My summer in panoramas.

It seems fitting I share the panoramas I started to take along my trip this summer as there were times where it took more than one look or one simple photo to take in the amazing sights around me.

Here are some shots from my trip that I captured with the panoramic function on my iPhone. A couple have appeared in my previous posts, but it’s fun to see them all together here one after another.

When I first arrived in Paris I had to go to one of my favourite places- Montmartre. Here’s the view from the steps of the Sacre Coeur on a cloudy day.

photo 1

Being able to explore inside the glorious Palais Garnier, I was almost inspired to buy opera tickets, but never ended up back there.

photo-11

Next up, the Louvre. I took this photo from the less-populated entrance.

photo 4

It was a few days in to my first week in Paris that I discovered my new favourite place, the Jardin du Luxembourg, including the palace, and palm trees and pond (oh my!)…

photo 1

I spent many evenings having picnics with friends here, and daytimes getting some sunshine, reading, or people watching.

photo-12

I honestly didn’t know that you aren’t supposed to take pictures inside the Shakespeare Company Bookstore. It serves me right, then, for if you look closely there’s a weird morphing/disappearing person in the middle of this photo.

photo 2

Thanks to my amazing French teacher, we got to go inside the Sorbonne (one of the oldest universities in Europe), and this is one of the incredible lecture halls…. including the carved wood ceiling and fresco painting.

photo 3

The Musée Carnavalet was one of the first museums I came across, and the grand courtyard was everything you’d expect from a French garden. Stylish, sophisticated, and completely symmetrical.

photo 3

It was inside the Chapel at Château Vincennes on a beautiful and sunny day that I captured this photo.

photo 1

The view from the top of the Centre Pompidou allowed me this far off view of the Sacre Coeur, and the entire skyline of Paris.

photo 2

It was an overcast day in July when I couldn’t leave Monet’s Garden without a couple panoramic shots of the water lilies and romantic overhanging willow branches.

photo 4
photo 1

The evening sight of Lyon before we embarked on our cruise down the Saône and then the Rhône river.

photo 3

And Lyon by day. The view on  a rainy day. Red-tiled rooftops as far as the eye could see reminded us of Florence, Italy.

photo 2

In Viennes we learned all about the Cathedral of St Maurice, which was built in the early 11th century and then added to for almost 500 years.

photo 4

In Arles we toured this amphitheatre, where events still take place today.

photo-14

Avignon during their Theatre Festival is truly papered from one end to the other with posters of the hundreds and hundreds of shows going on. And all along the way roaming artists and performers acted out scenes and handed out pamphlets to encourage people to come see their productions.

photo 2

And yes, we did take an evening ride on the ferris wheel before leaving Avignon.

photo-15

With the freedom of picking up a rental of a car, we explored the fields, orchards, hills, and vineyards of Provence and found ourselves staying down the road from here; near Carombe and Bedoin, with a beautiful view of the famous Mont Ventoux.

photo 4

The lavender fields near Sault were every bit as amazing as we dreamed. Possibly better.

lavender fields

And the lavender fields went on and on….

photo-16

The hilltop town of Gordes was a welcome sight after twisting and turning mountain roads.

One of our favourite places we discovered in Provence- Roussillon, also called ‘The Red City’.

photo 3

The view of the Alps from the top of Mont Ventoux.

photo 1

And August brought us to the northern coast of France, and the stunning view along the walkway to Mont Saint Michel.

photo 2

photo 1-3

This was the view from our hotel room. We were so glad to stay on the island to appreciate the magic of Saint Michel at the end of the day without the swarms of tourists that flood it in the daytime.

The view of Mont Saint Michel at dusk. It was incredible to have the tide completely out and be able to simply walk barefoot in the sand out to this point to see it. 🙂

photo

Amsterdam was a beautiful, interesting city and we could have wandered the canal-lined streets for days.

photo-18

The city of Amsterdam is full of tourists from all over the world and full of Dutch souvenirs. One colourful sight? Clogs.

photo-17

We started our exploration of the city of Prague at the oldest Medieval castle in the world, and St Vitus Cathedral.

