CFFC: Summer Scenes

Cee continues her season theme in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and this week is summer scenes.


Swimming & sunbathing on a river beach on a hot day in the Netherlands



Black-eyed Susans at Mt. Prospect Town Hall



Swan family and ducks at The Moorings of Arlington Heights


Evening at a Wynona Judd concert in August


Summer garden


Planting supplies


Fountain at Ravinia’s summer concerts


Flowering plant in downtown Highland Park, IL


Pool party on a Des Plaines August evening



Friends at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

I could include many more, because summer is my favorite season!
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CFFC: Lines

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic Lines.

Marriott Hotel, Cairo, Egypt


Looking down on an indoor courtyard from the second floor atrium. The Marriott Cairo was converted from a 19th century palace to a hotel, preserving many of the original building’s features.

Fine arts & gifts store in Jericho, West Bank, Palestine


These beautiful jars are made of glass and when you hold them up to the light, their color changes – or rather, you see more colors in them.

Countryside near Jericho, Palestine


Crops are covered to protect them from the winter weather.

Chihuly glass art, outside Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA


This display is outside, but part of the Museum of Glass. It is located on a bridge in downtown Tacoma and spans most of the length of the bridge.

Columned fountains, outside the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA


These columns filled with flowing water were arranged in a circle, sort of like a “henge.”

Cee’s Share Your World: On ice cream, keeping cool and cell phone use

Here are my answers for Cee’s weekly Share Your World.

Since we are approaching the hottest part of our summer in the northern hemisphere, what’s your favorite ice-cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet flavor? (Those of you who live down under I’m sure you remember what it is like in the hot summer months).
I always say my favorite is peppermint, but I also like just about any flavor with chocolate in it. I also love some of the tropical fruit flavors: coconut, passion fruit and mango sorbets. Ice cream or frozen yogurt – it doesn’t matter. I like them all! I also like toppings on my ice cream: usually hot fudge, but also sometimes you can get m&m’s, colored sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc. When I am really splurging, I load my sundae with those too!

B&J ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s is one of my favorite ice cream brands, because there are so many innovative flavor combinations. However, it’s too fattening, so I usually opt for Halo Top brand.

ice cream flavors

This photo reminds me of Mariano’s supermarket in the summer, where they have a lovely selection of delicious ice creams and sorbets!

How often do you people watch?
When I am somewhere with nothing much to do. I used to do it more often, and unfortunately, I now too often let my electronics distract me. I should do it more often to get ideas for stories and photos. In fact, a lot of my people watching is behind the lens of a camera (or cellphone) to capture just the right moment!No-Cell-Phones-at-the-dinner-table-cover_uydltv.jpg
If you had a choice which would be your preference salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert? This is a very tough question! Because it is hot and humid here right now, I would love to jump in a lake or a cruise ship swimming pool! I love walking on the beach, but don’t like to swim in the ocean really. I love the desert, though, and it is my favorite environment – the stark beauty of the desert really appeals to me.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. My cat, Hazel… 20180714_175036
…and the little boy in this photo as he runs through the fountain in Denver. His expression is priceless!SONY DSC

NOTE: The photos of ice cream and couple in a restaurant were downloaded from Google Images. All others are my own.

Running Through Fountains

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is a weekly challenge shared by four photographers who announce a new theme every Saturday. This week’s challenge is cooling.

I did not expect the Mile High City, Denver, Colorado, to be so hot the week following Memorial Day.  Our first real visit to Denver was three days at the beginning of our road trip, which culminated in Route 66 on the way back.  Anyway, the temperature must have been in the upper 80s the day we visited the capitol and 16th Street Mall.  We walked this mall, which is basically a street closed to traffic but which crosses several intersections, which ended near Union Station. We wanted to see that, too, and on our way there found these fountains of water that several children were having fun running through.
SONY DSCWhat a perfect way to cool off on a hot 1st of June! SONY DSCSONY DSCCee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week has the theme fountains, so this post is for both photo challenges.

HOHO Halifax, Part 2 – the Public Gardens

October 2, 2017 (continued)

Emerging from the Maritime Museum, we took the first available Hop On Hop Off bus. The next place we went were the public gardens, a bona fide Victorian garden.



The requirements to be an “official” Victorian garden include being enclosed by a fence or wall and having a bandstand on the premises. It also has to be free to the public.


The gardens contained many still-blooming rose beds,

as well as a display of dahlias, identified by type.


Although many were starting to wilt, many other still looked beautiful and fresh. I took many close-up photos, happy for the chance to try out how well my new camera worked doing this (it did very well!).

There were designs of flowers arranged symmetrically around historic fountains. One of the fountains dated from 1869. One floral design consisted of flowers that resemble flames (celosia) of red and yellow in S shapes with silver round lights at one end of each, that resembled eyes, so they looked like snakes! (Whimsical snakes, not scary ones – I wonder if that was done on purpose?)

The Weekly Photo Challenge is about rounded this week, which these gardens demonstrated very well!




The gardens were delightful but I was glad it was lunchtime, giving us an excuse to go inside a café near the entrance where the HOHO buses stopped, since I was very cold! We both had coffee and chicken melt sandwiches. From the table we sat at, we could see the bus stop form the window, and when we were ready to go, a HOHO bus happened to pull up, so we ran out and waved so it would wait for us. It wasn’t full, so we got right on.



Horticulture Hall, post-1945



Walking Tour of Antigua, Guatemala

March 31, 2017

Antigua, Guatemala is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and walking through its old, sometimes crumbling, downtown is like being in an open air museum!

Our guide today was Dario, whose English was not as good as our previous guides in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, but he was understandable. He told us he’d been a science teacher and so today we were his “students.” Our group was large and he had a lot of stories to tell us, so he would clap his hands to indicate he wanted us all to gather around him. He had given each of us a number, so he would call out the numbers and we were to reply with “a word, any word” to declare our presence. He also created imaginary “bridges” to get us to walk single file on the narrow sidewalks.

There were 37 of us on the tour, so we tried to keep up in order to not lose sight of
the rest of our group. We tried to keep the little flag with the number 12 on it in sight. We all wore lanyards with Dario Morán written on them. Whoever was at the front of the line had the benefit of Dario’s continuous narrative. Dale and I were never in the front, because we always got out of line to take pictures.

With all the walking and narration, Dario left us little time for bathroom breaks!

The old part of Antigua has many cobblestone streets and sidewalks. We walked along a street that took us to a wall in bad repair with indentations that apparently were bricked over windows of what had been an old hospital. Because it is privately owned, Dario said, the government can do nothing to restore it and apparently whoever owns it doesn’t care to pay for restoration, which is a pity – it could be made into an interesting museum open to all. Dario said there were other such privately-owned sites that would be better put to use as public patrimony.

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The sign at the entrance says that the convent is open Monday thru Sunday 9 am – 5 pm.

KODAK Digital Still CameraOur first major stop was a 1736 Capuchin convent, called Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza, belonging to an order of Franciscan nuns. It has been partially restored and is open to the public. One interesting architectural innovation was the columns, which were wider at the bottom than at the top to create a sense of space.


This convent and church has several sections. One courtyard flanked by arched hallways had a number of carved stone slabs imprinted with religious or secular objects on display. Another area was a circular courtyard around which were small rooms with arched entryways and each equipped with its own “toilet” (a private area marked off with a hole to use for the purpose). A few of these rooms had wax figures of nuns who would go into these rooms for a private place to read or meditate.

The columns in this courtyard are wider at the bottom.

Stones with religious symbols on display


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The round courtyard with small rooms and passageways around it


Left: A wax figure of a nun in a private “room.” Right: passageway to another courtyard.

Some of the archways led to larger, more open rooms with windows onto other courtyards with trees and flowers.

