Friday, January 23, 2009

Wool Socks and Birkenstocks

Only in the vacation home of a German would such indulgences be encouraged. On my first day in Italy I was given this 'loaner' pair. I was reluctant at first, but after a week I understood their appeal to granola enthusiasts and English Professors around the world. This was one of many cultural understandings I had during the two week vacation with my German hosts and their 'Gem├╝tlichkeit' (this is a word they swear cannot be translated into English). I could type for hours about the journey, but I'll keep this brief. Full-blown album can be found here.

Christmas and New Years - Costarainera, Italy.

This is where I spent most of my time. I scratched the surface of Italian cooking, drank obscene amounts of German and Italian wine and hiked the hills. The town itself is a hide-and-seekers paradise. Streets are cobbled footpaths that criss-cross each other and weave through ancient stone buildings.

Driving the German Miss Daisy.
My hosts Elke and Kurt had to fly back early to Berlin leaving their friend Jesus, Elke's mother Helga and myself to drive back to Germany in the vehicle pictured above. Surprisingly, this fire engine red motorized shopping cart got the three of us safely through the Alps and back into Germany. Look closely and you will notice it also has dual sliding doors.

Wine Territory - Neustadt an der Weinstra├če, Germany
After a stop-over in the Black Forest we ended in Neustadt in the heart of the German wine region where Helga and Elke's sister Ute lives with her family. Spent most of the time with Elke's nieces Paula and Clara. I put together puzzles, listened to block flute concerts and watched German children's TV shows. Documented above is Clara's love of my face and getting her picture taken.

All of this was great, but the highlight of the holidays was meeting up with old man Tilley in Brussels. Leo Tilley - father, blackberry poet and closet NASCAR fan.

1 comment:

harrison grrgeron said...

Taggia, Italy is now my desktop background. Nice work.