Definitely our favourite place to start our adventures from each day: Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic.

photo-2

One of the many bridges in Prague.

photo-6

The colourful buildings of Prague that look like they are made of white chocolate and candy…. and of course the Astronomical Clock and Old Town Square in the background.

photo-5

When we went to see the open-air film festival at the Parc de La Villette, we barely scratched the surface of this amazing area full of various gardens, sights, and activities. This dome we later found out held the IMAX centre at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie- the largest science museum in Europe.

photo 3

Our last apartment had the most beautiful view of the Sacre Coeur, and so this post comes full circle, with one of the places that made me fall in love with this part of the world. Hope you enjoyed seeing my summer’s adventures in a panoramic summary.

photo-7

 

Amsterdam in 3 days. Next time it should be 5.

Amsterdam in three days. Nutsy. But we loved it.

image

So maybe we tried to pack in too many things… And maybe we weren’t so great at our time management. But we did a lot and explored a lot and had a great time. Lots of window shopping, lots of food (we declined the kangaroo burgers at the Australian restaurant, though), a few museums, and touring the city. And no, we did not go into any “coffee shops”, though they were everywhere, and the whole alternative culture was overwhelmingly present in that city. 🙂

The famous architecture really was stunning, and along the many canals we saw countless tall and narrow buildings with colored brick, painted trim, and beautiful details that gave each house a unique charm and personality . And I have never in my life seen so many bikes in one city. (No photos to fully prove this at the moment, but I promise. It’s crazy.) 🙂

image

image

In the trendy neighborhood of Jordaan. We liked it a lot here.

The university residences.

The art at the university residences.

image

image

It rained a whole heckuva lot while we were there. When we had brief sunny breaks here and there we would immediately take all our photos, and then the water would pour down again and we’d run for cover.  This led to some fun shop and museum discoveries, and many delicious snacks (poffertjes, stroopwaffles, and cheese, to name a few…), so no complaints here.

We found ourselves at the Amsterdam Tulip Museum’ which had a full history of how tulips became such an important part of Holland’s identity. (Did you know that the tulip is originally from turkey and the name comes from the same word they used for the Turkish turban?)

image

image

Did you know that tulips originated in Turkey? Their name comes from the same word for the turban-style headwear of the Turks.

image

Several tools used in tulip production- to carry, clean, and sort different bulb sizes.

image

image

 

Next door to the tulip museum was the Cheese Museum. A bit smaller and most of our time was spent sampling cheese. 😀

image

No filter. You see before you magenta, green, and bright blue cheese.

No filter. You see before you magenta, green, and bright blue cheese.

My sister getting a little silly with their dress-up box.

My sister getting a little silly with their dress-up box.

We found little discount tickets to things at our hostel and one was for Sara’s Pancake House, so of course we had to go. 🙂 It was a little pricey but the crêpes were quite good (I had a walnut caramel one and my sister had a pineapple banana crêpe), and it was fun to get a photo outside of me grinning ridiculously at ‘my’ pancake house (same spelling and everything)!

image

We took in an open mic night at an Irish Pub called Mulligans: we just couldn’t turn down free entertainment, especially not Celtic music. 🙂 Three young guys from Ireland were the main performers and sang such gorgeous harmonies we were in heaven. The lead singer was on an acoustic guitar, they had an acoustic bass and a mandolin. A percussionist on a box drum (forget the real name of it, sorry) and a guy on a hand drum rounded it out, and then part way through a fiddler came in to join them. It was absolutely fantastic!!

