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Archive for March, 2013

After brunch on Friday, we took out our friends’ canoe for its 2013 inaugural trip around Strasbourg. It’s not easy going upstream on a full stomach or when it’s only a few degrees above freezing. But we had loads of fun being heckled by bystanders along the quai (and heckling them back). My rowing skills are lacking, to say the least. Luckily, I had Ilo to keep us moving.

The short hour of sunshine did me good. I rolled up my pant legs to make sure I got an extra dose of vitamin D. Afterwards it took nearly three hours and several cups of hot tea for my body temperature to return to normal – it was so worth it.

If you look closely at the photo below, you can see us trying to turn round to go under the Barrage Vauban – just to the west of Petite France. We eventually made it after two tries, but not without seriously struggling against the current.

(Thanks to J.B. for the pictures)

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Graphic signage is a weakness of mine. I like to read bumper stickers. Today out on a stroll around the center of Strasbourg, I lucked out on catching a glimpse of the gem you can see below. The orange, three-dimensional, block lettering contrasts perfectly with the rotting paint and Renaissance architecture.

garage, signage, orange

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If you ever get the chance to visit Berlin, you should take a trip to the outskirts of the city to visit the Soviet War Memorial and military cemetery at Treptower Park (WWII). Yes, the Russians also played a role in ridding the world of National Socialism (duh!).

The monument is set in a sprawling park bordered on one side by the river Spree. The best way to describe the whole design of the memorial is that it is very “Soviet” or monumental.  The sides of the path leading up to the main sculpture of a giant man holding a child and crushing a swastika are flanked by panels with relief sculptures of scenes of Russian life, images of Lenin, the Red Army, etc. and on the short sides of these panels are quotes by Stalin in German and Russian…yes, the Stalin quotes are still there. It’s a pretty cool slice of history.

Anyway, I saw one panel with what looks like an entire family (mother, father and children) walking through the woods in traditional peasant dress and carrying weapons of all sorts – there’s a hand gun, a machine gun, a mallet (could be a torch?) and a rifle. This is the American gun dream – every man, woman and child armed and ready to fight. Weird.

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Afternoon activity: jog-walking (but mostly walking…really hard and fast). Blue skies and warm-in-the-sunshine-cool-in-the-shade weather made my first official cardiovascular outing of 2013 much more bearable. My favorite Macklemore song was playing on repeat while I worked up a bodacious sweat – I was totally lost in a hipster house party fantasy. Here’s to many more…fantasies and jogs!

 

 

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Berlin (March 1st).

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