Postcard from Frankfurt, Germany: Impressions prior to following in Goethe’s path

Above: Detail on Rathaus, City Hall, on Romerberg Plaza

Pristine. Perfect condition. How could ancient medieval buildings in the the historic center of Frankfurt am Main possibly look this good? Their appearance is particularly amazing in the midst of so many mid-century structures.

The answer lies in the tenacity of the people in this region. Below is how the plaza appeared following the arrival of Allied troops as World War II drew to its costly close.

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Postcard from Burgos, Spain: A few parting impressions

Above, pollarded plane trees framing Paseo del Espolon

The Scarecrow, who was in the lead, walked forward to the tall tree where there was an opening to pass into, but just as he came under the first branches they bent down and twined around him, and the next minute he was seized by the long branches and raised from the ground and flung headlong among his fellow travelers.”

The Wonderful World of Oz, L. Frank Baum, 1900

Remove the brilliant blue sky from the picture, and these trees appear as frighteningly eerie as those in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The severe winter haircut, pollard, of these relatives of American sycamores lining Burgos’ beautiful Paseo del Espolon reaps a huge reward for pedestrians. The trimming encourages the trees to produce a dense canopy of green leaves shading all who pass below throughout the summer, and whimsical-shaped topiaries soften the impact during the winter months.

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Postcard from Queretaro, Mexico: Bouquet from a patio of Eden

Above, orchids blooming in a patio of La Casa de los Ladrillos in Santiago de Queretaro

The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, 1911*

Offering a colorful bouquet in gratitude for the hospitality extended by our host last week in the historic center of Queretaro. Of course, we plucked these flowers virtually from his own garden filling all his patio space with plants that would rival those of any nursery. He has succeeded in creating a magical, soothing respite in the heart of city.

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