St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
Sunset in Moscow. It's nice being a country where holding hands isn't a scandal.
One of my favorite fountains in Moscow
This is just a grocery store. That's Moscow.
..which copy of “my life” did you want again?
Kazan Cathedral, St Petersburg.
The Hermitage. I love the expression on the security gaurds face.
The winter palace of St Peteresburg.
I want this library. It's in the hermitage. Someone steal it for me.
Inside the Kazan Cathedral. A good friend of mine asked me to pray for her in a Russian Orthodox church. The candle in the middle of the pic is for her.
This isn't even the biggest church in town.
I didn't like seeing this. The poor bear spent most of his day fend off poking and prodding and eating fruit shoved in his face when the harness wasn't on.
I . Want. That. Jet. Ski. (Well, more accurately I want to be the one riding it through the canals of St Petersburg)
This is a Moscow Subway station. I'm not kidding.
Riga at night
Hiking through the forests of Latvia gives some interesting sights
It's a russian wedding tradition that carried through the former USSR-- the couple locks a lock on the bridge then throws the key into the river below. Makes you wonder about that bike lock..
Under the modern graffitti somehwere is graffitti hundreds ofyears old.
No new graffitti allowed. As if that stops anyone.
sandwich vending mahine?
The streets of Riga old townat night
Riga old town byday
Lunch? That's a lt of gristle.
It's an old family saying. If you atre ever lost in the woods, just start a game of solitaire and somebody will comeonling to tell you how to play properly. Then you can ask for directions, Thus, emerecny navigation system.
Currywurst. Berlin tradition. Chicagonsnote: these crazy guys put katsup on a hot dog. Crazies.
The memorial to the murdrered jews of europe. right in the iddle of Berlin
The letter sayng what this building was for the Nazis hae been scratched off.
A park of west germany.
Graffitti is a big part of Berlin culture
The Reichstag, or parliament f berlin. the top is this dome.
Restoring the art on the wall while not retoring the wall.
Deutche oper Berlin. I saw La Traviatta on this stage
We went on the autobahn on this thing. Five of us. We had to push it to start it. That was.. exciting.
Inside one of the famed “tents' of Munchen Oktoberfest, serving Paulaner. The sign in the back translates to ”Good. Better. Paulaner“
Thats at least four liters of beer in glass mugs that frau's carrying. We saw some carrying three times that many, but they moved way too fast for photos.
Aren't drinking buddies great?
This is the river in the city center, beleive it or not.
My buddy Zach in front of more beer than most people see in a year.
Because you haven't had beer goggles until you've really had beer goggles.
The Englischer Garten. I'm told it's bigger than Central Park in NYC.
Only in Europe. Munich has lots to see when you're not drinking (or when you are. Whatever floats your boat here).
More Currywurst! Chicagoans beware, they put katsup on hot dogs. Posers.
This is in Amsterdam. When you've got this many stoned tourists, you need to make things extra obvious.
Awesome. If I were feeling emo I'd say this was the story of my love life, but luckily it hasn't been. Often.
Literacy in Amsterdam.
This is the amusing result of the cigarette smoking ban on Amsterdam coffeeshops.
Pint of Guinness and a beef and Guinness stew. Happy Arthur's day everyone.
Inside the Heiniken Brewery.
The canals of Amsterdam
A plaza at night in Amsterdam. Yes, bikes are really everywhere.
Alleyway in Amsterdam. It's a fantastic city just to wander at night.
I know what this is supposed to be, but I'm not telling. The title they gave it is just too hilarious.
Walking the streets in Belgium, just outside Halle
From the left, top row: my oldest niece, Emily, my brother, Eric, my sister-in-law, Julia. Bottom row: Eric and Julia's twin girls, due next February.
The Halle Basillica was attacked more than once. Legend has it that the statue of Mary appeared on the walls and caught the cannonballs in her lap. However they got them, the canonballs are here on display.
When our hosts told the church staff we'd come all the way from the US, they opened up the room with some of the churche's most valuable items for display.
The Freud Museum. Not much of the original furniture was left inside, thanks to the Gestapo. When the Gestapo came to tell Freud he could go, they made him write a paper saying the Gestapo were all right. Freud wrote that “he could reccomed the Gestapo to anybody.”
Big church. Big billboard. This is Europe.
Maybe I'm taking too many pictures of hot dogs, but this is the Viennese style. Watching them prepare it, you can sort of see where Freud might have gotten some of his ideas.
The Budapest Parliament on the Danube.
The Budepest Jewish quarter at night.
Taken from the Visegrad castle overlooking the Danube
Athens was full of apparently stray dogs. All the ones I met were quite friendly.
Greek olives just growing on the side of the street.
Wandering the back alleys of Greece (yes, those are my parents)
The tourist on the left was from Japan. She got yelled at by the leader of the group on the right. My parents were convinced she was completely blocking the stairway. Maybe my thinking there was plenty of room on either side of her meant I've been in Asia too long...
