Sunday, December 27, 2020

High Rise Living


If you follow my Phoenix Daily Photo blog, you might remember that I've mentioned before that I did some contract work for about 10 years.  During that time, I worked in several different cities.  One of the longest contracts was in Chicago.  Growing up in Quincy Illinois, a little over 300 miles to the south, I always thought of Chicago as the ultimate big city.  So having to live right in the heart of the city was almost like a dream come true.  I had a wonderful apartment on the 14th floor of a 40 story building and I had some fabulous views.  The photo above is looking to the south.  Just behind that tall building was the then developing Millennium Park and past that, Grant Park.

Looking out the windows to the east, I could see the Chicago River and out past that to Lake Michigan.  It was a wonderful view.  I loved seeing the lights in all the high-rise buildings around me and I loved watching the fog roll in from the lake.  I even learned a phrase I had never heard before, "lake effect snow".  Sometimes in the winter, I'd see dark clouds building up over the lake and they would slowing start to move in toward the city and then suddenly it would be snowing like crazy.  

The bedroom had that same eastern view with a little better view of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.  I loved watching what went on in that office building that you see out the window in the photo directly above.  One time, I saw a movie being filmed in that building.  I saw all the studio trucks parked in the street below and the name of the movie being shot was taped to side of one of the trucks.  I made note of it so I could watch for its release.  It never made it to the theaters.  It went directly to video.  The movie was called "Unconditional Love" starring Jonathan Pryce,  Kathy Bates, Rupert Everett and Dan Aykroyd.  I own a digital copy of the movie and after writing this post, I think I might have to watch it again sometime soon.

The dining area was next to the living room and the kitchen.  I had the refrigerator covered with photos of some of the many escapades from times spent working away from home.  We had a great team of people and not only did we work together during the week, but often went on trips together over the weekends.  

I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to do this kind of work.  All those years of envying the term "jet-setter," and I finally became one and I loved every minute of it.

I recently found these photos and scanned them. It was certainly the best apartment I had in all the cities I worked in.  You can see a photo of the outside of this building in this post.  It's the last photo.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

My Dad in London


Almost exactly 20 years ago, I took my dad to London for a week long visit.  My mother had passed away in February of 2000 and dad was wondering what to do with himself so I asked him if he wanted to go to London over Thanksgiving, the last week of November.  He said yes but he vacillated back and forth several times until the day I bought the tickets.  The photo above is of me with dad while we waited to board the plane.  My sister took the photo.  Remember, this was the year 2000, when non-ticketed people could still walk to the flight gates.  

When we first arrived in London, dad wasn't anxious to head out to see the sights.  In fact, he wanted to take a nap but I told him it would be best to keep going and we would head to bed early.  My dad had never been to Europe before but when I was a kid, he and I would watch all the British TV shows we could find.  The first two days we were there, I was worried that he was not enjoying himself but, by the third day he seemed to be enjoying everything.

He stopped to look at everything and I do mean everything.  At one point, we were walking down a street and when I turned to talk to him, he wasn't there.  We had passed a team of street workers sealing some cracks in the street and he stopped to ask them what they were doing.  They were more than happy to give him an explanation and demonstration.  

We took a day trip to Stonehenge.  I remembered going to a movie with mom and dad many years ago that was all about the many mysterious places in the world.  Stonehenge was one of those place so I thought he would enjoy seeing it in person.  He loved it in spite of the cold wind that day.

One of the things that I wanted to do was to have a meal at Rules, a historic restaurant that dates back to 1798.  It was a delicious meal and a great experience that I haven't managed to repeat yet.  I will one of these days.

One of the things that surprised me was how much dad enjoyed shopping.  Growing up, I remember him waiting in the car while mom and I would shop.  On this trip, he was a bigger shopper than I was.  Here he is getting off the tiny elevator in our hotel carrying his latest purchases.

When we walked past this beautifully decorated pub, he asked me to take his photo in front of it.

Speaking of pubs, dad wasn't a drinker but he loved it when we could find a place that served a non-alcohol beer.  He loved beer but hated the alcohol.  I remember this place very well.  We had some excellent fish and chips to go with that beer.  

I got to thinking about this trip two weeks ago when Thanksgiving rolled around.  That's when I remembered that it was exactly 20 years ago when we took this trip.  It doesn't seem that long.  

I'm so glad I have these memories of this trip.  I don't think he was excited about going but I know for sure that he enjoyed himself while he was there.  

Sunday, December 13, 2020

A New York Landmark


St. Patrick's Cathedral is a New York City landmark and easily spotted across the street from Rockefeller Center and the Atlas Statue.  

I passed by this famous church many times on trips to New York but I didn't venture inside until my last trip to New York 2 years ago.

The church was built in 1879 in the Neo-gothic style which makes it look quite grand when you walk through the doors.

I didn't realize until I read about it that there is a crypt under the high altar where many archbishops and other notable people are buried.

There weren't as many adornments as I've seen in other famous churches of the world but, I did admire this mosaic that I found in one alcove. 

It is truly a beautiful building and well worth a peek inside if you happen to be wandering along Fifth Avenue in New York City.  

