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The secret life of class reunions


A class reunion is a time machine of sorts…

By: /The American in Italia

The closest invention to a time machine is perhaps the high school reunion. Going back to the campus where you went to school every day as a teenager and experiencing that strong sense of familiarity – even though years have passed since you last set foot there – is a unique experience. The motivation behind regular reunions is similar to what drives you to reread a favorite book. Every time you do it, something new reveals itself. Perhaps it’s the campus, or the characters. Same place. Same people. Yet nothing’s the same.

Attending my reunion in May, I saw people I’d known pretty well in high school whom I barely know now. I also saw people I barely interacted with years ago, but with whom I now share something I don’t share with anyone else in my life. Only now do I see how high school and college really are the formative years of adulthood in modern America. Or, to borrow from William Carlos Williams: so much depends on a red wheelbarrow.

The motivation behind regular reunions is similar to what drives you to reread a favorite book. Every time you do it, something new reveals itself.

Looking at old pictures, I am struck by how young we all were–yet, we didn’t know it at the time. My high school classmates and teachers were the last people to know me before a series of events that were my young adulthood: my parents’ separation and divorce, my father’s marriage to a woman to whom I’d never been introduced, my mother’s diagnosis with cancer, her illness and death, my father’s subsequent silent cross-country move with his wife, and my sister’s detachment from relations with remaining family, including first and foremost with me. High school friends and classmates– though several of them have already passed on due to accidents or illness– knew me when I was a different person. And in some ways, I miss that person.

In other ways, though, I don’t miss that person at all. She was a little too sheltered to appreciate the important things. She was envious of some of her friends for all the wrong reasons. She listened to her parents even when she might have been better off listening to herself. She hadn’t yet found her voice. But she was just a kid, after all. I forgive her.

Someone once asked me what the best moment or time period in my life has been so far, and it was such a strange question. They were looking for an answer like “high school,” “college,” or “my twenties.” But honestly, I’ve always felt like the best moment is usually right now, and sometimes yet to come. My best moments are whenever I’m with people I appreciate, or when I’m so highly involved in something– be it writing, hiking, or having a deep conversation– that I forget about the moment itself.

I also saw people I barely interacted with years ago, but with whom I now share something that I don’t share with anyone else in my life.

High school was a special time of big vicissitudes. I went from a small insular Jewish school to a much larger secular private school, from undemanding academics to rigorous college-prep level academics, from rudimentary elective and extracurricular offerings to sophisticated electives, sports, and arts offerings.

I adjusted to many transitions, and then it was time to change again. I went to a large public university near extended family in southern California, spent one quarter studying abroad in Mexico and right after that went to law school in northern California, a place I’d been curious about for years.

Life can go in so many different directions… and so much of it seems to be out of our control. I recognize that through it all– including some very tough times– I have become an adaptable, resilient, and empathic person.

Joseph Campbell said, “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” I’m not sure whether he meant to inspire a simple acceptance of that life, or a more whole-hearted embrace. Perhaps he meant a continuous dance between both.

 

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These are the 15 most romantic towns to visit in Germany


These are the 15 most romantic towns to visit in Germany

 

Every year millions of tourists flock to big cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. But for anyone seeking something a little more picturesque and authentic, here are 15 of the most romantic towns and small cities in Germany.

By: Anja Samy/The Local Germany

 

1. Bamberg (nearest city – Nuremberg)

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Like Rome, this small and enchanting city is  built on seven hills and its historic architecture earned it a listing as a  UNESCO World Heritage Site Aside from a huge number of medieval half-timbered houses, some of the most beautiful buildings include the late Romanesque/early gothic  Imperial Cathedral, St Michael’s Monastery and Alterburg Castle.   But what Bamberg is most famous for is its unique old town hall, situated in the middle of a bridge.

The Regnitz river splits in the center of the city creating the “Island District”  which has a pedestrian zone full of boutique shops and restaurants. You can even take a romantic gondola ride along the waterways past the former fishing settlement, known as ‘Little Venice’. After that, why not sample some of the region’s famous smoked beer at one of Bamberg’s many breweries. Finally, for a panoramic view of the area, you can’t beat the terrace at Altenburg Castle, which sits on the highest hill in the city.

2. Monschau (nearest city – Aachen)

Photo: DPA

This picturesque medieval town with a winding river, overlooked by a castle, is ideal for a romantic trip. Monschau is a great destination any time of the year. In the summer all the restaurants have outdoor seating along the cobbled streets and every August Monschau holds an open-air music festival ,while in winter the town is home to an idyllic Christmas market .

