Happy birthday to us!

We’re 7!  Or, more accurately (since we’re on vacation in Germany), Wir sind 7 Jahre alt! 

Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany

I have to say,  this is a great way to celebrate 7 years of #selfemployment.  Time away from work – especially when you are “It” for your business – is essential, no matter how hard it is to walk away and unplug (Exhibit A, right here).  

Do Architects ever really unplug when we go on vacation?  Asking for a friend….

For a couple of months, I have been collecting a list of sights and buildings to see in the various cities that we will be visiting on this trip. I have warned my husband (who already knows the drill) and stepdaughter (sorry, M) what to expect.  I can’t help it.  Architects can truly be insufferable when we’re on holiday.  Always looking up, around, and underneath stuff. Going into and around buildings. Noticing every little thing. Photographing it. Blogging and/or instagramming it. Posting on Facebook….

But…there is so much to see!  And this is my first trip to Europe since I was a poor student over 3 decades ago. That trip – a geography field course in the Basque region of northern Spain – had many highlights. It is a beautiful and fascinating area, so different culturally and geographically from the rest of Spain. It left a remarkably long-lasting impression on my then-22-year-old self.

One of my greatest treasures from that trip is my sketchbook. Our professor insisted that, instead of snapping photos of everything like a tourist, we should sketch what we saw. He reasoned that the act of standing still and drawing would force us to really see what was in front of us. 

Historic Stork Tower, Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany

He was absolutely correct. I still have memories of standing on a narrow sidewalk in San Sebastian and people looking over my shoulder as I sketched the view. Sitting outside a cafe once frequented by Hemingway in Pamplona (one of many, apparently)  and sketching the street where the running of the bulls had taken place just weeks before. Standing in the woods by the side of the road somewhere near Iruna and sketching our visit to a medieval blacksmith’s forge.  

I haven’t forgotten any of those experiences. Thank you, Professor Geoff Farmer.  

In my carryon, I packed a fresh sketchbook just for this trip.   And after I buy the first thing on my vacation shopping list – a Lamy fountain pen (made in Germany, of course) – I plan to brush away the cobwebs and practice my drawing skills.  

Rusty drawing skills, I mean. I need a lot of practice.

Happy World Architecture Day!

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