Archive for April, 2014

Freiburg & Titisee: Day 3 (Part 5)

04.24.2014 - By
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On Monday morning, my third day in Freiburg, I woke up to some dense fog.  I ate a quick breakfast in my pension, talked a bit with Greg over email, then made my way back to the Seepark to take a few more photos near my dorm area.  The thick fog reminded me a lot of our fall mornings growing up in Oregon.  At this early point of the day, there were a few people coming out of their homes to start their morning commute to work, but other than that, I had the entire place to myself.  It was peaceful and very ethereal!



Back in the center of the city, still very early in the morning, I stood right in front of Zum Roten Bären, a 700-year old hotel and restaurant, and took some photos of people riding their bikes up and down the cobblestone streets.  Going to work, going to school, dropping their kids off at day care.  Many Germans, like so many people in Boulder, ride their bikes to and from work every day.  They are all about public transportation and staying active!



Then it was finally time to say goodbye to my special and wonderful friends at the train station.  They took off on an eight hour journey back to Padua, Italy, and I hopped on a small commuter train all by myself to ride over to a nearby town in the the Black Forest called Titisee.


When I arrived in Titisee, I bought some groceries to make my favorite sandwich lunch: salami and Butterkäse (mild, white cheese) on a Brötchen (small, hearty roll).  I packed my small lunch for one inside my hefty camera bag and set off to hike eight Kilometers around the lake.  Halfway around, I stopped to eat my lunch and ended up sharing some of my roll with a few of the local, hungry, Mallard ducks swimming by my spot.  The fall colors were still out some and although the air was brisk, it was a perfect day for a hike!




I loved the little details I found on my walk.  It’s amazing what cool things you can find when you have the time to stop and focus on your surroundings!  Forest trees.  I loved how the light was shining through the trees as I walked the lakeside path.  Forest blooms.  I caught this feathery beauty in the middle of some fall leaves. Forest logs.  At the end of my hike, these were stacked up and perhaps ready to be transported somewhere to keep a person’s home warm during the winter months?

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I hiked almost all the way around the lake, but eventually I ran into a pretty major street and walking along a busy street with lots of cars was just not as enjoyable as walking through the forest, so I cut my hike short and hopped on a bus back into town.  I spent my last few hours in Titsee relaxing at the local spa, Badeparadies Schwarzwald.  Inside, they had all types of (hot!) saunas, a steam room and a large indoor swimming pool.  My favorite part was sitting outside in a hot tub for one with a glass of champagne in my hand while looking out at the gorgeous Black Forest.  It was idyllic for sure and completely awesome!  After spending the past few days walking everywhere I went, my muscles and joints sure thanked me for that little stop to refresh my feet and relax!


I spent my last night in Freiburg eating a döner kebab (turkish lamb kebab) al fresco and treated myself to a movie in a theater close to my hotel.  I spent most of this day and most of the next few days of my journey completely alone.  It was heavenly and I can’t wait to share more!

Jewish Naming Ceremony

04.24.2014 - By
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Recently I was asked to photograph a Jewish naming ceremony for baby Eli Abraham.  The lovely spring snow was present at his grandparents home on this day.  Eli’s closest family and friends were present.  It was a beautiful ceremony and every part of it was full of meaning.  Eli’s parents spoke words of love and hope for their son’s future.  Eli’s grandparents also spoke words of love and hope for their grandson.  A local Jewish rabbi conducted the ceremony and led the group in various Hebrew songs and Eli’s dad, Larry, sang him “Imagine” by John Lenon. He wore the cutest little Yarmulke on his head and was still so little that he slept through his whole ceremony!

EliNaming-9 EliNaming-3 EliNaming-16 EliNaming-34At one point, the rabbi gave every person a yellow rose pedal and then we all placed them in a cup of holy water that was stirred together by one of his godparents by using the stem of the plucked rose.  The rabbi anointed parts of his body with holy water and sacred oil flown in by his grandpa from Israel.  At the end of the one-hour ceremony, Eli and his parents stood under a chuppah and everyone sang a few more songs in Hebrew.  It was a really neat experience for me and I wish Larry and Liz all the best as they raise this special little boy together!

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Freiburg: Day 2 (Part 4)

04.10.2014 - By
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I loved living in Freiburg!  My dorm room was just a few steps away from a beautiful lake area called Seepark.  This is where I got all my exercise and where we would gather every sunny afternoon to study and listen to Francesco play songs on his guitar.  On this particular Sunday in October, we walked around the lake and stopped several times to take photos along the way.  Halfway around the lake, there is a bridge that extends over the water.  We stopped here to look at the water turtles and I got to  snap a few shots of my friends being cute and lovey-dovey.  Francesco and Irene are also parents and really cherished their long weekend away from the kids and the chance to talk uninterrupted!





