Weekly Photo Challenge: Connected

connect |kəˈnekt

verb [ with obj. ] 

bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established


Literally connected:

Locks of love - Paris

Locks of love – Paris

Old and new virtually connected by my lens:

St Stephen's Cathedral and a newish neighbor - Vienna

St Stephen’s Cathedral and a newish neighbor – Vienna

Darkness and light connected here:

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The Spanish Riding School – Vienna

Connected by body language:

Jardin du Luxumbourg - Paris

Jardin du Luxumbourg – Paris

Connected by whimsy:

Cat and mouse - Passau, Germany

Cat and mouse – Passau, Germany


It is always interesting to see others’ take on the subject of the week.  Click here to find out why.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

Arc de Triomphe 2014Symmetry in black & white.

The French are masters of it.  Their uses of symmetry seem almost poetic.  At least to me.

Arc de Triomphe, Paris 2014 Dans L'Arc IIThe Arc de Triomphe is merely one example among many.  Strength and beauty in equal proportion.
Symmetry

Click here to see others’ take on the theme this week.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Container

This week’s challenge is to show a container: something that contains something else.  Since I am still going through my 4,000 images that I took in Europe this past spring, I thought immediately of the grand churches and cathedrals I visited.  If ever there was a magnificent container, this would be it.

Churches contain many things, both concrete and ephemeral; the centuries-old buildings that I entered are repositories of some of the world’s greatest art.  But the container itself – the edifices erected to “the glory of God” – are also some of the world’s greatest art, created by some of the world’s largest egos, no doubt.  In this post, I wanted to consider the inside of the container instead of the exterior.

As always, if you click on the image to see it full size, it is so much better.

Perhaps the simplest of the churches in this group, Paris' lovely Saint Sulpice.

Perhaps the simplest of the churches in this group, Paris’ lovely Saint Sulpice.

A side altar in a serene  church in Passau, Germany.

A side altar in a serene church in Passau, Germany.

The beautiful, soaring Gothic cathedral of St. Stephen's in Prague

The beautiful, soaring Gothic cathedral of St. Stephen’s in Prague

Stained glass window in St. Stephen's, Prague

Stained glass window in St. Stephen’s, Prague

A glorious ceiling in a Salzburg church

A glorious ceiling in a Salzburg church

Over-the-top decoration in the Loreto Church in Prague

Over-the-top decoration in the Loreto Church in Prague

The serene St. Stephen's in Vienna

The serene St. Stephen’s in Vienna

The incredibly ostentatious - dare I say it? - gaudy interior of the monks' church at Melk Abbey

The incredibly ostentatious – dare I say it? – gaudy interior of the monks’ church at Melk Abbey

A moment of peace inside St. Stephen's Cathedral in Budapest, on Easter Sunday

A moment of peace inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Budapest, on Easter Sunday

As an aside, did you notice how many St. Stephen’s churches I visited?  I think I saw one in every city.  I never did learn why St. Stephen was quite so important to the Europeans as compared to some of the other saints.  Do you know?

Please click here to see what others thoughts on this week’s challenge are.

 

 

The Grand Scale of Versailles

I hope you do not mind (and if I can figure out how to do it!) I would like to share a post I just wrote for my Garden Reverie blog about the massive scale of the gardens at Versailles.

So here goes.  Hope you will enjoy.  Please do let me know.

Be sure to CLICK on the photographs to see them full size – so much better!

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Perhaps you noticed that I have been quiet for the past month or so?  There’s a reason for it – or several reasons, actually.  Chief among them is that I traveled to Europe for the second half of April to do some photographing.  Since I have been back, it has been pedal-to-the-metal trying to get ready for The Country Living Magazine Fair in 2 weeks up in the Hudson River Valley.

I have not done a lick of gardening this spring (insert sad face here).  Not one pot has been planted , no veggies planted, none of the fountains cleaned out.  Mercifully, the garden still looks decent and it invites me to sit and listen to the birds and watch a zippy chipmunk for a brief moment when I can.

