Dienstag, Jänner 31, 2006

St. Michael's Church, St. Albans, England.

Montag, Jänner 30, 2006

Taken in the beautiful Verulamium Park in St. Albans. I learned that this park was bought by the city in 1929 from the Earl of Verulam and its upkeep employed many people during the depression.

Sonntag, Jänner 29, 2006

It's one thing to be a continent away hearing about the 'London subway bombings' and it's quite another to be in one of the underground tunnels thinking about what is must have been like with a passage like this full of people and smoke and heat. This is one of the stations that was bombed and they are still working on repairs. In another part wiring and such is still exposed and you can see here that the walls are bare where formerly they would have been covered with colorful advertisements.

Samstag, Jänner 28, 2006

The fountains of Trafalgar Square, probably the most famous square in London. Something funny happened as we were on our way here. My friend is British, but doesn't spend much time in London, so he stopped two gentlemen to ask for directions. They looked confused for a minute and my friend apologized and asked if they spoke English. One spoke a little and was able to give directions to the square. An Englishman asking a foreigner for directions in his own country! We had a good laugh as we went our way, as I'm sure they did too.

Freitag, Jänner 27, 2006

After hearing about Big Ben since childhood, it was quite a thrill to stand beneath it and listen as it chimed the hour. Of course, the organist in me couldn't help but think about Carillon de Westminster by Louis Vierne. The largest bell, which the nickname Big Ben actually belongs to, is massive, being 9 feet wide and over 7 feet high and weighing in over 13 tons, and is the largest bell ever cast at the Whitechapel Foundry.

Donnerstag, Jänner 26, 2006

The London Eye, built in 2000 and reaching to 450 feet, has become a very significant part of the skyline. It takes about 30 minutes to complete a rotation. On my next trip to London I plan to take a trip up and view the city from the sky.

Mittwoch, Jänner 25, 2006

Dating back to the 11th century, the Tower of London has been a place of safety, site of imprisonment and execution and home to monarchs and other nobility. Originally it was surrounded by a moat which was drained in the 18th century. Now it's one of the most popular historic places to visit in London.

Dienstag, Jänner 24, 2006

Often mistaken as London Bridge, this is the Tower Bridge. We walked across it and I felt like I should be in Disney World or something. It's a very elegant structure with the purpose of being able to open up when ships pass through.

Montag, Jänner 23, 2006

London at night. Cities along water certainly have an advantage when it comes to evening beauty and London is no exception. This photo was taken looking across the Thames towards Parliament and Big Ben, which I heard strike 9pm. If you have been following the news you probably heard about the whale swimming through these waters. I didn't personally see it, but it was interesting to be there for such a unique historical event.

Samstag, Jänner 21, 2006

This evening we went for a walk in the park near the St. Alban Cathedral. It was another pleasant day and a very nice evening to be out with friends.
Within Verulamium Park are ruins from the Roman town that was there from around 50AD until the 5th century. Here you can see part of the wall and watchtower. To the left of this photo is a huge gully that was dug to help in defense.

Freitag, Jänner 20, 2006

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
- John Muir
Just down the hill from the cathedral is Verulamium Park, an extremely lovely place to walk around. There are 100 acres of gently rolling hills with some Roman ruins, lots of walkways and places to sit and enjoy the scenery and in the valley is a lake filled with wildlife.
Welcome to St. Albans, England! This is the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban. Built on the supposed site of Saint Alban's martyrdom in 250, the church dates back as far as 783. Today was an amazing day for sight-seeing. As you can see from the photo the sky was bright blue and the grass was green and it was just so nice to be outside after being in snowy, overcast weather for the last few weeks.

Mittwoch, Jänner 18, 2006

Ok, 10 points to whomever can guess what this complete word is! I'll give you one hint. I took the photo in Linz. Today I woke up to a winter wonderland. We've had snow on the ground for quite some time, but it's always nice when a fresh layer comes and cleans everything up. It was so beautiful to see the big fluffy flakes floating down.

Montag, Jänner 16, 2006

Here in Linz we are blessed with several world class museums spanning from Baroque in the castle to changing every day at the Ars Electronica. This is a photo of the Landesmuseen, which houses a lot of Austrian art as well as being an interesting building.

Samstag, Jänner 14, 2006

This is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Linz. I understand that there is supposed to be a new very good organ inside, but I haven't been able to see it yet. According to my teacher I'll be able to practice on it once it's completed, so I can't wait to get acquainted. I had observed in my time around Linz that ordinarily the churches sit very close to the road. Basically the last step is in the street. But I noticed that this one set quite a ways back and I didn't give it much thought other than maybe they had a bigger lot to build on or something. Then I was talking with my teacher and learned that during the counter Reformation the Jesuits were very active in Linz but Lutherans were still allowed to meet and have churches, they just had to be farther back from the streets. So now I know.

Freitag, Jänner 13, 2006

A guard tower solemnly watching the grounds of Dachau.

