We are marking the first full day of winter today with a grin. Yesterday was the kick-off for this year’s Winter Solstice offering over on my photography site and it was a good day (thank you everyone!).
But if you’re following via social media sites, they do a fine job of squashing certain posts that contain certain words, especially words that are a single-word representation of an offering of anything at a reduced level of currency. Why? Because they want us to pay them to increase viewership of those specific posts to normal levels. Or pay even more to increase viewership even higher.
If you are looking for a holiday present, it is too late to get it this week, but if you’re looking for a different look on your wall, now is your chance! Please click on the picture above and you’ll see the code at the top of my website.
For some that means it’s now the the beginning of a long, dreary winter. A season to dread. But not us. Winter is another great season to get outside, explore and play.
This past Friday was opening day for our local ski mountain. Goddess and I were able to get more than a few runs in on uncrowded slopes before school let out for the holidays. And the rain today.
It’s currently raining up on the mountain, on top of the minimal snow. Hopefully it doesn’t melt the snow and start another rough winter for the mountain, which never opened last winter for the first time in its 50-year history.
As is tradition here on the solstices and equinoxes, I’m offering a sale on my photography.
All products are 20% off (does not apply to shipping costs). Just enter Winter14 in the coupon field when you are ready to check out. Just click on the coupon below to start browsing.
Thank you so much for your continued support. I do appreciate you!
It has been quiet around these parts for the past week or so.
Usually I apologize for that, but this time I don’t think that I will, even though I do appreciate my loyal readers.
I really do.
So where was the focus? My new web site, of which this blog is a part. Some of you might have even noticed some changes here.
It’s all part of taking my photography a bit more seriously, including delving more into portraiture.
So please click on the image above (which takes you to http://billandersphoto.com), take a look around, kick the tires and leave a comment. Perhaps buy a print or three.
I even dropped the prices 25% to mark the occasion.
Just click on that coupon and a new window will open. Browse and pick to your heart’s content, then enter that code upon checkout. And you’ll be in like Flynn.
If you had browsed my galleries before and think you have seen it all, please look again, especially in the Travel section of my Portfolio. There are new photos in there. And quite a few images that I have reworked for one reason or another.
So you might find something different.
As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by my littler corner of the sphere.
One of my favorite spots in Munich is one that few notice.
But that’s true of many cities. I do like the out of the way, the off the wall places.
But this one’s neither out of the way, nor is it off the wall.
But still, few notice.
It’s the Viscardigasse, otherwise known as “Shirker’s Alley”. Or, back in the day, Drueckebergergasse, as a drueckeberger is a hedger or quitter.
There is a lot of history in this alley.
But before I get into the history, I will preface by saying that my focus on German history, as a student of history, has not been the Holocaust. I do not think it should be, no matter how horrific those events were. The story of Germany and the worldwide contributions of the Germans is epic. But like any other society or nation, there are its low points. The 1930’s and 1940’s were Germany’s.
Spacially, Viscardigasse is a small alley (hence the -gasse suffix) that connects two significant parallel roads, Residenzstrasse and Theatinerstrasse, both of which head northward from Marienplatz. Viscardigasse stretches east to west, just south of Felderrnhalle, which faces the Odeonsplatz.
The importance of Viscardigasse reaches back to 9 November, 1923. On that day, an illegal march led by Adolf Hitler, with a goal of revolution, was confronted by Bavarian National Police along Residenzstrasse, next to the Felderrnhalle. The march became known as the Beer Hall Putsch.
During the confrontation, gunfire erupted, resulting in 16 marchers and 4 police killed. Hitler was arrested and sentenced to a prison term.
Jump forward several years, after Hitler gained power. He ordered a plaque to the 16 “martyr’s” be placed on the Feldernhalle. After that, passers-by were required to render a sieg heil as they passed the plaque. Compliance was monitored by Nazi supporters.
That’s where the story of Viscardigasse starts.
As Jews or anti-Nazi individuals would approach the Felderrnhalle, they would duck down Viscardigasse to avoid rendering the salute. Soon the Nazi’s caught on and started stopping individuals walking down Viscardigasse, demanding their reasons for avoiding the Felderrnhalle. Those that could not provide sufficient reason were often whisked away to camps.
Taking the Viscardigasse was a form of resistance.
And a way to become “disappeared”.
So when we are in Munich, I choose to stop and reflect between these walls, looking at the stones as a whole, but especially the bronzed stones forming a wavering, ever decreasing path, before disappearing midway down the alley.
While the reflection does include the events leading to the placement of the stone, reminiscent of stolperstein (example here), memorial in the alley, the reflection turns more introspective, wondering if that Viscardigasse would be the path that I would take in the face of such an oppressive regime.
Wondering if I could leave Goddess behind like that.
Wondering if Goddess would join me.
But I seriously doubt that I would go out so passively.
That is the result of reflection.
So why the title “Fleeting Memories”?
Because as we sit, observe and reflect, so many tourists pass by the alleyway, walking quickly down Residenzstrasse and Theatinerstrasse, enroute to either the Odeonsplatz or Marienplatz, oblivious to the significance of this small alley.
Or, as in the picture below, we see many tourists and locals walk right down the alley, hurrying to and fro.
And we wonder, how many are even aware of what they are walking over?
Combat tours of cities. The types of tour you take when you (a) don’t have enough time, due travel or work restrictions; or (b) when you want to squeeze in as much as possible in a short amount of time.
I’ve taken quite a few combat tours based on (a) over the years. Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam (the first time), etc., either due to lengthy layovers or short weekends in the “neighborhood”.
But the last two weeks were for reason (b). We had friends in from the states and wanted to cover as much ground as possible. In hindsight, we all agree that we could have picked two or three of the cities and stayed a few days at each, but we don’t regret seeing what we did. And for Goddess and I, we now know to where we need to go back.
So, in nine days, it was Paris, France; Munich, Germany; Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Salzburg, Austria; Vienna, Austria; and Prague, Czech Republic. Plus, there were side trips, including Dachau Concentration Camp, the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Sedlec Ossuary (aka The Bone Church). And there was actually a “day off” in that time, which was the day that we got back from Paris at 3am. All told, 1,100 miles of driving for the Germany, Austria, Czech Republic portion. We let a bus driver do the driving for the 24-hour out/back Paris tour.
Instead of boring you with the details of each, here are some images instead:
Hands down, one of the most amazing cathedrals I’ve visited anywhere in the world. Follow the hyperlinked words to read about it.
Quite a few more shots out there as well as pending. The ones that are out there are either on my Flickr page or my Smugmug page. The ones that are pending may be a while, since I’ll be on the road again this week touring a few important battle sites in France. I’m sure I’ll get a few pics at those locations too.