Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Haloween

Hallo Welt! Another week in Freiburg, mostly rainy and cold...we had snow in the mountains yesterday! Too soon for me.
I have some new photos from last was really nice weather and we travelled to Gisi's hometown of Ehingen, to prepare her parents grave for All Saints/Souls Day, which is a national holiday here. We drove through some beautiful areas, the Donau Valley in particular. The Donau is the German name for the Danube river, and it starts in the Black Forest and heads east. There are some great cliffs, and we saw climbers scaling the vertical face walls of some of these. Out that way is mostly farming villages, and they were preparing the fields for the winter (plowing and spraying pig manure, not a nice odor!). We saw some new crops coming up, and wondered what grows during this time. Winter wheat maybe? As we headed east, we came across a lot of fog, as it was a somewhat warm day after a very cool made the light very eerie..see in the pix.
On Sunday, we stayed a bit closer to home, and went to the town of St. Ulrich in the Schwarzwald, about 15 minutes from here. It is so nice to be able to travel such a short distance and be transported to a completely different enviroment. All mountains and pastures, cows, goats...there are some nice photos from the day posted.
We attempted to go to dinner at a Straussen..which is a seasonal type of restaurant that farmers do during the spring and fall harvest time. You know where they are by the straw brooms hung outside. They are usually in an older building or farmhouse, and not really a professional restaurant..seems like the whole family helps out cooking and serving. They tend to have a limited menu, featuring regional specialties, or possibly thier own livestock and game, vegetables from the harvest. Apparently they are very popular, as we could not find a seat at several during the time we went, about 7pm. We will try again this weekend, a little earlier.
We did have a nice game dinner though at an old Restaurant in Kirchhofen, The Krone. I had Hase (rabbitt) and Gisi had Hirsch (deer), and it was really good on a cold night. There were only about 5 tables occupied, so we had great service and we were offered second helpings if we wanted (we didn't accept!), they feed you well in most restaurants here.
I was able to borrow a guitar finally, it's nice to be able to play a little and keep in practise. (check out the picture of the mystery Telecaster) I miss playing with the boys in the band. Hopefully I will write some new songs while I'm here.
Well I need to do some grocery shoping today, since tomorrow is a national holiday and everything will be closed. And everything is closed every mall cruising here!
I just hope it stops raining for a while, not really fun riding a bike with bags of groceries in the rain!
By the way, how's the election campaigning going? I bet it's getting crazy...I have only limited access to TV coverage here. I think that may be a good thing. I voted last week, hope you do too. I will be looking forward to the outcome, it will be 3 in the morning when they probably will call the results...I may have to stay up. Bye for now.....

Happy Birthday to my sister Laura today!!!!!! Many, Many More!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Freitag in Freiburg

It's Friday and I'm sick. I caught the flu, my first european cold. So I made some chicken soup last night. And the weather isn't helping. Yesterday was beautiful but today and earlier in the week, it's been very cloudy, grey, and sometimes raining. Last night Ani Difranco said they do grey very well over here..I know what she means.

Oh yea, We saw Ani here in Freiburg last night. I mean she played a show...really. Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, London and....Freiburg! Well isn't that great? Yes it was. She is on tour with some of her Righteous Babe lablemates, and they played the Jazzhaus, a wonderful venue here in town. Not very big, so we got to see her up close. She played with her band (Drums, Acoustic bass, vibes/percussionist), and they were really super...she is such an awesome writer, and I love her guitar playing. They played a comprehensive set, from early stuff to her new record. Gisi and her freind Chris had never seen her, and they really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I couldn't take any photo's, verboten!

Have a nice weekend, and here's to sunny days!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rome Photo's

ok, I finally edited and captioned the photo's from Rome. There are a lot of pictures...over 300! But that's edited from I tried to choose what I think are essential to give a overview of what we saw. With attention paid to some of the details, and the overall beauty and feeling of the city, it was't easy. I thought about putting them in seperate albums for easier viewing but....I didn't. Take a look, I think they came out good. Sorry for some of the unclear, fuzzy shots, I didn't use a flash at anytime, I wanted to capture the natural lighting and sometimes it was a bit there it is. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rome....a Preview

Got back from Rome saturday evening, and it was a great trip. The weather was beautiful, high 70' at night. I am in the process of editing and organizing the photos I took, should have them posted by Wednesday. I will write a little about our days there, but really the photo's will tell the story. It is a magnificent, inspirational place...I will say this now: St. Peter's Basillica and the Vatican are beyond description. Truly breathtaking, I was speechless and dumbfounded by the beauty and majesty, the sheer scale. Pictures will not do it justice, but for those who have not been there, I hope they convey at least a sense of the beauty I saw.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Off to Roma today! i will not have a computer so i will post about this trip next week. Be back on Saturday evening. Arrivederci!!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Kaiserstuhl

