Bern: the Old City

In the previous posts about our holiday in Grindelwald, I discussed Jungfraujoch and hiking. This blog is about our visit to Bern.

Because our chalet in Grindelwald was next to a railway station we decided to go to Bern by train. It took us via Interlaken to Bern Main Station, right next to the Old City (Alstadt). From there we walked to the Building of Parliament (Bundeshaus). On the right a picture taken from the Kirchenfeldbrücke across the river Aare (see map below), which almost completely curves around the Old City. The river is amazingly green.

While crossing the Kirchenfeldbrücke, looking into the other direction, we had a spectacular view of the cathedral of Bern (Bern Minster) and the houses along the Aare. Its construction started in 1421 and it was built in Gothic style. It is the tallest Cathedral in Switzerland (100m).

After paying a visit to the cathedral we walked on to the Nydeggbrücke, where I took some more pictures. On the way, there were many small shops and restaurants. Like the rest of Switzerland, everything is clean and orderly. Via the northern part of the Old City, alone the Aare, we returned to the railway station. It was an enjoyable day.



Below the pictures of Bern that are accepted by Dreamstime:

Hiking near Grindelwald

The previous post mentioned our stay in Grindelwald and the visit to Jungfraujoch. This post focuses on hiking near Grindelwald.

One of our first hikes was an easy one. We took Bus 128 from the railway station of Grindelwald to Alpenvogelpark (on the map below, on the right). Our hike on the slope of Schwarzhorn started with a magnificent view of the mountain Mittelhorn. From there we walked almost 5 km to Bort, a ski lift station in between Grindelwald and First. It was small climb from 1405 to 1630 meters. After that we took the ski lift back to Grindelwald and had dinner at CundM, upstairs (excellent meals).

From Alpenvogelpark to Bort

The second hike was also on the slope of the Schwarzhorn only a bit higher. Now we took the bus all the way to Grosse Scheidegg (on the map below, on the right, 1960m). After 6km we reached the highest point at First, a large ski lift station at 2180m. On the way and also at First we had the most amazing views. All pictures were taken with my iPhone X (I did not want to carry my Nikon D800). From there we took the ski lift down to Grindelwald.

From Grosse Scheidegg to First

The last hike took us to Berghaus Bäregg (1770m). First we took Luftseilbahn Grindelwald Pfingstegg to our starting point at the slope of the Mättenberg at 1400m (in the map below, halfway on the right). We followed the head waters of the river Lütschine (deep down). Looking back we had a splendid view of Grindelwald spread out in the valley.

The last climb to Berghaus Bäregg was quite steep and the sun was burning. We really needed a refreshment to recover from that. From the balcony of the restaurant we could see the Unterer Grindelwaldgletscher. Later on we heard that in the early 20th century the glacier would come down all the way to the village. On the way back we were too late to take the Luftseilbahn, so we had to walk back all the way to the valley (1000m). In total we walked almost 10km.

Via Pfingstegg to Bäregg and back to Grindelwald

We really enjoyed the various hikes, and there are still many to be discovered by us. Although the area is expensive it is high on our list for a second visit.

Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch

About a year ago I watched a TV-program about trains in Switzerland. They mentioned Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch, the highest European railway station. It attracted my attention and searching on the web I found many hiking trails around Grindelwald. So, we decided to go there. We stayed in a chalet near the railway station Schwendi bei Grindelwald, one stop away from the center of Grindelwald.

Eiger

On arrival we were impressed by mountain Eiger, one of the 4K-mountains near Grindelwald. On the right a view from our chalet. As a matter of fact, Grindelwald is surrounded by quite a few other mountains. Just to name a few: Wetterhorn, Faulhorn, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

After a couple of days we decided to go to Jungfraujoch. You can go there by train via Kleine Scheidegg, where you have to change trains. We were definitely not the only ones. We never thought about seat reservations. A consequence was that we had to stand in line for a long time before making the final track from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch.

