Photo (and Poetry) Blog

Tulips

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If no spring outside, I'll create the spring inside.


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OK - this is no tulip :-).


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Best of Australia: Part Two

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As promised, here comes Best of Australia Part Two, with pictures from Sydney Darling Harbour and Central Business District (CBD).

Above: Darling Harbour at sunset.


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Darling Harbour is one of the adjacent harbours to the city centre of Sydney, but also a large recreational and pedestrian precinct situated on the outskirts of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD). 

There are a lot of shops and restaurants in the area, as well as other tourist point of interest such as the Sydney Entertainment Centre, the Chinese Garden (will feature a series of photos from that garden in a separate blog post), the Australian National Maritime Museum, the LG IMAX Theatre, Sydney Wildlife World and Sydney Aquarium (these last two will be featured in a future post).


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Darling Harbour is named after Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, who was Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831, and was originally part of of the commercial port of Sydney.

The area had become derelict by mid-80s, and it was then redeveloped as a pedestrian and tourist precinct. The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, also located in Darling Harbour, was a venue of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games.


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One of the many Sydney water taxis in the harbour.


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There are several hotels in the area and Darling Harbour is actually a great location as there's always a lot of fun activities in the harbour, day or night, and most of them are actually within walking distance. There are also lots of restaurants specialised in many cuisines, and during my month-long stay there I have not eaten twice in the same restaurant. 

It's also very close to the city centre and all other Sydney attaractions.



A short video of Darling Harbour featuring big time celebrations in the harbour.


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The Strand - an absolutely lovely Victorian-style shopping arcade in the heart of Sydney Central Business District. The Strand was built in 1891 after the plans of British architect John Spencer, and opened in 1892

It was the fifth and last of the arcades built in Sydney in the Victorian era, and is today the only one remaining in its original form.


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The arcade was one of the first Victorian buildings in Sydney to take into the account the harsh Australian climate. The roof was made of glass, specially tinned to reduce glare, and the access gallery of the top floor was projected to shade the lower levels.

The building is a fine example of Victorian architecture, featuring delicate ironworks brackets, finely carved cedar balustrades and shopfronts, marble columns and richly tiled flors. The arcade was one of the first places in city to be lit by electricity.


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Sydney city centre, buzzing with life in the summer.


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Glass skyscrapers in Sydney Central Business District (CBD).

The Sydney Central Business District, also popularly referred to as the City, is the main commercial centre of Sydney. The CBD contains many of Australia's tallest skyskrapers, with the tallest being Sydney Tower at 309 meters (seen in the picture below, with the golden top).

CBD is home to some of the largest Australian companies, as well as serving as Asia-Pacific headquarters for many large international companies.

But there is also a large concentration of cultural institution in CBD such as the Museum of Sydney, the State Library of New South Wales or the Theatre Royal.

Others are located just at the edge of the CBD e.g. the Sydney Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Australian Museum or the Art Gallery of New South Wales.


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The Sydney Tower, 309 meters high (915 feet),  is the tallest free-standing building in Sydney, and the second tallest in Australia (the Q1 building on the Gold Coast is the tallest). The tower is open to public, and it's one of the most proeminent tourist atractiosn in the city.

The constructions began in 1975 and public access tot he tower started in August 1981.


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Travel from the ground to the tower is via three high-speed double-deck elevators that reach the observation deck in about 40 seconds if at maximum speed (which depends on the wind conditions). The elevator taking you to the tower displays the travel status … "Travelling through Tower". Pretty cool.

At the top there are the observation deck, offering a breathtaking view over Sydney, and several restaurants and event facilities. 

There's also Skywalk, an open-air, glass-florred plattform encircling the tower at a height of 268 meters (879 feet). I did not dare to go out on that actually. I do suffer from vertigo, and, even if in most cases I can dismiss it with a casual  "oh, it's just in my brain", this time I didn't think it would work. The view is stunning I'm told.


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The highest working post box in the Southern Hemisphere is operating in the Sydney Tower. The box is cleared by Sydney Tower staff and delivered to the St. James Post Office for processing. I wish I had a postcard to post!


