Posts Tagged With: historical

Happily Surprised: Visiting Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Bridge

Yaquina Bridge

I’m been very lucky and have had a chance to visit some really cool places in my life. But there are times that I ‘m surprised when I go someplace like Newport Oregon and am expecting nothing much and am surprised by the place, the surroundings and environment. Newport is a sleepy fishing town 100 mile Northwest of Eugene Oregon directly on the coast. It’s home to the Coast Guard and also West Coast operations of NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I just found the town of about 7,000 to be really quaint and offer some amazing views of the Pacific Northwest and some really great food, pictures to come.

All I can say is that this week was pretty darn good, and I enjoyed getting a chance to be a tourist in the evenings after working all day.

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Categories: Life, Photography, Travel, Travel Blog | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A day of rememberence: Dachau

Although most of our trip was centered around Oktoberfest and beer culture, I really wanted to also explore other parts of German history and on this visit we decided to also see Dachau, the first Concentration Camp, created for the impressment and extinction of enemies of the state and eventually a World War II prison camp. Although I was not alive during World War II, nor did I have any family that was directly involved, I’ve always thought it was important to learn about the history of this world event, tragic war and massacre.

Dachau is only 20 minutes by Ubahn from the central train station of Munich, and then a quick 10 minute bus ride from the Dachau Hauptbahnhopft. It cost about $10 roundtrip, and was very easy to get too. Once we got there we had the option of renting an audio tour for 3.50 Euros, or just wandering around, otherwise the visit is free for everyone.

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The facility originally consisted of two barracks that was used to imprison about 400 people in the mid to late 30’s and a central processing building, but then as the war escalated they added another 34 barracks, built by the prisoners. At the end of the war the facility reportedly held over 30,000 prisoners when the full capacity was to only be 6,000. Today there are two barracks that were rebuild for our viewing and for preservation of the history of Dachau, otherwise the cement foundations for the other 34 units still exist. As well as the main processing center, the gas chambers and crematoriums. It’s hard to imagine that these relatively small living quarters 30×100 meters(27,000 square feet approx.) could house so many prisoners. I can only imagine how deplorable the living conditions must have been.

Visiting the site was a pretty sobering experience. They have done a great job preserving the integrity of the place and keep lots of artifacts, propaganda and history of what tragic events occurred here. Helping us see and understand what happened here and get an idea of the atrocities that were committed here and through Eastern Europe by the Nazis. I walked away from visiting Dachau with an even greater respect for what Allied troops and any other freedom fighters did during WW II to save so many people and save our world. I’ve been lucky enough, if you can say that to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, and although it was also a very sobering experience and does an excellent job of showing us what happened during the war, physically being on the site of such a tragic time in our history was way more moving.

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Remnants of the railroad tracks that brought in the prisoners

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The Main Gate “Work makes you free”

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One barrack, built for 200 people but at times held over 2000

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The other aspect of the visit that was so polarizing was looking at the map of Germany and Eastern Europe and all of the dots that represented concentration camps, extermination facilities, ghettos, transfer stations and facilities that were created to basically eliminate Jews and any other person, race or culture that was deemed by the Nazi’s as enemies of the state. I had no idea how many cites and places were involved in these events. The other part was looking at the guard tower, culvert, razor wire fence and cement wall that if you were brave enough to attempt to escape was your obstacle to freedom. I have no idea how someone could have ever even made it to freedom, let alone know that beyond the prison was a forbidding country with all of its additional obstacles to get through.

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The breakdown of where all the prisoners came from

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The badge classification

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Prisoners uniform and their single food tin

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The border of the camp no mans land

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Foundations of the old barracks

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Sinks and toilets for 200 but at times up to 2000

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Crematorium and Gas Chambers

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I was really glad I had an opportunity to visit Dachau, and see some of the history of our world. Visits like this remind me how lucky I am to be alive and live in these times, yes there are tragedies around us every day and people are fighting for their lives still. I just am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had thought my 39+ years on this rock. Sure I’ve had some tough times, but not as tough as others out there. And visits like this remind me to be thankful for the freedom we all enjoy. If you’re ever in Germany I recommend visiting Dachau or any other site like this to gain perspective on our world and to see what tens of thousands of brave men and women fought for to preserve freedom.

Categories: Europe, History, Photography, Review, Travel, Travel Blog, Trip Report, World | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

T-Minus Four Weeks

Looking forward to a few of these.

Looking forward to a few of these.

Well drinking season is almost upon us. In T minus 4 weeks I’m heading for Munich and Oktoberfest. As a lifelong lover of hops and barley, going to the ultimate beer celebration has always been high on my list. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited Germany many times over the years (thanks to having In-Laws that live there), but have never been in town for Oktoberfest. As I’ve mentioned a few times in my blog, the big four oh is coming up in December, and my wife suggested that I make the pilgrimage. There was no way I was going to turn that offer down.

