The Schwarzwald

Not quite the Cotwolds but sounding a little similar, this refers to a forest. Where? Why in the southwestern corner of Germany! Today we are reminiscing our road trip to this verdant part of the country. One which we had sped all the way from Amsterdam in order to make the most time out of.

Black forest.

They have a cake named after it. But was it really black? Or perhaps a dark shade of green? Walking or hiking in the woods seem to be a very popular pastime for quite many German people. And here folks from around the world that share the same will find paradise. But it did not mean that for us non hiking folks there would be nothing to see and do.

For one thing, booking a stay in the forested mountains with its crisp cool and clean air was not only refreshing for the body, but also for the mind. Besides, some places offer you the chance to unwind and disconnect from the virtual world if only for a few days. Away from the humdrum of a busy city life, one can truly contemplate its true meaning. ommm… heheh.

For yourself that is, for to each their own. No two persons would be exactly the same no?

Yes it was a philosopical trip as much as it was a touristic journey. We went cuckoo for a few days. Wanna know why? Why not read about it here? Do you enjoy walking in the forests?

Did Hamburg invent Hamburgers?

We certainly hope this piqued the interest of foodies. Because this is a venus flytrap to draw you to read our little story (here) of being a burgher in the city of Hamburg… for a couple of hours bordering to a night.

So, did they?

We mean : was the iconic hamburger invented in the city of Hamburg?

Well this would really depend on who you ask. For some folks contend that while the inspiration did come from Hamburg, the burger was ‘invented’ in the US. You see, they say that the steak of minced beef with garlic, onions, salt and pepper were presented as the “Hamburg steak” in the 1800s. And it made its way to the Americas, ironically on the ‘Hamburg-Amerika’ shipping line… eventually served between two pieces of bread.

Fact or fiction? We will leave you to do the research and debate the origins.

Today the burger has become basic fare for a lot of people around the world and not just in America. From luxurious creations to simpler diner versions, folks from all over the world tuck into this creation that has simply wandered across the world.

But today we are just reminiscing the times when we were temporary burghers of the city of Hamburg. Nope, we did not turn into pieces of meat. For the word ‘burgher’ in German means something. Do you know what that is?

Curious now to see what we were up to in Hamburg? Read it here! So starts our handprint stories on Germany!

So long as we shall live

One of the privileged things in life is to have found a partner and soul mate with whom one can navigate the often challenging and chaotic journey called life. And when one does so with quite some (not all) like-minded interests, that would indeed be a godsend.

We know not many enjoy the Dailymail’s content, but this link might make you shed a tear or two. It’s about how couples who have been together for decades still exhibit the same love they had for each other when they first set eyes upon each other. We’ve written about how our lives can be a honeymoon all your life (here), and till today are still traveling together as if each journey was the first we are going together.

That’s really the secret. When you feel you are on a journey with someone for the first time, you tend to be more considerate, careful to give an impression. Sort of being like on a first date. Apply that to all  your journeys together too and we are sure it will make a big difference. The trick is to keep this up!

The world is always changing, nothing stays the same. But love will stand the test of time. Cherish the life! Who sang this song?

And we extend this to our daily lives too. What are your secrets to ensuring your loving relationship stays strong?

How many travel photos have you taken?

Don’t quite know what to call this post. It’s kind of a reminisce but also a rant. Perhaps this is just one more of our directionless musings…

About what you curiously ask?

Photos. Pictures taken from one’s travel journeys. Not the ones at home with family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances. Real travel photos. Pictures of places you visited, even if it is your own home base. Do you know how many have you taken?

We’ve read posts about de-cluttering our lives through the ‘purging’ of unwanted stuff. Ok that’s generalizing it a fair bit, but you get the picture (no pun intended)? Because this question popped up one day (about de-cluttering), and we got curious about how many photos we actually have of our travel handprints. You might know that we are part of the generation that straddled the film and digital eras. So that’s tricky because we have albums of printed photos too.

Hence we defined for ourselves that for film, the number of photos would be how many we have scanned into digital form. Yeah we hear the howls of disbelief from our film refugee peers, but hey you gotta start somewhere right? How does that look like? The graph below (yeah occupation hazard) illustrates:

Travel Photo Statistics

Did you notice how the spike in the number of photos started from the advent of digital photography? Yes, digital storage is virtually free, or at least very (very) low cost. Granted there are personal reasons in the stats too (such as number of journeys in each year). We know what we have might pale in comparison to some of you out there. But the point is – the average has clearly risen!

Are we alone? Of course not. So can you imagine how many pictures had been taken around the world by folks and possibly shared? Think millions only? LOL. This brings up an interesting point. There is so much sharing in social media of photos. Is it time to de-clutter?

How many travel photos have you taken? Do you organize them? Do you need to ‘de-clutter’ them?

Forgotten Memories from an almost forgotten journey

Earlier this week I posted that : it still pays to do a little planning for your journeys, and that being totally spontaneous can be an extreme. In other words, don’t just get lost on purpose, as opposed to the article I read. See post here.

I take it back. Well, partially at least.

Was just leafing through various reading sources and came up to this article by Andeep Singh about what vacation memories are. Her post was written last September.

Hmm…I must say the article made a lot of sense and injected a fresh paradigm into me. Imagine what you might have recalled (memories) from your last trip. Now compare that with someone who shared the same journey. Make a list of the memories you each recalled to be the defining experience(s).

As a little experiment, Mel and Suan sat down separately and wrote down what were the hallmarks of our journey to Japan in February. The results :

His Hers
Driving in the winter. So exciting after many years! The view of Mount Fuji from Lake Yamanaka is so beautiful.
Watching with throngs of Japanese ladies buying Valentine’s day gift. Amazed with the intricate confectionery! Standing on the rooftop of Maruei Ryokan with Mount Fuji in full view in the morning and my photos taken.
Taking Suan’s photo at Lake Yamanaka with Fuji and a swan in the background. Waiting for sunset at the Natural living center at lake Yamaguchi.
Waiting at the pre-own stores while Suan goes wild looking! I was trying hard to browse… All the shopping still fresh in the mind from all the walk in Tokyo. Parco where I bought many clothes!
The dinner on Valentine’s day on the 53rd floor, with the night lights of the city and we having a nice cosy corner to dine. Remembering in quite detail the meals we had in Tokyo. I planned to eat at those places! (PS: she actually CAN recall them all…)

I must say there are quite some contrasting views of the same journey we made together. I mean, its supposed to be shared memories right? But how come we seem to recall them from such different angles? Can this be explained with just how our neural synapes connect differently in each one of us? We really seem to remember moments, differently! Its now proven with an experiment! Sheesh, amateurs. It would only be logical to see things differently right?

Consolation : at least we are agreed on the beautiful modelling at Lake Yamanaka. And photography too…

So, Andeep’s article gives credence to the view that we sometimes overlook the often thought ‘insignificant’ experiences within experiences of our journey. She mentioned events (or perhaps activities). I think she meant from the point of another person. What is an inconsequential occurrence to one can be a defining moment for others. Though you could be there, you tend to ‘forget’ some of these moments. After all, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

But then its not bad at all! And perhaps that’s the whole point. We share our own moments from the same journeys, and with lots of photos taken these days, have the opportunity to enjoy a meatier conversation about it down the road. And photos form an important part of triggering our recollection. Remember the baby photo albums that your parents kept?

For those with children, take note. We recommend you ask your kids what they really remembered about the vacations you have taken together.

You just might be surprised!