Situated next to the Eifel National Park  on the border to Belgium, Monschau is the perfect place for nature lovers, with a large number of hiking trails around the nearby hills. The town is also home to a glassworks , which holds daily demonstrations and has an adjoining market space complete with an indoor stream.

3. Meissen (nearest city – Dresden)

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Meissen, situated on the Elbe river, is first and foremost the birthplace of European porcelain  and the items manufactured there are distinguished by two crossed blue swords. But even those who aren’t interested in the renowned Meissen ‘white gold’ will not be short of things to do.

The town is the oldest in Saxony and is considered by some to resemble Prague due to its red roofs. The gothic cathedral and adjoining 16th century castle dominate the skyline and give impressive views of the Elbe valley. Sachsen is the easternmost wine growing region in Germany, and Meissen produces mostly whites which tend to be on the dryer side. Aside from their September wine festival, throughout the year the town also hosts several art, music and culture festivals.

4. Heidelberg (nearest city – Mannheim)

Photo: DPA

Heidelberg survived the Second World War unscathed, meaning that its rich architectural history was kept intact, including its iconic castle ruins on the hill above, which are visible from all over the city. Heidelberg is also known as the centre of German 18th century Romanticism  as many influential writers such as Clemens Brentano resided there. The Altstadt is full of baroque charm and hosts a magical Christmas market with its own little forest.

Another icon of Heidelberg is the arched bridge which crosses the Neckar river. Down by the river at the Neckarwiese, you can rent boats or simply enjoy a drink with a view of the vineyards lining the valley. For a spectacular view of the area, take a romantic walk up the Philosophers Weg.  You could also take a ride on the Bergbahn, meaning ‘mountain train’, up to the Molenkur,  a small Schloss which is the perfect starting point for hikes around the area.

5. Rothenburg ob der Tauber (nearest city – Nuremberg)

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the star attraction of the famous Romantic Road , a route which passes through some of the most beautiful towns in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. It can get pretty busy, with almost 2.5 million vistors a year , but it’s not hard to see why. The mediveal walled town is truly something out of a fairytale.

Not only did the town inspire imagery in the Disney animation Pinocchio , it was also the filming location  for a very short scene involving Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and setting for the town of  Vulgaria in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Aside from the romantic cobbled streets and half-timbered buildings, one of the main draws is the year-round Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop , known as the Weihnachtsdorf, meaning ‘Christmas village’.

6. Dinkelsbuehl (nearest cities – Stuttgart and Nuremberg)

Image result for dinkelsbuehl germany

Dinkelsbühl is a Romantic Road walled city but comes with the added benefit of being slightly less touristy than other similar towns in Bavaria. Built in the 8th century and surrounded by a few fortified walls, it is essentially Rothenburg’s little sister.

The town has an interesting history as it accepted both Catholics and Protestants during the reformation. Good ways to spend your day in Dinkelsbühl include visiting the shops and cafes around the Weinmarkt  or admiring the town’s quaint architecture.

7.  Lindau (nearest cities – Stuttgart and Munich)

Photo: Wikipedia

Lindau is a city on the banks of the Bodensee, the largest lake in Germany. Situated on the border between Germany and Austria, the town has spectacular views of the surrounding Alps across the aquamarine waters.

While much of the city is situated on the mainland, the Hintere Insel, meaning ‘back island’, is a unique and almost completely isolated district. In the summer it is the perfect location for swimming, paddleboarding and boat trips, and in the winter it is an incredibly beautiful place to visit, especially when there’s snow on the many red rooves of the town and (if you’re lucky) part of the lake freezes.

8. Trier (nearest cities – Frankfurt and Bonn)

Photo: Wikipedia

Trier is the oldest city in Germany, having celebrated its 2,025th birthday in 2009 and is, therefore, a great romantic destination for history buffs. This incredible history can be seen in the large number of Roman and medieval structures which still stand there today, and Trier is naturally a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The town is known as the “Rome of the North”  and sites to see include the Roman gate, the imperial baths, the amphitheater and the 4th-century basilica, all of which are within easy walking distance of the center.

Trier is situated not far from Luxembourg, on the Moselle river. Not only does it have a rich Roman history but the town is also home to Germany’s oldest gothic church and happens to be the birthplace of Karl Mark  whose childhood house is open to visitors as a memorial museam.

9. Cochem (closest city – Bonn)

Photo: Flickr

Also situated on the Mosel river is Cochem. The town is overlooked by a majestic 11th-century castle which towers 100m above the river and is open to visitors daily.