Jungfraujoch

Upon arrival at Jungfraujoch you see this magnificent view of eternal snow (in the middle of summer). Jungfraujoch is like a saddle connecting the mountains Jungfraujoch and Mönch at an elevation of 3466 meters. To be part of this we went outside. The view from Jungfraujoch is fantastic.

Here are some of the pictures I took that were accepted by Dreamstime.

To get an impression of my gear: Peak Design Everyday Backpack with Capture to carry my camera: Nikon D800 with Nikkor 28-300mm lens. As you can see, it was cold, sunny, and slippery. However, it was very much worthwhile to take these pictures. I really enjoyed it.

Below you see the map around Jungfraujoch (indicated by the camera marker) in between the mountains Jungfrau (4158m) and Mönch (4107m). In the upper part you can still see the Eiger.


All pictures of Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch are available at Dreamstime:

Discovering Almelo beyond my bias

Although we have lived for more than 30 years in Twente we never visited the center of Almelo, besides of course the theater. Recently we shared our lack of interest in the city Almelo with friends, and realized that we actually never visited the center of Almelo (besides the theater of course). Pure coincidental, the next day it was a perfect day for a city tour, so we decided to go to Almelo.

Using the app WandeleninOverijssel we took the cultural heritage tour and walked from the railway station to the City Hall of Almelo, the Court of Justice, and the harbour. Mainly modern buildings.  A bluish area, a lot of blue buildings. 

City Hall Almelo

From there to the city center, which is really a cultural heritage area. Some of the buildings date back more than 3 centuries. And there is quite a variety: huge churches, tiny houses, and extravagant houses.

Grote Kerk seen from the Herengracht

Very special is Huize Almelo, which is a Havezathe. It is still inhabited.

House Almelo

It was a quite enjoyable walk through the history of Almelo, resulting in a very positive image of Almelo. Although we realised that quite a few shops were vacant. We will definitely return. On Komoot I share our route and the pictures I took with both my iPhone X and my full frame camera. Here you can see all the pictures of Almelo accepted by Dreamstime. All pictures were taken with a 16-35mm lens. Below you see the route we took.


 

Halfway we stopped at De Zoete Bezigheid to have coffee and something special. A nice place to visit!

Stock Images

Hiking around Tubbergen

Tubbergen

Last week I decided to hike in the neighbourhood of Tubbergen, a small village in the eastern part of the Netherlands. On this hiking website for the region Twente I found a nice hike, called Schultenwolde; a little bit more than 10 kilometers.

Before leaving home I downloaded the GPX file and uploaded it to my Komoot website. I always use the Komoot app to get directions, to record my GPS track, and to match the pictures I take with my iPhone with my hike. The Komoot app on my iPhone gives me spoken directions in English and the directions are also visible on my Apple Watch. So, it is next to impossible to get lost.

 

The first part of the hike took me along a small creek, called Markgraven.

Markgraven

The weather was perfect, not too hot, a bit windy, and nice big white clouds posted against a deep blue sky. The nice thing about the hike is that the part along the creek is not on paved roads, the Komoot app calls it off grid.

On the way back I walked through the fields around Tubbergen. As you can see it has been an extremely dry summer. On the horizon you can see the upper part of the tower of the Saint Pancratius Basilica in Tubbergen.

Fields around Tubbergen, the Netherlands,
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

While entering the village I took the picture at the top of this post. Being back in the village I decided to take some pictures of the basilica. The upper part of the tower of the Saint Pancratius Basilica was renovated about 40 years ago (the bricks are a bit lighter). 

Saint Pancratius Basilica in Tubbergen, the Netherlands
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Here two more pictures of the church at Dreamstime: Pancratius from the front left and Pancratius from the front right.

Thumbs up for this hike and this village.

