La Marais is a district in Paris, that is spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissement. Once the home of the Jewish community, nowadays lots of art galleries, Chinese immigrants and the LGBT community call it their home. And this is the district where Lars and I stayed during 3 sunny days in October.
Lars had found us a modest hotel near the Rue du Temple, near the St. Elisabeth church.
We are both very fond of churches, or religious buildings in general. As a retired organ player, Lars is always curious about the organ(s) in a church or cathedral and I appreciate these buildings on an aesthetic level.
Afterwards, we soaked up some sunshine in a nearby park.
We didn’t take any pictures of the hotel or our room, but we do have photographs of the places where we ate!
After a 2-hour drive, Lars and I arrived in Aachen last Monday. After a bit of rest in our hotel, we went to the centre of town, to have some dinner. We chose a restaurant quite close to the Aachen Cathedral, called Rose am Dom.
We felt quite at home in the rustic but cosy interior. The menu features mainly regional specialties, which are reasonably priced.
I have to admit that don’t like pork, but I will make an exception for a well-prepared schnitzel, which is fried breaded pork filet. Lars, on the other hand, went for a Wienerschnitzel, which is fried breaded pork or veal filet, traditionally served with lemon and anchovy.
It was still raining when we left the restaurant and the somber clouds didn’t predict any good weather.
We first visited one of Aachen’s most important landmarks, Aachen Cathedral.
This was actually the first site in Germany to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to Wikipedia,
The Palatine Chapel has the shape of an octagon and its decorations are breathtaking.
It was our first visit to this cathedral; Lars had never been to Aachen before and I had only visited its Christmas market. We are so happy that we could finally admire this astonishing piece of religious architecture.
Finally, we were back outside, where it was still wet and gloomy.
If you like exploring religious buildings, the nearby Pfarrkirche is also worth a visit, although it lacks the grandeur of its bigger neighbour.
A nearby candy-shop caught our eye…
The shop specialises in the so-called “printen”, a local delicacy, we will talk about in the next part!
This small town is known for its old center with Renaissance buildings.
Our first stop was at the Marienkirche, which was unfortunately closed. Ingrid, however, managed to take some pictures through the glass door.
The main attraction of Torgau is a castle, Schloss Hartenfels. Around the courtyard are residential buildings, palaces and a chapel. Under the bridge is a bear pit, but the bears were apparently having their winter sleep.
It was our goal to visit at least 2 places in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. When we left Vilnius, we didn’t go straight to Riga, but had a stop in Liepaja.
Liepaja is the third largest Latvian city and is known for its Seaside Park and white sandy beaches, wooden houses and Art Nouveau buildings and the many shops and restaurants. Ingrid and I liked the harbor area the most.
If you drive on the main road to the south of Liepaja, you will see a road sign towards Pape. A dirt road of 8 kilometers takes you to a nature reserve – with some luck you can see wild horses – and a magnificent beach.
On the opposite side of the main road is the village of Rucava, with its beautiful Lutheran church.
The Bernati Nature Park is also worth a visit. Think forests, dunes and sandy beaches… Ingrid and I also stumbled upon a small monument, indicating the most western point of Latvia (not far from Nica).
The Masurian Lakes is a district in the northeast of Poland, containing more than 2000 interconnected lakes. It is a very popular area, not only because of its natural beauty, but also because of the many cultural, historical and religious places and buildings. The Wolf’s Lair is only one of them; take your time to explore this area. This is our selection of highlights.
There are churches and then there are churches; the Sanctuary of St. Mary belongs to the latter category. It is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Poland.
These are pictures of the outside:
The interior is simply magnificent. The decoration is rich and colorful – what a contrast with the Danish churches!
Ingrid would have taken more pictures, but there was a church service going on.
The bigger lake, the bigger the touristic resort. Like Mikolakji for example:
Shops, pubs, hotels, restaurants, …; Mikolakji has everything a tourist wants.
230 square kilometers of forest…
Meet the European bison, which had almost become extinct in the northeast of Poland. During 2 centuries, they had all disappeared in this area, but thanks to the breeding program of the Wolisko Park, they are back for good. The animals avoid contact with humans, but there is a pen where you can observe them.
Horne is a small town, situated in the south of Funen:
Lars and I visited the church of Horne 2 years ago; it’s the only round church of Funen and it was the setting for a Danish dark comedy, Adam’s Apples. We came back, because in 2012 I had the idea of converting all my pictures to b&w and deleting all the originals…
Anyway, this is how the exterior of the church looks like during a cloudy spring day:
Usually, Danish churches are closed on Saturdays, but we were lucky. The local organ player was rehearsing, so we could visit Horne church after all. The reason why I insisted on coming back here and taking color pictures is because of the charming blue interior.
Mission accomplished! It was such a beautiful afternoon that Lars and I decided to continue our drive. We went south and stumbled upon Bojden Nor, a beautiful coastal lagoon. Because of the many species of migratory birds, this is a protected area.
15 minutes later, Lars and I were in Dyreborg:
This was our second time here. 2 years ago, it was raining; this time, there were sun and clouds. I simply love this beach…
Head over to the beautiful church of a small place, called Landet.
At the end of the 19th century, a young circus artist, Elvira Madigan, and a Swedish army officer, Sixten Sparre fell in love and eloped. The affair caused a huge scandal, not only because he was a lot older than her, but because he was married with children as well. The doomed lovers spent some months on the island of Tåsinge, but when their money ran out, they only saw one solution. Sixten killed Elvira and then committed suicide.
And now they are buried together in this small cemetery:
Some people are quite skeptical about these events, claiming that Elvira was not the sentimental type and saw her relationship with Sixten as a means to escape the circus life. Anyway, if you are as curious as we are, visit the church as well. It is quite pretty.
Photographing the backroads of Europe, exploring beauty and enjoying life at our own pace