Spellman Family Trip Europe summer 2015

On the riverbank in Budapest, Madeleine and Joel prepare to enter "the Whale", a modern shopping center vaguely reminiscent of... well... a whale.
Madeleine and Joel caught unawares in a totally unrehearsed moment outside "The Whale"
Surprisingly, he didn't get to take them home.
Margie eats authentic Hungarian goulash in a surprisingly affordable restaurant in the Whale (with outside seating).
Pickled chili peppers in the dining room of the Amadeus Silver!
Outside view of the Blue Danube and a side view of the "Whale" (where we ate Hungarian Goulash) in Budapest.
Budapest by night. The first night of the trip the Amadeus Silver sailed us around the city to see it lit up.
"The Elizabeth Bridge", one of Hungary's favorite rulers because she spoke fluent Hungarian and spent much time in Hungary, rather than Austria.
The only memorial to the communist occupation of Budapest. It is a woman holding a palm leaf, and not a fish as many people seem to think.
Buda Castle by night
The Parliament Building by night.
The Hungarian Parliament Building, brilliantly lit.
Madeleine and Joel at Hősök tere (heroes' square) in Budapest.
A photograph of Paul Spellman, a rare species widely considered extinct in the wild.
One of the sign interpreters on our trip looking at the model of St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Buda city walls.
View of the Parliament Building and the Danube from Buda.
Margaret in Bratislava. The "man at work" is a famous and beloved piece of public art.
Some say he's a peeping tom positioned to look up ladies' skirts.
Noel took this picture outside the Primate's Palace in Bratislava. (Photography was not allowed in the palace itself). The Latin says "Envy is the companion of virtue" and somewhat unrelatedly "If God be for us, who can be against us?" This demonstrates a danger of writing in stone. The engraver ran out room at the end of the last line and wrote "contrans" instead of "contra nos"
In a courtyard in Bratislava, they have a community piano, where anyone can come and play for all to hear at any time. This man was playing the jazz standard "Blue Skies".
This was a building that our tour guide in Bratislava pointed out as an example that not all buildings in Bratislava have been renovated and kept up.
This is our tour of Bratislava. The tall man with the bag to Madeleine's left was our tour guide. He was quite entertaining and informative at the same time. He made jokes like, "Here you can buy some authentic things made from Bratislava...or maybe made from China..."
Our tour guide in Bratislava with their statue of Hans Christian Anderson, the children's fairytales author. Different objects on the statue stand for different parts in the stories he wrote.
The snail is from one of his stories: the Snail and the Rose-Tree
After the tour, Mama, Margaret, Madeleine, Noel, and Joel went shopping in this store. Margaret bought traditional Bratislavan black current wine, Madeleine bought the picture seen in her hands, and Mama bought chocolates.
Joel in front of some tiny Slovakian wine bottles. They had black current wine!
Beer #1? Maybe?
The Hofburg Palace of the Habsburgs in the Vienna.
Here is a statue in Vienna that was made as propaganda during the Counter Reformation.
In Durnstein, Austria, these lines mark how high the Danube came up in those years.
Baby Birds in Durnstein: A Series of Photographs (2015)
Baby birds in Durnstein
It took lots of tries to capture the mama bird on film. Her trips back home with whatever she had caught lasted only 1-2 seconds before she was off again.
My first pano! (that is, panoramic photo in iPhone parlance) taken around 10:00 in the morning overlooking the Danube from Dürnstein. We tried to find an establishment that would let us drink coffee on their terrace, but weirdly nobody offered outdoor seating until noon.
We sailed a short distance to the Abbey at Melk, where I desperately wanted to get inside this pink house because it was already so blazingly hot outside.
The gardens of Melk Abbey.
A pano overlooking the town and river from Melk Abbey.
The chapel at Melk Abbey. (in a pano!)
Melk Abbey by M.C. Escher
spiral staircase near the exit of the abbey
dragon-head detail on the staircase railing
Ceiling detail from the cathedral at Passau (1/3).
Ceiling detail from the cathedral at Passau (2/3).
Ceiling detail from the cathedral at Passau (3/3).
We listened to a performance here in Passau, Germany, home of what is debatably the largest pipe organ in Europe. The debate surrounds the issue that the pipes are in different parts of the cathedral.
interesting breaking of the fourth wall by one of the sculpted cherubs in the Passau church
Apparently before the stork and the cabbage patch, there was story that babies were made when women... threw rocks on the ground?
A painted memorial to the brewery's/winery's founder. The text in the banner might be translated as: "With feeling we remember him always; his wine puts us in a light and happy mood; it helped him reach an advanced age; he was our founder and remained manager until his dying day". (It rhymes in German).
A kitchen staff member of another boat checks his phone during a brief pause in his duties. He happened to be sitting in this little dockside window.
This musician's hair was too beautiful not to be photographed.
This mysterious sign was on the side of a building. I asked a local policewoman what it was, but she didn't know.
A medieval "keyhole finder". Our guide explained that when you came home after sunset in an age before electricity, finding the keyhole to your front door could be very difficult. With this, the curving shape around the keyhole would help guide it into place.
A painted representation of David and Goliath.
Confectionary "snowballs" in a shop window in Regensburg.
This was sticking out of the wall of a building in Regensburg. There were lots of little things like this. I don't know what they are for.
No idea why I took this picture. I must have had a reason. What was it??
In Weltenburg, just outside of Regensburg, our tour guide forced us to climb a mountain in the nearly 100 degree heat with no shade, an expedition we later referred to as the "death march". At the top of the mountain there was a cloister which was not really open to the public (you could peek inside the door) and a museum with (I was told) exhibits only labeled in German. Most of our group was understandably grumpy, though I had a great time chatting with some locals in the relatively cool beer garden. The Weltenburg cloister is known as much for its beer as for its monks, and all of us later retired to the Klosterschenke for some of the award-winning suds.
A statue of Nepomuk is barely visible in the middle of this cliff face, taken from the boat on our journey away from the inferno that was Regensburg.
Stadium built by the Nazi Party to house pep rallies once a year. It was designed after the Colosseum in Rome.
Literally the Zeppelin landing field. Our tour guide told us that it was used for rock concerts from the 60s to the 80s. Once we were back home I did some research on this and it seems that incredibly, Led Zeppelin never played there.
Location of the filming of the movie "Triumph of the Will" in Nazi Propaganda.
Inside those four windows, the courtroom exists where the Nuremburg Trials were held.
two girls
Nuremberg Fortress Castle
This is the church in the square in Nuremberg called "Church of Our Lady". Sadly, the land where it sits was historically Jewish land that was taken from them in order to build a marketplace as well as this church. It is a parish church, meaning the church of the lay people. It was built through funding from the local congregation. It was reconstructed after it was destroyed in WWII.
These little sausages - small enough to fit through a keyhole they say - were tiny but delicious. A delicious luncheon in Nürnberg.
Lunch in Nuremberg, Germany: traditional bratwurst sausages, potato salad or sauerkraut, and beer. In the photo from left to right: Madeleine, Theresa (the UChicago alumni representative on the trip), Mama, Joel, and Noel.
Lunch in Nuremberg: Joel, Noel, Renate (our tour guide in Nuremberg), Margaret, Madeleine, Theresa, and Mama.
St. Lawrence Cathedral in Nuremberg. This was originally built as a Catholic church, but after Nuremberg became protestant, it was transformed into a Lutheran church.
Bamberg, Germany, view from the side of the town hall
The home of Schlenkerla Rauchbier the "smoke-beer" that I have often enjoyed in Chicago.
Our local tour guide told us, among other things, that the star of David (see upper right of image) only became a Jewish symbol in the 20th century. However, Jonathan Lyon, our expert on the region and its history who was traveling with us on the boat, dismissed this as nonsense, along with a lot of other stuff the tour guide said. One thing was for sure though: the beer was delicious.
Suckling pig's rear end at our traditional Bavarian dinner aboard the Amadeus Silver.
In Wurzburg, these are the first cranes made for construction.
The town wall for protection in Rothenberg, Germany.
In Rothenburg, this was a sort of "Medieval Shopping Mall". These doors would open and people would come in to buy things. Now they just use the space for storage.
Just an intriguing shot up a narrow alleyway.
All the Spellmans, Taylors, and Pittmans in Rothenburg, Germany.
In Miltenberg, Germany, they are famous for making schnapps. We had a tasting stop here.
This is where they store the schnapps in this cellar in the huge barrels.
Shakespeare in German
Ira and Theresa in front of... anyone??
I had a very nice conversation with this lady as she sat on her stoop in Miltenberg tatting a curtain. Her name was Barbara Mages and she was 86 years old. She told me "Sterb jung, du willst nicht alt werden" ("die young, you don't want to get old").
Barbara Mages and her curtain.
In Rüdesheim, Margaret is taking the cable car up to see the statue and the view of the city.
When you ask a stranger to take your picture, 99% of the time they will put you in the middle of the frame. YAWN!! I always have to ask them to put us off to one side.
Isn't that so much better and more visually interesting?
The famous statue Germania über Rüdesheim from afar
...and from slightly closer
Our menu on the Amadeus Silver!
close-up of some girls relaxing on the public monument (see next picture).
An arte-nouveau monument to Hygiea, goddess of hygiene (not a joke).
It sits atop this rather ordinary looking storefront.
The "Naughty Boy" statue in Koblenz. It spews water from his mouth at you, so you better not stand in front of it and fall for his trick.
Margie with a plate of potatoes and a king-size Würst, which was very delicious.
In Koblenz, I thought that Margot and I would have a romantic dinner out for just the two of us. Soon after we sat down, however, these two German ladies asked if they could join us at our table (which had seats for four). What could we say but "yes"? Fortunately, they turned out to be very charming dinner companions. Their names were Astrid and Kersten.
Köln Cathedral
stained-glass windows in presented in full pano.
The reliquary coffin of the Three Wise Men at Köln Cathedral.
a modern stained-glass window that apparently caused quite a stir for being a confetti-like mosaic of colored squares. Supposedly the placement and color of the squares is not as random as it would seem. We were told there was some kind of left-right symmetry in the two halves of the window. I asked for further clarification on this, but I could never see what they were talking about. But I like the window anyway.
"The Journey of the Three Kings", painted since this is where the three kings (they who of orient were) are supposed to be buried.
Margot and I witnessed some real-life DuckTales
Margot and I took advantage of a very short (~30 min) interval between touring and ship-board lunch to walk into Amsterdam in search of this herring shop, where raw herring is served on bread. I was very keen to try it, especially as July is peak herring season. Margot was very concerned about the time and grew grumpier as it became clear that finding the shop would not be easy. The streets of Amsterdam near the docks and train station are very twisty and confusing and going anywhere on foot means being on constant alert for speeding cars and bicycles that whiz past in every direction. It was also blazingly hot outside. However, we persevered, got some very good directions from a train-station employee on her lunch break, and eventually met with success.
My herring sandwich. Margot got the same one. They were incredibly delicious and made the whole quest worthwhile.
Life-size replica of a Dutch East India ship at the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
You can tell how low the ceilings are aboard this Dutch East India Ship because of how much Madeleine is having to duck down to walk around. All the space was kept for the treasures and booty these ships would carry back to Europe, not for the crew.
Another view from further away of the life-size replica of the Dutch East India ship.
Farewell to Amsterdam, and the trip.