Stock Images

Sailing trip Waddenzee

31 foot sailboat

With a group of 4 we left the Noorderhaven in Harlingen a quarter past 6 in the morning heading for Terschelling. Actually we had to leave two hours after high tide to take full advantage of the pulling effect of the water when the water leaves the Waddenzee. Above you see the 31 footer and a short video of the beautiful colours of the sunrise: Sunrise Noorderhaven

The Waddenzee is a unique part of the North Sea. During high tide it just looks like a regular sea, during low tide many sandbanks pop up. The Dutch part is surrounded by the northern mainland of the Netherlands and a number of smaller islands. During this trip we visited Terschelling and Vlieland. With a sailboat with a keel of 1.5 meters we had to stick to the groove from Harlingen to the islands. Below you see that we could not go directly form Harlingen to Terschelling. We used an app of Navionics on our iPhones to see where the sandbanks are.

Tracks of three days: Harlingen to Terschelling red; Terschelling to Vlieland white; Vlieland to Harlingen yellow

During the first two days there was sometimes insufficient wind to sail against the tide. So we had to use the engine. You can actually see that during cross sailing the tide pushed us back to where we had been before. It took us 10 hours to reach Terschelling.

The next day we went to Vlieland. To enter the harbour of Vlieland we had to go further north to the North Sea which starts between the two islands. We could immediately feel the slow swell of the waves, in contrast to the shorter waves of the Waddenzee. On the way we saw many seals. 

The third day we had a nice northern wind which took us all the way to Harlingen. Again we had to cross the groove a couple of times. As you can see in the pictures we had to be aware of ferry boats going back and forth between the mainland and the island. They go very fast so we continuously had to check our speed and course.

Although I have been to Vlieland by ferry boat several times, making the trip by sailboat made me aware of the uniqueness of the Waddenzee. 

Stock Images
 

Hiking in Andorra

Andorra is a small country in the Pyrenees, a mountain range between France and Spain. It is a paradise for both skiers and hikers.
One hike took us to the north-western side of Andorra (Arcalis). Before starting I turned on the Komoot app on my iPhone to register my hike. I do this also to keep track of the the location where I took my pictures (see below). First we took a ski lift to take us all the way to the border between France and Andorra (the straight line on the map below).

After getting of the ski lift the first thing you see is this small lake, called Étang de Caraussans, surrounded by mountains in France. 

Lake on border Andorra-France
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

From there we walked to the highest point of our hike: 2690 meters. There you could see three lakes, called Estany de Més Amunt, in Andorra. As you can see, all very impressive. 

Lakes in Andorra
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

After taking some more pictures I walked all the way down to the starting point of the ski lift at 2220 meter. To be honest, I was glad I had taken the ski lift to get up.
Back at home I ingest my pictures in Photo Mechanic, I first throw away the bad pictures. Using the trail information from Komoot, Photo Mechanic figures out where I took the pictures (synchronisation is done based on time). Then I make a backup of the NEF-pictures on my NAS.  
The next step is to open the pictures in Lightroom to process them. Although it was sunny, I really had to add quite a bit of  liveliness and contrast to the pictures.
After saving them as DNG-pictures, I decide which pictures I will upload to Dreamstime. Within a couple of days I heard that all of my pictures were accepted. To give the buyers the opportunity to buy a DNG format of the picture, I also upload these. Furthermore, I do a bit of advertisement on Facebook. 

Here you see all of the pictures I took during several hikes in Andorra (made with jAlbum). Enjoy!

