Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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2024 Southwest Trip - Highlights

Gallery (140 images): 2024 Southwest Trip Highlights

In early April of 2024, Emily and I went on our first long road-trip to the US Southwest, driving a total of just over 8,000 km. We had talked about doing a trip like this since shortly after we met in early 2020, however first the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way, and then a few other trips; a trip to Germany in 2022 and then our honeymoon in Hawaii in 2023. However this year, we finally made it! Here is a map of our trip as recorded with my Garmin InReach Messenger...

Eventually I will be posting a full set of image galleries from this trip, but first I need to catch up on previous trips, including a short trip to Oregon in 2023, as well as a trip to Victoria, then our Hawaii trip later that year. For now the gallery linked to at the top of this post just contains some highlights from the trip. 

Lastly, I'll leave you with a few panoramas I created, and you can click to open larger version in a new window or tab. Please only download these for personal viewing. These images are copyright and are not to be used anywhere in print or elsewhere on the Internet without my prior consent!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

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Wedding! August 2023

Gallery (30 images): Wedding!

Yes indeed, I am now married to my incredible, lovely partner, Emily Min! We met in January of 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Had we met even a few weeks later, things may have turned out differently as the world shut down and everyone started social distancing, but timing was just in our favour and we stayed together during COVID. Emily is the most kind, caring and conscientious person I have ever met, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have met her when I did. She works as an art conservator and I was (and still am) astounded that she can repair and restore a damaged piece of artwork just as seamlessly (or more so) than what I can do for an image in Photoshop. Her skills are amazing.

In December of 2022, I proposed to Emily and to my delight she accepted, and in early August of 2023 we got married. The above linked image gallery is a small subset of our wedding photos, which were taken by my good friend Ted Marshall. My father George Mander, who is 92, hybridizes roses and he provided some his own roses for each table at the reception, and a bunch for our sweetheart table as well. A few of the roses can can be seen in photos 27 and 28 in the gallery.

We had about 55 guests at our wedding, which took place at the Celebration Pavilion in Queen Elizabeth Park, and the reception after was at the park restaurant, Seasons in the Park. A shout out to the incredible service and delicious food at Seasons which helped make our wedding day perfect. Another shout out to the bakery that made the amazing wedding cakes for us, Cadeaux Bakery. We asked if they could decorate the cakes with roses and mimic the colouration of one of my dad's own varieties, and we feel they did a tremendous job as can be seen in photo 27! Note that to respect the privacy of our guests and their families, I am not posting any of the many images which included them, other than a handful with my father and Emily's parents, and one with Emily's brother.

At the start of the reception, Emily and I donned traditional Korean wedding attire to perform the Korean Paebaek Ceremony (a link here which has a good overview), and there a number of shots in the gallery of that. One aspect of the ceremony is for the groom to give the bride a piggyback ride, signifying his strength in being able to support her in the future. That was a lot of fun, as was the entire Paebaek Ceremony, and everyone enjoyed the colourful outfits and spectacle!

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!

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

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.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

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.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

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.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

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!

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip

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.

Show: All blog postings from my 2022 Germany trip