Searching for locations: Innsbruck, Austria

On this occasion, we drove from Florence to Innsbruck, a journey of about 500 kilometers and via the E45, a trip that would take us about five and a half hours.

We drove conservatively, stopped once for lunch and took about seven hours, arriving in Innsbruck late in the afternoon

The main reason for this stay was to go to Swarovski in Wattens for the second time, to see if anything had changed, and to buy some pieces.  We were still members of the club, and looking forward to a visit to the exclusive lounge and some Austrian champagne.

Sadly, there were no new surprises waiting, and we came away a little disappointed.

We were staying at the Innsbruck Hilton, where we stayed the last time, and it only a short walk to the old town.

From the highest level of the hotel, it is possible to get a look at the mountains that surround the city.  This view is in the direction we had driven earlier, from Florence.

The change in the weather was noticeable the moment we entered the mountain ranges.

This view looks towards the old town and overlooks a public square.

This view shows some signs of the cold, but in summer, I doubted we were going to see any snow.

We have been here in winter, and it is quite cold, and there is a lot of snow.  The ski resorts are not very far away, and the airport is on the way to Salzburg.

There is a host of restaurants in the old town, and we tried a few during our stay.  The food, beer, and service were excellent.

On a previous visit, we did get Swiss Army Knives, literally, from a small store called Victorinox.

And, yes, we did see the golden roof.

Searching for locations: Niagara Falls, Canada

We visited the falls in winter, just after Christmas when it was all but frozen.

The weather was freezing, it was snowing, and very icy to walk anywhere near the falls


Getting photos is a matter of how much you want to risk your safety.

I know I slipped and fell a number of times on the ice just below the snowy surface in pursuit of the perfect photograph.  Alas, I don’t think I succeeded.






The mist was generated from both the waterfall and the low cloud.  It was impossible not to get wet just watching the falls.


Of course, unlike the braver people, you could not get me into one of the boats that headed towards the falls.  I suspect there might be icebergs and wasn’t going to tempt the fate of another Titanic, even on a lesser scale.  The water would be freezing.

A photograph from the inspirational bin – 19

Does a rainy, cold, miserable sort of day usually reflect your mood?

It could be said the outlook is bleak, but from where I’m sitting, it might be more picturesque.

This photo was taken from the veranda of one of four cottages that have, one one side, a macadamia farm, and on the other, a valley with a small river running through it.

I’m told there is reasonably good fishing in the river.

But, on a good day, with blue skies and sunshine, the outlook is completely different.

This is the sort of place you go to do nothing, perhaps read a book, do a crossword, but nothing substantial.

We come here to wind down, and take several days to do it.

But, as for a story…

I have in mind a theme of a man on the run, from his past, his demons, and a very dangerous criminal.

Yes, it’s that old story of someone witnessing what they shouldn’t, and paying the price because they did.

Now, hiding out in the country, it’s only a matter of time before they are discovered.

Searching for locations: Lake Louise, Canada – 2

A sleigh ride wasn’t the first activity that came to mind, but that first day we saw the sleighs lining up and thought it might be a bit of a lark.

It was New Year’s Eve and we booked a 2pm sleigh ride.  I figured any later we’d probably freeze to death.  The ride was for about 45 minutes, out around the edge of the lake and back.

Rides were on the hour and sometimes run at night.

We arrived at the departure point about 15 minutes before the ride and watched those who had been on the ride before come back looking somewhat frozen.  The only covering you had provided was a red blanket.

Wisely we put on many layers of clothing, hats, and gloves.

We managed to get a seat for ourselves where the maximum per seat was three.  The blanket wasn’t the thickest.

It was cold, and according to my phone, about minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  You could feel it, and it was lucky we were not moving fast.

 At the halfway point, we went out onto the lake to turn around.  It gave us a chance to take a photo of the sleigh, and the horses pulling it.  I felt sorry for the horses out in the cold.

As we turned around, we got to see a frozen waterfall.

Searching for locations: Lake Louise, Canada

I was not sure what I was expecting to see when we first arrived at the Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.

I’d seen endless photographs both in Winter and in Summer, and the problem with photos is that they never quite prepare you for reality.

That’s not to say that our first impression was of incredible scenery, it was of the front door if it could be called that, where we pulled up in the car, and then, if the sub-zero temperatures, a mad rush to get the baggage out, and get into the warmth of the foyer, which was almost the size of several football fields, and then some.

Check-in was quick and easy, and then to our room on the first floor.  I had hoped to be higher up but, being a corner room, when we got there, the views could not be more majestic.

I could not believe there were people who were willing to take a sleigh ride in the minus degree temperatures.  Don’t let the sunny aspect fool you, it’s freezing cold, literally, outside.

The lake had frozen over, and a closer look showed there was a skating rink an ice castle, and a hockey rink as well.  People were skating, and walking over the frozen surface of the lake.

No skating, or walking, on thin ice here.

Venturing outside into the cold, you have to be rugged up, and definitely, have both a hat and gloves.  It was minus six degrees.

There’s this amazing hotel, just like you would see in the movies

A frozen lake where you’re half expecting to open up and a huge spaceship, or something else, come out

Mountainsides to climb, but only if you are stark staring mad.  And, of course, if you don’t freeze to death before you get there.

Our room, believe it or not, is on the extreme right-hand side, just above the first roofline.

