THE EYES OF BEASTS: A PHOTO A WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Eyes

FRANKFURT AM MAIN

Our Latest Adventure, by Rich Paschall

Frankfurt , Germany, or Frankfurt am Main (Frank ford at the Main), is the fifth largest city, but home to the busiest airport in the country.  This is not only because it is home to Lufthansa airline, but also because many other airlines have major presence there.  Almost 65 million passengers pass through the airport each year, making it the busiest airport in Germany and the fourth busiest in Europe.

There are many direct flights to Frankfurt from major US cities, so finding a flight at good price and transit time is possible through most of the year.  If you are visiting Germany or a neighboring country, you will want to consider this airport.  Bus and train travel around the region is quick and economical.

Frankfurt

In the past when we have headed to Strasbourg, France, we have used the Frankfurt airport for its proximity to our destination.  Only once did we stay overnight near the airport with a brief stop in the city.  We had considered the city to be just a financial center, which it is, and an industrial center.  This time we stayed longer to explore the city.

I chose an airport hotel because we could easily take the shuttle back to the airport where you can catch the train into the city.  Looking back on this choice, however, you can pick a spot in the city for the very same reason.  Transportation by train to the airport is simple because of the major train station right across from the airline terminals.   If we would do it again, I would try to stay near Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof station.

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

The main station in the city is a mix of old world charm and modern efficiency.  Upgrades to the rail system in recent years have upset the reputation of the German railroads always being on time, or “you can set your watch by them,” but they are still reliable and we encountered no delays.

You can stop at McDonald’s in the train station if you like, but we did not come all the way to Germany to eat in an American fast food restaurant.  Our motto for travel has been “eat local, drink local” so of course that is what we did.

Eat local, drink local

My travel companion on this trip, who is always hungry, needed a food stop when we arrived in the city. We chose a restaurant right alongside the station for convenience.  We ordered Wiener Schnitzel.  My friend is from Colombia so he has never eaten food like this.  He found it goes well with the local beverage.

Fortunately, the old world train station survives and is a good spot for pictures before you head off on your exploration of the city.  Plenty of tourists were busy taking pictures of the station and surrounding areas.  I took a picture of my friend getting a picture of himself.  “Selfies” are popular at all the tourist stops.

Selfie

Frankfurt is a unique blend of old and new.  I suppose that World War II is partly a reason for that.  Some areas of the city were heavily damaged. Somethings were restored, other areas were rebuilt. This allowed for modernization and planning that would improve the quality of life for residents and eventually tourists.

There are many good shopping districts and we made our way to one of them to see what bargains we could find. The outdoor malls our popular and we picked up some items I probably did not need.

Shopping (or selfie taking)

We also stopped by the Alte Oper (Old opera) to see the lovely old building.  It was heavily damaged in the war and carefully rebuilt through the 1970’s.  It opened again in 1981 as a concert hall.  The opera was already in a new building nearby.

The large plaza in front and along side is a nice stop for locals and tourists.  We took the necessary pictures before stopping inside.

I joined a few “friends” for an opera house picture.

Following our walk around the Opernplatz, my hungry friend needed food so we made our way to the cafe inside the opera house.  It was ornate as expected.  Aside from the modern elevator in the building, it was hard to determine which parts were damaged and restored and which parts of the building were original.

Opera cafe

Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne are all larger and may hold more appeal for various reasons, but Frankfurt has a charm all its own.  With the Main River running through it and a large city forest, it is beautiful tourist stop.  If your flight takes you to Frankfurt, it would be wise to spend a night or two to see the culture and entertainment offered here.

A blend of old and new

For more pictures from our Frankfurt Adventure, jump over to Sunday Night Blog, here.

WEATHER OF THE SEASON – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Advent Weather

Sometime around now or next week or tomorrow, we usually get our first serious snow. The cold weather is coming … today was a warm, rainy fluke.

So here is my advent weather, a gallery of New England’s winter.

BIRDS GETTING CUTER – Marilyn Armstrong

I looked out the back door and finally — a Cardinal! I’ve been waiting for him to show up. He used to be a regular in my hedge every winter and finally, there he was sitting on the railing.

Chickadees

He wasn’t fully convinced about the whole feeder arrangement and was eying it up. I was eying him up while quietly opening my camera.

It wouldn’t focus. No matter what I did.

Nuthatch on the rail

I finally realized I’d turned off the little clicker on the lens for AutoFocus. I wish they wouldn’t put little tiny buttons on the lens where you can accidentally move them and not even know you did it. After I got it set to focus, I also realized it was set to the wrong setting. I probably moved the ring when I put the camera away.

I put it back where it belonged … which is when I realized the flashing red symbol in my viewfinder was my camera letting me know the battery was about to die.

Cute little Titmouse

By the time I got the new battery inserted, the Cardinal had long since done whatever he was planning to do and flown away. I could have taken a picture of where he had previously been, but I didn’t.

Tufted Titmouse in cute mode

I did take a few pictures. Nothing unusual. In fact, you could say this was a lineup of “the usual suspects.”

Hungry little birdies

One of the better parts of taking so many bird pictures is that these days, I can wait until they do something cute. I know the birds will be back and if I don’t take pictures today, I will find something to shoot tomorrow.

Same Nuthatch, ready for a meal

And, as the weather gets colder, I figure we’ll have a few more suspects lining up. You think?