image

We checked out the famous floating flower market, and found tulip bulbs, fresh flowers, seeds and more souvenirs, but it wasn’t too exciting for us- perhaps if we were avid gardeners… 🙂image

image

We went to the Rijk Museum of Art, which had a huge collection of art from the  1200s-1800s. One thing I noticed that I have never before seen in such a classic museum was that every piece of artwork had a description under the usual artist/title/material sign. It often said what the artist’s intention was, or what the images symbolized, and as a non-art-history major, I really appreciated that. It completely enhanced my experience. That, and some giant post-it notes around the museum with commentary from two modern art-history students on the art and the collections there.

image

Wedding dresses from the 1700s in Holland

Wedding dresses from the 1700s in Holland

image

image

Explanation! SO awesome!

image
We then had to get some shots by the I AMsterdam sign (as one must do when one is in Amsterdam), and then we headed to dinner, which ended up being at an Australian grill where we got burgers. Not very Dutch, I guess, but there were delicious. We opted for beef, and not kangaroo, (no, I am not joking)…. we just couldn’t bring ourselves to being that adventurous… 😛

image

image

We had tickets to go on a walking tour of the Red Light District but we were misinformed as to where our group would start out, so we actually missed it. We tried tagging along with another tour company for a few minutes, but they kicked us out rather quickly. We walked around the area for a bit after that, and then headed to our next evening event: the Amsterdam Ice Bar. 🙂

We had seen posters about the Ice Bar and wanted to go, so made reservations for 10:30pm. The main bar is like any other, with music and drinks and bar seating (and maybe some bear skin rugs and giant polar bear and penguin statues)… And when your reservation time starts they give you giant parka ponchos and matching mittens, and lead you into a smaller room at the back of the bar that has ice sculptures, frosted walls and ceiling, and a mini light show. You get two drink tickets for inside the ice bar, and the options of Heineken, vodka or whip cream flavored vodka with orange juice. You get your drinks in ice glasses, and you only really want to hang out in there for long enough to have two drinks before you want room temperature again. It was really fun, and a totally unique experience. We then got “Amsterdammed” drinks in the main bar (cranberry-something-delicious), and headed home for the night, as the next day would be packed with Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank House, and a canal tour.

image

image

 

image

We wanted to see the Anne Frank house before we left Amsterdam and decided to brave the long line up to get in. We arrived during a torrential downpour. We were already around the block from the entrance to the museum so I wasn’t too optimistic about how much patience I had for over an hour wait in the pouring rain. The rain slowly tapered off after about 45 minutes of heavy pouring, and then 30 minutes of continuous drizzle, and the sun poked its head out of the clouds. It was at this point we had moved about 15 meters. But we persevered, had some hot chocolate from a well-placed local little shop, and made friends with the people in line behind us, a woman and her sister from Copenhagen, and a girl from Dublin. While we were in line, a busker played us some amazing Vivaldi on violin, and the church tower near us played some amazing ‘popular’ music for some time before a musician on a tiny boat in the nearby canal started playing a trumpet. Then all of a sudden he and the church bells were playing to each other, and we found out the bells in the tower were being played live by a musician up there. This went on for quite some time and was brilliantly entertaining! (And obviously, not the first time they had done this.)

image

image

We had been waiting for two hours when we got to this sign.

image

My sister caught this photo of the musician in the boat while I held our place in line.

In the end we were in line for over 3 hours!!! We agreed that the museum was worth it. It was unbelievable to walk through each room in the home and hiding place of Anne and her family and see short videos of her father, one childhood friend, and one of the staff who helped hide her family above her father’s business talk about Anne and what it was like during the war, and the impact her diary and writing have had on the world.

image

Because of our 4+ hours at the Anne Frank house we didn’t make it to the Van Gogh museum. 😦 Since a canal tour had been so highly recommended to us we did that as our last excursion in Amsterdam as our night train left the main station at 7:00pm. We were looking forward to seeing the streets we had already wandered around from a different perspective, and get some history on the city. Going past all the house boats and barges was my favorite part. I would imagine it would be fun to take a tour in the evening when the city is all lit up.

image

Well, Amsterdam, it’s been a whirlwind three days! See you again!

image