Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Missing Europe

 Castle Heidelberg Germany

We arrived home from Germany and France late last night.  Today I am dragging anchor a little bit, but not too much.



 View of Castle on the hill from the town of Heidelberg

To say we had a good time would be a gross understatement.  When we boarded the plane yesterday in Frankfurt, we were both excited to see our son and our puppies, but sad to leave all that Europe has to offer.



 Statue in the old part of Heidelberg

We got to see so many beautiful places, immerse ourselves in the cultures of two beautiful countries, and we even met some wonderful people along the way...and isn't that what vacation is all about?!


 View from the castle looking down on old town Heidelberg

While Mr. Tide worked in Heidelberg for the first few days, I wandered the town, taking pictures and drinking in its beauty, which was everywhere you looked.



 Cafe in Heidelberg, Germany

I stopped in cafes along side streets and sipped mineral water and nibbled on croissants as I watched the world go by.



Bridge in Heidelberg 

By night, the city took on an almost fairytale like quality, and I kept my tripod and camera with me at all times so that I could capture the magic of it all.



 Flower Market in Strasbourg, France

After our time in Heidelberg, it was time to take the train somewhere, anywhere...and just a day before we would leave Germany we agreed to go to Strasbourg, France...it was a very good decision!



 Flower stall Strasbourg France

The city of Strasbourg is a lovely mix of German and French cultures, and because flowers are such a part of the French lifestyle, the flower stalls on Saturday were a feast for the eyes.  I think I took 30 pictures alone of this one stall!



  L'ill Canal which runs through Strasbourg

Strasbourg is another story book city, and in the evening, when the sun is low, it is truly breathtaking. 



 Beautiful Doorway in Strasbourg

You can lose yourself here, and feel as though you've been transported back in time.  Can't you just imagine the people who have come and gone through this doorway for hundreds of years?  I took a whole series of door pictures while in France...so many amazing details!



 Ceiling above the altar in Strasbourg's Notre-Dame Cathedral

And speaking of amazing details...the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Strasbourg is almost beyond comprehension!  I spent over 2 hours photographing it...both inside and out, on one of the days we were there!  I think it is one of the most beautiful and painstakingly intricate structures I've ever visited!


 Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle France

On our last afternoon in Strasbourg, we headed south to the fabled wine route in Alsace and stopped at the Castle of Haut Koenigsbourg.  I will likely do a whole post on this amazing castle, but above is a glimpse at some of the intricately carved furnishings which grace nearly every room.




 Riquewihr France

After our tour of the castle, we headed to one of the small towns along the wine route called Riquewihr.  It was as if it had sprung right from the pages of Beauty and The Beast!



 Flower box (with texture applied) Riquewihr France

Riquewihr is a charming village with narrow hilly streets and half timbered houses dotted with overflowing flower boxes.




 Wine cellar in Riquewihr France

We were lucky enough to sample 3 different wines in a family owned cellar which dates back to the 16th Century.  The wines were all delicious, and they are only sold in France, as it is a small winery...I wish we had had room in our luggage to bring back a few bottles.



 Fountain Riquewihr

Everywhere you looked there were beautiful flowers and bubbling fountains.  I hope we can spend more time on our next trip to France just visiting these charming villages along the wine route in Alsace.


Tower Frankfurt Germany

After leaving France, it was off to Frankfurt to catch our flight home.  Frankfurt is an interesting city with a mix of old and new.  Historic buildings stand next to towering modern structures such as the space needle styled building pictured above.



Old Opera House Frankfurt Germany

The old opera house in Frankfurt is lovely, especially at night.  We dined nearby and waited for the sun to go down so that I could get some good shots after dark.




Cathedral Notre Dame Strasbourg France

One of the most interesting and beautiful things we saw while on our trip happened purely by accident.  I was taking pictures in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasbourg when a gentlemen approached us and asked us in French if we knew about the green light.  I studied french years ago in high school, and let's just say that my speaking skills are rather lacking, but I am able to understand at least some of what is said to me.  

The man went on to explain that each year during the equinox, the sun is at a perfect position to cast a green glow onto the Christ figure on a podium at the side of the church.  The green color is caused by the stained glass panel which is perfectly aligned to do this just twice a year, and we happened to be there on that very day.  He told Mr. Tide and me where to sit in order to get the best view of this special event.  Apparently it's quite a big deal as there was a video camera crew and a speaker who explained the events which were about to unfold.  There was a speech, and the organ also played several songs...very impressive as it's a huge pipe organ that reverberates around the entire cathedral.