Donnerstag, Jänner 12, 2006

I've postponed talking about my visit to Dachau mainly because I'm not sure what to say. Until you experience it yourself I think it's impossible to grasp. So I will share a few facts and if you want to look at more pictures visit my gallery. Dachau was Germany's first concentration camp, started in 1933. Designed to hold 6,000 people, it was possibly holding up to 60,000 during the war. Walking around it and reading all the information I felt like I should be in some medieval torture camp when in reality this all took place in my grandparent's time and very close to my parent's birth.

Dienstag, Jänner 10, 2006

is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.
- Plato
Upon returning a book to my teacher I remarked that the author was quite opinionated. He smiled and I could tell that we were about to embark on yet another amazing adventure into the depths of what makes music (life) work. It seems that over time opinion has become a negative thing, specifically if it doesn't correspond with the masses. But having an opinion is an essential part of being an individual, and that is a positive thing. For a dictionary definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=opinion If you don't have an opinion, what do you have? Now, I'm not endorsing that we choose a cause and argue for it regardless of its merit, people like that are exhausting. But if there is something you believe or feel then express it! Obviously the author of the aforementioned book felt very passionately about how early music should interpreted. If he hadn't, would he have taken the time and energy to compile such a resource which I can't imagine brought him a handsome retirement fund? If Plato hadn't had opinions would we still be talking about and learning from him today? If artists didn't feel that somehow putting paint on canvas would express how they felt about something in a totally new and unique light what would be the point? And for me personally, if I don't have something to say through my music, is there any chance my audience will gain anything positive from the experience? I think not. To quote another wise man, my dad, "you can't start where you're not", so form an opinion and get moving. Where will the path lead?

Sonntag, Jänner 08, 2006

It seems the having a showing of a type of animal parading around a city as various art forms is popular. In Munich it was lions and in Florence it was cows. Everywhere you looked there would be an oddly attired animal. Everything from flowers to clothes to strange and sometimes grotesque. I believe my favorite cow is the black and white one in the middle here. Up close it looks like a puzzle. For an example of the lions look at my post on Jan 1. In how many cities have you seen such a display?

Samstag, Jänner 07, 2006

Michangelo's David currently is housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence but there is a copy standing in Palazzo della Signoria. Since I wasn't able to get into the museum I had to be content with the copy where David used to stand until people no longer respected it. After years of reading about it and seeing photos it was nice to finally stand at the base and marvel at the size and workmanship.

Freitag, Jänner 06, 2006

The Duomo of Florence is an amazing cathedral. Built over 6 centuries, you can see just about every type of architecture if you know what you're looking for. The exterior is just amazing, with marble of various colors completely covering it. This was put on as late as the 19th century. We attended Christmas Eve mass here, and the interior is very simple. We used this as a landmark to keep us from getting lost. If we could find the Duomo we could find our hotel.

Donnerstag, Jänner 05, 2006

Looking up the Argo River from the Ponte Vecchio. After a day of rain and cold it was nice to have such a pleasant evening. It's easy to see why Italians are known for being lovers. With things this beautiful it's not hard to be romantic. There were street musicians completing the mood of the evening.
For the time being I must tear myself away from Rome in order to spend a bit of time in Florence. This city, so rich in history, especially of Art, gracefully sits on the Arno River. Despite the rain and clouds we were able to get out and experience some of what has made Florence a popular destination for many centuries. This photo was taken from the Uffizi Gallery of the Medici family. The first bridge that you see is the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in the city.

Mittwoch, Jänner 04, 2006

Walking around on top of Palatine Hill was just like stepping back in time. I kept looking behind me to make sure there weren't any guards and checking around corners to try to catch a glimpse of nobility. It's so lovely I can certainly understand why the royalty claimed it for their residences.

Dienstag, Jänner 03, 2006

Sunset on Palatine Hill
Probably my favorite place in Rome is Palatine Hill, where the emperors built their palaces. The views are just amazing! I could live up there. This is looking out towards the Colosseum with part of the Forum in the foreground as well as the Arch of Titus. This arch was built to commemorate the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and dates from around 81 CE.
A fountain bravely enduring the freezing cold weather in Munich's Marienplatz. I was surprised to see several fountains still working, because here in Linz they have all been boarded up for a couple months. But they were pretty with the ice adding a nice wintery touch.

Montag, Jänner 02, 2006

I love traveling by train! Not only is it convenient and affordable, it's enjoyable. On my long trips it's usually night, but a few days ago I traveled for only a couple hours and it was morning and I could look at the passing scenery. It had been snowing all night and riding past the little towns and trees covered in snow was just idyllic. Taking pictures out the windows is challenging though, because besides reflection and dirt on the window things are also flashing past very quickly. But I thought this one was nice, so here is a shot near the Austrian/German border to give you an idea of what I am enjoying even as I ride along.

Sonntag, Jänner 01, 2006

Happy 2006!!! I would say happy new year, but I need practice with the new numbers. Always takes awhile to set in. So here are Sara and I, partying with the most traditional gentleman we could find. Apparently lions are manely the pride of the town. Now, I have done a lot of traveling over break so it will take awhile for to post and talk about everything, so be sure and keep checking back. Also, remember to look in the gallery because there is a lot of raw footage there if you are interested. For now, Munich has been fun and I'm very thankful for friends!

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