It is the perfect stop on a river cruise and the town is surrounded by greenery, with forests, hills and, of course, vineyards. The area is known for the “queen of the white vines,” Riesling , and visitors to the area can even take a guided hike through the vineyards, stopping for breaks and wine tasting.

10. Quedlinburg (nearest city – Hannover)

Photo: DPA

Quedlinburg is a tiny town north of the Harz mountains and is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. Undamaged by war, the renaissance town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with cobbled streets, red roofs and half-timbered houses. In 2019 the town celebrates 1,100 years since King Heinrich I was crowned the first King of Germany as a single entity in 919 A.D – Heinrich was buried in Quedlinburg.

The town has a unique political history ,as it was a semi-independent state ruled by aristocratic women for 800 years until Napoleon invaded. The Abesses resided in the impressive Burgberg, meaning ‘castle mountain’, situated on the limestone hill above the town.

11. Goslar (nearest city – Hannover)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Also located in the foothills of the Harz mountains, Goslar is a great base for exploring the Harz national park. The town was officially founded in 922AD, but is thought to have been settled since pre-Roman times. Goslar is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of it’s historic mine, town gates and Imperial Palace.

Thanks to deposits of silver and copper ore at the Rammelberg mine near the town, it was one of the wealthiest trade hubs in the Middle Ages. The main square, which is home to a beautiful Christmas market, has a unique striped cobblestone design radiating from the center.

12. Görlitz (nearest city – Dresden)

Photo: DPA

Recently named the best filming location in Europe, Germany’s most eastern city, Grand Budapest Hotel , were shot across various locations in the city, as well as world-renowned films such as ‘The Reader’, ‘Monuments Men’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’.

The city is home to around 3,500 monuments spanning 500 years from renaissance to art nouveau. It is split by the Lusitzer Niesse river into a German district and a Polish district, called Zgorzelec. This mix of cultures alongside the rich history makes it a fascinating city to wander through.

13. Baden Baden (nearest city – Stuttgart)

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Germany’s most fashionable spa town is the perfect place for a romantic weekend. The town is located in the Black Forrest national park it’s a great base for hikers and nature lovers. But the main draw is, of course, the many thermal spas. These are fed by the natural mineral springs around the area which supposedly possess healing properties.

Once you’ve had your fill of the spa, head into the town to wander around the belle epoque style buildings, shop in some boutiques and visit the galleries and museums on the art and culture mile.

14. Lübeck (nearest city – Hamburg)

Photo: DPA

Lübeck is a hidden jewel in the north of the country. Situated on the Baltic Sea coast it was the Capital of the Hanseatic League from the 12th to the 17th century. It was heavily bombed during the war but much of the unique architecture survived or was reconstructed, earning it a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Lübeck’s Altstadt  is characterised by impressive brink gothic  buildings, church spires and city gates. Aside from its architecture, Lübeck also prides itself on its martzipan , and you can enjoy a large number of products based on this sweet treat in cafes, sweet shops and bakeries around the city.

15. Freiburg (nearest city- Stuttgart)

Photo: DPA

Freiburg is one of Germany’s warmest and sunniest cities, getting on average 1,700 hours of sunshine a year. It lies close to the French and Swiss borders on the edge of the Black Forest and the Altstadt is full of pretty gabled houses. The city became prosperous due to silver mining  and is also home to one Germany oldest universities,

For an excellent view of the city, a good place to sit is the beer garden on the Schlossberg  Around the city, you’re likely to stumble across streams known as  ‘Bachle ‘which run through the streets, but luckily if you do fall in one, they are not usually more than a foot wide and a few centimeters deep. The city’s sunny weather makes it a great place to visit year round, as in summer Freiburg hosts a wine festival  and in the winter there is, of course, a lovely Christmas market.

Husband branded ‘a**hole’ for wanting to divorce wife because she had his baby


A man has come under fire online after admitting he has been considering getting divorced because he didn’t want to be a dad again

Their relationship isn’t what it once was (stock photo) (Image: Getty)

By: Courtney Pochin/ Daily Mirror 

There are many reasons why a  married couple may decide to get divorced – for example if one of them has strayed or they’ve lost that loving feeling.

But you probably wouldn’t expect to hear that a husband and wife had split up because they’d had a baby.

Babies can be tough, but it turns out one man really doesn’t like the fact that his wife had his children, so much so that he’s even been thinking of leaving her.

In a post on Reddit , which has since been deleted, the unnamed man asked if he was an a**hole for “wanting to divorce [his] wife for the birth of [their] second child”.

