Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Food and Drink’ category

My Albuquerque: big balloons & other highlights in Duke City

To begin our journey through the American Southwest, one of our first destinations was the International Balloon Fiesta. The largest balloon festival in North America is held every October in Albuquerque, the most populous city in the American state of New Mexico. Located roughly in the centre of the state and bisected by two major interstate highways I-25 and I-40, Albuquerque has seen its fair share of human activity and history:

  • Inland trade road between Meso-America and southern Rocky Mountains, c. 1000 AD/CE.
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro established between Mexico City and Santa Fe for the colony of New Spain.
  • City founded 1706 AD/CE, in a wooded area along the east bank of the Rio Grande river.
  • City named after Viceroy of New Spain who was the 10th Duke of Alburquerque; 1st ‘r’ dropped to ease spelling and pronunciation.
  • City population: over 560-thousand, metro area over 910-thousand.
  • City elevation, average: 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mile).
  • City shaped by Spanish presence, railroad, University of New Mexico, Route 66, Sandia National Laboratories, TV- & film-production.

Having arrived from our respective cities at sea-level, we needed about a day or two to adjust to 20% less atmosphere* at the city’s mile-high elevation. Not only did the balloon festival exceed our expectations, we’re happy to share some of our favourite moments and places in and around “The Duke City”. With a limited number of days in the city, a rental car is the easiest way of getting around the city.

( Click here for images and more )

Reichenau, Reichenau Island, Untersee, Bodensee, Lake Constance, Konstanz, Constance, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday around Lake Constance: Reichenau (Untersee)

On a daytrip from Konstanz, I’m on a bus to Reichenau Island in Lake Constance. The bus’ final stop is next to the museum in town; from here, I spend the next few hours on foot traversing the western part of the island. There’s history in the Peter and Paul church, and it’s not long before the idea of “bread and fish” sharpens my appetite. I wander onto the island’s north shore to a small restaurant, Georgs Fischerhütte (George’s Fisher Hut), highlighting fresh catch from the lake and vegetables sourced from farms within a distance of 2 km. I get “Forellenfilet an Buttermandeln mit Reichenauer Gemüse” (grilled trout with almonds and Reichenau vegetables): it’s uncomplicated and delicious. By the time I make way back into the centre of town and the museum before closing, I’ve walked over 5 km (3 mi) with a couple more to tally up before the day is done.

I made both images on 22 September 2017. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-e7f.

My Heidelberg: Highlights from Home

Above/featured: From Philosophenweg: across the Neckar, over the Altstadt, and up to Königstuhl – 21 May 2016 (HL).

Some have called this place “scenic, natural, and spectacular”; some call it “boring, provincial, and extortionate”. I could be referring to Vancouver, but that’s a subject for another time. I’ve long struggled with questions of place: what defines “home”? Can those definitions and qualities change with time? Do people have choice(s) and do they apply their choices in their search? Can people find meaning with “home”? Must “home” be restricted to only one place, or can different needs be met from different places?

Images can provide access to memories of having lived in a new country, experiencing the shock of the new, and settling into the mundane. I remember advice someone once gave me which became constant companion and reminder: that I was inhabiting a place at the same latitude as my birthplace, 8000 km in distance and 9 time zones apart on the other side of the planet, a place that’s seen its compact share of activity with flair and impact.

Most recall is naturally connected to sight. Occasionally, it’s a rush of the senses: the quick breeze on the skin, the ankle-spraining undulations of the cobblestone, how fog clings like a cold clammy cloak, the sing-song of birds among tall trees in the forest on the hill, the smell of grilled sausages in town by day, and the satisfying late-night noms of a spicy Dürüm Döner with a cool Ayran. And other times, human history leaps out and buries its claws, when the unthinkable must be acknowledged and understood in a synapsis of memory and senses.

In the autumn of 2001, I moved to Germany and Heidelberg: both sight unseen and without having learned any of the language. I stayed in town for a little under two years. What’s astonishing is I have no pictorial record of my time in Heidelberg, Germany, and Europe: I had no camera before the dawn of the smart-phone.

I have some great memories, even if time is casting long shadows. What I lost (no, gave away) was some part of me that actually has little to do with the “Schlager” hit song “Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren“. It might be a piece of the heart, a part of the soul, or simply a scrap of good sense; but what it is precisely still remains undefined and shapeless. Finding solid answers about what I’ve surrendered might take years. And so, for the sake of clarity, I’ve returned many times since leaving town in 2003. A sharper focus comes through the post-departure blur whenever I step off the train in town.

I couldn’t have possibly known the experience of moving to and living in Heidelberg would be life-changing. Time so far has been kind, because it didn’t take long for me to adopt Heidelberg as “home”.

( Click here for images and much more )

The Pi(e) in Pie Town

Above/featured: Welcome to Pie Town. The 2018 Pie Festival was held on 8 September.

The two words reach your eyes and enter your brain.

Pie Town.

The questions are immediate.

What? Who? Why? How do I get there? Is there really pie?

A sense of calm eventually prevails, and that’s when planning begins. Because there’s firm promise: “oh there will be pie.”

Fast forward to our drive through the American Southwest over three weeks in October 2018, and our adventure is drawing to a close.

With morning sun and excellent conditions, we’ve departed Tucson for a long drive for which there are three goals. One, we must arrive in Santa Fe by tonight to catch our flights out the next day. Two, we have to stop in Albuquerque for a return visit and chomp on a spicy stuffed sopapilla at Mary & Tito’s Cafe before they close at 8pm. Three, we’re desperate to visit Pie Town which by design is on the way to Santa Fe. We’re on the road for over 300 miles (480 kilometres) through Arizona, into New Mexico, and to Pie Town, and that’ll be followed by another 220 miles (350 kilometres) to Santa Fe.

The car continues to roll along the paved undivided two-lane highway on a stretch of lonesome landscape with short stubby hills and tall grassy fields for company. US-60 is nowhere as famous as its northerly US-66 counterpart; both are historic national highways. As some have noted, driving present-day US-60 comes very close to similar conditions on US-66 in the latter’s bygone heyday.

The miles add up, and the hours tick by. Isolation is punctuated by farms, ranches, and small towns. We’ve made notes about the towns, because there’s always a need for fuel: gas for the car, snacks and drinks for the occupants. Small towns may not look like much on first approach, but I know the welcome greeting and warm atmosphere are in store as soon as we step inside a shop or restaurant.

Our destination in New Mexico isn’t “nowhere.”

Because there, pie awaits.

( Click here for images and more )

Santa Fe Bite, Santa Fe, NM, fotoeins.com

Cozy cafés, Southwest sabores

Our time in the American Southwest was much more than the extensive drives, more than the 3100 miles accumulated on the road. We were eager to sample the food, and specifically, the sustained burst of heat from red and green chiles famously represented in New Mexico. The following are some of our favourite flavours with visual reasons why we were not disappointed and why we want to go back.

  • Abiquiú, NM : Purple Adobe Lavender Farm.
  • Albuquerque, NM : Mary & Tito’s Cafe.
  • Flagstaff, AZ : Satchmo’s.
  • Pie Town, NM : Pie-O-Neer Pies.
  • Santa Fe, NM : Farmers Market / Posa’s El Merendero / Santa Fe Bite.

( Click here for more )

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