Wednesday, October 29, 2008

View from the cathedral...

Sunday afternoon I walked from the Old Port in Marseilles up to
Notre-Dame de la Garde. I should have taken the bus (look at the ridiculous slope of the street below). This beautiful cathedral sits atop a hill and commands a view of Marsailles and the surrounding area in all directions. After Sugar Loaf and Corcovado in Rio, this may be the most impressive view I've ever seen.
The catherdral is amazing inside as well.
It was only when I went out on my room's balcony at night that I noticed that I can see the cathedral from there!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Aging well...

After arriving in Marsailles, one of the oldest cities in France, I took a bus that follows the coastline from my hotel to the Old Port (Port Vieux). I had seen many eye catching vistas from the taxi on the way to the hotel so was looking forward to taking a closer look.
One of the first things that caught my eye was an arch with a statue in front of it. I saw it coming up so jumped off the bus at a stop across the street from it. Based on the statue's pose, I think it might be a monument to Australian rules football. But I could be wrong. Very, very wrong.
Behind the bus stop was a tiny natural marina that was really picturesque.
The Port Vieux is a hub of activity and beautiful in its own right. The highlight of the day, however, was Notre-Dame de la Garde. More on this wonder later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Getting settled...

The trip to Marseilles was remarkable only in that nothing went horribly wrong (a recent trend in the House of Prickril). I was at my hotel by 10:30. The hotel is about 30 minutes from the airport and has a nice view of Parc Borely and beyond that the ocean. I'm sure the sunset is beautiful but, unfortunately, I was fidgeting with my laptop yesterday and missed it.
Parc Borely is large and beautiful. Part of it seems to be a track that has golf holes in the middle. The fountains are a nice touch. Sunday afternoon found tons of families out enjoying the incredible weather (sunny and in the low 70's).
Sophia on the brain...

B recently snagged my cell phone, took a picture of Sophia and made it the phone's wallpaper. I'm currently in Marseilles, France for a conference so am really missing the family -- particulary Sophia (thanks at least in part to the picture I would assume). Thought I'd share some pictures of her I've taken over the last couple of weeks.

Here she is getting ready for a Brazilian friend's 15th birthday party (a huge deal for Brazilians). Here she is on the Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg on Saturday.
Here she is preparing for one of the best American traditions I can think of: Halloween. Pictures of this beautiful city forthcoming this week...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A fall Sunday in Berlin…

I got up fairly early on Sunday morning and hit the streets. I expected some fog followed by a sunny day. Well, the sunny day didn’t materialize but I still spent and amazing day in this amazing city. I first walked around the area within a couple of kilometers of my hotel. The morning was cool and peaceful.
I then headed back to the hotel, watched some TV and rested before heading back out to see the area around the Brandenburg Gate.
After walking around the Gate a bit and taking some shots of the parliament building (Reichstag), I walked through the Tiergarten, a massive urban park, to the Siegessäule, a famous tower with a beautiful statue on top. On a deck a the top of the base, there are beautiful mosaics encircling the tower.I can assure you that the tower seems infinitely taller when you’re ascending on the inside than when you’re looking at it from the outside. Even though the weather wasn’t great, the view is amazing and worth the trip.There’s a subway stop about a 30 second walk from my hotel, the Art’otel. The stop within a few minute’s walk of the Brandenburg Gate is just a few stops from here. The event we’re attending is way on the other side of town, about 30 minutes by subway. I really like this mode of transportation.
If I do say so my own self…

Even though I was exhausted and my dogs had gone horse from barking, I hit the streets again after the first day of the conference in the area around my hotel in Berlin to get some dinner and do a little shopping. On the way back to the hotel, I reluctantly took more pictures of a statue of St. George that I have become infatuated with. On a whim, I decided I’d do some HDRs. I ended up taking a picture that is, in my opinion, beyond surreal. I also uncharacteristically showed the good sense to take a couple of shots to make a vertical panorama. Enjoy.The lights illuminating this incredible work of art throw a cool shadow on the buildings on the other side of the canal.

Monday, October 13, 2008

11 hours to Berlin...

I have infuriated the travel gods. Another trip, another minor disaster. Here's the summary in bullet points as I feel the need cathart and I know you're getting sick of my travel stories...

- Leave Walldorf at 7:00 on Saturday

- Airport in Baden-Baden fogged in
- Wait until noon although plane should have left at 9:45
- Bus to Frankfurt (2 hours)!
- Wait in line at Lufthansa desk
- Get told to go to Air Berlin desk in other terminal!
- Head back to other terminal to catch plane
- Arrive in Berlin at 18:00 instead of 11:00!
By the way, I could have just about driven to Berlin and back in the time it took me to fly one direction. Thanks for nothing Air Berlin. On the plus side, I got here and headed out at night to take some nice shots of this amazing city.Fossil had some kind of promotion going on in a plaza with a big clock. They had some folks in a cherry picker doing set up. They and the large lighted numbers made for some cool shots (I think). I love Berlin!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Whirlwind in a vacuum…

I’ve been extremely busy the last couple of weeks but we’ve been without internet and phone service since we moved to Walldorf so haven’t done much blogging. If anyone from T-Comm is reading, thank you very little.

My folks have been in town since the day I got back from Vegas. We’ve kept pretty busy, going to Colmar, Karlsruhe, Schwetzingen and Titisee (not at all in that order). We went to Schwetzingen on an absolutely perfect fall day and spent hours walking around the gardens. The place was about as empty as I’ve ever seen it during peek hours so we managed to get some decent (although redundant for me) shots. There was an egret there that seemed to love being in front of the camera. The second shot of him below was taken about 2 feet away. Last weekend, we spent most of Saturday in Colmar, France, returning to Walldorf by way of Titisee. We caught exceptional weather in both places. The folks liked Colmar as did I but I’m not so sure I’ll be returning any time soon. For my money, Strasbourg is the right bet given that it takes about half the time to get there.

Although the weather was cloudy during the drive, it opened up and our day in Titisee was absolutely gorgeous. One of the cool things about the lake this time was the hundreds of fish swimming in the shallow water near shore. Guess folks there don’t fish much.
The following Monday, we celebrated my birthday a bit early in Heidelberg. Earlier in the day I had taken the folks to a museum in Karlsruhe only to find out that museums close on Mondays. German museum system “1”. Dumb American, “0”.