Monday, November 27, 2023

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Germany 2022 - Frankfurt Historical Museum

On our last day in Germany, Emily and I visited the German Historical Museum while my dad stayed with his brother. It was a huge museum and unfortunately our time was too short to properly see it all. What we saw was fascinating and well worth another visit in the future! Emily and I had discussed possibly getting married in Germany, at the Römer in Frankfurt (the old city hall) where my parents were married too. The first photo in the gallery shows the Römer. In the end, it would have been too difficult for Emily's entire extended family to travel to Germany, so we gave up on the idea. For a while though, we were seriously thinking  about it.

That's it, the last gallery and posting from our wonderful trip to Germany in August of 2022. Emily loved the food in Germany and was happy to meet the extended Mander family too. We hope to return in a few years and we both want to visit Berlin (I have never been either) as well as head back up to the island of Föhr in the North Sea, with its quaint villages and wonderfully photogenic thatched roof buildings, and of course visit friends and family again.

Next up on my blog will likely be a gallery with few photos from our wedding back in August, as well as our honeymoon in Hawaii after! Then I'll likely circle back to my 2018 trip to Germany and finish those galleries, before working on some closer to home trips and outings with Emily during COVID-19.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

Monday, November 6, 2023

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Germany 2022 - Eltville

Gallery (45 photos): Germany 2022 - Eltville

On this day some friends took us on a wonderful walk along the Rhine River and into the town of Eltville. There, we wandered through the walled gardens at an old electoral castle which also had some nice shaded benches to take refuge on this very hot day. As you can see the weather was fantastic, perfect for taking photos, with a deep blue sky and fluffy white clouds!

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Saturday, April 15, 2023

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Germany 2022 - Frankfurt / Museum of Applied Arts

We arrived back near Frankfurt, staying in Dietzenbach where my uncle lives. We left my dad to visit with him, and Emily and I drove into Frankfurt for the day to walk around the central old part of the city, where the picturesque medieval city hall is, the Frankfurter Römer. This is where my parents were married and the town square there is ringed with shops, cafes and restaurants. There is a small gothic church in the same area, some museums and the huge Kaiserdom, a large gothic cathedral where one can climb to the top of the high tower for some amazing views of Frankfurt below.

After having a coffee and a morning snack in a cafe, we took some photos of the Römer, went inside the small church, then made our way to the Kaiserdom and climbed up the 328 step narrow spiral staircase to the viewing platform which rings the tower - the views were indeed spectacular! It was quite hot and a bit of a challenge to climb up, especially when one encountered others coming down. The staircase is very narrow! After we came back down, we went into the Kaiserdom and took photos, then made our way across the Main River to the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts, the "Museum Angewandte Kunst." Some months before, Emily and I had watched a documentary about the famed designer Dieter Rams, who created many of the iconic product designs for the German company Braun. It turns out that he was also a major influence on Jony Ive, the lead product designer for Apple for many years. When we found out there was a dedicated area with a permanent exhibit of some of Rams' work for Braun and others, we thought it was worth a visit to that museum. There were many other very interesting displays and it was totally worth seeing! There are many shots from inside the museum in the large image gallery linked above.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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Germany 2022 - Michelstadt

Gallery (35 images): Germany 2022 - Michelstadt

We left the Black Forest in southern Germany the day before, and drove back up to near Frankfurt again. The next day, we visited the picturesque town of Michelstadt, just south of Frankfurt and wandered around, visiting some gift shops and taking photos inside the town's church. Later that evening, we visited some very good family friends near Frankfurt, Günter and Renate. My mother had gotten to know them a very long time ago, even before she had met my father, and it was wonderful seeing them again, even though the visit was only brief.

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Sunday, January 29, 2023

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Germany 2022 - Gengenbach

Gallery (45 images): Germany 2022 - Gengenbach

The next day on our trip, we were in the Black Forest region of southern Germany, visiting the town of Reichenbach. Franziska's son helps to run a wonderful hotel and restaurant there, the Land-Gasthof Rössle. The food was incredible, including the best Schnitzel Cordon-Bleu that I have ever had. Not only was it stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese, but also had caramelized onions inside. The flavour was amazing, as were the perfectly cooked pan-fried potatoes too. I can't wait for the next time I visit where I will surely order that again!

We left my dad to relax at the Rössle and Emily and I drove to the nearby town of Gengenbach. It is a small town, filled with interesting shops, and it had some very picturesque, narrow cobblestone streets lined with historic timber-framed post-and-beam constructed houses and buildings. In German a building constructed like that is called a Fachwerkhaus. There was an externally unassuming church in Gengenbach that turned out to have a wonderful, ornate interior.

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I just have to share an iPhone shot that Emily took of my wonderful schnitzel dinner at the Rössle!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Stuttgart & Tübingen

A big meeting of nearly the entire extended Mander family happened in Stuttgart. We first visited the cemetery where my uncle Kurt is buried and met three of my cousins and their families, as well as an uncle, to pay our respects. Then it was off to a big lunch get-together, where a few additional family members joined us. All in all, we were about 17 people if I recall. After lunch, we all visited the 217 meter tall Stuttgart TV transmission tower, with a viewing platform 150 meters up.

Then the next day, we drove to Tübingen to visit the Mountain Cemetery there, the final resting place for Franziska's ashes, my fathers partner of 9 years after my mom passed away from cancer in 2008. Franziska passed away in early 2018 after having a bad stroke. The cemetery is beautifully set in a forest, although Franziska's urn is buried in a very low-key area, her location unmarked and her resting place only noted with an engraving on a small stone tower. The last photo in the gallery shows Franziska and my dad during happy times together in 2017.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Burg Herzberg

Gallery (60 images): Germany 2022 - Burg Herzberg

Today, while my dad spent the day being interviewed for the book by his friend in Frielendorf, Emily and I drove to the wonderful and scenic old castle ruins of Burg Herzberg. Amongst other things, there is a tiny little chapel, with some lovely stained-glass windows that add a beautiful splash of colour to photos of its interior. There was a restaurant with lots of outdoor seating and we had a tasty lunch there, albeit one that was constantly disturbed by hungry and obnoxious wasps!

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Thursday, November 10, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Burg Hohenburg (Homberg)

Gallery (25 images): Germany 2022 - Burg Hohenburg (Homberg)

On the second day in Germany, we arrived in the small town of Frielendorf, visiting a friend of my father's, who is also writing a book about his rose hybridizing endeavours. In the evening we all visited the nearby small town of Homberg, where there are some castle ruins up on the hill overlooking the town. The old tower was very photogenic, with its old and weathered stone masonry construction, just full of texture and detail. The evening light filtering in through the windows and doorways cast a wonderful warm glow in spots. The view of the surrounding countryside from the top of the tower was also spectacular.

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Sunday, October 2, 2022

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Germany 2022 - Kassel, Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

Gallery (80 images): Germany 2022 - Kassel, Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

This year, my father and I, as well as my partner Emily (now fiancée - we got engaged in December 2022! Update: we were married in August, 2023!), finally managed to get back to Germany in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally my father and I were slated to go in 2020, but had to cancel our plans. This year we went in early August for two weeks and I borrowed a Fujifilm X-T4 since I knew its in-body image-stabilization (IBIS) was going to come in very handy for many dark interior shots. My X-Pro2 came along as a backup but was never used. I also used my iPhone 13 for a few selfies with Emily.

I know I was in the midst of working on my 2018 Germany trip galleries, but I'm going to focus on this latest trip and then go back to the 2018 trip afterwards.

This is the first day of shooting and exploring, where Emily and I wandered through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in the city of Kassel. "Bergpark" means a mountain park, and indeed, a central feature of the park is a 500 meter mountain, with a statue of Hercules at its peak. In the summer, every Wednesday and Sunday there are Wasserspiele, which literally means "water play," where water is released from a large reservoir at the top of the mountain. This gravity fed water flows down over a multitude of cascades, rapids, waterfalls and a reconstructed Roman aqueduct, ending in a large fountain in a pond near the main Wilhelmshöhe Castle. The gravity fed fountain is powered by a second reservoir about half way down the mountain and a person has to manually pull open a valve at the right time.

My father grew up in Kassel, right next to the park, and his father -my grandfather- was the park's groundskeeper. The park is an absolutely wonderful place to spend a summer day, with lots of shade, walking and hiking paths, and many things to see. In the latter part of the gallery, we visited the gothic Löwenburg Castle, although we came too late to get a tour inside.

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Monday, June 6, 2022

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Germany 2018 - Idar Oberstein & Herrstein

On this third day in Idar Oberstein, we visited a historic gemstone grinding shop, the Historische Weiherschleife, where all the huge grinding stones were powered by a waterwheel and a system of large belts and pulleys. We also visited the associated gemstone mine, the Edelsteinmine Steinkaulenberg.

Afterwards, we drove a few kilometres and wandered around the historic town of Herrstein, where we joined in with a tour group and marvelled at all the very old buildings, a large number of which are many hundred of years old and of original construction. My ultra-wide Laowa 9mm lens got a lot of use in the cramped little town! All of Herrstein's charming streets and alleys are constructed from very well worn cobblestones, with grass and plants forcing their way up between them in many areas.

This was the last day in Idar Oberstein and from there, we drove to the small town of Frielendrof where we visited some old castle ruins, Burg Herzberg, the following day.

Show: All blog postings from my 2018 Germany Trip