February 17, 2018

Art Around Town – Statues & Fountains

I’ve got good news for those of you that don’t like museums!  To see art you don’t have to enter a museum.

Walking around a town you will run into all kinds of interesting and beautiful pieces of art.  As with all art, they can and do evoke all kinds of feelings and are a great way to learn a little history including who or what is important to the citizens.

I’ve found Statues and Fountains  wandering Europe that . . .

Honors Brave Deeds as the the Girondist column and fountain in Bordeaux France!  This beautiful column celebrates a small group of revolutionaries who banded together to save the republic.

Girondist Column Bordeaux France

Added to the peace and beauty of a garden as do all the statues and fountains found in Mirabell Gardens.  These Gardens are one of  the most popular places in Salzburg Austria and the artwork really adds to the beauty of the gardens (IMO)!

Mirabell Gardens Salzburg Austria

Told a tale of unrequited love depicted in the lovely Matthias Fountain found on Budapest’s Castle Hill.  The Fountain depicts a hunting scene where the young King met and fell in love with a peasant girl.

Matthias Fountain Budapest Hungary

Honors a beloved ruler like  Kunigunde.   King Heinrich and his wife, Kunigunde, made Bamberg their home and are one of Bamberg’s favorite rulers.

Kunigunde Bamberg Germany

Impressed me with the artistic ability of the craftsman.   At the southern entrance to the Hofburg Palace in Vienna Austria are statues depicting “The Labors of Hercules” by Lorenzo Matelli.  I found them all to be amazing and this is just one!

Labors of Hercules Vienna Austria

Even add a lighthearted feel to a city street.  Look who I ran into on a corner in Potsdam Germany – The Green Family! No clue what the significance is, I just found it interesting 🙂

Green Family Potsdam Germany

Even if you’re someone who doesn’t feel they like art, I think we’ve all been impressed by some of the Statues and Fountains we’ve stumbled into while traveling.


What Statues and Fountains have impressed you?


These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday! For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

The Gorton Fisherman in Rostock!

Even though Rostock isn’t actually on the sea, it definitely has a maritime feel to it. So I wasn’t surprised, as I wandered along the river, to see many moored boats.

River side Rostock Germany at Sunset

And I shouldn’t have been surprised to run into this very famous person, but I was!

So who did I run into in Rostock?

The Gorton Fisherman Rostock Germany

The Gorton Fisherman!

These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday!
For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.
Maybe I’ll see you there!

Germany, Bavaria, Munich – Need I Say More?

If you’ve read many of the post here, you know how much I adore Germany and especially Bavaria!

I have shared with you how much I enjoy small Bavarian villages (like Mittenwald), Kind Ludwig’s Bavarian castles, beer and my joy at visiting Bamberg with all its breweries. Yes, I’ve probably bored you by going over the top in Bavaria, Bavaria How do I love Thee and if pushed to pick a favorite it would be Bavaria.

Munich Skyline Bavaria Germany

Munich Skyline by BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

In looking back, I realized I’ve never told you about one of my favorite cities in Bavaria – Munich. What is it about Bavaria’s capital city that makes it so wonderful and why should you visit?

Here are 11 reasons to visit Munich!

  1. Galleries full of European art, Bavarian sculptures and can be found in the many Pinakotheken (Picture Galleries) that call Munich home. The oldest is the Alte Pinakotheke and the newest is the Moderne Pinakotheke with the Neue Pinakotheke in the middle. Together these galleries hold so much of interest they will keep any art lover busy for days!
  2. Nymphenburg Palace was built in 1664 to celebrate the birth of a son to Ferdinand and Maria. The summer palace is gorgeous and famous for its Gallery of Beauties, the carriages and sleigh that belonged to Bavarian rulers and wonderful palace gardens.

    Nymphenburg Palace Munich Bavaria Germany

    Nymphenburg Palace Munich by www.schloesser.bayern.de - Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung

  3. The Olympic Stadium was built for the 1972 Olympic games that were held in Munich and include the pool where Mark Spitz won his 7 gold medals! The grounds were built on a former airfield that was transposed into a state of the art Olympic venue including a large hill made of rubble from WWII.
  4. The Residenz is the former residence of Bavarian Kings and the Wittelsbach Dynasty until 1918. Today you will be amazed at the Renaissance building with Rococo interiors. On display are the jewels and crowns of the Wittelsbach along with many silver and porcelain artifacts.
  5. The center and heart of Munich is the Marienplatz. This mostly pedestrian only area was created by Henry the Lion and is a fantastic place to sit and enjoy a beer and bratwurst! It is also home to the world famous Glockenspiel sitting on top of the Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus. Kids and adults of all ages will be charmed by the lovely chimes and dancing figurines retelling Bavarian stories.
  6. Churches have been the center of communities for eons and Munich has its fair share. The best known symbol of Munich is the Frauenkirche. Built in 1468, it is the largest Gothic basilica in Southern Germany and home to the tomb of Ludwig IV of Bavaria. For the grandest views over the city climb the tower of Munich’s oldest church, Peterskirche. The Baroque jewel, Asamkirche, houses a very ornamental grotto and wonderful ceiling frescoes while the largest Renaissance church in Munich, Michaelskirche, houses the crypt of Maximilian I and Ludwig II.

    Munich City Centre Bavaria Germany

    Munich`s city centre by BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

  7. Beer Halls and Beer Gardens are a staple in Munich and probably the first thing people think of when thinking of Munich. The passion for beer is definitely alive in Munich and there are many options for enjoying your favorite brew and singing along to Bavarian songs. But if you’re in Munich during the summer or warmer weather do not miss the Beer Gardens! This is where Munichers go after a busy day at the office and a great place to feel like a local.
  8. The Viktualienmarkt has been supplying fresh foods to residence since 1807 and is one of my favorite places to wander! This wonderful food market has over 140 stalls full of fresh fruit and produce, handmade jellies, bread, pastry, meats and more. Yes, there is even a beer garden!
  9. If you’d like something a little more relaxing maybe some time in one of Munich’s many Gardens & Parks is needed. Munich is home to palace gardens of Hofgarten and Nymphenburg palace as well as a wonderful Botanical garden. The largest and most popular garden, Englischer Garten, is the place to stroll, ride bikes, rent a paddle boat or even surf!

    Englischer garten Munich Bavaria Germany

    Englischer garten by LuxTonnerre

  10. Don’t even get me started on the Food! I can’t get enough wurst, frites, schnitzel, spatzle, pork knuckles, sauerkraut . . .
  11. Munich has many Museums to enjoy but the grand daddy of them all is the Deutsches Museum, the oldest and largest science and technology museum in the world. Sitting on an island in the Isar river is a huge museum that has amongst its displays an Enigma machine built during WWII and the first automobile. There are displays dedicated to transportation, aviation, mining, energy, physics . . .
  12. If this isn’t enough then go for the people. They are open, gregarious, smiling and the real heart of this wonderful Bavarian capital! 

    What’s your favorite thing to do in Munich?

Oh La La, La Seine!

It is no mistake that most of the world’s largest cities are located along major rivers. As our ancestors explored new areas they settled along rivers which offered them food, water, transportation, trade and more.

Among these grand European rivers are the Thames, the Danube, the Volga, the Rhine and madam La Seine!

Seine View Paris France

Seine View by polarjez, on Flickr

The 2nd largest river in France is 482 miles long and traverses through some of the most wonderful French landscapes before reaching the English Channel.  The Seine’s humble beginnings are about 19 miles northwest of Dijon deep in the Burgundian wine area. From here it meanders through or near Troyes, Fontainebleau, Paris, Giverny and Rouen before reaching the 6 mile wide estuary separating Le Havre and Honfleur.

Giverny France

giverny 2009 by ho visto nina volare, on Flickr

Outside of the large cities, a journey along the Seine passes Gothic cathedrals, battlefield remnants of past wars, tiny hamlets, forests that were the playground of Kings and rolling countryside with superb scenery.

The Seine is navigable by ocean vessels 75 miles inland to Rouen, by commercial river boats to Burgundy and can be enjoyed for recreational purposes along most of the length.

A series of locks keep the Seine at an even depth of 9 ½ meters and helps avoid catastrophic floods like the one in 1910.  However, even with these precautions, severe storms can cause the river to rise threatening villages, farmers and the billions of dollars of artwork located in Paris.

River Seine Paris France

vue Paris depuis Notre-Dame by Myrabella

At times the Seine has been described by historians as an “open sewer”.  Today the water quality has improved but the sewage system of Paris can experience failures during heavy rainfall allowing untreated sewage to seep into the river.  Despite this, in 2009 the Atlantic salmon returned to the Seine!

Even though the Seine passes many villages and cities, it seems to be synonymous with the capital of France, Paris! Just about everywhere you turn in Paris is a reminder of the importance the river has played in the city today and yesterday.  From the cathedral of Notre Dame to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay and many other priceless wonders, history abounds near the river! So important is the Seine to Paris, that in 1991 both the Rive Gauche and Rive Droite were added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in Europe.

Pont-Alexandre-III-et-Invalides Paris France

Pont-Alexandre-III-et-Invalides by Benh

In Paris alone, there are 37 bridges that cross the river. The Pont Neuf, the oldest, dates back to 1607.  I’m sure every visitor to Paris walks across at least one of these beautifully romantic bridges!  Or even passes under them during a wonderful tour along the Seine.

The Seine has been the subject for many artists including Claude Monet.  From his home in Giverny, Monet drew upon the Seine for his inspiration. Many of these important artworks can be seen in the cathedral at Rouen.

Rouen is another important city along the Seine.  Not only famous for its display of artwork inspired by the Seine but for being the site of the execution of Joan of Arc whose ashes were said to be thrown into the Seine after her fiery death in 1431.

Pont de Normandie Le Havre Normandy France

Pont de Normandie by François Roche

Finally at rivers end is the Seine estuary which is flanked on either side by Le Havre and Honfleur.  Here is another of the many bridges spanning the Seine.  Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, stretches between the two cities.

