Tag Archives: Europe

Photo Friday: Frankfurt

The European Central Bank – I like the reflection of the historic building in the windows
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We arrived in Frankfurt by train from Berlin bright and early. We thought this would just be a quick stop on our way to the airport.

We were exhausted from all of our adventures, so we thought we would finally step foot on a tour bus for the first time this trip. We realized that we had not been in a car during the entire journey! How refreshing!

We took the train from our hotel near the airport, to the main train station, with the idea of hopping on a tourist bus. But when we got to the tourist information center, the woman informed us that Frankfurt is small enough to walk.

So, we set out on foot to explore the city. And we loved it!

We were too tired to go into any actual museums or anything, so we spent the day like locals.

We ate bratwurst from a stand outside the train station, walked through the city taking in the mix of old and new, ate pastries by the river, and finished the day in a residential neighborhood with one of the most authentic meals we had the entire trip.

The Bratwurst stand outside the train station where we had lunch
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We did not consult a guide book for the first time in weeks, and just enjoyed exploring the city without plans or agenda. It was decadent.

What struck me most about Frankfurt was the contrast of history and progress. Castles stand side by side on the same street with sky scrapers.

An Occupy Frankfurt demonstration outside the Central European Bank illustrated the ongoing debate about the European Union and Germany’s role in the Union.

It was delightful to experience the city without feeling like tourists. My favorite part had to be simply sitting outside in a residential area we discovered and watching the world go by. I hope we get to return and do more of that.

I feel so fortunate to have been able to take this trip. It was an extraordinary opportunity to visit places with such rich history. The museums and cafes and food and lifestyle were simply seductive. I must go back.

But for now, I will have to survive by looking back at some of my favorite photos. Here are my favorites from Frankfurt.

Castles next to skyscrapers – A great reminder that we don’t have to tear down the old to make way for the new
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The Occupy Frankfurt demonstration
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A cafe outside the Opera House
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One of the signs from the Occupy Frankfurt demonstration. I don’t know what it says, but I figure that anything with Millionaire and Democratic on the same sign is probably something I would be interested in
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The view across the river
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The Beer Garden where we had our last meal in Europe. It was a charming neighborhood restaurant where everyone knew each other. Such a perfect ending!
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Flowers from a neighborhood shop
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What do you think? Have you ever been on a trip and just decided to skip all of the tourist attractions and live like a local? When and where? What was that like? If not, does that sound like something that appeals to you or do you feel like if you are going to go somewhere, you have to see the most famous destinations in that location?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.      

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Filed under Architecture, Art, Business, Culture, Economy, Food, History, International, Photography, Photos, Policy, Politcs, Role of Government, Technology, travel

Photo Friday: Berlin

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Border between East and West Berlin, where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Most of it is torn down now.

After leaving the quaint, but bustling Amsterdam, we took an overnight train to Berlin. We stayed in East Berlin, just down the street from Alexanderplatz, which was really the heart of East Berlin.

After all of the beauty of France, Spain and Holland, East Berlin was striking for its lack of decoration. It was a fascinating place to visit for its history, but the sadness and anger were palpable.

From what we observed, the division between East and West Berlin still exists to this day. We spent the vast majority of our time in East Berlin, going to what we were told was the trendiest neighborhood for dinner and visiting the historic sites.

But it is striking to stand where the wall used to stand and to look to the East and to the West. The East is full of cranes and development, but I couldn’t help feeling that the West kept moving forward while the East was stuck in time.

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Construction in East Berlin

East Berlin feels like a savagely damaged city, just now showing signs of rebirth. The evidence is everywhere, showing a city devastated by war, and then severely restricted and terrorized during the Communist occupation. It is simply tragic.

There is a solemn beauty to the city, however, even in the midst of the melancholy. I share some of my favorite photos here.

For those who would like to read more of the history of Berlin, this 1963 speech by President John F. Kennedy is a powerful denunciation of the communist occupation. When you visit Berlin, you understand this speech much more.

What do you think? Have you been to Berlin? What was your impression? Do you think that East and West Berlin will ever truly integrate? What kind of impact do you think a history like this would have on a culture?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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This has to be one of my favorite photos from the whole trip! I snapped this shot at a metro stop.

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A watchtower over Checkpoint Charlie

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The view from our hotel. You can see the Soviet TV Tower in East Berlin and the tall hotel in West Berlin. The hotel staff told us this was done intentionally by West Berlin to show their strength and contrast.

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An old car in East Berlin

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A powerful holocaust memorial

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A pretzel seller

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Berlin Cathedral

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Chairs in an historic East Berlin Cafe

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You can see the bullet holes in the old buildings

 

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Checkpoint Charlie now

 

 

 

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Filed under Culture, Economy, History, International, Photography, Photos, Politcs, Privatization, Role of Government, social pressures, Stereotypes, Terrorism, travel, Uncategorized, violence, War

Photo Friday: Amsterdam

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After a sad goodbye to Paris, we left for Amsterdam. What a lovely surprise!

I had never put much thought into Amsterdam and knew nothing about the city, but was wooed by its charms right away.

I got a chuckle after reading the warning in the guide book to look out for the “silent transport.” In Paris we were told again and again to look out for pick-pockets. In Amsterdam, the concern is the silent transport.

But soon after arriving, we completely understood what this means. Amsterdam is the wild west of bicycles.

We saw people pedaling as fast as they could through intersections full of other bikers, some texting, some with children hanging off of them and not one bike stopped to make sure an intersection was safe before going straight through. The motorized scooters even use the bike lanes – it is absolute chaos for a first-timer!

Copyright JC Politi Photography
I love this one because of the reflection of the bikes in the window. This was Amsterdam to me!

We were amazed that we didn’t witness an accident. When we asked the hosts at our Bed and Breakfast how people know who has the right of way, the response was “The person who looks the fiercest.”

Amsterdam is really a study in contradictions. On one street, you have peaceful, picturesque canals with rows of historic buildings. On the next street, you have the red light district, where scantily-clad women pose in windows, calling out for business.

The city is surprisingly urban, but geographically tiny. The smell of marijuana pervades the city and shops selling mushrooms and bongs are simply another form of commerce.

We loved Amsterdam. It is a high energy city with a little something for everyone.

Highlights of our trip included the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and a bike ride through the countryside.

Since this is Photo Friday, I thought I would share some of my favorite photos.

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Parking lot at the train station. This was at least 4 stories high of bicycles!

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These were the houses lining the canals. They all lean forward and have hooks at the top so they can use a pulley system to pull furniture up and through the windows!

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This is a brewery that is under one of the last windmills in the city. The windmills helped regulate the water flow to Amsterdam, which is below sea level.

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Amsterdam canals at night

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We went on a beautiful bike tour to the countryside and visited a farm where they made cheese and clogs.

What do you think? When you think of Amsterdam, what comes to mind? Have you ever been to Amsterdam? If you were to go, what would you look forward to seeing most?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Art, Culture, International, Photography, Photos, Stereotypes, travel

Tuesday Tunes: Ramble On and Awards Galore!

Fall in Colorado
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This week’s Tunes Tuesday pick is Ramble On by Led Zeppelin, who may just be my favorite band of all time. I chose this song this week because I am heading out of town for a 40th birthday and five year anniversary celebration vacation to Europe!

I will be gone for the next two weeks, so this post is meant to keep you occupied while I’m out. I will honestly miss all of you when I am gone and I may even peek in from time to time to see what is happening in your worlds. But for the most part, I will be eating chocolate croissants and tapas and drinking sangria and champagne…and taking pictures!!

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for must-do unique activities in Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam or Berlin? Have you taken any special trips to celebrate a milestone? What is your favorite memory from that trip?

I will include the Tunes Tuesday lyrics below, but I first wanted to acknowledge some awards I have received over the past month. My hope is that while I am gone, readers will take time to visit the great blogs who have honored me with awards and to visit the blogs I am passing awards on to. I promise, you will not regret taking the time to do this!

I have been honored to receive awards from some inspirational and educational bloggers:

Beautiful Blogger Award

Hugh Curtler

Narcissista.me

Sticky Notes and Quotes

Canadian Travel Bugs

Super Sweet Award

Grandmother Musings

Super Sweet questions:

1. Cookies or Cake? Molasses cookies or Snickerdoodles

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Strawberry

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?Vacarro Cannoli!

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? 2 PM on a weekday.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Sugar 😉

One Lovely Blog

Le Blog de Marie

Sisterhood of the World Blogger

Magnolia Beginnings

Very Inspiring Blogger

Real Woman’s Health

Waiting for the Karma Truck

Most of the awards require that I tell things about myself that people don’t know. So, here goes:

1.)    I just cut my hair pixie-short. I do this about every 10 years.

2.)    I never took a math class in college.

3.)    I love cookbooks, but I really don’t cook at all.

4.)    I have lived in 5 states and the District of Columbia.

5.)     Moves have been easier for me when I moved for a life-priority and not for a job.

6.)    I love Fall and everything associated with it, as you can see from the photos here.

7.)    I have always wanted to be a Peace Corps volunteer and still think I may when I am older.

8.)    I have a photography exhibit at a local Boulder restaurant in October!!

9.)    I love mashed potatoes – have I mentioned this before? It’s pretty important for anyone who knows me to understand this fully.

10.) Age 40 has been a surprise, but a great one so far!

A group of us have developed an amazing community and I encourage you to visit their blogs, including Waiting for the Karma Truck, Musings of an Old Fart, Hugh Curtler, Carr Party of Five, Magnolia Beginnings, Real Woman’s Health, Talk to Diana, The Curtain Raiser, Healthy Warrior, Jensinewall, Serenity in the City, Where’s My Backpack and Life with the Top Down.

I really encourage folks to visit these exceptional blogs. I am inspired and informed every day by each of these blogs and if any of these blogs do not have any of the awards listed above, please consider yourselves nominated! I really love and appreciate all of you!!

A few blogs I have recently come across that I have really enjoyed and would like to pass along each of these awards to:

Dr. Bill Wooten

Lead.Learn.Live

Gen Y Girl

Paperkeeper

The Jotter’s Joint

Third Eye Mom

Polka Dot Palace

Zeebra Designs and Destinations

Rendevous with Renee

And last but not least, I bring you Led Zeppelin for this Tunes Tuesday

Fall in Colorado
Copyright JC Politi Photography

Ramble On
Led Zeppelin

Leaves are falling all around, It’s time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I’m much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it’s time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it’s headed my way.
Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I’ve got one thing I got to do…

Chorus: Ramble On, And now’s the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way.
I’ve been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On,
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.

Got no time to for spreadin’ roots, The time has come to be gone.
[Chorus]

Mine’s a tale that can’t be told, my freedom I hold dear.
How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air.
T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her….yeah.
[Chorus]

Gonna ramble on, sing my song. Gotta keep-a-searchin’ for my baby…
Gonna work my way, round the world. I can’t stop this feelin’ in my heart
Gotta keep searchin’ for my baby. I can’t find my bluebird!

I would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you so much for reading!

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Filed under Awards, Blogging, Colorado, International, Music, Photography, Photos, travel