Stock Images

Showing pictures using map tools

Download file: LagunaLlanganuco.gpx

Usually, we present our pictures on the internet by means of a digital album. In a previous blog I mentioned jAlbum, a perfect software tool with many skins to  customize the album. For nature pictures that I take during a hike I was looking for something that would give a better impression of the surroundings.
During a short hike near Laguna Llanganuco (also discussed in this blog) I took my GPS to keep track of the trail. If the time in the camera is well-synchronized with the time given by the GPS it is quite easy to assign geo-coordinates to the individual pictures. I did so with Photo Mechanics.
The nice thing about Laguna Llanganuco is that it is in a rather small valley surrounded by mountains being part of the Cordillera Negra (no snow because of the influence of the ocean) and that during the hike I could see Huascarán, the highest mountain of Peru. It is part of the Cordillera Blanca (eternal snow). It would be nice to show the terrain combined with the picture to better enjoy the experience I had.
After looking around for some time I found this nice WordPress plugin called WP GPX Maps. The viewer can choose between different types of maps (top left icon): regular map, satelite, map with altitude lines (OCM) etc, in many different languages. To get a better view of the map click on the white icon (top right, left icon) to go to full screen mode. It is also possible to zoom in or out to see more detail or more of the surrounding area. Of course, it also shows the hike.
NextGen Galleries is another WordPress plugin that nicely integrates with WP GPX Maps. It allows for uploading the geotagged pictures in a gallery (which is not made visible). With a simple command this gallery is easily integrated into the map with the hike (as you can see at the top).
In full screen mode it is easy to see where the 3 pictures where taken (it only misses the direction in which they were taken). Combined with the satelite image it gives a much better impression of what I experienced during the hike than a traditional album. Enjoy.
Update: licenses of all three pictures of Laguna Llanganuco have been sold.

Stock Images

Monastery hike and Komoot

Download file: MonasteryHike.GPX

Near my home town there is a small village called Zenderen. It has a rich history of monasteries and churches. So, I decided to take the Monastery hike. Without actually noticing, I took the 9 km hike instead of the 13 km one.
On occasions like this I take my GPS with me for two reasons:

  • to know where I took my pictures
  • to create a gpx file, so I can share it with others

I normally take my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx, a very versatile and accurate gps, and download the track to my iMac using Garmin BaseCamp. Then I make some corrections (I often forget to switch it off when getting back to my car), and export a gpx-file. This can easily be imported in Photo Mechanics to assign the GPS-coordinates to the individual pictures.
Recently, I discovered Komoot, an iPhone app (also available for Android). It is mainly intended to plan routes for hiking or biking, and share it with others. However, it also allows me to record a hike, to store it in the cloud, to share it with the Komoot community, and to export a gpx-file. It has many nice features, among which giving directions on my Apple Watch. So, there is no need to take my iPhone out of my pocket to find out where I should go. Check it out, I am really impressed.
To come back to my Monastery hike, here are my pictures. The hike took me along De Zwanenhof, Karmelietenklooster, Carmelitessenklooster, Het Seminar, and the Mariakapel. Nice buildings to see. Enjoy hiking and shooting pictures.

Hike near Oosterbeek and White Balance

Oosterbeek januari 2015
Last Sunday I hiked near Oosterbeek (see map below). It is a really beautiful area, a mix of woods and open areas, just north of the river Nederrijn. This particular morning you could see the frost and the sun was still pretty low with warm colors. Here you can see some of the pictures I took.

Download file: wandelroute.gpx

This track comes from www.wandeleninoosterbeek.nl
I always shoot RAW, this allows me to change some of the settings, for example, the White Balance. I set White Balance always to Auto White Balance, AWB. When I am back home I set it to an appropriate value.
Changing the White Balance can have a substantial impact on the way the picture looks: if a picture is taken during normal daylight and we set the White Balance to Shade it will start adding red colors (to compensate the bluish colors in the shade), making the picture warmer. The same happens, however, to a lesser extent when setting the White Balance to Cloudy.
Looking at my RAW pictures I noticed that the pictures looked cooler than I remembered and intended, so during processing I set the White Balance to Cloudy, giving the pictures a warmer expression and also making the effect of the backlight of the sun more visible. Setting it to Shade was a bit overdone. It is just a matter of experimenting.
Keep in mind that we do not have to make an identical copy of reality, we want to make a picture that expresses what we felt when we took the picture.