Saturday we took a ride over to an area called the Kaiserstuhl, a wine region here. Some of the finest red wines in Germany come from here due to its warm climate and soil conditions. An old volcano cone, the mineral soil is perfect for the vines. Seen from afar, the area rises from the flatlands and terraces have been created on its slopes. As you drive through the area, you notice how the roads have been carved into the landscape, with banks of earth rising around you, and come upon deep bowls of the former volcano that have been terraced and planted with acres of vines. It is really special, and much different than the Burgundy terrain of rolling hills and gentle slopes.
The harvest has just started, it's been a warm autumn and the winemakers are waiting til the last right moment to pick the grapes, to acheive the maximum sugar content. We came upon a winemaker in the vines and he was taking samples of grapes, crushing them and putting them in a device that measures the sugar content. He was very happy that the grapes were achieving high sugar content, which makes for a better wine. He said it should be a very good vintage if it contiues this way until harvest. They may wait another week or two before picking, if the weather cooperates.
The day was really beautiful, but hazy, due to the warm air flowing in over the cool mountains. The fall colors are well on thier way. It should be another good week.
Check out the photos from the day..there are also some new ones from a park nearby, and all the fall flowers, and some of the market in the M├╝nsterplatz.
Tomorrow we are going to Rome for 4 days. Great weather is forecasted. It should be awesome, I've never been before and look forward to seeing all the great sights and art. And eat really well! Arreviderci!

Friday, October 10, 2008

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Back in Freiburg, Germany.....first week

hello's friday morning in Freiburg. i have been back here since tuesday morning and i think my biological clock is finally adjusting to the change. i had a really good sleep last night for the first time. being here now is different from the last time, Gisi is working and school's back, vacations over. i am trying to establish a routine here, so i don't feel like i'm just slumming. still feeling my way araound.

i've been getting up at 7am with Gisi, and we have coffee as she gets ready for work. she's usually gone by 8am..then i clean up the apartment, shower, do emails and such personal business. i've taken a walk around town and to the daily market, yesterday was overcast and i took a bunch of photos i will post. everything looks much different than it did in the summer. i am going to look into taking a german language course, there is a american-german cultural center in town. of course i hope to take a lot of photos through the seasons here, and capture the holidays. it should be beautiful.

Gisi is off next week. she is starting a new job on the 20th. so as this will be the only time we can get away other than weekends, we are going to Rome. we got a great deal on Ryan air, and found an inexpensive hotel right in the middle of Rome. it will cost a little over 500€ for both of us, 4 nights and airfare...that is cheap! i am really looking for ward to this trip. any reccomendations on what to see would be appreciated. obviously, we wil go to the big spots...the colloseum, the vatican, etc. i've heard the food is amazing there also ;-) i look forward especially to taking a lot of photos.

as for weekend trips, we are going to explore the areas in alsace, lorraine and switzerland, the jura mountains and some other German, Swiss and French cities all easily accessible by car. and of course we have the black forest literally at our doorstep. (the photo below is a panorama of the veiw of the Schlossberg from the apartment).

also keeping an eye on the elections and the economic crisis, although not too closely. it's nice to be able to escape the hysteria and drama. i'll have to face that when i get back in january, so for now we will enjoy the more sane aspects of life in europe.

it is really great being here with Gisi. she is a wonderful person, and we are enjoying a new dimension in our relationship. i hope you can meet her. she will be coming to the states in jan. for six months. i have a lot to show her back we'll be around.

i miss my dog, Savannah, but i know she's in good hands with Claudia and hanging out with Nellie and Tate. I get to talk to Aidan via skype, which is great. free internet phone calls, in case you've not heard of it. if any of you have it downloaded, you can search my skype name, alithang, and send im's or call.

tomorrow we are going to drive to france to do some grocery shopping. we're running low on mustard! i will post photos today from the past few days. and i hope you have a great weekend! Tschuss!

Veiw from our apartment of the Schlossberg, Black Forest

click on photo to enlarge

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bye Bye New York, Hello Freiburg!

Monday is finally here! The day we've been waiting for, talking about for some weeks now. By 6pm i will be in the sky, on my way back to freiburg and Gisi. I am very excited. This is a whole new trip. Not so much going for vacation as much as going to live life, a new life in a new land. With someone very special to me. I'm scared, nervous...and exhilarated! I am blessed.
I had a wonderful dinner with my family today, and in general, a very emotional weekend. This will be the first time in my life i will not be in nyc for the holidays. Crazy, right? So there was some sadness mixed with a lot of happiness, but i know all will be well once i get back to Germany and Gisi.
Check out the photos from today, I had to post these pictures of Joel. Too freakin' cute!