The View from the Parthenon. You have to give it to them, the ancient Greeks knew the value of good real estate.
Life's hard, huh?
I saw a lot of blank faced realistic Ancient Greek statues. I just wanted to point out that not all of them are like that.
It's thanks to these two I was even there at all.
The corners of Rome.Even the stuff that seems to be decaying seems elegant.
I'm a total dork for liking the fact that they still have SPQR on all the Roman manhole covers. Not even my parents got the reference.
Above, Pope Benedict. Below, the local reaction to Pope Benedict. Seriously, you'd be surprised just how much you see of John Paul around considering he's gone.
The streets of Rome.
Once again, there's plenty of serious realistic statue work from ancient Rome, and I do have a new favorite in Bernini's David, but not all of it was like that.
God bless the tyndall effect.
The baisillica of St. Peter. I've been in a lot of big, grand churches, but it's satisfying to step in one and know it's the biggest and grandest.
Swiss Guard. Seems to have an eye on the nun. Sorry kid, she's not for you, even though you've got awesome pyjam-- erm... uniforms.
The Baisillica from the front. The main thing my mom was excited about was the tractor you see on the right.
Obligatory “I've been to Rome now” pic.
Inside the colliseum. Time from entry until first overheard mention of the name “Russel Crowe”: approx. 30 seconds.
Looking over my shoulder to see if the coin I flicked into the Trevi fountain made it in. Means I get a wish AND will come back to Rome someday. Only two-for-one special I've ever seen for a wishing fountain.
Roman Pizza, courtesy of Baffettos. This restaurat had a line twenty feet long at its door ten minutes after it opened for dinner. This is the real deal.
The ruins of Ostia Anticca aren'ts as famous as Pompei, but they do have some equally if not more interesting things there. This is the floor of the “Baths of Neptune.” That's the god himself in the middle with the Trident
Inside an old marketplace, where you can still read mosaic ads for each shop. This was one of those ads. Another featured a swatstik, meaning I'll have to look up how much connctions Ancient Rome had with the East...
The Tiber River and Castle St Angelo.
This is the good stuff.
C'est la vie en France.
You try driving through a street this narrow. Uphill. With a stickshift.
The coast of the Mediterranean
This is where I get it from. (Except for the height. We haven't figured that out yet.)
French Cheese, anyone?
The French Countryside isn't as flat as you might think.
My view from Mike and Clare's place in Carnoules.
...this boat is seriously asking for it.
Marinated Mussels! So Many1 So Tasty! ... and they made me so sick for two hours...
I took this picture right after stopping. This was the first of many, many more to come.
Candles in the Duomo of Milan
Milan's Leonardo da Vinci Science exhibit-- models based off his designs
It's raining in Milan
In fair Verona, where we set our scene.
Not so fair Verona.
The walls of “Juliet's House”. There's a mailbox where you can write Juliet a letter (...hunh?)
Lookingbackwardds to the sunset away from Venice
The Carnaval masks of Venice
The best pizza in town. Cheap too. Let me know if you want the name and directions.
The Grand Canal
The Shield room of the doge's palace. One of my ex-girlfriends wrote a letter to me about this one-- it's full of maps, and two enormous globes, one of the earth, another of the heavens. Should be enough to get any traveler's imagantion going.
I understand the top part of this clock, but not the bottom one with the celestial signs. Both hands changed throughout the day.
Read this sign. It was in St. Marks Cathedral. It might be a subtle message about this sort of thing.
Lake Bled. This photo doesn't do the fal colors justice.
Ducks of Lake Bled.
It was even better in real life.
An apple vending machine? Nice!
Sarajevo sights. Read those.
Tradition window in the side to allow honorable conversation between unmarried muslim men and women. The woman would sit, unseen behind the screen.
Sarajevo. Notice the prominent white stone graveyard. There's a lot.
The path the the waterfall. Thanks to a storm recently, it was covered in felled trees.
Autumn sunset in the Bosnian countryside.
Dinner in a cabin on the side of the mountain. I mentioned in the post about the fresh food and rakia? This is where it came from. A good warm place to relax on a cold day.
Whaddya MEAN I can't bring in my guns and dogs???
This poster with the nesting doll's shadow was in a lot of places in Serbia. No caption. Think of the political implications.
Outside the Serbian Parliament. ...I wonder how exactly Serbian parents explain this one to their kids...
Once in your lifetime, take an old train in the snow. Nothing like it.
My life these days.
Transylvanian kitty! Notice the fangs.
Yours truly, exploring Brasov, Transylvania, Romania.
Nighttime counstruction in the town where Vlad Tepes took his baby steps.
More exploring Transylvania-- Sighisora in this case.
I've never seen a dog that looked so much like the head of a mop.
Peles castle. Kinda cool looking on the outside, but it don't hod a candle to the inside. If only I could've taken photos..
Look in the bottom ight corner of the poster. Apparently this is the Pink Floyd candidate for the Romanian Presidency.
