Lens-Artists Challenge #216 – Urban Environments

Seattle, lights, car trail, waterfront
City Lights, Seattle
Pike place, night, lights
Pike Place Market, Seattle

“Seattle is a soft city, made up of soft light, hills, water – all conveying a sense that nature is truly accommodating here.”

Roger Sale

Sofia’s urban challenge this week threw me for a bit of a loop. None of my local images would work and even nearby Charleston barely qualifies. When I consider “urban” I think of bustling, big, busy cities. So this week I’ve gone far afield to peek at some of the many cities we’ve visited through the years, beginning with two images of nighttime Seattle, Washington. It’s a fun and vibrant city famous for its vast waterfront and plenty of rain. Like those of other big cities, its Pike Place Market is an amazing place filled with everything one could ever imagine. This one has become famous as the home of the very first Starbucks Coffee store in 1971.

traffic, Saigon, Hanoi, motorcycles,
City Traffic, Saigon and Hanoi

“Traffic is Vietnamese life, a continuous charade of posturing, bluffing, fast moves, tenacity and surrenders.”

Andrew X. Pham

Sadly, one of the hallmarks of urban life is traffic congestion. Nowhere have I seen it quite as obvious as in Vietnam. There, city traffic is a pedestrian’s worst nightmare. Motorcycles zip in and out with no apparent sense of order but somehow their drivers persevere and the chaos is taken in stride. For tourists, survival means forging ahead with an assumption you will be avoided, and happily we lived to tell the story 😊.

food, Europe, fun, colorful
Fun Foods, Budapest and Vienna

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the most interesting things about traveling to big cities is exposure to foods one doesn’t find at home. Urban areas especially have unique choices that often contribute to the inevitable extra few pounds one finds upon returning home. During our visit to Vienna we sampled their famous Sacher-tortes and at the other end of the spectrum, enjoyed wiener wurstel (aka sausage) sandwiches sitting on a busy street corner in the middle of town.

Patiently Waiting, Buenos Aires

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

Will Rogers

In South America, we enjoyed the vast, unspoiled vistas of Patagonia, and afterwards decompressed in beautiful Buenos Aires. I had to smile when back among civilization we came across a group of very well-behaved dogs patiently awaiting the return of their dog walker. Now THAT, is what I call urban!

Having shared some of the personalities of cities we’ve visited, I’ll close with some urban skylines we’ve experienced through the years.

Harbor Vista, Hong Kong
Tourist Busses, Jerusalem
Mount Hood over Portland, Oregon
Manhattan As Seen From Brooklyn
Pudong District of Shanghai

Finally, I’ll close with a tryptich that to me says it all about city life. In the center image we see the gleaming beauty of Bangkok from above the Chao Phraya River. On the left, a tangle of wires above a small market gives one a more intimate view of urban life. On the right I couldn’t resist including an image of the Maeklong Railway Market, where several times each day merchants sitting beside the tracks literally roll up their goods to allow the train to pass through.

Bangkok, Maeklong Railway Market, communication wires
The Faces of Bangkok

“Cities…showing their varying personalities to the traveler….only through travel can we know where we belong or not.”

Roman Payne

Although I’ve enjoyed all of these amazing urban places and many others, they have taught me that at heart I am a “country mouse”. Once I’ve had my fill of their sights, sounds and cuisines, I’m more at home when surrounded by the beauty of nature. Here’s to finding your own niche, wherever it may be!

Sincere thanks to John and to all who participated in and visited last week’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles challenge. What a fun drive/ride/cruise/flight we had with each response! Thanks also to Sofia for this week’s challenge. We hope you’ll join us in exploring what “urban” means to you. Please remember to link to her beautiful post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. I’ll be leading the challenge next week and hope to see then you right here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.


87 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #216 – Urban Environments

  1. I liked the Shanghai skyline picture, Tina. Also liked the Seattle pictures, since I lived there for ten years. That was a lot of dogs in one place in one of your photos!

