There are things I will not forget:
the places that awed me,
and the bridges that moved me.
I will not forget
that to every face there is a name
and behind every pair of eyes
there is a soul.
I will not forget
that no matter how far I travel
to the distant past
or escape to the unknown future,
life has a way of taking me back
to the harsh realities of
I will not forget
how I looked up and thanked the heavens
for the hope that each passing day
brings the promise of a new dawn.
For moments are only fleeting
but memories are –
Year 2011 – 12 Countries – 46 Cities – 13,973 Photographs
I Will Not Forget – My Homage to 2011 – Photos & Text, Yen Baet
[...Wroclaw, Poland October 2011...]
I look at Wroclaw like an oyster – you have to get past the rough and scraggly outer shell to get to the pearl inside to appreciate its beauty. And by the pearl I mean the heart of the city that Wroclawians call Rynek, the old market square where one can find the city’s prized possession tucked safely inside four colorful corners.
When I arrived in central Wroclaw by airport bus, I decided to walk from the bus station at Dworkowa Street to take me to the old town where my hotel was. Passing by the old Glowny Station and the busy Swidnicka Street, I found the city on the brink of mid-afternoon rush. There was a vigorous chill in the breeze that swept past me as I walked with one gloved hand inside my pocket and another dragging my luggage behind. It felt unseasonably cold this time of the year, and my decision to pack more layers than I had originally planned was suddenly the smartest thing I’ve done.
[...Read more about Wroclaw...]
[...Trieste, Italy September 2011...]
If it was hot in Piran, it was even hotter in Trieste, and this time I could really feel it while walking in the wide-open lanes and boulevards. My Slovenian driver, Boris, had told me to expect Trieste to be a much bigger place than I was used to in Piran, and that I felt as I walked from one location to another along the stretch of the seafront, from my hotel near the Canale Grande to the lighthouse of Sacchetta.
I had been to several Italian cities and Trieste did not, at first impression, evoke the same atmosphere that I was used to in Rome, Florence or Venice. People are more inclined to head on over to the more popular cities for many reasons including familiarity. Besides, you don’t really see Trieste in guidebooks or probably have not even heard of this city at all. I have read somewhere that 70% of Italians don’t even know that Trieste was in Italy – whether or not that figure is accurate, it’s still sad to think about it.
[...Read more about Trieste...]
[...Piran, Slovenia September 2011...]
Boris picked me up at the airport in Trieste just before 4 pm. I had arranged for a car service knowing that I wouldn’t have made the 3:00 bus to Piran and needed the quickest way to get there before sunset.
It was only 24 miles (40 kms) away, driving along the coastal route, first passing the Gulf of Trieste in Italy then the Adriatic sea as we cross the border of Slovenia. As we pass different towns along the way – Koper, Izola, and smaller towns – I see the same campanile over and over again just like the famous one in San Marco of Venice. The landscape did not change much and had it not been for the border crossing sign, I wouldn’t have guessed where Italy had stopped.
[...Read more about Piran...]
[...Oslo, Norway August 2011...]
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived in Oslo. The European city known for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize has its own peace compromised just a few weeks ago when a car bomb exploded in front of the government quarters while a lone gunmen went on a shooting rampage at a youth camp in Utoya. This sort of violence I would expect anywhere else in the world, but it just seemed farfetched to me that it would happen in Norway. Suffice to say, this is one of the most horrific events in Norway’s peacetime history which left not only the Norwegians stunned, but also the rest of the world.
[...Helsinki, Finland July 2011...]
On my research about Finland in general, I came across this Finnish word sisu and found out that it means strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. It is also a word that is used to describe an understanding of the Finnish culture. The word sisu and its meaning is something that interested me the most in my reading. Apparently, the word is so popular that it has been used in many occasions, but what I liked the most is how Time magazine has described it: The Finns have something they call sisu. It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win.
[...Tallinn, Estonia July 2011...]
According to Estonian folklore, Toompea Hill was created when Linda, bereaved wife of King Kalev, gathered and piled stones on top of her husband Kalev’s grave until it formed a mound. Grief-stricken as she sat on top of this, she cried tears that formed the Lake Ulemiste. Whether or not there’s scientific truth to this, I’m sure the history books won’t keep telling this story if it did not appeal to Estonian culture. There must be a more reasonable geological explanation as to how the limestone hill of Toompea was formed, but the old folklore that tells of the undying love between Linda and Kalev seems, to me, better suited as a story behind this romantic city. For what better words to associate the city of Tallinn with but by these three: folklore, fantasy, fairy tale.
[...Dublin, Ireland June 11, 2011...]
With only a little over 3 hours of sleep last night, I was up at 4 this morning to catch some blues. I left the drapes undrawn so I’ll have unobstructed view of the light, and there it was – a deep blue picture staring at me as I opened my eyes. My destination was just across the street so it did not take me long to get to the Sean Casey bridge, and then later to Ha’Penny after a brisk walk to chase the fading light. Early morning with a nice cool breeze blowing, hardly any cars nor people on the streets, it’s just me and my bridges – just the way I like it.
I was back at the hotel at 5:45 since I decided to take some post-sunrise shots as well over at the Samuel Beckett. The light was good today – not great, but good enough that I couldn’t have asked for anything more. When you live in gray England as a photographer, just good light is good enough.
[...Read more about Wicklow...]
[...Dublin, Ireland June 10, 2011...]
They gave me a room on the 4th floor overlooking the Liffey river. It’s one of those windows that does not open all the way in case some nutcase wanted to jump. Definitely no jumper here, just wanted to see if the barrel of my lens would squeeze in through the gap, and it wouldn’t. Too bad, because I have a nice view, and although it has some blind spots, it still gives me a decent visual sweep of the south bank which seems to contain most of the attractions. I have the three-masted Jeanie Johnston ship almost directly below me, the Sean O’Casey bridge to the right, and Calatrava’s Samuel Beckett bridge is not too far downstream.
I’ve been skeptical about the weather since I got here. It looks like two different stories written in the sky. It has been sunny for the most part, with passing rain showers at least once a day. On the third day though it was just unforgiving rain – a bitter reminder of how photographers are always at the mercy of the weather. It is also a true test of one’s faith; I seem to pray more often when it rains.
[...Read more about Dublin...]