Friday, October 26, 2007

Lorelei on the Rhine

This, I guess, is what Germany is all about.

It is beautiful, and sad, at the same time. Hmmm.


We were discussing Germany at dinner this evening, and this lovely song came up.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

We're Expecting . . .

some visitors from Japan tomorrow.

Wonder if they'll notice.

(No, not the home-grown pumpkin.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Heading East

We'll be leaving for New York City on Sunday.

I think we'll walk.

I'm Feeling Nostalgic

Remember this?

I thought not.
Further to the point, do you realize that many people under 25 years of age have never rolled down a car window?
Or that most people under 50 years of age have never used a directional hand signal while driving?
(No! Not that hand signal!)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mazal Tov!

We got back safely from our weekend attendance at the sister's family wedding in Ft. Lauderdale FL. Lauderdale is warm, warm, warm. Temperature 88, humidity 88. Salt shaker at the sidewalk cafe was 2/3 rice, and 1/3 salt. . .and it didn't work. Hey, that's Florida

(That's the sidewalk cafe, in front of the hotel.)

We stayed at the historic Riverside Hotel, nee 1932 or thereabouts. Contrary to the street appearance, we were on the 11th floor of the new tower, with a stunning view of the New River and the high-rise condos that define both riverbanks.

Our guide took us on a whirlwind tour of Miami, Biscayne Bay, South Beach, etc., etc. Miami is a big place, about 60% Spanish-speaking, and not very friendly to the tourist except along the beach. We prefer Ft. Lauderdale.

Mieko and her sister did, however, visit the very steps where Versace was gunned/knifed or otherwise induced to assume room temperature (which in his case was 88 Fahrenheit) a few years ago.

The wedding went well. Lot's of traditional Jewish elements with appropriate responses. I'm always pleased when the rabbi has a good singing voice. May the young couple have a full and productive life together.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

German Vocabulary

This is the word, in context, that I queried Rudy about. I misspelled it on the front page of, but Rudy found a German speaker at work who translated it, and the word means that the luggage carts may be taken on the escalator.

Thanks for that!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rocks, Rocks, Stones, & More Rocks

Germany is full of rocks. The buildings are made of rocks, the streets are made of rocks, the sidewalks are made of rocks.

German cities have been utterly destroyed by wars about every 400 years or so for about forever. I figure that's where they get all the rocks. They're left over after the war, and you have to gather them up and do something with them.

The walls, turrets, and towers of all the castles and fortresses are made of rocks. They were designed to foil enemy attacks. Sometimes, the builders got pretty creative with their rock designs.

In Dresden, capital of Saxony, formerly in East Germany, the city government has made heroic attempts to rebuild all the rock/stone monuments. It's impressive, of course, but ultimately somewhat depressing.

(Come to think of it, I found Germany somewhat drepressing.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Factlets (cont'd)

Did you know that Florida is flatter than Washington D.C.? By 64 feet? Flatter being defined as the change in elevation between the highest point and the lowest. Just go to:

Who knew?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vertical Weingut

"Weingut" means a wine estate; the vineyards, cellars, and production facilities of a winery. Along the Rhein river, the wineries plant the vines straight up the slopes on both sides of the river, "to make the vines work harder to get water, thus making richer, sweeter grapes." At places they actually string ropes up the steep hills between the rows of grapes in order to facilitate pruning and picking.

The vineyard workers come mostly from Poland, on short labor contracts, and return home when the work is done. All legally. Hmmmmm.

Many of the vineyards have only a few hectares of hillside planted, but their owners appear to know every square inch of each hill, the type of soil, and the qualities of the rocks that reside therein.

During our visit, the sun was shining brightly, and the vines were soaking up the rays. The locals, quite unused to the bright sun, did likewise.

Upon learning that we were from California, most often they thanked us profusely for bringing our sunshine with us.

Bitte zehr!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our Guide To Deutschland

This was my tour guide and her textbook for getting us through Germany. The darned book was really very helpful. So was the lovely guide.

Learn from this! :-) (And click to enlarge, as always.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Our European Sports Adventures

First, we tried our hands at skittles, a hugely-popular pub game in Worcestershire. This photo was taken at the Great 2007 English Cheese Festival and Exposition (or something like that.)

Then we visited the Old Course at St. Andrews, the home of golf. The ghost of Bobby Jones haunted our visit. It was moving.

Not a bit bad experience.

Break Time For A True Classic

Just turn the speakers up, sit back, relax and enjoy.

You're welcome.

Monday, October 08, 2007

PaddleWheeling Down (Up?) The Rhein

Just two weeks ago, we were on the Rhein, sailing down the valley with vertical vineyards on both sides of the River. Beautiful scenery.

Some of us, however, took any, and every, opportunity to recover from early starts and many tastings of German Reisling.