Chicago dreaming…

View of Lake MichiganTime to visit Chicago. Look how beautiful the view is. We’ve had a mild winter (knock on wood); however, that is about to change. Temperatures have dropped and tomorrow we are supposed to have snow.

When I see this view I think Harry Potter is going to be flying by soon.

A perfect view to spark a writer’s creative thoughts!

Imagine in July when the Blue Angels are flying by. It’s spectacular!

Can you tell I am getting ready for Spring?

Munich — Department Store Holiday Window Decorations

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On Sunday, all of the stores were closed in Munich, except places to eat and the Christmas Market stalls. This was good, because there weren’t as many people out, so I could walk and really look at the store windows.

I thought you’d enjoy these holiday decorations. Really beautiful with the gigantic nutcrackers. Notice that I was able to take pictures with no “shoppers” in the photo. The store had Christmas music playing in English, I was singing along.

The perfect way to end the day!

Happy Thanksgiving! Catching up on reading…

FAADC7DA-F0F6-434F-9DE9-D2E7D97045C4Hello, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am in Munich, Germany. Before I left, I downloaded some books for the trip. I’m in the HERO mood lately. Actually, I’m in the process of trying to find an athletic challenge for next year. My daughter is going to train for a marathon. I am not a runner, I prefer hiking, so I am investigating those kinds of challenges.

In my research, I came across this GREAT book that I started reading last night, “Natural Born Heroes,” by Christopher McDougall. It’s really good, if you like learning about heroes. The author has a fast paced, high energy, writing style — not boring at all. For sure, you won’t put it down, you’ll feel like you are running right beside him on his quest to find out “what makes a Hero.”

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He says a Hero is not about strength and force, but about compassion, because hero’s are known as the protectors. He’s got all sorts of stories and analogies. I like it!

Oh, he has a chapter on Greek Mythology.  This brought back memories of my Italian mother. While we were eating dinner, she would read to us from this  Greek Myths book. Growing up in Italy, when she was in school, they were taught about Greek Mythology, so she would say it was her “DUTY” to teach us as well. And guess what, this book is a bit “old looking now,” but my Mom pulls it out to read to the grandchildren. YES, they must learn about Greek Mythology too! I smile when I see this book.

Ok, I’m off to explore Munich, one of my favorite cities.

It’s raining… Again, I think of my mother. When there was lightning she would say, “Zeus is mad at us! You see how he is throwing thunder bolts from the sky.”

Hello Police Officer… Uh, I can’t find my car!

PoliceThis actually happened. I got off work early, so I was looking forward to a nice warm evening at home. NOT A CHANCE!

First off, the rush hour train was delayed 40 minutes. This never happens. It’s no fun waiting outside in cold weather for the train to arrive. My frustration was growing as I tried to stay warm.

Finally, the train arrived. People pushing and shoving to get on the late train. We were like sardines. I dislike trying to make myself as small as possible on a rush hour train.

I arrived at my destination, it was very dark. I walked to my car. It wasn’t there. I walked up and down the street again, no car. I park there every day. I was SO COLD. Panic set it–WHERE IS MY CAR!  Was it towed — not tonight, I thought!

As I plashed through puddles, I wondered who to call to find my car (police). A lady came up to me wanting to use my phone. How odd, pitch dark, freezing cold and she wants to use my phone. I was not in the mood to be a good samaritan. My phone only had 10% battery left. I had to call the police. I told her my battery was low, what did she need.

GET THIS — she could not find her car! What? I told her I could not find MY CAR either. Suddenly, we were kindred spirits on a mission. This was a weird night.

I called the police. They started asking their questions, i.e. Where did you park? Are you sure? By the fire hydrant? Did you leave 8 ft? What color/make of car, etc.  OK, let me call the towing company.

Good news! One car found, the lady who I met had had her car towed. Ok, in the scheme of things, NOT good news, but on a cold rainy night, good to have car found.

My car, not towed. My phone about to die, I told the police officer, I will re-walk the street looking for my car and call back.

Freezing cold, no phone battery left, I walk the street. My car is not there. I head home. I call the police and they ask me to file a lost car report. Before I do that, I told them I want to look for my car again. Officer said, if someone has stolen my car, bad things could be going on with my car, better to file a report. She offered to send a police officer to help me search.

At home, I charged my phone quickly. Took off wet coat and shoes. Found a dry coat/ shoes and headed outside again. Officer arrived, at first appeared unfriendly. Started with the questions again. I was tired.

Ok, I think, I know I lost my car, but is that such a big crime? In my defense, the last time I lost my car was in my early 20s and that was due to stupidity. I was young, late for a show, parked and didn’t pay attention to the name of the street. A police officer came and helped me drive around and found my car. So, I have been good for many many years — no lost car, until tonight! Memories were flooding back.

The policer offer told me to go back in the “warm house,” he would survey the street for my car and report back. 5 minutes later… GOOD NEWS – car found.

I’m happy and embarrassed to say this. The officer found my car. My car “was” where I thought it was, parked in front of a fire hydrant, but it was on the street BEFORE the street where I normally park. Obviously, I was half asleep this morning and didn’t quite make it to the SAME STREET I normally park on. THANK GOODNESS for police cars with flood lights! Officer was very nice and happy to have found my car.

So — what was I supposed to learn from this? THAT is what I thought. Why was I meant to go through this ordeal on a cold rainy night? I have to give this some thought.

FYI — last week, rushing, not thinking, I got a street cleaning ticket! This week, car lost.

Tomorrow — Maybe I need a pad of paper in the car with a calendar.  1) Check date for street cleaning and 2) Verify what street I am parking on.

It’s not even April Fool’s Day yet!

Welcome winter!

Travel – self guided walking tours, TRY GPSmyCITY App

GPSMYWALK AppI’m heading to Munich soon. While I have been there before, I was interested in exploring different areas of the city. As I researched places to see, I came across GPSmyCITY App, which offers self guided city walks.

I haven’t tried this yet, but I thought I would share it with you. It was a brilliant idea. Bypass normal tours and with this APP, do the walk yourself. On their website, they have different tutorials that teach you how to use the App, it seems easy. You can download different walks to use “off-line,” which was great, because my phone drains the battery very quickly and in Europe it is hard to find places to charge your phone.

They also offer articles on each city with the usual, i.e. best restaurants, cafes, museums, historical sites, products to buy, markets to visit, nightlife venues and more. They have self guided tours of 1,000+ locations all over the world.

The reviews for this App are mixed, some people love it, others don’t. Their location is out of Las Vegas. If anyone has heard of and/or used this App, let us know.

Happy touring!

Italy – My thoughts brought me the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” – no joke

Leaning Tower of PisaI learned this weekend that the mind is very powerful.

For months, I have been thinking, “When will I have time to go to Florence?” Every day, I take a quick look to see what flight prices are to Italy. Usually, I try to fly into Florence.

This weekend I was focused on getting new tires for my car. I shopped around and found a place with a good price. As I was parking my car, I looked up and I could not believe it. Right in front of me was the “Leaning Tower of Pisa.” NO JOKE, see photo!

Now, I ask you… What would you think if you saw this? I chuckled to myself, maybe it was “a sign” to look for flights into Pisa’s airport.

Italy, I’m coming, soon – VERY SOON!

Chicago: Busts salvaged from Garrick Theatre demolition

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I was walking around Chicago and came across these interesting head sculptures called, “busts.” I took these photos and did some Google searches to find out more about them.

Apparently, back in 1891, the Schiller Theater Building opened, designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan of the firm Adler & Sullivan. The theatre was funded by publisher, Anton C. Hesing and German investors to be used for German language operas and cultural events. However, it seems that the German investors pulled out, not clear why, and over the years the theatre changed names/investors several times. Final name was Garrick Theatre.

Sadly, the theatre had been in decline for many years. By 1960 the Garrick Theatre was torn down and turned into a parking lot. This was the tallest building in Chicago at this time, a beautiful building. One man, Richard Nickel, took on the mission of photographing and salvaging as much as he could of the building during the demolition.

The busts in the photos I took were saved, who these men are is unknown. Four busts on The Second City theater building have been identified as famous German men.

Wow — a simple walk turned into a walk rich in Chicago history!