Archive for October, 2013


The Kaltenberger Ritterturnier is the largest and longest lasting in the world. Held annually in July at Castle Kaltenberg, Geltendorf, Bavaria. It is a glorious time to spend among knights, musicians, artists and acrobats, watching archery tournaments and mingling with all sorts of folks in their medieval garments. Admiring the wonderful big horses of the knights. Not to forget the tasty down to earth food and world-famous Kaltenberg beer, brewed right here in the Castle.

The castle was built in 1292 and is currently under the proprietorship of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, the great-grandson of the last king of Bavaria, Ludwig III. [Wikipedia]. Schloss Kaltenberg changed hands many times from 1292 until 1955 when it was returned to the House of Wittelsbach. Since 1870 part of the König Ludwig Schlossbrauerei is housed in the Schloss Kaltenberg. Over 100,000 hectoliters of beer are produced there. Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and his family currently reside in the castle. The castle also offers a ballroom for events as well as two restaurants. . [WIKIPEDIA]

In 2007 I spent several months in Munich and took the train from there to Geltendorf and up to the Castle grounds, to attend that year’s Jousting Tournament. Despite a cool day and rain starting at the begin of the Knights’ Tournament, this had been a totally enjoyable and exciting experience. For me as a horse person especially, as I have had my own horses shown, raised & trained for so many years in Alberta, Canada. The entire medieval atmosphere surrounding the grounds was uplifting.


LA VILLE ROUGE et LA VILLE des ROSES. THE PINK CITY by the Atlas Mountains, Maghreb. Predominant flower is the rose. All buildings painted pink. A world class city of over a million inhabitants, dating from the year 1062, it is bustling with life day and night. Colours, flowers, roses, people and traffic – cars, donkey carts, everything. Marrakesh, or Marrakech (Berber: ⵎⵕⵕⴰⴽⵛ; Arabic: مراكش‎, Murrākuš) . It is mind boggling how much life is here. A treasure trove of culture with its old mosques, gardens, parks and palaces. It also has the largest open market square in the Maghreb, the Djemaa-el-Fna. [Jamaa el Fna (Arabic: ساحة جامع الفناء jâmiʻ al-fanâʼ]. And its large number of Riads – court yard mansions in its bustling Medina – walled old city with Souks and market squares. The Riads, some dating back to the 11th century, were originally family homes, now converted to guesthouses, cafes or private spas. Traffic here is incredible, watch out.

In March 2012 I spent one month in Marrakesh, in the 4-star hotel Dellarosa, Rue Moulay el Hassan. Unfortunately, seven days into my visit I had a bad accident, I stumbled in the street and fell hard onto the beautiful pink stone sidewalk, thereby among others twisting my foot and fracture my left foot. My plans had been, to take the train for a day trip to Casablanca, and also Fez. During that first week I only made it by bus to Essaouria, the Atlantic Coast.

I got treated in the Polyclinique du Sud, Centre de Radiologie du Sud, Rue Ibn Aicha, Gueliz, my best choice for professional medical treatment. After X-rays, I was treated by an Orthopaedic Surgeon, who taped up my foot. Nothing else could be done at this point. With taxi trips back and forth, I also got a set of crutches, and I had wheel chair service. How lucky I was, not to have broken my hip. Well, there was my one month, spending three weeks inside the Hotel (DellaRosa). I managed to take a taxi cab twice at least for a visit to the famous Jardin Majorelles (Yves Saint Laurent’s creation), and the Palais Bahia. And shorten my journeys, to quickly fly back to Canada for treatment of a big blood clot in my leg, result of that fracture.

There are fantastic train connections to all the larger cities, for example Casablanca only costs €20 return from Marrakesh. Images of Marrakech (follows my previous post) also showing a Tajine I made here in Canada [A tajine or tagine(Arabic: طاجين tajin from the Persian: تابه‎ tabe[1]) is a historically Berber[2] dish from North Africa that is named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked ].  And I made Moroccan friends, so easy to get along with.

La Tunisie – Tunisia

I visited Tunisia for the first time in 1973 and spent five weeks, visiting many beautiful and interesting villages and also the capital Tunis and many renowned historical sites. I also made many Arab friends, among them my good friend Hedi Ben Sassi, of whom I heard for the last time (by mail) in 1975 when completing my graduate studies at Syracuse University, USA.

Sidi Bou Saïd. Village en nid d’aigles sur une colline à l’entrée du Golf de Tunis, côté Nord de Tunis. Sidi Bou Saïd a longtemps étè un lieu villégiature pour la bourgeoisieTunisoise. Mais dès le début du siècle une “intelligencia“ internationale faite d’ecrivains, de peintres et d’artistes de tous genres, a adopté et habité le village.  سيدي بوسعيد قال Sidi Bou Saïd – not to confuse with Sidi Bouzid, where on December 17, 2010 the “winter of discontent” began with the self-immolation of the Arab street vendor (Tarek al-Tayeb) Muhammed Bouazizi, who hailed from Sidi Bouzid. Le village Sidi Bou Saïd aura tousjours une place spéciale dans mon cœur. Named for a figure who lived there, Abou Said ibn Khalef ibn Yahia Ettamini el Beji (previously it was called Jabal el-Menar). And famous for its blue and white structures. My re-visit came much later in the Spring of 2012, when I spent an entire month in a Hammamet resort by the Golf of Hammamet. Renewing my acquaintance with most of the 1973 visited towns and villages, including Sidi Bou Saïd.

Tunisia then and Tunisia now – I could hardly see any difference. Public bus services had improved, we did not have to sit by the side of the road waiting. Then again, Tunisia had always been more liberal in their culture and relationship with the Western world than other Maghreb countries. Yet, it seemed that time had stood still for the Tunisians, despite all the sociopolitical demonstrations and upheavals following the winter of 2010, with the “Arab Spring” in 2011 which was supposed to bring about a change in most of the Arab countries involved. At the foremost Tunisia followed by Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, then Morocco, Jordan, Iraq.

Recently published on my other blog  my experiences in all sorts and aspects of construction, renovation, fixing, repairing and similar building projects.  I need to add this: I was whining too much about my experiences with the male construction population, but have to emphasize: In all those years in Alberta, Canada, I have personally met many women, hard working women, who were doing the work of men. Mostly ranch and also construction. I also am pleased to see so many posts and videos and blogs and websites of women who do construction work – from simple to hard. I am proud to meet those women. Only I never met a woman who is my age and still doing it.