Nuremberg, Germany recently celebrated its 950th birthday. (Eat that, Dubai!) My love affair with the Franconian capital and home of sausages, lebkuchen (holiday gingerbread cookies) and Nazi War Crime trials began when I was still a child. My father spent three years of his life (“The best three years,” he sometimes claimed) in the U.S. Army, stationed on a base just a short train/bus ride from Nuremberg.
Although my dad’s Army time was during the height of the Cold War and his station was less than 60 miles from the border with Communist Czechoslovakia, his time in the Army went without incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis call to arms notwithstanding. My dad raved, throughout my childhood, about how much he loved Germany, the German people, and medieval Nuremberg in particular.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – December 2016”
There is nothing quite like the Christmas markets of Europe around this time of year. Cities like Chicago, with its Daley Plaza Christkindlesmarkt, do a fair job recreating the atmosphere, but the surrounding skyscrapers don’t quite carry the same ambiance as the centuries-old brick homes and cobblestone squares of Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and elsewhere in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Below is a series of pictures taken from my visits to various European Christmas markets during my travels. Bundle up, sip some mulled wine, and enjoy!
Continue reading “Christmas Markets of Europe”
Delhi, India. The capital of the fastest-growing nation on earth has a treasure trove of culinary and cultural treasures. According to Wikipedia, the population of Delhi is 10 million, based on 2001 census data. According to Indiatoday.in and Thehindu.com, however, NCT (National Capital Territory, aka Delhi) is home to 25 million inhabitants, making it the world’s second largest city.
Whichever figure you choose, Delhi is huge. I had the pleasure of visiting the city in 2011, and found it to be a sprawling, captivating hodgepodge of rich and poor, opulence and squalor. Old Delhi, in particular, is a place to be experienced in person. The photos below only hint at its enchanting mix of chaos and charm.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – November 2016”
November has, thus far, been rife with disappointment. On a personal level, I have slowly been making peace with my mother’s passing, less than two months ago, while weathering a relationship break-up that felt like a sucker punch. Regarding the former, it took several weeks to even register the fact that my mom was gone. As for the latter, I’ve been trying to assess what I must have done wrong, but am slowly coming to the conclusion that I will never know for sure. All I can say is that I haven’t been sleeping well.
On the world stage – and for the second occurrence in my lifetime – the better candidate for the United States Presidency won the popular vote but lost the election. And the other day, I logged onto social media to learn that one of my favorite mood poets, Leonard Cohen, had passed away at age 82.
At times like these, I tend towards the melancholy. I spent much of yesterday doing some archiving and came across a few blog posts from 2013. I realized that it was Election Day, 2012, when I moved to Mexico City and established gringopotpourri.com. My blog has changed a lot over the years. For one thing, the writing is better now than it was then. Darker, perhaps, but also better. The regionality of the content has also shifted from being mostly Mexico-focused to being largely Tennessee-focused.
To “celebrate” my blog’s four-year anniversary, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts for you, along with comments on how those posts either came to be or how they hold up today. And as always: Thanks for reading!
Continue reading “Onward and Upward: Four Years of Blogging”
China. Legendary setting for the adventures of Marco Polo, Genghis Khan, and other larger-than-life historical figures. This “Far East” country, at press time the most populous in the world, is the starting point for the Silk Road, watercourse for the Yangtze River, site of the Great Wall and of vertiginous karst hills that doubled as Wookiee land in the Star Wars films, and location of what is currently the largest city in the world (Shanghai).
China features more points of touristic interest than perhaps any other place on earth. Most travelers make it to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, and Hong Kong. Fewer, though, make it to Shanxi Province. Datong, an industrial city of 3.3 million people, is the gateway to Inner Mongolia. It is an overnight train ride (or one-hour flight) from Beijing. The city’s western outskirts are home to one of the country’s most remarkable sites: the Yunggang Caves.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – October 2016”
Fall is my second favorite season. Autumn leaves, crisp morning air, cool, foggy nights, haunted houses, S’mores, the list goes on….
During my travels I grew to love cemeteries. Sounds morbid, yes? But hear me out. There is a sort of peace in these places, walking amongst the tombstones, alone with your thoughts. Fall is an especially great time of year to visit cemeteries. For one thing, fallen leaves will crunch beneath your feet (hopefully the only sound you’ll hear besides, perhaps, the hoot of a screech owl). For another, your imagination gets carried away with memories of a gazillion horror movies come to life. (Especially if you visit after dark.)
Here is a collection of images from some of the more interesting cemeteries I’ve come across during my travels. Not all pictures were taken during fall, but the season, along with my mother’s recent passing, has found me reflecting on life…and death.
Continue reading “Cemeteries around the World”
It amazes me sometimes how quickly time flies. Five years have passed since I visited this month’s photo locale – a mountain retreat for kings and queens of old, and one of Mediterranean Europe’s most undiscovered gems.
Sintra, Portugal, which sits in the mountains roughly 30 minutes inland from Lisbon, was the longtime resort getaway for Portuguese royalty. A series of castles and palaces, some whimsical, some stately, some medieval, dot the hilly landscape. They are a shutterbug’s delight, and a simple day trip (which is all that many tour bus travelers get) is nowhere near enough time to take in all that Sintra has to offer.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – September 2016”
I spent part of last Saturday afternoon walking around downtown Nashville. It was a perfect summer day, with non-threatening clouds and a gentle breeze. As I headed from Gay Street towards Market Square, one block away, I passed an alley that travels between the two…and did a double take.
Graffiti, alive with color, adorned both sides of this urban alley, and a dozen or so tourists were snapping pictures. When in Rome, the saying goes…and so I did.
Continue reading “Urban Graffiti around the World”
The 2016 Summer Olympics are underway. When I first learned, in 2009, that Rio de Janeiro was awarded the games, my heart leaped. No South American city has ever hosted an Olympic games before this year, and if the 2014 World Cup (also held in Brazil) was any indication, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad will go off without a hitch.
The New Seven Wonders of the World were announced in 2012, and Rio’s Cristo Redentor – Christ the Redeemer – made the final cut. But did you know that Rio’s Natural Harbor was one of the original Seven Natural Wonders of the World? And for good reason.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – August 2016”
Where does the time go? It was exactly five years ago that I was in London, Paris, and Cardiff. I had invited my friend Steve to tag along, as it was his first trip to Europe and my third time in London and fourth time in Paris. Cardiff, however, was a first for both of us. I had once passed through the Welsh countryside by train en route to London, but had never alighted in Wales. When Steve suggested adding Cardiff onto the itinerary, who was I to disagree?
Our hostel, NosDa, was set back from the River Taff and directly across the water from Millennium Stadium. I would imagine the area to be quite raucous during a Cardiff City Football Club game, but we lucked into having the whole place to ourselves despite visiting during high season. An easy walk from NosDa Hostel took us to the city’s main tourist attraction (aside from the footy arena), Cardiff Castle.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – July 2016”