Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travel to Alpine Countries (Part 2)

This is the 2nd part of my travel to Alpine Countries for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travels.

Continue from my previous post…

While we were in Vienna, we took a short trip to Bratislava.


(Bratislava Castle)

Wait a second; I knew this place. We were here in 2017 during our Danube river cruise trip. Do I have to see it again?

Revisiting was a good thing, it turned out — we took better photos this time.

Every restaurant should have a board like this!

“I want that ice cream,” I said to Wei.


Piber was next. We visited Lipizzaner Stallion Stud Farm.

“Meditating?” I asked the lady who worked there.

Am I the only one who didn’t know this is how horses sleep?

St. Viet

Before arriving at Hotel St. Viet, our tour guide told us it has a very unique look. He wasn’t kidding.

(Hotel St. Viet)

We arrived around 3 O’clock. I asked Wei if he would like to walk around before dinner. He said, “NO!” He sounded angry, as if I was the reason he hadn’t seen any mountain.

“FINE!” I said; I grabbed my camera and stormed out.

The moment I stepped outside of the hotel, I felt calm, peaceful and very happy (I don’t know how to describe the feeling – it was deeper than happy; it was quite comforting and satisfying.) I was ALONE! It’s only me and the universe! No tour guide, no other tourist, Wei was not by my side…

That’s when I realized how much I had missed my personal space. Wei missed his too, I was certain. You see, at home we each have our own room. Wait… we each have our own floor! Wei spends most of his time downstairs in his office or watching TV; I spend most of mine upstairs in front of my PC. And now we had 20+ others chatting, laughing around us for 6, 7, hours during the day, and at night, he and I had to share a small room.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meeting people. I am just saying how much that alone-time was welcomed and treasured, and probably needed. Sure enough, after having some alone-time, we were both in a much better mood and, apparently, had more energy.

I walked to the old town near our hotel, remembering the first time when I heard “old town”, I had a picture in my head of how “old town” was supposed to look, and was surprised at that the old-town didn’t look old enough. I knew better now.

It was Sunday; most stores were closed. Nice and quiet 😉

(Old town)

Another day without seeing a mountain. Time to put on a poker face.


Finally, finally, finally… on the 7th day, we saw mountains in distance when we arrived at Lienz. (Maybe we should put on a poker face earlier?)

I think I had tears in my eyes (It’s been a while…) “Let’s move here,” I said quietly.

“Do you know how many places you said you wanted to move to?” Wei said.

This is part 2 of our trip. Part 3 will be the last, I hope.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 26 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travel to Alpine Countries (Part 1)

This is my submission for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #27: My Travels.

It is easy to talk about something I like, but it is difficult to talk about something I deeply love. My trip to Alpine Countries is one of those hard-to-talk trips. (Thanks to Amy… now I will push myself a little harder. 😉

We flew to Frankfurt, and spent one night there. Near our hotel, I was introduced to “garden houses”. A piece of land in the city, it looks like our mobile home park, contains many small houses with gardens. Someone told me these families would spend weekends here to get away from their city life in the city.

(A small garden house in front of a tall building)

Walking back to the hotel from those garden houses, I saw a bus stop at the bus stop. It took me a while to notice the driver was waving to me. He pointed at himself suggesting me to take a photo of him. I did and he was very happy (He didn’t know how bad the photo had turned out. Ha.) A good start of the trip, I thought to myself.

From Frankfurt, we went to…

We were delighted when we found out there were less than 30 people on the bus, which would usually fit near 50 people. Wei and I happily occupied 2 seats toward the back.


At Marienplatz, we got some free time. Our tour guide instructed us to meet back at 12:30 and he added, “If you are not here by that time, I will assume you have walked back to the hotel by yourself. It’s hard to find a parking spot. We will not wait.” He showed all of us how to get back to our hotel, and said, “It’s very simple.”

There was a parade on that day; Marienplatz was very crowded. After taking some photos, Wei and I decided to head back to the hotel. The walk was much longer than I thought, but we survived. Our tour bus came back late (we were waiting for the bus to continue our afternoon program). When it finally arrived at the hotel, we were told that our tour guide had asked the driver to circle around 3 times looking for us. “Didn’t he say if we were not there, he would assume we had walked back by ourselves?” I asked. Everyone smiled. Apparently, no one had taken our tour guide’s words seriously (not even himself) except us.

One famous local dish around here is German Pork Knuckle (roasted pig feet). “Since we are here, we may as well try it,” I said to Wei. We found a restaurant; German Pork Knuckle and German beer was our yummy dinner! After eating the meal, we wondered how much to tip. We gave some money to our service person and told her to keep the change; I saw a huge smile on her face. OK, we over tipped, I thought to myself, and then turned around said, “It’s all right, we are on vacation.” I said it to Wei and to myself.

(German Pork Knuckle)

Tipping is very confusing in Europe; no tip in some countries; 10% other countries, which we often forgot because we were so used to 15% or more. (Would someone create an iPhone app for this, please?)


(Linderhof Castle)


(The fountain that was filmed in The Sound of Music)

(Hohensalzburg Fortress)


(Schonbrunn Palace)

(Schonbrunn Palace)

Five days into this trip, we hadn’t seen a single mountain. “Did we sign up for the right trip?” we wondered. I had been Vienna before, but hadn’t visited the other cities. They are all beautiful cities in their own ways. Still, we yearned to see mountains and we were getting more and more impatient.

I’ll stop here for part one. Maybe that was why I hesitated to write about this trip – I don’t know how to make it short.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, Trips, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 26 Comments

Brenda’s Photo Study: Contemplative Photography XI – Patterns of Light

This is my entry for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Contemplative Photography XI – Patterns of Light, which was posted on Nov. 10, 2018.

