Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mayor Pradel

Naperville's Mayor Pradel was in the hospital for a few days recently and I just wanted to take a moment and wish him a speedy recovery.  Seeing as how this is Illinois and we do have a well earned reputation for politicians with the morals of street-corner thugs, it is wonderful to have a mayor like ours.  He is at every function, every event, every parade, every ribbon cutting, and I can't imagine a person ever being a bigger cheerleader for a community than him.

When my son was in 3rd grade he came down the stairs one morning for school dressed in his nicest button down shirt, with his clip-on bowtie fixed firmly in place.  I said, "Wow, what are you all dressed up for?"  He looked at me a little surprised and said, "Mayor Pradel's coming to our class today."  That's the only time he got dressed up like that in his 5 years of elementary school.  Meeting the mayor is a big deal, and I'm glad we have somebody like him that the kids can look up to.

My daughter's class had a mock city council meeting, and the mayor surprised them by dropping by.  They were all thrilled.  By the way, my daughter is the one in the background in black with the big camera.  She decided that her role for the mock council meeting was to act as the press photographer.  And yes, it made me smile :) 
Take it easy and get better soon, Mayor Pradel.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Germany Trip

I have been doing some traveling lately for work.  In the past 5 weeks I've been to Boston, Toronto, New Jersey, and Germany.  I really enjoy traveling, and each place provided me with a good story or two.  But Germany was the most fun, and I thought I'd share some photos from that experience. 

 I was there with two other people; Tom- a photographer I work with, and Dan- a designer with an agency in Chicago.  We spent the first part of the trip in Schesslitz.  I'd never heard of the place, but with a name that sounds like a Milwaukee microbrew I knew it has to be the real deal.  And I was right.  It is a very tiny and picturesque Bavarian village that looks like things hadn't changed there in 40 years.    I felt like I'd walked on to a movie set.  We stayed in Hotel Schloss Burgellern, which is a beautiful old mansion with just the sort of five course dinner that you want after an 11 hour plane flight.

We were actually given rooms in a nearby building.  We were told that it was because the TVs in those rooms had a few channels in English.  I didn't really need to get caught up on any BBC comedies, but oh well.  The first image below is the yellow building we stayed in.  The second image shows you the main road in and out of the village.  And yes, is really that quaint and cosy.  If you ever really want to get away from it all, this is the place to do it.  There were many beautiful barns in the village.  Several of them were constructed with big, heavy beams.  And then in-between the beams were sticks that were covered up using a homemade mixture of mud and manure.  It sounds terrible, but looks wonderful :) 

The second half of the trip was in Nuremberg.  Our driver Bert drove us there while doing 180 k/hr on the Autobahn, and playing us his unique mix of music which ventured back and forth between the Ramones and German soccer team fight songs.

As you have probably noticed, the area had quite a snow storm just before we arrived.  It continued to flake off and on while we were there, occasionally giving me the impression that I was walking around in a souvenir snowglobe.  Nuremburg is great for getting around on foot, with it's expansive pedestrian shopping areas and grand cathedrals.  It also has something it's quite proud of- the Nuremberg bratwurt. 

Nuremberg brats are different that regular ones because they're smaller.  A little larger than a Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, they are sold by numerous street vendors, and are placed three at a time on a small bun of handmade bread.  Of course we had to give them a try.

After some shopping we stopped for dinner at Zum Gulden Stern, which turned out to be the oldest sausage restaurant in the world!  Yeah, I know!  You'd think that this is something I would have checked off my list long ago.  But after a sizable German beer and 8 (yes, 8!) more Nuremberg brats I think I had enough of the real Bavarian experience to last me a few years.  At least I finished it off with an apple strudel... you know, for the fruits and veggies. 

You can view many more photos from the trip here:

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