Where Am I?

                                                                                                                                                                Monday, May 11, 2020

Where Am I?

Not where I’m supposed to be!

By Ken Shelton

            Next in vex to the perplexing question who am I? is the seemingly easy where am I?

I mean, what sober person doesn’t know where he is, the specific place, at any given time?

            Well, it turns out that most people suffer from some degree of disorientation due to the difficulty of pinpointing where they are, especially in light of where they ought to or might be.

No Rhine or Reason

            Today Pam and I are supposed to be cruising the Rhine River, winding past quaint villages like Colmar and Strasbourg and medieval castles like Marksburg. Instead, I Ken Mar Shelton, am quarantined along the whine river past quaint viruses like COVID.   Rather than

view an idyllic and legendary waterway that offers a window into the past while serving as a gateway to rich landscapes and spectacular vistas, I’m home on a virtual virus getaway.

MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF COLMAR

Stroll the charming medieval lanes and squares of canal-lined Colmar and explore its “Little Venice” quarter. With its 9th-century streets, 13th-century Gothic churches and original Old Town, Colmar seems torn from a storybook. The city overflows with intact Alsatian homes and a colorful mix of French and German Renaissance architecture. In the beautifully restored Quartier des Tanneurs, named for the tanners who worked in its 17th-century half-timbered houses, admire lanes of medieval houses and the Schwendi Fountain. This masterwork was sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty. Later, stroll through the charming La Petite Venise and enjoy the picturesque views from the bridge across the Lauch River and peruse the fine art at the Musée d’Unterlinden or shop for fine regional wines.

STRASBOURG: Where GERMANY MEETS FRANCE

This delightful city is steeped in equal parts French and German culture and is home to many institutions of the European Union and the Council of Europe. Stroll past remarkable Renaissance architecture, then proceed to the city center for a walking tour of the picturesque Petite France area, the former Tanners’ District surrounded by the small Ill River and criss-crossed by charming canals. Here, you will see the Old Customs House and the covered bridges with their defensive towers. In Cathedral Square, view the restored Strasbourg Cathedral, towering above merchant houses. One of the finest of Europe’s great Gothic cathedrals, it was the world’s tallest building from 1647 to 1874. Admire the great Gothic rosette window, beautiful red sandstone portal and remarkable astronomical clock.

MEDIEVAL MARKSBURG CASTLE

Visit the only castle in the Rhine Valley to have never been destroyed. The incredible Marksburg Castle watches over the town of Braubach as it has since the 13th century. Because this magnificent structure was built with strong fortifications, it was never besieged by enemies. Upon arrival on its lofty grounds, enjoy spectacular views of the town, the Rhine and the surrounding countryside from its 300-foot perch. Tour the citadel, see the impressive kitchens in the Gothic Hall building and study the Gimbel Collection, including its life-size figurines detailing changes to armor and weaponry through the ages. The distinct butter-churn tower, so named because the upper reaches have a smaller diameter, is a beloved landmark of the town.

So, Where Am I? Near Nemo and Waldo

            Here, in my basement home office, I can be found Finding Nemo or wondering Where’s Waldo?, suggesting I’m a bit stir-crazy from solitary confinement.    

  • Nemo is a young clownfish who lives with his father Marlin in the Great Barrier Reef. Despite being hampered by a lame right fin, Nemo is eager to explore life around the ocean. However, Marlin is overprotective of him, having lost his wife Coral and all their other eggs in a barracuda attack, leaving Nemo as his only child. Coral makes the ultimate sacrifice that any mother or parent can make—she gives her life so that her child can live. Marlin, along with a regal blue tang named Dory searches for his missing son Nemo. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and comes to terms with Nemo taking care of himself.
  • Waldo is a world famous globe-trotter in stripes on a quest to find 12 ancient scrolls hidden throughout 12 fantastic worlds. In Where’s Waldo? you search for Waldo and his friends on their fantastic journey; along the way you find magical items that can aid in your adventure .

From Rio, Nemo and Waldo to Mar, Marlin and Coral

            Yes, in my disorientation, I have been detoured: gone from the river (Rio) to the sea (Mar), from Col-mar and Marks-burg to Marlin and Coral in search of Nemo and Waldo.

            That’s my virtual life in the era of the COVID virus—more fantasy than reality, more fiction than fact, more sacrifice than Venice, more hunky than Dory.

            Today I’m reminded of the time in Mazatlan 1973 when Pam and went fishing for 150-pound Sailfish and hooked a 650-pound Mar-lin, which I reeled in for two hours, leaving me totally exhausted.  In reality, the Marlin caught me, Mar, leaving its Mark.

            Sometimes we just want to sail away to a castle when, by hook or crook, we find ourselves fighting a Marlin, something much bigger than we imagined, which leaves us lame with a tang as we trot the globe, seeking 12 ancient scrolls, knolls, trolls or apostles of old.  

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