Morning photo: Austria revisited

Countryside

All I can really say about this set is that I want to go back and see all these places in all their other seasons — and that, if you’re ever in Upper Austria, be sure not to leave without trying a portion of Speckknödel, a delicious dumpling variety stuffed with bits of crisp bacon and baked with a fluffy milk and egg wash.

Morning photo: Market colors

Ahhh, Provence!

Even in mid-November, the markets of southern France were bustling with vendors and shoppers all jostling over a fine selection of goodies for those pre-holiday season meals. Its not all that far from the Provence to areas where certain types of produce can grow nearly all year round, and the tangerines from North Africa were among the best I’ve ever had, while other market stalls feature more local and seasonal fruits and veggies like persimmons. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a market day in France without a slice of fresh-baked apple tart.

Morning photo: Paris by night

Metro tour …

I spent the better part of last week in Paris covering the COP21 climate talks at the Le Bourget conference center, where nearly 200 countries agreed to try and curb global greenhouse gas emissions and to shift the world to a low-carbon, sustainable future. I didn’t have a lot of time to be a tourist during this visit, but each day, on the way between the conference center and my downtown apartment, I chose a slightly different Metro route, stopping along the way to check out some familiar Paris landmarks by night. See if you name all the different spots and stay tuned for links to stories about the historic climate talks.

Morning photo: Winter color

The brighter the better …

The only possible theme you could find running through this set of images is my love of bold and bright color, and when I saw the bubble-blower on the Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna a few days ago, I definitely got back in touch with my inner child, whose voice always tells me, “The brighter the better.” The heck with grays and blacks! Especially during the holiday season and the short days of winter, a splash of color can warm your heart and soothe your soul.

Morning photo: Market goodies

Tis the season …

It’s getting to be that time of year, around the world, and Vienna is no exception. Many city streets are lined with small wooden booths selling Christmas goodies. Sure, there’s plenty of junk, but a few treasures to be found, as well. Call me cheesy, but a snowglobe with the Prater Riesenrad definitely makes me feel warm and fuzzy, a vibe that can be enhanced by a steaming cup of hot, spiced wine, some glowing candles and perhaps a slice of pumpkin cake, or a spicy sandwich topped with grated horseradish — trust me, it’s good!

Morning photo: In the gardens

Got light?

I’ve always thought that light and color together create magic. Whether you capture a scene with a camera, or not, you should always keep your eyes open to the possibility of seeing something familiar in a new way, and when you have a darkroom in the palm of your hand, why not experiment a little bit to re-imagine every day objects like a vase full of flowers or a late-blooming rose?

Morning photo: Vive la France!

Unbowed

Our Europe sojourn included a side trip to visit family in southern France, and our arrival coincided with the murderous terrorist attacks in Paris, which left the country shaken but unbowed. Though far from the carnage, the people in Brignoles felt the pain of their countrymen. Saturday morning coffee talk at the cafés around Place Caramy was more hushed than usual, as locals and visitors gathered around newspapers and televisions to try and learn as much as possible about the events of the preceding night, while declaring solidarity with compatriots in the capital city. In Paris, Saturday brought a show of defiance from French citizens around the country, as they crowded into cafés and restaurants to show the world that they’re not afraid.

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