Pont des Arts River Seine Paris France

Pont des Arts Wikimedia Commons by Benh

Although we tend to view the Seine as a tourist attraction, you can see that this river is still important to France today!


How have you enjoyed the Seine?

The Bizarre World of Swarovski

Swarovski Kristallwelten is a place you just have to see to believe!

Before leaving for Europe, I knew I wanted to visit Swarovski Kristallwelten while in Innsbruck Austria.

I’ll admit I am a huge fan of jewels and have spent a fair amount of time visiting the crown jewels in more than one city! So it was with great anticipation that I set out to discover more about crystal making and to feast my eyes on some beautiful gems! I was expecting a display much like the gems section of the National History Museum in Washington DC or the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London or even the Bavarian Crown Jewels housed in the Treasury of the Residenz in Munich Germany .

Crown from India by googlisti, on Flickr

Boy was I wrong!

On my first day, I hopped on the bus to the Crystal World in Wattens, which is about a 20 minute ride from Innsbruck.

The grounds of the Swarovski Kristallwelten are beautiful and include a very nice park with playground equipment for children plus awesome views.  Upon arriving you will be greeted by a giant complete with crystal eyes and a waterfall flowing out its mouth.Giant at Swarovski Innsbruck Austria

Swarovski Crystal World is free with the Innsbruck Card, so I was able to pass through the turnstiles entering the giant’s world and embark on my journey through the universe of crystals.

Instead of a grand display I found flying mannequins, strange art, legs suspended from a device while tap dancing and a mechanical theater hosting a very strange fashion show. I actually felt that I was in the middle of a Tim Burton movie! The displays and art were created or inspired by artists including Brian Eno and Andy Warhol, which should have been my first hint that this was notgoing to be what I was expecting.

Cone head dress Swarovski Innsbruck Austria











To be fair, not all of the sculptures, jewelry, dresses and other crystal inspired exhibitions were strange.  Some were actually quite beautiful.Octopus Swarovski Innsbruck AustriaBeautiful Horse Swarovski Innsbruck AustriaChandelier Swarovski Innsbruck Austria











What you will find at Swarovski Kirstallwelten is a mixture of art, music and magic that is supposed to trigger all your senses.  If you like modern art, this may be the place for you.  To me it was just bizarre.


Is Swarovski Kristallwelten a place you would like to visit?

Art Appreciation in Auvers sur Oise

We all know that France and, in particular, the area outside Paris are full of sights related to famous painters. I want to tell you about an experience I had that really opened the world of art to me. First, you need to know that I am not an art or museum person. I am not the one spending hours and hours in every museum in town but this experience made be rethink art and museums.

A few years back I had the opportunity to visit France with the French Government Tourist Bureau. Part of the trip included the most exciting and enlightening 2 days of art appreciation I have ever experienced. The first part was a trip to a sleepy little village about 15 miles northwest of Paris, Auvers sur Oise. Auvers sur Oise is a French village that was popular with many 19th century artists including Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh spent his last 70 days in Auvers and, in fact, during this short time painted 70 paintings of Auvers and the surroundings.

We started our tour of the village at the Auberge Ravoux or House of Van Gogh. This is where Van Gogh stayed while in Auvers and is also where he died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. You are able to view the room where he died, room 5, but my favorite part of this visit was seeing the short film on Van Gogh. After seeing the film about his life and depression I felt as if I had a little vision into his mind and could see why his paintings are so dark and skewed. His paintings are a true reflection of what he was feeling and what was in his mind.

Restaurant Auvers sur Oise

After touring the House of Van Gogh and seeing the film we went to Dr. Gachet’s house. Dr. Gachet was an art lover and Van Gogh’s doctor while in Auvers. Van Gogh spent a fair amount of time painting the grounds of Dr. Gachet’s home. I vividly remember seeing the gardens and a copy of Van Gogh’s interpretation on a stand next to it. It was amazing to be able to alternate between seeing the actual subject and the painting at the same time!

Walking up to the cemetery where Van Gogh and his brother are buried we passed the Romanesque/Gothic church that was the subject of another of Van Gogh’s pieces. Here also is another opportunity to view the subject and the interpretation. Later, we had a wonderful lunch at Le Cordeville restaurant, which is a place Van Gogh frequented while in Auvers sur Oise.

Van Gogh Gravesites

The next day we visited the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Even if you do not spend time viewing the art, you should visit this museum for the architecture alone! I digress, during our visit to the museum I enjoyed viewing the Impressionist art collection including artists like Monte, Manet, Cezanne and Van Gogh. Again I was really mesmerized by Van Gogh’s art, in part, due to the insight I had gained in Auvers. While viewing Van Gogh’s pieces I could feel his despair.

So, as a non-art lover I highly recommend a visit to Auvers and then the Musee d’Orsay. Visiting these two locations was very exciting and informative for me. I had never experienced art come to life but it did due to the insight I gained in Auvers sur Oise about Van Gogh. I really didn’t (still don’t) know very much about Van Gogh’s art but after visiting Auvers I am a fan!

Do you have any “art appreciation” stories??