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Europe, Part Two

Note: My usual intent with this blog is to create posts that attend to matters of photography, in a way that I hope will be intelligible to those who don’t consider themselves “serious” photographers (meaning those of us who take our photography far too seriously!). This post breaks with that - it is simply some photos from a recent trip I took with my wife, sister, and sister’s partner. Here are some color images, some taken by me with my point-and-shoot camera, some by me with my wife Vivian’s I-phone, and some taken by Vivian with her phone. I have attributed Vivian’s photos to her, all others were made by me.

Vivian and I flew into Munich, and arrived at our downtown hotel pretty much after dark. Our first view of the city was this, from our hotel room, the next morning:

We went wandering after breakfast, and shortly came upon the scene below, which seemed quite exotic to the two residents of Klamath Falls, Oregon. By the end of the trip we'd become pretty jaded toward large churches and cathedrals!

After one day in Munich we took a train to Passau, where our first bicycle trip was to begin. We had an extra day and a half to explore the city, and found it charming and relaxed, relative to the madness of Munich.

photo: Vivian

St. Stephen's Cathedral (St. Stephen, with a rose, in and out of the garden he goes...)

St. Stephen's door ornamentation

Passau sits at the confluence of three rivers, the Danube, and two of its tributaries, the Inn and the Ilz. The first panorama below is a bridge across the Inn, the second looks across the Danube from old town Passau. The structures seen are part of the Veste Oberhaus, a 13th-century hilltop fortress. The view is distorted by the panorama, of course - the hilltop buildings are much larger than those just above river level. One very remarkable thing we found were high water marks from various floods indicated on the side of a building. In 2013 the river rose to about 40 feet above the current level! I believe it put the bridge in the first photo completely underwater, or close to it!

We departed Passau on our rental bikes, heading downstream. Our first several days were through a fairly vegetated "gorge," riding along wonderful bike paths. We stayed at small family owned "gasthofs," hotels with their own restaurants and bars. We then left the gorge, and encountered the fairly large city of Linz, Austria. Its old town was fairly compact and unintimidating - I enjoyed our stay there. Our lodging was a high rise hotel - here is the view from the 10th floor where our room was, looking north across the Danube:

The next day we went to Enns, where we stayed right on the town square. My sister Amy was often the point person in getting keys to our rooms, and she usually just randomly gave us one of the two keys. After a while it became sort of a joke that we ended up with the better room - in Enns, her and Karl's room overlooked the roofs surrounding the small hotel courtyard, while ours overlooked the town square and its signature tower:

What about the biking? Well, it was generally quite pleasant. The first picture below shows a type of spiral ramp that is encountered when ascending to a bicycle/pedestrian over pass. The second is a bridge in Linz - the foreground two lanes are dedicated for walkers and bikers. The third photo shows me riding through some of the extensive pastoral countryside we encountered.

photo: Vivian

photo: Vivian

Here are a few random images from the rest of the ride on the way to Vienna:

Halfway around the world and still can't escape Texas!

The famous Melk Abbey - a bit too touristy for my tastes... photo: Vivian

A private castle at the side of the Danube photo: Vivian

A distorted panorama on one of the many small ferries that cross the Danube

A small cemetery set in the countryside

We reached Vienna on our 8th day of riding, and spent one extra day there. Like Munich, it was a bit overwhelming - here are several photographs from its famous (you guessed it!) St. Stephen's Cathedral, and one of some small statues on a wall at the Belvedere, a complex of palaces.

Classic "person with pole growing out of head" shot!

Some more modern Viennese buildings

From Vienna, we took a train and a bus to Konstanz, a town in Germany where the Rhein river leaves Lake Constance. We got our rental bikes, and promptly arrived at a school that was just letting out for the day. Kids were scattering in all directions on bikes! We toured around the old city a bit.

The bike rental shop in Konstanz photo: Vivian

Kids leaving school photo: Vivian

NOT St. Stephen's - the Münster Unserer Lieben Frau

Interesting carving on a railing in a small museum

Many Europeans ride bikes, but a lot of them smoke, too!

We left Konstanz, beginning our ride around the Lake. Here are some photos from that ride, which took four days. It rained our second day, the only rainy day of the trip (it rained one afternoon on the Danube, after we reached our destination), and was cloudy the third. All other days in Europe were sunny!

Strange statues at a fountain in Uberlingen

Beautiful garden in a small park on the shore of the lake

Where is Vivian's pannier? On my (e-)bike!

In the foreground you can see a number of the very large swans that are common

Another bridge, showing again the large lane for bikes and walkers

As we re-entered Konstanz, having ridden around the lake, we came upon this amusing statue that was outside a factory that did something automotive. Given our experience, riding with all of the locals and European tourists for fourteen days, I felt it should have culminated with a person on a bicycle!

And so ended a wonderful trip -three days later we arrived back in Klamath Falls!

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