2019 started at midnight with some traditional fireworks by the locals (aka read Birk) and was followed by well-wishes, some more bubble, and a good night of deep sleep. All ready for a beautiful sunny day. (readers discretion adviced, this was supposed to be a short Happy New year post and turned out into a much longer soapie post, proceed with caution)
We got ourselves into a little historical trip down the Swedish history lane with some photography, spa and fine dining. You know the kind of weekend excursions one tend to take to disconnect from the stressful day to day life. Getting some time off. Enjoy some headspace. You know what I am talking about. Even if it is the middle of the week, and they call it “mid-week mys“
Vadstena, a stone cast away from Stockholm (some 25 Swedish miles). The city of Vadstena is known for Birgitta Birgersdotter, who in 1350 founded the hotel monastery of Vadstena and is today one of the six patron saints of Europe. Not an easy task. Being the patron saint of Europe.
Today the convent of Birgitta is turned into a hotel and part of the historic hotels of Europe. A chain we bumped into earlier this year in Gotland, when we stayed in Hotel Slottsbacken. Hmm. I just noted I did not share that story yet.
In order to support W. new and upcoming travel blog in the making about the exclusive spas around the world, we did had to visit the annex spa of the convent hotel. A most wonderful experience and warmly recommended by yours truly if you happen to be in Vadstena and like some headspace and a little swim. I would not call a 65 degrees sauna, a Finnish Sauna (that is what the door stated), but those are details. The steam sauna was my absolute favorite, not to mention the cold bucket shower (8 degrees). An idea I will happily steal for the summer. In the winter we have the Baltic here to dip in.
Some long exposure IPA
After our relaxing spa experience, we took a stroll through the small city of Vadstena (5K inhabitants) and enjoyed some long exposure shooting and a ship full of IPA in the Kitchen just around the Corner, before we went back for a two dinner meal in the convent own restaurant. All inclusive in our package. A happy relaxing ending to a wonderful day in Vadstena.
Our dinner invitation stated to present ourselves at 20.15 and at 20:16 we were well seated and got introduced to the assorting wine package by a wonderful young blond swede we soon started to call Mac.
20:18 – The wine was served. 20:21 – We got our delicious hummer soup. Six minutes after we seated. I wondered if they would consider a refill of our (tiny) soup plate, but at 20:27 we got confirmation that there was no refill and the plates were cleaned. No more lobster for the wicked. 20:29 – Mac presented the red wine. Both me and W. looked at eachother, as we still had half a glass of the (again) delicious lone wolf white wine. 20:32:31 – I asked Mac if we were in the local Mac Donalds and she looked at us and said, ahh, you want to talk to each other for a while. OK. I will come back. 20:43 – Both our white wine glasses are finished and we wonder if Mac will be a sport, and yes, she is … 20:44 – Mac returns and asks if we are good to continue. 20:44:30 – Red wine served. 20:45 – The main course is served, and the food is delicious.
I lost track of time, but somewhere around 20:63 we asked Mac for an extra refill of our red wine. The look on her face was gorgeous. Yet she acted professionally and she recovered swift. After all, 30 EUR for two glasses of wine felt like a stretch. Especially when all the other tables were getting a refill. With the same wine.
21:12 – The deer has been eaten, and yes, it was delicious. Slow cooked and stirred to perfection. Thank you.
21:14 – Mac arrives and asks if all was good. 21:14:30 – Mac asks if we want to pay. Uhh. Wait. Really?
21:15 – What about some dessert, we ask? Mac tells us that we took a no dessert menu, and they are all accounted for, so not possible. We ask her if she is really sure, and she says yes. But she will check with the chef.
21:17 – Mac returns and dessert is available.
21:19 – Dessert is served and indeed very nice. We eat slow and enjoy. Very slow. Will Mac see the opportunity for coffee and avec? The tables around us start to get them served. There is an upsell opportunity here …
21:27 – Dessert finished. Mac arrives and asks if she can now give us the check. The bill. The Konto.
I give up. We could have had tea. Or coffee. Or a nice cognac or a 10 years old single malt Glenmorangie. Nope. I paid.
No tip, Mac. Maybe next time. When you create the headspace for your guests. And take it slow. It is not because it is called the “fast meny” you need to rush your guests.
Pisa (/ˈpiːzə/; Italian pronunciation: [ˈpiːsa; ˈpiːza]) is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, straddling the Arno (the river, not the Belgian artist, a homograph) just before it empties into the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its leaning tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral), the city of over 91,104 residents contains more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces and various pizzeria’s.
The city of Pisa did not lent its name to this protected traditional dish of Italy. That is a completly different story altogether. The history of pizza (the food not the city) begins in antiquity, when various ancient cultures produced flatbreads with toppings.
The precursor of pizza was probably the focaccia, a flat bread known to the Romans as panis focacius, to which toppings were then added. Modern pizza developed in Naples, when tomato was added to the focaccia in the late 18th century however the word pizza was first documented in AD 997 in Gaetana.
So, while Pizza and Pisa may after all not be connected, for me they are homonyms that date back to my childhood, when pizza for sure came from that Italian city Pisa with its odd tower. A childhood short of Wikipedia to provide the answer at your fingertips.
