Saturday, August 06, 2011


IMG_8413 About 20 minutes from our house lies Mannheim, a somewhat maligned city that has tons to offer. Most folks around here love to shop there but would never (ever) live there. It’s true that Mannheim is a bit more blue color than many of its neighbors, but it has a dynamism many of the other lack almost entirely.

Regardless, Mannheim is home to a gorgeous urban park call Luisenpark. For a few Euros, you can enter this sprawling botanical garden, spending the day seeing the sites, drinking some cold Hefes and scarfing ice cream. I’ve blogged about it before, but this spring it was especially beautiful. As Jack White so famously said, the message “bears repeating”.

The spring offers as grand an abundance and variety of flowers as I’ve seen anywhere. I think the pictures make that point much better than I ever could.IMG_8422IMG_8441 IMG_8469 IMG_8495 There’s also a very nice Chinese Garden with a beautiful pagoda with its own tea terrace and water feature, including a fountain.IMG_8585The park also has a large population of almost prehistoric looking storks. Their nests are enormous, as are they.  This guy came up to about my stomach, and I ain’t exactly short.IMG_8596 IMG_8518

Competing interests…

As times and technology change, so do our habits. I’ve spent much more time updating Facebook in the last few months than I have this blog. While I like the selective exposure of Facebook, I’m beginning to miss the narrative and plot that a blog affords. Since I have some time off this summer, I’m going to make an attempt to get caught up a bit.

One of the few benefits of compulsive photography is the ability to remind oneself in high definition of one’s activities well after the fact. The older I get, the shorter the increment of this “well after”. I now measure it in a single-digit number of days.

Anyway, I wonder if anyone still read this.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Before heading back to my hotel, I thought it prudent to make a quick pitstop. Only then did I realize I hadn’t seen the inside of the restaurant. It was total eye candy for a compulsive photographer.IMG_8188 (1280x850) IMG_8182 (812x1280)IMG_8113 (853x1280)IMG_8194 (1280x853)
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IMG_8093 (853x1280)The restaurant has what seems like endless little rooms and private corners. I can imagine spending hours in there with inclement weather.IMG_8097 (1280x853) IMG_8098 (1280x854) IMG_8103 (825x1280)The place was pretty much empty – the perfect opportunity to shoot it up. IMG_8157 (1280x853) Copy of IMG_8097 (1280x853) There was a one man karaoke band keeping the mood light. I sang Girl from Ipanema (in Portuguese!).IMG_8145 (1280x853) IMG_8120 (1280x853)   IMG_8195 (853x1280)To the relief of the wait staff (I’m sure), I finally hit the bricks.IMG_8191 (853x1280)

Last night in Madrid…

As we walked around Madrid on our last night, we did our best not to think about having to leave. We had a few beers at the Plaza San Miguel and then poked around the Mercado San Miguel at bit. We (Wolfgang, Chris and I) ended up at Meson on Calle  Cava de San Miguel to have drink and tapas. IMG_8009 (850x1280) Chris and Wolfgang were drinking Sangria.IMG_8022 (853x1280) I (go figure) was having ice cold beer.IMG_8032 (853x1280)We ordered a plate of meats and cheeses and some chipirones (baby squid). All was excellent.

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IMG_8050 (1280x853)IMG_8044 (853x1280)IMG_8054 (1280x853)I became transfixed with the table next to us. To me it was a still life masterpiece. We chatted with the very friendly French “artists” for quite a while. His son was headed to the US. First stop? Harlem.IMG_8055 (1280x853)IMG_8019 (853x1280)Wolfgang decided to head back to the hotel around midnight. Chris bailed on me a bit later (leaving a huge mug of sangria for me to finish).IMG_8069 (852x1280)I was then left at 1:00 or so to head back to the hotel alone. It was one of the highlights of the trip.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First night in Madrid…

We got to our hotel by 10:00 or so and immediately hit the pavement. By 17:00 we were pretty tired and knew it didn’t make much sense to head out before 21:00 so we rested. I didn’t want to lug my camera around on our first night on the streets so took a few shots/videos with my phone.IMG_0016 (852x1280) IMG_0023 (956x1280)The city was hopping. Starting near the Plaza San Miguel, we walked a good kilometer and half on streets packed with folks of all ages letting loose in the near perfect Spring weather.IMG_0028 (1280x956) Nothing like smoked pig leg to get the party started.IMG_0030 (1280x853) Copy of IMG_0030 (971x648)Chris was drinking Sangria; I beer (as usual). It didn’t take too long to get a nice buzz on, although we took it relatively easy (the same cannot be said for Monday night!).IMG_0040 (956x1280) IMG_0041 (851x1280)It was a pleasant surprise to find the city way more active after dark than during the day. The streets were jammed with people walking around or having beer and wine at the countless bars along most streets.

Sandhausen on Saturday…

We live about 10 minutes from the metropolis that is Sandhausen yet I’ve never been there on a weekend. Today Robert suggested we take a look so I packed Sophia and him in the Truckster and we were off. BTW, I didn’t take my camera so shot all these with my new iPhone.IMG_0105 (1280x901)We parked near the church above and descended some stairs to the city center.IMG_0109 (956x1280)The fountain is a nice touch in such a small city.   IMG_0112 (1280x921) IMG_0113 (956x1280)The building below is a museum, but with this weather that will have to wait for another day. IMG_0116 (956x1280)IMG_0117 (1280x939) It is asparagus season in this part of Germany.IMG_0118 (955x1280)IMG_0127 (920x1280)IMG_0134 (943x1280)By the way, if there are any English-speaking Sandhausener reading this, feel free to beef up the Wikipedia article on your city: It’s embarrassingly brief.