Photo: Is This The Best Parking Spot in Europe?

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While out for a walk with my camera, I spotted a single car parked along‚ the banks of the Danube River in Budapest. Across the river is Hungary’s magnificent Parliament Building. I thought it made for a pretty neat image.

Quick Facts about the Hungarian Parliament Building

  • Inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and completed in 1904
  • The architect of the building, Imre Steindl, went blind before its completion
  • It is the tallest building in Budapest

Visiting Washington at Christmas

The US Capitol
The US Capitol

After my visit to New York City, I took a bus that wound its way through New Jersey and Delaware on its way to Washington, DC.

My visit to the District came only a couple of days before Christmas, so the city was in holiday mode, with large Christmas trees placed throughout the downtown core.

Washington is a very walkable city, with the great majority of its touristy sites built in a central core, on and just north of the National Mall. The Linconl Memorial lies at the West end of the Mall, while the US Capitol Building is at the East end. The White House is North of the Mall.

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While the city is walkable, you’ll still need to bring some good walking shoes.‚ Between the Capitol steps and the Lincoln Memorial, the Mall spans ‚ 3 km. The area sprawls out, but with every few hundred meters, you’ll come across an important building, great architecture or one of the many museums opened to the public.

As you can see on the map above, the city is well-served by a convenient Metro system. The system works well and gets you where you need to go quickly and efficiently. All of the stations feature a similar design structure, with the arching roof above the tracks.

A typical Metro station
A typical Metro station

Head north of the mall and you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants to enjoy. I recommend RFD Washington, a solid pub with lots of beers on tap and good food. 14th street also features a number of well-regarded restaurants.

I spent most of my time wandering through the downtown core with my camera in hand. Here’s a few shots of some of the more important landmarks.

The North Side of the White House
The North Side of the White House
South Side of the White House
South Side of the White House
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument
The Canadian Embassy enjoys a place of prominence on Pennsylvania Ave
The Canadian Embassy enjoys a place of prominence on Pennsylvania Ave
The Mall at Christmas
The Mall at Christmas
The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
The View from the Lincoln Memorial
The View from the Lincoln Memorial
The National Christmas Tree, just south of the White House
The National Christmas Tree, just south of the White House

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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If You Haven’t Visited The Lantern Tunnel at Winterlude, You’re Missing Out!

Lantern Garden of the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival
Lantern Garden of the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival

Winterlude‚ is in full swing with lots of exciting outdoor activities happening throughout the National Capital Region. As usual, most of the action happens downtown in and around Confederation Park.

This year’s Winterlude features something special:‚ The Lantern Garden of the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival. I’m not sure where the Winterlude organizers found this thing, but kudos to them because it is awesome.

The tunnel, which is made from over a thousand lanterns, which feature a bright blue and orange hue, has been a popular site so far. Winterlude’s website describes it as a “highly colourful experience and that’s certainly true. I keep seeing colourful pictures of the unique display on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I took a few photos myself, which you can see below. But it’s much more fun to go see the real thing in-person and snap a few photos of your own. So if you haven’t gone to check it out, do it soon because Winterlude wraps up this long weekend.

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