As we continued to walk over the bridge, I noticed several locks were hanging off the fence.  This is a new tradition that I never seen before.  Young couples buy a lock and key set, sometimes with their names on it, and then hang the lock on this bridge and throw the key in the water.  Tanja loves Dieter forever.  Together forever. Cute. I also found a random bent spoon hanging off this fence as well.  Not exactly sure what this means, however.





On the opposite side of the lake from where we started our walk, we stopped to say hello to this funny statue.  Everyone likes to rub his man parts for some reason, maybe for good luck, I am not so sure.  He’s busy guarding the small garden of grape vines next to him!



I went on another solo photo walk around downtown after we were done at the lake.  First stop was a local park where I found this gorgeous flower blowing in the wind.  I am pretty sure I used my macro lens to take this photo and I’m also pretty sure that this was the only macro photo I took the entire trip so it’s anyone’s guess why I carried around that lens for 10 days.  Lesson learned and I plan to travel lighter next time.


I later found some fall colors in an alley next to my hotel.  This sign warns bikers to ride carefully (at their own risk) because the city does not maintain these particular streets during the winter months.


On my way to meet my friends for an afternoon concert, I walked through the university area again, this time to capture a photo of the café where we spent every morning of the trip hanging out, eating pastries and drinking espresso.  Right next to this café was an emblem in the cobblestones that states that this university was founded in 1457 by the Archduke Albrecht IV.



The Freiburg Cathedral (Münster) was started in 1200 and was officially finished in 1230.  It stands tall in the heart of the city and rings its bells daily every hour on the hour.  The beautiful stained glass windows inside the church are all over and add some cheer to the very cold, stone interior.  We sat and listened to a concert here that featured a choir of children and local orchestra.  It was about two hours long and although the music was very beautiful, I found myself nodding off to sleep several times, still not adjusted to the local time.  The acoustics in a building of this size are fabulous!



Freiburg: Day 2 (Part 3)

04.03.2014 - By
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The weekends in Germany are usually set aside to spend quality time with family and friends and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  On this particular Sunday in October, the weather was absolutely gorgeous so I met my good friends and we did just that!  I met Francesco and Irene for coffee downtown and then we set out to visit our old university and dorm area together.  First stop was a walk through campus.  I did not take any classes in KG II (below), but it made for a perfect photo op and showed a great view of the Theater Freiburg building through the windows.  I cannot even count how many times I walked past this particular building as as student.  My tram stopped right next to it each morning to let me out *just* in time for my classes.


As we walked through campus, Francesco (or Checco, as I call him), got a call from one of his three little girls on the phone.  Photo op!  I started clicking away and was lucky to catch some of his classic Checco expressions that I happen to love (and miss) so much!  All smiles, this guy.  He is a typical jovial Italian, full of life, and has a really infectious personality.  It is not possible to hang out with him and not have any fun! This second picture of him is what I will call his “eh?” face.  I’ll post some more photos I took of him and his wife, Irene, in my post next week.

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While living in Freiburg, I spent most of my free time with Francesco, Katie (American) and Giulia (Italian) when we weren’t in class.  Checco taught me how to cook some great pasta the “Italian way” and we spent many afternoons and evenings eating, singing and hanging out.  I have a photo in front of this very university statue of Homer with all of my friends so it was only fitting that on this trip I sat in the same spot to take a photo.  This may be one of the only photos taken of me my whole trip, in fact!


Next to this statue is the KG IV building, again, not a building I had classes in, but I wanted to capture its classic arches and iron work.  Right across the street from this building was the Mensa (cafeteria) where I enjoyed many cheap (yummy?) student meals with my friends.



After our walk through campus on this particular Sunday, we hopped on a street tram and drove out to our old dorm area on Sundgauallee (my address for over a year) called the Studentensiedlung (or StuSie for short).  This particular area had about 10+ student dorm buildings.  Some were high rises that had several floors and an elevator and some were shorter with only two levels and a set of stairs.  Each level in each of these buildings, short or tall, had about six single rooms and shared a bathroom, shower and common area that had a kitchen and dining/living area with a TV and table.


Two of my good friends at the time, Katie and Giulia, lived in this tall high rise shown below.  I, however, lived the majority of my year abroad in a small, two-level building, number 48, with some Germans, a sweet French woman and a really spirited Irish lady.  My building was right near the local lake, called Seepark (and the focus of my next blog), and a gas station.  Why do I mention the gas station?  Well, most German stores are closed on Sundays and holidays, so this was the only place I could get any type of food in a pinch, so it was a very convenient place to live!



We did not have cell phones in 1999 so this photo is an ode to what once was, back in the day, when we still communicated by landline.  The same style of phones that we used when we lived there were oddly still here and hanging up on the walls in the lobby of one of the high rises.  I wonder if this one still gets used? Seeing it still hanging here brought back lots of memories of the days when I had much more time on my hands to actually talk on the phone.  I remember spending so much time talking on the phone with my friends in the StuSie about our plans for the weekend or when we would be getting together next.  I did study, some, but life was so much simpler, more carefree back then for sure!  What great memories!