Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Since it is cold and windy here in New Jersey, I decided to add a few shots of Sandy's wildlife taken last week at her home. This time I had better luck at capturing the young stags with my camera, though they remained wary.

In the meantime, Rita, one of Sandy horses was eating and wearing her dinner.

As Jerry's "horse" stood watch.

Meanwhile in the house Tommy, one of Sandy's many cats reminded us to take the time to smell (and eat) the flowers.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Having shown Sandy, to her dismay, as what she called a "Piney woman" I decided to include a picture of her surrounded by a few of her beautiful "spirit art" works. Aside from the many animals that she has taken under her care, this is her real life - painting with a sensitivity and inspiration that defies description. Her works and thoughts bring joy to her many friends.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Last week I spent a couple of hours at my friend, Sandy Sandy's home trying to grab a few pictures of her deer. Sandy is a very accomplished artist and I am privileged to have several of her "spirit art works". (Check out her web log at: http://www.sandysandysweblog.blogspot.com) She and her husband, Jerry Farley buy ears of corn and feed a group of wild deer throughout the cold months of the fall and winter. This is the one called "Fuzzy Tail" the only one who didn't run when she spied me with my camera.

Sandy can go about her business, and the deer, confident of her care, pay little attention. But I never saw the males, except for a glimpse through the window.

A few of the deer returned as long as I was in hiding, but that ended when this nervous mother with her yearling sounded an alarm.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


We had decided before our trip that a visit to this part of France deserved a full day in Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region. We were not wrong. Positioned at the meeting of several rivers, the site at which Strasbourg now stands has been inhabited since the Bronz Age. Its history has been one of destruction and conquests from Attila, the Hun to the Nazis, who annexed the city in 1940. A good bit of the architecture reflects German design being so close to that country and considering its varied history.

The famous cathedral, referred to as "the great pink angel of Strasbourg" dominates the skyline of the old city, and is one of the most remarkable masterpieces of Gothic art in northern Europe. The enormous facade, which is 66 meters high and 45 meters wide took nearly 100 years to construct from 1277 to 1365, and the spire, which rises to 142 meters wasn't completed until 1439.

One cannot stroll through the streets of Strasbourg without enjoying the many Patisserie shop windows which display fantastic creations of sweets.

Some of the chocolate even resembles our American hot dogs and hamburger patties.

A visit to Strasbourg would not be complete without a tour of the city by canal boat. The trip takes you past the charming waterfront of the canals,

through a lock to the river system and the modern glass buildings which house the seat of the European Union.

And as with everywhere, there are always the children!!


The afternoon of our last day of our barge trip we visited a small town in the heart of the Alsatian wine-growing area. We began our too short visit with a wine tasting in the oldest wine cellar in the area.

I was disconcerted to be greeted by one of my favorite animals in this position, but the wine were delicious, and the spirit jovial.

We had ample time to stroll the cobblestone streets of this charming town, with cameras in hand,

And sample pretzels from the shop - that reminded me of philadelphia soft pretzels.

These are some of the vineyards that surround the village.

On the bus trip back to the barge moored at Strasbourg, we passed more vineyards and villages, and castles on the hilltops. What a wonderful place to visit. We must come back.

We arrived back at the barge to tables set for our farewell dinner, and napkins folded in another clever design at our places.

And an evening spent enjoying the spacious lounge and packing.

Friday, October 17, 2008


This morning began with an early cruise to and tour of Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, which because we spent a full day there at the end of our trip I will get back to later. We had time to walk and bike along the canal as the barge traveled through a series of locks, and past picturesque towns. We also enjoyed games and reading on the barge and just visiting with our fellow travelers. The one exception I will make for photos from this day is the beautiful swans that we were able to photograph at water level from the barge lower windows after me moored at Strasbourg.

The next day we were bussed to the charming town of Colmar which was elevated in statis from a village to a municipality in the 11th century when it came under the direct rule of the Emperor. Our Statue of Liberty, a gift of France 120 years ago, was created by Auguste Bartholdi, a sculptor who came from Colmar, and as we entered the city we pass a replicate of his work.

The school children of Colmar are a charming as the town.

The town abounds with wonderful restaurants with outdoor seating which are crowded with diners even when the temperatures are cool.

And shops advertised by their charming signs hung from the buildings.

And flowers galore.

The area know as "Little Venice is aptly named, and in my mind at least, surpassed the real Venice in beauty.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


As we get ready to leave Saverne, swans are searching for food along the bank by our barge.
.The path next to the canal is a wonderful route for biking as we pass lush countryside,

and picturesque villages.

In the afternoon we visited a typical Brasserie (Brewery} to taste many different flavored brews.

At dinner on the barge that night we found our napkins once again in an intresting creative shape.


In the morning we took a bus trip to Sarrebourg to visit a museum with the tapestry and paintings of Marc Chagall. Unfortunately the church with a beautiful stained glas window by the same artist was closed for renovation. We also went to an incredible old castle built atop a high hill, which now houses a restaurant.

We met our barge in the beautiful town of Saverne in Alsace, a bustling, delightful market town of 10,000 inhabitants with tryical Alsatian architecture and narrow winding main street.

Another wonderful dinner as the sun set over the canal.

Monday, October 13, 2008


After lunch we continued our cruise past numerous villages and through 2 tunnels.

At Arzviller an incline plane allowed us to bypass 17 locks with a counterbalance barge lift which lowered us 150 feet to the Zorn valley below, an incredible innovation.

We traveled along a delightful stretch of the canal and arrived at the fairytale town of Lutzelbourg with the ruins of a castle high above on the top of the hill.

From the castle, the town and our barge were in view below.

Dinner aboard was another gourmet meal with our napkins folded in the form of a boot.