Changing Gears

After the crush of the last couple of weeks getting the web page ready and making sure things like the Facebook page were ready to go, it was nice to launch the site.

But now it’s time to change gears.


After the page launch late Sunday night and just a few hours of sleep, on Monday morning I started attending class at the United Bicycle Institute (UBI).  Attending this school was the driving force behind the decision for Goddess and I to move to this town.

And it’s all good so far.

I’ll likely post more on the school starting next week, assuming I have time.  This week is their basic course, focused on those bicycle riders who know very little about maintenance.  I do have quite a leg up on this class, but I am still learning quite a bit.  And having a great time doing it.  Next week is when we jump into the professional mechanic-focused curriculum, which already promises to be faster paced and much more stressful, since that leads to certifications.

I’m giddy with excitement to get after it.


As I prepped the web site for launch last week, I wanted to fill in some holes in the portfolio.  There are still more to fill, but I need to keep focus on school.

So as I was perusing the archives, I ran across this one.  I am not sure why I passed it by after that trip to Vienna, but I did.

Luckily we have it for now.

That’s the Café Central in Vienna, Austria.

And if anyone is curious, no that is not an HDR image (I don’t do those).  Just a few focused curves to enhance contrasts and give it that pop.

Goddess and I were in town to celebrate an anniversary and explore the city in detail, after having only made a brief (one day) visit the year before.

If you ever get a chance to go – GO!  Vienna is such an enchanting town, especially down the back alleys and side streets.


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Mauer Path

Cobblestones marking the location of the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Berliner Mauer

The Berliner Mauer is the German name for the Berlin Wall.

Quite a lot of history and quite a lot of emotion associated with that name.

Goddess and I made our first (of what will likely be several) trips to Berlin last weekend.  We had a long weekend, so we took advantage of the Intercity Express (ICE) trains, which are high speed, but thanks to connections and stops, still take about the same amount of time to get there.

But I’m fairly certain that the law frowns on me enjoying a beer while driving.  So we let the conductor do the driving.  But not really for that reason, although it is a nice reason.  We chose the train because when Goddess and I see a city, we see a city.

Mainly on foot.

Down back alleys.

Off the beaten path.

For 12-15 hours each day.

And that gets exhausting.  So throw a 5-6 hour drive on top of that and it’s almost too much.  So the train saves the day.

I’ve already started posting images from our trip and there will be plenty more to come.  In the three full days of canvassing the city, I shot “only” about 300 images, which is not much compared to previous trips.  By comparison, a three day trip to Kyoto, Japan was worth about 1,200 images.

Of course, not all are keepers.  But in both cases, I still came out with quite a few.

Mostly black and white.

Because that’s how I saw the city.

And if not black and white, the colors were very muted.  It must have been the cold, cloudy German winter days that helped generate that mood.  But I’m certain that the history had something to do with that too.

Here’s a four-shot image of the view out our very modern hotel room.  The stitching is sloppy, mainly thanks to the very wide 10mm lens.  But I’m sure I can get the point across.

If you look closely, you’ll see a brown line.  It’s actually a line of cobblestones, two wide.  And the line traces the route of the Berlin Wall.

Coming from the west, right down the middle of the street, before turning south into a field.

Berliner Mauer

So as I hung out the window and looked, I couldn’t help but think about what it was like 22+ years ago.

Our hotel was on what would have been on the East Berlin side, the apartment complex directly across would have been in the West Berlin sector.

So I was explaining to Goddess the image that I remember seeing as a kid, one where the father was holding up his very young baby in a window across the wall so that Grandmother, looking through a window and visible only as a silhouette, could see her grandchild.  It was likely the closest they ever got.

I sure wish I could find that image.  It’s not in Life Magazine’s archive.

But this one is in their archive and it captures the mood that I felt when leaning out the window into the cold winter air, watching the small snowflakes get whipped around in the wind.

Could you imagine living like that?

Be grateful for what you have.

Corner Honey Table

There’s always a chance to make a buck.

Or in this case a euro.

Even if it’s only 24°F (-4°C).

Because someone will stop and look.  Perhaps buy.

Bad Wimpfen, Germany.  Off the beaten track, around the corner from the oldest Weinachtsmarkt in Germany (seit 1487).

I absolutely love that vine along the building.  I’m glad I saw it in winter, instead of during the summer when the leaves cover the entire house.





Sorry, but often a single word will get a song stuck in my head.  Blasted Blink 182.  But a fun karaoke song.

And now it’s stuck in your head too.

You’re welcome.

This is a full-service blog.


Anyway – watching.  Goddess and I love to watch people.  One of the greatest free activities to do anywhere that won’t get you arrested.  Sometimes, if someone is around long enough, we may even make up a story about them and their current situation.  It can be fun.  It’s often funny.  Probably rarely rooted in reality.

But then we also love to watch people watch people.

Like this guy:

Cartier Watcher


What’s his story?  Who knows.  We didn’t bother hanging around long enough to think about it.  But he was fun to watch watching people.

And he liked his ladies.

Goddess even pointed out a very lovely lady that walked right past us.  I only caught a glimpse because I was too busy watching him swivel-neck to watch her.

That was four frames before this one.

Eight frames total shot watching this guy watching people, because memory is cheaper than film.  All good, but this was my favorite.  A lot of activity, but the balance of all of the elements really knocks my socks off.

Just try to keep yours eyes still.

Just try.

Then come up with your own story.

And share below.