Saturday, August 30, 2008

new york

busy week, lots of appointments and running around..hope to continue writing, still have reggio emilia, venice, bolzano and ulm to go, but not til the weekend is done. got some grilling and visiting to do. meanwhile i have some recent photos of places around nyc....see link above

say a prayer gustav misses new orleans..

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

cannes and le verdon (provence), france

we headed next to the riviera, cannes and the mountainous region called le verdon,in provence, north of cannes. i'll pick up on that later...done for now. here's where i left off..

we left remoulins to make our way to cannes. originally we were going to stay in nice, some of my friends had been there and loved it, but we couldn'
t find reasonable accommodations. so as we widened our search we found what seemed like a great guest house in cannes. we were not familiar with the area, other than what we've heard about the film festival, but it looked like a good location, and was on the Mediterranean, so...why not. we arrived about mid afternoon, and soon found our place. it really is a beautiful old, big house turned into guest quarters. very nice, not far from the beach..but kind of a strange neighbourhood. surrounded by a lot of modern apartment buildings and on a street that was a major route to the evening we heard a lot of cars and motorbikes make their way up the street next to us,,,there was a sign that pointed to "super cannes"...whatever that was, i didn't check that out yet. we weren't there much, so it didn't really matter.
we went down towards the sea after we settled in, by foot a 20 min walk through the city. and it is a city, not a quaint village. during our walk it kept getting denser and more commercial as we headed towards the fabled croisette, the beach and boulevard at the sea. when we finally arrived we were not exactly thrilled. noisy, crowded,luxury's shops and hotels, traffic. not exactly the peacefulness we were used to. i guess it was ok for a medium large city by the sea, but after some days where the only sounds we heard were cicadas, it was a little jarring. i was slowly morphing away from the city vibe. we took in the beach, got a sandwich and split back to our place.
we consulted our maps and decided to take a ride north, into the hills and mountains around grasse, which is the perfume center of france, and therefore i would say the world. the french make the best colognes and perfumes, i have a cabinet full of them, i'm a huge fan. as it was late afternoon, the tours of the perfumeries had closed, so we kept heading north. soon we were in the kind of country we like, winding mountain roads, small villages every 10km or so. we had to take a detour off the route Napoleon we are on , there was a festival going on in one of the towns. after deciding to continue, we were soon very high up in the mountains.after exploring the back roads and catching the sunset from on high, we came across a village, st valliers du theiy, and stopped for dinner. there were several choices, all looked good, but we opted for one with outdoor seating. next to a big green meadow, and looking up at mountains. it was very quiet and serene, as we ate our dinner...except for the little dutch kids with their parents, running around as bored kids are wont to do. did i tell you the dutch were everywhere? literally, there wasn't a town, or highway where we didn't see a car with nl plates, usually trailering a camper of some sort. after dinner is was completely dark, and it gets dark late there, 10pm or we headed back to cannes and sleep. before going to bed we checked out the maps and decided we would go back in the general direction, only more east and see some lakes in the area.
the next morning we awoke to crisp sunshine, pure blue skies and great usual. we so lucked out on weather, we did not have one cloudy or rainy day in the two weeks we were on the road. after breakfast, we headed out to the mountains again. these areas, or departments (similar to parishes or counties)are part Provence, part alpes maritimes, part var...officially known as "Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur (P.A.C.A.), check out this link and map
we headed toward lac st croix, the largest of the verdon lakes in north var.
driving through the countryside we again slowly rose in elevation and arrived at lac de Saint-Cassien. we stopped along the shore at a roadside stand and truck, the truck was selling snacks dogs, fries, and such, and the stand had fresh fruit, vegetables and tiny saucisson. we bought some peaches, plums and suasages for the ride. the plums were out of this world, literally bursting with juice, running down our good. continuing on, with the top down and the sun beating down upon us, we enjoyed the scenery as we climbed ever higher. the light in Europe in general is remarkable. i don't know if it was because it was new to my eyes, but everything was just so crisp and clear.look at the photos and see if you agree.
eventually we were very high up and came across a small village,baudinard sur verdon. we almost drove past, but as we got to the end of town, we noticed a overlook parking area. we stopped and figured this would be a good place for lunch. there was a cafe/restaurant adjacent to the overlook where we had coffee after our alfresco lunch. we saw that we were only a few kilometers away from lac st croix, and we soon drove over a hill where the lake revealed itself to us. driving along the road that followed the contour of the lake, it was hard to keep my eyes on the road, it was so beautiful. we came to a parking area where we stopped and took some pictures, and scouted out a place to swim. we drove a few more kilometers and came upon a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, so we figured this would be a good spot. there was no formal beach where we entered the lake shore, just small areas along the shore where people dropped their towels and swam. which is exactly what we did. it was a pretty hot day, and just about 2pm so the water was just what we needed. we hung out there for a few hours, pretty much by ourselves enjoying this impossibly gorgeous scene.
afterwards we stopped in the next seaside town, bauduen, and got some cold water and ice cream. we then set out to make our way back to cannes in the golden afternoon light, taking our time as we descended the hills, stopping at any and all overlooks to take in the countryside. it was one of our best days out and we savored every moment.
arriving back in cannes about 8pm, we were hungry but didn't want to go out, so we got some Chinese food and ate it at the hotel in the garden. Chinese food in Europe was not very good..we also had some in freiburg. they are very timid with the spices and seasoning...don't do it! the next day we were going to leave for italy..our next stop would be reggio nell emilia, just past parma and just before modena...looking forward to eating in italy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

