Nepal Himalaya Pavilion

Not far from Regensburg is a Nepalese temple and garden called the Nepal Himalaya Pavilion.

The Pavilion was originally constructed in Hanover for the 2000 World’s Fair Expo, which ran from Jun to October of that year.  The Nepalese exhibit was incredibly popular, with about 3.5 million visitors during the 2000 Expo.  After the World’s Fair concluded, the Pavilion was dismantled, transported here, and then reconstructed.  It reopened in 2003, and opens seasonally every year.

Most of these pictures don’t have commentary from me, because I don’t have much more to add.  This was a nice garden, and a lovely way to spend a few hours.

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The brightly colored cloth hanging from the pavilion are prayers.

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First, he got the disk spinning with the long pole.

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Next, he used the spinning disk as a giant pottery wheel.

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The entrance to the China Garden part of the Nepal Himalaya Pavilion.

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Nice hooters, eh?

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Shakey rope bridge!

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…Fighting the urge to walk in the opposite direction here…

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Have you ever been to the Nepal Himalaya Pavilion?  How about Nepal?

Keukenhof, Part One: The Park

The Tulip Festival in Holland has long been a big item on my Geographic To-Do list.  Jenny also wanted to see the Tulips, so on the first Friday in May, we all piled into Robert’s car and headed up to Keukenhof, about thirty-five kilometers from Amsterdam.

Keukenhof is the world’s second largest flower garden, only exceeded by Dubai Miracle Garden.  The park is only open for about eight weeks each year, typically from mid-March to late May.  During those eight weeks, Keukenhof sees around 800,000 visitors.

When we arrived, we were greeted by staff members handing out maps in traditional dresses.

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At least I think these are traditional dresses.  When I tried to research “traditional Dutch dresses,”  I kept finding lots of things with pointy hats.  This girl is definitely not wearing a pointy hat.

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I don’t really have too much to say about the flowers in Keukenhof.  I took a tremendous amount of pictures, but I’ll try not to overwhelm you with flowers.

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Needless to say, it was really colorful.

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Really, really colorful.

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We arrived a week or two too late to see the giant colorful fields of tulips that we were hoping for.  Warmer weather broke early this year, and we couldn’t visit in time to see the best blooms.

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That poor timing didn’t make the flowers we did see any less spectacular, though.

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The problem with going to a place like Keukenhof on the busiest weekend of its year, the weekend of the flower parade, is that everyone has basically the same idea.  To get any of the pictures I posted above, I had to wade through a whole lot of this:

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And, for some odd reason, weird sculpted fish.

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Flowers and people, as far as the eye can see!

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In order to get flowers without people, you have to get really  close to the flowers…

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Some of the people had very little courtesy.   They tromped through other people’s pictures, and in some cases damaged the flowers themselves.

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These signs?  Yeah, they were completely useless.

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I did my best to stay off the grass most of the time, because they gave us paved walkways that went right up to giant banks of flowers.

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By lunchtime, this is what the Keukenhof crowd levels looked like.

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This is some sort of art-deco tree.  I have no further comment.

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Some people didn’t think the flowers were pretty enough as-is, and made their own versions.

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There were some indoor exhibits about the history of the tulip, the planting methods used by Keukenhof, and so forth.  I thought this illustration of the worth of tulips was interesting.

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I liked these white ones quite a lot.

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And also these dark red ones.

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This picture and the one before it are taken from the exact same place.  This one just shows you all the crowds walking through it as well.

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Keukenhof is broken into sections.  There’s a historical garden, an English garden, an Asian garden, and so forth.

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One area of the historical garden has a sun-dial.  It was actually quite accurate.

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There were several picturesque fountains around the park.

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The carts you see on the opposite of this fountain?  Waffles and hot dogs, basically.   The waffle was delicious.

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Tulip-shaped candy pops?  Check!

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Giant windmill you can climb?  Check!  I skipped this one because of the crowds.

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On our way out, we passed some wooden busts of composers that I thought were nifty.  This one is Chopin.

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This one is Brahms.  Insert your own Brahms Lullaby/”sawing logs” joke here.

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And last but not least:  Orchids!

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Have you ever been to Keukenhof for the yearly Tulip Festival?

