Tuesday, July 29, 2008


click on the slide show..that will bring you to a page where more photos are available for viewing.

weekend and monday, july28.....

saturday we we're going to go to heidelburg, but we got a late start so we went to france instead (doesn't that sound crazy?) we headed toward colmar, on our way to munster and the vogessen mountains. it was a nice ride, and munster is a beautiful town, and the surrounding area. this is alsace wine country...vinyards abound, along with many farms. the storcks in munster are famous here, i'd never seen one before...you should have seen all the babies they were dropping on the ground! we stopped and bought some local food specialties and baked goods...blueberries in season, so they make great tarts and cakes. we had coffee in the local cafe, that was fun...see the pictures. then we rode up to gaschney, a ski village at the top of one of the mountains. the road up is also used as a racecourse for cars and motorcycle races. at the top there was a farm along side the ski resort, some big cows hangin out...i don't know what kind they were...any cow id's? as you can see in the photos, again another beautiful scenic area...

on sunday we hung around town..went to a local park, the local airfield and just rode the bikes around town...got caught in some rain. it is always nice to bike around freiburg. later we went to one of gisi's best freinds place, chris. she lives in town, in a really cute small house that was a part of a larger old jouse. it was left intact after a new house was built in front of it, so it sits in a courtyard in the rear. very romantic, it reminded me of france or a slave quarter in new orleans. she has use of the courtyrard, which she decorated with many plants and an outdoor sitting area.
chris was very welcoming and very sweet...she speaks english very well, she is a nurse working in basel, and i immediately took a liking to her. we hung out for a while, then went to dinner at an italian restuarant down the bolck, michaelangelo. apparently it is one of the older italian places in town, and the food was fantastic. we had a mixed antipasti, gisi had penne arrabiata which was done perfectly, chris had veal milanese with spaghetti, and i had scallopine with funghi. the veal was some of the best i ever had, prepared perfectly..and very succulent for a this veal cutlet, plenty of flavor. really impressed. after espresso, we went back to chris' place, then home about 11.

monday we picked up some maps and assorted sundries for our trip on wednesday..rode around town a bit..stopped for some ice cream, was a gorgeous day. dinner was the charcroute we bought in munster..so good....

today we pack, do the laundry, clean up and we are off tomorrow morning...first stop...beaune france, in the heart of burgundy...i am so excited! we are bringing the laptop with us, so i will post some pix and hopefully have time to write some..ciao!

itinerary as of now: beaune, avignon, cannes-nice, reggio 'nell emilia, venice, bolzano, innsbruck, ulm germany...and home. 12 - 14 days......

Sunday, July 27, 2008


i posted new photos from yesterday, today and 35mm photos from bodensee (so much better looking)...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

the schlossberg, bodensee and rhein...

ooooh-ooooooo hallo! ya have to hear it to get it....
so, what the hell is goin on wit chu? i miss speaking newyorkese...fuhgeddaboudit!

we had dinner last night with some of gisi' s friends, martin and angela (with a hard G), and axel and maria...they are very nice and thankfully they all speak some english...axel doesn't talk much, maria talks enough for the both of them...she's very funny, we were talking about language and american pronunciations...ya gotta hear her say "tater". martin seems to know a lot of history of the region and expalining all sorts of esoteric things to me..we ate at a restaurant near the augistiner platz in town, sat outside next to a small canal...it was quite nice. zum rauhen Mann..the rough man...which martin explains, was the name of the house the restaurant was in, and was the description of the man who lived there...a lot of houses are named, it predates numbering system..so theres the house of blue star, etc.....angela's english is limited, but she is kind enough to try to speak to me as best she can, and it's really not bad..nice people!

i had a wonderful snail soup..a cream based stock with some a dollop of whipped cream on top...badisches Schneckensüpple...say it fast 3x...then i had a main course of schweinehaxe, a roasted pork shank, with sauerkraut and kartoffel knödel (a potato flour dumpling). it was delicious and the dumpling was surprisingly light...i remember the ones at the steinway brauhall were like paste balls. pork seems to be the prevalent meat here, which can be a little heavy in warm weather...but it is very good, i wanna meet these pigs. we then went to a biergarden...at the fierling brewery down the street a bit. no i didn't! i ordered a beer and gave it to axel..i drank shwarzwalder wasser. boy they can really knock them back here.

