Here's another SAMPLE ENTRY from my current app "Paris Travel: the City & Great Day Trips." The complete app may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of Paris, and within the city itself, along with the popular favorites. It is also available on Google's App Store for download to most Android devices under the name "Paris Day Trips Travel Guide."
Maps & text © Earl Steinbicker.
Paris Walking Tour Number One
Nothing is more symbolic of Paris than the Eiffel Tower, so it seems appropriate to begin your walks with the classic view of it, perhaps ascending to the top for a sweeping panoramic survey of the city.
The suggested tour described here continues on through the most interesting neighborhoods (quartiers) of the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) but stops short of the Latin Quarter, covered on the next walk.
Along the way you will be able to visit some of the greatest sights in Paris, including the Invalides, the Rodin and Orsay museums, the picturesque quays along the Seine, and the colorful St.-Germain-des-Prés district. The walk ends in a delightful area that is especially rich in outdoor cafés, where you can relax in the traditional Parisian fashion.
The quickest way to get to the starting point of this walk from most parts of Paris is to take the Métro to Trocadéro. You can also reach it by bus routes 22, 30, 32, or 63. Buses 72 and 82 stop at the foot of the bridge opposite the Eiffel Tower. By Taxi, ask the driver for Place du Trocadéro.
CAFÉ DE FLORE
LE PETIT SAINT-BENOÎT
BAR DU MARCHÉ
LA CRÊPE RIT DU CLOWN
To see a DIAGRAM MAP of this tour just touch the photo in the upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a map. Touch that to keep it on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left for the rest of the map and more photos. Touch upper left to return to text. Numbers on the DIAGRAM MAP correspond to numbers in the text.
Places mentioned in BOLD CAPITAL type have their own separate entries for full descriptions, reached by touching the name. These links DO NOT FUNCTION on this blog, nor are the photos and additional practical information posted here.
Begin your walking tour at the Trocadéro Métro Station (1). Next to this stands the massive Palais de Chaillot, a Neo-Classical structure left over from the Paris Exposition of 1937. Built in two symmetrically-curved wings, it now houses a theater and a few minor museums that you might want to visit on another day.
Step out onto its central terrace for the most spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower possible, then continue straight ahead, going down steps past the gardens and fountains. The Pont d'Iéna, built by Napoleon in 1814 to commemorate a victory over the Prussians, spans the Seine and leads to the Left Bank. Rising dramatrically in front of you is the EIFFEL TOWER (2).
From the base of the tower a large open park called the Champ-de-Mars, originally a military parade ground, spreads southeast to the imposing École Militaire. Built in the 18th century, this famous military academy had among its graduates a young artillery lieutenant named Napoleon Bonaparte, who it predicted would "go far under favorable circumstances."
Napoleon, of course, did go far, but today he rests just around the corner at Les Invalides (3). Built by Louis XIV in the late 17th century as a retirement home for wounded war veterans, this monumental complex now houses several attractions. Along its southern end stands the Church of the Dome, an outstanding structure in the French Classical style designed by the most important architect of the time, Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Inside, in an open circular crypt, is a red porphyry sarcophagus containing the mortal remains of Napoleon. The great emperor is still deeply revered by the French people. Other notable soldiers buried here include Vauban and Marshal Foch.
The same complex includes the Museum of the Army (Musée de l'Armée), one of the greatest military museums on Earth. Part of it is on the east side of the inner courtyard and is devoted to the history of the French Army, while the section on the west side has a fine collection of medieval armor, weapons, and intriguing exhibits dealing with the two world wars of the past century. Connecting with it is the Museum of Relief Maps, which features superb scale models of Franch strongholds from 1668 to 1870.
Continue on through the complex and follow the map to one of the most enchantring sights in Paris, the RODIN MUSEUM (4).
The route now leads through the elegant Faubourg-Saint-Germain, a district of gracious mansions presently occupied by government ministries and foreign embassies. Next to the river is the Palais Bourbon, an 18th-century palace built by a daughter of Louis XIV and later embellished by Napoleon. Since 1827 it has housed the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament.
A right turn on the Quai Anatole-France takes you along the Seine to Gare d'Orsay, a former railroad station built around 1900. Alas, its platforms proved to be too short for express trains and after 1939 it fell into virtual disuse. There were plans to demolish the noble structure, but reason prevailed and after a variety of more-or-less artistic uses it was converted into a museum in 1986. No visitor to Paris should miss the fabulous MUSÉE d'ORSAY (5).
Leave the museum and continue along the quai, which becomes even more colorful as you approach the Pont des Arts, a charming iron footbridge across the Seine that was opened in 1803.
