Thursday, December 31, 2009

Europe Trip-#8, The Julefrokost Reunion

My main purpose in going to Denmark was for an unofficial reunion of the Europe in the World international journalism program, which I participated in during 2002-2003. We gathered for a 'Julefrokost,' a traditional Danish 'Christmas Lunch' in the small town of Nørre Aaby, also on the island of Fyn. 10 people (out of the 20) attended, from Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Lithuania...and me, from the US via Cameroon, I suppose. and it was wonderful to see everyone again- people move on though- marriages, kids, houses, everything. I guess that how it goes as you get older- in any case, it was wonderful to reunite, and I'm looking forward to the next get-together, wherever and whenever it may be.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Europe Trip-#7, Copenhagen & Odense

Leaving Switzerland, I went to Denmark, possibly the one person flying to Copenhagen at that time with absolutely nothing to with the COP15 conference on climate change, which happened to coincide with the class reunion I'd come to attend. The city was blanketed in things related to the conference, but it was still possible to see some of the normal touristy stuff. The problem, unfortunately, was the almost all the hotel rooms were booked, meaning that I could only afford to stay in the one place I found for one night, and move on.

It wasn't too bad though- I went to Odense the next day, on the island of Fyn, one of the larger cities in the country. An interesting place, and fun to walk around...

A few of my favorites first, followed by the album.

Nyhavn, the famous (and picturesque) harbor

At the City Hall plaza, full of climate change exhibitions

Banners like this were everywhere.
The main cathedral in Odense, which holds the bones of a saint- see the album for details...

Europe Trip-#6, Lausanne (Pts. 1 & 2)

After Chamonix, I traveled back to Switzerland, and spent a couple nights in Lausanne, a city about 65km from Geneva, also on Lac Léman. Lausanne is the home of the International Olympic Committee, and the Olympic Museum, has a beautiful cathedral, and is surrounded by incredible mountain scenery.

A few of my favorites, followed by two albums; the first highlighting the lake, the cathedral, and a truly unforgettable sunset over the mountains, the second in and around the Olympic Museum.

Looking from the center of town towards the water's edge

Cathédrale Notre-Dame, in Lausanne

Inside the cathedral

A sculpture in Lausanne Harbor

Lac Léman and the Jura Mountains on the other side

A sculpture at the Olympic Museum on the edge of the lake

Sunset over the lake, truly incredible

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Europe Trip-#5, Chamonix

I went from Geneva on a quick overnight trip to Chamonix, France, a few hours by train. Unfortunately the trip ended up being a bit of a dud, as the beautiful Alpine views I'd been hoping for were replaced by beautiful views of rain clouds. Nevertheless, I was able to get at least a few nice shots of the town, and one or two of the mountains...

Europe Trip-#4, Geneva (Pts. 1 & 2)

I spent a few days in Geneva, staying with a friend of mine who I served with in the Peace Corps- I'd never spent any significant amount of time in Switzerland before, and Geneva was a beautiful place to start. The first album is mostly pictures of all the international things the city is known for, like the UN and the Red Cross, as well as a few photos from the Salève, a cliff overlooking the city. The second album is around the city itself, especially the Old Town and the St. Pierre Cathedral, inside and out.

As with most of these entries, I'm going to post a few standouts, followed by the albums themselves...

Looking down from the Salève, into Geneva and Lac Léman

Perfect timing for a rainbow.

Waiting for the télépherique, the cable car, on the way down...

The St. Pierre Cathedral

Along the Rhone, in the center of the city.

At the UN office, a sculpture representing victims of land mines.
The Palais des Nations, the European home of the UN.

A view of the city, from the top of the cathedral

Europe Trip-#3, Wangen (Alsace)

I visited the Szobody family, formerly missionaries in Chad, in the small village of Wangen, France, about 30km outside of Strasbourg. After being in Paris and then Strasbourg, it was a really nice change to get out to the countryside.

Paul & Teresa, who I first met in Gounou-Gaya, Chad.

With a few of the kids (l-r): Matthias, Micah, Mercy, Phillip, and Tytus.

Walking along the fields in the countryside...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Europe Trip-#2, Strasbourg

After leaving Paris, I went on to Alsace in eastern France, where I stopped in the city of Strasbourg. I'd been there before in 2005, but this time I went to visit the Szobodys, a family of American missionaries who I met in Chad when they were living in Gounou-Gaya, the village I served in as a Peace Corps volunteer.

As with the previous post, all the photos (and larger versions of them) can be seen by clicking on the photo in the slideshow. Same as before, I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite photos from the album...

The Strasbourg Cathedral, incredibly imposing- this is one of my
favorite pictures I've ever taken, and was another long-exposure.

Inside the cathedral, with the organ, the columns, the stained glass
and everything else you'd expect from a 500+ year old church.

A section of the Old Town of Strasbourg, with the
traditional Alsatian construction preserved.

A small canal linking up to the Rhine, which
serves as the French/German border.

Followed by the rest of the album...

Europe Trip-#1, Paris

I began my two-and-a-half week European vacation with a couple days in Paris; naturally it was quite a change from the (relative) heat of Cameroon to go somewhere cold and almost snowy. Strange as it may sound, it was actually a really nice change. You can see all the photos in the album below, and can see larger versions by clicking on any of them, but there are a few standouts that I want to highlight first...

Notre-Dame Cathedral, early evening- I tried a long-exposure
photo, to make sure I had enough light.

Along the Seine, just across from Notre Dame

Inside the courtyard at the Louvre

One of the buildings of the Louvre palace- also a long-exposure.

...And the rest of the album.