Visiting Milano, Italy’s Luxurious Northern City

Duomo by day
Duomo by day

Italy proved to be the final country on my European tour. This was my first extended visit to the country, I had previously made a day trip from Nice, France to Ventimiglia, a small town just across the Italian border, in 2011.

Flying from Clu-Napoca in Romania, I landed in Milano, Italy’s modern and fashionable city. The city is known more for its shopping and posh lifestyle than it is for its architectural or natural beauty. Nevertheless, there are still some impressive sites to visit.

Duomo by night
Duomo by night

The Duomo di Milano is the city’s landmark building. It serves as the centre point of the city. A popular meeting spot, practically all of Milano’s public transportation converges around the massive cathedral.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll

Close by is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll, a magnificent shopping centre. Built in 1867, its modern use of iron and glass makes an elegant indoor plaza for shoppers can wander, covered from the elements. It’s particularly impressive at night.

Castello Sforzesco
Castello Sforzesco

A short walk away is the Castello Sforzesco, a glimpse back in time to the middle ages. The 14th century structure houses some of Europe’s finest museums and leads to Milano’s large Parco Sempione.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll

At the North end of the park, you’ll find the Arco della Pace, a grand arch commissioned by Napoleon. It was completed in 1838.

Arco della Pace
Arco della Pace

I only spent two nights in Milano, but that proved to be enough to see most of the architectural sites the city has to offer. Shopping isn’t really my thing, but if you’re looking for a getaway where you can enjoy great food, shopping and a little bit of history and architecture sprinkled in, head to Milano.

Photos: Ottawa by Night

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Chinatown Arch

I kicked off my long weekend by doing a little night photography. I stayed away from the Parliament/Market area and instead focused on other areas downtown.

I love messing around with long exposure and aperture settings during night time shooting. It’s a lot of fun to generate these unique looks.

Quick facts on for each photo:

  • Chinatown Arch: It’s new, built in 2010. Which means someone was able to blog about its construction. Click here to read more.
  • First Church of Christ, Scientist: Here’s what the City of Ottawa’s website has to say: “Constructed in 1913, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, engaged Ottawa architect J.P. MacLaren to design a building in the Classic Italian style. This handsome Ohio sandstone building, with Corinthian columns, pediments, recessed doorway and temple plan was MacLaren’s response to these instructions. It features a spacious auditorium that is still used in religious services, and a three-manual Casavant pipe organ.”
  • Canadian Museum of Nature: The building actually served as a temporary House of Commons from 1916-1919 after the fire on Parliament Hill
  • Pretoria Bridge: This structure is 98 years old, but it had to undergo an extensive rebuild in the 1970s due to damage from road salt
  • Preston Street: Also has a commemorative street name, Corso Italia
First Church of Christ, Scientist
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Canadian Museum of Nature
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Pretoria Bridge
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Preston Street – Little Italy
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Preston Street – Little Italy

Photos: Spring Sunset on the Ottawa River

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The other night, I was driving along the parkway at around 8ish. I was heading west and saw this amazing view. Fortunately, I had my camera with me. I turned off at the Parkdale exit, got back on the eastbound parkway, headed back towards the downtown core and parked my car near the war museum. I then walked along the unlit and deserted bicycle path (normal people don’t hang out here after dark), ‚ with my camera and tripod in hand.

It was worth the extra time and effort, because I’m pretty happy with the way these shots turned out.

Hope you like them.

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395 Wellington Street: The Library and Archives Building

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395 Wellington Street

This site is turning into a photography blog. That’s OK.

For a long time, I had been meaning to get a picture of this building, the Library and Archives building at 395 Wellington.

I’ve spent a lot of time inside this building, the west end of the building boasts a movie theatre where the Canadian Film Institute (my old job) hosts the majority of its foreign film festivals. I’ve heard some complaints about the look of the structure, but I love it, especially at night.

It reminds me of buildings that you see in East Berlin, the formerly communist part of the city. I’m not an architect, so I don’t know if that’s an accurate assessment, but that’s what it feels like to me. I tried finding more information online about when the building was built and by who, but couldn’t find anything. If you know anything, please post a comment.

In front of the building, there’s a great piece of art that’s featured in cities around the world, Lea Vivot’s The Secret Bench of Knowledge. Read more about its installation in 1989 by clicking‚ here.

The Secret Bench of Knowledge by Lea Vivot.
The Secret Bench of Knowledge by Lea Vivot.

An underrated building, it doesn’t get the same level of fanfare that some of its neighbours on Wellington Street do, but it’s one of my favourites nonetheless.

Photos: Checking out Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica on Sussex Drive

Cathedral Ceiling
Cathedral Ceiling

As the world’s attention turned to the Vatican Papal Conclave, I happened to be in downtown Ottawa this weekend, soaking up the sunshine and warm temperatures, with my camera in hand. I ended up passing by Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica on Sussex drive across the street from the National Gallery of Canada.

It’s a building I had been meaning to check out for a while, having seen a couple of photos of the inside. I’ve been to a lot of Cathedrals in Europe, most of them in France, where seemingly even the smallest town has a breathtaking cathedral, with visits in Spain and Portugal as well. As expected, many of those Cathedrals were immaculate and awe inspiring works of architecture and art.

You expect that level of grandeur in Europe, but to find it right here, in Ottawa, is pretty remarkable. If you’re craving a European getaway but can’t find the time or funds, visit Notre-Dame Cathedral. At over 160 years old, it’s a little slice of Europe in Canada’s Capital.

While I had my camera with me, I was reluctant to take too many photos. There were people seated at pews throughout the building, sitting quietly in prayer and reflection. I became a bit self-conscious of the noise the shutter on my camera was making, so I took a few photos and then walked around. Here’s a few of the shots I got.

Inside the Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral
Telephoto Lens
Telephoto Lens
Sunny Day Downtown
Telephoto Lens
Telephoto Lens
The old and the new
The old and the new

Photos: Weekend Skate on the Rideau Canal

Banner on the Laurier Bridge
Banner on the Laurier Bridge

Last weekend I was able to go for a skate on the Rideau Canal. I’d only been a couple of times before, most recently in 2009 on a trip with my college class. I’ve only been living in Ottawa for a year now, so I didn’t get to grow up with the world’s largest skating rink close by.

So last Saturday I strapped on my Bauer Chargers, took my DSLR with me and hoped like hell that I didn’t fit a patch of rough ice, take a tumble and destroy my camera.

Fortunately I stayed on my feet the whole time, and was able to get some nice shots. Check it out.

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Patterson Creek
Patterson Creek

 

Ended the night with a sweet treat
A must-have on any Canal skate