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Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Sand a.M.

5 Stern Radwanderweg

We walked to Sand am Main yesterday and the day before, when the sun was shining and there were hints of spring in the air. It is a very relaxing seven kilometer round trip using the five-star bicycle route to stay off the main road, Entering Sand this way, you get a hint as to where the name came from. Besides the wine produced locally, a lot of sand is dredged up from the waters in Sand a. Main (Sand on the Main River).

This afternoon, ducks were having a lot of fun sprinting across the water. The drakes were showing off for the females lined up to watch.

Drakes showing off

J.C. and the Sunshine

There is a very nice looking Catholic church in the center of town with a statue of Jesus on the roof. Maybe some day I’ll be in Sand at the right time to get the sun shining through the halo. In the mean time, we’re looking forward to this summer when the Strausse or, in the local dialect, “heckenwirtshaften” (literally hedge  pubs) are open and serving local wine and simple food outdoors.

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What do Kevin Costner and the heavy metal band KISS have in common?

For starters, both Costner, who is an actor, producer, and director and now a musician, and the heavy make-up, heavy-rock band play terrible music terribly. Both demonstrated this last night on the German TV show Wetten, dass..? a reality game show extremely popular in Europe. It’s kind of a cross between Sábado Gigante and The Tonight Show, and draws ratings in German-speaking countries of 50% or more of viewers.

Both Costner and the members of KISS are, shall we say, past the green of their lives. Costner is in his mid-fifty’s, and KISS members are all on the far side of that. But they are kids compared to Sophia Loren, who was also on the show last night. Loren is supposed to be 76-years old, and is starting to look it.

Sophia didn’t sing on the show. I wish Costner, who is touring Europe with a modern country music band,  hadn’t either.  To say that Costner can’t sing would be heaping undeserved praise on him. With luck, old Kevin will get over his mid-life crisis before he brings his show stateside, potentially exposing dozens of die-hard fans to the embarrassment of it all. KISS sounded the same as always when they took the stage. Which is to say I think they were lip-syncing an old tune.

One bright spot in the show is co-host Michelle Hunziker. And before you say “just another pretty face” consider this. The admittedly easy-on-the-eyes model, actress, singer and dancer speaks Italian, French, German, English and Dutch. This came in handy when talking to Sophia, who doesn’t speak German, and Costner, who while married to a German woman, doesn’t speak much of anything.

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These ducks are using a section of the iced over harbor on the Main River in Hassfurt as a “rest stop” of sorts. A little known fact about the duck is that it is a clean bird. Given the opportunity, a duck would prefer not to use the water it swims and eats in as a bathroom. Here, ducks are using a section of the ice for just that purpose. Look closely at the photograph and you will notice several “spots” used as open-air urinals.

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The news isn’t always bad when it come to the dollar. Here is a chart showing a decline in the Euro, which corresponds to an increase in my real income here in Germany. This was from an article in Spiegel On Line International about the currency and debt problems in the Euro zone. May this trend continue, and may I finally begin receiving my retirement pay, if there’s any left after Washington gets done with the budget.

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Getting Outside

We have time these days to get out and enjoy the weather. It doesn’t matter if it is cold and snowing like it was today. And it doesn’t matter if all we do is walk to the store and back.

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Kaufhaus Mendel

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

This is a large old house in the middle of town. It’s empty and I think it is or soon will be for sale. If I had the money, I would love to renovate it, and would live there, even though it is on the main street through town.

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Marktplatz 1


No. 973

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

A roof top display at the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt with the Rathaus in the background. This is a real Christmas display with a real building in the background. I played with the original some to get this unreal effect.

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August II der Starke

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

Also known as Augustus II, by the grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Livonia, Kiev, Volhynia, Podolia, Smolensk, Severia and Chernihiv, and Hereditary Duke and Prince-Elector of Saxony, etc.

As Elector of Saxony, he is perhaps best remembered as a patron of the arts and architecture. He established the Saxon capital of Dresden as a major cultural centre, attracting artists and musicians from across Europe to his court. Augustus also amassed an impressive art collection and built fantastic baroque palaces at Dresden and Warsaw.

He was also King of Poland. Twice.

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Dam


Dam

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

There wasn’t much going on this morning. Walked over the Main River and a floodgate was down a little, I suppose to drop the water level behind it.

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Reeds and Trees

The wind was blowing pretty hard this morning as I walked the Mainaue between Hassfurt and Augsfeld. But it was still when I took this picture of the trees behind some reeds which grow near the water around here. Judging by how the reeds are growing, the wind must blow pretty steady in one direction most of the time.

I wasn’t quite sure where I was going this morning, but as I continued on a path it eventually made a loop completely around the small lake that is part of the flood plain. Swans are nesting on the back side of this lake. I had never seen swans in flight until this morning, when three of them circled overhead before landing on the far side of the lake. By the time I made it around to where they had landed, the clouds had rolled in. 

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