Old town, Bucharest.
...not all of old town is exactly jumping at night in Bucharest.
The hall of surperlatives. Also known as the Romanian Parliament, the second biggest building in the world behind the pentagon. In a 45-mintue tour that moved relatively quickly, I saw a little under 7% of the building. Donald Trump tried to buy it to make it the biggest casino in the world. The Romanian government declined his offer.
Aw, we love you too. Whatever you are.
My train into Bulgaria.
The bridge to the old Fortress of Veliko Tarnovo.
Inside what used to be a church at the very top of VT's fortress. It's been painted over with some awesome murals depicting Bulgarian history-- but they look more to me like something out of the lord of the rings. I really liked the style.
Call me crazy, but if I were them, considering the long drop, I would have tried to put the guard rail on the other side of the staircase.
View of the town of Veliko Tarnovo from the fortress.
The “Evil Eye.” Very Turkish symbol, actually protection from the evil eye, traditionally found... well, just about everywhere.
Inside the library of the Topkapi palace. Very nice-- but the thing in the picture is the closest thing I saw to a bookshelf. No books.
In Turkish bookstores are a lot of comic-book format old classics. This is Darwin's Origina of Species. You can see bits of the Communist Manifesto behind that.
Basicllica cistern. contains two statues of Medusa's head, one sideways, one upside-down. Also a strange art exhibition involving a giant head that answers queestions you type in a keyboard, and prothetic limbs that move around to the Blue Danube waltz.
Um, Starbucks? You're selling to Muslim population. Try again.
Buyukada, an island south of istanbul. No cars, just horse and cart. Nice hiking too.
Care to eat with this view?
It's a Church! It's a Mosque! No, it's the Hagia Sofia! (Dunh dunh DUNH! dun dun DUN dun dun DUNHHHH)
The Blue Mosque as seen from the Hagia Sofia
Inside the Spice Bazaar of istanbul.
Ataturk. He's the national hero, and his face is everywhere.
Inside the grand bazaar, there are tons of guys running around with trays of tea for the shop owners treating their customers. This is one of the many many corner stations where they brew it.
Backgammon in the corner there. All part of the nightlife.
There are even more cats off to the right. Why, yes, that is fish in the cart the guys are looking at, how'd you guess?
In the background, the ruins of Troy. In the foreground, a cat in a trash can. I could take pictures like this all trip if I wanted.
There isn't much left of Troy. This was probably the most elaborate thing visible at the ruins. Still, you can imagine.
Ephesus, one of the best preserved calssical towns on the Med.
The theater. I was lucky enough to be there with an opera singer. The acoustics were great.
If my day hadn't already been made multiple times by this point, these signs would have done the trick.
Okay, I know it just means “stop” in turkish, but I still think it's funny.
The masoleum of Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic
That would be my phrasebook. And this would be how a lot of my conversations with friendly Turkish men start.
Stairway inside the vertical maze that is Cavusin.
The view of one side of Cavusin from another.
Inside one of the more impressive churches, part of the Goreme open-air museum. Not all the frescos were in nearly this good shape.
If you have 150 euro to burn and want a great date (with someone who also has 150 euro), a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is for you.
Exploring the underground city-- this actually used to be a kitchen. That's an oven I'm peering at.
...what are you looking at?
Spanish street signs. I think this might have been the intesection my host family lived on.
Looking at the Cathedral roof from the clock tower.
The bells of la giralda. A couple people jumped about a foot in the air when one ang the quarter hour right above their heads.
This is Sevilla, as seen from the top of la giralda-- the cathedral clock tower.
Spanish deli. Pick your cured leg.
The moors were here. Here being the royal Alcazar-- an arabic derived word for palace.
Under the alcazar were the royal baths. Somehow I missed these seven years ago.
Plaza of Spain.
It's a party in Barrio Alto, Lisbon.
Party's over. Don't matter where you go, but you can't stay here.
Lisbon's lofty castle.
But, it's such a pretty boat...
I like hunting for builings like this in Europe.
There are some things I miss...
The tiles of the sidewalk are very Portuguese
Lisbon at night
Inside the Baisilica
Like they say about all real estate: Location, location, location.
The wider avenues of Madrid.
This is a good tapas bar. Packed full of people, like an good tapas bar should be.
The reina sofia museum- the country's primeir modern art museum. And in the country that produced Picasso and Dali, that's saying something.
La sagrada familia catheral in Barcelona-- still under construction, long after its master architect, Gaudi, is gone. Its a modern cathedral unlike any I've ever seen anywhere.
The older cathedral in Bacelona
Hot tip: wander into fancy hotels, walk like you own the place, and take an elevator to the top floor. Do it in the Bacelona W, and you get a view like this.
Feria of Sevilla-- Traditional everything-- singing, dancing, outfits, food, horses, culture.
Circus at the Feria! First time I've been in a cicus tent since I was... three? I hid under a blanket most of that time. This time I forgot to pack said blanket.