Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen beautiful Schwaebisch Gmuend

Dinner with Barbara, Michael and Felix at the Roten Löwen

Last night, Monday, I was happy to share dinner with my friends Michael and Barbara .. and also to see their sons - Max and Felix - turn into young men. I met them 10 years ago in my studio in Bethlehem, PA. And since then, we have shared great moments and great laughs ... and even with the passing of the years, it's like we've just picked up where we left off ...

Thank you Michael and Barbara ... you are cherished friends ... and I look forward to seeing you soon ... xoxoxo

Michaele, Benedikt and Conrad

I wanted to spend my last evening with Michaele, Conrad and Benedikt. From the very first moment I arrived in Schwaebisch Gmuend - eight years ago - they have been my wonderful, kind and loving friends.

It still captures my never ending curiosity to walk through their beautiful shop and admire their creative ideas turned into beautiful objects d'art. Fantastic. They're the best. Nix Besser as my Dad would have said. I explained to another friend in Schwaebisch Gmuend, Conrad and Michaele are in some ways as Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle ... they can create wonderful creations from found objects ... turning the something into the something great ... The highest quality is natural to them ... but, with that said, also they are humble and kind and generous and sweet and loving and funny .... and I am so very happy to not only call them 'friend' but to really be friends ...

Thank you Conrad and Michaele ... you are very dear to me as you know ... It was a great GREAT time in beautiful Schwaebisch Gmuend ... xoxoxoxo Love, Ann

Benedikt's socks ... made by his Grandmother ... Michaele's Mother ... ahhh comfort

Laughter and Happiness

These are the flags of the sister cities of Schwaebisch Gmuend. And I, for one, am SO very happy to be a sister of Schwaebisch Gmuend ... for ever ...

Schwaebisch Hall

Willkommen to Schwaebisch Hall

Conrad, Michaele and I traveled to Schwaebisch Hall ... a winding road through the country side ... through villages and up and down picturesque hills and valleys ... a beautiful drive ...

We arrived in about an hour to Schwaebisch Hall ... there was a very thorough and important exhibition celebrating Niki de Saint Phalle at The Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall. It was fantastic to say the least ... and I was very happy to have taken it all in ...

Conrad offered to take my photo in the mirror of one of Niki de Saint Phalle's outdoor sculptures ... ok ... I'm looking ... I see my scarf, Conrad's hand, my camera ... Hmmm ... Conrad - where is my head ?! Maybe it's better this way ...

After the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition, we ate at this beautiful Indian restaurant: Indian Forum

Check out my dejeuner ... the curry was delish ... and all of these tastes ... sooo lovely ... and a beer from India as well ! Danke Conrad and Michaele - it was sooo very nice to be here with You !

My Father loved tulips ... and my Mother loved white daisies ... but one day I heard my Father say 'I like Tuberous Begonias' ... and here they were outside the Indian restaurant ... It's a good feeling to see these beautiful reminders of my beautiful Parents ...

The very pretty town of Schwaebisch Hall

These steps are home to 'Shakespeare' performances


ok ... well, I get the thought behind it ... BUT ... I cannot imagine for the life of me that this would feel good between the toes .... just watch ... next year I will be wearing these everywhere !!

City Hall - Rathaus

I love these incredible sculptures ... and they are everywhere where a sculpture would be appreciated ... This is great on the steps ... you can feel the pull and resistance ... AND it's a railing for gosh sakes !!

After a beautiful today together ... we head for home ...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Germany ... traveling to Strümpfelbach

Willkommen to Strümpfelbach

Today Conrad, Michaele and I traveled to Strümpfelbach. It's a beautiful and quaint village with many, many houses of wine ... and today, there just happend to be a great wine festival. BUT, before we would partake in the eating and drinking, Conrad and Michaele treated me to a walk up the hill with the vines ... and WHAT a hill it is !!

So here is just one of the hills filled with vines ... taken from our soon to be 'after' destination ... the party ! Yes, it is true, we DID walk all the way up this hill ... but, with that said, there was a lovely walking path that winds its way so you don't have to go straight up. Well, that is, until Michaele said 'hey wait, we didn't see THAT sculpture ... and then up the steep, STEEP steps we climbed ... straight up. But now I can say that I did it ... and then could afterwards eat and drink guilt free ... semi guilt free that is.

Here's Conard and Michaele sitting on a sculpture bench. I should mention that these bronze sculptures are the works of Karl-Ulrich Nuss and they are FABulous !! And ... there are a lot of them ... throughout the town ... but also up on the path throughout the vineyard. Incredible !!