On her post, Brenda wrote, “I found that this exercise “seeing patterns of light” was a bit of a challenge for as I was more drawn towards patterns created by shadows. Therefore, while on a photo walk, I found that when I connected with light, I had to actually stop and question, “is this a light pattern or a shadow pattern?”

Now, I started asking myself the same question: “is this a light pattern or a shadow pattern?” — A question that has never came to my mind in the past, that is.

(Halifax Titanic Cemeteries)

After staring at many photos and giving a lot of thoughts on this subject, I think it has a lot to do with which pattern (light pattern or shadow pattern) is the dominating pattern in the photo. Yes?

It’s not a secret that I enjoy reading/studying/contemplating Brenda’s A Photo Study. I haven’t done it as often as I like to because, to be honest, some are too advanced for me (ha ha), and some require more time than I have had. Hopefully I will catch up a little in this year. And, again, thank you, Brenda.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #26: Photographic Review

This is my submission for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #26: Photographic Review.

Anne-Christine said, “This last Lens Artists Photo Challenge of the year 2018, is all about memories. Make a recap of Your 2018! What do you remember most vividly? What precious moments from your everyday life, family, travels, holidays, adventures, meetings, did you capture with your camera?”

What a great way to end 2018, I thought. Preparing for this post, I went through my 2018 photo-folders one by one and happily re-lived the whole year in 30 minutes. That reviewing process made me feel satisfied, but to my surprise, although I had fond memories in many of those moments, those moments, however, were not significant enough to represent 2018. Now what?

I could use some inspirations, I thought. So, I checked around. Anne-Christine decided to pick one or more photos from every season; Nature is important to Patti; Amy told us her fun photographic experience and shared a few nature images; Tina shared a few nature images, too, and also photos of quiet moments of everyday life. Reading each one of these posts was like reading a condensed personal story book! I enjoyed it so much that I have provided links here for you.

But I still had no idea which photos to choose…

Anne-Christine said, “Another interesting idea is to find one single photo that would represent the whole year.”

Pick one photo, any photo… how hard can that be? One photo immediately came to my mind, but I didn’t fully know why. Maybe I would do something “smart” with that photo. I would crop it in several ways, and arrange them on a blank canvas…

So, on New Year’s Eve, I made several copies of this photo and cropped each in a different way. I wasn’t sure where I was heading, but I told myself it was a start, and, hey, it was only Monday (4 more days before next challenge!)

New Year Day… playing with all those images, I suddenly understood what 2018 had meant to me. For me, 2018 was a year of questing for wisdom. I am not talking about religions. I am talking about having an urge of figuring out what I want to do and who I want to be for the rest of my life. It was the first time in my life that I wanted to plan for my life, not just plan for trips. (See what aging may do to you! Or, maybe… I am just a slow learner!)

Anyway, here is my recap of 2018. It says I really like 2018! 😉

Thanks to Anne-Christine for this great challenge. I hope my appreciation has shown through my mumbling words. 😉

Speaking of wisdom, may I share Dalai Lama’s New Year message with you?

Happy New Year and have a Healthy, Happy 2019!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 21 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #25: Reflections

This is my submission for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #25: Reflections. Please follow the link to read Patti’s post.

In her post, Patti said she is fascinated with reflections. Me, too!

The photo I really want to post here is the one that has a transformer substation reflected in a dirty rain puddle. I spent a lot of time looking for it, but didn’t find it. Even searching location didn’t help! (Yes, I need to do something with my phone photos!) Anyway, this transformer substation, to be honest, is not something I would consider photographing. That particular rain puddle, in the middle of a walkway, wasn’t interesting at all. But the reflection of the transformer substation reflected in that dirty rain puddle was amazing. I remember standing there confusing with the picture I saw on the phone. Is it possible that there is always another side of “story” that I had missed in many occasions?

That brings me to a different kind of reflection. Winston Churchill said, “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” That kind of reflection, I mean.

My daughter woke me up early in the morning on the Christmas day. “Time to open gifts,” she said excitedly. (By the way, it is so nice to see your adult child acting like a little kid!)

Every trip we took, I had bought something for her. “This is from the black forest.”, “This came from Halifax.”…, etc. After she was done opening her gifts, I added, “We think of you all the time, even when we were traveling. ”

Then, it was our turn to open our gifts.

“This is from my Finland trip.”, “I got this when I was in Tennessee,” she said.

I didn’t know… I had assumed… Again, how much of the truth that we really know?

I had a wonderful Christmas. I hope you did, too.

Thanks to Patti for this great challenge.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 16 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #24: Seasonal

This is my submission for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #24: Seasonal. Please follow the link to read Tina’s post.

Tina included the following quote in her post…

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Tina, it depends on where you live, doesn’t it? 😉

Every spring, I get a new life – that’s what I like to think.

I used to cry in fall for no reason, and that confused me. I finally figured out that knowing “a half of the year had already gone by” made me feel sad. Fall is my favorite season; I can’t change how fast/slow time goes, but I can and will enjoy what I am given. I no longer cry in fall. 😉

White is one of my favorite colors, not hospital kind of white, but snow kind 😉 In my Interior Design class (long time ago), I designed a bedroom with minimum colors. My instructor asked me: “Don’t you like color?”

“I do, but I want a quiet bedroom. Color brings noise.”

Winter, mostly, is resting time (other than holidays, other than 10,000 steps…). Rest and get ready for spring.

I don’t remember having summer this year. It must because of the forgetfulness that comes with aging. Yes, Mother Nature is getting old.

Now, holiday season…

Happy Holidays!

Thanks to Tina for the interesting challenge.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 17 Comments

CFFC – Catching People Unaware

Here is my entry for CFFC – Catching People Unaware. (Thank you, Cee.)

Como conservatory is a good place to catch people unaware.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge | 11 Comments