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Darling Harbour viewed from the Sydney Tower observation deck. 


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The view over Sydney from the observation deck is stunning. Trivia: in the film "Mission Impossible: 2", the tower is seen in several stunning shots. It is usually shown whenever the CBD of Sydney appears.


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Metro Monorail with the Sydney Tower in the background, on its way from CBD to Darling Harbour - Sydney inhabitants seem to have a love-hate relationship to it.

The monorail system connects Darling Harbour, Chinatown and Sydney central business and shopping districts. There are just eight stations on the 3.8 kilometres (2.2 mi) of track, with four trains operating simultaneously. The system was supposed to operate automatically, but after a number of breakdowns soon after opening, it was decided to retain the drivers. This system is said to be one of the most expensive public transport systems in the world, with a $5 flat charge even when travelling a mere 150 meters (490 feet) between two stops in Pitt Street.

The Metro Monorail opened in July 1988 and it will cease operations in July 2013, to be replaced by the light rail system.




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Darling Harbour buildings reflected in the Australian Maritime Museum.

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Darling Harbour, the Sydney Aquarium, the Sheraton Four Points Hotel and the Sydney Tower.


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Darling Harbour buildings reflected in the Australian National Maritime Museum. In the background, the CBD buildings and the Sydney Tower.



Easter Preparations

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It's hard to believe it's Easter soon, what with snow outside and chilly weather! I didn't even arrange any spring flowers at the entrance as I usually do. It's simply too cold. I did that throughout our house, mostly because I long for spring rather because of any real Easter feelings. Please, stop this weather NOW!


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Longing for spring ...



Pearce on Creativity

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Pearce on creativity.


Goethe on Acting

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Orchid Exhibition


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As promised, some more photos from the orchid exhibition.

There are around 25.000 orchid species in the world found in 880 genera. The concrete numbers on such an enormous family is constantly in flux. The numbers of of orchids species equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species. The Orchidaceae family also includes Vanilla (yes, the vanilla in the ice cream) and many commonly cultivated plants such as Phalaenopsis (the orchids usually sold in supermarkets) and Cattleya. 


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Some of stands hade a very creative display - I liked this one very much.


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A Phalaenopsis created for Stadt Winterthur. 


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These are not orchids but wood anemones (Anemone nemorosa Nashville), an early-spring flowering plant. 


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The exhibition is huge and one is bound to be tired and hungry at the end - something that some intreprid souls were not late to take advantage of.


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Everybody, and I mean everybody, was taking pictures - be it with a DSLR, mobile or a compact.


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There were of course a lot of orchids for sale, and also some other gardening stuff - I loved the wooden birds.


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And no, I haven't forgotten the Australia pictures! Best of Australia Part II is coming soon.



Teaser: Orchid Exhibition

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Today I went to an orchid exhitbition here in Winterthur and I took of course hundreds of photos. It will be some time until I can edit them all, but here comes a first (quick) selection. More to come tomorrow - stay tunned!


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There were hundreds of orchid species, in all the colours of the rainbow.




Spring!

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Spring at last! While Stockholm is still swept in snow, we finally enjoy spring time here in Switzerland. Sunny and fifteen degrees today. I took the camera and went for a long walk in the woods.


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I met the beautiful white cat again, and she's so willing to pose! Minette - watch and learn!


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A few photos from today's photo walk. I love looking for the small flowers that announce the spring.



I asked the cuckoo ...

Woods, Forest, Trees, Pine Trees, Pine Forest


I asked the cuckoo

How many years I would live ...

The tops of the pine trees quivered,

A yellow ray fell on the grass.

But not a sound in the cool grove ...

I am going home now,

And a cooling brize caresses

My burning brow.


by Anna Akhmatova, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer. Anna Akhmatova (1889 - 1966) is recognized as one of the greatest twentieth-century Russian poets.



The Time on Our Hands

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Do you agree?



Spring Signs

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I went for a walk today, looking for spring signs. The first thing I saw was a beautiful white cat though. She was not afraid of me and let me pet her (I've decided it was a "she", even though by the size it was probably a tomcat).


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Oh, crocuses! I can't get enough of them. In Sweden the deer used to eat them up in our garden. No deer here? Or hares? Or they simply didn't get to it yet?


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I'm so fond of ivy, and it seems I've came to the right place, ivy seems to be climbing everywhere in Winterthur!


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I did find a few spring signs, and was suprised at seeing the crocuses spread in the woods behind the house.


Minette and Jean-Michel Aweh

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There's nothing you can do in our house without Minette's supervision. And so for my Easter shots. I've bought a few flower baskets and was experimenting for light and composition before the flowers opened, and who comes along and jumps on the table if not Minette? Very hard to convince her the shot didn't actually call for the resident kitten. By the way, her nickname is The Demolition Kitten. Guess why?


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Some photos from today. I'm so looking forward to spring and sunshine, flowers and bird song! Luckily all this will arrive much earlier than in Sweden. One of the things on the plus side when moving to Switzerland.



Another positive thing when moving to another country is discovering new music and new artists. I give you Jean-Michel Aweh, a 22 years old from Kassel in Germany, who last year won the German contest Das Supertalent.

This is his (very successful) first single, Raus aus dem Nebel.



And this is my new favorit, Houston, wir haben ein Problem that replaced Raus aus dem Nebel on repeat these days. 



Whidbey Island

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I have recently had the great opportunity to spend a day with one of my friends and her husband in Seattle. They took me to Whidbey Islands for the day  - and I cannot thank them enough! Even though the weather was typical Seattle weather i.e. overcast and some drizzling rain every now and then, I loved the trip. The nature is breathtaking and not even the clouds and the rain could spoil that. In fact, the dramatic clouds and the fog (oh yes, did I forget to mention the fog?) only added to its beauty. 


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We took the ferry to the island, it's just about a ten minutes ride - but enough to shoot a few photographs. The island is located just north of Seattle, in the Puget Sound, and only a two hours drive south of Vancouver, Canada.


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Starting point: Langley. Super cute small town, plenty of antique shops, book shops, gift shops, cafés and art galleries. For tourists of course, but cute nonetheless. And not many tourists, being too early in the season and bad weather. Great for exploration in other words.


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The climate is definitely milder than in Sweden, and it looks even than in Switzerland (or at least Zurich area) - the spring flowers were blooming already and the grass was green. 


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The Admirality Head Lighthouse, located in Fort Casey State Park. The lighthouse was built in 1861 and rebuilt in 1903, and it was the last brick lighthouse designed by the renowned German architect Carl Leick. 

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1922. Its original lantern is still in use at the New Dungeness Lighthouse, to where it was moved in 1927.

And yes, I did climb to the top (where you cannot really take pictures over the fabulous view because the windows cannot be opened), even if I suffer of vertigo. I would do anything for photography! 


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Deception Pass Bridge connects Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island, a commonly-photographed landmark of the Puget Sound region. As you can see, also by yours truly. 

The bridge is actually two spans, one over Canoe Pass to the north, and another over Deception Pass to the south. Its construction began in August 1934 and was completed in July 1935.


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Deception Pass State Park, the most-visited park in Washington. The park was established in 1923, and offers many recreational opportunities which include campgrounds, hiking trails, beaches, and tidepools.



Coming Up Soon: Best of Australia Part II

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Stay tunned: coming up soon, Best of Australia Part II

Above - the Botanic Garden and a photographer shooting a wedding. The Botanic Garden is a very popular place for weddings, and most summer weekends you can see wedding parties, sometimes several in different areas of the garden.


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A tourist taking a photo of a cockatoo in the Botanic Garden.


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A few photos to tease you :-).



Tulip Macro

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Longing for spring ...



Lucerne

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We went to Lucerne on Saturday, hoping to walk around for a few hours and take photographs.  The city is as beautiful as advertised, but the plans made at home were no good: there was no sun (as supposed to) and the polar wind drove us to a cosy restaurant instead. Lucerne will have to wait for the spring I think. Here somes a selection of the photos I managed to take before taking shelter.


On a different topic - I'm almost done with the Australia photos, so more to come soon. Stay tunned!


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