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We gathered in a patio in front of the church entrance but did not go in – I’m not sure if it’s open to the public.

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We continued our walk down a cobblestone street with yellow arches over the street. Over one of these was a clock tower. Everywhere we walked, vendors followed us. A couple of young men, one with a Mohawk hairstyle played wooden flutes and tapped on hollow pieces to make percussion sounds. Women in traditional dress peddled their wares to anyone who paid even the slightest attention.

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Although many of the items were similar – beaded necklaces, fake jade pendants, beaded birds and earrings, woven cloths in various sizes, designs and colors – they were mostly quite nice and well made. They and we played the game of pretending the jade necklaces they were selling for $10 were “real” jade.

As I walked along one of the narrow sidewalks, I saw the woman in front of me negotiate with a vendor to buy three necklaces. I showed interest so she followed alongside me as I asked her about various necklaces. I spoke to her in Spanish. (She spoke enough English to sell stuff to tourists.) She wanted to sell me some that didn’t interest me; I wanted (fake) jade. As we walked along, she would show me some of her wares, then suddenly point down and tell me to be careful, there’s a pothole down there! This happened a couple of times. I was enjoying this, since I had had little opportunity to have a conversation in Spanish on this trip. I finally negotiated for 2 necklaces for $15. She wanted $20, and they were probably worth it, but I told her I needed $5 to tip the guide. She accepted this excuse and drew a five-dollar bill from a fold in her skirt, as change for my twenty dollar bill.

Many windows in town were draped with purple cloths, called cucuruchu (not to be confused with cucaracha, although tourists often did, Dario told us!), as preparation for Holy Week. We saw some of the statues that were being prepared for the Passion procession, a tradition here.

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We came to the Plaza Mayor, the main square, whose center featured a mermaid fountain – the mermaids had jets of water flowing from their breasts.KODAK Digital Still Camera

I saw a sign with the word sanitarios, but didn’t have the chance to follow up on that immediately without risking losing the group. Along one side of this plaza was the main cathedral, a pale yellow edifice decorated in Baroque style with white bas relief designs and statues. The symbols of Saint James (Santiago) were present in the design, including the shape of a shell. Dario pointed out one figure of a saint, high up over the main entrance, who was holding a black cross.

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The rest of the plaza had greenery flanking its walking paths and on the three sides not containing the cathedral were government buildings and arch covered walkways with rows of stores.

KODAK Digital Still CameraWe then walked to the ruin of a large church that seems to be in the (slow) process of restoration.

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After the ruin, we walked to the jade factory and museum Jade Maya, our last stop before lunch. Real jade was sold for high prices in high class shops like Jade Maya, which was a factory, museum and showroom where beautifully designed jewelry sold from $50 (for earrings) to over $500 (for stunningly crafted necklaces).  It was possible to get a cheap souvenir for $19, imprinted with the symbol of an animal which corresponded to your exact birthdate. The vendors looked up birthdates in a large book with small printing, containing every date for the last 100 years! The symbol for June 2, 1952 was “Iq” (pronounced “eek”) or colibrí (hummingbird). I bought the round pendant on a black lanyard and in the packaging was a card explaining the symbol’s significance.



My real jade pendant




Jade archaeological artifact at Jade Maya




Courtyard at Jade Maya




Historic downtown São Paulo

November 21, 2016

Another nice day, although not as warm as yesterday.  I realized that I’d gotten sunburned on my neck, shoulder, face and head, so I made sure to bring my hat on our excursion to downtown today. After breakfast at our little table set up next to the kitchen in our host’s apartment, we set out toward Vila Mariana station and took the metro to Praça da Sé. 


At the square, the Catedral da Sé is the most imposing structure.  We went inside but there was a mass going on and a man stepped forward and gestured to us that no pictures were allowed, so we only got a few shots before that.  I went over to look at a large crèche that had been set up – quite beautiful.

