The Art of Zigzag

Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag


For this week’s challenge three completely different travel destinations come to mind.

Each an artistic representation of the beauty of the Zigzag.



St. Stephen's


Vienna, Austria … where the impressive multi-colour zigzag of the tile roof at St. Stephen’s Cathedral dominates the Stephansplatz …


Monterosso al Mare


Monterosso al Mare, Italy … where colourful shade umbrellas zigzag across the popular Italian riviera beach …


Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia … where the ceramic tile roof zigzags with the glow of the mid-day sun.


Thanks for visiting …


©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014


Shout Outs

The Landslide Photography

A Bowl of Cherries

That Montreal Girl

The Numpty With A Camera

My Photos, My Words, My Life




The Happy Wanderer

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

This is an interesting topic given that we’re in the throes of planning a trip to Italy for late spring.

Seems to me you can’t leave much to chance anymore, especially if you want to see the major sites.

To avoid line-ups you need to pre-purchase tickets. That’s fine. I have no problem with that. I detest line-ups anyway.

To book events you must do it often months in advance. This we learned the hard way when we tried to buy tickets to a performance of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna on the day of the performance. What were we thinking?


Lippizaners at the Spanish Riding School, Vienna, Austria


We’ve always been fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of travellers so it was huge disappointment to find out our approach to vacations had denied us a chance to see the Lippizaners dance. Instead we enjoyed a tour of the stables and a viewing of a daily practice. This was a thrill, of course, but not what we’d wanted. So, experiences like this, I’ve learned, can no longer be left to chance.

The same with flights. I don’t know if people are travelling more or the airlines are flying fewer plans, but it seems to me gone are the days when you could book a trip three months in advance and expect a reasonable seat on the plane. I suppose the fact that you can now book your seat when you reserve your ticket has had an effect on that too.

We booked our flights to Italy yesterday and we’re not even sitting together on our flight home. Adrenal fatigue has made long haul travel uncomfortable for me the past few years, and wilting (and I mean wilting) beside a stranger on a 10-hour flight is not my idea of a good time. It’s bad enough it happens when I’m sitting next to my husband. I hope we can get someone to switch seats with one of us.

So, as I look at our Italian itinerary, I am determined to make sure we secure the appropriate city passes for events and venues in Florence and Venice ~ two ports of call sandwiching a week in a Tuscan villa. If there’s one thing I don’t want to do it’s stand in long line-ups to see The David. I must use my precious energy wisely.

And we will stay in good hotels. We won’t skimp on quality here … ever. Been there. Done that. It’s a grey t-shirt and uncomfortable. 😉

Sure, some things we will leave to chance. Travel, like life, ought to leave room for a little spontaneity. But for the big things we’re going fully prepared.

We’re planning a trip to London for later in the year. A research trip for my novel. I will be booking major activities in advance. I’d like to attend opening night at the opera; experience afternoon tea at the Ritz; find a nice old pub my characters can hang out in. I’ll do the research for those things in advance and make reservations as necessary.

As I grew up in London and am familiar with the West End and other areas of my youth, I’ll also be happy just to wander, reliving some old memories and taking in the sights with my fresh eyes.

Sounds to me like a bit of pre-planning and some happy wandering make for a balanced travel experience.

I’m good with that. 🙂


Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014


Other Happy Wanderers

Be a Hero | Rima Hassan
Prison | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
Moon-rock | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
California: a fat wave* of options | Andrea Reads America
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer-How an Introvert Travel (pics) | Journeyman
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
The Happy Wanderer: My Travel Style #DailyPost | The Wayfaring Family
Travel Style | From Journo-baby to Journo-babe
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
The Unhappy Wanderer | Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog
DP Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | Sabethville
How to Get a Green Card: A Lesson in Planning and Letting Go | Kosher Adobo
There’s Nothing There & Professor Hamilton’s Advice To Writers | The Jittery Goat
I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
love-hate | yi-ching lin photography
Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer’s | My Outlook on the World
I love airports | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
An Uncommercial Traveller | The Ambitious Drifter
Just following the sun… | Hope* the happy hugger

Get Thee Behind Me …

Daily Prompt: Temptation




Oh, my …

Is there anything more tempting than a shop window filled to capacity with a variety of delectable sweets?

In my European travels especially I have been mesmerized by many a display.

In this instance, Vienna was parading her high-caloric delicacies.

