Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Like a lot of yearly markets in Germany it's not only for trading - it's also the time for some fun. And to be honest: most of the around half a million people that visit the market each year go directly to the big funfair part of it - that one with the giant ferris wheel, the cotton candy and shooting booths, and with all those technically advanced amusement rides.
It's open day and night, for three and a half days. Here some glimpses of its attractions - simply click on the pics to see larger versions, especially of the landscape oriented ones:
The specialty of this roller coaster are its spinning cars - the cars not only race up and downward, but also do rotate during the ride. To show a bit more of the action at one glance I took the liberty to combine three single shots for this pic, BTW.
Nice to have a ride on a classical carousel in between. Not that it doesn't twirl with a remarkable velocity when at full speed! I had to hold my camera pretty tight, I can tell you ...
On to the shooting booth, where hard man shoot for cuddly stuffed animals.
A glimpse of the funfair in the evening - the ferris wheel dominating the scene.
Want to have a go at the can-throwing booth? Power and precision is needed here!
Even more power here, for the finale: you're looking at the "Power Tower 2", a free fall ride that reaches a whopping 66 meters in the air - the highest of its kind. The "free fall" you can experience here accelerates up to 54 kilometers per hour downwards. Of course it's completely computer controlled - so no need to fear anything; as long as this controlling computer doesn't run on Windows, of course ;-).
BTW: You're looking at a composite again, this time made out of four (big surprise!) single pics.
More funfair pics at my gallery!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Now let's get down to Peschiera, a small city on the southern side of Lake Garda, situated at the river Mincio, the only river leaving the Lake Garda - all others flow into it. Pescheira has a nice picturesque Old Town - her a view of it in the evening:
After this relaxing evening we now get on the Gardesena Orientale, the route on the east side of the Lake Garda. Our first stop is Lazise, a small town with a beautiful promenade - grand for nursing a glass of red wine, maybe from nearby Bardolino - and watching the sunset on the lake at the same time. Also worth a look is the old harbour of Lazise:
Lazise harbour - click here for large version
Traveling further north our next stop is Bardolino. Here we visit a sort of "beach" (there are no sand beaches at Lake Garda, only pebble ones) for a swim in the lake. In fact we're a short distance north of Bardolino:
Bathing near Bardolino - click here for large version
Refreshed? Okay, for a very nice evening meal now let's go a few kilometers further north, to Costermano. There you can find a Ristorante named "Miralago" - and that offers a wonderful view of Lake Garda and the city of Garda (named exactly as the lake):
View of Garda from Costermano - click here for large version
Limone - click here for large version
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Another interesting cultural note: Icecream forms a strong bond between Italy and Germany. Italian icecream parlors became popular in Germany beginning with the 1920's, and at that time the Italian immigrants were the first to introduce the delights of international cuisine to the Germans on a broad scale.
Iceream vendor in Lazise, Italy - July 15th, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Isn't that a true work of art? The nameless plumber* is to be congratulated for his clear structured, straightforward and at the same time very dynamic composition. And as every real work of art it's not only compelling, it's also visionary: maybe it will soon be a "must have" for rich house owners in the future to have elegant plumbing structures on the outside - and more and more of those, even in the parts further up north in Europe, won't have any fears of freezing, thanks to the ongoing global warming effects!
Right now such beauty is confined to those lucky ones who live in a Mediterranean climate - winters without too much freezing are sure needed to avoid greater problems with your morning shower the year round. Valeggio in Italy - where this picture was taken - normally is too far north for this climate, but Lake Garda, only a few miles away, operates as a big temperature buffer in the winter, keeping temperatures higher then usual at this latitude.
By the way: Another unusual place for "outdoor" plumbing is Cornwall in Great Britain. This southernmost part of the Bristish Isles has subtropical vegetation - palm trees and wonderful colorful plants abound - and a very mild climate thanks to the Gulf Stream flowing alongside its coasts.
* For all I know these don't have to be water pipes, but could also be gas pipes or pipes for some electrical cords. I'm no plumbing expert, I admit. But for the sake of the story just let's assume we're looking at water pipes - and it's not unlikely that we really do. :-)
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Now, is that corny or simply typical for Catholic Italy? That the afternoon light illuminates the face of the Madonna as sent from a heavenly spotlight ... The woman hurrying away in the background no doubt has just watered the flowers and cleaned up some miniscule dirt to let the Madonna really shine!
Italy is very Catholic for sure. True, the Roman Catholic Italians are outnumbered for example by Brazilians and even US-Americans of the same faith - but in Italy around 90% of the population belongs to this denomination. No real surprise here - the pope doesn't reside that far away, does he?
Because of this the sheer number of churches you'll find in Italy is astounding. There are more than 25.000 parishes for the around 57 million believers - in comparison the 147 million Roman Catholics in Brazil only have around 9.000 parishes.*
Now unfortunately not all of the tens of thousand of Churches in Italy have a ceiling decorated by Michelangelo. But do remember that the Roman Catholics as a rule don't really shun vivid colors and works of art & splendor. So you can at least be reasonably sure of some nice displays of artistry in every church in Italy. Always worth a look!
Inside of a church in Lazise, Italy - July 10th, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Seen yesterday in Cologne. Doesn't it look nice? The Neptunbad was a municipal indoor swimming pool, built in 1912 in the Art Nouveau style. It served the health and sports interests of the public up to 1994, when it had to be closed - the necessary costs for renovation and modernisation were too high for its owner, the city of Cologne.
In 2002 a private investor bought the heritage-protected building, and made a modern gym out of it. The original swimming pool with its high 13 meter ceiling is now converted to a place for workouts. But the also heritage-protected sauna can be used again in its original look and feel.
But if you feel cheated, because you really, really wanted to have a swim in a German Art Nouveau "Jugendstil" swimming pool - don't despair, you still have the chance to do so: visit either the Stadtbad Neukölln in Berlin (built in 1914), or the Müllersche Volksbad in Munich (built in 1901). Those two are still in operation and in very good condition. And both share something: Each has - of course! - two big swimming pools; the slightly smaller one was "women only" in former years.
So if you plan to visit Berlin or Munich: don't forget to pack you bathing suit!
An addendum: Do I hear someone complaining that the picture above looks a bit warped? No, it's not. It's just a curved panoramic projection - I had to take the photo really close to the front of the building and so had to resort to multiple exposures to be stitched later. Want to see really warped? This is what the stitching program thought it could get away with first: