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.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Temple Gardens


Last Sunday I posted about the time I spent in an area of London where the barristers, lawyers, judges and courts are heavily located.  The buildings housing offices in this area are all surrounded by beautiful gardens.  I enjoyed wandering through these gardens and admiring how beautifully they were arranged and maintained.  It appears to be a very pleasant place to work.  

It was a lot like having an office with a park located just outside the door.

I was there at the very end of September and in spite of fall being in the air, I found quite a lot of flowers blooming in these gardens.  

The combination of these stately old buildings and the neat and tidy gardens is very appealing to me.  That's probably why I spent so much time exploring this part of the city.  

As I said in last week's post, the next time I get a chance to visit London, I'll once again visit this area to enjoy the gardens and do more people watching.  My list of favorite London locations just keeps getting longer.