France – Nancy, Luneville, Seichamps, Strasbourg – October 9-11, 2014

After a very circuitous route from Tucson, Arizona, via Los Angeles (with a mechanical problem that made us an hour late leaving) and Washington, D.C. (where the hour late meant a run from the farthest gate in Terminal D to the farthest gate in Terminal C), I arrived in Zurich (where, amazingly, my checked suitcase was waiting for me). I had been feeling like a cold was coming on the day before I left. When I arrived, I wasn’t feeling any better. I did add minutes to my Swiss cell phone and get my train ticket to Nancy, where my friend Jacqueline lives. Once there, we walked around Nancy and had tea on Place Stanislaus, the center that had some cool metal art and plants. This is special, only in fall.

Place Stanislas, Nancy, October 2014, with special garden installation

Place Stanislas, Nancy, October 2014, with special garden installation

Sculpture in Place Stanislas, Nancy, October 2014

Sculpture in Place Stanislas, Nancy, October 2014

Place Stanislas, Nancy, France

Place Stanislas, Nancy, France

Place Stanislas, Nancy, October 2014

Place Stanislas, Nancy, October 2014, with garden and sculptures

Friday: Jacqueline had a busy morning of museums planned, but I suggested it would be better if I went back to bed, which I did. After lunch we went to an interesting art exhibit in Luneville, about a half hour from Seichamps, where she actually lives. The invited guest artist was Yan Zoritchak, who works with optical glass. His pieces were quite different from many artists.

Yan Zoritchak at Lunéville

Yan Zoritchak at Lunéville

Saturday: We started at the city hall of Seichamps, with a weekend environmental exhibit. Most of the artists were photographers, with some very cool pieces. One I liked especially was closeups of dragonflies and their faces. In the afternoon, we went to an international jumping competition nearby. Jacqueline owns a stable in Seichamps, and I used to live to ride. It was quite interesting, but I realized I can forget about going back to horses. It’s just too expensive. Jacqueline said the horses there were in the 1 million euro range.  Whew.

Competitor at international horse show near Nancy

Rider takes a fence during a class at the international horse show in Nancy in October 2014


International horse show near Nancy, October 2014

Art, even at an international horse show, near Nancy in October 2014

Sunday: An early train took me to Strasbourg to meet Xavier, a former colleague from my days in Bern, and his family. I hadn’t seen them for at least four years. Louane, born in 2000, and Ianaël, had grown a lot, of course. A really nice family.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France


My friends and I had a nice lunch (inside) at this restaurant inStrasbourg, France

My friends and I had a nice lunch (inside) at this restaurant inStrasbourg, France

Then it was on to Stuttgart, where I went immediately to the Planetarium. This is just next to the train station, but where it used to be in the midst of a forest and park, it’s now next to a perpetual construction site. In Tucson, we had Rio Nuevo, a project that was studied at great expense for years and is finally now being realized. In Stuttgart the train station, which is ugly and primitive, is supposed to be expanded and modernized. The problem: they found water leaking, but apparently not the source, so things just sit. Charges of corruption have apparently been made. No one knows for sure what’s happening or when, but the park is pretty much gone.
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Protest sign between the train station and the planetarium in Stuttgart

Protest sign between the train station and the planetarium in Stuttgart

I waited for my friend Sylvie to finish her shift at the Planetarium, then we were off to Plüderhausen, where she lives. Sylvie has a sister in Kingman, Arizona. She’s visited me twice when she’s been over to see her sister, and I’ve visited her at least that often in Germany.  

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