One of the places I visited was Versailles.  We hopped on a train from Paris for the quick ride there.  I was an art history major in college and I remember studying Versailles back in the day.  But nothing could have possibly prepared me for the mind-blowing scale of it when I finally got to see it in reality.  Holy cow.

The place was mobbed – it looked to be about a 3-hour wait to get into the Palace itself, so we took good old Rick Steve’s advice and headed down towards the “little” palaces at the far end of the property.  The plan was to work our back up through the gardens and finally end up at the Palace by late afternoon, at which time we hoped to get in.

It takes about 10 minutes or so to get to the Palace from the train station.  From the Palace, it is about a 40 MINUTE WALK (and I do not mean a stroll) to the Grand Trianon Palace.  Seriously.  The entire walk down is beautiful, precision straight allees of perfectly clipped trees (hornbeams, if I am not mistaken).  Miles and miles of them.  The upkeep beggars belief.  Old Louis must have had hundreds of gardeners working full tilt to keep this place maintained; I can only imagine the gardening hierarchy that must have been in play.

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I don’t have enough time to really tell you everything but I do want to show you just a few pictures so you can see how humongous this place is.  I enjoyed it (though, honestly, it is exhausting) but, in the end, I’ll take my cozy little flower garden with its nooks and crannies any day.  Louis had upwards of 20,000 people (!)living at Versailles at any given moment.  I would have gone insane.  No wonder he finally had the little palaces built so he could have some privacy.  But even his idea of privacy makes my skin crawl a little.

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So this is a small garden that is set between the Grand Trianon Palace and the Petit Trianon.  It is really lovely and quite peaceful.  My favorite spot on the grounds. DSC_0672 - Version 2

As you can see, the spring bulbs were in their final full glory.  I loved the Crown Imperials.  How fitting.

Once we left the Petit Trianon, we set off for the loooong walk towards the bottom of the gardens.  Again, miles of clipped allees with straight, perfectly sited vistas.  Really it is a marvel of linear design.

Going this way meant that eventually, I popped out from the side at the foot of the Grand Canal.  My jaw literally dropped.  I was expecting a cute little canal.  What I saw was this:

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This view is looking back (away from the Palace) towards the end of the Canal.  Just spectacular.   You can hire a charming little wooden dinghy and row around if you like.  People were picnicking.  It was delightful.  The swans were swimming with their babies.

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This is looking toward the Palace from the same spot.  Guess how long it takes to walk up there?

Right. A long time.

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And here is the view back towards the Canal from near the Palace.  Unbelievable.

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A knot garden off to one side of the Palace.DSC_0793 - Version 2

You can head down paths through hedges for individual little gardens set off from the main allee. This is about as intimate as you can get in the gardens at Versailles.

I have tons more pictures and I wish I had time to show you more but I have played hooky long enough this morning.

Have you been to Versailles?  What did you think?

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I’m Back. Did You Miss Me?

I’ve been giving you the silent treatment for a few weeks, haven’t I?  I hope you are not offended.

Picking out beautifully packaged Faberge Easter eggs in Saltzburg.  Filled with Austiran chocolates.

This is me picking out beautifully packaged Faberge Easter eggs filled with Austrian chocolate in Salzburg.

See, actually, I have been away.  As in out of the country for a big trip to Europe.  I went over to photograph lots of things.  I had my best friend for company, which was really great, and we tore through 6 countries in 2 weeks.  Phew.  I am happy to report that she is still speaking to me.

I just got back so I am trying to readjust.  I took about 4,000 pictures.  You can imagine what I will be doing for the next few months.DSC_0510 - Version 2

But I also will be making the workshop buzz with all sorts of new vintage Christmas goodies.  I am getting ready to get back into production to gear up for the big Country Living Magazine Fair in Rhinebeck, New York next month.405

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If you have not already bought your tickets, you’d better get on it.  Last year the line to get in on Saturday stretched a loooong way out the gate of the Duchess County Fairgrounds.  If you already have a ticket you get to swan on in.

Here‘s where you can go to get your tickets and find out everything you need to know.  Don’t miss it – the Country Living Fairs are fab-u-lous.

Hope to see you there!

I’ll be back soon with some more news.  Promise.