My Year in Pictures Favorite Photos of 2016

2016 was a very good year for taking photographs. Norene and I took a 40 year anniversary trip to Europe and spent four weeks exploring Prague, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We visited major cities such as Berlin and Hamburg in Germany, and Salzburg and Vienna in Austria. Along the way, we learned about German history related to World War II, visited numerous museums and memorials to the slain Jewish population and visited the Mauthausen Memorial Concentration Camp which was one of the last concentration camps in Germany. We saw beautiful scenery in southern Germany, Murren Switzerland and Austria. We rode gondolas and walked on a "Thrill Walk" in the Swiss Alps that hugged the side of a mountain with a 2,000 foot drop below. We sampled fine cuisine and drank a lot of German beer and wine. We spent two nights in Munich during Oktoberfest and experienced the many beer tents. Additionally, we experienced Fall color in New England and the Great Smoky Mountains, and welcomed our second grandchild along the way. The following are our favorite images in 2016 to share with you.

Prague was an afterthought when planning our trip. We originally planned to fly into Berlin, but couldn't find a good flight connection. So we decided to extend our trip a few days and tour Prague. We are glad we did. Prague is a beautiful city, rich in history and very photogenic. We spent two and a half days in a whirlwind tour of the city, getting up at daybreak and staying out late in the night.

Charles Bridge - Prague at night
Charles Bridge
Prague Panorama
Prague at Night

Berlin

Berlin Hauptbahnhof Train Station

Berlin is a cosmopolitan City with the largest train station we had ever seen. The station is six floors high. Locals joke that the facility is a large shopping mall that happens to have a train station inside. Trains from around Europe enter at the lowest floors. The local subway platforms are at the top floor. Photos here of Berlin depict the types of historical places we visited during our four days spent here.

Brandenburg Gate
Reichstag Dome
Parliament Chambers and Reichstag Dome
Berlin Wall

Hamburg and Cologne

Hamburg was a sleeper city that we knew little about. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and has the second largest port in all of Europe. It also has interesting architecture and neighborhoods.

Speicherstadt (Warehouse City) Neighborhood

Cologne is a major German city along the Rhine River. One of the largest Gothic Churches is located in Cologne which is beautifully lighted at night along with the Hohenzollern Bridge.

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge over the Rhine River
Cologne Cathedral

Bavaria - Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles

The Bavarian region in Germany is the gateway to the Alps and Austria and Switzerland. The town of Fussen is home to the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles. We can understand why Walt Disney used the looks of Neuschwanstein Castle to develop the Castles in the Magic Kingdom.

Sunset over Hohenschwangau Castle and Lake Alpsee
Neuschwanstein Castle at Sunset from Mary's Bridge
Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles at Night

Bacharach and Burg Eltz

The Rhine River Region near Bacharach is picturesque with Castles galore. Nearby in the Mosel Valley is the sleepy castle of Burg Eltz, which is one of the best preserved castle in Europe.

Bacharach and the Rhine River
Burg Eltz Castle

Munich

One of the things on Doug's bucket list was to visit Munich during Oktoberfest. The event exceeded our expectations and we enjoyed the sounds and sights of this festival. The live band in the Hofbrauhaus, as well as the sights and sounds in the various beer tents at the Oktoberfest site proved that people from all over the world can come together to celebrate a joyous occasion.

Hofbrauhaus Munich
Hacker Brewery Tent

Switzerland

The area around Murren is one of the most beautiful landscapes we have ever photographed. You can't take a bad image in the Swiss Alps. The sunrises and sunsets against majestic mountains was phenomenal. We experienced the new Birg Thrill Walk which is a glass and open bottomed trail that hugs the mountainside over a 2000 foot drop. Gondolas were the chief means of transport in this mountainous region.

Alps Sunset Panorama from Murren
Birg Thrill Walk
Gondola and Murren
Country Trail between Trummelbach Falls and Lauterbrunnen

Austria

Hallstatt is a village in the Austrian Alps just south of Salzburg. The sleepy town is a photographers delight, as well as the world heritage view above the town.

World Heritage View of Hallstatt
Hallstatt at Dawn

Vienna is rich in history and architecture. The Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna, Austria. The Palace has over 1,400 rooms surrounded by acres of manicured gardens and fountains.

Schönbrunn Palace

We traveled to Upstate New York and Vermont to attend a wedding in mid October. In a normal year, the fall colors would have peaked, but 2016 was not a normal year in this region. Locals told us that the fall colors here this year were the best anyone could remember in decades. We were very lucky to have seen this area in 2016.

Fall storm in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid
High Falls Gorge near Wilmington, New York
Covered Bridge near Stowe Vermont

I was able to photograph one additional area at the end of October. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular area for landscape photographers to see the fall colors. Unfortunately, due to severe drought in the area, the colors were not as vibrant as in other years. I was, however, able to get a couple of images that depicts the diversity of the area.

Light and shadows in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sunrise and fog off the Foothills Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains

We can't complete the year without talking about our grandchildren. Our second grandchild, Brenley was born in June. Our grandson Brecken will be three years old in January. We began photographing Brenley monthly to document her looks during her first year of life. We even got her to smile sitting in a cramped pumpkin!

Brenley in a Pumpkin
Brenley and Brecken - Christmas 2016

Thanks for viewing these images. Have a great 2017.

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