The Plane the Plane then onwards to Cologne with the train

Whilst boarding was on time, the sitting on the tarmac bit for what must have been an hour was a bit boring. I woke up a couple of hours somewhere over the old Soviet Union after indulging in a second champers whilst waiting.

It was dark, so nothing to see here until breakfast just before the landing in cologne 1 ½ hours late. So no time to dawdle on landing to get a coffee. Got a move on to catch the shuttle bus to the other terminal and the train to Cologne. The ICE (Inter City Express) is better than anything in Australia. Travelling at close to 300 km/h we made it to Cologne in just under an hour.

The Ibis Hotel I am staying at is on the edge of the train station, my window overlooks a square with views to the justifiably famous Cologne Cathedral (Der Dom). Time for some sightseeing and exercise it turns out. I get a ticket to climb up to the main tower, all 157 meters and 509 steps of it. In the steep winding staircase you don’t notice much apart from your rapid breathing. Through the occasional small windows you see intricate stone carvings that decorate most parts of this Gothic masterpiece.

There are also the massive yet delicate flying ramparts that made this construction possible in the middle ages from 1200 to the late 19th century with Friedrich Renard being one of the last Dom Baumeisters (master builder). The footings of Basalt and Tufa under the tower dive 16 meters into the earth to support what was the tallest building on the planet for a number of years. The layers of human presence under the cathedral include parts of a previous cathedral and Roman Structures 2000 years old.

Onto more worldly matters. The cathedral’s liturgical treasury items are supposed to show the glory or something like that. I personally found it a bit over the top, even though as some of the items as a demonstration of the art of gold and silver smithing is fabulous. One of the bits I enjoyed the most at the cathedral was a tour of the excavations under the cathedral. The Archeologists drilled through meters of the thick foundation walls to get access to the sub floor area and below. The cathedral is retrofitted with a concrete below the original floor, and the history beneath back to Roman times is then exposed.

By the time we emerged back to the surface the warm sunshine was replaced by lightning and torrential rain. Back to the hotel to recover from 2 days of travel.

Regards

Walter

Up Up and away to Germany via Hong Kong

Quarter to 5 in the morning and Occy and Griffin (the horses) seem to think it’s quite normal for me to visit this time of day (or night). The carrots probably helped. With the car waiting for me there was no time to linger.

Back to the house, glass of water, bags in the car and it’s off. An entirely uneventful 1 ½ hours later we arrive at the Airport. Early actually. Need to loiter before check-in, security and customs.

The Qantas flight to Hong Kong passed in a blur of Champagne, Scotch and Coke, sumptuous lunch and spectacular scenery. We passed directly over Cameron’s Corner, the meeting place of the borders of Queensland, New South Wales and the South Australia. The ochre red of the rolling sand dunes contrasted with the stark white of the salt encrusted clay pans.

Then onwards over Northern Australia and the coast of Western Arnhem Land. Then onward towards Hong Kong where I arrived in a rainy twilight to try to navigate the intricacies of multiple levels and more security to get to the departure section to meet a friend who happened to be traveling back to Melbourne. 20 minutes later she was gone and I headed to the nearest Cathay Pacific Lounge for some snacks and a couple of G&Ts.

In the following hours while waiting for my Frankfurt flight I managed to strike up a conversation with a lovely lady called Chris from the New South Wales Hawkesbury area. A fellow horse person, although mainly racing. It did help to pass the hours before boarding

Regards

Walter

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End of an era in Gembrook

After 30 something years Ian has called it a day and the Gembrook servo has closed after changing hands. The future will see what will happen to what had become a local institution. This is one of my first black and white shots in a while. Just felt right this way. 

New South Wales Hunter Valley

A few photos from my short stay in the Hunter valley region. This includes a barn or coach house that was part of one of the original properties in the Lochinvar region with the house built in 1821, all constructed with convict bricks. Apart from being close to industrial areas such as Newcastle, there is a lot of history if you get of the main highways.

Mt Tamborine Winter 2016

It has been a while since my last post, and as I had occasion to travel north to (very) rainy Queensland and had a spare 3 hours decided to spend this at Mt Tamborine.

As this was my first ever foray into a tropical environment short of a hothouse, it took me a little while to adapt to the dark and damp conditions. Being overcast if not drizzling (I’m glad my Pentax is pretty much impervious to this sort of environment) at least removed some of the problems associated with rainforests of high contrasts with beams of sunlight filtering through the canopy and the dark shadows underneath it.

My overall impression on a cool about 20 degree day was that the air was thick with humidity, and everything was green and trying to get up into the light.