Just beyond it is the Institut de France, home of the venerable Académie Française, a prestigious body charged with protecting the purity of the French language. This is surely a hopeless task in the land of le week-end and le hamburger. Other learned societies also meet beneath its majestic dome.
Adjacent to it is the former Royal Mint, the Hôtel des Monnaies (6). This now houses the small Museum of Coins and Medals, covering the entire scope of French minting from ancient to modern times. Closed for renovation until late 2013.
From here the route gets a bit tricky, so you'll have to follow the map carefully. It leads through some very old and colorful streets to the School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux-Arts) (7), founded in the early 19th century on the site of a former monastery. Although not generally open to the public, there are exhibitions of works by the students that you can see. Enter at 13 Quai Malaquais. Open Tues.-Sun., 1-7, € 4, reduced €2. W: ensba.fr.
Turn left on the Rue Bonaparte and left again on Rue Jacob, continuing on to the tiny Place de Fürstemberg. This is easily the most charming and romantic small square in Paris, with an atmosphere right out of the 17th century.
On its west side is the house where the artist Eugène Delacroix lived and worked until his death in 1863. It has been preserved as he left it, and is now the Delacroix Museum (8). Don't miss seeing this remarkable little gem. 6 Rue de Fürstenberg, Paris 75006, T: 01-44-41-86-50, W: www.musee-delacroix.fr. Open Wed.-Mon. 9:30-5. Closed Tues, Jan. 1, Dec. 25. Adults €5, free for under 18, for all on first Sun. of month, July 14, holders of ticket to Louvre Museum.
A right turn into the quaint Rue de l'Abbaye brings you to Place St.-Germain-des-Prés, one of the main centers of activity on the Left Bank. This is a great place to sit down at an outdoor café and just watch the world go by, perhaps at the famous Deux Magots or the Flore.
Facing the square is the 11th-century Church of St.-Germain-des-Prés (9), whose origins go back to the 6th century and which ranks as the oldest church in Paris. Originally this was part of an enormous Benedictine abbey whose 42,000 acres of land was surrounded by a defensive moat and extended all the way to the Seine. During the French Revolution the abbey was broken up and much of the church was vandalized. An unsatisfactory restoration in the 19th century didn't help matters, but the interior is still worth visiting for its interesting mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, and later styles.
Continue down the lively Boulevard St.-Germain. Many of the narrow streets leading off this thoroughfare in either direction are worth exploring if you have the time. When you get to the Odéon Métro stop, turn left into the well-hidden Cour du Commerce St.-André, a tiny alleyway lined with old shops.
There is so much to see around here by just poking into the little passageways and following your instincts. When you tire of this, turn down the delightful Rue St.-André-des-Arts to its eastern end, where some nice outdoor cafés provide the perfect spot to relax at the end of this walk. From here it is only a few steps to the St.-Michel Métro Station (10), where you can get a subway or RER train back to your hotel.
If you happen to be still burning with energy, you might want to begin Walk 2, THE LATIN QUARTER & CITÉ.
Text & maps © Earl Steinbicker.
Here's yet another SAMPLE ENTRY from my current app "Innsbruck Travel: the City & the Alps." The complete app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of Innsbruck, and within the city itself, along with the popular favorites. It is also available on Google's App Store for download to most Android devices under the name "Innsbruck & the Alps."
Exploring the Achensee
Here's a one-day trip from Innsbruck that's easy to do but packs a lot of alpine experiences into a single passage.
It begins by riding a small 19th-century steam-operated cogwheel train through gorgeous countryside to one of the most fabulous lakes anywhere.
There you ascend by cable car to the top of a 6,000-foot mountain and perhaps take a short trail walk with sweeping vistas, or even try your hand at paragliding.
To finish off a fun-filled day you board a boat for a two-hour cruise to lakeside villages and return, with the opportunity for dinner onboard. After that, it's back the way you came.
The Achensee is the largest lake in the Tirol, with crystal-clear mountain water that's nearly pure enough to drink without treatment. It is sometimes referred to as the "Fjord of the Alps" as it lies at the bottom of a deep valley surrounded by rugged snow-covered peaks.
This complete trip can only be taken between the beginning of May and the end of October, when both the steam train and the boats operate. Otherwise, you could drive or take buses the entire way, but that's not nearly as much fun.
Watch your time carefully so you don't miss the last connection back to Jenbach.
There are numerous places for lunch around Maurach, the upper station of the Rohan cable car, and on board the lake steamer. All serve typical Tyrolean dishes, or just coffee, cakes, and other refreshments.
Trains depart Innsbruck's main station quite frequently for the short ride to Jenbach, which takes no more than 30 minutes. Return service operates until late evening.
