Through My Lens: Aachener Dom
When I wrote about Aachen after my summer in Amsterdam some years back, I promised myself I would one day write about its magnificent cathedral.
Today is that day.
The Aachener Dom (Aachen Cathedral) started out as a chapel in the palace of Charlemagne way back at the end of the eighth century. It later became the coronation church of the German monarchs, with 31 kings and 12 queens having been crowned here between 936 and 1531. And Charlemagne himself was buried here; it was the Charlemagne connection that made the cathedral one of the most significant pilgrimage sites during the Middle Ages, along with Rome, Jerusalem, and Santiago de Compostela.
This year’s Lenten series will focus on the Aachener Dom, which is one of the most remarkable churches I have ever visited. For today, the First Sunday of Lent, I’m posting a photo of the only bit of the cathedral I saw from the outside. It’s pretty low key from this side, and belies how spectacular the interior is.
Which is why I was speechless after stepping inside.
Through My Lens: Daffodil Surprise
These daffodils next to English Bay have become a harbinger every year to announce the change in seasons. They pop up in mid to late January — which is awfully early for daffodils in this part of the world — but I’ve heard they are a variety that is bred to bloom early. Plus, that part of the seawall faces south.
Whatever the reason, we’re always happy to see them. And they catch people who aren’t from the neighbourhood by surprise, as they can’t believe their eyes.
Through My Lens: Reflections
Here’s another photo of Lost Lagoon that I took some time ago. It’s a favourite of mine; the clouds reflected in the water remind me of a Dutch landscape painting.
Through My Lens: In the Pink
Did you know that three days ago was Blue Monday? Apparently it’s the most depressing Monday of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
I can believe it. But yesterday, when the sun (finally) came out and I got myself over to Lost Lagoon, all I saw was pink. I took this photo a few minutes after the sun went down.
Oh, the Weather Outside Is Frightful
Oooh boy. Christmas travel is chaotic at best, but this year is turning out to be a real doozy. On top of today being the busiest travel day of the year, as per usual, the entire country from coast to coast to coast is being walloped by storms.
Here in Vancouver, it’s our third storm since Sunday. Bridges are closed, some lines of the Skytrain aren’t running, and this afternoon I waded through a week’s worth of snow in a futile attempt to get groceries. (Given Vancouver’s minimal snow removal budget, our residential side streets do not get cleared.)
Half of the flights out of Vancouver since Sunday have been cancelled. And as soon as one major Canadian airport is a mess, there’s a ripple effect on all other major airports in the country because none of the planes and flight crews are where they’re supposed to be. Two young people related to me spent most of Tuesday at YVR, hoping against hope their flight to Alberta would go. It did not, and they left instead by train this afternoon, hoping to get home to their parents by Christmas Eve. I told them that taking a train through the Rockies was a rite of passage; I didn’t have the heart to tell them that VIA Rail never runs on time.
Locally, BC Ferries has cancelled multiple sailings, not only due to the inclement weather, but because of frozen pipes and staff not being able to get to the terminals. Yesterday, the BC government held an impromptu news conference, and the minister with the most unwieldy portfolio title ever — Emergency Management and Climate Readiness — urged everyone to stay off the roads except in case of emergency.
That it is the first Christmas since the start of the pandemic where people finally feel comfortable travelling seems a cruel irony. As the Yiddish proverb goes, “We plan, God laughs.”
All I can say is: I wish everyone travelling mercies, good health, and a very, merry Christmas. Goodness knows, we deserve one.
Through My Lens: A Snowy View Over English Bay
If this keeps up, Vancouver will have to give up its nickname as the Tropics of Canada. I took this photo this afternoon.
Through My Lens: November Light
There’s something special about the light on the bay this time of year. I took this photo a few days ago. A friend said it was like pewter and old gold.
All right. Let’s get the obligatory first-snow-of-the-season post out of the way. Here’s a photo I took a week ago today.
Yup, we went from summer to winter in less than three weeks. First the rains came in a series of atmospheric rivers, and then the first bad windstorm of the season. Trees stressed from the drought and still in full foliage came down by the thousands, pulling power lines down with them. At the height of the storm, more than 300,000 people were without power.
After all that, an Arctic outflow blanketed much of the province for the better part of a week. Vancouver’s dusting of snow on Monday night a week ago was its earliest snowfall in decades.
Just so I’m not writing about our weather every single week, I put off posting this photo until today. That’s because I knew I wanted to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic floods and mudslides that ravaged British Columbia. There’s been a lot of local media coverage about it the past few days because, well, it was pretty traumatic. A lot of people are still in recovery mode.
Even the barge that came up on the rocks at the end of my street a year ago today is still there. In the end, it had to be dismantled and taken away bit by bit. A salvage team has been working on that momentous task since last summer. They’re almost done and I cannot lie: I’ll be glad when it’s gone.
Incidentally, although the Pitch & Putt at Stanley Park is open year-round (subject to conditions), it was closed the day I took the above photo. But obviously that did not stop the die-hard golfers you see in my photo.
Then again, Vancouverites are known to never let the weather stop them from doing what they love best.
Through My Lens: In the Weeds
Here’s one last photo from our spectacularly warm fall, which I took just two weeks ago.
For obvious reasons, I’m calling this one “in the weeds.”