I find I’m always safe as long as I stay this side of the window and walk away really, really fast. 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Other Temptations

Eggs | crookedeyebrows
Daily Prompt; Simply Irresistible; marshmallows | sixty, single and surviving
What really tests my resolve … | 365 And Counting
Bacon Temptation… | Haiku By Ku
Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible | Active Army Wife
Simply Irresistable: Daily Prompt | Pen Gryphon’s Blog
Gastronomic criticism | Life is great
Temptation | The Good Enough Housewife
Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible « blogagaini
Simply Irresistible | The Nameless One
Simply Irresistible – Chocolate Lava Cake | Manolo’s Meals
Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistable | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
Mind Food – That’s my Hard Rock Hallelujah! | An Upturned Soul
TEMPTATION | Lost in Translation
Simply Irresistible | Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible | SIM | ANTICS
Daily Post: Temptation | Different Isn’t Wrong, It’s Just Different
Fishy Times in Bergen, Norway | Life is a Vacation
Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes! | Miss Spicy Hat n’ Sugar Socks

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece … Of The Master … Vienna, Austria

This week’s photo challenge asks us to interpret “Masterpiece.”

Vienna is famous for its many masterpieces … Sacher Torte, the Spanish Riding School (you know me and horses), its many beautiful palaces and, of course, music.

Everywhere you walk sandwich boards are perched on sidewalks advertising nightly classical performances in concert halls and churches across the city. These concerts feature the music of Vienna’s (and other) great composers, including but not limited to Mozart, Bruckner, Schumann, Lehar, and Haydn.

Their musical masterworks live on and hover around my subconscious primarily because I was raised in a home resonating with classical music. My mother made her living on the international operatic stage, so naturally I was exposed to these and other musical masters on a continuous basis. Their (my “Uncles in Music” as I like to call them) influence helped to shape who I am today and continues do so as I evolve and embrace life as one growing into my self. For that I will always be grateful.  After all, I am a (master)work in progress. (Aren’t we all …  😉 … )

But that’s a story for another day …


Perhaps the golden boy of Vienna composers was Johann Strauss II ~ composer of the Blue Danube Waltz, among other instrumental gems, and my favourite operetta ~ Die Fledermaus.

A couple of years ago, while strolling through Vienna’s Stadtpark (which boasts a number of statues dedicated to Vienna’s masters of music) we ventured upon this incredible monument to Herr Strauss. At the time it was cordoned off for refurbishment. To get this shot I had to stand on a bench and peer over a solid barricade.

At the time I was disappointed by the obstruction. Still, as I ponder this image now I wonder if the artist applying gold leaf, surrounded by his tools and perched precariously on a ladder, had any notion at all that he might be engaged with a masterpiece of his own.

Regardless, it is a monument worthy of Vienna’s Master of the Waltz.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Shout Outs

On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea

Artifacts and Fictions

Hamburg Und Mee(h)r


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Travel) Patterns

This week’s photo challenge asks us to share what pattern means to us.

Herewith a small sample of patterns observed during some recent travels.



Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


Shout Outs

Tricia Booker Photography

At This Time

Chronicles of My Imagination


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

A Tender Moment … Vienna, Austria

Fritz and Friedl, and their doting driver, let’s call him Hans, ferried us around historic Vienna for an hour one afternoon last fall.

It was a piercingly sunny day and warm for the time of year. After our turn about the city, Hans filled a couple of buckets with fresh water and lovingly gave the two handsome greys a pat and a chance to quench their thirst.

A tender moment I am grateful to have been able to capture …

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

A Night at the Opera? … Vienna, Austria

During our trip to Vienna in September 2011, we decided to go to the Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper) to see Don Giovanni. We try to visit the grand opera houses in the European cities we visit, if not for a performance at least for a peek inside. We were in Vienna for a few days. Don Giovanni was playing. So, we decided we’d go.

For expediency sake we ordered our last-minute tickets through the very obliging hotel concierge. He assured us he’d be able to secure our coveted tickets for that evening’s performance so we left the task in his capable hands. Later that day we picked them up and, in his broken English, the young concierge expressed his hope that we would enjoy our evening at the opera.

We were thrilled. After all, who couldn’t enjoy Don Giovanni — considered one of Mozart’s greatest operas — in the composer’s old stomping grounds, Vienna?

Psyched for our impending operatic experience, we dressed in our finest travelling duds, enjoyed a tasty repast in the hotel’s five-star restaurant and walked the 10 minutes along Wiedner Hauptstrasse to the impressive Staatsoper.

Like many of the grand opera houses of Europe, the Staatsoper is a legend unto itself.

This Neo-Renaissance State Opera House opened in May 1869 with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. However, the Emperor Franz Joseph, not finding the edifice that appealing, dismissed it as akin to “a railway station.” This snub ultimately lead to one of the building’s architects, Eduard van der Null, committing suicide.

... Loggia ...

And then, during World War II, the opera house was bombed and, but for the original loggia dominating the building’s front, was virtually destroyed. It reopened in 1955, complete with all the latest in theatre technology.

Getting back to our date with Don Giovanni, we arrived early so we could take a look around and revel in the pre-performance atmosphere. The Staatsoper’s foyer and grand marble staircase complete with frescoes, mirrors, chandeliers and statues were such a feast for the eyes it was a challenge to know where to look next.

