John & Anne Wiley

2018/10/22

Berlin

Filed under: Happiness,Has Photos,Inner World,Nature,People,Random,Travel — John @ 09:04

The airliner from London to Berlin flew a little lower than the one across the Atlantic, so we were able to see despite some clouds and haze. Somehow we’d expected a more urban landscape, yet the part of UK on our way out was far more urban than this area around the Berlin airport.

103440 Berlin Landing

103440 Berlin Landing

There’s much more open space and even large tracts of forest beyond this apartment area. Maybe people on the other side of the plane saw central Berlin and more city, but we saw mostly forest and farms dotted with small towns and a few small cities. When we stepped out of the arrival terminal, there was a wolf at the door. Our remarkable friend Wolfgang, who’s involved with the German Green Party. He’d taken time off to guide us to the spacious room he’d generously provided.

131252 Room View

131252 Room View

That treed courtyard has many bikes parked along the walls. People everywhere we saw in UK & EU tended to walk, ride bikes, use the busy bus/train/subway systems, and basically use cars far less than in California. On many sidewalks in Berlin we saw little square bronze plaques like these.

124629 Remembering

124629 Remembering

When the family of a holocaust victim agrees, a memorial plaque is placed outside a building where a person was hauled out of their home to their death.  It’s quite sobering to stand there contemplating that and glance up at a window. With so few surviving relatives to give permission, not many of the known victims are honored. Neighborhoods with many Jewish families in particular could have perhaps a dozen or two plaques where it’s many more people could have lived, laughed and played with their German neighbors and friends. All of this seems to have contributed to a lasting change in Germany, with much attention (and laws) directed at learning from this tragic period of world history. At the Reichstag, the main entrance has the statement: “To the German people” (bottom of this pic).

5688 People Power

5688 People Power

There was an interesting mood in the people we saw outside, including tourists like us from other countries. I guess any government of the people faces similar challenges, and I thought about that as we posed with Wolfgang.

5701 Reichstag

5701 Reichstag

We wanted to go up in that dome, and by great good luck there were tickets (free) available for later so we got some. We walked around, and decided to check out the Brandenburg Gate and the plaza beyond.

05706 Brandenburg Gate

05706 Brandenburg Gate

Earlier we’d wandered downtown, seen pieces of the Berlin Wall and been to a cafe. After meandering the Gendarmenmarkt square we had a great chat over dinner in a sidewalk restaurant at the feet of the Concert Hall, then walked more as sunset approached.

5750 Gendarmenmarkt

5750 Gendarmenmarkt

Finally our time slot for the dome arrived and we went up on the Reichstag roof just in time for a glorious sunset.

194150 Reichstag Sunset

194150 Reichstag Sunset

From there we walked up the spiral walk to the top of the dome, where citizens can look down on their Parliament in action. Or in our case since it wasn’t in session, out across the city.

194617 Dome View

194617 Dome View

Later we strolled among small groups walking in quiet conversation, across the river to the train station. Just outside the station was a lively and colorful outdoor market with live music, and you can see it through the windows of the station in this pic.

210814 Berlin At Night

210814 Berlin At Night

Magical end to an enchanted first day in Berlin, thanks to our generous creative host.

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2018/10/20

London Gifts

Filed under: Happiness,Has Photos,Inner World,Nature,People,Random,Travel — John @ 22:35

It happened that Tripp’s new “dad” flew her home on his birthday, and we celebrated both our birthdays in London. Gifts all ’round.

5256 Tower Bridge

5256 Tower Bridge

Our first UK day found us strolling walkways on both sides of the Thames, feeling overwhelmed by all this amazing city has to offer. We wandered some streets and many alleys too. If you’ve perused this blog at all you know that I’m fascinated by the innumerable rock formations we’ve seen flying low and slow. One of my theories is that they’re natural “sculptures” so maybe that’s why all over UK & EU my fascination extended to human sculpture, like these building ornaments.

5276 Sculpture Rampage

5276 Sculpture Rampage

London offers an eclectic mix of architectures and a range from ancient to cutting edge. Lunging above the collection, the “Shard” seems to grasp at airliners.

