Downtown Wien …
Near the Flakturm in Vienna’s 7th district, a couple of locals try an early ping pong game at a public table.
Downtown dog-walking at the corner of Lindengasse and Neubaugasse in Wien’s 7th district.
Bubble blower, Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna.
Rainy day pinks at the Siebensternplatz in Wien.
Early spring in the Mondscheingasse, Wien.
It doesn’t take long for Vienna to wake from its winter sleep. Just as soon as temperatures get into the 50s and 60s and the sun peaks out a little, cafes set up their outside tables where people huddle around even if they still have to wear a winter coat. In the parks and town squares, flowering trees add splashes of color to the neighborhood scene, and ping pong enthusiasts can strike up a friendly game in the park near the Flakturm. But keep your umbrella handy because April showers are not uncommon in the Danube metropolis.
Spring in the Wachau world heritage region
Apricot trees blooming the world heritage Wachau region along the Danube between Krems and Melk.
A wild fruit tree blooms along the Danube River near Dürnstein the world heritage Wachau region of Austria.
Delicate fruit blossoms promise a bountiful harvest in the Wachau world heritage region, along the Danube River near Vienna.
A riot of spring color as the fruit trees bloom in the Wachau.
A fruit orchard along the Danube bursts into full bloom in the Wachau world heritage region of Austria.
Spring greens dominate the steep hillsides of the Danube River Valley near Spitz, Austria.
Nothing says spring like blooming fruit trees, and one of the most beautiful places to view this annual spring spectacle is in the Wachau region of Austria, along the Danube River between Krems and Melk. Perhaps best known for producing stellar crops of apricots — not to mention wine grapes, the Wachau is designated as a world heritage region for the values of its cultural landscape, including agriculture, ancient castles and villages and terraced vineyards that have been cultivated for centuries.
The area’s natural forests were cleared during the Stone Age, from which date famed relics like the Venus of Willendorf, a fertility figure shaped some 25,000 years ago. Around 800 AD, bishops from Salzburg and Bavaria started cultivating the hillsides for wine grapes, creating the present-day landscape pattern of vine terraces. Learn more about the region at UNESCO’s world heritage website.
Picking petals in the Stadtpark, Wien.
Near the Vienna University and the Votivkirche, ornamental fruit trees are in full bloom in late March.
Got cherry blossoms?
In densely packed Vienna, open green spaces are cherished by residents and the city’s many parks and gardens are starting to come alive with spring blossoms. It’s easy to take trees for granted during the green days of summer, or in winter, when the branches are bare. But in spring, when they burst into their most colorful display, it’s time to stop and give thanks for the plants that help us survive on this planet. The city recognizes the environmental value of green spaces and actively works to encourage the creation of new gardens by offering subsidies for community gardens, green roofs and other activities that promote more plant life. You can find the best of Vienna’s gardens, and many other interesting tidbits of information about the city, with this online resource.
More #windowseat love!
Looking southwest over Denver – check out the corn maze in the lower right.
Above the Continental Divide of the Rockies in Colorado, with several ski areas, including Keystone and Breckenridge visible.
Heathrow”s Terminal 3 from above.
Following the Danube eastward.
A lovely aerial view of Vienna from the south.
A few more aerial views, just because looking at the world from above is so cool. The air was filled with a wintry haze during a recent flight to LA, but with a little editing I was able to bring out some of the detail in the Denver cityscape, and a black and white edit of the mountains helped sharpen the image a bit. It was also fun to see the giant jets at Heathrow all lined up, looking a bit like toy planes. Just a couple of hours later, our flight path took us along the mighty Danube for the approach to Vienna, spread out and gleaming in late winter sunshine.
Looking west along the Danube in Linz, Austria.
Gebackene Speckknödel at the farm guesthouse Echsenschläger, near Linz, Austria.
Autumn vineyards in the Steiermark.
The Aist River Valley in Upper Austria.
The hills of Styria.
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.
Good enough to eat!
Fresh from North Africa.
Classic French – tarte aux pommes.
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.
Metro tour …
At the opera.
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.