Yosemite in snow

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Yosemite many times, and especially often since I moved back to California a couple years ago. Despite two previous January trips; however, I had yet to see the valley in the snow. A recent visit during this winter’s storms finally solved that, and it was incredible to see the Merced River in full flow, and the ice and snow on the valley floor and mountain tops.

The snow had spent a couple days melting and re-freezing, creating stunning ice crystals on branches, rocks, and blades of grass. We were treated to two colorful sunsets and a gorgeous early morning rainbow in Upper Yosemite Fall. It was amazing to see mist forming and disappearing throughout the day as the snow warmed and cooled with the passage of the sun.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Our final stop was the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. The city was vibrant life intertwined with layers of history–it seemed that everywhere we turned there was another oxidized copper spire reaching into the sky, and a stone church or museum around every corner. I loved all the bikes and brightly-colored buildings, and of course the canals and houseboats.

Rundetaarn

The Rundetaarn (round tower) in Copenhagen, Denmark was originally built as an astronomical observatory in the 1600’s. Because of its purpose, it was designed with a eight-plus story spiral ramp, rather than a staircase, to allow for horses and carriages to pull heavy equipment to the top of the tower. The top features a museum of some of the old pieces as well as stunning views of the old city.

Bergen, Norway

Time has gotten away with me on these summer photos, especially as my fall months were packed busy with re-establishing my experiment in the Sierras, helping host a research and management conference at my university, and passing my qualifying examination (the last big hurdle on the way to my PhD before the dissertation itself). I’ve finally finished going through the last two stops on our beautiful whirlwind travels through Europe, the first of which is Bergen, Norway.

 

Bergen is a city established by German merchants in a country ruled by Scandinavian kings, a cultural and economic division that led to centuries of trade and occasional conflict. The old town of Bergen is a labyrinth of multi-story wooden buildings, all in shades of red, yellow, and orange, and the waterfront hosts restaurants with cuisines from all over the world–including Louisiana cajun-style seafood. The backdrop to all of this bustle is the dark green forests and fjords of the Norway coastline.