I set up the tripod and waited, and at noon time the green light began to filter into the church and it began on one side of the podium and slowly traveled until it rested on the carving of the crucifix.  Then after a few moments, it continued down the podium and onto the floor.  It was a very moving thing to see, and I'm so thankful the man took the time to tell us, or we likely would have left, never knowing what we would have missed.  This same man went on to take us around the cathedral giving us a sort of private tour full of interesting details about the cathedral and its meaning.  I love these chance encounters which seem to happen to me each time I travel, they are so very special and will remain with me forever.

I took literally hundreds of pictures during our trip, and I will be spending the next several days trying to process them and choosing the best ones to send to the gallery and to share with all of you.

I hope each of you had a wonderful week while we were gone and that your week is going well so far.  

Tonight I will be dreaming of France and Germany, and missing those two beautiful countries.  I feel so very fortunate to live where I do, but also to be able to travel to other parts of the world and enjoy all that they have to offer.  

I believe that it is through travel that we truly find ourselves.

22 comments:

  1. Kat, beautiful pictures and glad you had a good trip.

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  2. I loved this little tour of yours and appreciate you sharing your beautiful photos. I have never been to this region although that is where some of my ancestors originated. We are off on our own trip later this week ... to Italy...another beautiful country in Europe! Take care, Laura :)

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  3. What amazing pictures you took! You are one great photographer. They all look like postcards! I have never traveled to France or Germany. I've been to London and Toronto. That's it as far as international travel for me. I always feel like I'm in culture shock when I go because things are so different from home. It's such a great experience though to be able to do that. Thanks for sharing these glorious pictures.

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  4. Such beautiful pictures! Sounds like it was a wonderful time. I haven't been to Europe since high school, but I miss it all the same. Thanks for sharing your amazing photography.

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  5. Kat...your pictures are stunning. What a great opportunity for you to use your skills. But more importantly, you had a fantastic time. I can't wait to see and hear more!

    XO,
    Jane

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  6. The green light above Christ is absolutely awesome. What a treasure to have captured it Kat, along with all of your many gorgeous images. Welcome back and sweet dreams my friend. xo ~Lili

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  7. Kat... I was hanging on every word and every beautiful image! What a spectacular trip! You are so blessed to have seen this very unique green light on the crucifix! I would have been a puddle of tears!!!! Thanks for sharing your trip and for me, for sharing the story and the light in the cathedral!
    I know you are a little sorry about returning, but we are happy you are back with us! You were missed!
    Yvonne

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  8. Wow, wow & WOW!!! What a fabulous trip! Your images are stunning and I cannot wait to see more.

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  9. Thank you for taking us on tour with you Kat! You sound revived~

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  10. Kat...I didn't know you have visited Europe!!! Frankfurt is only 3,5 hours by car from here! I think there are so many wonderful places in the world, also in Europe. You made wonderful pictures during your trip!

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  11. Welcome back! I am so glad that you had the most amazing time!! These photos are GORGEOUS! The places that you went and the things that you saw are just beautiful, thank you for sharing them with us. I hope you are resting up and adjusting to regular time. I can't wait to see and hear more.
    Hugs!
    xo

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  12. I'd love to tour Europe, especially France -and my homeland Switzerland!

    On a different note -You must love starfish, right? Check out my giveaway. If you love it, you perhaps share? Click here.

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  13. Kat, I have almost that same photo of the square in Heidelburg!! We loved it there. I just love all those little town and how you can sit outside and enjoy coffee, tea or a lovely pastry!

    Your photos are just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Welcome home!!

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  14. Gorgeous photos - I especially love the ones taken at dusk. Amazing story about the green light hitting the crucifix - lucky you to be there just then.

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  15. That was lovely! You were in our old 'stomping grounds' as we lived about 15 minutes from Strasbourg, across the river. Strasbourg was where I shopped, and Riquewihr is where we spent many a fall Sunday afternoon, eating Tarte Flambe and drinking new wine.

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  16. What a beautiful trip, a dream trip!

    I have missed visiting you, I am only just now feeling like making the blog rounds.

    I do love you, hope you know that!
    XO,
    Anne

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  17. Your photos are so stunning. We're traveling to Europe this fall, and these just whet our appetite for all the beautiful sights and sounds!
    Glad you had such a great time.
    xo E + J

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  18. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Nice photos.

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  19. You have a beautiful eye for photography... I love the photos you shared!
    You should be doing something with them... Postcards or framed prints!

    Thanks for sharing your trip.
    xo,
    Gail
    casualloveselegance

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  20. Sounds like you had an awesome time...beautiful pics Kat!!!

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  21. I am not going to lie - I am jealous! What amazing places and I agree with Gail, you should really do something with them!

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  22. Kat, these are amazing photographs! Thanks for sharing! :)

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