Venetian Architecture (and also boats)

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The look of Venice is fairly unique. Not too many places in the world can boast canals paired with Renaissance architecture. It’s a good fit, and wonderful for taking pictures and drawing. A fun fact we learned : most of the people drawing at any given time are not art students from one of the nearby colleges, but are tourists. It’s pretty fun to join them too!

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While there are plenty of famous scenes and views all around the city, we strayed a bit from the travelled path and took pictures of mostly anything that caught our eye.

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There was no shortage of interesting views, even just out our hotel window.

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I personally love the semi-planned stacking of buildings that look like they’ve grown from the water, huddle together in a very visually pleasing arrangement.

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It’s hard to ignore the boat-lined tunnel canals – the only way to get to a lot of these doors and boats is to have someone else drop you off.  There are many, many doors, that lead to a tiny dock and boat, or worse, drop straight out into the water. The best are private bridges – smaller versions of the canal-spanning bridges that lead to a single door.

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Between the crowded living spaces spring up massive cathedrals. It’s an odd contrast.

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One of the amazing and frustrating things about Venice is the constant haze. It comes from being warm and on the water, and it makes for some exciting and terrible photo conditions. During colder parts of the year the atmosphere is probably clearer and the photos come out crisper.

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We really enjoyed getting lost and seeing the smaller details of the city. It’s easy to miss in light of the surrounding grandeur.

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Walking is really the best thing to do. Every bridge, canal, and tiny alley offers a new and unexpected view.

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Sometimes the alleys are extremely small. This one, we think, was meant for people. Notice the streetlamp in the center. Definitely not for the claustrophobic.

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There are big life goals and small life goals. After we decided to come to Italy, and specifically Venice, I knew I had to recreate the View of the Grand Canal and the Dogana, by Bernando Bellotto. It’s one of the few paintings I know by name, and since seeing it at the Getty have wanted to see this view in person.

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Of course, since we were here in person, there was no doubt we’d eventually see the Dogana up close. It’s fantastic in its size and detail.

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Each one of the statues lining its parapet is a work of art unto itself, and the structure as a whole is breathtaking, especially in the low setting sun when its lines and minute details are thrown into sharp relief.

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European Capital Hop: Budapest

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The Hungarian Parliament Building behind the silhouette of Rákóczi Ferenc lovasszobra, a national hero who led the uprising against the Hapsburgs of the Holy Roman Empire.

Over the next three weeks we’ll be European capital-hopping, where we have a few days in Budapest, Vienna, and Prague before ending up in Linz, Austria for the 2017 Ars Electronica Festival.  Like Riga, we have little time to get to know each city, but hopefully it’s enough to get a feel for what makes it unique.

First up: Budapest, capital of Hungary and the fusion of two prior towns – Buda, and Pest. Stretched across the Danube, the city is a mix of beautiful architecture, verdant parks, and busy car-filled roads. The most beautiful time for photography is dusk, when the city lights up its most iconic buildings.

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The Hungarian Parliament Building, as viewed from utilitsa Alkotmany.
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The moon rises over the southern wing of the Hungarian Parliament Building.
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Visitors pause to read signage at the the impromptu protest memorial in front of the German Occupation Memorial. The protest memorial accuses the government of rewriting history to make Hungary seem like victims rather than supporters of the Nazis.
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Memorabilia laid out at the protest monument, which argues that many Hungarians participated willingly in the murder of Jews, Roma, and homosexuals during World War II.
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St. Steven’s Basilica at night.
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Moonrise over Buda, on the other side of the Danube.
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The stairwell leading up to our hostel.
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Graffiti drawn on the side of an ornate building.
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A sad robot.
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Possibly some kind of revenge.
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A team  of students participates in a scavenger hunt across the city.
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Protesters occupy the edge of Varosliget, where the city has proposed to remove green space and replace it with a museum.
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A stuffed animal watches over a donations box for the protestors.

 

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A man pedals a Ferrari boat around the pond in Varosliget.
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A typical day at the Szechenyi Thermal Baths in Varosliget Park. They were nowhere near as warm or relaxing as a Japanese onsen.
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Men play cards on a patio at Szechenyi Baths.
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A tour group wanders by a bronze statue in downtown Pest.
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Lunch – lemonade, chicken with spaetzle, and strawberry soup.
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The bank of the Danube.
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A plant grows from a discarded bucket, washed ashore from the Danube.
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Budapest Central Market Hall.