Hannover (and Minden)

On the weekend of April 27-28, I went to Minden for a Peter Cincotti concert.  It is not an exaggeration to say that I’ve been looking forward to that show more than the Depeche Mode concert in June.  Seriously, if you  don’t know Peter Cincotti’s music, you should really check him out.  For those of you on Spotify, here’s a very brief selection of his stuff.  If you don’t use Spotify- these play buttons won’t work without the software.   You’ll have to check Youtube to hear some of his stuff instead.  Just check him out.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

Ok, now that we’ve got the Peter Cincotti plug out of the way, I’ll talk about Hannover.  I traveled to Minden for the concert by way of Hannover, and I did some sightseeing in Hannover on Saturday before the concert and again on Sunday before my train back home.  I took a pantload of pictures, and I decided to show them to you a little bit out of sequence.  This isn’t exactly the order that I visited stuff, but it’s close enough.

While walking around on that Saturday, I was more than a little bit surprised to see one of these:

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While walking near the Kröpcke, a large pedestrian area near the Bahnhof,  I also stumbled across a random volleyball tournament.  This happened last year in Amsterdam too-  it was rather unexpected.

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I also wanted to point out this ingenious way to sell food.  I saw one of these in Berlin a while back selling currywurst.  I am consistently amazed at people’s ingenuity.  Also, I kind of want one of those hands-free go-go-Gadget umbrellas.  That’s really nifty!

I didn’t eat lunch from this guy though, I went to Jack The Ripper’s London Tavern instead.  I mostly went because I liked the name of the restaurant, but the fish and chips were pretty good..

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I took a walk down to the Leibnizufer to see the Nanas, large colorful sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle.  I had seen one other Nana recently, the flying protecting angel sculpture in Zurich.  It’s the first picture in my Zurich post.  When I learned that Niki de Saint Phalle was an honorary citizen of Hannover and had donated a lot of her artwork to the city, I had to go see some.  They weren’t hard to find, either.

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With my quest to see the Nanas a success, I decided to take the tram over to the Herrenhäuser Gärten, the Great Garden of Herrenhausen.  It was absolutely enormous, and I could easily dedicate several hours to walking around on a warmer, sunnier, more flowerific day.  That Saturday was cold and overcast, but it was still an amazing place.  I wandered around for nearly two hours.  Here are eight of the many, many photographs I took at Herrenhausen.

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We interrupt this post about Hannover to show you a picture from an art gallery window in Minden.  I really, really like the duck detectives, but I have no idea why.  Also, the supplicant ant in the background cracks me up.  If I ever go back to Minden when this place is open, I am totally buying one of the ducks though.

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Meanwhile, back in Hannover, the weather cleared up a great deal.  Sunday wasn’t any warmer than Saturday, but at least the sun came out.  This means that the sky got bluer and the pictures got prettier.

Hannover has a lot of interesting sculptures.  I find sculptures and statues that I like in every city I visit, but Hannover has a larger than average share of really neat ones.  This giant gate and the caesar-looking dude on the horse are both standing at an intersection not terribly far from the Neues Rathaus, which I’ll get to a little further down in this post.

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This glum fellow with the umbrella is standing not far away from a glum looking woman holding an umbrella.  I really want to know the story behind this one.

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Someone gave these two very red eyes.  It makes them look really creepy.  I’m just sayin’.

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Hannover has a nice looking opera house.  I know nothing further about this building.  It sure is cool looking though.

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One of the highlights of my trip to Hannover was the Neues Rathaus, the old “New Town Hall.”  The building is no longer used for the main city administration, but it’s still got some offices in it.  More importantly, you can walk around inside and go up inside the dome for a small fee.  You know me and tall places, how could I not climb up?

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The first part of the “climb” is actually an elevator to a small stairway to… another elevator.  This elevator does most of the vertical ascent, but there are glass panels in the floor and ceiling to show you the shaft as you travel.  The next picture is looking up and the following picture is looking down the elevator shaft.  This is not for the claustrophobic, agoraphobic, or acrophobic.

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At the top of the elevator, there is a chamber filled with decades of “Francisco was here, 1988!” styled graffiti, as well as a metal spiral staircase to get you to the upper levels of the observation dome.

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The view from the observation level at the top of the stairs is  amazing if you’re there on a clear day.

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After visiting the dome, I walked around the inside of the building for a while.  The grand staircase and the ceiling in the center chamber are amazing.

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There are also a variety of models of the city of Hannover in various times.   This one shows how bombed out the city was in 1945, which is really fascinating to see.

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Segway tour!  I saw these guys as I was walking around the Rathaus.  I’ve always wanted to go on a Segway tour.

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This is the view from the water’s edge behind the Rathaus.  There’s a cafe right there-  if I’d been hungry when I was at the Rathaus, I can’t think of a nicer place to sit and eat.

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Lastly, this building… I’m not actually sure what it was. I assume it’s a church of some sort.  It was just neat looking, so I snapped some pictures of it.

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Have you ever been to Hannover?