Snowy Vignettes from an Alpine Paradise

Having “escaped” winter by spending five wonderful, but scorching months in Asia last year, I must admit — it’s been a bit of a shock wintering in the Alps these past months. Fortunately, there are the visual elements that make sidewalk slips, shoveling, and shivering so worthwhile: chalets peeking out from under snow blankets, MotherContinue reading “Snowy Vignettes from an Alpine Paradise”

Apprentice for an Afternoon: Lessons with Germany’s Old World Artisans

During Oberammergau’s peak tourist seasons, visitors can easily while away an hour observing artisans demonstrating their trades on the ground floor of the beautifully-frescoed, 18th-century Pilatushaus. In past centuries, nomadic traders acquired crafts like these and sold them throughout Europe, making Oberammergau famous for its fine work. Today, travelers can purchase the items directly fromContinue reading “Apprentice for an Afternoon: Lessons with Germany’s Old World Artisans”

Europe, Somewhere in Time: An Interview with Artist & Photographer, Maurice Sapiro

I recently happened upon the beautiful, timeless work of Maurice Sapiro, an accomplished photographer, painter and sculptor who calls Connecticut home. The images from his Europe gallery, circa 1956, are what captivated me: honey-toned scenes of Venetian gondoliers gracefully powering delicate boats across a lagoon; black and white images of Bavarians in frenzied celebration; silhouetted-figuresContinue reading “Europe, Somewhere in Time: An Interview with Artist & Photographer, Maurice Sapiro”

A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany

The sign declared, Bitte Esel nicht füttern. And since I was in Germany, a land famously known for its rules, I was even more sure to obey. Even though visitors to the Christmas Market in Oberammergau, Germany were asked not to feed the photogenic donkeys (to keep the live Christmas props from developing upset stomachs), rubbing ofContinue reading “A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany”

Winter Wonderland Wisdom

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” Henry David Thoreau With craggy mountain peaks and evergreens on the hillsides dressed in a confectioner’s sugar-like snow to command one’s attention, it is easy to miss the smaller details of winter in the alpine village ofContinue reading “Winter Wonderland Wisdom”

Of Angels & Alphornists – Out & About in Oberammergau, Germany

We had merely set out on a routine errand to find a hair stylist and pharmacy in  Oberammergau, Germany. Instead, we found ourselves pleasantly distracted by something quite out of the ordinary, at least for us: the soothing, foghorn-like sound of Alphorns, playfully known as ‘Ricola horns’.

Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day & Germany’s Christmas Market Season

On the eve of December 6th, when I was a child, I placed my shiniest shoes in front of my bedroom door, anticipating the arrival of St. Nicholas. The next morning, I eagerly popped out of bed, delighted to find my footwear stuffed with oranges, Christmas cookies, chocolates, and tiny trinkets. St. Nick didn’t visitContinue reading “Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day & Germany’s Christmas Market Season”

Oberammergau, Germany: Woodcarvings, Bavarian Attire, and the Passion Play

For the next few months, we’ll be hanging our warm, winter hats in Oberammergau, a village located in Germany’s Alps. Oberammergau is perhaps best known for its Holzschnitzer (woodcarvers), colorful frescoes (Lüftlmalerei), and Passion Play. This theatrical production is held every ten years. Some residents in Oberammergau still wear feather-adorned, green wool hats; custom-tailored Lederhosen; orContinue reading “Oberammergau, Germany: Woodcarvings, Bavarian Attire, and the Passion Play”