Beautiful stained glass window at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sao Paulo


Metropolitan Cathedral interior

Metropolitan Cathedral interior

Church doorway

Church doorway

Cathedral exterior

Cathedral exterior


Praça da Sé wasn’t really what I expected.  There were fountains, but they mainly consisted of cascades, not classy fountains with statues in them.  What statues and sculptures there were had been made ugly by spray-painted random graffiti.  There were a lot of homeless people who slept in the square and a few even had set up tents.  Someone had washed a pair of jeans and hung them to dry on a sculpture. 

Waterfall in Praca da Se'

Waterfall in Praca da Se’


Another sculpture in Praca da Se’, where homeless people lay their clothes out to dry.


The whole place had an aspect of neglect.  Taking out our cameras automatically attracted beggars, so we put them away in Dale’s backpack and used our cell phones so we were less conspicuous.



Homeless and others gather under a large metal sculpture on one corner of Praca da Se’.

I wanted to go to Vale do Anhangabú, which I’d read was a wide parkway flanked by skyscrapers and historical buildings, and containing nice landscaping with sculptures, fountains, etc., but we never got there.  I was using the map I’d gotten at MAC-USP but not all the streets were marked with names and there being so many small streets crammed into a small area that intersected at various angles with each other, I got confused.  It turns out we were very close to it. I should have tried to use my GPS, which I have used to navigate our way around Vila Mariana. 

We did get to Largo do São Bento with its old church


and Pátio do Colégio where the city was founded. Being Monday, however, the small historical museums were closed.



Here, under the cross of Christ, this city was born, dedicated to the Apostle Paul by the Jesuits Father Manuel da Nobrega and Brother Jose de Anchieta, among others, January 25, 1554 AD




We also strolled down the historic street XV de Novembro



with classic architecture of colorful historical buildings with iron-wrought balconies alongside modern ones and large, elegant turn-of-the-century buildings that housed the major banks. {See my post Thursday doors: Historic buildings in downtown São Paulo for larger versions of these.)

People waited outside City Hall, which was apparently closed for lunch!


In the Praça Antonio Prado, a new monument was erected for the occasion of Day of Black Consciousness on November 20 (yesterday!) to honor Zumbi dos Palmares, the leader of  Quilombo de Palmares in what is now the state of Alagoas. Quilombos were villages formed by runaway slaves deep in the jungle during  early colonial times.  Nearby is the church of the Irmandade de Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Homens Pretos  (Convent Our Lady of the Rosary, Black People). The date of Nov. 20 was selected because it marks the date Zumbi was killed: Nov. 20, 1695. The statue is 2 meters tall and was sculpted in bronze by José Maria dos Santos, winner of a contest to select the artist who would create the monument.


A 2 meters tall bronze statue was erected earlier this year (2016) to honor Zumbi dos Palmares. It was created by Jose Maria dos Santos.


We had lunch at about 2 pm at a restaurant called Restaurante Viella with colorful streamers and a bicycle hanging from the ceiling. By the time we were finished, it was after 3 pm.

Next: Part 2, Luz Station and Pinacoteca



Santa Felicidade: Italian restaurants and cachaça cocktails

Curitiba, November 11, 2016

Santa Felicidade is an Italian neighborhood in Curitiba famous for its Italian restaurants. Eliane’s mother wanted to treat us to lunch there.132_3692

The restaurant we went to was called Madalosso and it was huge – in its various dining rooms, it could seat 5,000 people!  As we entered, an empty dining room called Salão Roma was on the left and we were to dine in the already crowded Salão Verona.


20161111_133205 But first, in the vestibule, we tried “free” samples of batidas* – Dale and I each had a miniature batida de maracujá* and I also had a batidinha de côco*.  Besides these mini cachaça* drinks, there were platters of appetizers:  French fried polenta and coxinhas – small, breaded chicken thighs.