  2. ❤️❤️❤️ OK, now this made me homesick ~ in the opening photo you can just make out the building I live in! And then you proceed to capture the place where I always walk to just to soak in the city, Pike Place Market… beautiful. All of your photos bring a bit of excitement, from memories of my past to dreams of the future. Patagonia and Buenos Aires, as I’ve mentioned before to you, are one of those places that a visit is closer to reality – and your photos help with this inspiration. Of them all, however, I have to say the one of Mount Hood over Portland, Oregon is awesome and captures the beauty of the urban environment I’d like to live in. A great look at the differences around the world and also a tribute to all the incredible places you’ve traveled…

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  4. Wonderful post, Tina, and beautiful images–as always. 😀😀. Your triptych of Bangkok is fascinating. I love how you show the different “faces” of the city. Your view of Portland is gorgeous. I have never seen that view of the city. It’s beautiful. Enjoy the week and your life in the country. 😀😀

    • Many thanks Patti – LOL re “life in the country”. Never been much of a city mouse but do love to visit and experience the many fantastic things we don’t have in our little corner of the world. But I’m always more than happy when it comes time to head home! I started to think about all of the cities I’ve visited and it’s a surprisingly long list! The only place I didn’t really love was Vienna – but I suppose I’m in the minority on that one! Any enjoy your visit back home and safe travels!

  5. Such gorgeous photos Tina. I especially love the skylines and the busy streets of Saigon and Hanoi. Which gets me wondering where you were standing when you took that photo… must be scary haha

    • Thanks Teresa and LOL re the traffic image. I was safely ensconced on a nearby sidewalk but eventually did manage to cross both of the streets successfully, laughing the entire way I must admit. Almost like a roller coaster ride – scary but fun!

  6. Really like seeing night city shots and those first two of Seattle are excellent. Nice capture of the waiting dogs and the Mt. Hood shot is surreal. Great examples of urban Tina…well done 🙂

  7. Gorgeous pictures especially of Seattle and Portland. I finished high school in Portland, met my husband who was from Seattle, and have many happy memories of traveling from one to another to visit relatives of his. I don’t have any pictures as beautiful as yours to remember them by. Mt. Hood looks like it is suspended above the town like the Wizard of Oz or something. When it disappeared behind the clouds, Mom and I would get lost because it was our compass. 🙂

    • LOL re your lost compass Marsha! Yes, we were very lucky the mountain came out for a bit while we were there. I did have to dehaze that one though 😊. We loved both Seattle and Portland although it’s been a few years now. Laughed at your Wizard of Oz comment – so true!

      • It was really trick to find our way around once Mt. St. Helens disappeared permanently. It often disappeared in the clouds also causing confusion. 🙂 Terri Webster Schrandt and I are headed to Portland for a blogger meetup – and some family meetups as well in a little over a week. To say that I’m a bit excited is an understatement. So to see your pictures reminded me again of how beautiful those cities are and how precious they are to me.

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  9. Stunning as always. I like the Seattle lights. Don’t get hit by flying fish! (In the market.) Love the various cityscapes too. Ultimately, I want to hang with the dogs, now and after, ala Will Rogers.

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  11. Wonderful to enjoy the tour of urban environmets around the world through your lens. Beautiful image selections here, Tina!
    The photo of Shanghai is my favorite.

    • Thanks Amy – we were very fortunate to have gorgeous weather while in Shanghai. Their air can be nearly impossible to see through at the worst of times. While we were there Pudong was like Disneyland it was so colorful and brightly shining in the sun.

  12. Gorgeous pics, Tina! Urban shots make for fantastic images, don’t they? Your Seattle images remind me that I really need to get over to that side of the state to see it–been since 1968 that I saw the Space Needle (I was 8!). Wow, Mt Hood, what a shot!! I’ll be seeing that myself in a few days when I visit some Portland bloggers. Thank you for showing the Manhatten skyline today–never forget!

  13. Very lively and vibrant post, Tina. I have yet to visit Vietnam, but photos showing the amount of motorcycles there never fail to amaze me. It really is a lot, even though I am a Bangkokian. I like how you included urban details too like the cool shop signs, and that’s a huge concentration of dogs, haha.

