Not only did I bring home wonderful experiences and photos from Europe but I brought some type of “bug” that has been kicking my butt since Sunday night with a sore throat, cough, and perhaps a low grade fever. The worse is I can’t sleep well with my head stuffed up, making it harder to work through a bit of jet lag. Oh well…still worth it.
The following reflections and thoughts are simply my opinions based on my experiences and observations — other people’s milage may vary.
I found Germany to be a beautiful place, but I’ve been there before so I knew it was. The parts we visited were clean and well maintained. The transportation infrastructure is above the standards we maintain in America. On the roads, the makes, models and conditions of automobiles seemed superb. As you would suspect a majority were VW, Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz and while some of them may have had high milage I didn’t see a single “clunker” — perhaps this is due to stricter inspection, safety and environmental regulations. Noticeable was a lack of personal pickup trucks and large SUV’s — I didn’t miss them.
The countryside and mountains in southern Germany are indeed lovely and striking. Someone commented some of the countryside reminded them of scenes along the Blue Ridge Parkway in America — I can see that but the Alps take it to another degree. Only the Rockies are as impressive in America.
The German people are friendly but reserved — very matter of fact. It’s expensive…especially in Munich (or at least the part we were in.) Europe as a whole is ahead of America on the subject of environmentally sustainable lifestyles. We have much work to do and there needs to be a change of American expectations and values.
Smoking…has no one spread the word about smoking and lung cancer to the Europeans. It was noticeable how many people, especially younger people, were smoking in Munich as well as other European cities we visited. From all the America brand cigarette logos spotted, I’m ashamed to say cigarettes may be one of our most successful and deadly exports. We’ve tightened the screws on the tobacco industry in America and they’ve simply marketed stronger elsewhere in the world.
When taking photos on a trip like this I find myself pulled in two directions. Friends and relatives of course want to see the sights most tourist take snapshots of so I try to capture those scenes as best I can, tossing in a little uniqueness when possible. Yet I also want to spend time discovering and making photos of aspects which perhaps only appeal to me. Sometimes I don’t feel terrible successful at either.
This first photo was taken from the Hotel Königshof, in Munich, Germany, where we stayed. It’s looking toward the western entrance to the Old Town section of Munich, Germany. The second photo is from the top of Zupspitze, the highest mountain peak in Germany.
You can find additional photos I’ve posted HERE. Thus far there are only photos from Munich posted.
I will post photos from other locations to the same page soon.
Update: 9/20/2011 – I’ve added photos from the Ettal Monastery and Zugspitze Mountain to the gallery link above. This should cover the first leg of our trip — Germany.