Ready for harvest

The view from up on the hill

A favorite of Michaele's ... me too !

What an incredible stroll ...

Conrad's new buddy

Looking down into the village

Love in the afternoon ... in the vineyard

from the atelier of Karl-Ulrich Nuss

stopping to cluck 'Guten Tag' to the chickens

Bacchus ... at first sight I though it was a sculpture of a woman 'in the family way' ... but then upon closer inspection ...

I think I know the model for this sculpture !!

Ahhhh time for Italian style brick oven pizza and wine !

Saying 'hi' to the band !

We had the great pleasure of meeting the sculpture artist (right) Karl-Ulrich Nuss and the owner of the Weingut Kuhnle (vintner and wine fest) - Werner Kuhnle ... lucky, LUCKY us !!

Werner Kuhnle giving us a private tour of the keller

Conrad, Mr. Wilhelm and Werner Kuhnle

Mr. Wilhelm was kind to show us the private collection of incredible sculptures of Karl-Ulrich Nuss ... FABULOUS to say the least !!

Me ... and a sculpture by Karl-Ulrich Nuss

What a great day today was !!! Blues skies, puffy white clouds, long walk up the terraced vineyards of Strümpfelbach ... taking in the incredible art, afterwards delicious pizza (flat bread with onions, cream and ham, grilled in a brick oven ... yummy !) two glasses of Riesling, meeting the Vintner AND the sculptor - FANtastic !!! ... but most of all, a day spent with friends ...

Nix Besser !!!

Strümpfelbach Wine Trail Video ... lovely !!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Last Evening in Antibes ... Traveling to Germany

On the eve before my last evening in beautiful Antibes, Patricia, her brother Patrick and I took a walk down to the old village of Antibes ... just to sit and look at the harbour. Tranquility at its finest.

Patricia preparing dinner in her newly installed beautiful kitchen ! (almost complete)

Patrick helping with the mixing ...

Two Friends ...

Dinner on my last night ... my favorite: sautéed salmon with lemon and herbs

Steamed French green beans - haricot verts

And Voila !! An incredible dinner ... And incredible presentation ...

Bon Appétit !

Sooo ... waking up to this beautiful view ... including beautiful clouds

Patrick and Patricia were kind to drive me to the airport. Patricia suggested being photographed under the 'Arrival' sign ... as a good will gesture to return to Antibes soon.

Beautiful 'flight' sculpture in the Nice Airport ...

L'ENVOL Sculpteur: Kees Verkade ... 'l'envol' translates to 'soaring' ... breathtaking for sure !

I know it's weird, but I always take a photo of myself in the women's bathroom when I'm traveling. I usually have on this same beach coat ... and always carry my Olympus E620.

Nice Cote d'Azur Airport - women's bathroom, August 26th 2011

I think I do it because I'm not usually in my own photos ... and I need the justification that I actually was there ... although this could be any ol' bathroom ... n'est-ce pas?

Flying over the spectacular Cote d'Azur. Au Revoir beautiful Antibes ... I hope I see you soon ...

Hmmm ... what to have for brunch ... ?

Landing in Zurich, Switzerland

Arriving at Stuttgart ... taking the S Bahn (subway) and then catching the train ... to Schwaebisch Gmuend. Guten Tag !!

So, my friend Michaele was right. She encouraged me to go to Antibes for a couple weeks. After being a victim of a terrible robbery in the Cote d'Azur, I was a little hesitant to return ... at least with the same gusto that I had before. Michaele thought it would be a good idea ... to have another chance ... to restore my soul. Ok ... plane ticket purchased.

I had to wake up early, cart my 55 lb suitcase and 20 lbs carry-on to the train station (plus purse plus camera), catch the train, catch the subway, take two flights ... and then two buses ... and after many, many hours I arrived in beautiful Antibes ... just in time to lug my luggage all the way to my friend Patricia's office.

I enjoyed Antibes for two weeks ... and what enjoyment it was !!! I walked several miles each day, drank great wines, swam in the Mediterranean, hung with the artists of the Marché Provencal, ate delicious meals, 'worked' on my suntan, dined with friends, visited the 'Art et Vin' exhibition (the 'Enchantément' painting of mine is there - Chateau de Saint Martin, VAR, France) ... and ... well ... I could go on and on. It was paradise found. Again.

Thank you SO much Patricia. We had FUN !!! It was sooo nice to stay with you ... relaxed, late night talks, comfortable bed, beautiful vista views, great healthy dinners, long walks ... it was my pleasure to stay with you. I value our friendship so much. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope to see you soon ...

... and also you, beautiful Antibes ...