    All the city vistas are breathtaking too, especially the “floating” Mount Hood. Reality can be so CG-like sometimes. And we Bangkokians do consider those tangled wires part of our urban life, though we wish for them to be moved underground as soon as possible, haha.

      • I have eaten some of the Vietnamese food at restaurants in Thailand and Japan and I like it so far, but as always, it’s even better to try in the origin country. Hope I can try the food in Vietnam one day. And I like Vietnamese people’s kindness and friendliness too!

  14. As a confirmed urbanite I loved all these images, but the opening one of Seattle and the one of Mount Hood over Portland are real standouts for me 😀 And those Vietnam street scenes really took me back to our visit in 2020 and the adventures involved in crossing the roads there!

    • Many thanks Sarah – yes I think once you experience that traffic you never forget it!! One of the things I love about blogging is the number of memories it stirs up, don’t you think?!

      • Yes absolutely 🙂 Or if the post is about a place I haven’t visited, it provides inspiration for future travels! Although my wish-list is already too long so maybe that’s not such a good thing?!

  15. Yes, I like to admire and then move on, Tina. You have some stunning vistas- Brooklyn across the water probably my favourite, but I like a softer landscape for home. Mount Hood- oh, wow! Who wakes up to a view like that? But those dogs do take the biscuit! Lots of biscuits, I expect. Happy Sunday!

  16. You might not be a city girl but you know how to capture it amazingly. I love all your photos, the variety and quality is something else but the dogs one is my favourite, and it was hard to choose just one. That is proper street photography, wonderful.

  17. Wow Tina! Thanks for showing us urban life around the globe. I especially liked the pictures of the large amount of motorcycles in Hanoi and Saigon. It reminded me of when we were in China except they rode bicycles. And those well-behaved dogs were delightful. And your night shots were great.

    • Thanks Anne. You must have been in China quite some time ago. When we were there it was a bigger traffic jam than I could have even imagined. Put NYC to shame LOL. I’ve heard about visits to China years back and really wish I could have seen it then.

  18. Tina–I think you have outdone yourself with these photos. I kept thinking each one was my favorite until I scrolled down to the next one. Wonderful images–every one of them. The Jerusalem photo is pretty amazing, though. Each of those buildings looks alike! Or is it just me?

    • Thanks Lois, and LOL re Jerusalem. Each is quite different from the others but all seem to use the same exterior stone. This is really a perspective on the old city so perhaps if I’d taken a wide view they’d look different?? I guess I’ll just have to go back and see 😊

  19. Seattle looks a little different now with the highway in mid-image having been torn down and replaced with a tunnel. This was done primarily because the viaduct was going to collapse in an earthquake … but it also opens up the waterfront and joins it with the downtown area. Lovely urban shots, for true.

  20. Hi Tina – I enjoyed every page but the “Manhattan As Seen From Brooklyn” is a top one today – and when I saw the theme earlier today – I did think of you and NYC – and wondered which direction you would go with this theme – and you really gave a nice global take on city life! 🙂

    • Thanks Yvette. I thought about using NYC as I have quite a few images of our visits there but I’ve focused on them several times recently so thought I’d go a bit farther afield. The one image I did use gave a bit of a different perspective. Glad you enjoyed.

      • I like the direction you went – and side note on NYC – anytime you share about it there seems to be so many different takeaways – I guess it is the kind of place that can get featured a lot – especially when you go there often to see family (and NYC sorta made it into my post today – I featured buffalo and shared a NYC painting we saw in a buffalo storefront window)
        Anyhow / hope you have a great rest of your weekend

  21. I feel the differences in all your urban travels. I liked the polite dogs awaiting their walker. When I travel I am drawn to dogs and remember the one I left behind. The image of Mt Hood captured my attention.

  22. I really like the shot with Mt. Hood in the background but although your photos are both beautiful and evocative, they only make me thankful for the open spaces of nature and that we don’t live in a “big” city!!

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