5280 The Shard

5280 The Shard

It has at least two public viewing levels, but as with all our adventures the “plan” to get that view didn’t emerge from the “trip” we took. Maybe we can go back some day? Another contrast in architectures and change in plans emerged as we strolled around the Tower of London but didn’t go in.

5284 Tower of London

5284 Tower of London

The next morning we walked again, this time getting a view of the “Walkie Talkie,” “Pickle” and Tower of London amid a flurry of new construction across the Thames.

5385 Walkie, Pickle, Tower

5385 Walkie, Pickle, Tower

We chanced upon the intriguing ruins of the circa 1136 Winchester Palace.

5474 Palace Ruins

5474 Palace Ruins

One of our planned activities was to walk out on the Millennium Bridge and after snapping this we did manage to do it.

5495 Millennium Bridge

5495 Millennium Bridge

It didn’t go all wobbly like in that Harry Potter movie, but the metal deck polished to a brilliant sheen by millions of feet made pix of us on the bridge rather challenging. Out on the bridge were different views of the city, like this perspective on the Tate Modern and the building Londoners call The Vase.

5515 The Vase

5515 The Vase

I didn’t try to find out why Londoners come up with seemingly mocking names for the new buildings they seem to discreetly enjoy watching tourists in awe of. Perhaps to seem indifferent to the style and comfort, or object to the change from what was avant garde one or two thousand years ago? Like the sloping “Cheese Grater” to the right of the conventional (not yet derisively labeled by Londoners we spoke with) tower under construction at the left of this pic.

5534 Cheese Grater

5534 Cheese Grater

We saw people walking along the stony banks of the Thames too, and in places some were beachcombing. Maybe finding ancient artifacts, or valuables lost by tourists. Or just enjoying a stroll like the man in stylish blue hair amid the group on the ruins of a cobbled dock.

5559 Thames Moment

5559 Thames Moment

Amid all the stimulation, bustle and tight-scheduled photo-crazed tourists (guilty) are quieter spots like this shaded park.

5568 Leafy Green

5568 Leafy Green

I think it was under the Waterloo Bridge where we saw people watching people perusing a flea market.

5581 Open Business

5581 Open Business

A basement graffiti and skate park attracted a large crowd (in the distance at the right).

5586 Skate & Paint

5586 Skate & Paint

Sidewalk cafes abound along the Thames walkways, as with many areas of this diverse city.

5588 Giraffe Feel Good

5588 Giraffe Feel Good

There’s public art and music everywhere too of course. We wondered if this brilliant fluorescent sculpture was meant to be a kid slide, but the kids didn’t and the parents kept it all safe.

5592 Apparent Slide

5592 Apparent Slide

A brilliant converted classic double decker doing a brisk business attracted lots of attention, especially from tweens who know what the name means.

5595 Busy Bus

5595 Busy Bus

I was more impressed by this creative addition of two pedestrian bridges astride an old rail bridge, providing a quick and easy connection across the Thames.

5597 Feet & Rails

5597 Feet & Rails

I mentioned before a fascination with sculpture and you’ll see more of that in coming posts from this trip. Meanwhile, here’s an art deco ornamentation in the Old Globe complex that I like. I’m curious what the story is, but to me it evokes a guy in tux & tails.

5640 Bird in Tails

5640 Bird in Tails

This being a hasty taste of a vast and complex city of the world, rather than use the windowless Underground we rested our feet on an inexpensive tour boat back to the neighborhood of our hotel. Along the way we got a narrated review of places visited and glimpses of other areas.

5647 Tourist Time

5647 Tourist Time

I once briefly lived on a small boat, and could imagine how different in the heart of London on a spiffed up tugboat.

5649 Houseboats

5649 Houseboats

Thus ends this sampling of pix from the first stop in London on this adventure. Walking to the hotel from the tour boat dock, we paused for this memento provided by a kind photographer who put down her expensive camera to snap this.

5668 Last of First

5668 Last of First

Next stop: Berlin.

