Travel Ahh….Rivers

© Stephanie Glaser 1989

© Stephanie Glaser 1989

Rivers are compelling — whether they’re slow and meandering or fast and furious. With a dual personality, rivers represent both nature and civilization. Regardless, they take you on a journey that metaphorical and literal. The above photo is the Amo River running through Florence, Italy.

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

The Danube River is particularly beautiful. In Visegrád, Hungary, its “S” curve is almost always in view.

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

The Danube, Budapest, Hungary.

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

The Dnieper, Kiev, Ukraine.

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Travel Oops: Unfortunate Photos Complete with Unfortunate Fashion

© Edward Schuck

Feeling French in my pea coat, scarf and LeSportsac while my sister Suz looks fairly normal. © Edward Schuck 1985

This series of photos is unfortunate in so many ways. First there is the fact that my overexposed sister Suzanne and I, along with our bad 80’s perms, essentially block out and overshadow the Eiffel Tower. Then, we are wearing some pretty atrocious coats. Actually, I’m really the one who is wearing a rejected carpet remnant.

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The Travel Ahh…Alleyways and Side Streets

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

Side streets and alleyways often exude mystery. What’s around the corner or what will I find? Danger? Intrigue? Side streets and alleys often have a negative, managing connotation and are associated with dodgy activities. Perhaps, that’s the appeal. The photo collection of alleyways and side streets here is not particularly threatening — especially since the photos were taken in the daytime. However, each alleyway and street offered something interesting.

The shot above and the following two pictures I took in Melbourne, Australia. I was lucky to be traveling with Amy, a dear friend of mine who is an excellent photographer, and she inspired me to appreciate beauty in even the smallest detail.

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

I really like this shot above because you can see Federation Square — perhaps the opposite of an alleyway — A cheery meeting place with heaps of activity.

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Travel Oops: Halted by “The Hoff” at Les Halles in Paris

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

What is it with Europe fawning over David Hasselhoff? He was HUGE there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Seriously. The guy actually sang as the headliner at the Berlin Wall on New Year’s Eve in 1989. Perhaps Germany brought “The Hoff” in to provide some comic relief after all the turmoil, tragedy and strife the wall had brought since 1961.

But no. The Germans were serious. Stationed on a crane overlooking the wall, Hasselhoff performed the song, “Looking for Freedom,” which had dominated the pop charts in Germany earlier that year. The Hoff wore a piano keyboard scarf and a jacket blinking with lights. Yep. He did. The Light Bright jacket actually took attention away from the sledgehammered, chipped, chiseled up and nearly demolished wall.

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

From: lille5kutt on YouTube

Frankly, this news event should not have been that surprising to me since the Hasselhoff had captivated Paris two years before in July 1987, and I was a witness to the phenomenon. If an American can create a French Frenzy well, then what’s to stop him from playing in a prelude to the unification of Germany. It’s almost like Hell freezing over, right?

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Two years earlier…

I celebrate with Deb as we land on French soil.

I celebrate with Deb as we land on French soil.

After saving money for a year, my friend Debbie and I traveled through Europe on our own. France was definitely a big part of the itinerary. We couldn’t wait to experience Paris, The City of Lights.

Debbie was fluent in French and while I didn’t know the language, I would ask her to tell me how to say various phrases, and I would blunder my way through them. Trying to blend in, despite the language barrier, I wanted to be French while I was in Paris that summer.

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The Travel Ahh…Rooftops

© Stephanie Glaser

Rooftops have always captured my attention like these in Florence, Italy (above). Maybe it’s the expression “a roof over your head.” Perhaps it’s that you know underneath is a home or business. A rooftop represents not only shelter, but people to me.

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The Running of the “Bulldozers” at a U2 concert in Paris

A U2 tour ad in London
© Stephanie Glaser

Both my friend Debbie and I were gripping Ed’s sweater sleeves.  Then one minute later, still holding one of the sleeves, I was six feet from the rest of the sweater that was tied around Ed’s waist. I could barely see him and Lanny with a mass of people stampeding in between us. My feet were not touching the ground, but I was surging forward steadily with the throng. I looked around for Debbie.

In the meantime, shrieks of panic — in freaked out French — pierced the hum of the crowd (somehow even panicked French sounds beautiful).

A few feet over, a girl emerged upwards from the throng almost like she was levitating. Her friends were trying to lift her up for air. The girl was hysterical, shaking her hair and convulsing. Next, someone actually doused her with a bottle of water to calm her down.

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“Où est Jim Morrison?” Looking for the Lizard King’s grave at Père Lachaise

© Stephanie Glaser

Not long ago, I was a substitute teacher for a high school French class. Right away, I confessed to the students that my knowledge of French was very limited. Basically, it consists of pleasantries, “petit déjeuner” (“breakfast”) and “Où est Jim Morrison?” (“Where is Jim Morrison?”)

My admission was met with confused looks, and they asked, “Who is Jim Morrison?”

“Jim Morrison? You know, the lead singer of The Doors…The Lizard King…sound familiar?”  Blank looks.  Maybe song lyrics would work. “You know, ‘Come on baby, light my fire?’ That’s a song, by the way, I don’t really want to light your fire.” I tried to sing the refrain for them.

More looks that said, “Wow, CRAZY sub. We wish we had Mrs. Johnson right now.”

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“Suitcasing” it in France and sitting like luggage on the TGV

The TGV
© Sebastian Terfloth; Wikimedia Commons

There’s a reason college students and budget travelers go “backpacking” and not “suitcasing.” Big suitcases without wheels are awkward…very awkward —especially when you are running through the Paris metro trying, ultimately, to get to Gare de Lyon to make it to France’s fastest train, the TGV.

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