July 9, 2016
December 31, 2013
Himself and I have been married for eighteen years and are not big on things like Valentine’s Day: we see it too much as an over-priced and over exaggerated marketed gimmick, but instead find occasions throughout the year to do something special for one another just on a whim.
Now that we are in the Belle-Vue Hotel in Vianden, Luxembourg he’s made a lovely surprise for me.
He wasn’t fussed at all about having a room with a castle view, and knowing that my friend “Velvetine” and I were just drooling over all things “castle” decided to let us wallow in the view for the night.
This was an opportunity not wasted at all… we certainly made good use of the view, staying up late as we tried to get photographs of the floodlit castle in the night.
These were shots to test my zoom lens and amateur photography skills to the limit, the low light produced masses of blurred images that vaguely resembled a castle (if someone had told you it was actually a castle I was trying to take a photograph of in the first place).
Velvetine fared little better, but then I struck on an idea: if you have no tripod with you, then you must find something that could substitute as one, and our balcony had a rail around it that might do the trick very nicely.
It still took me around two hundred shots to get a few decent ones in focus, but we had a ton of fun trying to perfect the art of stretching to maximum zoom and whilst they are far from professional shots we were delighted with our efforts.
I take photographs as the light fades away and the floodlights come on around the castle. Later on, the main floodlights go off and we try to get some more photos of the castle in near darkness. Velvetine and I finish the evening by “chillaxing” on the bed taking photographs of our feet before finally turning in and continuing talking about castles and our fabulous day for a bit longer.
In the meantime Himself and the kids had a peaceful night in the family room and they all woke early to enjoy a swim in the hotel swimming pool before breakfast. After staying up chatting, Velvetine and I enjoyed a sleep in the next morning so it worked out perfect for everyone. Bliss! Isn’t Himself the best!?
December 27, 2013
We are about to leave Vianden Castle in Vianden, Luxembourg.
Downstairs in one of the lower galleries (or Great Halls, or whatever they all it) is another market, this time of hand-made jewellery, medieval costumes, wood and leather work, local and regional produce.
Some of the vendors were packing up and I was fast reaching maximum pain tolerance after all this walking around the castle this afternoon, so I’ll be honest and admit that I only photographed some of the stalls closest to us.
One of these was a source of fascination to all of us because a lady selling honey and honey related products also had a section of a hive in a box with a clear perspex side wall and there were live bees inside it.
I’m severly allergic to both bees and wasps and so usually the only bee-line I ever make is in the opposite direction of the little beasts, so this provided an excellent opportunity for me to actually see some hive activity up close.
Behind the clear screen the little worker bees were in constant busy motion, and whilst in the low light their movement was hard to photograph, it was amazing to see how intricate and organised the work seemed to be.
After a good chat with the honey lady, we were then attracted to a stall that sold medieval costumes. As I mentioned in an earlier post we bought a simple knight’s tunic for Little Mr. which he was so delighted with that he immediately put it on and in his imagination was instantly transformed into a full blown knight.
He would have slept in it that night too but I was the mean Mama who said “No… let’s save it to wear again tomorrow instead” which once he got over his indignation of not being able to sleep in it, ended up being the next best thing.
He wore it for days afterwards, and at home, and eventually for a special event at school too.
Velvetine fell in love with a medieval gown, it had huge quirky medieval sleeves, but the reality of finding somewhere suitable to wear such a heavy garment in tropical Singapore plus the space such a big dress would take in her suitcase meant that we took photographs, dreamed about it but reluctantly left it behind. Soon we had to leave the castle behind too… so we slowly make our way back into to town of Vianden.
December 26, 2013
Following yesterday’s post we are at the 2012 Medieval Festival in Vianden Castle in north eastern Luxembourg.
We’ve been watching a wonderful display with medieval costumed dancers, and now I find my lens drawn to some owls and falcons in a display one level below the dancer’s gallery.
There was no bird show going on at that moment so the birds were resting. Some of them preferred the shade of their little tents, the others looked content in the sun.
Originally I was going to include a photo of one of each bird, but one of the owls fascinated me and I was amazed at how un-birdlike it was, how effortlessly it turned it’s head in all directions, how every little movement was noticed by it’s sharp eyes, how beautiful the arrangement of the feathers was, the different directions the feathers went in: yet all in harmony.It’s a stubby looking bird that likes like it could never be aerodynamic and yet it manages everything with a grace that has you mesmerised at it’s beauty. At one point it’s eyes half closed and I thought it was about to sleep but the minute it caught a random movement it was all action and the intense stare was back, focused and concentrated. This photo series attempts to capture the magic of this amazing and most bewitching bird.
December 25, 2013
In this page from my on-line diary I document our travels of 2012 with visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and we have been lucky enough to visit Vianden Castle in Luxembourg just as a medieval festival was taking place.
We enter the castle to hear music playing and slowly walk around the battlements to investigate where it’s coming from.
In a long gallery on one of the upper floors we find a group of dancers and musicians and stay and watch the dancing. There are more “players” in the group but some of them are just leaving the stage as we enter, so we watch three ladies and a man (they are occasionally joined by a second man during the performance) weave their way through medieval dances, with promenades, curtsies, dips and some handkerchief waving.
It’s magical and a little mesmerising to watch, the twirling skirts, rotations of the dance, the richly decorated costumes, all gave an atmosphere that transported your imagination for brief time into medieval times and how it might have been at grand parties and festivities of the nobility. Apparently we missed a lot by not being here early enough, so if you are ever in the area the next time a medieval festival is taking place, my advice would be to get their early so that you can enjoy the full programme of events. We made do with the last set of the day, but it was beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
December 24, 2013
The 2013 Medieval Festival taking place in Vianden Castle in Luxembourg is in full swing.
Family Kiwidutch and visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” have arrived late to the party, but there is still time to take a look around and join in.In an inner courtyard there is an outdoor market taking place and naturally we stop at a few stalls that catch our eye.
I’m not drinking alcohol because of my pain medication but even just the beautiful bottles containing the wines and liquors on this stall are appealing to the eye.
The vendors were friendly and chatty which was good because we had plenty of questions and Velvetine and Himself even managed several taste tests of some of the more unusual brews before deciding on a few purchases.
Velvetine loved the little toy hedgehogs at one stall, Little Mr coveted bows and arrows from another (“No”!) but gains a medieval knights vest that he can reuse at an upcoming school play. It was late afternoon and some of the stall owners were already packing up so we could have seen far more if we had been lucky enough to have arrived earlier. Still, you can’t have everything when you stumble upon things without planning.
December 23, 2013
In continuation of yesterdays post, we have arrived at Vianden Castle in Luxembourg and quite by chance this weekend they are hosting a medieval festival.
All around us, right from the admissions gate, we have been seeing people dressed up in medieval costume, and one gentleman and his wife even bought their medieval hound with them and a “back pack” made of wicker.
The ladies very 21st Century camera did shatter the illusion somewhat, but we made allowances, everyone wants to get a nice photograph or two of a special day out, don’t they?
Later in the day we saw musicians on the castle battlements playing out the visitors as the festival packed up for the day, and Himself and I had a giggle when we saw a group of costumed gentlemen heading into the town in front of us and they couldn’t resist admiring a classic car as they went past (Himself tells me the car is a classic English car called the “Morgan”).I assume that I medieval times knights admired horsepower of the four footed variety, and historically a steed with class is timeless so what’s not to like?