Made you look! This isn’t a poetic post, but it is chockfull of pretty pictures.
In 2012, you got the year in review as seen through the lens of Downton Abbey. This year is getting a loving, if slightly side-eyed glance backward and, since it started out in a haze of medieval architecture, if an event can’t be described the year with words and photos or art of my own, appropriate screenshots featuring the rascally royals from The Tudors are ready to fill in the voids. If you’re patient, you may get a gratuitous Charles Brandon shot, um…because isn’t Henry Cavill beautifully designed?
Yes. Yes, he is. Medieval times call for Medieval measures, y’all.
We’ll see. There were a lot of shutter clicks this year and 89% of the shots were bad, so you never know…
Boy, have things changed around here. Look how far the blog’s redesign has come in 12 months:
The site’s appearance got stripped down to bare bones and migrated to a new location. It appeared horribly…honestly, dull…but lessons were learned in the process. For example: there is a simple beauty to CSS, major importance in a permanent 301 redirect, and, finally, love and longing for the
subscriber subscribers that got lost in the move.
Lesson learned, Life. Thanks for the hammer to the skull.
Priorities being what they are, the redesign waited while I spent half of January in Europe. I know, I know. If it’s any consolation it was fricking freezing for the entire trip.
The first stop on the trip was Germany, with the gang from Modenus. Lead by the inimitable Veronika Miller, we traipsed across Cologne, taking in the awesomeness of its historic sites and marveling at the harmony between Medieval and Modern architecture.
A post-transcontinental flight pre-dawn stroll through the deserted streets of the city set the tone for what I can only describe as Morning Magic. We headed to the Dom, the oldest cathedral in Europe, built over the course of 632 years, where soaring walls of stained glass split the sunrise into colorful rays:
One of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, even under a veil of construction scaffolding, the structure invoked a feeling of reverence and its windows revealed the most incredible light. I broke a few rules by taking a couple of stealth cellphone photos during Mass. I’m guessing it will be the least of the sins I have to account for, so you can take a photographic/video tour through the rest of the Dom with me here. I’ll do penance for both of us until you get back.
Ooh, zu suchen. Eine Miezekatze!
That’s a lie. Penance wash’t sought because it was already paid. In Euros.
On the first day of IMM, in the first hour, I dropped my camera…lens first, natch…onto the hard concrete floor. It was all bad good. Efforts were “refocused” on enjoying the experience instead of trying to capture it until the equipment could be replaced.
Travel Tip: Don’t drop your camera in Europe. The exchange rate is killer.
Our main mission was to visit IMM and Living Kitchen, Germany’s premier interior design shows, but Veronika made sure we experienced the city’s culture, as well. We made stops at the MAK–or as some like to call it, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst–for a whirl through an extraordinary exhibit of creative arts and to the Museum Ludwig for the flat-out fabulous Hockney show.
A lot was learned about human nature on this trip. One thing we all had in common was managing our expectations when attempting to mix budgetary constraints with blogging and social media sharing. In the land of BlogTour, free Wi-Fi is KING. This simple graphic sums it up pretty well:
I took a ridiculous number of photos and turned a few of them into works of
angst art. Angel of Cologne is one of my favorites:
I also met some amazing people:
We ate; we drank; we laughed; we cried; we steamed. It’s possible we also witnessed the beginning of something akin to SpaTour. Stranger things have happened. You can read more about the pampering, BlogTour and the best new products shown at IMM and Living Kitchen here.
From Cologne, we hopped on an early train from Köln Hauptbahnhof to Amsterdam:
It’s grainy on purpose, y’all. It’s supposed to look old. The complexity of the structure is a marvel.
It was an incredibly early start, so my travel companions were snoozing again in no time. I stayed awake, harboring the illusion of solitude on a train in the countryside. Right.
Witness Holland, pre-dawn, at high-speed:
While you were sleeping, I was making art.
We hit some major design venues in our quick stay in Amsterdam and walked on every cobblestone in town. The city is stitched together with a plan now known in some circles as #Amsterblocks. I swear, it’s a word. We
made it up spell checked it.
We also got to visit the one room Droog Hotel and discovered that Marcel Wanders’ shop, Moooi, is actually Design Mecca. After a full day on the streets, our feet hurt and our bones were cold, but our hearts were full from the warm welcome we received from Amsterdam’s shop owners, designers and bloggers.
I will be back, Amsterdam. We aren’t finished yet.
While the rest of the BlogTour team headed home from Holland, I made my way to Belgium. Since Europe was experiencing some of its most bountiful snow and ice storms in years, my journey was delayed. As travel time lengthened, the snow piled up. Brussels was blanketed in white snow and sky.
For now, this all you get from that slippery leg of my journey:
From what I could see–pretty much nothing more than 15 feet away–Brussels is an interesting city. Belgium may require some more of my attention…when it’s warmer. Rumor is the gardens are to die for.
From there, it was off to Paris *
looking for answers to questions that bothered me so for more exploration and exhibition. What I got was a massive snow storm that left the streets nearly deserted. As tourists and Parisians hunkered down and stayed warm, I hit the streets and walked for hours. There were stretches of time when I didn’t pass a living soul. It was heavenly.
I don’t have adequate words to describe the experience–it’s the subject of a future post–but Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen does, so what she said:
Golly. Gee whiz. That’s EXACTLY how I feel about Paris.
Does it say Year in Review up there? Yeah. Looks like it should say month. Lots of interesting things happened in 2013, that’s why this is a two part post. Subscribe to make sure you’re the first to find out when number two is in the can and on the web!
Since an assist from those nutty kids from not-so-merry old England wasn’t required, here’s a little *Henry to keep you going until then. Did you want Henry VIII or Cavill? Thought so. Me, too:
Did you go anywhere Magical or Medieval last year? Tell me about it. Really. Tell me about it. I love traveling vicariously through other people and seeing the sights from different perspectives. Share a link to your favorite 2013 adventure in the comment section and my
reader readers and I will be sure to check it out!
Happy New Year!
*Lyrics from He Went To Paris by Jimmy Buffett. Screenshot of Showtime’s The Tudors via Netflix