To say that I had a lot of pictures to choose from this year is an understatement. Neil and I spent four weeks in Paris from June to July. We also embarked on a year-long European adventure at the end of August and have so far spent time in France (Marseille), Germany (Munich, Nuremberg, Berlin), Denmark (Copenhagen), and Sweden (Malmö, Stockholm, Timrå). My image count is well over 30,000. I haven’t even had the time to edit anything but a small fraction of them! So narrowing it down to ten photos has been a challenge, but one I know I am exceedingly fortunate to have.
1. Neil and I had the wonderful experience of spending Christmas with my Uncle Clinton, Aunt Christina, and my cousins in Sweden. We got to go to their cabin for the week of Christmas itself and it was every bit as lovely and picture-perfect as one can imagine. It’s definitely been a highlight of our trip. This picture encapsulates everything I love about the season, the country of Sweden itself, and spending the holiday with family.
2. I took this photo on a snowy morning walk in Sweden.
3. This ruby crown of Queen Therese of Bavaria, made in 1830, is a stunner. Pink stones and diamond flowers? Do you think it would be too much to wear at a summer BBQ? Because if this was mine, I would find any excuse to wear it.
4. The picture I took at the Munich Treasury of this beautiful English crown (dated around 1370-1380) turned out as well as I hoped it would. It can be tough taking pictures of items in museums. The rooms are often dark, and you often have to fight the glare of a glass display case. I was so fortunate that, even with these obstacles, the camera was able to get a sharp, focused shot of the crown. I was so excited to see it, and I am thrilled to have such a great lasting memento of the experience.
Here’s a second angle of the crown, because it’s my blog and I can post what I want to.
5. I love this picture of Le Cathedrale de la Major peeking at me from down a street in Le Panier, in Marseille.
6. I started listening to some history podcasts to prepare for our trip to Paris, and I became absolutely obsessed with the fact that, on the grounds of Versailles, Marie Antoinette had her own little farming village built, the Hameau de la Reine (the Queen’s Hamlet). It was a place where the Queen and her friends could get away from the formality and pressures of palace life and pretend they were romantic, carefree milkmaids (minus the hardship and poverty of being an actual member of the peasant class). The hamlet featured its own dairy, bakery, and livestock. I was more excited to see the Queen’s Hamlet than the Palace itself (although that was still really impressive!).
7. The Viktualienmarkt in Munich was a real photographic highlight. I always love it when I have an excuse to take pictures of flowers (especially pink ones!). I like the unusual tube shapes of these blooms, the spiky green stems, and the angle the photo was taken at.
8. This may not be the best picture from a technical standpoint. Instead, I like it because it reminds me of the moment when we were standing on the Eiffel Tower and it started to twinkle. For a few minutes at the top of the hour, once the sun goes down, the Eiffel Tower puts on a light show. We weren’t sure if the show would go on when we were there at 10:00 pm because it wasn’t quite dark, although the sun had set. Happily, it did! And I had a quick shot of adrenaline and delight when it first started to sparkle. It was the end of a long and hot day (+37 C), and for a minute I felt like a little kid who still believed in magic. The Eiffel Tower might be a cliché, but it’s the kind that actually lives up to all it promises.
And now I’m sitting at the keyboard trying not to burst into tears because I still feel so moved by the experience.
9. The Chateau d’Amboise was a highlight of our day trip to the Loire Valley outside of Paris. This tree growing out of a nearby wall was so cool, and added an interesting element to this photo.
10. We had a blustery, grey day-trip to Mont Saint-Michel during our trip to Paris. Walking toward the small island commune in Normandy, France from our bus was a gale-force experience. The shots I tried to take while doing so ended up rain-splattered, blurry, and crooked. At the end of the day, just as I was about to take the last step onto our waiting bus, I saw the opportunity to get my longed-for shot of the entire island community. One snap, one frame, and I am perfectly happy with how it turned out.
Here is a bonus picture!
I took a lot of pictures inside Saint Chappelle, a beautiful church in Paris located within walking distance of Notre Dame. The top level of the church features gorgeously decorated stained glass windows. The beauty of these windows exceeded my ability to capture them in their entirety. However, I am happy with the shot below that focuses on just one of those magnificent portals.
Below is a picture that I found on Pixabay. This is only the front portion of the room – the windows stretch along all four walls. If Saint Chapelle isn’t already on your list of destinations to visit in Paris, add it now. Put it in your top five. Try to go on a day when the sun is out, so it lights up all of the panels!