By Car, take the A-12 highway 22 miles (35 km) northeast to Jenbach, then north a few blocks on Achenseestrasse and right on Bahnhofstrasse. There you'll find the Achenseebahn station to the right.
Touch photo in upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a DIAGRAM MAP. Touch this to remain on screen, and again to exit. NUMBERS on the map correspond to numbers in the text.
[Names in BOLD FACE CAPITAL LETTERS are actually links to separate entries within the app to those attractions. These links do not function on this blog, nor are the photos and additional practical information posted here].
Begin at the Achenseebahn station (1), next to Jenbach's regular train station. Here you purchase a combo ticket valid for the cogwheel train, cable cars, and boats, then board the ancient ACHENSEEBAHN steam train for a 35-minute ride to Maurach.
From the Maurach stop (2) it is only a short walk to the Rofan Seilbahn (3), a cable car that takes you right up to the ROFANSPITZE (4), where you can take an easy hike along the mountain top, engage in the thrilling sport of paragliding, enjoy the view from the Eagle's Nest, or just have lunch at one of several mountain inns.
Returning to the valley, either re-board the cog train or walk to Seespitz (5), the lakeside terminus of the rail line. Here you board a lake steamer for the one-hour ACHENSEE CRUISE to Scholastica (6), and another one-hour ride back to Seespitz, followed by the steam train back to Jenbach. Meals are available on board the boats.
SCHLOSS TRATZBERG (7) lies a short ride west of Jenbach. Dating from at least 1149 and presented in a fairytale manner, this is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Austria.
This is a SAMPLE ENTRY from my current app "London Travel: a Guide to Great Day Trips." The complete app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of London, along with the popular favorites. It is also available on Google's App Store for download to most Android devices under the name "London's Backyard."
A Delightfully Unpretentious Country Town
Located at the end of a tidal creek, the ancient port of Faversham has remained a delightfully unpretentious little town for over a thousand years. Relatively few tourists venture this way, but those who do are enchanted by its simple charms.
Settlements existed on this site since prehistoric times, with Faversham being mentioned in a charter of AD 811. It became a town of some importance during the Middle Ages, when many of its present structures were built. Along with Dover, Rye, and a few other towns, it was a member of the Cinque Ports confederation, owing allegiance only to the Crown.
Despite this heritage, the town is not another preserved relic of the past but a growing community with its own thriving industries. A visit to Faversham makes a refreshing change from the usual tourist circuit and can easily be combined with one to Canterbury.
Trains depart London's Victoria Station [VIC] at least twice an hour for the 77-minute ride to Faversham [FAV]. Return service operates until late evening.
By Car, Faversham is 49 miles southeast of London via the A3 and M2 highways.
Good weather is essential for this outdoor trip. A colorful outdoor market is held on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The local Tourist Information Centre is in the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre at 11 Preston Street.
Annual events include a Classic Car Rally in May, a Hop Festival in early September, and a Carnival in mid-October. Ask at the Tourist Centre for current details, or check their website.
Commemorative plaques and viewpoint keys have been installed in the town, helping to bring history to life. An excellent guide to these can be downloaded from their website.
Faversham is in the county of Kent and has a population of about 18,000.
FOOD & DRINK:
Faversham is famous for its brewery, Shepherd Neame, which was founded here in 1698, is the oldest in Britain, and still makes what is called "real ale." Their Visitor Centre at 10 Court Street offers brewery tours on select days, T: (01797) 542-016, W: shepherdneame.co.uk. Advance booking is recommended. Two-hour tours with tasting cost £11.50 for adults, £10.50 for seniors, and £9 for children 12-17.
Some choice places to eat are:
FAVERSHAM KEBAB HOUSE
PHOENIX TAVERN & RESTAURANT
THE SUN INN
Touch photo in upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a DIAGRAM MAP. Touch that to remain on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left to enjoy more photographic views. NUMBERS on the map correspond to numbers in the text. NOTE that on this map north points to the left in order to conserve space.
[Names in BOLD FACE CAPITAL LETTERS are actually links to separate entries within the app to those attractions. These links do not function on this blog, nor are the photos and additional practical information posted here].
Leave the train station (1) and walk down Preston Street to the tourist office and museum. The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre (2) provides an excellent introduction to Faversham's past and present. The former 15th-century inn that houses it also contains the FLEUR DE LIS MUSEUM AND GALLERY.
Continue down Preston Street, turning left on Market Street. It was in the house at number 12 that King James II was held prisoner by local fishermen when he tried to flee the country in 1688.
In a few yards you will come to the Guildhall (3), a rather elegant Georgian building set atop 16th-century pillars. An open-air market is held under this on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Established in 1086, it is the oldest market in Kent, and a wonderful place to meet the locals. Note the interesting town pump at the rear.
