Germany and Switzerland, Dec. 2007

Kathy and I travelled to Europe from Dec., 2007 to Jan. 2008. Our first stop was in Freiburg, Germany where we visited with our old friends, Horst and Astrid Lange. (Horst and I collaborated in mathematical research starting in 1990.) Freiburg is so close to the bordre of France, so we bopped over to Colmar for sightseeing and shopping in addition to hanging out in the Freiburg area.

Colmar was full of white Christmas trees.

In addition, the Christmas market was in full swing:

Back across the border, the Freiburg Christmas market
was also active. Below, in the Muenster Square:

Kathy inspecting Christmas greenery in the market:

Here are the Langes at their house when they had us
over for dinner. Horst is an art collector, and his home
is like a gallery (plus a library with a huge collection
of art books and catalogues):

He is also a wine connoisseur, and is happy to have
his guests sample his collection.

Here are just some of his books.

Here is a view from the apartment we occupied in Horben,
the suburb of Freiburg where the Langes live. It
is just at the beginning of the Schwarzwald:

The last night we were in Freiburg, we went to the
opera and heard a wonderful performance of
The Bartered Bride. The next morning we took the
train to Firenze, with changes in Basel and Milano.
As usual, the ride across the Alps was spectacular,
but we were disappointed that there was no
Speisewagen on the train, so we had to do with
snacks from a vendor. Kathy found time for a nap:

She started waking up in time to see the snow-covered
slopes we were going through:

One of the spectacular sights from this train is a church
in the mounains that you pass three times, due to
switchbacks. You see the church below you from one side
of the train, on the same level from the other side, and
above, back from the first side. I ddn't have my camera
ready, so I didn't get the below view. My father, who lived in
Zuerich in the early 1920's, used to take the train back
and forth to Milano to visit his family, and he told me
about this church when I was a child. It's still there!

Other views of the scenery we passed through:

Starting to come back down: