Archive for the 'The Map Room' Category Page 2 of 3

London Valentine’s Day


It was a busy day at Prestat, a small chocolate shop tucked away in the Princess Arcade near Piccadilly Circus. Although I had done my chocolate shopping the day before, I couldn’t help picking up a small something for Annabel.

Munich’s Fasching

Dancers dueling at the Viktualienmarkt.

I’m in Munich for a conference which has kept me inside the Bayerischer Hof for most of the week. When I got the chance to walk around today I headed straight for the Viktualienmarkt for a bratwurst and pretzel. I ate my sausage with a crowd watching rapier wielding dancers, part of Munich’s Fasching (Carnival) festivities. All around town stages and decorations, including a giant clown across the city gate, are being erected. Unfortunately I’ll miss the Dance of the Market Women at the Viktualienmarkt on Shrove Tuesday.

Street View: Then and Now

Google Street View shot of Montgomery & Washington today.

The San Francisco street scene in the mural below is set at the corner of Washington and Montgomery. We wanted to know what it looked like today so we pulled up the intersection on Street View in Google Maps. (We love using Google Earth and Google Maps to explore the world from home.) Today it’s where you’ll find the Transamerica Pyramid, near Chinatown and North Beach. There are several pre-war buildings in the neighborhood, but none of them are identifiable in the mural. Maybe the neighborhood has changed, or maybe the artist simply added street names to make it feel more real. It’s worth taking a look at the large version of the mural to see some of the details like the car accident, robbery, and the newspaper headline about John Dillinger.

Carrying-on: Holiday Flying

Boeing Dash 80 and an Air France Concorde.

Our flight on “the busiest travel day of the year” was surprisingly stress-free. We booked well ahead to secure a direct flight. After spending a night at the Denver airport last year, flying non-stop has moved up in our priorities. Booking ahead also allowed us our choice of seats. On more than a few occasions, we’ve had to negotiate with other travelers to get a seat next to our kids. And to avoid waiting at the airport, we checked-in online and printed our boarding passes at home. We also packed everything into carry-ons. Annabel and I each had a duffel, while Nettie and Peabody had backpacks. All of our bags fit under our seats. I put mine under Peabody’s as he doesn’t need the leg room. We need to fine-tune our gear and packing list, but we’ve converted to carry-on travel.

Postcards from Bad Hersfeld

Bad Hersfeld

Today we received several postcards from Moritz and his family in Bad Hersfeld, Germany. They are the owner of the Little Yellow Postauto travelbug which we brought back from Europe this summer. Moritz mentioned that their town is getting ready for Lullusfest, apparently Germany’s oldest folk festival. I couldn’t find much information on the festival on the Web, but it does include a large bonfire and the ringing of Germany’s oldest bell. We’ll add this to our list of places to visit in the Travel section.

Yeowoman Warder

Nettie at the Tower of London in 1999.

This week, Moira Cameron (not pictured above with a young Nettie) became the first female Beefeater in the 500 year history of the Yeomen Warders. The next time we are in London we hope to catch Moira between her rounds guarding prisoners and the crown jewels for a quick photo with Nettie and Peabody.

Bones and Bugs in SoHo and Berkeley

Curiosities at Evolution in SoHo.

Nettie’s natural history museum reminded me of The Bone Room in Berkeley and Evolution in SoHo. Both of these nature curiosity shops are filled with human skulls, trilobite fossils, insect displays, stuffed animals and arrow heads. Evolution goes out of its way to resemble a Victorian Gentleman’s amateur biology collection. The Bone Room feels like a Cal biology professor’s office. Both are like a trip to a mini-museum where you can take home bits of the displays.

Shack-Cago Dogs and Concretes

The Shake Shack in NY City

If your travels take you to New York City, as mine did this week, have a meal at the Shake Shack. Located in the SE corner of Madison Square Park (near the Flatiron Building), the Shake Shack is a combination roadside food stand and German beer garden. They serve great burgers, bratwurst, beer, St. Louis style frozen custard and more in an outdoor setting from 11AM to 11PM.

You Should See the Chicken

Kinder Surprise

While I didn’t make it back from Leipzig with Schultüte, I was able to gather some gifts during my layover at the Frankfurt airport. The shopping at Frankfurt’s airport is pretty dismal, but even there, I was able to get some unusual magazines for Annabel and some Kinder Surprise Eggs for Nettie and Peabody. Each Kinder Surprise contains a toy inside a plastic shell. Because they are not legally sold in the US, they’re a special treat.

Back to School in Leipzig

A window full of Schultüte

I’m in Leipzig, Germany this week for the annual Games Convention. About 150,000 kids will be converging on the city shortly to play the latest video games. Before heading to the convention hall, I took a short walk around the town center. One shop that caught my eye was a stationary store with a window full of paper cones. Called “Schultüte,” the cones are filled with school supplies, treats and small toys and given to kids on their first day of school. I’m going to see if I can make it home with a couple of these. Empty cones can be ordered through Magic Cabin.