Court Street contains many fine 17th- and 18th-century houses. Follow it to Church Street and turn right to the parish church of St. Mary of Charity (4), which has a particularly elegant, and very rare, crown spire. It dates mostly from around 1320, though the nave is mainly 18th-century, with one Norman bay. The grotesque misericords in the choir are among the finest in England. Other features unusual for a parish church are the aisled transepts and the 14th-century frescoed pillar. This is actually the second-largest parish church in Kent, and larger than some of Britain's smaller cathedrals. Stroll around the churchyard, then follow the footpath to Abbey Place, passing the 16th-century Old Grammar School.
The famous 15th-century Arden's House on the southeast corner of Abbey Place was the scene of a notorious murder in 1551, which became the basis for the first play in English to use a contemporary event as its theme. Published in 1592, Arden of Feversham is still in the national repertory.
Abbey Street is lined with well-preserved houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Turn right on it and walk down to Standard Quay (5).
Going past old warehouses, follow the creek until you come to a former warehouse, now beautifully converted to office use. All along here you will see old sailing barges, some of which are restored as houseboats, and which still take place in sailing barge races in the summer.
The sailing barge GRETA of 1892 may be chartered for trips by groups of up to 12; individuals can be fit in with groups if space permits. Make advance reservations at T: (07711) 657-919, W: greta1892. co.uk.
Now return to Abbey Street and make a right at Quay Lane. Cross the bridge by the brewery and walk out along Front Brents, from which you get a colorful view of the tiny waterway. Faversham's prosperity has always been closely linked with the creek, and 350 years ago it was England's main wool-exporting port, with busy trade to the Netherlands.
From here follow the map past the austere 12th-century Davington Church and down to Stonebridge Pond (6). Local streets opposite lead to the restored CHART GUNPOWDER MILLS (7).
Return to the pond and turn right on West Street. In a short distance this becomes a charming pedestrians-only street leading back to the Guildhall.
This is a SAMPLE ENTRY from my current app "Vienna Travel: the City & Great Day Trips." The complete app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of Vienna, and within the city itself — along with the popular favorites. It is also available on Google's App Store for download to most Android devices under the name "Vienna & Beyond Travel Guide."
Vienna: Wiener Riesenrad
The Wiener Riesenrad in VIENNA'S PRATER, one of the oldest and surely the most famous Ferris wheel in the whole world, is not far from downtown. Fans of classic movies will remember its starring role in The Third Man, a film noir of 1949 that defined what suspense is all about. This is a must-see for just about every visitor to Vienna.
Built in 1897, first slated for demolition in 1916 and severely damaged in World War II, it has survived to this day and is now better than ever. Located near the entrance to Vienna's great Prater — described in a separate entry under Amusements — it towers some 212 feet above both arms of the Danube and provides a sweeping panoramic view of the city and its surrounds.
A recent development is the outfitting of a few luxury cabins, which include fancy meal service and must be arranged in advance.
In The Third Man, the movie that made the Riesenrad famous, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) and his erstwhile friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) are riding alone in one of the cabins as it nears the top. Martins then accuses Lime of causing the death of hundreds of poor souls by selling tainted penicillin on the postwar black market, and asks "Have you ever seen any of your victims?" Looking down on the people far below, Lime responds by asking Martins if he would feel any pity if one of those tiny dots stopped moving forever. "If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax."
Back on the ground he adds something to the extent that the Italians under the Borgias had many years of wars, terrorism, murders and bloodshed, but wound up producing Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. "In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace — and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly." Okay, not quite accurate. The Swiss never made cuckoo clocks, and in the past they were anything but peaceful. But the point was made.
Getting to the PRATER and its Riesenrad is easy. Take U-Bahn subways U1 or U2 to Praterstern, or commuter trains S1-S3, S7, or S15 to Wien Nord. Streetcars 0 or 5, and bus 80A go there also. By taxi, ask for Praterstern. Or just walk there.
Touch photo in upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a DIAGRAM MAP showing the relationship of the Prater to the Altstadt. Touch that to remain on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left to see more photos. Touch in upper left to return to text.
There are numerous restaurants and cafés nearby, and in the adjacent Wurstelprater Amusement Area.
This is a SAMPLE ENTRY from my current app "Paris Travel: the City & Great Day Trips." The complete app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of Paris, along with the popular favorites. It is also available on Google's App Store for download to most Android devices under the name "Paris Day Trips Travel Guide."
A Distant Echo of a Bygone Age
Another one of those intriguing medieval towns that somehow get overlooked, Provins can be a real charmer. Once the third-largest city in France (after Paris and Rouen), it is now a pleasant backwater with distant echoes of a long-ago past.
This is a place for quiet contemplation far from the madding crowds, where vestiges of the early Middle Ages have survived intact.
The town's decline began as early as the 13th century. Before that, Provins was the capital of Brie, seat of the Counts of Champagne, and the site of major fairs famed throughout Europe.
It has a curious connection with English history. During the 13th century it was ruled by Edmund, Duke of Lancaster, who adopted as his own the famous red rose of Provins — later to become a symbol in the War of the Roses. Both the plague and the Hundred Years War took their toll, but it was the growing importance of nearby Paris that contributed most to the downfall of this once-great city.
Provins is built on two levels. The lower town (Ville Basse) is reawakening with renewed prosperity, while the upper town (Ville Haute), perched high on a promontory overlooking the Brie plain, slumbers on amid ruined memories. Both have their fascinations, and both are covered on the suggested walking tour.
Trains depart Gare de l'Est station in Paris hourly for the 80-minute ride to Provins. Return service operates until early evening.
By Car, leave Paris on the A4 highway, switching quickly to the N4, then finally the D231 south into Provins. The total distance is about 85 km (53 miles) southeast of Paris.
Good weather is essntial for this largely outdoor trip. The famous Tour de César is open every day except Christmas and New Year's, but some of the other attractions tend to operate on weekends only, except on summer school holidays, when they are open daily.
The Tourist Office offers a "passport" valid for all four sites, which saves a few euros and gives discounts on other attractions such as weekend medieval reenactments.
Provins offers a nice variety of restaurants along the walking route. Some suggestions are:
AU VIEUX REMPARTS
Touch photo in upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a DIAGRAM MAP. Touch that to remain on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left to see more photos. Touch in upper left to return to text. Numbers on the map correspond to numbers in the text.
[Names in BOLD FACE CAPITAL LETTERS are actually links to separate entries within the app to those attractions. These links do not function on this blog, nor are the photos and additional practical information posted here].
Leaving the train staion (1), turn left on Ave. Jean Jaurés, then right across a stream and onto Rue Aristide Briand. Crossing another stream bear left on Rue Fourtier Masson and head straight ahead to the upper town, ascending by a curving street and some steps. The climb is rather steep, but manageable and highly worthwhile. One there, step into the Jardin des Brébans for a nice view, then stroll over to the TOUR DE CÉSAR (2).
The Church of St.-Quiriance (3), equally ancient, is just a few steps away. Originally planned to be much larger, its choir, apse, and transepts were the only parts completed before the days of prosperity ran out for Provins. Its interior is quite impressive, and should not be missed if the door is open.
Stroll over to the MAISON ROMANE (4) on Rue du Palais.
Continue up past Place du Châtel to the GRANGE AUX DÎMES (5).
Now follow Rue de Jouy to the Porte de Jouy (6), a medieval gate in the still-extant town walls. Turn right and follow the inside of the ramparts for a short distance, then return and pass through the gate. A country lane leads to the left along the massive fortifications.
Re-enter the town through the 12th-century Porte St.-Jean (7), another fortified gate, and return on Rue St.-Jean to Place du Châtel. From here walk downhill to the HÔTEL DIEU (8).
You have now returned to the lower town. Stroll along Rue du Val and Rue de la Cordonnerie to the Church of St.-Ayoul (9), once the center of a cult around which the Ville Basse developed. Destroyed by fire in the 12th century, the church was soon rebuilt and features some truly outstanding sculptures along with other works of art. Presently closed for restoration.
From here it is a short walk back to the station.
1066 and All That
The Battle of Hastings was probably the most significant event in English history. It was fought on that fateful day in 1066, not at Hastings, but on a hill six miles inland where the attractive village of Battle now stands.
Visitors may wander around the fields and, with the help of explanatory signs, re-create in their minds the conflict that signaled England's entry into European civilization. Also waiting to be explored are the ruins of the great abbey begun by William the Conqueror to commemorate the event.
The story of the Battle of Hastings is well documented by the famous Bayeux Tapestry, images of which are in the Battle Museum. Briefly, what happened is that the childless King Edward of England promised the throne to his cousin, Duke William of Normandy. He even sent Harold Godwinson, his brother-in-law, to France to confirm the pledge.
Upon the death of King Edward, however, Harold took the crown himself. Feeling betrayed, William assembled a mighty army and invaded England. Meanwhile, Harold was successfully fighting off a third claimant to the throne, the King of Norway, at Stamford Bridge near York. On hearing of Duke William's invasion, he rushed his tired troops 200 miles south and engaged the Normans at Battle. The two armies were nearly matched in strength.
Harold, occupying the higher ground, might have won except for a brilliant ruse on the part of William, who feigned defeat and trapped the English on the lower ground. By the end of that long, bloody day of October 14th, Harold lay dead and the sun set forever on Anglo-Saxon England.
It is possible to combine this excursion with the one to Royal Tunbridge Wells.
This is a sample entry from my current app London Travel: a Guide to Great Day Trips. The complete app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of London, along with the popular favorites. It is also available for Android devices at Google's Play Store under the name London's Backyard.
Names in BOLD FACE CAPITAL LETTERS are actually links to separate entries within the app for those attractions. These links do not function on this blog.
Trains to Battle (BAT) depart London's Charing Cross (CHX) station at half-hour intervals, with slightly reduced service on Sundays and holidays. The journey takes about 80 minutes, and return trains run until mid-evening.
By Car, Battle is 57 miles southeast of London via the A21 and A210 roads.
You can visit Battle at any time since the abbey and battlefield are open daily all year round. For further details contact the Tourist Information Point in Yesterday's World, 89-90 High Street, T: +44 (0) 1797-229049, W: visit1066country.com. Battle is in the county of East Sussex and has a population of about 6,000.
Watch their VIDEO HERE.
Battle has a good selection of restaurants and pubs, including:
Touch illustration in upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a DIAGRAM MAP. Touch that to remain on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left to see more images. Touch in upper left to return to text. NUMBERS on the map correspond to numbers in the text.
Leaving the railway station (1), a Victorian structure dating from 1853, turn right and follow Lower Lake and Upper Lake to The Green. On your left you will pass the abbey wall and come to the Abbey Gatehouse, built in 1338 and one of the finest in England. Pass through it into the BATTLEFIELD AND ABBEY (2-4).
Return to the Gatehouse and turn up High Street to the Almonry, now home to the BATTLE MUSEUM (5).
Heading back to the train station takes you past YESTERDAY'S WORLD (6) across Upper Lake from the Gatehouse.
A bit farther down the road stands St. Mary's Church (7) with its Norman nave, 14th-century wall paintings, and a fine 15th-century tower.
Continue down Upper Lake and Lower Lake, turning left at Station Road to return to the train station.
Painting With Light
Richard Avedon called it his "Beauty Light," but its versatility went way beyond making gorgeous women look even more ravishing. It could even make subjects look mad or evil, or just plain foolish.
The essence of the "Beauty Light" was that this lamp did not remain in a fixed position but was continuously manipulated to bring out the desired features in the subject, paying close attention to facial bone structures, shadows, dimensionality, separation from background, and other factors. It was nearly always the only light source for the photograph, although it could sometimes be used with an illuminated background. In a sense, it was really "painting with light."
Originally, the "Beauty Light" was a 1,500-watt Saltzman flood with a spun-glass diffuser on a lightweight aluminum stand that could be lifted and held in an elevated position by a (strong) assistant as both Avedon and the subject shifted about. It was always kept very close to the subject, just outside the camera's field of view. Doing so allowed a high ratio of light fall-off, yielding enhanced depth.
As you might imagine, its use required skill on the part of the assistant along with artistic sensibility and an understanding of Avedon's vision. Until the Spring of 1962 this was done by the very talented Frank Finocchio, from whom I learned the techniques and later transferred it to strobe light.
Using a Rolleiflex camera loaded with Plus-X black-andwhite film, the exposure with the Saltzman flood was 1/60 second at f/8. The images were then slightly overdeveloped in Panthermic 777 for elevated contrast with clean, radiant skin highlights. Some earlier examples of this from the 1950s can be seen in Avedon's 1959 book Observations. These include a section entitled "A Gathering of Swans" (1953-59) on pages 27-35, a portrait of Mae West (1954) on page 88, one of Katharine Hepburn (1955) on page 106, and of Brigitte Bardot (1959) on page 107.
In time, this single-source lighting plan was also used on some portraits, especially those of celebrities. Controlling this light became a bit of an art as the assistant manipulating it had to anticipate what both Avedon and the subject would do next. And, of course, the distance from the sitter to the lamp had to remain constant in order to maintain consistent exposure, especially with color films.
This single-light-source technique was most effective in black-and-white photography, much less so in color.
By the late 1950s Avedon had pretty much switched to Ascor strobe lighting for most studio work, although the Saltzman flood remained in use for beauty photography as well as for some celebrity portraits. Gradually, the new Balcar strobe with its umbrella reflector was found to be just as effective in achieving the same result — and was a lot lighter in weight.
One drawback was that it had four modeling lights spaced around the flash tube, which resulted in four hot spots. Although these did not register on film, the assistant had to bear in mind that the real but invisible hot spot (which did register on film) was right in the middle of the four visible ones, and aim accordingly. Another slight problem was that the joint between the supporting pole and the flash head sometimes came loose from the weight of the umbrella, so that it was best to keep one hand on it while the other grasped the pole.
