Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Travel Planning’ category

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 )

Ehrwald Bahnhof, Kulmalukko, Wikipedia

$500+ savings with the Eurail AT-DE pass (2018)

Above/featured: Ehrwald station in Austria. 2014 photo by Kulmalukko (CC BY-SA 4.0).

I’m tuned to keeping alive a long-standing streak.

I’m in Germany for the 18th consecutive year this May. But, back “home” bookends the bulk of my time in Austria with key visits to Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Vienna.

I’ve purchased a 2nd-class Eurail Austria-Germany Pass (adult) with ten non-consecutive days of travel inside an interval of two months. With my preference for open-ended travel over advanced purchase of individual point-to-point tickets, I will save over 500 dollars. Here I describe:

  1. how flexibility with a rail pass provides significant money savings, and
  2. how I validate and activate the rail pass upon arrival in Europe.

( Click here for more )

Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, central station, Hauptbahnhof, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

$600 savings with the German Rail Pass this fall (2017)

Above: 6am at Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, 20 May 2016 (HL).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m “home” again for the 17th consecutive year with this autumn’s itinerary in the country’s central corridor, including Heidelberg, Konstanz, Ulm, Hannover, Kassel, Berlin, Würzburg, and Frankfurt am Main.

Thanks to their summer 20% promotion, I’ve purchased for €284 a 2nd-class German Rail Pass with ten days of travel inside one month. Compared to the advanced purchase of individual point-to-point tickets, I’m saving at least 50 dollars (Canadian), but with my preference for open-ended travel, my savings will exceed 600 dollars.

Below I describe:

  1. in detail how flexibility with the rail pass provides hundreds of dollars in savings, and
  2. how the rail pass is validated and activated.

( Click here for more )

Festival of Lights, Berlin, Germany

Covering Germany’s central corridor this fall (2017)

… time I got the hell outta this dodgy town, and recharge for a few weeks …

Earlier this spring, I clinched my 17th consecutive year of setting foot inside Germany with a mostly Bavarian itinerary where I got some more Luther learnin’ done. But as the calendar switches from late-summer into autumn, I’ve been thinking about how I’m writing and photographing the country, whether I’m covering as much of her varied cities, towns, and regions as much as I can, and whether I’ve been covering a sufficient number of her World Heritage Sites.

Below is a map of my coverage of Germany thus far. Places I’ve already visited are shown as stars, and the country’s five largest cities* are shown as red stars. Despite a lot of traveling across the country over the years, there are still clear gaps to fill, particularly the corners, the centre, and the coastline.

Germany, fotoeins.com
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Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Photo by Christian Allinger (CC BY 2.0).

Travel and saving with the German Rail Pass, Feb-Mar 2017

Above: Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Christian Allinger).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m back “home” for the 17th consecutive year with the following “mostly Bayerisch” itinerary:

  • München
  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  • Mittenwald
  • Reutte in Tirol (Österreich)
  • Oberstdorf
  • Augsburg
  • Heidelberg

Thanks to their springtime 20% promotion, I’ve secured a 2nd-class German Rail Pass for seven days of travel inside one month.

( Click here for more )

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