But we were not finished with cachaça cocktails – we all had caipirinhas* with our meal!  The meal was served by various waiters who appeared regularly with dishes of diverse Italian food – lasagna, ravioli, gnocchi (my favorite was spinach gnocchi with sun-dried tomatoes!), risotto, potato salad that Brazilians call maionese, fried polenta sticks, and others.  We were soon stuffed!



By the time we left the restaurant, I felt bloated with the liquor and rich Italian food causing havoc in my stomach!


An artist’s portrayal of the restaurants in the Madalosso chain

Fountain in courtyard outside Madalosso

Fountain in courtyard outside Madalosso


Across the street was Velho Madalosso (Old Madalosso). I guess they built the new restaurant when they needed to expand!

*Glossary of Brazilian drink terms:

batida – blended drink with fresh fruit juice and cachaça
batida de maracujá – passion fruit batida
batida (
or its diminutive batidinha) de côco – coconut batida
cachaça –
Brazilian sugar cane liquor (very strong)
caipirinha – literally “little hillbilly” – this is a very strong drink made with cachaça, lime, sugar & plenty of ice cubes!  This term has been expanded to include any drink made with cachaça, basically interchangeable with the word batida.

Another type of blended fruit & alcohol drink is a version of the caipirinha, called caipiroska or caipivodka, which substitutes vodka for cachaça, much more to my liking.



Rostock Stories and German Fest




August 17, 2015

On the second to the last day of our Baltic cruise, the ship was back in Germany. The port here is technically called Warnemünde (which means “the mouth of the Warne River”), but Rostock is right next to it, so it took only a few minutes on a bus to arrive in town. Our guide, Juliana, told us that over 100 cruise ships dock here every year during the summer season – which is a lot, comparatively speaking: the other popular destinations we’ve visited – Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Copenhagen get more than 200, but these are much larger and well-known metropolitan areas.
History and geography
Rostock is the most important city in the state of Mecklenberg-Pomerania. Situated as a port on the Baltic Sea gave it a prominent role in shipping and trading since medieval times, and it, like Lübeck, was a member of the Hanseatic League. Rostock was previously part of East Germany. There are many concrete block apartments built in the 1970s, Soviet-style, but today they have been renovated and are quite nice inside. There are many newer apartment buildings as well.
In this part of Germany, salaries tend to be lower than their counterparts in the western part of the country. Juliana’s father often said, “In the past we had plenty of money, but nothing to buy. Now there is a lot we could buy, but we have little money!” in a nutshell, this is the difference financially for the people of former East Germany between the Soviet era and today, although they enjoy many freedoms they didn’t have then.
What Juliana knows of the Soviet era she learned from her parents, who grew up during that period. She was born in 1988, only one year prior to reunification.
Near Rostock is a coal-burning plant – 40% of their energy comes from coal, a surprising fact to me, but the current government is committed to converting to renewable energy sources in the near future.
2/3 of the land in this area is used for agriculture. Rostock is well known for its delicious and abundant strawberries. Grain and canola are important products. During its heyday in the Hanseatic League, which still influences the area, the #1 export was beer.
Rostock has three breweries – although in the past it had more – one large one and two micro-breweries. Beer was considered healthy to drink. In the past the alcohol content was lower and children all drank beer. Today the minimum drinking age is 16.

This house on the site of a convent used to be a brewery run by the nuns.

This house on the site of a convent used to be a brewery run by the nuns.

Rostock was founded in the 11th century. It was a walled city with 22 city gates, of which only four remain. Most of the others were destroyed during World War II. Its architecture contains Russian influence. Long Street (Lange Strasse) was named this because it was the longest street in medieval Rostock. It retains the name today even though there are many longer streets.
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Over 60% of the city was destroyed by Allied bombs in WWII. After that, Germany was divided into East and West, the east being dominated by the Soviet Union until reunification in 1989. Many people in Rostock do not know English, compared to other German cities, because children were required to study Russian as a second language in school, and those who showed talent were able to study English or other languages. Nowadays, English is the 2nd language of most German students.
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Kröpelin Gate is one of the gates to the city and is now a museum. It is the highest of the remaining four gates. Originally it was two stories high, but as the city grew more prosperous, it was built up to six stories – a difference can be seen in the color of the bricks.
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Behind this gate is the main shopping area, for pedestrian traffic only.
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The University of Rostock
In the 1490s, the University of Rostock was founded. Female figures on the façade of the main building represent the four departments of the original university. The Latin words over the entrance are translated as “Many theories, only one truth.” The university now has 16,000 students, with limited admission based on entrance examinations. There are many international students.