As the light output from the strobe was much more than that from the tungsten Saltzman lamp, a finer-grain film such as Panatomic-X (ISO 25) could be used. It also allowed for a smaller f-stop with its greater depth of field.
The same technique was used with the 8x10 Sinar camera loaded with Tri-X Estar film developed in HC-110 for fashion photography. For this we used the larger Ascor 800 strobe in a standard reflector with spun-glass diffusion. This permitted the use of an aperture as small as f/64 so that both the model and the hand-held lamp could move around the set at will while always remaining in focus.
The concept of a hand-held, moving strobe light later evolved into Lighting on The Run. Avedon used this technique for outdoor fashion photography at night in early 1965. For it he loaded a Rolleiflex camera with Plus-X film and set the exposure to a full second at f/22. Streetlights became long blurs while the dancing, running model was stopped in mid-action against a dark background. I hand-held the smallish Honeywell 650 strobe, always keeping it in the best position relative to the model's movements. Later, I wrote an article about this for the November 1964 issue of Photographic Product News magazine, illustrated with Avedon's photo.
A similar technique was used during the Fall 1962 Paris Collections, where he imitated the famous "paparazzi" photos of Fellini's La Dolce Vita movie, using Susy Parker and Mike Nichols as subjects. Although these were meant to look like press photos, lighting still had to be carefully done to make the garment look terrific.
NOTE: This entry is taken directly from my recent app "Assisting Avedon," which is available for download to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch at Apple's iTunes App Store. I assisted the world-famous photographer Richard Avedon from 1952 to 1965, and on this app reveal all that I know about his spectacular early career.
More samples, including a Table of Contents, are on my Assisting Avedon blog.
Spending the Day Above the Clouds
Glorious mountains are what the Tirol is all about, and it is to this Zirbenweg Mountain Walk that you should head for a wonderful odyssey into a remarkable land. This day trip from Innsbruck is a relatively easy ramble across a fantastic landscape far above the cares of the ordinary world, winding up in the splendid old town of Hall.
Along the way you will pass some sites of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, ride a cable car to the top of a mountain, walk for over two hours along a gentle path with spectacular vistas, have lunch at a rustic alpine inn, descend on a chairlift, stroll through unspoiled countryside, cross the Inn river on a covered wooden bridge and, finally, explore one of the most charming little towns that Austria has to offer.
If you love the out-of-doors but have been a bit hesitant about just marching off into the Alps by yourself, this pleasant excursion may well be the most memorable highlight of your visit to the Tirol.
For a DIAGRAM MAP of this trip's routes, touch the photo at the top left of the screen. It will momentarily fill the screen, then the first part of the DIAGRAM will appear. Quickly touch that and it will remain on screen for you to examine. Move your finger from right to left on the screen to see more of the map. NUMBERS on the map correspond to numbers in the text.
From Innsbruck, take either tram 6 or bus J to the suburb of Igls and walk a short distance to the base station of the cable car, marked Patscherkofel Seilbahn. It is also possible to take a taxi there. You will be returning to Innsbruck by a completely different route, so do not drive to Igls unless you want to skip Hall and take a bus from Tulfes back to Igls.
A clear, warm day between May and late September is essential for enjoyment of this trip. Since you will be walking at an altitude of nearly 7,000 feet, you can expect it to be a great deal cooler along the trail than it was in Innsbruck. You may, in fact, encounter a little leftover snow, even in August. The trip may be taken any dayt of the week, although the cable cars can be a bit crowded on Sundays.
A jacket or sweater is absolutely necessary on this trip, even if it is 90°F in the shade in town. You won't be sorry if you bring both. A folding umbrella could be helpful should the weather change. Comfortable walking shoes are also required, although mountain boots are not necessary as the trail is well surfaced.
The total hiking distance is about 8 miles (13 km), level all the way. Nearly half of this can be eliminated by taking a bus on the last leg.
Names in BOLD FACE CAPITAL LETTERS are actually links to separate entries for those attractions. Those links are internal on the app and do not function on this blog.
Places to eat include:
From the front of Innsbruck's main train station (Hauptbahnhof) (1) take the #6 tram, which departs hourly; OR from Innsbruck's Marktplatz or Lanjdesmuseum take the J bus. Either will take you to the resort village of Igls. Although this route may seem short on the map, it is very steep and not really suitable for walking. You will pass various Olympic installations along the way, notably the ice stadium and ski jumps.
Once in Igls, walk uphill to the lower station of the Patscherkofel Cable Car (2), purchase a one-way ticket (Bergfahrt) to the top and board the large cable car. As it ascends the mountain, keep a lookout on the left for the spectacular Olympic bobsled run. Just beyond this, at Heiligwasser, you disembark and change to another cable car that takes you to the Panorama Restaurant (3) at Patscherkofel, the starting point of the walk.
