Originally intended as a small book, “Glimpses: In which a Casual Traveler Ruminates on Passing Scenes—1989-2011″, I should like to share it with my readers in a more informal manner as a series of Blogs accessible from our website.
Hungary: Szentendre (St. Andrew): Day trip to this one-time fishing village along the Danube just north of Budapest. Now an artist colony, the narrow streets that wind up the hill from the river are filled with small shops and artist’s studios. Woodstock in Hungary! We browse, pick up a few souvenir gifts for family, friends. I purchase a small oil, a farmhouse set amongst trees, by some local artist, which now hangs behind my chair in our living room.
Germany: Berlin: The first time I met Jacky and Jörg was at Xantener Eck, a typical German “pub” during our first trip to Berlin with Heinz Jarczyk. We learned that it was only a few doors down from where Jacky lived (Number 22 Xantenerstrasse), and when we asked to have a “typical” Berlin dinner, Jörg recommended we all have an ‘eisbein’. Great with me, but when Cornelia discovered that an eisbein was a huge pig hock full of fat, she was a bit taken back (though she made a brave attempt at eating some of it). Since that first meeting, Xantener Eck has been a favorite of mine and I enjoy dropping in with Jörg for an afternoon “Grosser Urquell” when time allows. On our trip in 2007, I was surprised to learn from Jörg that it was a famous SS “hangout” during the Nazi era. This bit of information came out as we were discussing a book that he had lent me during our 10-day stay, Berlin: The Downfall, 1945 by the British author Antony Beevor.
Of course, there were many references in the book to different locations in Berlin that we were seeing during the course of our visit and, although it was enlightening to be seeing those same scenes mentioned some sixty-two years later, it was a bit disconcerting to learn about one of my “favorite” bars, one that I had been visiting for almost every visit we made to Berlin over the past twenty years. Beevor’s book also prompted me to make a day-visit to Dresden, a city I’ve long been curious about. Strange mix of modern and old Saxon (re-built) structures — visited the Frauenkirch (just in time to hear an organ recital — the sounds soared majestically) — the Zwinger to see the old masters — Dürer, Rembrandt, Rafael, Canaletto (who lived in Dresden long enough to make several large-scale paintings of the city), and others — and the “Green Vault” with its many treasures. We closed the day with a final stroll along the Terrace bordering the Elbe.