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KODAK Digital Still CameraA humorous true story regards Albert Einstein, who in 1919 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Rostock. The university was giving out honorary doctorates to prominent scientists, but they forgot about Einstein at first – when they realized that he should be given one of the honorary degrees, all the departments had given out their allotment, except the department of medicine, which had one left to give out. So they gave Einstein an honorary doctorate in medicine, a field he had never studied!

Old fashioned organ grinder, Drehorgel Jorg Perleberg - he gave me his card!

Old fashioned organ grinder (Drehorgel) Jorg Perleberg – he gave me his card!

(You can see a German Drehorgel on You Tube: Drehorgelspieler 1.)

Convent and church
On the oldest street in Rostock is the Convent of the Holy Cross, founded by Queen Margarete of Denmark. She was on her way back to Denmark from Rome, where the pope had given her a splinter from the cross of Jesus. Off the coast of Rostock, her ship wrecked, and she was rescued by a fisherman. She took this as a sign from God that she was meant to stay in Rostock and do God’s work. So she stayed and founded the convent, where she lived the rest of her life as a nun.

Row houses within the convent grounds

Row houses within the convent grounds

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Later the convent became  home for single women – spinsters, age 30 and above! They built some houses within the premises to house these women. Some say that professors from the university came to give the ladies “private lessons”!

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The Gothic church on the convent grounds now belongs to the university. There is a house that used to be a brewery, a common industry for nuns and monks.
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Gebhardt von Blücher
In an adjacent park, there is a statue  of Gebhardt von Blücher, a war hero. He was a field marshal in the Prussian army who led his troops against Napoleon in the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He became Rostock’s first honorary citizen, and also was made honorary citizen of Hamburg and Berlin. On two sides of this monument are bas relief pictures of the battles von Blücher fought in. One of them shows von Blücher lying on the ground, after being thrown by his horse. There is a guardian angel who is shiny from people rubbing it. Von Blücher’s shoe has also been rubbed shiny – his left shoe is said to give good luck to students in their exams (after touching the guardian angel). OK, it’s superstition, but Juliana says it seems to work!

Juliana waits for our tour group to gather in front of the statue of Gebhardt von Blucher.

Juliana waits for our tour group to gather in front of the statue of Gebhardt von Blucher.

Battle scene with rubbings of guardian angel and von Blucher's foot!

Battle scene with rubbings of guardian angel and von Blucher’s foot!

Another bas relief of a battle scene

Another bas relief of a battle scene

On the back side of the statue is an excerpt from a poem by Goethe.

On the back side of the statue is an excerpt from a poem by Goethe.

Fountain of Joy
In a nearby square is a fountain with various statues in it. Its official name is the “Fountain of Joy.” However, no one seems to know it by this name – it’s much better known as the “pornographic fountain”! Looking at the statues, it is easy to see why. There are two statues of nude couples, one in which they are just lying together – the woman’s body is shiny from people sitting on it to pose for pictures – and in the other, the woman is over the man in a suggestive pose (although not actually copulating!). There’s also a statue of two dogs who appear to be embracing and possibly copulating. A boar is depicted doing a somersault – very strange!
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My husband and brother-in-law pose by the well-rubbed statue of naked couple.

My husband and brother-in-law pose by the well-rubbed statue of naked couple.

