The Christmas Market Diet

The Christmas Market Diet; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

The Christmas Market Diet; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014  

Bill and I have spent the last month travelling around Germany, visiting several Christmas Markets, and while each is unique in location and presentation, they all seem to have a few things in common. Two things you will find at every market, food and children’s rides.

Bill and I have done our best to test and taste sample as many different varieties of Frankfurt, sausage sandwiches and wine as we can! The Coburg sausage is a 12 inch sausage with a 3 inch bun! I love their little ceramic mugs. It was set in a beautiful square in the center of town. It was raining, but we found a beautiful little spot with log tables where we could stand and savour our lunch.

After a month of Christmas Markets we are off to Amsterdam. I think they have a Christmas Market that we will visit, and there will be more photos of Christmas Markets and the cities we have visited. But it is time for a change both of scenery and of diet.

Bamberg Germany

Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 20124

Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 20124

Bill and I have spent a little more than a week in Bamberg, described by Lonely Planet as a disarmingly beautiful masterpiece with an almost complete absence of modern eyesores. The entire Altstadt, or town center is a Unesco World Heritage Site.  The town is bisected by two rivers, and built on seven hills!

We have walked most of the streets, down the park paths along the river, stopped at most of the 10 breweries, and visited the different historic sites. We have made three-day trips, by train to three different cities, all within an hour’s ride, Nuremberg, Wurzberg and Colberg, to visit the different Christmas Markets and see the sights, all beautiful cities deserving on more time. The train system is amazingly efficient, and an economical way to travel in Germany.

We have loved our time in Bamberg and would come back again, tomorrow we are off to Frankfurt.


Bamberg Germany and the World of Beer

Bamberg Beer; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Bamberg Beer; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

There are nine independent breweries around the beautiful heritage city, and 60 breweries in the surrounding countryside. According to the guide we were given at the tourist information, this region boasts a unique diversity of beers and the highest density of breweries, a tradition that goes back almost 1000 years.
We are going to do our best to visit the nine that are in the city! I doubt if I will be very helpful at describing the different beers, but with any luck, and auto-focus on the camera I should have an interesting photo or two before the week is over.

Bamberg Germany

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

How time fly’s by, Bill and I visited Bamberg Germany for the first time April 2011! We loved it so much when the opportunity to spend this month in Germany photographing Christmas Markets came up, we knew that the Bamberg Christmas Market would be on the list of places to see. 

We have spent a couple of days wandering the streets, visiting the familiar tourist attractions, as well as some of the coffee shops and breweries that we had visited before. We have also found some new favourites. 

This is the old town hall, and it doesn’t matter how many times I walk by, or which bridge I am on when I see it I think about taking a photo. According to legend the bishop of Bamberg would not grant the citizens any land for the construction of a town hall, so the townsfolk rammed huge wooden beams into the river Regnitz to create an artificial island on which they built the town hall. The location marks the old border of rule between the bishop, the ruling clergy and the local trades people on the island city. 

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Old Town Hall, Bamberg Germany; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

the old town hall at night. 


The Gamaldegalerie, Berlin;

I have doing some reading about street photography, and wanted to share some photos taken at the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin. The gallery founded in 1830 contains a collection of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. The Gemaldegalerie website notes that a complete tour of the gallery includes paintings from some of the great masters as Raphael, Titian, and Jan van Eyck, to name a few, as well as a gallery of Rembrandt’s work. There is approximately 1000 masterpieces on display at any one time.

Our visit to the gallery seemed like a perfect opportunity to practise some of the tips and suggestions I had been reading for street photography. After all walking around the gallery can be a lot like walking around a small neighbourhood.

Some pointers I have picked up from this experience and from my reading;

  1. be patient – working on that one, still working on that one, yup will probably be working on that one for a while. Some times it pays to sit in one place for a while, in a museum where it is alright to sit or stand and study a painting I look a little less awkward, okay I feel a little less awkward. People are generally pre-occupied with the art work, and less concerned with what I am doing.
  2. choose the right lens, 24 mm to 50 mm,  allows for more background or foreground, and provides context to the image, while pulling the viewer in, as if they were part of the image unfolding before them.
  3. have your setting right before you start, ISO and shutter speed fast enough to stop movement. Pre-planning and be aware of light changes is essential. I choose to practise in a space where light was constant, one less thing to worry about for the day.
  4. Look for juxtaposition, or in the case of the museum photography, I looked for people busy viewing the art work, but not blocking the art, so we could see both.
  5. focus; with modern auto-focus cameras and a wide lens, in the 30 – 35mm range, set to lens to f8, generally works to keep most the subjects in focus.

So there you have it, my gallery of images, and a few lessons I picked up along the way. It should be noted that I have a noisy camera, and in a quiet museum people are going to notice, on more than one occasion someone apologized for being in the image!  It is important to check with the museum before taking any photos, and remember to turn off your flash!

I love to visit the museums, the audio guide playing in my ear, learning about the masterpieces on show along with a little history, now I have another reason to spend time in a museum! I hope you have found this helpful, if you have any tips to share please leave a comment.

Berlin Murals

Berlin is famous for its graffiti, or wall art I thought I would show you a few of the image we noticed during our time here.

Salzburg Christmas Markets open today

Salzburg Austria; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Salzburg Austria; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We have been in Salzburg for a couple of days, visiting the Cathedral and the Abbey. It has been cool and rainy, with the cloud cover this time of year it is dark early, and by 4 o’clock the street lights are coming on. Salzburg Christmas markets open today, and everything has been decorated for the event, it is all quite magical especially when the church bells start to ring.

St. Charles Bridge, Prague at Sunrise

St. Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary at sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary at sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We haven’t been getting up for sunrise very often lately, we wanted to see Charles Bridge in the early morning before it was filled with people. Sunday and there was at least a dozen photographers with tripods, and another dozen or so people walking around with cameras at 6 am! It was cloudy so there wasn’t much of a sunrise, but it was worth getting up early because by 7 am there bridge was starting to get busy, by then we were ready for our morning coffee and croissant.

Friday in Venice Italy

love locks, Iron railing, bridge, Venice Italy, gondola on the canal in the background, copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Love Locks on a bridge in Venice Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

We spent Friday in Venice Italy, yes it is unfortunate that we had only one day to see this lovely city, but we made the best of it. We have been to Venice before, so it was a day to visit some of the lovely spots we hold in our memories, and catch glimpses of the Venice in the autumn light.  One of the new things we noticed this time, Love Locks are starting to appear on some of the bridges!  It could be that I have been too busy looking at the scenery to notice them before.

Lots of boats in the canals, but with the number of visitors to the city there are only a  few places to sit quietly, and enjoy the sunshine.

Lucy, a boat, a person, a canal in Venice Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Lucy, at the side of a canal; Venice Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Of course there are beautiful masks hanging on every stall waiting to be picked up and taken home by a tourist.

white Carnival mask with white feathers, copyright jmeyersforeman

Venice Italy, Carnival mask; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

A view from the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square at sunset. We had not visited the top of the bell tower before, so this was a new view for us, and of course the best time to go is at sunset, as the lights come on in the city.

A view of Venice from the bell tower at St. Mark's Square; copyright jmeyersforeman

A view of Venice from the bell tower at St. Mark’s Square; copyright jmeyersforeman

One of the favourite places to visit is the Rialto bridge. Even though both the canal and the bridge are crowded with people, it is a lovely spot to watch the sunset.

Grand Canal, night, Rialto Bridge, Venice Italy, copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

A view of the Grand Canal at night from the Rialto Bridge; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

It was a long beautiful day, we are off to Vienna Austria………….



Bird’s Eye View of Florence and Sienna Italy

Cathedral of Santa Maria; Duomo di Firenze

Cathedral of Santa Maria; Duomo di Firenze; copyright jmeyersforeman

Cathedral of Santa Maria; Bell Tower

Cathedral of Santa Maria; Bell Tower; copyright jmeyersforeman

Piazza del Campo; Siena Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

Piazza del Campo; Siena Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman

It has been a busy couple of days walking up many many stairs to get the bird’s-eye view of Florence and Sienna. Up and down the cupola and the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore for some of the most famous views of Florence Italy. The next day we travelled to Siena and while we were there I headed of the tower to see the view of Siena and the Piazza del Campo.

It hasn’t been all hard work, we found a great gelato shop and had some tasty cinnamon and chocolate gelato as a reward for all the walking!