Tripp Trips

“The only thing constant is Change,” say the sages. So it is that we’ve sold our magic carpet, the Cessna 172Q named “Tripp.” This stalwart steed carried us safely all over the North American Continent, over the Rockies, and over water to Newfoundland, the Bahamas, and Alaska. She’s now joined a younger family with plans to fly Europe and Africa. That’s her new “dad” waving goodbye as he takes her East.

5246 Tripp East

5246 Tripp East

Before the sale was finalized and she joined her new family, we took Tripp on a last local flight. It was a “soft” hazy day, somehow perfect for our brief farewell to a treasured friend and phase of our aerial explorations.

5122 Soft Finale

5122 Soft Finale

To further soften this transition, we got re-acquainted with the SBFC Tiger AA5B and our old friend “Flash” the C-172M. In fact, we’ve already been taking brief local flights in both of them though so far we’ve favored Tiger. He’s a little faster than Tripp and climbs quickly to the local peaks for views like this.

9421 Tiger Treats

9421 Tiger Treats

We’ll miss the easy comfort, broader photo options and stability of Tripp, but her departure has brought us one more gift.

170927 Trip East

170927 Trip East

Cash from Tripp’s sale helped us afford a trip East to the UK & EU. I envy the flight she’ll take there, lower and slower. Down where we used to fly so intimately with the earth but not bound by it. The flight to London was higher than in this pic, and fast, flirting with darker daytime skies at the edge of space. Happily our three week adventure brought home many new and very different memories that I’ll post about next.

2018/07/19

Long Way Home

This trip seeing new facets of our beautiful planet in flight (intimately but not bound by it), visiting precious family & friends, and exploring new places… wasn’t all we dreamed. As with each of our trips, it reinforced a big life lesson that flying has brought us: embracing what Is. That comes to us in the differences between the trip we dream, plan, take, remember, and dream about after return. So of course it was both more, and less, than we dreamed or planned.

So it was that The Dalles dawned almost clear of the smoke that greeted our landing in yesterday’s dusk.

4297 Cleared Takeoff

4297 Cleared Takeoff

Climbing toward the West for a look at the famous Columbia Gorge, the pages of time formed a crumbling book on the North bank.

8658 Book of Time

8658 Book of Time

Other wizened formations evoked a castle with columnar basalt exposed at the base of the towers, reminding us of the volcanism still shaping this region.

8659 Stone Castle

8659 Stone Castle

A tributary I’ve not looked up the name of, also adorns the North shore of the mighty Columbia with rapids that test the best kayakers.

8670 Water Power

8670 Water Power

Relaxing when it combines with the Columbia, it releases on the banks much of the sediment it rushed downhill and polished its canyons with.

8672 Bank Deposits

8672 Bank Deposits

In the once more increasing smoke, distant Mt. St. Helens provided yet another ominous reminder of this region’s geologic activity.

8734 Napping Volcano

8734 Napping Volcano

In the river below our wings, some of the larger islands had buildings where Mark Twain might like to retire.

4314 Home Island

4314 Home Island

Even as the economy has diversified and changed, there are still large sawmills along rivers here.

4330 Busy Sawmill

4330 Busy Sawmill

To keep with our planned flight, we’d already climbed too high for a close look at the famous waterfalls in the gorge. Even so, this one looks good in a zoom pic.

4344 Waterfall View Rooms

4344 Waterfall View Rooms

Farther down river we could increasingly see clouds that we’d hoped would be clear, so we continued climbing to fly well above them.

8714 Cloud Complication

8714 Cloud Complication

The next waterfall we spotted looks more likely to be a popular public attraction. It continues above and below this section snapped between the trees.

4377 Spectacular Falls

4377 Spectacular Falls

Now it was obvious that the clouds lingering beyond the forecast along our route called for a high transit out to the coast where the air was clear and tailwinds were promised.

8739 More Clouds

8739 More Clouds

We took a last look at the river now far below, where locks and dams harness some of its energy.

