Monday, May 23, 2022

Yes, I'm an egomaniac, but...

... I realize there is no reason you should give shit about my travel. Knowing this, I try to share interesting and/or aesthetically-pleasing photos.

Dresden mostly escaped any damage during WW II. It was a known "open city" with no military significance. This is why many prisoners of war were housed there, including Kurt Vonnegut. But then, in mid-February 1945, less than three months before the end of the war in Europe, Allied bombers pretty much destroyed the main part of the city. 

It was not the worst fire-bombing ever (that would be Tokyo), but it was made famous by Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5.  

Dresden spent the next 55 years basically under Soviet rule. So keep in mind that everything in the photos below are reconstructions, mostly in the past two decades!

Note that this picture is taken directly into the sun! The Pixel 6 camera is amazing.

Opera House and some Johann.

Many statues of "women" were done by someone who had never seen a woman. They just stuck two half-grapefruits onto a man and added long hair.

Goethe looked just like Brent Spiner / Commander Data from STNG!

I'm always on the lookout for "comely maidens" (to use Rick Steves' term)

Porcelain bells!

The walkway some past ruler build so his mistress could get to church w/o having to be among the commoners. 

Martin Luther and the Frauenkirche. After the bombing, it burned for three days before collapsing. The communists left it as a pile of rubble. It was only opened in 2005.

It is more like a gay theater than a church.

The cross on top of the bombed church was pulled from the rubble.

A huge mural depicting Saxony history.

Volkswagen's "Transparent Factory."

No photos allowed!

"Where would you like to go today, Anne."

Mandarin Duck!

The lilacs were out in force all across Germany!


These two from the local store, not a health-food store at all.

Sadly, lotsa leftover vegan Easter ducks.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

A Sunflower for ... Us

Eight pm on Sunday, May 22, and we are back from our trips which started at four am Sunday, May 1. Our neighbor (born in Russia, married to someone born in Ukraine, but both when it was all the Soviet Union) has been watering Anne's garden. We came home to Anne's first tomato of the season and this sunflower:

It reminds me of an O'Keefe we have (below; "A Sunflower for Maggie"), which in turn prompts me to mention that there are pictures and a story coming from the O'Keefe Museum.

But I'm too tired to get to that now. I hope you enjoy these. Sleep well.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Limited-use recommendation

Foam earplugs and Bose noise-cancelling headphones helps with noise in casinos, airports, and airplanes.

Some amazing Dresden pics to come. Preview:

Check it out: I'm shooting straight into the sun, yet there is detail in the buildings that should be silhouettes. Yay modern photography! 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Sadly and Funnily Spot On

I just came across this SNL sketch about SCOTUS overturning Roe. 

Liberals used to say "Conservatives want to take us back to the Middle Ages!" Alito says, "Well, yes, yes I do!"

Once again: Thanks, Green Party.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Written last Friday on the 777 flying from Frankfurt, Germany, back to the US

I’ve heard it suggested that you should travel together before getting married, because the stresses of travel will show just how strong your relationship is. Anne and I have generally traveled just about perfectly. Heck, a trip to Oregon had one of my worst Crohn’s attacks ever, and still rates as one of our best family vacations ever. (Anne has had to get me to the hospital on so many vacations that she always knows where the nearest hospital is.) I had even commented on Wednesday how Anne was the perfect travel companion. 

Yesterday, we had a lovely morning walk to and through the Erfurt castle [pics to come], then made it to Frankfurt and had a wonderful Ethiopian lunch, sitting outside with no one else around.

Then it went south. 

Using my phone (omg, how did we travel before these? Phone, camera, maps, email, texts, purchases, research) I bought tickets for the train from the main station to the airport stop. As I had numerous times before on the trip, I showed the QR code to the agent. But it turns out I had only bought one ticket. He called the senior guy, who took us off the train at the next stop and walked us to an ATM to get cash for the fine. (I wonder if it occurred to him that buying one ticket had to be a mistake. Either try to ride for free and risk getting fined, or buy two.)

OK, it is just money. When we’re about to die, I won’t look back and bemoan that withdrawal. I felt stupid, but not too much – people goof up, especially on a website in a language they don’t speak. But things kept going wrong after that for the next few hours, ending with us backtracking in the sun after yet another wrong turn trying to walk to the hotel. (At the end of our 2018 trip, we took a cab from the train station to the airport. I knew the place was less than two kilometers away, but the driver drove all over and charged us forty euro.) And while we were slogging with our backpacks and carry-ons, Anne was thinking that we’re going to have to walk it again in the morning to get to our flight. At the hotel, they mention a shuttle that runs in the morning (which I knew about), but Anne heard “forty euro a person” instead of “four.” Oy.

I am well aware of the “peak / end” effect of memories (that you judge an event based on its peak emotional moment as well as its end, rather than its overall balance of good vs bad). But luckily, I knew the entire trip that I was having a magical experience, and I know the memories of the trip will be a regular source of joy going forward. (I know that even while in pretty significant pain right now, crammed into this cattle car seat on the 777 flying back to America.) 

There she is, the pretty-old 777-200.

Probably Newfoundland; this flight didn't go over Greenland.

Dresden pictures soon (I hope).

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Prague to Dresden

This was the time I thought I was most likely to catch covid, as we were in a compartment with four other people, three of whom clearly didn't care about covid. But we avoided catching it the entire trip!

The Prague Marathon started the morning we left. This was the start of the "fun run." 

Train station. If you love architecture, you have to go to Prague.

On the border, where the signs are in both languages.
This is where the crews of these two trains switched - our crew went to the train going to Prague, and vice versa.

These three are from Vegan House in Dresden's New Town.

These two are the view from our Airbnb. Above to the left is the Frauenkirche, the most famous church in town.

Covid testing station.

The next day was just incredible.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

More Prague?

Greetings from Tucson! We're trying to get a bunch of stuff done, so here are some pics from the next day of our trip, Saturday, May 7 (warning: a sculpture that involves a snake below):

No, not the streaming service.

Albino peacock!

What I hope American women do to Republicans come November.

These two are at a lovely veg place for lunch.

One of the many statues dedicated to Kafka.

These two are from the Municipal House, an example of the Art Nouveau architecture in town.

These three of The House at the Black Madonna, perhaps the most famous "cubist" building in Prague. 

Not a fan of the "tons of foam" style. 

The three musketeers!