August 6-7, Back to Germany / Leipzig

A few notes on traveling to and from Denmark:

If you’re going to Copenhagen by train, you have both German and Danish options. If you go straight north, as I did, to Aarhus, you have German trains to Flensburg and Danish after, more or less. I was told there are three trains a day, Denmark is a popular vacation area AND you must have a reserved seat on the Danish trains.

I managed to get around the reservation going up, primarily because the German trains were having mechanical problems and things were backed up horribly. But leaving…I went to the train station in Aarhus, expecting to be able to get on the direct train to Hamburg. No such luck. I was able to get a seat two hours later to Flensburg (Aarhus to Fredericia, Fredericia to Flensburg — the reverse of the trip up), with two changes of train. I should mention that I managed to have three pieces of small, but heavy, luggage.

This time the Danish train was a little late, but we still made the connection in Flensburg. In Hamburg I was able to continue on to Leipzig, and that train was on time, though it arrived at almost 8 p.m.

Because the Hotel Leipzig (formerly the Ramada) was not at the train station, I took a taxi.

The next day, armed with a small city map, I hoofed it to the train station – or almost – and found a city tour. Sixteen euros, 2 hours, and windows I couldn’t take much in the way of pictures through. It was useful for orientation, however.

Leipzig was a center of music and publishing as well as the fur trade and a giant trade fair in the good old days, a part of East Germany in the less-good old days. Wagner was born here, Bach is buried here. Among the better known musicians and writers who passed through: Mahler, Schiller, Goethe, Robert Schumann, and more recently Erich Kästner.

Deutsches Buchgewerbehaus front

Deutsches Buchgewerbehaus front, just down the street from the hotel.

Deutsches Buchgewerbehaus side with an architectural add-on that I found interesting.

Deutsches Buchgewerbehaus side with an architectural add-on that I found interesting.

Deutsches Buchgewerbehaus - side door

Deutsches Buchgewerbehaus – side door

A year or so ago, I was watching a TV series, Tierärztin Dr. Mertens, (Veterinarian Dr. Mertens), about a female vet at the Leipzig Zoo. I’m not particularly interested in zoos, but I was hooked on the series — and very upset when ARD decided it couldn’t be shown out of Germany and blocked it on my computer. At any rate, I spent almost four hours at the zoo — lost half the time because I was following signs and not the map. Because of the heat, most of the spaces were empty / occupied by hidden critters.TV

It’s a really interesting place, where many animals are separated by water and low fences from the people. I asked a zoo employee if the zoo had problems with people climbing into the enclosures. She said not so far, that Germans are careful about their children.

After that I walked back to the main train station, looked around the many stores. The train station has about three levels — one for the trains and two for shops. It looks fairly new in that it’s clean. It claims about 140 shops and eateries on two levels — including McDonalds, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts.

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August 5, Ebeltoft and around Aarhus

After a quick (and expensive) breakfast at the hotel, I took myself to the bus station to catch Bus 123 to Ebeltoft. The clerk at the hotel the previous evening gave me a map and showed me where the station was. For 160 dkk (just under $25) round trip, I take off. The bus driver, not the youngest, understands me and speaks limited English.

Once in Ebeltoft, it’s a bit of a hike to the Glasmuseet. I’m there a few minutes early — it’s been so hot up to now. Today it’s rather cold and windy, a drop from the 90s to around 70 with a windchill factor. And I sent my down jacket home…Draw

The museum is pretty nice. The young woman at the reception desk speaks a few words of English. The exhibit has a flyer in Danish, in German and in English, so I’m OK on that. I wander through, taking lots of photos. The exhibit is modern Scandinavian glass artists, mostly glass blowers. It’s an interesting exhibit, including a short film by one and several light and sound pieces. On the top floor is more educational info and things for children to do with glass.

Outside is a separate building where the glass blowers work. Today a young man and woman are the team — it turns out they’re French. The man spent time at Cerfav in Vannes-le-Chatel (where I was in 2015 to visit) and worked at Baccarat (where Jacqueline took me two weeks ago). Small world. I talked to him in a break, but he wasn’t too impressed.

The good thing here is that people were coming to the museum. Several had quite young children (as in high chairs necessary), but at least they’re out and visiting (in Claret, Jacqueline and I were the only people in the museum; in Carmaux I was joined by a family with three children).

The museum has a little restaurant, very modern and nice. The menu was in Danish and Danish, so I told the young waitress that I was a vegetarian, no fish or meat. She pointed me to a potato and cheese dish that she said was typically Danish (as were all the dishes on the menu). I could pick out words here and there from German — in this case Kartoffel… I just wasn’t sure what went with the potatoes.

Lunch at the Glass Museum in Ebeltoft

Lunch at the Glass Museum in Ebeltoft

It started as a slice of bread, covered with sliced boiled potatoes and a soft cheese, with radishes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, a couple of asparagus spears and lots of various greens. It was quite good — just a surprise.

I had been there for about three hours and that was enough, so I set out to find the bus stop. I decided to take a different route and see if I could manage not to get too lost. In the process, I found the heart of Ebeltoft, which is quite old and quite picturesque.

A lot of little cafes were open, along with a fair number of stores. I didn’t see a lot of glass, though what I did see seemed to be a lot of the same artists as the museum gift shop offered.

Eventually, I did find the bus stop, no thanks to my phone, which was going to send me to Thailand (I asked for Bus 123 stops…apparently that’s a big deal there).

On the way back, a whole group of teenagers — maybe 25 — got on the bus with their camping backpacks. It was full, full, full.

Back in Aarhus, I wandered back to the hotel, noticing a giant church (the Aarhus Cathedral) in the area. After dropping my stuff, I set out to look around. I could not have picked a better location for a hotel. It’s around the corner from the Aarhus Theater, close to the pedestrian shopping area, around the corner from 7-11, McDonalds and Starbucks (my grande latte here would cost about $7.50, instead of $4.80). I wandered through Magazin, a large, upscale department store that’s open every day from 10 to 8 (10 to 20). Depressing to see how much clothes cost… These included Hugo Boss, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger and a few other brands I’ve heard of and several that were unfamiliar.

Just a note: I keep hearing that everyone in Europe speaks English, especially the young people. I have not found that to be the case. I did get a brownie and a roll at a bakery in the  department store, and the young guy there did quite well. Otherwise, it seems that in out-of-the-way places like Ebeltoft, English is less common, though I did hear quite a bit from visitors.

Tomorrow it’s back to Germany and a few days in Leipzig.

more photos to come

August 1-2, Stuttgart

Wednesday Sylvie had to work. I went with her into Stuttgart — she went to the Planetarium, I went shopping. But first she took me to a crafts store so I could get some pierced earring backs. It was a neat store — I spent about an hour, checking out everything. I found some purple ribbon in different shades than I get at home and a butterfly shape to use for designs.

On the way I saw Kaufhof. My daughter asked me to get some Schulmappen for the kids — those are cases that contain all the pencils, markers, pencil sharpener, etc. I also got a box and some tape. Wandering around, I found a post office where I could buy a couple more boxes and a drug store to get some of my favorite Saptil stain remover in a tube. I wandered around the castle area…

Schloss (castle) in Stuttgart

Schloss (castle) in Stuttgart

Tents around the square by the Schloss, apparently for an event

Funky building with panels that look like crinkled aluminum foil

Funky building with panels that look like crinkled aluminum foil

Then it was back to meet Sylvie to go home. The planetarium used to be in the middle of a park with lots of trees. Then came “Bahnhof 21”, the train station that will probably be finished in 2100… The trees were chopped and replaced by this…

Construction area by the train station

Construction area by the train station

Construction of the new train station

Construction of the new train station

 

The planetarium is now behind a fence and not so easy to reach as it used to be.

The planetarium is now behind a fence and not so easy to reach as it used to be.In the evening, I put the boxes together and filled them up — two to my daughter and two to myself in care of a friend. My luggage was way too heavy — I had my down jacket and lots of socks, expecting to find some cool weather. Since it’s anything but, I decided to send the things home instead of dragging them around. I also had gotten some documentation at Claret and Carmaux and, of course, Jacqueline gave me some things.

Thursday I read while Sylvie went swimming in a local lake. Then she took me to a post office in a local store, where I spent a small fortune sending packages. After that, we went to visit her 90-year-old mother. We took her out to lunch — mom kept saying she wasn’t very hungry and was tired. However, at the restaurant she scarfed down her senior lunch and part of Sylvie’s as well. It was a really nice covered patio. Sylvie and I had spaghetti with a nice tomato and vegetable sauce, mom had a smaller portion of a local specialty with meat patties.

Interesting colored glass windows at Sylvie's mom's house

Interesting colored glass windows at Sylvie’s mom’s house

We went back to Sylvie’s mom’s. Sylvie goes a couple of times a week to help clean there. Then we stopped at a friend of hers who was celebrating her birthday. Michaela is an artist working with clay who restores old porcelain ovens, among other items. She’s also working with some Syrian refugees. One family arrived while we were still there: dad, who’s got a German driver’s license despite not being able to read and who works taking care of parks; mom, an attractive young woman in a head scarf who speaks rather good German and who will start training as a dental assistant in September; and a cute daughter without front teeth, so I’m guessing she’s six or so. They represent a success story for refugees — able to fit in pretty well.

Then it was back to Sylvie’s and packing to leave in the morning.

July 29, Albi, Carmaux

After getting the apartment closed up, we set out for Albi. Passing through one town, we found a giant detour. Trying to get back on track, we stumbled on a small parade celebrating the wine harvest.

Then it was on to Albi, a little north of Toulouse in southwest France. Many of the buildings are made of bricks, including the cathedral, which is one of the largest buildings I’ve ever seen.

more photos coming

Jacqueline took me to Blaye l. mines, where her husband grew up. We just passed through the village when we found the glass museum of Carmaux.

 

July 27, 2018 – Halle de Verre, Claret, and more

We set out by the port of Sète, where we saw huge ships that apparently run between France and Morocco. Outside Sète is a huge saltwater “pond” (I would be more inclined to call it a marsh) that seems to have some low-growing vegetation.

The goal of my trip to France is to visit two glass museums, one in Claret, north of Montpellier, and one at Carmaux, north of Toulouse and Albi. Today is Claret, reached by some very back roads, but now I’ve seen a lot of the south of France.

The idea is to write an article about some of the glass museums for a Tucson publication, including “professional” photos. We’ll see. We arrived at Claret about 10:45. This gives us a little over an hour and a half before the museum has a two-hour lunch break.

Halle de Verre, Claret

Halle de Verre, Claret

After the Deutsches Museum für Modernes Glas in Rödental, Germany, plus some other U.S. museums, this is a let-down. I found it online, so I wanted to check it out. If Jacqueline hadn’t driven me, I would have been all day getting there — train to Montpellier, tram to somewhere, then bus to Claret, where I’m not sure there was even a hotel.

The museum is on two floors. We had a reduced admission because they were doing some kind of work. On the first floor there’s a very complete history of glass, along with reproductions of some of the old pieces, and information about modern glass techniques. These are explained through some short videos, all in French (of course — we’re in France…). There’s also a very nice gift shop, with local / French artists.

Piece in the current exhibit

Piece in the current exhibit

Upstairs is the current exhibit, which is made up of French glass artists, many of whom are connected to large educational facilities. This includes one at Vannes-le-Chatel, which Jacqueline and I visited a couple of years ago.

After Claret we stopped at the Abbaye of Vermagne, a vineyard to buy some wine, then the town of Marseillan, where we bought more wine, looked around and I had a cup of coffee. Then it was back to the Cap.

The Abbaye of Vermagne was pretty interesting.

Abbaye de Valmagne, built in 1139

Abbaye de Valmagne, built in 1139

I’m not “into” churches — this one is huge. The property is full of trees, so it’s much cooler than many other places.

Church at Valmagne, Jacqueline is front left

Church at Valmagne, Jacqueline is front left

Wine barrels in the church at Abbaye de Valmagne

Wine barrels in the church at Abbaye de Valmagne

The church has huge barrels for wine — it’s in private hands and has been for some 7 generations. It produces a regional wine, though we didn’t buy any. It dates from 1139. Its claim to fame was that one of the heads of the abbey decided, around 1575, that he wasn’t going to be a Catholic anymore, so he led a group to slaughter all the monks and the 80-year-old man who took care of the wine in those days. The abbey was pretty much destroyed. A modern piece of stained glass was made from fragments and two new stained glass windows have been created.

Small stained glass window created from fragments of an old window

Small stained glass window created from fragments of an old window

Stained glass window at Valmagne, one of two remaining

Stained glass window at Valmagne, one of two remaining

Detail from one of the existing stained glass windows at Valmagne

Detail from one of the existing stained glass windows at Valmagne

Second stained glass window at Valmagne

Second stained glass window at Valmagne

Fountain under grape arbor at Valmagne

Fountain under grape arbor in courtyard at Valmagne

Shaded road, this near the abbey, but we passed by many like this

Shaded road, this near the abbey, but we passed by many like this

We went to La Madeleine winery in Marseillan (my granddaughter is also Madeleine). It’s a picturesque little town, as are all the towns in the area, with narrow streets.

Then it was back to Cap d’Agde. I was disappointed not to see any flamingos after Jacqueline told me that they were in the pond between Marseillan and Sète.

After dinner (never before 8 p.m.), we took a long walk around part of Cap d’Agde. There was to be an eclipse of the moon, but the sky was covered in fog, so we didn’t see anything.

more photos to come

July 22, 2018, France

The train from Basel to Strasbourg via Offenburg, Germany, had a problem. This meant a delay, which resulted in an even longer delay in getting to my destination, Saverne.  I ended up arriving in Strasbourg with no train to Saverne for about 3 hours. With some effort the night before, i had purchased the ticket from Strasbourg to Saverne with the SNCF (French train system) app. However, the e-ticket was only good for that train, and I’d missed it. I explained this (in my best French) to an SNCF employee who gave me a note about the change in trains. No one checked my ticket.

In fact, no one checked passports going from Switzerland (non-EU) to Germany or France (both EU). The man sitting in front of me as we left Basel had his ID checked by two young women / German customs officers. I don’t know if he did something suspicious or if they were just spot-checking, but it was interesting to watch them work.

Jacqueline and her husband, André, picked me up in Saverne and took off for the town of Baccarat, home of the famous crystal. We were late, because of my train problems. We did get a chance to look at the Baccarat jewelry shop and the main shop, but we just missed the museum. On the way back to the car, we stopped in the church there St. Remy de Baccarat — an extreme opposite of Einsiedeln: stone, simple, gorgeous colored windows (created by Baccarat). The windows were for the most part just colored glass, not stained glass.

Then it was on to Seichamps, outside Nancy, dinner and conversation.

 

May 4, 2018, New York

Friday I went into Manhattan. Thanks to the young guy at the front desk — who was still on duty the next day, I headed for the High Line, a park/walkway where a railroad used to run. It’s also near Chelsea, where a friend told me I’d find lots of art galleries.

After a couple of queries, I was directed to the Heller Gallery, which had phenomenal glass pieces. I was allowed to take photos, though I can’t say my little camera / phone did particularly well with the lighting. Here are a few:

Josepha Gasch-Muche

Josepha Gasch-Muche. slightly different — not thin slices of clear glass

A different Lino Tagliapietra - fused, not blown

A different Lino Tagliapietra – fused, not blown

 

 

 

Steffen Dam, The Secret Life of Plants

Steffen Dam, The Secret Life of Plants

Amber Cowan

Amber Cowan

I checked out a few other places, then headed back to Penn Station and Hicksville.

In the late afternoon John arrived by car from his new home in Massachusetts. He called Hank Neimark, and we all met for dinner on the pleasant patio of Hendrick’s Tavern in Roslyn. I hadn’t seen Hank since maybe 1978 or 1979 (at a WCWP reunion I organized with Stewart Ain, another station member). I didn’t know him well, so I was happy he remembered me.

 

January 2018, Indio, California

For a while I’d been wanting to take a workshop with Paul Messink, who does multilayers of glass to get a lot of dimension (www.paulmessink.com). Paul is now based in Indio, California, which is about a five-hour drive from Tucson. I finally had enough money and the time to take his workshop in Indio, the closest place and his home studio.

It turned out, though I contacted him late, that he had space. In fact, we were only two in the workshop. I mentioned at Cactus Wren Artisans that I was going. Sharon, formerly my framer and now working in painting on glass and other artistic pursuits, mentioned a friend nearby was getting ready to move. She really wanted to see him and his wife before they left. As it turned out, the week of my workshop was the last weekend they would be there. So, Sharon decided to go along to see them.

Paul mentioned beforehand a glass exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum. This is a little more than a half hour from Indio. I really wanted to see the exhibit and knew that once the workshop began, I wouldn’t have time. So I got Sharon to hustle and we left early, so we’d have time on Monday after we arrived to get to the museum.

The exhibit was only women artists working in glass. These included some big names and some really interesting pieces:

Debra Moore, Orchid in Vase

Debra Moore, Orchid in Vase

Ginny Ruffner, Pastich-ing Pablo

Ginny Ruffner, Pastich-ing Pablo

Anja Isphording

Anja Isphording

Karen LaMonte, cast glass

Karen LaMonte, cast glass

Detail from Karen LaMonte's cast glass dress

Detail from Karen LaMonte’s cast glass dress

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space from one side

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space from one side

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space, another view

Lucy Lyon, Personal Space, another view

Mary Van Cline, The Voyage Along the Curve of Time

Mary Van Cline, The Voyage Along the Curve of Time, a large and very different piece

Nancy Callan, Plum Eddy Droplet

Nancy Callan, Plum Eddy Droplet

There were more, but these were the ones that photographed the best and that I liked the most. This was part 1. Part 2 will come around June.

Meantime, we had full days of workshop Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and a half-day Friday.

My pieces turned out OK — Jackie, the other student’s — were, of course, nicer. She was great to work with, and Paul was an excellent instructor. We used enamels on multiple layers of glass, first fired at a low temperature individually, then put together and fired with dams.

My final project in pieces

My final project in pieces

Finished trees, based on a photo by Jan Mayer, member of the Tucson Mountains Artist Collective.

Finished trees, based on a photo by Jan Mayer, member of the Tucson Mountains Artist Collective. I liked the photo better….

Sunset piece, based on a photo by Mary Ann, in my French conversation group.

Sunset piece, based on a photo by Mary Ann, in my French conversation group. I got a lot of glare in the photo, but I liked the way the piece turned out.

We started back as soon as the workshop was finished and spent the night in Gila Bend, Arizona. We had a spectacular sunset:

Sunset near Gila Bend, Arizona

Sunset near Gila Bend, Arizona

Sharon knew of a restaurant there — with a space motif. Who would have thought, in the middle of Nowhere, Arizona, and it had Phoenix prices for the motel, so we stayed elsewhere. We enjoyed dinner at the Space Age Restaurant, however.

Space Age Restaurant, with the Best Western motel in Gila Bend, AZ

Space Age Restaurant, with the Best Western motel in Gila Bend, AZ

Thursday, May 18, 2017, Crossing the waters to Victoria / Butchart Gardens

SPOILER ALERT: Not interested in flowers? Skip this post… it’s going to have lots of flower photos….

The first challenge was getting out of the parking garage, which proved far easier than getting into it and parked.

This seemed really tight to me...

This seemed really tight to me…

We’re off on an adventure: taking the ferry (with the rental car) from Vancouver to Victoria, going to Butchart Gardens, and sailing onward from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washinton, Friday.

Using Google Maps on my iPhone we had a terrific tour of San Francisco and traffic congestion on the way to catch the ferry at Tsawassen, apparently close a First Nations facility. BC Ferries did a great job of getting the 200+ cars loaded (and unloaded) quickly. Note to self: these types of trips are best reserved in advance, not the same day.

View from the ferry, crossing from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

View from the ferry, crossing from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

Islands and boat through the window of the ferry to Victoria

Islands and boat through the window of the ferry to Victoria

We decided to spring for the CAD 12.00 a person and ride in luxury in the more private area. It was a great deal: quite, more comfortable seats, and all the coffee or tea and breakfast you wanted to eat.

Comfort area on the ferry to Victoria

Comfort area on the ferry to Victoria

The 1.5-hour ferry trip left us in Port Swartz. Thanks to my phone, we found Butchart Gardens, though signs seemed to be lacking. Also, it wasn’t on the map, though it’s a very major attraction. We’re still trying to figure that one out.

Flowers at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

Flowers at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

More painted daisies

More painted daisies

More purple flowers

More purple flowers

More painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

More painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

Painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

Painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

You may have guessed I like purple, and I went a little crazy with the photos of the purple flowers.

I’ve grouped the photos — the garden is huge, and this “tour” is in no particular order.

There’s a view of boats and water from the gardens:

Butchart Cove Lookout

Butchart Cove Lookout

Butchart Cove Lookout, without the trees

Butchart Cove Lookout, without the trees

Now for more flowers. I was fascinated by the variety of tulips.

Red/yellow tulip with yellow fringe

Red/yellow tulip with yellow fringe or spikes

Yellow tulip with red highlights

Yellow tulip with red highlights

Several purple tulips with little yellow spots.

Several purple tulips with little yellow spots. They all seemed that way, so I don’t think it was a disease….

Tulips in several shades

Tulips in several shades

Red tulips with fringed white edges

Red tulips with fringed white edges

Funky yellow tulips

Funky yellow tulips

Pink tulips

Pink tulips

Actually, there were lots of other flowers in bloom, too:

Narcissus

Narcissus

Canada is celebrating 150 years

Canada is celebrating 150 years

 

Interesting yellow flower

Interesting yellow flower

These leaves sprout flowers

These leaves sprout flowers

Lilacs

Lilacs

 Lilacs of another color

Lilacs of another color – I’d never seen this color before….

I've seen these before in orange.

I’ve seen these before in orange.

Most flowers that are blue aren’t really, really blue. But this one is:

Again, the rhododendrons were huge…

White rhododendron, among the largest I've ever seen

White rhododendron, among the largest I’ve ever seen

And had some colors I didn’t recall seeing:

Purple and white rhododendron

Purple and white rhododendron

Yellow rhododendron

Yellow rhododendron

Here and there we found glass:

Stained glass sign for ice cream at Butchart Gardens

Stained glass sign for ice cream at Butchart Gardens

Gorgeous fused glass piece in the artisan shop at Butchart Gardens

Gorgeous fused glass piece in the artisan shop at Butchart Gardens

Glass flowers, ones you can take home

Glass flowers, ones you can take home

And more flowers, with fountains:

Waterfall with flowers at Butchart Gardens

Waterfall with flowers at Butchart Gardens

Frog fountain

Frog fountain

Changing fountain

Changing fountain

Fish fountain

Fish fountain

Dragon Fountain

Dragon FountainLots of trees:

Trees in the garden

Trees in the garden

An interesting tree in Butchart Gardens

An interesting tree in Butchart Gardens

Up close , maybe a Japanese maple?

Up close , maybe a Japanese maple?

Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens

Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens

The merry-go-round cost a couple of dollars extra and had lots of less-than-traditional critters, such as this cat with a fish in its mouth.

Merry-go-round

Merry-go-round

Outside is a bronze merry-go-round horse, “Annabelle”:

Bronze merry-go-round horse, Annabelle

Bronze merry-go-round horse, Annabelle

And there’s a boar:

Bronze boar in the gardens

Bronze boar in the gardens

We can’t forget the totem poles. The gardens offers more, but here are two that lent themselves to photos:

Totem pole in the gardens

Totem pole in the gardens

Another totem pole

Another totem pole

And as we leave, some more of the painted daisies:

Painted daisies...more purple!

Painted daisies…more purple!

After about two hours of wandering the garden, snapping about 200 photos and having a gelato cone, we headed for the hotel.

Our stay in Victoria will be in the following post, though it’s the same day.

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017, Vancouver, B.C.

Today was our hop on-hop off day for Vancouver, B.C. First, we had to find the bus. A sign we had seen was not a stop. What we did see was a young homeless guy, asleep in front of a Tim Horton’s (like Dunkin’ Donuts).

Young homeless man in Vancouver, BC

Young homeless man in Vancouver, BC

He was still there, but in a different position, when we went to dinner several hours later. We were surprised by the number of apparent homeless folks wandering around. The city seems so vibrant and well-off, though apparently house prices are similar to those in California (not affordable for most people). We saw a lot of nice cars and well-dressed people, and the shops were not cheap.

After the false start, we did find the busstop, almost directly across from our hotel. The bus had rolled-down plastic windows, so it was warmer than the bus in San Francisco. We also couldn’t shoot photos through the plastic.

The weather was in the 50s and pretty overcast, until late in the day (for the second day it was this way). In the Robson area, where our hotel is and which is near Stanley Park, there are a lot of high-rise apartment buildings. Most have balconies, which reminds me a little of Bern (Switzerland), where I lived for a while.

Apartment building in Vancouver, BC

Apartment building in Vancouver, BC

Some buildings even have trees growing on their roofs…

Entrance to Trump Tower in Vancouver, BC

High-rise building with trees growing on the roof in Vancouver, BC

The Vancouver Public Library was an interesting building — round with a straight part that had coffee shops in it. The library itself seemed to have about eight floors.

Vancouver Public Library

Vancouver Public Library

Out front we found this sign:

Sign in front of the Vancouver Public Library

Sign in front of the Vancouver Public Library

Inside we found that Canadians really are much more open-minded than U.S. citizens:

Vancouver Public Library has NO problems...

Vancouver Public Library has NO problems…

One stop was Granville Island, a manmade island that began as a sandbar. It’s supposed to be home to all kinds of artists. However, we found mostly souvenir shops with stuff from China, India and the Philippines (wood). There was one really nice co-op gallery, with some interesting glass, but I didn’t take any photos. The take-away there was that the artists in the gallery were not allowed to sit the gallery, because of “conflict of interest”. Other members of the group sit the gallery. I should have asked for more details.

Granville Island, an artificial tourist place

Granville Island, an artificial tourist place

We found the Chinatown area in Vancouver:

Gate to Chinatown, Vancouver, BC

Gate to Chinatown, Vancouver, BC

Sign on a building in Chinatown, Vancouver, BC

Sign on a building in Chinatown, Vancouver, BC

Closed for fixing the pond was the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden:

View of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden in Vancouver, BC

View of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden in Vancouver, BC

One of the stops was in Gastown, which has a long story connected to it, as well as a steam-driven clock:

Steam-run clock, Gastown area of Vancouver, BC

Steam-run clock, Gastown area of Vancouver, BC

We stopped by the Convention Center area to find the tourism office. We also found a couple of ships. This is one:

Giant cruise ship docked in Vancouver, BC

Giant cruise ship docked in Vancouver, BC

And the Convention Center without its grassy roof:

Convention Center from below (grassy roof doesn't show)

Convention Center from below (grassy roof doesn’t show)

Although it seems like there are some glass artists around, I haven’t found tons of fused or other glass yet. This was in an empty shop window, advertising for Ethereal Glass.

Ethereal Art, handblown glass from the area

Ethereal Art, handblown glass from the area

On the way back to the hotel at the end, we came across this display case of what may be Dale Chihuly glass, with a fountain:

Blown glass in a display case by a high-rise apartment building. Chihuly???

Blown glass in a display case by a high-rise apartment building. Chihuly???

Tomorrow Vancouver Island / Victoria /Butchart Gardens