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Beautiful German Town


Among my slides from the 1985 trip to Europe were these photos of a very picturesque town that I knew was somewhere in Germany but I didn't know where.  It took a lot of research to pin down this village called Schiltach.  

I remember stopping here but it wasn't on the planned trip agenda so I couldn't remember exactly where it was.  This is one of those places that when you drive into to town, you find it too beautiful to pass up.  So, I remember finding a place to park so I could walk around and admire this gorgeous German town.

I can't help but wonder if it looks the same today as it did when I arrived 35 years ago.  Judging from the number of "Trip Advisor" ads I've received after my online search, I'm going to say it's not exactly the same.  I think it probably gets a lot more tourist traffic than it used to get.

Walking along this street with the river flowing through the middle was like entering some kind of fairy tale.  It was just so perfect.

This place was just a brief stop on my driving tour around Germany.  I think if I went again, I might make it a destination.  I think I'd like to revisit the fairy tale.  

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Ultimate Medieval German Village


Rothenburg ob der Tauber has been called the best preserved walled town in Germany.  You might be able to tell from the cars on the street that these photos were taken a long time ago.  My photos today are from that set of slides I recently found from my very first trip to Europe in 1985.  Looking at this photo made me wonder if that gentleman on the right still has that photo he took all those years ago.  I have mine so it is very possible that he does too.

I remember little bits from my visit here.  I certainly remember visiting the Christmas store.  I purchased two little ornaments from this place that decorated my Christmas trees for years.  

I also remember buying a bratwurst sandwich from a street vendor and marveling at how much it tasted like the one's a friend back in Phoenix would make from time to time.  He had familial German roots.

I recently watched a Rick Steve's travel episode about Germany that featured a visit to this town.  I loved the way he described the place.  Rick Steve's first visited here was as a young backpacker back in the mid 70's.  

Here is his description today:

"At that time, the town still fed a few farm animals within its medieval walls.  Today its barns are hotels, its livestock are tourists and Rothenburg is well on its way to becoming a medieval theme park."

With that said, he still encourages visitors to go because it truly is a beautiful place to visit and enjoy as well as being the best example of Germany in the Middle Ages.  

One great tip he did provide was to actually stay at one of the hotels in the city.  He said that 2.5 million people visit each year but only 500,000 actually spend the night.  If you want to enjoy the city with less crowds, stay the night and enjoy it after the day-trippers depart and before they arrive.

If I ever make it back, I'll take that advice.  

Sunday, November 22, 2020

It's Like Grand Central Station in There


Oh wait a minute....that is Grand Central Station.  Do any of you remember hearing that phrase used to describe a place that is extremely busy and humming with activity?  I heard that phrase used many, many times before I actually visited that iconic New York landmark.  When I took a walk through  Grand Central Station just two years ago it lived up to its frenetic reputation.

Above the hustle and bustle of all the oscillating people, there are some quieter spots where people can do some fine dining in a grand setting.  It made me wonder how many people actually dine there on a regular basis.

There were quite a few people hovering near the information kiosk under the big clock.  I'm guessing that's a choice meeting point and that many were waiting to meet someone.

It is an interesting and energizing place to visit if you find yourself in New York City.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Looking for Antiques


About ten years ago, my friend David owned a cabin in the tiny town of Yarnell Arizona.  One weekend when I was visiting him there, we decided to check out a nearby farm that we were told sold antiques.

The whole area around Yarnell is full of these giant boulders.  In fact, David's cabin was actually built around a boulder that protruded into his bedroom.  The farm was located in an interesting setting with boulder strewn land all around it.

We wandered around the land surrounding his big barn looking at all sorts of vintage objects.

There were some things that were very old and others that were just well used.

Around one side of the barn, we saw lots of old tools.

Inside the barn, I enjoyed seeing a vintage sign from the tiny town of Yarnell.

All the while we did our "shopping", the owner's friendly dog kept a watchful eye.

I loved how one end of the barn was covered with old road signs.

It turned out to be one of those hidden gems you sometimes find.  In fact, it was so hidden that I'm not sure I'd be able to locate it again all these years later.  

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Lunch Above the Lake


About a year and a half ago when I was in Italy enjoying Lake Como, I had a wonderful lunch experience high up in the mountains that surround the Lake.  

The view at this little family owned place was pretty spectacular.  And since dining took place on the long patio, we could enjoy the view while eating.

The food was simple peasant food but it was delicious.  My entree was lake fish with greens and polenta.  It seemed the perfect choice to eat while taking in the spectacular view.

The restaurant itself sat right on the edge of the mountain.  It looked like a rustic farmhouse and in fact, there were farm animals just on the other side of the road.

The hillside we were on was steep so when we arrived, we had to walk down a little to get to the restaurant.  I love how they retained the wall opposite that grand view with a stone wall planted with herbs and flowers.  

We came to enjoy the view and enjoy it we did.  This was the best way to get a good perspective of just how huge Lake Como is.  

Later that same day, we took a ferry over to the other side of the lake to visit another village.  When we stopped for some gelato, we noticed that we could see the restaurant where we had lunch high up on the mountain side.  I zoomed in to get this hazy photo but at least you can see just how it was perched right on the side of the mountain.  It was the perfect viewing point.