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KODAK Digital Still CameraThe seagulls that fly over Rostock have a bad reputation – people say they are mean. Actually, they are very bold and seem to have no fear of humans. They have been known to hover over restaurants, then dive down and snatch people’s food right out of their hands! This happened to Juliana once: a gull swooped down and grabbed her sandwich, and then even took her chips!

New Market Square
Farther down the street with the fountain is the public library which used to be the home of the richest family in town. These houses, all tall and thin and squeezed together, seem to be small, but this look is deceptive – they go quite far back, so inside they are larger than they seem on the outside.
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Musicians entertained on the street, hoping for a donation of a euro or two.

Musicians entertained on the street, hoping for a donation of a euro or two.

More street musicians, a common sight in European cities

More street musicians, a common sight in European cities

I'm posing next to an unusual sculpture made of plants, outside a shop.

I’m posing next to an unusual sculpture made of plants, outside a shop.

In the New Market Square, there is a produce market every weekday. We checked it out later, looking for some of those fresh strawberries Rostock is famous for, but we were disappointed: no one was selling fresh strawberries today – out of season, perhaps? – and I noticed that a lot of things were imported: apples from New Zealand, peppers from Cyprus. On this square, the only completely original (inside and out) building is a green building, a bakery, on one corner. Others may have original facades but their interiors have been renovated or reconstructed.

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A hotel on one corner of New Market Square

This hotel on one corner of New Market Square is called Steigenberger Hotel Sonne – Sun Hotel!

The bakery whose interior and exterior are the original construction.

The bakery whose interior and exterior are the original construction.

Someone knitted a scarf for this bird statue!

Someone knitted a scarf for this bird statue!

KODAK Digital Still CameraOn the far side of New Market Square is the town hall. It has a pink Baroque façade but originally it was red brick – protruding from the top of the building is part of that original façade. You can prove you’ve been to Rostock if you know what animal is in front – it’s a snake, coiled between pillars. Its “tail” looks like an eel – that’s because legend has it, an eel which was washed up from a flood turned into a snake – but not completely!
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The date the "new" town hall was completed

The date the “new” town hall was completed

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Down the street from New Market Square, train tracks run next to the Stone Gate (one of the other remaining gates) – in gold letters is the Latin phrase Sit intra te Concordia et publica felicitas.
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KODAK Digital Still CameraWe had free time to explore more of the old town or perhaps St. Peter’s Church, since we were going to tour St. Mary’s together. My husband,Dale, brother-in-law, Elmer, and I walked down to inspect the Stone Gate and then followed a section of the old wall down to a cross street, then up a parallel street.
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Window display at a yarn shop

Window display at a yarn shop

New! Veggie Clubhouse with Quinoa

New! Veggie Clubhouse with Quinoa

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I’d forgotten that Kröpelin Gate had a museum, or I might have suggested we have a look at that instead; as it was, we had time to spare when we returned to our meeting place in front of the Town Hall. It was a good opportunity to use the WC (free in the town hall, unlike elsewhere – even restaurants insisted you pay €1 to use their facilities if you were not having a meal there).

Inside the town hall

Inside the town hall

St. Mary’s Church
Reassembled, our group proceeded to St. Mary’s Church (Marienkirk in German).


KODAK Digital Still Camera St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s churches are two of four old churches, and only these two still function as churches. The other two are used for other purposes. St. Mary’s construction started in the 1490s but it took two centuries to build. It contained many valuable religious objects, which were moved to St. Peter’s Church during World War II, because officials believed that St. Peter’s was much less likely to be bombed, due to its location away from the center of town.

Back in New Market Square, St. Mary's Church can be seen looming above the buildings on the square.

Back in New Market Square, St. Mary’s Church can be seen looming above the buildings on the square.

Unfortunately, much of St. Peter’s – including most of St. Mary’s relics – was destroyed by Allied bombs, while St. Mary’s suffered only a small fire. In the church, we saw an artist’s rendition of the scene: Marienkirk towering majestically and untouched over the burned out rubble of nearby buildings.

