Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Year in Photos

This picture was actually taken in 2009 at a Christmas market in Alsace, France--one of my favorite places on earth. Every little village in Alsace is more Hänsel-und-Gretel than the one before it. If you're planning a trip to Alsace, don't miss Eguisheim, the birthplace of Pope Leo IX. Winetasting is great fun in Alsace, and it's free. 
Read about how to do a proper winetasting here.

Prague is beautiful any time of the year. I've been in Prague when it was -20 degrees. It was icy and romantic, but my dog hated it. Prague in spring is stunning, and you'll get there before the masses who flood the city in the summer. Learn how to get around with the public transport. The taxi drivers will try to cheat you if you don't know where you're going.

Croatia is a fairly long drive from Munich. The beaches are rocky (no sand), and the towns are overrun with Europeans seeking a cheap holiday. Our hotel was bursting with children (Easter holidays). Still, Croatia is old-world pretty . . . and smoky. The Croatians can still smoke in public buildings, and they all do.

Camden Market is one of the busiest places in London. I usually avoid it, but I had a GREAT time there last spring. I also found a Spanish food stall that made gluten-free bread. When I told them I had CD, the woman gave me a piece of the bread free. I love Camden Market now.

Malta (or The Island I probably would never go back to). Malta is lame. And dirty. And boring. I suppose if I were interested in learning more about the Apostle Paul and the early Church, Malta might keep my boat floating. But nah. I found almost everything about Malta off-putting. So there, Malta. Sorry.

The Mosel is a river and a wine-growing region in Germany and France. Don't bother asking for anything other than Reisling. That's pretty much all they grow. But they do it well. It wouldn't hurt you to drink a little Reisling. I drank at least seven buckets of it while I was there, and I'm still here. Well almost.

After all that winetasting, a little hiking was needed. I was so excited by the new hiking season. Getting back to the woods. Back to nature. Like a real man. Here's a picture of the pretty flowers I took while I was being a real man.

Istanbul is ENORMOUS. It's so ENORMOUS that it's on two continents. It's so ENORMOUS that the taxi drivers don't normally know where your hotel is. Ours asked for directions 20-something times. I'll be back, Istanbul, because you got me with your food, your friendliness, and your music. But next time I'll take a map to my hotel to show the taxi driver.

No year would be complete without a few trips to South Tyrol, which is only a three-hour drive from my home in Munich. This year we stayed in Meranzen, a tiny village nestled in the mountains. South Tyrol is known for its cuisine and its white wines--and it should be. Of course I'll be back next year. 

This tree in the Scottish Highlands near the Cairngorm mountains is smiling just like I was smiling the entire trip with my father in August. We had an absolutely wonderful time. I'm so grateful that we were able to do this. A road trip to remember. The Road knows.

Me kissing the Blarney Stone, like I needed to kiss it. Actually, since the smooch I have noticed that I tend to flatter people more. (You're looking younger, by the way.) Anyway, that bright green spot you see just to the left of me is the ground about fifty feet down. I'm actually one of the few people who can kiss the stone. Find out why.

A favorite picture. There were so many butterflies on my walk around Radnor Lake in early September. I hope they came to the lake to bring a bright future to Nashville's Gem

A rainy weekend in The Peak District. What did we expect? Well, it didn't rain the entire time (just almost the entire time). We ended up having to seek shelter in pubs, and then we ended up having to drink a lot of cider. All in all, it was an excellent weekend.

I love Oktoberfest. What's not to love? Traffic and trash. Six million drunk tourists from all over the world, vomiting all over the sidewalks and getting into fights. Oktoberfest, for those of you unfamiliar with the event, is in September.

Another favorite photo. We were about to catch the train at Charing Cross when I decided I wanted to hear what all the commotion was on Trafalgar Square. It was a protest march to free Burma of course. Read how I led the parade.

There are only a few cities where I immediately say, "I could live here." Singapore is one of them. It's bombastic. And quaint. It's a mix of everything and everyone. It has a beautiful botanic garden and a puking lion as its symbol.

OK, I just like this photo of the jelly fish at the aquarium in Singapore. I took a dozen pictures. They wouldn't float just right for me. Small brains, I reckon. The aquarium was great fun. I felt like a kid again.

Mother and child at the monkey forest in Ubud, Bali. Read why you shouldn't support this tourist trap.

I celebrated New Year's Eve at home this year. I set off fireworks on the street outside my house with the neighbors upstairs. I was amazed by the city-wide fireworks display at midnight.

Here's to 2011 being as colorful and eventful -- and as photogenic -- as 2010!

I must be off,