He wants to get a divorce – because they had kids (stock photo) (Image: Getty)

 

He claims that after having their first child together, he soon realized he didn’t like being a dad and he doesn’t feel very good at it.

“I told my wife I never wanted to have another kid,” he said. “As our first got older I was looking forward to my wife and I being able to spend more time together without a kid around. I was also looking forward to being able to do more interesting things with our first born.

“Then, my wife got pregnant.”

The husband didn’t want a second kid (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)

The man says they discussed their options and made an appointment to terminate the pregnancy.

But the day before it was due to happen, the woman changed her mind and he says she “quilted” him into keeping the baby.

He adds: “Now two years on after the birth of our second, I still resent my wife. I find myself being annoyed by things she does that used to not bother me. I feel like I love our kids more than I love her.”

NEW DIVORCE LAWS: IS BREAKING UP EASIER TO DO?

Over 600 people commented on the post, with many placing the blame on the husband.

One person replied: “You are the a**hole. She didn’t guilt you into cancelling the appointment – SHE cancelled it because it was ultimately her choice to make. You should’ve had a vasectomy if you were that adamant.”

Another posted: “You are the a**hole if you don’t understand the clear and obvious consequences of having sex?? Lol. Unless the baby was produced via the mailman or your best friend? I mean please hold yourself responsible for your damn actions. You now have two children to raise, so either be a man and step it up of bail completely. These kids deserve a father that can take some damn responsibility.”

A third person didn’t think he was an a**hole for wanting to leave his wife, because everyone should be able to get divorced if they’re unhappy.

They explained: “Bottom line, you aren’t happy and you don’t want to be with someone? Leave. He WOULD be an a**hole for dumping kids who are a few years old. But he’s not doing that. He says he loves them.

“You still have a responsibility as a father, but staying would only be unhealthy for everyone involved. If you don’t want to be with her and you are unhappy, it’s clear what you need to do.”

Britain may be the first country to attack America after 45’s visit


Image result for donald trump walks in front of the queen

She’s was not Amused 

Forget Russia or North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.  Britain may be the first country to attack the US.    The official mouthpiece of the US has landed in the UK,

So far the man who personally has lost ONE BILLION DOLLARS. Is advising the country on Brexit.    His need to attack British politicians is uniting Brits all of the county.

Last year, he broke protocol by keeping the 93 year old Monarch waiting for 15 minutes.   Neither he or his wife bowed to the Queen and  he walked in front of the Queen.  No one walks in front of the Queen.  That action caused a stir on social media in Britain.

At least he didn’t push her Majesty .

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The President has once again attacked  London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan . He has called him short and stone cold loser.

Before she was royalty, The President attacked Megan Markle who said she would move to Canada if he was elected President.   His response was “I didn’t know she was nasty” .  In Trumpian Style, he denied ever saying it and it was fake news.   Of course is a tape.   The good news, he wont cross paths with the Duchess or her husband Prince Harry, on this visit .

Newsworthy(Fake):  Donald in planning to talk Trade with the Brits.  Only on the condition that they agree to a Tariff before they meet.

There will be several protests during his three day visit. The largest will take place tomorrow.  Some pro,but most anti Trump.

 

Image result for baby trump balloon

In the event, he doesn’t see Baby Trump.

Some clever Brits made their own signs below than can be seen on       Air Force One

 

“Bragging Rights”

Donald J Trump has had more protesters than Presidents Clinton,Bush, and Obama.

No fake or Alternate Facts!

CityFella

“Silly White House” Part 161W “Hiding the USS John McCain Warship


Related image

 

They’re a chuckle a minute. Those silly willy staffers at the White House.

The Wall Street Journal first reported there were conversations about keeping the USS John McCain out of King Trump’s sight while he was in Japan.  WSJ reported a tarp was put in place to cover the war hero’s name.

With McCain’s names on their uniforms,, they gave the sailors on the ship the day off.

The Navy said, No way, these are all LIES!!!

But the WSJ had receipts and pictures, some in full color HD of the tarp blocking McCain’s name. Finally, Officials acknowledged there was a tarp and was ordered removed.

The Navy was protecting the Prez.  Knowing his deep dark love for John McCain.

Donald Trump had no knowledge and wasn’t harmed in the skulduggery

CityFella

Foreigners rank Italy ‘worst place in Europe’ for internet and paying without cash


Foreigners rank Italy 'worst place in Europe' for internet and paying without cash
Is your Wifi in Italy fast enough to let you FaceTime? Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
International residents in Italy are less satisfied with digital services than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new expat survey.

