Maximilianeum and a necklace of light

when the night falls in Munich the Maximilianeum dresses up for the party with necklaces and bracelets of light.

Barcelona, Montserrat, the creek path to the upper chapel

in and out of Barcelona

a newly painted steam locomotive sitting on a section of old rack railroad exibits what passengers travelling to the sanctuary of Montserrat experienced between the 19th and the middle of the 20th Centuries. The steep climb with breathtaking views is nowadays negotiated by a modern 2001 commisioned electric rack railway.

Once in the sanctuary one can take a Funicular to the mountian top or walk either the path of the south over the moutain side or the more shadded ravine path. In a clear day the particular crevassed rock formations of the Montserrat (meaning the sawed mountain) make for a playful motive in the eye of the photographer.

not too far from Barcelona and overflown by landing planes on their way to the 07L/07R or 02 runways a low mountain range offers an unexpected landscape of shrubland and fan palms. Incidentally a former palace turned into a buddhist monastery is set in the midst of this denuded coastal range.

Barcelona’s townspeople can enjoy a neighbourhood cafe in a back street of a not so run by tourists area. Those with a passion for horse riding meet Sundays at the free municipal grounds. They chatter and greet excitedly as they meet with their horses. The light of January turns the most unexpected scenes into captivating motives for photography.

us and nature

It is a sunny morning of January and birds roam the trees in “Serra de Mariola Natural Park”. The light is gorgeous and it is hard to put the camera down and follow Virgilio Beltrán who take us around to spots were we can watch the local species. I got so entangled portraying a walnut tree that I almost lost him. We also visit a ravine were vultures were successfully reintroduced a few years ago. Magnificent and ugly birds they are! I wonder why I perceive them ugly.

“If we want to keep nature the way it was, we have to work the land the way we used to”

Joan Cascant, microvinya.com

Virgilio has a special treat for us, and we end up at Joan’s “microvinya” as part of a combined program named birds and wines. Joan is directing a program to return to the former use of the land in order to preserve the nature we received from the past. He advocates specifically for the sustainable use of minifundios (small-holds). Incidentally, a few days before, in Tarragona, my old friend Saül also explained us of his project to revive the abandoned town of Solanell in the Pyrenees. Are they the fall of small stones that starts an avalanche?

two days in Valencia

Along the streets of Valencia you can see the legacy of many architectonic styles from the gothic, renaissance, baroque, neoclassic, modernist, to bauhaus, constructivism, brutalism, and… well some things by Calatrava too.

The city seems big but not too big, modern but not too modern, opulent but not too opulent, burgeois but not too burgeois. It has it all but nothing becomes invasive. It may be that it is January, but Valencia still seems to belong to its citizens and not to the tourists. And I long with melancholy for this to stay this way, despite being an impossible act of balance in a world of seismic schockwaves of tourism.

The defensive Torres de Quart in the west-end of the old city of Valencia were made for one clear purpose. Being there you cannot help but imagine soldiers loaded with bows and quills hurrying upstairs, dropping boiling oil through the outlet above the doors, atop the towers scouting the horizon with squinted eyes under the sun of the afternoon.

The building of the Lonja de Valencia feels at the end game of commercial opulence but still displaying its former functionality: the polished by use floor tiles, twisted solomonic columns, gothic arches. A photographic feast indeed.

Alsace, Strasbourg

Strasbourg and the light of autumn

The autumn light enters from the south east at breakfast time through the old panes at Cafe Brant in Strasbourg. Later it warms its dwellers in their Saturday morning shopping forays. It too baths the sandstone facade with textures and comes through the high steel glass panes of the cathedral of Strasbourg to reflect on the rows of idle chairs that await the believers.

The tram line running between Germany and France through the streets and over the Rhine passes along views of steel and sandstone lit on halogen light in Strasbourg under the autumn cold rain.

Mont Sainte-Odile and the misty Vosges in autumn

Mont Sainte-Odile and the misty Vosges in autumn

Come the misty autumn, the fairy extends her long golden hair over the sandstone of the Mont Sainte-Odile at the Vosges. The footsteps of the joggers precede them in the foggy hour.

Chapels with rich mosaic decoration stand beside the graves of the last Merovingians in the grounds of the Abbey.

The return path follows the misterious Pagan Wall around the site of the Abbey

Kochelsee, boathouses

Kochel am See and The Franz Marc Museum

The frozen dew in the late autumn covers the fields and trees around the Kochelsee and melts as the sunbeams light the morning. The last of it sticking tenacious to the cold bronze sculptures in the garden of the Franz Marc Museum. All is quiet before the first guests arrive.

the Glindower Alpen in Potsdam soothes us with forests of autumnal dark and desaturated hues.

the Glindower Alpen in Potsdam

Not far from Berlin’s tumult of trafic, people, concrete and graffiti, the Glindower Alpen in Potsdam soothes us with forests of autumnal dark and desaturated hues.

The Glindower See on the north side of the forest reflects today the overcast dim grayish blue. The tiles Factory in Glindow. In its belly, the fire is unlit over the weekend.

Berlin and the Kreuzberg

The Berlin Ostbahnhof north of the former Berlin Wall sets a pivot point between the DDR time pre-fab concrete buildings on the north and the new developments along the Spree. Train eleveated lines and tunnels are all that common of Berlin.

The East Side Gallery with the large section of the Berlin Wall lies north of the Spree between the Schillingbrücke and the Oberbaumbrücke.

South of the Ostbanhof, the Kreuzberg sets a surreal world of graffiti. The graffiti becomes more prominent under the light of the late afternoon. Until night sets and the lights of the city show us a new landscape of light.

The monumental Berlin looks unusually raw as seen in a Saturday morning walk naked of people and tourists. The markets are not yet set, the streets are empty, breakfast places seem to wake up lazily to our demanding hunger. The sun raises and send us a few sunbeams behind the mostly overcast sky.

East of the Ostbahnhof the Berlin Ostkreuz sets the eastmost transport hub of the city. Dozens of little cafes and restaurants alite the “Neue Banhofstraße” as the sun sets.

Watzmann seen from the north east across Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden and the Watzmann

the Watzmann smiles to us with missing teeth from his high stand over Berchtesgaden like an unworried playful teenager. As we gain altitude on our way to the Kneifelspitze the day warms up and ever new hues of blue and mist from the Königsee tint his surroundings contrasting with the yellow and orange forests on the foreground.

Berchtesgaden once under protection of the Pope, later siding with Bavaria or Salzburg, whoever was less pressing, stands in this crossroads between the two later and gate of the Königsee to the south. The Roßfeld-Panoramastraße climbs 1000m above the valley and brings us to a close vantage point to the near peak of the Großer Archenkopf.