Eventually we made our way to our seats in the ground floor stalls — we didn’t skimp — and parked ourselves to people watch.

What kinds of people attended the opera in Vienna? (All kinds) How did they dress? (From diamonds to denim.) Where did they come from? (Everywhere, I imagined.) It was all part of the exciting experience of going to the opera in Vienna.

And then I realized we didn’t have a performance program. So, I headed over to a friendly young female usher, gave her the requisite Euros (10, I think — I bought two programs) and practically skipped back to our wonderful seats six rows from the stage.

I could almost feel the roar of the grease paint. I could definitely smell the crowd (they love their fragrance in Vienna). I’ve been to more than 100 opera performances in my life and anticipating the rising curtain, the set design, costumes, and director’s interpretation is part of the thrill. What kind of experience were we in for this evening?

After giving Lloyd his copy of the program I sunk back into my plush red velvet seat and began to flip through the substantial book’s shiny pages, looking for the story outline.

But I couldn’t find it.

I flipped through it back to front. Perhaps I’d missed it somehow. Still no sign of it.

And then my mind started to race. What are all these pictures of …? What’s this Balanchine and Robbins business? No, it couldn’t be. Perhaps, like the programs at home, this was showcasing other performances during the upcoming season.

I continued my search for a Don Giovanni summary in vain. I turned to Lloyd. He, too, seemed perplexed.

“Did you buy the right program?” he asked, his voice haunted with impending disappointment.

“Yes … I’m sure of it … it’s what the usher gave me.” I replied, feeling equally doomed.

We looked at our ticket stubs. And there it was, the final stab of defeat … what we’d thought was advertising for another event turned out to be the performance we were attending.

We went to the opera … and the Vienna State Ballet broke out — the premier performance of Balanchine and Robbins. We’d missed the final performance of Don Giovanni by one night. 😦

I wonder what the concierge was thinking?

Oh well, we put our disappointment in our pocket and, with an open mind, enjoyed an unexpected foray into ballet.

I guess we’ll just have to go back to Vienna for the opera some day …

I can take it.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

Have Horse, Will Travel … Vienna, Austria

More horses. What can I say? I am besotted.

As mentioned in a recent post, when traveling I keep an eye open for sightings of the local equine population.

In Vienna I was not to be disappointed.

Between the powerful Lippizaners of the Spanish Riding School and the elegant carriage trade, there were plenty of horses to keep me happy until I returned home to my own trusty steed.

I’m partial to this image, taken outside the Hofsberg Palace in Vienna’s city centre, because its feeling of movement triggers in my memory the ringing clip-clop of shod hooves on asphalt — one of my favourite sounds since childhood.

The legions of horse carriages ferrying tourists around are a nod to a bygone era reflected in Vienna’s numerous Baroque palaces. A guided carriage ride was a special way to get an overview of what I consider to be one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

Carriage Trade in Vienna, Austria

Visiting Vienna and the Spanish Riding School had been on my travel bucket list since I was a little girl. So, when we had a chance to visit last fall and make this dream come true, I was over the moon.

Age does not seem to wither my passion for horses, so whenever I visit a place and see they’re a part of the culture above and beyond what I might have imagined, I am always pleasantly surprised.

Vienna has an extensive carriage trade.

The unmistakeable ring of clip-clopping hooves resounding outside our hotel window was my first clue.

“Ooh!” I excitedly pulled back the curtain and looked five storeys down to the street below. “That’s nice!”

The moment passed. I mentioned it to Lloyd and then thought no more of it until a few minutes later another horse and carriage, and then another and then another trotted by in single file on their way into the city centre about 10 minutes away.

Now I was curious.

After breakfast we walked the 15 minutes from our hotel to the Hofburg Palace, our first stop the Spanish Riding School. The alabaster-coloured buildings and monuments seemed to shimmer beneath the veil of a perfect azure sky. I was enthralled.

As we approached city centre the rhythmic cacophony of metal shoes on cobblestones rang out again, from all directions, echoing as brightly off the walls of the narrow streets as the sunlight that burst upon them. Pealing church bells punctuated the clatter on the quarter hour until all was sensory overload. It was, at times, almost overwhelming.

When we arrived at the Michaelerplatz just outside the Hofburg Palace (where this image was taken) horses and carriages and their respective drivers were waiting for fares. Ever the romantic I knew I just had to see Vienna from a horse-drawn carriage.

So, after purchasing our tickets for the Spanish Riding School stable tour, which would happen later in the day, we paid our fare and revelled in a 60-minute tour of Vienna’s beautiful sites in a carriage pulled by Fritz and Friedl, a lovely team of greys.

I knew I would love Vienna.

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012