So once the dates were settled upon I started making plans. You see I’m really good about making travel arrangements, but not so great at deciding what to do while on vacation. I’m the kind of person that spends hours if not days making sure I have the optimal routing, seats and hotel but not the type of person that does tons of in city research. Usually I’ll read Lonely Planet or Fodor’s on the way there, and plan the vacation accordingly. Although in this particular case it’s extremely difficult to get evening tickets to one of the beer tents. You either need to know someone at the brewery or pay through the nose to buy a seat or a table. Even with the local hook up, and planning almost a year in advance, we were not able to get a table, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to get in a tent. It just means possible line standing and going early in the morning and hanging out all day. How bad could that be? Right? I mean it’s only Oktoberfest and all they sell beer all day. So besides spending a couple days at the Munich Oktoberfest Fairgrounds, I know I’ll get to hang with family, but I also wanted to check out Olympic Stadium the home of the ‘72 Summer Games. Although I was not born till December of ’73, I’m sort of an Olympics nut and the events surrounding those games would be interesting to see up close. I’ve seen a ton of documentaries and movies about the events, but I think getting up close will be worth it. I’d also like to visit Dachau. I know not the most uplifting experience, but again, I think it’s important to sometimes take a moment and reflect on what makes our world what it is, and to see another event in our history books up close and personal would be very enriching.

After five days in Munch, my buddy “G” and I will then head over to the Scotch and Whiskey capitol of the world and spend a few nights in Dublin. I’ll do my best to give my liver a rest, but the home of Bushmills and Jameson’s may have other plans. Plus being the home of my favorite beer, do I even need to say it’s name will have to be tested at many pubs too. I’m told that is just tastes better here. I’ll be sure to report my findings. In any event our plan here is to check out many Irish pubs, the Jameson’s and Guinness factories. And to boot “G” has a hook up who works for Jameson’s so we’ll see what that gets us.

So with just a few weeks to go before the big trip, I’m jazzed and ready to go.

Categories: Europe, Food, Oktoberfest, Travel, Trip Report, Wandering the city | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wandering and Eating My Way Through San Antonio

OK so I must have gained five pounds this week. Wow I ate a lot off good food here in San Antonio. Plus I had a nice time walking around the Alamo and River Walk. Yes I’d been here before, but I’m not sure if you can count a trip 25 years ago, as being someplace. I do remember touring The Alamo, but not much else. Unfortunately since it was closed it’s open 8:30-5:30 I believe, I missed it buy a few hours. But getting a chance to see it again and see how beautiful yet small it is, was great. I remember the façade being so much larger and the photos you see on TV and such make it look so big, but seeing it up close it was small. I’m sure the environs and inside must be bigger but from outside it was not. The River Walk or at least the spots I walked on were great. I really had a nice time, watching the water taxi’s float by and listening to the mariachi bands sing and play on. It made for a festive night. I also was reminded of an old old movie Cloak and Dagger from 1984 with Dabney Coleman and Henry Thomas (of E.T. fame), and who was apparently born in San Antonio according to IMDB. From what I remember there were a few scenes of the downtown featuring The Alamo and River Walk. I had completely forgotten about this gem of a movie till I was walking around, I’m now going to have watch it on Netflix. Oh the memories.

Well on the River Walk I went to Boudrou’s and it was great. I saw it on Yelp and it had almost 500 reviews and was rated over 4 stars, we’ll I was satisfied. See my great meal below. I also had no choice but to visit Pappadeux two times, this is my favorite chain restaurant I think. Probably because I don’t have any near me and it’s a treat to find one when traveling. If you’ve never been, you must check them out. They are just fabulous, and I know I’m not the only one that thinks that. The funny thing is I always get the same thing, a wedge salad and shrimp brochette, so the food could really really suck, but I’d never know. When I went on Monday night the wait was 45 minutes for a table at 8 PM, that was crazy. I didn’t wait though, cause all the locations have a picture of me on the wall as one of their favorite customers. Ha ha just kidding, party of one at the bar, works every time. Oh and BTW Cooper’s BBQ was no joke. You get your food off the grill, they dip it sauce and put it on a tray, then they wrap it in the next room in butcher paper, weigh it, pick your sides and sit down to eat. Plates consist of more butcher paper, it was just awesome.

As for the Gruene Hall, it was a neat 140 year old dance hall, and was just a great little hang out. Just the kind of place to wet your whistle and listen to some Bluegrass. And from what I was told on weekends this little place has over 3000 people listening to some top-notch bands.

Boudro's Story

Boudro’s Story

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Ice Cream, Chocolate, Honey and Nuts

Ice Cream, Chocolate, Honey and Nuts

Prickley Pear Margarita

Prickley Pear Margarita

The pit at Cooper's Old Time Pit & BBQ

The pit at Cooper’s Old Time Pit & BBQ

Our Meat

Our Meat

Nuf said

Nuf said

Gruene Hall

Gruene Hall

the dance hall and seating

the dance hall and seating

The bar

The bar

Pappadeux

Pappadeux

Shrimp Brochette @ Pappadeux

Shrimp Brochette @ Pappadeux

The Alamo

The Alamo

Remember the Alamo

Remember the Alamo

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The Riverwalk

The Riverwalk

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Categories: Food, movie, Photography, Review, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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