Markets Galore

‘Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.’
‘Where we going, man?’
‘I don’t know but we gotta go.’

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Since finishing our thru-hike in late October, that has been us.  Other than two specific scheduled events, we have been floating, planning our travels no more than a few days in advance at most.

Since late November we have been mainly in Germany, but also in Belgium visiting friends and seeing the sights.  We are thankful to have such a vast network of friends who are willing to let us couch surf and take time out of their busy schedules to show us around.

We arrived in Germany just in time for our favorite part of the year, Weinachtsmarkt  (Christmas Market) season.  We made sure to attend a few.


Weinachtsmarkt and Castle, Heidelberg, Germany


Pyramid and Heiligeistkirche, Heidelberg, Germany


Pyramid and kirche, Hockenheim, Germany


Weinachtsmarkt and Dom, Speyer, Germany


Saint Nikolas delivery, Speyer Dom, Speyer, Germany


Weinachtsmarkt statement, Detmold, Germany


Weinachtsmarkt madness, Freiburg, Germany


Weinachtsmarkt skating on New Year’s Eve, Köln  (Cologne), Germany


Steampunk carousel, Bruxelles  (Brussels), Belgium


Dancing lights, Bruxelles  (Brussels), Belgium


Market Square, Bruges (Brugge), Belgium

One unfortunate impact on all of these markets was the weather.  It has been unseasonably warm, which really impacts the feel of the market.  It’s a different experience to drink hot glühwein when it’s 12°C (55°F) than it is when it’s -2°C (28°F).  For those markets that had skating rinks, the skaters were moving through puddles and pools more than they were gliding.

But please don’t take any of that as a complaint. We recognized that we were spending our December in Christmas Markets in Europe. It’s very difficult to top that.

Basking Mermaid

On the last day of autumn, there was no hint of winter in sight.  At least not here in Germany.

Back home in southern Oregon, the ski mountains have several feet of snow on the slopes, with many more to come this week.

Sunday in the Black Forest saw crowded hiking trails as people got out to enjoy the weather.

Including a mermaid who should already be surrounded by ice.


London Nightline

Well, it’s the year’s end.  And there will be plenty of year’s end lists.

Just not here.

Instead, I’ve been looking back at the year’s RAW images and seeing what I’ve missed or what needs to be reworked.

I guess you could call it a bit of nostalgia.  But not in the typical sense.

I’ve mainly thought of the three photographers that I’ve been able to meet in person over the past 13 months.  Photographers that I’ve known online for quite a few years.

In December 2011, Goddess and I had the pleasure of meeting Shimon Z’hevi, who after an arduous in-person screening process, decided we passed muster and spent the next week showing us the back alleys and culture of Jerusalem as well as the landscape of Israel.

It was an amazing experience!  And thanks to his blogging, he continues to draw us into the culture and events there in Israel with is vibrant first-person accounts.

Skip ahead to July 2012 and we were able to work with Michael Kaiser and find a common weekend free.  Mind you, we actually had to coordinate that weekend some five months in advance, but at least we were able to nail it down.  Michael was gracious enough to have Goddess and I visit and stay in his home.  Pretty gutsy considering we had never met in person.  But we’ve conversed virtually for many years and grew to know each other, so we were quite comfortable.  It was amazing to sit with him and flip through albums of his years working as a writer and photographer for his local paper, where his reportage took him to many places, including Afghanistan in the early 2000’s.  Trust me, his experiences in that country were far different than mine in 2011.

And the third, which is actually back a few months to the end of May 2012, we finally got to meet the lovely Susanna Hauru, a Finnish transplant to London, while Goddess and I were on a trip to the UK.  I was nervous meeting her (as well as Shimon and Michael), as she’s quite the accomplished street and wedding photographer (both Shimon and Michael are very accomplished in their own rights).  But she was as gracious as could be and we had a wonderful time walking the back alleys and haunts of London as she introduced us to her favorite views.  And we accidentally introduced her to a new one.

For that I earned a manly hug.

(gotcha Susie!).

But on our walkabout, while Goddess and Susie were chatting, I set up the tripod and grabbed this shot soon before Big Ben struck midnight and the lights went off in the tower and the Palace of Westminster.

A pretty magical view.

And not too shabby for my 23 year old 50/1.8.

London Nightline

Go ahead and click on that picture.  It will open up in a new tab/window on a black background.  That way you can enjoy the lines and lights.

As far as every post here, if you click on the picture, there will be different behaviors.  Play with them and figure out what they are.  😉

But back to the three photographers.  This past year has been an amazing year on many different levels.  But on the photography front, the fact that we were able to meet these three in person was fantastic.  These three are my toughest critics when I ask them to be.

And I appreciate that.

And them.

Aerial Lines

The weather was beautiful here in southwestern Germany today.  Nice and clear, with temps around 5ºC (41ºF) and nary a puff of wind.

Perfect for taking a break from the book and getting a nice 50km (30 mile) bike ride in before getting back to the book (bleh).

And perfect for taking the camera along for any nice B&W opportunities.

Aerial Lines

Lots going on there.  The power lines, the contrails (which I didn’t notice until I had taken the first shot) and steam from the Philipsburger Nuclear Power Plant off in the distance.

I just wish the Flickr/Wordpress image compression wouldn’t jack up the details so much.  Click on the pic to be taken to a much clearer, crisper version.

Taken at 2:30pm.  But it sure looks like it’s late afternoon, close to sunset.  But that’s part of the joy of living here, where the sun didn’t even reach 20º above the horizon at noon.  And it’s only getting lower.

For those that live here, Germany is a wealth of bike trails and paths, criss-crossing the entire country.  With proper planning, you can ride from one side of country to the other without having to hit major traffic areas.  Not a bad thing.  It’s a goal that organizations likes Rails to Trails are striving for.

But while the trails criss-cross the entire country, it’s not like they’re in a straight line or anything.  Here in the Rhine River valley, where there aren’t any geographic features (other than the river) to work around, the paths just don’t make much sense.  It’s pretty easy to get twisted around and ride in a circle if you don’t use a map.

Heck, I have a map and still ended up doing circles and having to backtrack.

But it’s part of the fun.

Column Eye

Within the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany.

Lovely details in the lamp and columns.  But the best part was Goddess’ description of the gaggle of high school aged kids who were all staring at me, trying to figure out what was so interesting.

Guess they’ll never know.