Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, coal heating envelops the city of a particular smell and dust

the old town and the townspeople gone

Since the majority of native townspeople–being of German origin– had to leave the city of Cesky Krumlov in the middle of the 20th Century and the soviet years ignored it with contempt, this jewel of European Renaissance, turned asian tourism Mecca, struggles to redefine its “raison d’être”.

As the sun sets in the evening the unlit windows of the old town in the foreground tell me a sad story of forfeited past. A city who lost its townspeople, and became an empty shell preserved with UNESCO funds to one day hopefully rekindle life.

Maximiliansforum Munich, underground forum

Maximiliansforum and eeriness

Above a four lines street junction at the old city ring of Munich. Below the Maximiliansforum, an eerie space, with escalators that are not escalators, an under-passage that it is not quite one, an art exposition hidden behind graffiti smeared displays, a wet-floor sign over a very dry floor.

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.

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.

Audio Testing Area and Michael Galeza duo conceptual music in studio

Audio Testing Area and Michael Galeza duo

Audio Testing Area Andreas of the 5 days bed in and Michael Galeza play an experimental duo music session. Andreas in the guitar and the sampler and Michael in the drums.

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.

70's architecture views are offered to the slow paced visitor and curious observer in the Olympiadorf

Olympiadorf above and Olympiadorf under

The Olympiadorf Munich was built for the Olympic games of 1972 as a city development experiment under the idea of a 300 hectare automobile-free “city-in-the-city”. After the games, the development was integrated into Munich. Nowadays about 6000 people live in this city quarter.

Despite maintenance and renovation works, the Olympiadorf offers a bubble view of the architecture and city visions of the early 70’s. It is an invitation to a slow paced visit of discovery and a feast of photographic composition.

There is an underground side to the Olympiadorf too. Hundred access points connect the upper world of pedestrians and bicyles with the under world of automobiles and parking lots. In these connexion points between the two worlds the more interesting views remain hidden to most casual visitors. Strong light contrasts combined with the cold hues of concrete and the almost 50 years of weathering make an interesting mix.

Desaturated colors are a trait that reflects a continuity between the two worlds above and below. Especially during an overcasted day or with thin sheets of clouds the blue cast on the highlights gives the place a special atmosphere.

old salt and new salt

Like ancient fortifications, old salt prospection sites, like in Gerri de la Sal, are as varied and ingenious as local conditions made them. Tools and methods gave way to specialisation and professions bygone. We gaze at those old artifacts in museums today.

Yet in some cases those sites resist oblivion. One could believe their products have special properties that make them better than industrial offerings, and it may as well be. However the biggest contribution of those products is the promise of sustainability for small communities that otherwise would be displaced by the economies of scale of industry. Challenging global commodity prices, they send us a message of resilience and ingenuity.

Pont du Gard museum. It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance.

abundance of water and decadent rome

A 50 Km aqueduct with 35Km of tunnels ground in rock and several bridges made of limestone with rudimentary tools and cranes is not a project to be taken lightly. Pont du Gard being the best preserved bridge, stands proud under the heat of the sun of June in the Provence.

One would think that such huge enterprise was meant to secure the all so important supply of basic water needs of Nimes. However this wasn’t the real purpose of the Roman politicians; The water from this aqueduct was only meant to supply the pools and baths of Nimes, and ultimately a work of Roman Empire propaganda, financed with a temporary levy of imperial taxes over the region, for the enlightening of the savages of Europe. 

An empty view of the Pont du Gard is not an all too common chance, but of being early underway. What in the summer days this far south is not a bad idea anyway. In the early hour, the light still has a yellowish cast, an angle that remarks the inscriptions in the old stones, and the sky is not totally whited out.

Later the riverbanks will slowly fill with visitors looking for refreshment, canoes will pass under the bridge on their way downstream, and shadowy tables at the coffee terraces along the site will be attentively watched for vacancies.

Night photograph of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in the nomination "Les festes del foc del solstici d'estiu als Pirineus"

summer solstice and the pyrenees

Since time unknown celebrate the inhabitants of Isil the night of the summer solstice in a rather particular manner. To the extend that in 2015 they were, together with other 63 villages of the Pyrenees, declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in the nomination “Les festes del foc del solstici d’estiu als Pirineus”.