On a completly different side note, I just discovered the Wikipedia app for iOS and love the map feature that is included. If you like me have not discovered the app and just used the search in your iPhone, give it a try. A new toolkit in my bag of location aware devices and apps, but that is a post for later.
PS. Posting from the road and learning the tricks of the trade of only having an iPad. Not 100% happy with my image but posted nevertheless. Better one published, then ten stuck in draft.
The Cinque Terre (Italian pronunciation: [ˈtʃiŋkwe ˈtɛrre]; Ligurian: Çinque Tære, meaning “Five Lands”) is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a clear No Fly zone.
Exactly. No fly. No drones.
You find photographers in all sizes and flavours. From the pure purists who will only shoot with a Leica and a prime over the brand fashionistas (Sony is a hot brand these days) to the extremes of rugged allround photographers who use their gear, and the geeks who actually talk shop, but may be less in taking pictures (how sharp can a lens be) or printing them for the fear of chromatic abberation (also known as purple rain). You find us in all kind of flavours. From strawberry to caffe latte and I am kind of in the middle. I like my gear, I am a loyal brand fashionista (more because I cannot change my glass that often, and I do hope Nikon will bring out a new mirrorless body in the full frame range in a few years, that let me reuse my glass I invested in over the years), and I believe in the mantra that the best camera around is the one at your fingertips. So as most of you know I travel with my good old Nikon D600, my ever evolving iPhone and my beloved Falcon II (actually it is a DJI Phantom IV, but gadgets need a name).
And here I was. In the middle of the five lands, screaming to get the drone out for the perfect shot, when traffic control decided otherwise.
Time to get the hiking boots out and walk to the end of the jetty to get that almost perfect sunset shot.
And it was crowded there on the Jetty.
So crowded I ended up with getting photobombed by the crew trying to get the attention of Woody while rescuing lens caps of total strangers and hang out with this and other photographers on the Jetty.
Fun it was.
PS. The other members of the Crew where enjoying a local white wine at the top of the hill under The umbrella at the right while looking down on our climbing efforts to get that “perfect” shot.
The first stop on our little summer road trip this year is a little romantic city just outside Walldorf.
A most beautiful university city I want to revisit next time I may have to travel to the center of the SAP universe in Walldorf. A most symbolic overnight stop (many more to come these two weeks) in an idyllic city as I have to refind my workflow. This is my first ever longer roadtrip I travel without a full fledge laptop. A roadtrip I will try to optimize my digital workflow from viewfinder to blogpost by using my iPad as my main digital workstation while on the road.
The last few years my workflow has become to top heavy, and the fun of getting a quick post out had disappeared. This year I will try to change that flow, and what better city to start this in as Heidelberg.
I am just returning from a visit to Granada (15˚ C) and here I am already packing again to hit the road to Brussels. It was a short and sweet stop over at this little beautiful place called home. A little bit chilly with minus 4˚ in the sun, but nevertheless stunningly beautiful. Pale blue skies, white snow covering the lands, warm sunlight and ice turning the water into mysterious arctic blue patterns across the archipelago.
I did not had much time to get out and shoot plastic or new places, but I could not resist to take the hot air balloon for a little spin into memory lane.
Photo 3 in my ongoing little promise is posted. A post in the Places category. A special place called home.
Last week I made a promise. A promise to post one new image here every week. An image in one of my four creative Peas of Photography:
Plastic, People, Places and Projects.
The whole week I have been thinking which P to take. Bring on the pressure with a portrait image in the People category, or be save with another great shot of Woody in the Hot Tub (which falls fully in the Plastic category).
Crossroads or crossroad or cross road may refer to quite a few creative works in literature, film and music. It may even refer to a long list of places around the world and beyond or it could just simply be an intersection. An intersection is the junctionat-grade (special thanks to wikipedia) of two or more roads either meeting or crossing. An intersection may be a threesome (also called a T or Y junction), a foursome (often in the form of said crossroads), or have five or more arms and easily turn into a merry go round or roundabout.
Crossroads can easily be a found in the middle of the Alentejo.
It has been almost a year since I updated the blog and this seems to be a recurring theme looking at this old post from 2012, where I also discovered it was a year ago.
I am for sure not a great poster of words.
Here is a little note to myself. Let’s try to feature at least one image here every month moving forward and see this post as a crossroad to sharing more work with you straight from my personal portfolio …
Seattle (/siˈætəl/see-at-əl) is a coastal seaport city on the wbest coast of the U.S. in the state of Washington. With an estimated 652,405 residents as of 2013, downtown Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the fastest-growing major city in the United States (did we mention the Seattle metropolitan area has approximate 3.6 million inhabitants including some of the world most famous geeks and AFOLs alike).
The city is situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, about 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the 8th largest port in the United States and 9th largest in North America in terms of container handling and the very first city to hold the very first fine art LEGO photography exhibition in the Bryan Ohno Gallery.
A city with a Space Needle, a Ferris Wheel and new Friends.
A month has gone by since we were in Seattle for the grand opening of the In LEGO, We Connect exhibition (the very first one) and only now could we take a break, pause the rollercoaster and share some cityscapes for you to enjoy this fine Sunday together with the chocolate*.
Happy Easter !
(*) Easter Egg Chocolate can seriously damage your health. Only use in sufficient qualities and indulge in the cacao.