Friday, March 10, 2017

Tumblr page

Since I haven't posted it in a bit, you can also see more pictures at my Tumblr page, which is called (and is) random vacation pictures.

PS For those who might not know, tenfootmonster is one of my online names (and my gamertag). If you don't know what a gamertag is then you almost certainly don't care :-).

YouTube Channel

If you want to see more videos check out my youtube channel. Here is the link.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Lindau, Germany

Before going into Lindau we drove up the mountain, during which time we went into Austria.

I don't read German, so...

You can see the island of Lindau in the upper left of this map. The ridge top we are on is the red dot (I assume).

Still snow up here.

The alps.

That's Lindau there left of the evergreen tree.

See the lighthouse on the left side of the island? We'll see it again below.


You can see the lighthouse easier in this one.

See the big red and white antenna on the ridge? That's where we were in the above pictures.

Zoomed in as much as possible.

The lighthouse and lion of the harbor of Lindau.

Lindau is a beautiful, charming city set on the Bodensee (Lake Constance). The old town is on an island, the only access to with (not counting a boat) are one railroad bridge and one car bridge. It has a beautiful preserved old town. It seems like a nice place to spend a week, particularly if you could afford to stay in one of the many nice hotels on the waterfront.

The waterfront.

Mangturn, Lindau, Germany

Old city Lindau.

Every city has a Fashing tree, and this is the freaky one that Lindau has. It frankly scares me a little.

The happy smiling fish do cheer it up a little.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Fasching in Weingarten

On Sunday we went into Weingarten, which is 2.5 miles (4 km) from Ravensburg, although as is common in the US the cities are pretty much conjoined by development. We were there for the big parade for the finale of Fasnet (also called Fashing and Fastnach I think). It's the typical 'big celebration before Ash Wednesday' that is common in many Christian cultures (e.g. Mardi Gras).

This was a huge parade, lasting almost three hours. It was easily the highlight of the trip for me. All the different costumes are amazing (and apparently very expensive, figures in the thousands were bandied around). They parade as groups through the streets. The groups usually have a theme, and almost everyone is wearing an elaborately carved mask. These masks were amazing.

Words really can't do it justice so I'm going to post a couple of videos.


These guys were a hoot. There was a good group of them.

Prominent citizens, presumably. They certainly look important.

The costumes and masks ranged from funny, to more frightening.

So many different varieties.

Each group would be based on a certain theme, but they were all subtly different, too. I'm sure if I knew German (or Swabian, more likely) folklore I would know who a lot of the costumes were supposed to represent. Some were obvious, like the wolves, one of my favorites.

A group of Plätzler. This was the most common costume type.

Ever heard of being run out of town on a rail? This is what it looks like, at least with the people doing it are very concerned for your safety.

The Viking Warchief. Obviously.

Here's a nice close-up of a mask. The masks were cool because with them and the mostly very elaborate costumes, you couldn't tell who was male and who female.
Many of the groups had a special call that they did, and you are supposed to call back a certain response. Helpfully, a list of all the calls and responses was in the program. This was great fun. There was an adult guy next to me there with his two young teenagers. He was loudly shouting back all the responses and I generally started following him. If you shouted back the response lustily enough, the marcher might treat you to a piece of candy. They also handed out candy to the many children there. But it wasn't all candy. The guy in front of me got a shot of something and later a small beer. Pretty cool. The high point for me was when one of the marchers beat me about the head with his bladder on a stick (which many of them had for this purpose, all real dried animal bladders from appearance). Obviously it doesn't hurt and anyway I had my new sweet Bavarian style hat on to protect me. He hit me with it, until my return call was loud enough for him, then he gave me a piece of candy and leaned in to say something. I managed to say "I don't speak German" in German, to which his reply was "Enjoy your holiday" in perfect English.

The parade was amazing and as I said the high point of the trip. More on Weingarten later.