we then rode our bikes back home..as almost everyone does. we passed through the platz again, where all the kids hang..drinking beer and wine , sitting across the bächele, talking and doing things kids do. i wondered what happens to all the bottles when they're done. there must have been hundreds!

during the day we went up the schlossberg in the new tram they just installed (see pix). the schlossberg is the mountain that is directly across from us as we look out on the terrace. we walked up a bit to some viewing areas and took in the view of the city and the surrounding mountains. it was quite warm yesterday, like 83..so it was nice to be up in the hills and trees. whats really nice is that it is 10 minutes by bike from the apartment, and takes 10 mins to get up the mountain, very convenient. we had coffee in a cafe up the mountain, and there was a biergaten up there too.

the days before we were at the bodensee and the rhein river, where it starts out of the lake of konstanz. it is a beautiful area, farms and vinyards all around, the sea, and switzerland is across and up the river. there is one town (büslinger?) up river, completly surrounded by swiss territory, but is german..a little enclave that apparently was owned by a german count and when the borders were drawn, it remained german territory. martin said there is an area in the middle of basel that is the same way.
we stayed at a guesthouse on the water. look at the pix, you'll see how we found and booked it. very cool. we drove around the höri, the name for the penninsula we were on...named so because of a german phrase... as god made the earth, as was finishing, he said Jetzt Hör I uf! ..i am finished and i can't make it any better, it's just so beautiful. and it's true...
we ate some local plums that were amazing and had dinner at the guest house restaurant..i had two lovely poached trout with butter sauce...and then went down by the water to stargaze..we both saw the same shooting star as soon as we looked up!
the following morning we took a cruise on the local ferry, down the river to schaffhausen switzerland, where the rheinfall is located. the ferry ride was about 2 hours, so we got to see a lot of the surrounding countryside...then we took a shuttle bus to the falls. they are the largest in europe, and although they are not that high, the volume of water in tremendous. it is very pretty. after a few hours there, back on the ferry...we started at 11am and didn't get back til 5:30...so we then got into the car to head home. back home at 8:30, exhausted...had a pizza..was suprisingly good, i thought for sure the pizza here would be awful.

it is 11:30am saturday, and we may drive up to heidelburg today, about 2 hours. i hear it is a lovely town. no doubt. this country is full of lovely towns and villages.

ok, i am going to go pray now...and thank god for the good fortune i have been experiancing, and pray for all my freinds and loved ones, and be thankful and humble. and pray i can continue on a straight path...60 days today! yippee!!!!! tschuss!

Friday, July 25, 2008

rhein river

what a beautiful place.....

bodden see pix

i can't link the new pix...gotta figure this out tomorrow...try this...


lake of konstanz photos

check out the photos from the bodden see, lake of konstanz....description to follow
you can see all the photos by clicking on the slideshow...go to "my photos"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

To Lake of Konstanz today......

it's been cloudy and the past few days, a little rain yesterday, so we've been here in freiburg. it was about 45degrees f last night. really chilly in the evenings, mid to hi 60's during the day. today it's going to start to warm up..low 70's today into mid 80's by sunday.so today we are going to the lake of konstanz. only about 2hrs away, the ancestral home of gisi's parents, and a vacation destination. it borders on switzerland on the south. should be nice. gonna stay overnite and take in the sights and sounds.
i wanted to get to berlin but the rail ticket was like $300 + hotel, etc....so, no go. it would've been nice to be there when obama was in town. but we did book all our hotels for our trip to beaune, avignon, cannes- nice, reggio emilia, venice, bolzano in the alps, and ulm germany ...for under 800€! + gas and tolls, food...good deal...we will be leaving next wednesday and will spend about 12 days on the road. we'll be driving, no more than 4 hours between destinations. that will be the last trip. i wanted to get to austria and or czech republic, but it doesn't work out financially...next time.
i've posted additional pictures in a few albums, if you click on the slide show, you will be directed to the page. i put together a album of favorites from the trip to date.
i met a nice guy in a meeting the other night, he used to live in nyack but is back here, his home, to care for his mother. he was telling me about trying to get rid of his mothers furniture and possesions. apparently you can't even give this stuff away. the people here do not take well to used items. he said it would be a find, and cost good money if he was in the states. so if you want to start an antique shop, i think i found a good source of inventory!
be back on thursday evening with new photos...adieu!