some of the places i missed writing about...

well that was a trip. back home reflecting on all, i realised there may be some changes a-coming. i really loved being in europe and visiting different cities and all. the food, the culture, art, lifestyle...all really appeal to me. not to mention i spent six weeks doing all these things with a wonderful woman. so upon returning i felt a bit depressed...and lonely. as much as i love ny, it is my home town, i'm not feeling it. you know, they say home is where the heart is, and my heart got stuck in freiburg. here in ny, i don't know how i fit in right now. it's great my family is here, and it was great to see my dad and aidan and his family, and of course savannah. but i really don't want to be here right now. and i have the oppurtunity not to, so i think i'll spend the fall back in germany.

my trip through france, germany, italy and switzerland was one of those life changing experiances. i want to write a bit more about some of the places that i couldn't while on the road...i'll do it in bits as the inspiration strikes me. right now i'm inspired by france..
paris was wonderful, and i need to spend more time there to see all the museums and art. seeing the physical city was very exciting and beautiful. we got to sample a good dose of parisian lifestyle, and staying in montmarte was a good place to do that. very funky neighborhood. unfortunately, very expensive...but i hope to go back and see more someday.

travelling south, from beaune to italy was so beautiful. each region had it's own distinct vibe. beaune and burgundy was amazing. the town of beaune itself was very charming...old and beautiful. but the surrounding areas of vinyards was really great. grapes as far as the eye could see. beautiful sloping hills, ancient walls and towns, great churches and cemetaries. and the light there was very special, especially in the late afternoon. in general, i found the light throughout europe so beautiful, and it opened my photographers eye again. i will never forget having a picnic dinner of local foods, on the slopes of pommard, overlooking the valley as dusk approached...sitting at a picnic table next to four local, older women doing the same thing. the decending sunlight on the grape vines is burned in my memory. and to be in a place that for centuries was and is the center of the the greatest wines in the world! very special indeed.

our next stop was in remoulins. we were going to go to avignon, but couldn't get a decent hotel rate...and i'm glad we ended up where we did. remoulins in a few miles west of avignon, and at the junction of the rhine river valley, provence and the languedoc region, another great wine region. a small old town, not spectacularly beautiful, but more rustic and rural. it was great to see the pont du gard aqueduct, and to ride thoruogh old orchards in the hills. the gardon river and gorges were also very pretty, and history permeated everything we saw. they are still living there and doing the same things that were done for hundres of years...farming, vinyards, etc. and we got to see le sanglier, the wild boar! another beautiful evening was spent eating is abandoned apple orchards above the city as the sun went down. the photos from there have not been posted yet, i will get them on this week. you'll see what i'm talking about. there are photos posted of the town, and the pont du gard...take a look. we used remoulins as our base for some travelling through provence also. remoulins is one of our favorite memories of the trip.

provence is gorgeous. rolling hills, towns built upon the hills overlooking the fields of sunflowers, lavender, grazing sheep and cows and goats, and vegetables. we missed the lavender by a week or so, the harvest in in mid july..but we found a few wild fields here and there. we picked wild herbs on the roadside...thyme, rosemary, anis all over the place. check out the views from gordes, a town built high in a hills overlooking the lavender fields. we almost drove right by the town, as it was on a spur from the road we were on, but as we topped a hill and started to descend, we saw the village above us and decided to backtrack...good move. we only saw a small portion of the provence region, but it was so beautiful. i could spend a summer there, no problem. look at the photos and you'll see what i mean.

we headed next to the riviera, cannes and the mountainous region called le verdon, north of cannes. i'll pick up on that later...done for now.

btw, i'm going to continue posting some photos, both of europe (i have a lot of 35mm pix not yet posted, and i really love the look of film vs. digital), and of new york city...i'm going to use my tourist eye here and see what happens.

