Saturday, June 5, 2010

Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic

I've been hearing for years how interesting the city of Prague is and how I need to visit.  Well, just a few weeks ago I had my first opportunity to visit Prague and I understand what everyone was talking about.  One of the big draws for me when traveling to Europe is to see and photograph all of the striking architecture.  It's architecture that has been standing for hundreds of years and has a sense of style, character, ornateness and history that you can only find in the older cities in Europe.  I went to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower to get this perspective on the square.  I rode the glass elevator to the top of the tower and once I was outside and looking down on the city I couldn't help but think that the inspiration for the scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Willy and Charlie go flying around the city in the Wonkavator came from experiencing this very thing.  The scene in the movie was actually filmed in Nördlingen, Germany but you would think you were in the movie when looking out from the top of the tower.

I make my living by doing advertising, commercial, magazine and fine art photography work while living in Indianapolis.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Appenzell, Switzerland

Swiss Cows
Cows, Alp Horns, Chocolate and that Stinky Cheese! Welcome to Switzerland!
  Appenzell, Switzerland is a story book town in northeastern Switzerland.  It has a great small-town feel with great architectural character and charming streets.  When I was there I got to witness the processional of cows through the town.  In late August and early September the cows process from the mountains through the town and are guided by whistling and singing herders wearing formal traditional attire.  The cows are wearing either massive cow bells or flowers.  It's a pretty entertaining site to see. 
One of the other funny experiences I had while in Appenzell was while purchasing some of the local cheese called Appenzeller.  Before I even set foot in the cheese shop, I was overwhelmed by the smell emanating from the shop.  There was a very pungent smell akin to smelly feet.  My friends and I forged ahead and stood inside the shop and we stood there just laughing.  I couldn't believe how they could work in this place.  But, part of the experience is to eat like the locals so I purchased some cheese for a picnic we were going to have in the Alps.  We took the bag of cheese with us on the train and it was funny watching the people who were considering sitting across the aisle from us.  Several people looked at us and smelled the cheese and went and sat somewhere else.  Finally, an elderly woman sat across from us and proceeded to look out the window.......with her finger covering her nostrils.   Priceless.  The cheese is simply called Appenzeller and you can find it in finer cheese shops.  It's great stuff and the kind I have bought in the states doesn't smell that bad.  Try it some time.   My all time favorite Swiss cheese is Gruyere.  Try the cave-aged kind and you will understand what truly great cheese tastes like.