Sunday, May 31, 2009

Europe Highlights: Part I

Soooo... here are the Europe trip pictures that everyone has been asking for. Sorry for the delay!


After Koln, Germany we headed to Berlin. There are two things that really stand out about Berlin: a.) it is really spread out - especially for a European City and b.) there is construction everywhere.

Things have very much changed in East Germany since the wall was torn down. For that reason, new department stores and buildings are being built everywhere. It seems like East Germany has been gone for a long time, but you get there, and you realize that it wasn't really that long ago.

After that we went to Dresden. Truth be told, I didn't take a single picture in Dresden. It is a beautiful city though. Definitely recommended!

After that it was off to Krakow, Poland. Krakow was full of great people and night life. We sat in this huge courtyard (shown below) and ate dinner. During that dinner we met a bunch of Dutch Rugby players and a couple guys from Sweden. Very random. Everyone was super nice though! Krakow was one of my favorite cities.

We made one stop (which I will tell you about later) before going to Wrowclaw (pronounced vrow-sw-ah-v). Wrowclaw was a diamond in the rough. This was the scene from our outdoor cafe table. Beautiful, huh?
We found a McDonalds for breakfast after leaving Wroclaw. The kicker? The inside was under construction. So we had to go through the drive though windows instead. We shared with the cars, (literally)... a silver car was in line after us!

Okay, now for the stuff I've thought about sharing for a long time now. When we were in Krakow, we investigated what there was to do there, and discovered we were near Auschwitz Concentration Camp. We initially decided that we probably wouldn't go, because it would be too sad. In the end however, I think although none of us wanted to go (it's not something you really look forward to), each of us felt an overwhelming obligation to visit and pay tribute.

I will never forget it as long as I live. First of all, let me educate you on the basics: there are two camps in Auschwitz. Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. Auschwitz I was an old Polish army barracks that was converted. Birkenau was built by the Nazi regime when they ran out of room in the first camp. Two things immediately struck me: The "quaintness” of the first camp and the sheer size of the second.

I am not going to talk at length about it, a picture says a thousand words, and so I think I will let the pictures do most of the talking here. When I learned or saw something profound, I tried to remember to take a picture so I could share it...

This is Auschwitz I. See what I mean with nice red brick and green trees? NOT what I expected...

But then you take the same place and look at other views... (same place: Auschwitz I)

See that pointed building in the top right of the picture above? And then bent fences? They are the same ones in the picture below. Now of all the places to sit on a summer day, why would this peaceful cat choose that place? (I know, I know... he doesn't know... but it doesn't make the irony any less!)

And then, I saw this group. My favorite are the two boys on the right. I wanted so bad to get a close candid of them, but I felt obligated to respect their privacy.

Of all the things inside the museum (these buildings have all be transformed into museums now), this was one of the things that struck me most. These are eyeglasses from those who perished at Auschwitz. This pile is probably six feet in diameter.

That's when it dawned on me. This place, Auschwitz I was large, but it wasn't capable of housing that many people. I then realized Auschwitz II must be large. But I wasn't prepared...

Remember this shot from the movies? The bone chilling scene where the train goes into the camp? This is Auschwitz II - Birkenau.
One difference though. In the movies, you can't see the entire grounds, they only show the railroad part. When you come up upon the camp you realize the grounds go on... forever....
Do you see the wide dark symbol on the picture below? It is an aerial view of this huge structure where the train came in.
Now, here is the map full size. See the train entry now? All those rectangles are buildings built inside the camp. Birkenau is just huge - and horrifying. There isn't much left, though. Much of it was intentionally destroyed when the Nazi's realized they were about to be discovered. Auschwitz I is the three rows of buildings in the very bottom left of the picture.

I don't have much more to say other than maybe you guys learned about the two camps being separate and their size. My goal was merely to educate.
This is the last of the sad pictures from the tip. I am getting the Prague and Venice pictures ready. (There are a million, they are gorgeous...and I am excited to show you!)
Have a good day...

Help Needed: Design Assistant

Things have been super busy here. We are now all caught up from my little trip away. (Um, well - almost caught up - I owe you guys some of my favorite pictures from Europe... Coming soon, I promise!)

However, we are getting busy enough that it is time to add an additional third employee. We just cannot keep up. (I am sure you guys have noticed that I have been horrible about updating my blog during this entire month... yikes!) The last time I looked for an office manager, I asked my client base, and was very happy with the results. I would like to do the same before asking "blind" on Craigslist.

I am looking for someone that has good knowledge of design and would be able to do the design work in Photoshop. We do tons of printed stuff here, and Laura and I are flat out swamped. We need some more help. The basic job functions are as follows:

  • Create initial drafts for all printed work
  • Submit final drafts to press shop
  • Create marketing pieces, based upon my basic inputs
  • Update the website and blog with current information

Knowledge of marketing is a bonus. I envision this person working about 10-15 hours a week during the summer, and five days (i.e. as much as possible) from August-December during our crazy time. Employee with Photoshop on their own PC could work from home for at least a portion of the week.

Perks include free pictures and shoots (one annual shoot per employee) and the ability to work in our fun, and ever-changing environment! Interested candidates should send examples of their design work to

Thanks for your interest!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm baaack!

Hi guys! I just wanted to let everyone know that I have returned from Germany. It was amazing... nine countries and 3,000 miles of driving to see everything. Needless to say, I am exhausted.

However, Laura doesn't accept this excuse. She has me slammed this week. My car decided not to start on Monday morning, and apparently my tire is flat so I now have a spare on it until I can find time to get real tires on it. (It's looking like it might be a while yet...)

So, some of you guys were apparently asking Laura if I was back yet. The answer is yes... kinda. (It seems lately that I can be found at the local car repair store!)

Hope all is well with everyone!


PS: Extended blog with pictures from Europe is coming. I have it half written, but totally dropped the ball on posting pictures while in Europe (hmmmn.... walking around Venice/Prague or propped in front of a laptop editing pictures for the blog......See my point?!) I promise to post soon!