Painting depicting Rostock's center in ruins after Allied bombing, but St. Mary's Church was left intact.

Painting depicting Rostock’s center in ruins after Allied bombing, while St. Mary’s Church was left intact.

KODAK Digital Still CameraA stained glass window depicting the life of Jesus was added in 1900.

KODAK Digital Still CameraThe organ with over 5,000 pipes is from the 1770s.

Beautiful organ at St. Mary's Church in RostockOne of the few saved relics from the early church is a 13th century baptismal font – huge and highly ornamented.

KODAK Digital Still CameraThere was a model of a 3-masted ship hanging from the ceiling – there used to be many more of these here – which is a common thing to see in northern Europe’s churches. Maritime societies remember and say blessings for the fishermen at sea who were such an important part of their economy. KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

DSC_0251We noticed many tombstones on the floor of the church with names and dates. Many people were buried in the church, but the family had to be well-to-do to pay the annual fee. If the time came that the family stopped paying the fee, the deceased’s name would be crossed off and another departed loved one of a family paying the fee would be engraved on the stone! These burial vaults were used various times. St. Mary’s may be the only church, however, that reuses the tombstones by crossing out one deceased’s name and replacing it with another!
KODAK Digital Still CameraThe most spectacular object in Marienkirk is a 1472 astronomical clock that still works! The clock is mechanical and has to be wound each morning. It shows many things, including the date, the year, what time the sun rises and sets, phases of the moon, how many days until Easter, and more. The current face is valid for the years 1885-2017. In two years, therefore, it will have to be replaced, but already a new face has been made and is awaiting the expiry of the current one to be installed.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Every day at noon, when the clock strikes twelve, a little door opens onto a tiny platform which can only be viewed well from the side. (Since we were there just before noon, all the tour groups crowding the church suddenly moved to each side to get the best view, leaving a gap right in front of the clock, like the parting of the Red Sea!) When the clock strikes twelve, six apostles process across the platform to another door on the opposite side (pictures 1-2 below).
The last apostle in the procession is Judas, and the door slams shut (picture 3) before he can enter!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Once the clock had struck twelve, we had to leave the church quietly, because immediately a religious service was to begin.

Back on board ship: German Fest!
There was a German Fest on board the ship that evening. A local “oompah” band came aboard to entertain the Eurodam’s guests, and there was a feast of German food and drink.
We joined the Sweets at a table on the sunny side of the Lido pool. Servers dressed with aprons that were illustrated to look like lederhosen and Robin Hood-type felt hats were circling the tables asking if we wanted anything to drink. I thought it was hilarious – these Indonesian and Filipino guys dressed to look like Germans!
The food was all buffet style – sausages and brats of different types, other meats, large soft pretzels, sauerkraut, and lots more. We helped ourselves and I told myself not to each too much – I got a sausage in a bun with mustard and sauerkraut and a pretzel (I couldn’t resist!). When I saw what Dale had, I realized I hadn’t selected the really tasty type of bratwurst, but I didn’t want to go back for another one: too much to eat!
The band was lively and fun. They sat under a canopy in folding chairs with music stands, but eventually they got up and paraded around the deck among the guests as they played. I took a video (Roll Out the Barrel!) and several still pictures.
It was so relaxing just sitting there as the sun slipped toward the horizon, the German flag reflected in the calm surface of the pool. I really enjoyed myself that night and wished we’d had more opportunities to do this.
Already I began thinking about taking another cruise – I’d seen the books HAL has with all their cruises and I was interested in the multi-modal tour to Alaska. That day they had been promoting booking another cruise, offering generous discounts if you booked a cruise with a deposit before the end of the cruise. However, I still didn’t have Dale completely convinced. He wanted to wait until the cruise was over and we were back home before deciding whether he wanted to take another cruise.
The feeling I had that evening was the same one I get every time a trip I’ve taken is almost over – melancholy; wishing we had a few more days, vowing to return to these places again soon.