Tuesday, September 27, 2016

First Flight

We met up with Nick and our group today and got in our first flight from Gaisberg, a hill close to Salzburg. It was a late afternoon flight and conditions were quite mellow, but that suited us fine for our first flight of the trip. I still managed a bit of excitement since I ended up with a knot in my lines that pulled me towards the trees at the side of the launch. Thankfully it wasn't a problem to steer clear and with some yanking I was able to clear the knot. It's not a very big hill, and there was little lift, but it was quite scenic, and the late afternoon light was lovely. I didn't take any photos in flight, but I got a few before and after.

Everyone getting ready to launch:

prep to launch

Shelley getting set up, Austrian countryside in the background:

prep to launch

Shelley landing:

Shelley landing

Packing up:

packing up

Shelley packing

Prague Reflections

The river and canals in Prague were rich with reflections. Bright buildings and boats, blue skies, and green trees added lots of color. Enjoy!







Usually I go for color in reflections, but occasionally black and white emphasizes the patterns.




swan & reflections

See all 31 photos as a slideshow or overview

Monday, September 26, 2016

Prague Zoo

We like to visit zoos wherever we go, and so we had planned to go to the Prague Zoo. But we were even more interested when we saw it had been named the 4th best zoo in the world in 2015. It didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day and the zoo wasn't too crowded. And there were lots of enclosures where you could photograph without bars or wire in the way.

We had to take a bus to get to the zoo, which is often more challenging than the metro (subway) but it went smoothly.

They had a bunch of young Komodo dragons that had been born at the zoo:

Komodo dragon

Of course, monkeys of various sorts:


These guys reminded me of our gophers (ground squirrels) at home:

ground squirrels

I really should keep track of the names of the animals I photograph. I'm not sure what these long nosed rodents were:


As always, the baby animals are a big attraction:

elephant & baby

We got a good look at the hyenas out and about:


There were lots of interesting birds in the zoo, and multiple walk through aviaries where you could see them up close.


This bird was huge and quite funny looking:


I'm not really happy to have lions and tigers in the zoo, but I still love to see them.

sleeping tiger

sleeping lion

This snake was amazingly well camouflaged:

well camouflaged snake

I'm not sure what this lizard was hanging onto!


I think this giant tortoise was just "yawning" but he looks quite fierce! (No problem outrunning him though.)

giant tortoise

I always enjoy the unofficial residents of the zoo, like this sparrow and butterfly:



It was funny to see these monkeys sharing an enclosure with mountain goats:

monkey & mountain goat

A different kind of pelican than we get in Saskatoon, although still quite recognizable:


One of the roles of zoos these days is conservation, as with these endangered Gharials:


See all 38 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Prague in Photos

After flying in to Vienna we took the train to Prague. On Via Rail or Amtrak 90 km/hr feels like you're going to rock and rattle and roll to pieces, here 160 km/hr was smooth and steady. Europe is small to start with (compared to North America) and when you have fast trains, it's even smaller.

I quite liked Prague, or at least the pieces we saw in our few days of random sampling. There were so many amazing old buildings.

Old Town Square

Astronomical clock

I also enjoyed the statues and art scattered around the city, some of it old, and some new.



The river is a central part of the city.

Charles Bridge

view across the river

And I enjoyed all the swans and ducks on it



I like the stone sidewalks and cobblestones streets of old European cities.

stone sidewalks


The one "new" building we went to see, Dancing House, was somewhat spoiled by the recycling bins and the "Office for Rent" sign but still interesting, if somewhat of a contrast to the surrounding architecture.

Dancing House

It's always interesting to go to markets in different places. This Prague market on Saturdays by the river was a mix of actual produce, and tourist stuff. As you can see, it was busy!


fruit in the market

We stayed with Shelley's cousin who is there teaching English as a second language. (Thanks Sheri!) When we got off the metro at her stop I was surprised to be greeted by large glass buildings populated by IBM, Oracle, Dell, etc. Apparently Prague is the gateway to the East. The other surprise was that the small area of lawn outside the metro had quite a large population of rabbits. It seems like a strange place for them to live.

metro rabbit

We didn't see much other wildlife, but there were a few birds in the parks



See all 69 photos as a slideshow or overview

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunrise Over Europe

We left Canada as the sun set, and arrived over Europe as it came up again.

sunrise over Europe

As you sit comfortably in your seat, it's amazing to think you're hurtling along at almost 1000 km/hr, at 11,000 m, and it's -55c outside. (What's the wind chill at -55c with 1000 km/h wind?)

sunrise over Europe

window seat

We're in Europe to paraglide and hike and tour around. Made it to Vienna smoothly other than some jetlag. Tomorrow we take the train to Prague to visit a cousin of Shelley's.