Friday, August 15, 2008

home in nyc

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back home in astoria....wanna go back to germany!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

last day in freiburg....

last day in freiburg...bummer. as much as i look forward to going home and seeing family and friends, this has been an incredible time. i am going to miss gisi terribly, we just spent 6 weeks seeing some of the most beautiful sights, having a great time, one of the best experiances of my life. the time spent in freiburg was also very special. i feel at home here. gisi has been so kind and tolerant, put up with me moving in on her life, she is an amazing's gonna be really hard leaving. tonight we are going to have dinner with some freinds to say goodbye, and then tomorrow we'll spend the day in frankfurt...friday is flight day.
i just want to say again how fortunate i am to have been able to do's been a crazy 8 months, my life has changed as i never thought it would and the future is open ahead. life is good, and i look forward to where ever it takes me in the future. i have no idea what i will do when i get back...we'll see. but it will be good, i'm sure.
i will be writing some more about some of the places we visited, and didn't have a chance to write about..we got some good stories. and i will post the rest of the 35mm i will post the photos of our last day here, it was really beautiful..we went up to the feldberg in the black forest...a real pretty day.
love to all....peace...see you in new york

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

back home in freiburg...

to view more photo albums, go to this site.

we are back in freiburg, the past two weeks have been awesome. thursday we will spend the day in frankfurt, and friday i fly home. it has been an incredible trip, and i am so fortunate to have had the oppurtunity to visit these cities and regions in europe. i want to give credit to gisi for a lot of the photos, most of the ones taken on the road while driving were taken by her, as i drove 80% of the time. driving was half the fun, i would never have dreamed 3 months ago that i would spend six weeks driving an italian sports car through europe!!! also for being such a great host and guide, and travelling companion. we really had a wonderful summer here, and i'm going to miss her and being here.
i want to write more about some of the regions we visited and will do so when i return home and have more time. meanwhile i will post the rest of the photos and i hope you enjoy them as much as i did taking them. i still have several hundred 35mm photos i have yet to develop, hopefully by the end of the week i will post them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ulm, germany

back to freiburg tomorrow...a lot to write about during the coming week. more pix posted tonight.
great weekend....

Friday, August 8, 2008

bolzano, italy

check out more venice photos and photos of the dolomite mountains, the italian bolzano italy now...and the room internet is not working, so i bought 30 mins to upload some photos...check them out...awesome
click on the slideshow and go to albums....

Thursday, August 7, 2008


wow....venice is unbeleivably beautiful. it is a photographers could shoot here for days. check out the pix, only a few, most were shot on 35mm, need to get back to develop.
bad internet connection ill write more about it tomorrow...we will be in the italian alps at bolzano...ciao

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

buon giorno from italia...

tues am in reggio emilia...some random thoughts from the past week

beaune is most beautiful. the center of burgundy and ground zero for all things wine. the people, the food, the villages and the landscape were all just perfect. the wine? im sure it wqas great.... go if you can.

remoulin is a pretty, old village..very rustic and is far south, and like the states, things are different down south. some of the oldest architecture and monuments. the romans were all over the place. we had dinner one evening in an old orchard on top of some high hills..i have pix on the 35mm, will add was so beautiful. the ground is full of herbs and flowers, the trees are so pretty...after dinner we were driving along the backroads and came to a was dusk, almost dark. gisi spotted something at the edge of the field..we stopped and looked. bear, dog? ah, the was le grand sanglier...a big black wild boar! looked at us for a minute, then ran into the was quite a sight. could spend a month there...or a lifetime. just everything you ever read or
heard...the small villages in the hills, fields of flowers, grapevines, lavender, corn...stone walls, big skz...just look at the pix...i dont know what else i could add....ill get to some specific stories later.

the traffic on the autoroute in france was murder...apparentlz every frenchman went on vacation at the same time..from beaune to remoulin and from remoulin to cannes were both much longer trips then we anticipated. dont travel on august 1st or 2nd! from cannes to italy was great. the autostrada is very fast, not much traffic at all. we probably averaged 100 km hr compared to 50 or less in france.

cannes was not so good. the beach area, croisette, was like any other beach destination on the east coast...the sea is beautiful, but the surrounding area was dirty, crowded and too commercial..but i guess that is what it is supposed to be. the mountains to the north, the verdon area, on the other hand was reallz special. so glad we went there.

dinner last night in a local resto...gisi had pizza...very good as you would think...and i had rigatoni and veal, both excellent. prices in italy much more reasonable than france or the po river and bezond today...gonna get started...its 10>30am....later

Monday, August 4, 2008

good morning....

more pix from this weekend posted...leaving cannes today, on our way to reggio emilia italy...dont know if we have intrnt there...hope all is well with you. this is fun!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

sunday....more pix

check out the photos from beaune...the weather has been great...and the vinyards spectacular..we are enjoying this immensely ..just dont have enough time to write. anyway..i will post more pix later, meanwhile we are off into the mountains around cannes.
ps cannes downtown, the croisette and the beach...ehhh...too many people, 5th ave shops, big city like..not our cup of tea.

click on the slide show and go to the new web album....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

update cannes..didnt have any int access...awesome trip thru provence and languedoc...will post pix later...