AEC currently hosts an exhibition of night photos taken by photographers all over the world. All photographers are a member of TWAN, an organization built around the passion for the night sky and photography. Visit their website and of course take the chance and visit the exhibition–here’s a preview: flickr.
I share their idea of shooting the night sky but hadn’t too much opportunity so far; above is one of few photos I took (Wahweap/Page, AZ).
Last night we visited the major cathedral in Linz, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, to watch the light show that was set up for the Night of The Churches–a yearly cultural event across all Austria, where various performances of choirs, lessons, meditations etc. are arranged. Could be a scene from a Harry Potter movie, right? Here’s one of the photos:
Great opportunity for some photography! Check it out next year! Bring a tripod!
On Friday, driving from Linz to St. Anton am Arlberg, we stopped in Salzburg at Hangar 7. Our intention wasn’t just to see the flying bull fleet; the Carpe Diem Lounge-Café offered us a wonderful breakfast. I found something interesting on the menu that I couldn’t resist: poached egg with ham espuma. I had no idea what to expect and was quite surprised: a bowl filled with a very fluffy foam covering the poached egg. After talking to the waitress and additional research, I am still wondering about the exact preparation of the ham-foam.
The last thing on my amazing journey over Christmas was to visit the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Air and Space Museum at Dulles International Airport. The reason because I wished so much to go there was that the Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise is exhibited there. NASA used this shuttle to test whether it is airworthy or not as the shuttle is optimized for space and not air operation.
Other planes exhibited there are the Concorde, the “Black Bird” and several planes from World War II.
This afternoon I went with parts of my Christmas International House Family to see the Gettysburg battlefields. We started our tour at the visitor center with a Civil War introduction film followed by the cyclorama illustrating the battle of Gettysburg. After that we visited the museum. The visitor center is providing maps for a car tour through the battlefields.
We picked one of those maps and started the tour. Before we actually started the tour we went to a really good restaurant in Gettysburg for lunch. All over the battlefields are many monuments for various soldiers or group of soldiers from various people or states. The last point was the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln delivered the well known Gettysburg Address.
We traveled to Philly from DC by Greyhound. Unfortunately, the bus broke down after short time in the middle of a five lane highway. We transferred to another bus which took us to Baltimore. There we were waiting for the final transportation to Philadelphia. We took the subway from the bus terminal to our hostel located in Bank Street, a side road from Market Street.
On the rest of the first day we visited the Liberty Bell and walked up all Market Street until the City Hall. On the place right in front of the City Hall was a little Christmas village; very similar to what we Austrians are used to. I enjoyed this a lot! We proceeded along Broad Street southwards to The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts where we ended up listening for a little concert for a while. After that we went to get a “Philly Cheese Steak”. Don’t expect a hearty steak topped with cheese – Americans are making a sandwich out of everything *haha*. We went to Jim’s located at the corner of South Street and 4th. The rest of the evening was about hanging out in the hostel, playing pool and meeting other guys there.
We started our second day, Wednesday, at the Reading Terminal Market where we had breakfast. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was the next sight to see. The steps in front of this building are especially famous trough the movie Rocky. (And we went there just because of this.) We planned to attend a tour at the City Hall but finally we canceled it because it lasted for two hours and we didn’t have so much time. We took some pictures at the Love-Sign at JFK Plaza and continued with the Independence Hall.
It was impressive to see the original place where once the Declaration of Independence was signed. This building is listed as a World Heritage Site. Before we went to see the Masonic Temple we went very quickly to see the Betsy Ross House. On the way there i jumped into the Benjamin Franklin Post Office, first post office of the United States, to send my postcards. The tour in the Masonic Temple was very spectacular for me. We saw all the halls where the lodges are meeting. Each hall illustrates another theme – the Egypt Hall was my favorite one. After the tour we went to Rittenhouse Square for dinner and then back to South Street in Old City for a drink.
We stayed for another night and left Philadelphia on Thursday at 9am with the Chinatown Bus.
On Saturday I started with looking for a grocery store, which was not as easy as I expected – shops are obviously rare in the area I stayed and are opening not early on Saturdays. But I had a chance to see a nice area of the city 😉 . After breakfast I headed for the White House, The Ellipse and finally for the Washington Monument where I queued for some minutes to go up to the observation deck. The view is just amazing! Down again, I walked down to the World War II Memorial and along the Reflection Pool to the Lincoln Memorial – a great place to hang out! Right next, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is an even imposing place. So many people bring flowers and candles to this place.
On my way home I passed once more The Ellipse, where I stopped a few minutes for listening to a little Christmas concert. At night I did almost the same tour once more to experience the impression from all these monuments in the dark. Additionally, I visited the in the dark almost scary appearing Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the magnificent Jefferson Memorial.
On my last day I visited the Library of Congress, the Capitol and the Air and Space Museum. The Library of Congress was very impressive. The first map of the United States was exhibited there as well as one of the Gutenberg Bibles. The building is impressive too. Through the connecting tunnel I walked over to the Capitol. I was really lucky to get right on a guided tour. It’s obviously a great time of the year for going there – we where just three people on this tour! At the Air and Space Museum I had a chance to see the Apollo 11 command capsule. So impressive! This thing has been to the moon!
After all these impressions I really need to say that Washington is one of my favorite so far!
Last weekend I’ve been to Chicago to attend the Austria Science Talk 2008. Maria and I already arrived on Friday morning. We met at the airport and went to the City center to the Allerton Hotel where we got a pretty amazing rate over hotwire.com. After checkin we walked along N Michigan Ave. I was overruled an so we spent some time shopping at the Water Tower Place. As recommended in the tourist guide, we went for pizza at Giordanos. After lunch we took the bus to Millennium Park to see “The Bean” / Cloud Gate. It was already time to go home and prepare for the evening.
We enjoyed the show Dirty Dancing at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. It was a neat experience! A very American show! And pretty cheesy too. We spent the end of this freezing evening at a Starbucks around the corner with some hot chocolate.
On Satruday, after a short breakfast, we went straight to the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. After a small welcome reception, the presentations started. It was nice to hear about Austria. At about one we had lunch. Maria and I went for a short walk before the afternoon program, the world café, started. For the end of the afternoon program, drinks were served. The evening program took place at the University of Chicago. It was a small panel discussion about the US presidential election. Afterwards we enjoyed dinner and Austrian wine.
Before we went out, Maria and I visited the John Hankok Tower. We spent about an hour at the observation deck. It was amazing. It was impressive!
Not it was time for drinks. We met with some other Austrians from the Science Talk and had several good conversations in a nice bar.
On Sunday, our last day in Chicago, we went for a boat tour after breakfast. The boat brought us to Lake Michigan where we were able to see the whole skyline of Chicago. After Lake Michigan we went along the Chicago River. We were lucky, because right after the boat tour which was about two hours, it started to rain. But we didn’t mind – we went for a hot chocolate at Starbucks.
It was still raining when we hit the road to the Field Museum of National History to see the largest complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This was actually the last thing we did before we picked up our luggage back at the hotel and left for the airport. We were quite lucky to catch our planes because we had troubles with the subway. We were waiting about half an hour and additionally we had rail replacement bus service for the last couple of stations. We checked in 5 minutes before last checkin. At the airport we had a quick final coffee and then left for Montréal and Atlanta.
It was an awesome weekend. Chicago is a great city! Here are the pics. I’m still working on the video. Check the news on the main page. I’ll post it there when it is available.