A Face In The Woods

Get more out of travel when you’re back at home.

I recently finished some hectic travel through Europe and Asia — 7 cities in 3 weeks. I took lots of pictures and my Instagram feed was more interesting than usual. Now, back at home, I’m wondering if such a quick pace made me live through the lens too much. Seeing the sights but missing the stories.

So, I chose a pic from each city and researched it.

COPENHAGEN

I loved this face in the forest… like a graffiti version of “The Scream.” At the time I knew I was in an area called Freetown Christiania — a commune style village on an old military base.

But a deeper look revealed a complicated 44 year history. It has withstood countless legal and physical challenges (often violent) from local authorities. And through it all the people there have remained dedicated to it’s founding principles, written here by journalist Jacob Ludvigsen…

The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.

Here is their Facebook page. Here is the Wiki page.


VENICE

There are 122 drinking water fountains in Venice. Almost all of them have a face of some sort and this one also had a large pigeon.

There’s not much info about the history or design of the fountains but I did find a huge effort from the government to get visitors to use them instead of buying bottled water. At one point there was even a program that give every tourist a map of the fountains and an empty bottle to use.

Here is a Guardian article about it.


BATH

The view just outside Bath, which is just outside London. A painfully quaint city that gets it’s name from, you guessed it, and ancient Roman bath.

I loved the depth of this pic, especially the rolling mist in the background. After some research, I realized I’ve been throwing around the term “mist” very loosely.

Turns out the term fog is used when visibility is less than 1km. It changes to mist when visibility exceeds 1km. So this picture technically shows radiation fog, which is quite shallow and runs over over damp ground. Who knew.

Here are fog facts from National Geographic.


BERLIN

I liked how stark this ferris wheel looked in the context of all the concrete.

This wheel was part of a christmas market and, as it turns out after some digging, this isn’t remotely the most interesting ferris wheel in Berlin. That would be the one from Spreepark — an abandoned amusement park.

It was built in 1969, declared financially insolvent in 2002, and now the former owner is in a Peruvian jail for trying to smuggle cocaine in a Flying Carpet ride.

Here is the derelict ferris wheel still spinning 12 years after it’s last passenger.


BANGKOK


This is my favorite pic from the travels. The colors are so rich and organic. This is the Khlong Toei market; it opens at 2am and closes at 6. Whether it’s chicken, fish, veggies, or huge buckets of spices many of the meals served in Bangkok start off here.

Here is the Trip Advisor page for the market.


LONDON

Taken on a dramatically cloudy day from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral. I got lucky with that soft explosion of sunlight in the middle.

London is one of the cities I know OF but not ABOUT. So, I’m re-travelling it… the city was founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago as Londinium. The Cathedral dome I was standing on to take this picture is one of the highest in the world, and Lord Horatio Nelson is buried 365 feet below me. Most of us know of the “Great fire of London,” but I’ll bet very few know it began on Pudding Lane.

Here is the Wiki for Pudding Lane


I’ve got lots more pics and could go on and on; but this was just to see whether I could get more out of the experiences after the fact… my answer is yes.

I didn’t know any of this info while travelling, and now that I do those places mean more to me. It’s also inspired me to take a closer look at wherever I go next.

Like what you read? Give D Jason McCann a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.