A relatively new phenomenon (for Paris), the Pont des Arts bridge has gotten covered with “love locks” since about 2008.
If you’re not familiar with the meme, the idea is that couples write their names on a padlock, lock it on the bridge, then toss the key into the Seine river as a show of their everlasting devotion. The problem, though, is that the bridge wasn’t really designed to handle this kind of a load (it’s estimated that nearly a million locks, weighing 60+ metric tons, have been snapped onto the bridge).
When we traveled to Iceland a few weeks back, we were primarily hoping to see the colors of the northern lights. We inadvertently saw some more urban colors as well — this time, in Reykjavik:
Many of the more-traditional buildings in Reykjavik tend to be painted in fairly muted tones. One swath of buildings near the harbor is dressed in a more modern fashion, with saturated solid colors. This one apparently got a bit of help from some of the younger locals — its sky blue front was augmented at some point with a variety of colorful graffiti. When we passed by, the interior appeared to be in the process of being rebuilt — into a shop, or restaurant, or whatever — hard to say. Regardless, it was a welcome splash of semi-chaotic color on an otherwise drab day.
A segment of a panorama from the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal — covering the Governor’s Palace (left) and the House of the Turtles (right), along with a few scattered tourists:
I initially didn’t expect this image to be of much account. It’s part of a panorama I made for later reference, one of many I made at a number of sites on my last trip to the Yucatán, primarily so I can double-check the quality of the maps I draw for my eBooks.
But in the process, I discovered that a modern iPhone (!) can make surprisingly good panoramas.
This past autumn, when I returned to the ancient Maya ruins of Uxmal, I had the opportunity to spend a night in a nearby hotel and so could watch the evening light show at the ruins. The main action takes place in the Nunnery Quadrangle, but as you can see here, the Pyramid of the Magician isn’t left out of the fun.
Granted, the colors can get a bit… garish… but the show as a whole is pretty impressive. And if you know a little Spanish, you get to hear a concise history of the site while watching the colored lights splashing on various buildings.
In our case, as happens pretty regularly (I’m told), we also got drenched right after the part of the show in which recorded voices (portraying plaintive inhabitants during the site’s historic drought) chant the name of the Maya rain god Chaac. Interesting coincidence, that…
A long duration (3.2 seconds) shot along the main street (Stradun) of the old town of Dubrovnik, Croatia:
One of the reasons for our recent trip to eastern Europe was the desire to see some still less-visited places before they’re “discovered” by tourist mania. Dubrovnik was the one spot on our route that we knew in advance was definitely “discovered” already, yet it still didn’t disappoint.
OK, the prices there are accordingly a bit high. But the old town’s got scenery in spades, the people are wonderful, and there’s a wealth of history to explore (its more-recent history being more than a little sad). And as you can guess from this shot, it’s got some pretty good nightlife. The two figures in yellow over black, BTW, really were two young women — identically dressed.
We recently had the opportunity to visit the city of Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A bit out of our way (even on a trip along the Adriatic), but we primarily wanted to see one iconic structure — Stari Most (“Old Bridge”).
The original version of this structure was built on the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent between 1557 and 1566, and it stood for 427 years with no issues. But it was a casualty of the Balkan Wars back in the 1990s, and so had to be subsequently rebuilt in 2004.
Still, it’s said that the (new) Old Bridge is made largely of limestone blocks from the (old) Old Bridge, salvaged from the bottom of the Neretva river.
Denver’s in the process of reworking the core of its mass transit system, and since part of the new work had a grand opening last weekend, my daughter and I hopped on a light rail train to check things out. The core of all the work will soon be Denver’s Union Station — rebuilt in 1914, and currently in the process of renovation into a high-end hotel.
But the light rail stop that used to sit directly behind (to the Northwest of) Union Station got relocated about a quarter mile further west. So what to do with the space between?
Why, build an underground bus station, naturally. The idea was to make a bus station that looks more like an airport concourse than a stereotypical bus station — and if you ask me, they were fully successful in that. I’m not sure, but suspect that the yellow tile trimming the walls is a hat-tip to the similarly-colored tile used in the original Union Station train tunnels (check out the cover of The Fray’s self-titled second album for a historical peek at them).
A straight-on frontal shot of the House of the Cenote, in the ancient Maya ruins of Tulum in Quintana Roo, Mexico:
No, it’s not the most artistic angle on this structure, but it does give you a good feeling for its size and design. This photo was shot from roughly the southeast (from the point of view of the sea, basically) and shows the face of the original part of the structure.
Some years later, a small shrine was added to the back of this building, directly over a small cenote that gives the whole construction its modern nickname.
The “marquis” structure at the ancient Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá, El Castillo (a.k.a. the Pyramid of Kukulkan):
What most tourist brochure photos don’t show you, though, are its two faces. The pyramid’s north and west sides have been fully restored (so, look as close to “new” as we can get), while the south and east sides have just been consolidated and stabilized (and so, look rougher). In the shot above, north is to the right — the pyramid’s north face is what you’ll most often see on postcards and such.
It’s the Temple of the Frescoes, in the ancient Maya ruins of Tulum, Mexico:
Compare it to a photo from my previous visit, and you can see there’s been an unfortunate addition during the past few years — bracing in a couple of the doorways over on the photo’s left. Apparently, the structure’s developing some structural issues — hopefully they can be addressed without too much change to the building.