Looking for adventure?
Climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica and bring your binoculars. You never know what escapades you’ll discover when you peer into all these windows:
Visit the Vatican and experience sin first-hand.
I wonder if the ever-so-vigilant Vaticanites complained when those unsightly apartment buildings started blocking people’s view of their churchly treasure… or if they decided to (euphemism alert!) look at the bright side of life.
Travel tip: If you show up early, the workers may see you and conveniently forget to put up those obnoxious chains that keep people from getting too close to the attraction. Then, you might find yourself in the fray of some nice, beautiful military endeavors:
Luckily, I’ve never been closer to the business end of a cannon.
In case you were wondering, this is the changing of the guards in Stockholm.
You may remember that I’ve already written two posts (about London and Stockholm) on how low-light conditions can contribute to greater pleasure as a tourist. Today, I’m shifting gears to explain how sunlight can provide new and profoundly accurate dimensions to what you see. For instance, take this photograph:
Marvel as this beast stretches towards the sun. It’s the stuff of dreams.
What thoughts entered your mind when you saw that picture? Don’t worry. It’s okay that your mind didn’t move towards G-rated things like Thumper and Bambi and Bambi’s mom. I took this shot in Amsterdam and the sunlight makes this structure look… uh… well…
People go to Amsterdam to experience precisely this. I think that explains it.
Don’t you hate the masses of tourists that clog all the sites and turn your nice peaceful vacation into a noisy game of human bumper cars?
That’s why I would go out at night. When I did, I could find things like this:
London’s Big Ben shines at night.
No tourists and no traffic. Just me and the view and the muggers and the rapists and the murders who I luckily managed to avoid. That’s quite a contrast.
If you visit Bern, Switzerland, you’re likely to find a pit at the end of town that contains a few friendly-looking bears:
If I were one of these bears, I’d miss the little things like grass and trees.
However, Switzerland is a zoo… especially during tourist season. And do you know what happens in a zoo?
Here’s a closer look at the same image. Notice the parent and child in the upper right.
As the sign often says, “Do not feed the bears.” But if you must feed them, please remember that your kid is not appropriate for a bear’s dinner. The bear may enjoy him, but you’re inviting a lot of trouble on yourself.
The quiet ain’t worth it.
Ah yes, an old Austrian castle with all the amenities:
Old is beautiful.
I can forgive the poles and chains because they bring back the whole torture aspect of the good ol’ monarchy. And I can forgive the lovely refurbished medieval shiny pleather or wheatevertheheck material it is on those adorable chairs.
However, the glare from my camera flash on the unknown synthetic material detracts from the room as a whole. Nevertheless, I’m sure those chairs are more comfortable than period-appropriate pieces would have been
Paradise is beautiful. For instance, there’s this place near Sorrento, Italy:
The only ingredient that’s missing is pasta. Salami would also be acceptable.
But there’s a story behind all that beauty. People have to work hard to maintain those pristine beaches and unpolluted waters. And those workers eat pasta and sausage and salami and all that good stuff that no one cooks up quite like the Italians.
And it’s rare to see photos that take that background action into account. This one does. Those waves you hear aren’t the ocean. They’re the continual flushing of all those portapotties. Where do you think all that wonderful food ends up?
Quick… can you tell me what country this windmill comes from?
It’s as though the blades are twisting in the wind.
If you’re smart, you’re probably thinking it can’t be from the Netherlands… unless you believe I’m pulling some reverse psychology on you. Or perhaps those Dutch windmills are more diverse than you imagined.
This reminds me of when Barack Obama was “helping” with Chicago’s unsuccessful bid to win the 2016 Olympic Games. He claimed that the United States’ uniqueness lies in its diversity (unlike those homogenous countries like India, the Netherlands, and the eventual winner, Brazil). In turn, he touted Chicago as a city where people from across the globe could go and meet people who look just like them…
because the purpose of the Olympics and of travel in general is to avoid encounters with people who aren’t like you. Right?
And so maybe you can see yourself in someone or something of another ethnicity or race or nationality. For instance, a Dutch windmill might enjoy meeting this foreign Swedish windmill at the Skansen museum in Stockholm.
Architects sometimes get a little overzealous on the creativity and innovation. You can probably imagine my surprise as I was traversing Barcelona, a city famed for Gaudi and for other pinnacles of aesthetic accomplishment, when I discovered this:
It’s shiny up close…
This giant… ahem…
feminine pleasure device, um… phallic symbol, no, er… rounded building of very painful glass loses its shimmer in the moist…
Okay, I give up. A work of art is supposed to make people pause and discuss; this building certainly accomplished its purpose. However, I hope the discussion rises above crass humor someday.
But not today. Immaturity is too much fun.
Once upon a time I visited the University of Antwerp. Here’s a picture from while I was on the move:
The ivy is dead. Too bad…
If I hadn’t told you the school’s location, you might not have identified its location. Actually, it looks like a lot of American campuses, except they obviously don’t spend exorbitant sums on landscaping.
When you’re traveling, don’t just pass through the things that look like the same old boring thing from home. You can learn a lot by noticing the similarities in different countries.
By the same token, you can also learn from the differences in things that look the same. For example, McDonald’s sells beer in Germany.
Spring means that many tourist attractions lose some of their earthtones.
Vienna is home to manicured gardens and exhausted gardeners.
There’s also a downside. The worst thing that could happen to me today is being asked to help with gardening. If you don’t like brown flowers, find your free labor elsewhere.
I’ll be busy enjoying a job application and maybe a can of tuna.
When you’re traveling, you’ll inevitably encounter writing that you can’t understand. You will piss people off if you continually ask “What does that mean?” Especially here, at the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) in Lucerne. A couple dozen of these images remain after some unruly flames decided to have some fun:
Imagine trying to read this as crowds of people rush past you. Repeat 30 times.
It doesn’t matter what the words say, so don’t bother reading them. The orange does its artistic duty and lends a halloweenish aura to the Latin and the skeleton… and even to the skeletons in the bridge’s second picture.
And that’s exactly what a “Chapel” is supposed to involve. Skeletons and Halloween.