Upheld

This photo has become a tradition for this blog on each Christmas Eve since 2010. This ornament is appropriate, as it was spied that year hanging in a vendor’s booth at the Christmas Market in Vienna, Austria.

I do believe I missed last year, but we were busy traveling the world. Goddess and I spent the first half of this year continuing those travels, spending time with friends and family all over the world.  We’ve settled down for a spell to see how that suits us.

Know that our wish for you is to have a peaceful end of the calendar year adhering to whatever practices bring you comfort and joy.

Hopefully you will find a bit of relaxation in there too.

Christmas Eve Globe Lights Ornament by Bill Anders Photography

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Changing Gears

After the crush of the last couple of weeks getting the web page ready and making sure things like the Facebook page were ready to go, it was nice to launch the site.

But now it’s time to change gears.

Literally.

After the page launch late Sunday night and just a few hours of sleep, on Monday morning I started attending class at the United Bicycle Institute (UBI).  Attending this school was the driving force behind the decision for Goddess and I to move to this town.

And it’s all good so far.

I’ll likely post more on the school starting next week, assuming I have time.  This week is their basic course, focused on those bicycle riders who know very little about maintenance.  I do have quite a leg up on this class, but I am still learning quite a bit.  And having a great time doing it.  Next week is when we jump into the professional mechanic-focused curriculum, which already promises to be faster paced and much more stressful, since that leads to certifications.

I’m giddy with excitement to get after it.

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As I prepped the web site for launch last week, I wanted to fill in some holes in the portfolio.  There are still more to fill, but I need to keep focus on school.

So as I was perusing the archives, I ran across this one.  I am not sure why I passed it by after that trip to Vienna, but I did.

Luckily we have it for now.

That’s the Café Central in Vienna, Austria.

And if anyone is curious, no that is not an HDR image (I don’t do those).  Just a few focused curves to enhance contrasts and give it that pop.

Goddess and I were in town to celebrate an anniversary and explore the city in detail, after having only made a brief (one day) visit the year before.

If you ever get a chance to go – GO!  Vienna is such an enchanting town, especially down the back alleys and side streets.

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Byzantine Cross

Russian Orthodox Church, Vienna, Austria.

Found while roaming the back alleys, well off the beaten tourist path.

Directly across the street from the Iranian Embassy.

Decay

Time for a (small) break from Weinachtsmarkt posts.

Goddess and I are not the typical tourists.  Sure, we’ll check out the major sights of a town or city, but often those are quick visits as we move on.  And unless we need to move quickly from one side of a city to another, rarely do we take the public transportation.

There’s too much to learn about a city by walking the side streets.  Especially if they are the streets that only the locals typically see.

Plus, it satisfies my need to look for details and patterns.  I’m touched that way.

In a Rain Man sort of way.

Even better if the details and patterns are old.  And part of the decay.  Since it all gives a certain feel and tells a certain story.

A few from Vienna, Austria:

 

Ghost Home
Framed Window
Red Handrail

I can just imagine the people walking down the missing steps in the last image.

Wondering where they are now.

If they are.

Ornaments

Whenever we go to a Weinachtsmarkt, Goddess and I try to look for the unique.

Every market is filled with shops.  Many of them are the same, from market to market to market.  The same suppliers, often the same people.  Selling the same-ol’, same-ol’.

But not always.

In Vienna it was a wonderful handmade, hand-painted globe.  “Made by a young local artist”, said the booth worker, who was completely set aback when I replied “I only purchase work from old, foreign artists”.  Then we had a good laugh as I forked over the Euro.

In Speyer, it was the same-ol’.

In Bad Wimpfen it was a hand-crafted glass hummingbird.

And while waiting for the shop owner to wrap our purchase, this guy kept catching my eye.

Tonight we’ll explore the Heidelberg weinachtsmarkt.  Crazy packed during the weekend, we made a glancing blow last Thursday and decided that we’d visit again on a weeknight.

When there’s still room to move.

I’m sure I’ll make a picture or two there.

Hundertwasserhaus

It’s been a crazy week.  At least it’s over.

Just in time to roll into another crazy week.

Time to stay sane.

Either that or embrace the insanity.

Just like the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna, Austria.  Insanity is row after row of block house.  Even in Vienna, with its classic architectural facades dating back hundreds of years, can look the same street after street.  Thankfully architects and artists like Friedensreich Hundertwasser can break the insanity while creating functional apartment complexes.

And the beauty is that not only does the complex break with tradition, but he extends the concept into the surrounding streets, making the experience completely tactile.

We found out that he’s done some other apartment and business complexes pretty close to were we live.  We’ll definitely have to make the trip.

Clang, Clang, Clang…

…went the trolley.

One beautiful thing about the major European cities are the trolleys.  I just enjoy watching them zip by.  I don’t even mind waiting for them as they cross the street or zip out to take the lane in front of us.

There’s just something about them.   Perhaps their Old World charm.

Here in the Old World.

Smokin’ & Jokin’

No matter how cool the weather, there’s always a place to stay warm while talking with friends and enjoying a beverage.

Graber, Innere Stadt, Wien, Austria