Thursday, October 22, 2009

Off to Italy...

Today is the day to leave for Venice, Italy, followed by a boat ride around the Mediterranean to see some sights and then a languid cruise back to the USA calling in at Madeira, Saint Thomas and Puerto Rica.
As usual, the trip east is pretty brutal - pack bags in the morning, fly to Dallas, TX, in the afternoon, on to London, England in the evening and overnight and then connect to Venice early afternoon tomorrow, about 30 hours after we last got up.

Our intention then is to visit Venice on Friday evening to see the city all lit up and do it over on Saturday morning while they polish our boat. We shall see - we have high hopes as always.
Once we leave Dallas we do not expect to use the internet too much until we arrive back on these
shores next month - a miserably slow connection on the boat runs at around $20.00 per hour so we have our MP3 players loaded with plenty of books to fill those moments between eating and sleeping.
Being an Italian vessel, there is little more than CNN available in English language and, because of the mix of nationalities on board, all public address announcements are broadcast in five different tongues - Oh Joy.
More Anon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grandbaby pictures

Occasionally, when prodded out of our lethargy, we break out the strobe lights, backdrops and related paraphernalia and play at Henri Cartier-Bresson wannabees for a while in the basement. This past Sunday was just such a day. Ready made models were on hand in the form of grandkids, the weather was icky and we needed the exercise so off we went. See pictures here.

And the band played on...

Marching Band season is in full swing. A few days ago, in frightfully frigid temperatures, the Leo High School Band, which includes grandchild #4, was performing at the local High School and we went along to check it out. This time the entire ensemble was sporting their full regalia of plumes, helmets and lots of flair. Check it out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

May 22, 2009 - Innsbruck, Austria

With its 120,000 inhabitants, Innsbruck is the capital of the Austrian federal state of Tyrol and the fifth largest city in Austria. The river Inn runs through town, hence the name Innsbruck, bruck being the German word for bridge. The city's seal and coat of arms show a bird's-eye view of the Inn bridge, a design used since 1267.
From 1420 to 1665, the town was the residence of the Tyrolean sovereigns who left the legacy of a well-preserved gothic Old Town, the Hofburg Palace and the Court Church with the grave monument of Emperor Maximilian I. The Innsbruck University was founded in 1669.
In 1938, Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in the Anschluss and, be
tween 1943 and April 1945, the city was the target of twenty-one bomb attacks and suffered heavy damage. During the war the Germans located the KZ Innsbruck-Reichenau concentration camp in the city.
More recently, Innsbruck hosted the Olympic Winter Games in both 1964 and again in 1976 - twice in an unprecedented twelve year period. This quirk occurred after the IOC, in 1970, selected Denver to host the 1976 Winter Games. The independent Colorado voters had other ideas however, and, in 1972, rejected a bond referendum to finance the Denver sports fest causing the committee to impose on Innsbruck a second time. To look around town, click here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

One Wedding and a Plethora of Pubs

Phew! Made it back from Olde England and the biggest pub crawl we have ever undertaken. Daughter #2 successfully married - lasted a month already so it looks like a good un - and a wonderful time was had by one and all. 

Until the wedding announcement was sprung on us in June, we had had neither the intention or inclination to troll around the UK again. Ever. One slightly guilty regret over this stance was not having many Public House (pubs) pictures in
an era when this singularly British institution is in seriously rapid decline. A serendipitous solution presented itself however, when Marian came across a list of about 200 pubs around the the British Isles that provided some level of camping facilities - what an opportunity! Thus it was that we spent the next month roaming the old country snapping pictures of hundreds of pubs while visiting numerous "must see" attractions that we never quite got around to in the near forty years that we lived there. Killing two birds with one stone is an apt aphorism for this episode, for kill us it nearly did! Net result? Another 20 or 30 blog posts behind, 3,000 more pictures to review and discard and, worst of all , heightened confusion precipitated by all that funny money and those multiple time changes.
A digression: When I started work in England in the '50s, I earned a whopping 1.75 GBP for my 44 hour week - that's 1.75 for the week not per hour. Today, that entire week's pay, before taxes, wouldn't come close to buying a cup of coffee.
With this realization, we decided some R&R was in order to get o
ur heads straight and start some catch-up with the backlog. Accordingly, its off to Venice next week for a boat ride around the Mediterranean followed by a relaxing slow boat to Fort Lauderdale to be back in the USA in time for Thanksgiving. More anon...