You are now at an altitude of 6,435 feet. Follow the footpath marked Zirbenweg to the left in the direction of Tulfeinalm and Glungezer Witte. This section of the trail is identified as path #32, although the number changes later.
The total walk to the first destination, Tulfeinalm (4), will take a little over two hours. Distances on alpine trails are commonly marked in terms of time rather than linear measurement; thus 2½ Std. (stunde) refers to hours, not kilometers. A good walker will probably do betterr than the indicated time.
The relatively level trail continues along the ridge of a high mountain with glorious panoramic views up and down the Inn Valley. Cows and goasts, their clanging bells filling the air with music, can be seen grazing along the path.
Presently you will reach a fork at which path #32 is marked for Meissner Haus. Rather than take this, remain on the Zirbenweg, which bears left and is shown as path #48. Gradually the trail enters a lovely pine forest still sheltering — in shaded spots — some patches of last winter's snow, even in the height of summer.
All along the walk you will meet other hikers who, if they are Austrian (as most are), will greet you with a friendly Grüss Gott, meaning "good day" in the local dialect. Just smile and try to repeat the phrase back to them.
Still in the forest, a branch trail leads off to both sides. Avoid the one marked to Glungezer Hütte and stay on the Zirbenweg, following the signs to Tulfeinalm.
From here the trail no longer has a number, path #48 having turned down the mountain. Soon it crosses the tiny Lavierenbach brook. The first leg of your trip is almost over now.
In only a few yards you will come to the Tulfeinalm (4) where a rustic climbers' hut offers heart food at reasonable prices. You can either eat here or at another similar place halfway down the mountain.
On a small mound a few yards from the hut is the upper station of the Glungezer Sesselbahn. Buy a one-way ticket to Tulfes, seat yourself as gracefully as possible on the moving chairlift, and descend to the midway station, Halsmarter.
The ride is surprisingly enjoyable and not in the least bit scary. Still, if you don't care for chairlifts, there is a dirt road paralleling it all the way down which can easily be walked.
Getting off at Halsmarter (5), you will find another hut with good food and, delightfully, an outdoor café at which to relax and enjoy the sun-filled view.
Continue on the second stahe of the chairlift all the way to Tulfes (6). In the center of that village there is a bus stop (Haltstelle) from which you can get a ride to Hall-in-Tirol. A schedule is posted at thge chairlift stations. It is, however, far more interesting to walk the few miles.
Follow the road downhill and, just before the first big bend to the left, turn right onto a path marked Fussweg noch Hall. This trail will again cross the main road. If you are really worn out by now take the paved road to the right. Otherwise, continue on the path, which goes a bit uphill, then down to the river.
Along the way the trail sometimes becomes a dirt road, even paved at points, goes through farms, forests, and crosses a fence. The first tiny settlement is called Gasteig. At the next one, Taschenlehen, be on the lookout for a path with a well-hidden sign marked for Hall. This is just before a short row of houses. It will lead you down under the Autobahn and onto a covered wooden pedestrian bridge (7) crossing the Inn River.
Emerging from the far end of this unusual span, you are now in Hall-in-Tirol, sometimes known as Solbad Hall, the final destination and one of the loveliest towns in Austria. Continue straight ahead on Münzergasse to BURG HASEGG (8), an old castle from the Middle Ages. (Touch for link to separate entry).
In former days Hall was a very wealthy place, its prosperity derived from the salt mines and river navigation. It was also a notorious pleasure center for those wishing to escape the rigid life of Innsbruck. A short stroll will take you to Unterer Stadtplatz. From here the Scheighofstiege steps lead to Eugenstrasse, at which you turn right to the Damenstift (9), a ladies' abbey founded in 1567. Walk through the Stiftsplatz and make a left onto Rodengasse.
Just a few steps farther and you are in the marvelously picturesque Oberer Stadtplatz (10), a scene right out of a child's fairytale. The 13th-century parish church of St. Nikolaus, dominating the square, is a visual fantasy. Opposite it is the 16th-century town hall (Rathaus), in front of which is a convenient outdoor café, the perfect spot at which to end your day's ramblings.
Head down Langer Graben at the rear of the church and return to Unterer Stadtplatz. From here you can take a bus for the short trip back to Innsbruck. If you'd rather take the none-too-frequent local train, the station (Bahnhof) (11) is just a few blocks away.
To see the rest of this and other trips download the entire Innsbruck Travel app onto your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch at Apple's iTunes app store. Owners of Android devices can download it as Innsbruck & the Alps at Google's app store.