the while with my jaw hanging open. They were beautiful. And proof that treasures can be found in the Louvre – random walks serve better.
Forget the Mona Lisa and spend time staring at Leonardo Da Vinci’s other paintings – of men. Gorgeous portraits. The colors and shadows evoke a sense of depth.
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland and a sunset witnessed only because we got on to the wrong boat and the ride ended up being two hours longer than we had planned for. Mesmerizing. A larger panorama below – just take your mouse pointer over it and move your mouse from left to right and back, without clicking anywhere.
Lucerne, Switzerland. Swans populate the water surrounding the Water Tower. The Water Tower was earlier used as a prison and torture chamber. The presence of the beautiful swans in the shadow of the tower, was something that made me stop a while longer.
I love Lambrusco. It is the only red sparkling sweet wine and while most wine experts don’t even consider Lambrusco to be a wine, I don’t enjoy anything else more. I spent my days in Europe enjoying the sun and drinking as much wine as I could manage.
Of course, when you have “boy wonder” as a travel companion, then no obstacle is insurmountable and no train journey long enough. We exchanged roles intermittently. After all, boy wonder needs a break from being awesome sometimes 😀
Duomo di Milano, Milan. We set out to explore high fashion store fronts – I was cursing carrying the camera. But when we hit the streets, it being a Sunday, everything was closed. And as evening set it, we suddenly found ourselves in this square. The sun had just disappeared behind the buildings yet still glinted off the golden Madonna atop the cathedral. Thankfully, I had my camera with me.
Europe had a LOT of beautiful ceilings. Glass and metal, shopping district, Milan. Panorama below.
Above is the ceiling of a hallway in the Vatican. Actually just half of it because I couldn’t command my neck to look up anymore after I’d shot this half. When you look up, you don’t see the tourists – there were thousands of tourists vying for a way past me, tens of tour operators telling them about this and that and I could stand there, staring up, for hours. Without the 3kg camera in my arms trained on one eye of course. The art style : Trompe L’Oeil. The boys were confounded when they were told these were flat paintings and not sculptures.
It was every bit a colossal monument I had expected and more. The Colosseum was mobbed by tourists and yet managed to steal the show. The history was fascinating, even though I already knew most of it. Walking past niches where Emperors of yore sat and walkways from where gladiators had passed. Piazza Del Colosseo. I hope I will see you again Europe! Soon!