Monday, July 21, 2008

paris slideshow

click on the slideshow at right, and you can view more pix not posted.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


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the louvre

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the louvre

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starting a tour of the icons of paris..

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Paris thoughts...

the people:contrary to what i'd heard all my life, the french people were fine. we did witness any extrodinary rude behaviour. most people we dealt with were accomodating and pleasant. and i was super paranoid about that, it's very intimidating when everyone says "they hate americans". there was the usual odd a-hole, but not any more than usual. if you approach people with a smile, you usually get the same. i used whatever french language i know (very limited) and everything was cool.
in general, the women are very beautiful and the men very handsome....older people were as stylish as younger. it was great to sit and watch as people walked by about thier business. it was a positive expiriance all around.

our hotel room was so small, we had problems navigating around it unless some one was in bed. it was pretty funny to turn around and bump into each other. the bed was small, and the mattress worn, but housekeeping was good. the view out our window was a shaft, with a sliver of sky above. and it was up 2 flights of stairs, but we spent so little time there it really ws of no consequence.

oh yea, stairs....no one mentioned about all the stairs we came across.
first of all we were in a very hilly neighborhood, we were always walking up some steep streets. then at the cathedral of sacre couer, there were hundreds of steps to reach the plaza...in the metro, when ever we changed lines, there were 6 to 10 staircase to climb or descend, stairs in the hotel and stairs in all the monuments if you want to go up to towers, domes, etc. stairs to the seine. just a lot of stairs, it was something we really noticed, especially in the metro. it was a running joke by the end of our trip.

the metro was great. very clean, and easy to navigate. the cars were smaller than what i'm used to, but ran much smoother on rubber wheels. they ran frequently, and there were signs in every station that let you know when the next 2 trains would arrive and they were accurate. you have to remember to open the door if your first to exit or enter, but they close automatically. no air conditioning in the trains, but lucky for us, it was never that hot. and like all subways, a good cross section of the citizens to see. and the sytem covers te whole city, very extensive. we were never more than 5-6 blocks away from a station.

it wasn't easy not drinking alcohol, in every cafe people were drinking wine. with lunch, dinner, after work...it all looked very tempting, especially if you, like me, love wine. gisi only had 2 glasses the time we were there, so that was helpful. but i made it through, and hey i'm still alive! (53 days!)

the boulangeries were awesome. fresh baguettes all day long, pastries of the highest quality, croissants that put all others to shame. wisely, they stick to what they do well...no bagels,or doughnuts, thankfully. there were several types of breads available, some with olives, cheese, lardon, chocholate, fruits, etc. all really good. i love the way they give you a baguette wrapped with a small paper in the niddle like a handle...no bags. people on the street or metro with thier baguettes on thier way home. usually they tear off a chunk as they walk . everyone eats breads, pastries...why so thin? must be all the stairs....

the french seem to be very nationalistic about thier cars. mostly peugots, renaults, citroens...some fiats, and mercedes... the citroens are great. check out the photos of the citroen showroom on the champs elysee...great design. a lot orf scooters, motobikes and motorcycles. not as many bikes as germany, but they are increasing daily. you can rent a bike on the street by the hour, via a automatic vending system. they just started installing these, and in tourist areas you can usually find tehm every few blocks...great idea. along with free public restrooms dotted around in strategic locations.

we were able to get to montmartre cemetary and pere lachaise...both very beautiful places. i did see jim morrisons grave at pere lachaise, and frecois truffauts in montmarte. we couldn't find adolph sax, the inventor of the saxaphone, or heinrich heine, a german poet. there are many famous or hisorically important people in both cemetaries, they are so beautiful and peaceful...a great place to walk for an hour or two.

next...the architecture and iconic monuments, the seine, aand more. going for a bike ride, get some breakfast...it's 7:15, i've been up since 5:30...

eiffel tower

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the chocolate tarte was sublime
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paris, early morning 3 -6 am...

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