Monday, September 29, 2014

Rembrandt in the Flesh

In high school and college classic art and history held about the same level of appeal to me. Boring timelines and pretty little pictures, but no space ships.
Things changed when a saw a life-size portrait of George Washington at a traveling Smithsonian Museum exhibit. Seeing full life-size Rembrandt paintings at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam had the same life-changing effect on me.
Rembrandt only used a pallet of 16 colors, but he created those pigments himself by grinding up things like carbon black in a mortar and pestle and mixing in just the right amount of oil. Any paint not used that day was stored in pig's bladders to be used tomorrow. and despite what seems to us crude techniques, he created masterpieces with the power to capture our emotions hundreds if years later.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Traveling With Other People's Cildren Part 2

The train from Zurich to Basel, Switzerland is about an hour's ride.
When a father and his four year old daughter sit in the seat across from you , one holds one's breath wondering what the next hour will bring.
This strong-willed, self-confident little girl was a delight. Watching her play with her Daddy was both entertaining and heart warming. When the train ride ended she even spoke a few words of English to me. As I handed her the tippy cup she turned away from she said "Oh, I almost forgot!"

Monday, September 22, 2014

Traveling with Other People's Children

A common trans-Atlantic traveller's fear is that crying baby who keeps you up the entire 10+ hour flight. As my flight from San Francisco to Zurich began my fear was realized. The toddler two seats up began to howl.
Sigh...put in the earplugs and hope for the best.
To my surprise the howling stopped a few minutes later and the toddler and his older brother played happily and quietly for the rest of the flight.
Until the descent into Zurich. That's when I realized the poor little guy's ears must be hurting because of the cabin pressure changes.
Lessons in love come in many forms.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stay 3 weeks and the Candy is Frer

Switzerland is famous for it's chocolates and rightly so. Lad each is not only beautiful and tasty, but poetic as well. "It is like a walk through the Black Forest" and other fanciful phrases describe each chocolate. A welcome reward after a long day with my client.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shotcha - Frame That Travel Shot

When you are traveling and something catches your eye, snap a photo. You can bore your friends with it when you get home. But how do you make that photo capture them the way the scene caught you? Take a picture that tells a story. Consider this photo and what it says to you. Park art? Big round thing? Rusty old piece of junk? Or a representation of oneness crippled, and carried on the shoulders of no man?
 Frame the shot a little differently and it tells a different story. The simple park, the small earth, dwarfed by the works of man.

The wagon wheels of the worker who, slaving under the hot sun, looks longingly at the manor house with the hope of a cool drink and dinner when the day's labor is done.

 The child's toy rolls out of control toward the warning barriers. 

So give it a try. The next time something catches your eye, look at the things around it and decide what story you want your photo to tell.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Eating Well in Basel

Restaurants in Switzerland are very expensive and slow. The average dinner is 35 CHF and takes between an hour and a half and two hours. For a quick low cost meal look for a tiny market and pick up a loaf of bread, some cheese and fruit. On a warm day enjoy a picnic BT the Rheine river. Bon appetite.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Raspberries and Cream

Who says you have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a luxurious desert? We bought raspberries on sale at SaveMart and a pint of heavy whipping cream.
Once the cream was whipped in my Kitchen aid I filled a pastry tube with the cream. I squirted a dab of cream into each raspberry and filled a Sunday dish with berries and cream. Voila! Simply, inexpensive and very tasty.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rijsmuseum - Rembrant Anyone?

My first thought when I planned my business trip to Amsterdam was "Why would anyone want to go there?" Legalized marijuana and prostitution seem to be among its claims to fame which no doubt appeal to many, but not me.
Browsing through a tour book a few famous names caught my eye - Rembrandt, Monet, Van Goght, Van Dyke and so on. Dutch painters, right! So I started at the Rijksmuseum, bought my Museum card, and spent every spare minute enjoying many of man's greatest expressions of emotion and beauty.

Tomato Time - Think Global

Last year I had an abundant garden full of Archie Millet's AGE tomatoes - Archie's Good Eat in'. This year I patiently tended the little plants, watching the green tomatoes start to grow. Sadly, upon my return from Europe I found that Bambi, his mother, sister, aunts and cousins had stripped my tomatoes down to the stems.
But God provides. At Church this week two friends invited me to share in their bounty. Rachel's garden gave me tomatoes from France, China, Japan, Russia, and plenty from the USA. Beth's garden is overflowing with AGE. Break out the canning jars.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Netherlands Specialty

Croquettes are a hot, hearty Netherlands dish. You can choose a variety of fillings from beef and gravy to more spicy chicken fillings. Be careful on that first bite!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Goodbye Basel - Rats, I Forgot My Camera

Tonight is my last night in Basel, Switzerland. It's a bittersweet night.

I am very excited to be going home to my family.

Yet there are many things I'll miss. I've made some great friends at work. I've seen incredible museums across the spectrum. I've enjoyed Movenpic  the best ice cream in the world (except for Leatherby's toasted almond, of course.) And I've stood by the Rheine river watching the water, boats, and people flow by.

Having seen so much, I decided to leave my camera at the hotel and just enjoy the warm fall evening. What could be new enough to be worth photographing after six weeks  in town?

Silly me.

Barf├╝sserplatz was quiet at first, just me and my last Movenpic ice cream. As I walked away from the restaurant I heard drumming and clashing cymbals across the way. Walking towards the alley (hand casually clamped over my wallet) I saw a Chinese dragon doing the dance I usually only see on Chinese New Years. And no camera. Sigh.

I enjoyed the walk back to my hotel and my last walk across the Rheine. A few blocks from my hotel I saw my first Swiss cat. And no camera. It was a long white cat with large black spots and too skittish to visit with, unlike the relaxed Dutch cat I met at the Hermitage Museum in Asterdam.

The moral of my story? When travelling, ALWAYS carry your camera. You never know what surprises lurk around the next corner.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Low Bridge, Everybody Down

The Amstel river is a gentle Netherlands river. Children swim and play as small barges and pleasure craft make their way to their destinations. Drawbridges are rare where I live, so I found this a charming diversion while waiting for my bus.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gee Wilikers

Maybe not so common a saying these days, but the G. Wilikers shop is alive and well in Solving, CA.