8759 Columbia Dams & Locks

8759 Columbia Dams & Locks

After an alert but uneventful transit to clear air in the Roseburg area, we continued southwest to the coast and turned to follow it more directly toward home again. This is a beautiful region from the air, where we see many wonders hidden from the casual drive we so enjoyed before flying. Including of course the cave-garnished and weathered West side of the cliffs and countless islands of various sizes & shapes.

4467 Prince Island

4467 Prince Island

After enjoying an unfolding stream of such sights, soon we passed Shelter Cove and once again longed to land at 0Q5 and spend some time exploring the black sand beaches and other relaxing attractions there.

4519 Shelter Cove 0Q5

4519 Shelter Cove 0Q5

We could of course overwhelm you with many more pix of visual delights we thrilled to on this trip, but I’ll offer only two more. First another look at distant San Francisco from just offshore, included here even though it’s hazy from moisture and wildfire smoke. It’s an usually high perspective for us since ATC cleared us across the path of the airliner parade leaving SFO.

4592 SF From High

4592 SF From High

After a brief fuel stop at KWVI Watsonville, we began seeing the familiar hills and vineyards of home as sunset blushed the terrain around Atascadero.

4618 Warm Welcome

4618 Warm Welcome

Our tailwind topping Broadcast Peak provided a weather warning. Turbulence was sudden, though relatively mild since I’d slowed and remained high above the ridge. Only after reaching the coast did I descend into the stronger turbulence where air temperature went from the 60s to the 90s. Happily that was a short transition and we landed in the cool coastal breeze so common at KSBA. A very warm welcome home to our cool little hometown. 🙂

2018/07/18

Okotoks to Dalles

After a warm and wonderful visit, and surprisingly for us not a single flight in this beautiful area, we took off on the first leg toward home.

8513 So Near

8513 So Near

The gateway to Banff in the nearby blue Canadian Rockies seemed to almost be teasing us beyond the green hills surrounding Okotoks. But those playfully shaped white clouds indicate turbulence, and the wind over the mountains would’ve made for uncomfortable flying at best. So between occasional bumps during our climb, we enjoyed taking in the sights like this bend in the river.

8550 River Green

8550 River Green

Soon we’d all but forgotten about the fact wind and storms had precluded sharing the delights of flying Banff & Jasper, and were enjoying the prairie sights again. Like this railway bridge across the deep furrow created by the river somewhere West of Lethbridge.

4119 Rail Bridge

4119 Rail Bridge

River meanders over flats are always visually interesting for us too, especially when the fields are a riot of color.

4127 Snake in the Garden

4127 Snake in the Garden

Having flown this route once in the endless white blanket of February, we had an idea why these silos are brightly painted.

4158 Winter Contrast

4158 Winter Contrast

Again smoke and storms nudged us South and then West. We bypassed Missoula this time but followed part of our prior route near Helena where smoke stained peaks still sported white Winter mementos.

8568 July Whitecaps

8568 July Whitecaps

The region West of the Rockies and South of Spokane is always fascinating from the air, and the lowering light of the long northern Summer evening makes them even better.

4216 Summer Shapes

4216 Summer Shapes

This one evokes a laughing face for me.

4222 Dimpled Joker

4222 Dimpled Joker

The ever deeper shadows were further accented by thickening smoke adding to the reddish hues of approaching sunset.

4248 Textured Terrain

4248 Textured Terrain

Every element of each scene reveals the interplay of nature and agriculture. Each mile brings some familiar elements, always arranged in completely new ways on the varied terrain.

4259 Variations

4259 Variations

OK, maybe you’re still among the likely majority who find prairies boring (we’re clearly not, but are sharing in case you’ve never flown them). So I’ll offer just this one more, in the hope you might find some hint of art in this gallery of goodness.

4261 Splay Play

4261 Splay Play

Just after a glorious deep red sunset we lined up for the airport at The Dalles, OR. Said to be the only city with its airport in a different state (WA), it huddled beneath the dormant volcano of Mt. Hood as if reminding us what it could do.

4283 Dalles Sleeping Giant

4283 Dalles Sleeping Giant

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