Reading Insults My Intelligence

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.

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.

 

The Beaten Path Insults My Intelligence

I’ve often written about my travels in Switzerland, usually about the standard attractions: mountains, snow, architecture, and (of course) naked people.

Okay, maybe the naked people aren’t an attraction.  That’s not a complaint about their looks, but about the mindset of folks who would go so far to see a few body parts.

That said, you should keep an open mind when traveling.  The greatest attractions often become apparent after you arrive and they may not be the ones you’re expecting to go batty over.  A small (or not so small) object such as a rock can be as spectacular as a mountain:

Gletschergarten

To judge the rocks’ size, compare them to the staircase in the upper right corner.

Get moonstruck by geology today.  Snow is overrated.  FYI: I live in the South.  These days, we all think snow is overrated.

Fear of Pontius Pilate Insults My Intelligence

Some religions claim that the beginnings of an important rise flowed from Pontius Pilate.  In my travels, he gave birth to a different rise.

lift

In this cable car station, you begin your ascent to the top of Mount Pilatus near Lucerne, Switzerland.  Legend holds that Pontius Pilate was buried here and there’s some neat dragon folklore too.  And of course the views are excellent as long as you don’t fear the mountain’s name.

However, I wonder what Pontius Pilate would think about his name appearing on a logo with a dragon…

The Tourism Industry Insults My Intelligence

Welcome to Lucerne, Switzerland.  The city houses some of the most amazing tourist spots in the country, which for Switzerland is saying quite a lot.  This is the Church of St. Leodegar:

churchhotel12 1

Beautiful, isn’t it?  I, like most photographers, took the necessary step of cropping out the street and parking lot near the front stairway.  You can still tell it’s a busy area because of all the power lines and bus cables running across the picture.

I get it.  Public transportation is clean and sexy and incredibly convenient in a city like Lucerne.  But don’t the people who travel massive distances to see this (and the people who see it on a daily basis) deserve to appreciate it when they see it?  How about the intrinsic value of maintaining the surroundings of something like this?  I know, maybe it’s the ecologically friendly urban planners thinking they can get potential tourists to abstain from using all that jet fuel to get to Lucerne if they quietly sabotage the sights.  Only the Swiss are permitted to mess with Swiss landmarks!

Realistically, though, I know it’s not always feasible to divert traffic away from a particular location.  The church isn’t totally ruined, after all.  All you have to do is look upwards, kind of like I was doing when I cropped this photo, and you still have something amazing.

Mostly.

In the photo, take a look at the far left, about a third of the way up.  Here’s a close-up:

This image was created specifically for the Weekly Photo Challenge (The Sign Says) at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/weekly-photo-challenge-the-sign-says/

This image was created specifically for the Weekly Photo Challenge (The Sign Says) at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/weekly-photo-challenge-the-sign-says/

Beautiful, isn’t it?  And how convenient for the handful of tourists who stay there!  It’s like framing a Picasso with a toilet seat.

Never underestimate the tourism industry’s ability to muck up something wonderful and then claim they’re doing it for your benefit.

The hotel sign was smaller than a fingernail clipping on the original picture, and this was an old school photograph.  No digital camera.  With my old camera, I had to take the photo from across the street and, therefore, had a lot of cables and less-beautiful things end up in my picture.  Back then, it wasn’t possible to get really close to what you were photographing and then zoom out to make it fit.

So now we get pretty pictures of the church when we look online and we never learn how the vicinity is really being treated.  Chalk another one up to “keeping the people blissfully ignorant.”

Or, perhaps, keeping them ignorant until they spend the money to go visit.