Alb-Donau District



October 30, 2016

On this pleasant Sunday afternoon in Ulm, my friends and hosts, Mark and Christine have offered to drive me and my cousin Diana to Blautopf.

It’s a sparkling sunny day.  The late autumn leaves retain their intense reds and golds.   Outside Ulm, the rolling wooded hills and valley farmlands are mostly bright green.

Blautopf in German means Blue Pot, not exactly an enchanting name for what is purported to be a scenic spot with an unusual underground geological formation.



Federal Republic of Germany

October 30, 2016


Der Ulmer Spatz


“Why all the birds everywhere?” I asked Mark, my host and friend. 

On my leisurely walk this morning, I spot colorful and creative sculptures of birds attached to the walls above the front door of shops and businesses.  There’s even a sculpture of a bird atop the cathedral.   And one lady in town decorated her window curtains with birds as the motif!  

 “Why all the birds?”



Federal Republic of Germany

October 29, 2016

My Cousins and the Stolpersteine

Otto Polatschek is gone but not forgotten.

Lisa Polatschek is gone but not forgotten.

In Ulm, Germany, Otto inherited a retail shoe business from his parents Alois Polatschek (1879-1929) and Paula née Brumlik Polatschek (1883-1932).  But as the Nazi menace in Germany became more threatening, Otto sold his business to the Werdich family and fled with his wife Lisa to Berlin.

Turpan City

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region


September 27, 2016


What better way to appreciate and capture the essence of a place * than to stroll along its boulevards and to wander through the markets?

Turpan is buzzing with activity.  The streets are filled with fast moving vehicles that are decidedly Chinese in design.  Battery operated motorbikes or hybrid automobiles or low emission trucks and buses compete for space with a host of creatively designed mini-cars that can carry a small amount of freight or a family.  Now in late summer, the motorized carriages are all open air.