 

Italy ranked 57th out of 68 countries around the world when foreign residents were asked to rate the ease of accessing high-speed internet, paying without cash, getting a mobile phone number and other basic digital services, says InterNations, an information and networking site for people living overseas.

Its Digital Life Abroad report places Italy not just behind everywhere in Europe but several countries with a far lower GDP, including Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.

While three-quarters of expats worldwide were happy with their internet access at home, in Italy the number dropped to 61 percent. The same percentage said it was easy to pay in Italy without cash, compared to 78 percent globally.

Some 82 percent of foreigners in Italy said they’d found getting a mobile phone number simple, slightly below the global average of 86 percent.

International residents were marginally more satisfied with the availability of administrative or government services online, and positively happy with their access to social media: 81 percent of expats reported being satisfied on that count, just above the global average of 80 percent.

Italy has long lagged behind other EU countries when it comes to internet access (in fact it’s such a running joke that The Local once pulled an April Fools’ about it). According to the latest figures available from national statistics office Istat, just 69 percent of Italian households had an internet connection in 2016, plummeting to 21 percent among the over-65s.

Poorer, southern regions have proved the slowest to get online: in Calabria and Sicily, less than 60 percent of households were connected to the net.

Those of us who move abroad often find ourselves even more reliant on technology than most, whether it’s to keep in touch with people back home, work remotely, or manage bank accounts and other admin overseas.

Worldwide, newcomers were most impressed with digital services in Estonia, Finland and Norway, while Egypt, China and Myanmar performed worst.

InterNations questioned a total of 18,135 residents in 187 countries for its survey, but counted only countries where at least 75 people had taken part.

 

The Local\Italy

Bride shocked as ‘rude’ wedding guest takes home 10 tubs of food from the buffet


A bride was surprised to learn that one of her wedding guests had decided to help themselves to more than their share of food

A guest decided to take more than their share of food (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images) 

By: Courtney Pochin/UK Mirror

One of the highlights of attending someone else’s wedding  is that there’s likely to be some pretty decent free food going around.

Be it a full meal at the reception or a buffet served later on in the evening – and let’s not forget about the cake!

But of course, as with any event, when loading up your plate, you’ve got to be respectful of everyone else and make sure there’s enough for others.

One guest clearly didn’t get the memo about this however and instead they decided to take as much as they could – and even filled up 10 Tupperware containers to take home and enjoy later.

A bride was shocked to discover what was going on at her wedding (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)

A shocked bride shared a tale about this happening on Facebook.

Posted in a wedding shaming group, the unnamed woman explained that the guest who committed the rude act wasn’t even someone who had initially been invited to the big day.

She said: “My husband and I had a very small wedding ceremony and reception, probably about 25 people were invited. Only close family and a handful of friends.

“I invited my dad’s bff, so he’d have someone to socialize with, other than my mom, plus his friend has always been good to me.

She revealed all on Facebook (stock photo) (Image: Facebook)

She continued on to say that a few days before the wedding, her dad’s friend asked if it would also be ok if his daughter and husband came along as well.

The bride agreed, but then on the day, things got weird.

“So she shows up, without her husband, but with about 10 Tupperware containers. TO TAKE FOOD.

“We had a buffet style wedding (I’m Polish in Western PA and it’s kinda tradition in our area) and we had a cookie table (look it up – also a tradition, and amazing). She loaded up seven containers with food to take home, took about three containers of homemade cookies, a couple of bottles of beer and most of the centerpieces.”

A guest bought 10 Tupperware tubs with them to the wedding (stock photo) (Image: Getty Images)

The bride didn’t notice that this was going on at the time as she was too busy enjoying her wedding – but her father watched it all happen.

She added: “My dad told me about it the next day. And when we opened up our ‘gift’ from her – she gave us $5. Not even kidding. A five dollar bill.

“Before anyone asks, she’s not poor by any stretch of the imagination. She’s probably better off than I am, and I’m assuming it’s because she just freeloads from anyone and everyone she can! But seriously! Who tf does this?”

WEDDING DAY ETIQUETTE

 

Hundreds of people commented on her post, sharing their thoughts on the situation, with many branding it “tacky” and “rude”.

One said: “Your dad should have said no firmly and never told you about it.”

Another wrote: “You should send her a bill for the centerpieces and food she took. If she doesn’t pay you, small claims. Also, shame her publicly.”

A third added: “That’s so gross. How did not a single person think to mention it to you or tell her wtf. My mom would have been over there telling her off lol.”

 

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