Frankfurt, Germany

(Click here for more photographs.)

Frankfurt is unlike any other Germany city.  It is a finance and business hub, home to one of the world’s largest stock exchanges as well as the new headquarters for the European Central Bank.  Its airport is the third largest in Europe.  Due to its soaring skyline and the Main River that runs through it, Frankfurt refers to itself as “Main-hatten”.

Mentioned in historical documents as far back as 794 AD, Frankfurt was an important center for the Holy Roman Empire.  With the election of Frederick I in 1152, the city became the customary site of the selection of Emperors and German Kings.  A stock exchange began operating in Frankfurt in 1585.

Frankfurt Römerberg Continue reading

Advertisements

Umatilla, OR

(Click here for more photographs.)

From Portland we followed the Columbia River east to the town of Umatilla, OR.  Our near term objective is to get to Glacier National Park in Montana and this moved us 200 miles in that direction.  If you haven’t been into the eastern part of Oregon and Washington, it is completely different than the green, wet and mountainous western portion.  This part reminds me very much of California’s central valley, very dry with some gently rolling hills and lots of agriculture.

Umatilla, OR

Continue reading

Napa, CA

(Click here for more photographs.)

It became known as the “Judgement of Paris”, perhaps the most famous wine tasting in recent history.  In 1976, a British wine enthusiast named Steve Spurrier set up a competition between the best of California’s Chardonnay and Cabernet wines against wines from France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy.  California wines won in both categories as determined by the panel of 9 French judges.  Needless to say this rocked the wine world and put California’s Napa Valley winemakers on the world stage.

For our visit to Napa Valley we parked at the Skyline Wilderness park located on the south side of the town of Napa.  We did some wine tasting but mostly we visited some of the more interesting wineries, notable for their architecture or art or the view.  Among those we visited:  Beringer, Hall, Inglenook, Chimney Rock, Monticello, Andretti, Del Dotto, Darioush and Artesa.  We also poked around the towns of St. Helena, Yountville and of course, Napa.

Continue reading

Dijon, France

Upon leaving Lyon, we adopted a new mode of transportation, driving a car.  For the following 9 days we plan to be exploring central and western France, specifically the Loire Valley, so a car is the best way in which to get around to see the many sites in this part of France.  Before leaving the US, we went to the AAA office and obtained an International Driving Permit which requires nothing more than presenting your US driving license, getting a photo made to attach and paying a fee.  However, this is a necessary item when renting a car in most countries.  So from Lyon, we pointed the Renault Twingo towards Dijon (pics) by way of Macon.

Macon

Continue reading