Tomorrow we will venture further out onto the lake.

Tonight, it’s dinner in the main restaurant.

Searching for locations: Vancouver, Canada – 2

This morning we wake up to rain.  Or so we thought.  Taking a closer look out the window of our room on the 16th floor, we notice the rain is speckled with snowflakes.  As the morning progressed the snow got harder until there were flurries.

 Later we discover this is called wet snow by the local Vancouverians, and whilst they winge a lot over the endless rain, to them rain is infinitely better than snow.

To us, by the afternoon, it was almost blizzard conditions, with lots of snow.  Then the only thing is that it does not accumulate on most of the ground so there are no drifts to play in.

Because the weather is so dismal we decided not to go into Vancouver to do some sightseeing because the clouds were down to the ground and then the snow set in.

Another interesting fact is that construction workers do not go off the job if it’s raining, or worse when it is snowing.  Our room overlooks a new apartment complex under construction and the workers battled on through what seemed like appalling conditions.

At four in the afternoon, the Maple Leafs are playing the Ohio Blue Jackets, in Ohio.  It is a game we expect they will win.  Sparks is the goalkeeper, not Anderson, they’re playing back to back games and Anderson’s starting tomorrow.

They win, four goals to two.  

Just before darkness falls, about four thirty, the snow stops and there is a little rain, which melts the snow.

Time to go up to the executive lounge to get some snacks and coffee, then sleep because the next day we’re taking on the Trans Canada highway from Vancouver to Kamloops.

The forecast is for snow, more snow, and just for a change, more snow.

We’re out in the country

Or almost

When you venture out from the city, particularly, this city, you find yourself among the blocks that run to several acres, allotments that are ideal for keeping a horse or two.

Inner suburban living often runs to high rise apartment blocks, with no gardens, except perhaps on the roof.

Outer suburban living runs to individual houses on allotments that are from 600 to 2,000 square meters. We have not yet gone into mass building of duplexes or terrace housing because for the time being, we don’t have the population.

And, this is why you only have to go about 35 kilometres from the centre of the city to be able to buy acreage.

So, we are visiting, and on such a glorious end of winter day, it’s a pleasure to sit on the back verandah, spending some time soaking up the sunshine, breathing the country fresh air, and let the inspiration flow into writing.

It works.

I’ve manage to write another photograph inspired story, number 124, which will be published on my writing blog in the next day or so.

Also being tackled will be the next chapter of PI Walthensen’s second case.

Unfortunately though, the inspirational location didn’t afford me a title for this new case but it will have the opening three words “A Case Of…’

The rest, I’m sure, will come as the story unfolds.

I scored a window seat – it’s like winning the lottery


So, what do you do when you finally win the lottery?

Well, not the monetary one, the airplane one where you get a window seat, and a window seat you can actually see out of?

Because most of them are not aligned with the windows.  I remember drawing a window seat a while back, but …. you guessed it, there wasn’t a window.

I mean, really!

But now you have one, what do you do?

I’ve seen a lot of window seat travelers pull down the blinds to block out the view.  Seriously?  It’s obvious they travel a lot and have seen everything there is to see.  Why they would want a window seat is beyond me.

Like would they be looking for a lightning bolt to hit the wing tip?  An engine falling off?  Another plane flying too close alongside, like a menacing jet fighter?

Not today.  Not flying near a restricted air space, or foreign border.  Just going from one state to another, out of Melbourne on our way to Brisbane.

Of course, this was before COVIS 19 grounded everything.

Me, I look at clouds, check every so often the engine is still there, watch the wings flex, or the flaps move.

The last time I had a window seat we arrived in Brisbane from the ocean and the plane got awfully close to the water on its final run to the runway.

This time it was over the bridges after flying past the city, and over the Brisbane River.


Sometimes you can see cruise ships.  There might not be another one of those for a long time to come.

And, yes, the engine is still there.

It was an uneventful flight, but I took a lot of photos anyway.  The grandchildren like looking at oddly shaped clouds.


Searching for Locations: The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Sorry, reminiscing again…

It was a cold but far from a miserable day.  We were taking our grandchildren on a tour of the most interesting sites in Paris, the first of which was the Eifel Tower.

We took the overground train, which had double-decker carriages, a first for the girls, to get to the tower.

We took the underground, or Metro, back, and they were fascinated with the fact the train carriages ran on road tires.

Because it was so cold, and windy, the tower was only open to the second level. It was a disappointment to us, but the girls were content to stay on the second level.

There they had the French version of chips.

It was a dull day, but the views were magnificent.


A view of the Seine



Sacre Coeur church at Montmartre in the distance.

Another view along the river Seine

Overlooking the tightly packed apartment buildings

Looking along the opposite end of the river Seine

Searching for locations: Oreti Village – No two sunrises are the same – 2

Oreti Village, Pukawa Bay, North Island, New Zeland

On the southern tip of Lake Taupo

Our first morning there, a Saturday.  Winter.  Cold.  And a beautiful sunrise.


This was taken from the balcony, overlooking the lake.

The sun is just creeping up over the horizon


It gradually gets lighter, and then the sun breaks free of the low cloud

It lights up the balcony


And the trees just beyond, a cascade of colorful ferns.


It looks like it’s going to be a fine day, our first for this trip, and we will be heading to the mountains to see snow, for the first time for two of our granddaughters.