Faces on a train (apologies to Hitchcock)

Some of you know I especially like to do my people-watching on public transport, and as I am so dependent upon it here, it is very difficult to resist. Add to the dependence upon it the sheer range of variety, and it is an extemporaneous public portraitist’s paradise (or Hell, but more of that elsewhen*).

One can speculate and make up all manner of stories of what one sees in the eyes of these strangers who are sharing this space with you. Sometimes those speculations are true, other times they are simply your own fantasies. It doesn’t matter, the faces are there, we are all wondering why our train has been yet again pulled to a siding for a further delay, asking ourselves if Deutsche Bahn will ever finish working on the tracks.


I shared an image of her earlier, but she really does epitomize so many of the riders in the evening… others are more animated, sharing their experiences of the day with each other…


and his companion…


… just another day on the S-bahn.

There are days when I wish I weren’t so tired as to be a little too slow on the riposte. Shortly after making the above two photos, I was accosted from behind my seat by another rider who, in German began asking me what I was doing, taking pictures of people on the train, telling me how rude it was. Had I been a little less tired, I would have demanded, as loudly as possible, if they knew just how rude it was to be peeking over someone’s shoulder on a crowded train, spying on someone else’s phone.

But I didn’t — I simply suddenly forgot that I spoke any German at all and that was the end of it. The photographic subjects seemed vaguely amused and embarrassed simultaneously.

Until next time, a biéntot and tschuß!

Working the S-Bahn

It’s been a long week and my weekend is here. No classes tomorrow so it starts tonight for me. So naturally the weather forecast is calling for wind, rain, and cool/cold temperatures.

Tonight was very much that way — that saying that I learned in Denmark about there being no bad weather, just bad clothing? Well, tonight was a poster child for that and even with the clothes, it was just plain miserable out there.

I was grateful to be on the train, coming back from the client tonight. So was the woman sitting across from me:

At peace on the train
At peace on the train

I am usually afraid to fall asleep on the train for very long for fear of winding up down in Zwickau. Although these days, with my rail pass, it wouldn’t be quite so challenging as the first visit to that town. Must plan for another visit and take the bikes to get around.

Until next time, a bientôt and tschuß!

Still to come

Winter is not done with us here, but there are a few brave souls making their presence known…

One hopes that they are not proverbial sacrificial lambs of Spring…

Some things never stopped, though perhaps they slowed down a little… construction seems to have been ongoing —

… and life on the street has remained unscathed.

Time for another graffiti-fest… until then, a bientôt! Tschuß!

Whispers of Spring to come..


One of the more esoteric signs of impending Spring in any town of size is the Spring Orchid show — the enthusiasts and local botanical gardens do their best to show what they have that is blooming.

Leipzig is no different and we recently had the chance to catch the local show here. I confess that I have become somewhat jaded, having grown and exhibited orchids for several years, as well as working closely with several American Orchid Society judges as a judging clerk. That sort of experience tends to have an impact on expectations and is unavoidable. Still…

I was delighted by some of what I DID see in the show. I can’t tell that there was any kind of judging or competition among the growers and it wasn’t clear if the plants we were seeing were from local enthusiasts or if they were from the greenhouses of the Botanical Gardens. At any rate, I did see some old familiars, a few new faces of orchids I’d only read about or seen in photos. I also discovered that the native American orchids that I was fortunate to find in the wild have been cultivated and some of the greenhouses here are actually selling them. Goodbye, paycheck… I’m about to have a relapse of orchid fever!

And the light is starting to change as the sun is finally crawling a bit more northward in the sky. The buildings are getting painted with a new light that serves them nicely.

Structures in morning light
Structures in morning light

Of course, the light on the tram is as seductive as ever and one uses the camera at hand to capture the fleeting visions as one can.

Tram portraits
Tram portraits

That’s all for now. Tschuß and a bientôt!