My and my wife’s parents live 50 km north of Antwerp on the island Tholen in Zeeland. Just 50 klicks but a world difference in culture. That’s the beauty of living in Europe, you don’t have to go far to indulge yourself in different culture.


Your shot of Machu Picchu is my new wallpaper.

Thank you. :grinning:


Indeed, last week we drove through Switzerland by accident. We we going from Pogana Lario on the south shore of Lake Como to Varese, both in Italy, a distance of 25 miles. Somehow we spent 10 minutes in CH, thanks to my GPS.

10 minutes from Knokke you are in not-nice-at-all Blankenberge with the Flems, in Knokke mostly French-speaking Belgians and lots of Dutch. 15 minutes from Bruges (thanks to a new motorway), now a bit spoilt by tourists but still stunning.

Yeah all beautiful parts of Europe. My sister lives in the south east of Switzerland, separated by a single pass-road (Splügen Pass) from Chiavenna, which is just north of lake Como.
That’s cool! if she wants to eat Italian food she just drive to Italy, it can’t get any better than that. As long as the Splügen Pass is free of snow off course.

Near Rock Island State Park Yesterday:

*Hard to tell from the picture, but most of the trail down to the river was basically a staircase doubling as a waterfall/creek.

(Warren County Tennessee-ish)


Oh wow, thanks! Glad you like it.

First time I have ever seen an albino racoon, especially during daylight hours. Most time if you see a racoon during the day it has something wrong with it (rabies), or maybe he was just thirsty.


Oh wow… must be some sort of good luck charm too (unless it really does have rabies). I had a fly-fishing friend who saw one somewhere on the New River once, but to catch one on camera too? Well done!

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Not a good pass for people with vertigo. We went through the Gotthard Pass, not good for people in a hurry (90 minute wait), back through Mont Blanc (completely clear). We went on a food-fest, one of the best being JY’s in Colmar. Colmar is in France but you wouldn’t believe it, more German (10 miles away) or Swiss (40 miles away). Colmar is famous for its bakeries, the products are essentially German, the speciality is Kugelhopf. It’s a hidden gem.

Colmar is Elsaß, Elsaß culinary offers best of both countries, France and Germany. I may say that you have an exquisite taste. Been to all the right places. An Elsaß Pinot Noir with the main course and Gewürztraminer with the cheese plate as desert.

Relating back to audio equipment:
Approx 200 km south-east of Colmar is Ste Croix in the Swiss Jura. It’s where the Thorens turntables originally were manufactured. In the 70’s when they were manufactured in series of thousands to satisfy the market. I have been in the factory building for my work decades later. Still I can see how they were able to manufacture those beautiful turntables there. They got their inspiration from their environment. Here is one of the views from the factory windows:

My TD105 was manufactured in Poland, it was considered Thorens entry model at that time, but hey after more than 40 years it still works and I enjoy it.


The Poles are big into hifi and make superb kit. I have an RCM Sensor 2 Mk2 phono stage, love it to bits, made in their own factory in Katowice.

It is usual in our family to live text meals, our kids even more than us. People take photos of buildings, hifi, we do lots of food. Sometimes alcohol results in a photographic errors. Got a pretty complete record of Jean-Yves Schillinger in Colmar, we did indeed stick to the local Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer. JY is known for local duck, so we had amouse bouches, three plates of duck (foie gras, breast and sautéed salad) chocolate dessert and petits fours (not that petit). I couldn’t resist the Florentine before taking my picture, hence most of it was gone.


One more you may have to check out with your sister. Unique to Como, it’s a lake fish called Shad, sun dried, then salted and pressed in laurel leaves for several months, removing the oil in the process. It’s somewhere between sardine and anchovy with 10 times the flavour. Incredibly intense. The local name is “Misultitt”. Here in tomato sauce with tagliolini.

Looks like a bowl of spaghetti pomodoro, but it’s in another food universe.


I wouldn’t mind this Polish brand and made Feliks headphone amplifier to drive my Rumanian Meze headphone.

Indeed our Eastern European EU member countries add so much positive developments. They give made in Europe a new, good and important meaning. I truly hope it motivates manufacturing in the rest of Europe further more.

KR Audio in Czech Republic amongst the finest valve amplifiers (mostly Class A single ended) and vacuum tubes in the world. Very expensive, a pair of their KT88 cost about €500. T1610 mono blocks are about €50,000.


Shad is known in this part of the world, too. In this case Lambertville, Pennsylvania but I think they don’t make anything near involved as what you had in Lake Como.

Like European Audio Team EAT, also a Chech company.


Owned by Jozefina Lichtenegger if I am correct the wife of Heinz Lichtenegger, the owner of Pro-Ject. They are geniuses. Their factories are around Passau at the three country point of Chech Republic, Austria and Germany. Another beautiful area, in the Danube River valley.

The company I work for has a brand new hyper modern laboratory to test electrical equipment for all sorts of applications in that region. Equipment intended for automotive, industrial including hazardous locations, domestic, medical. Lots of good reasons to visit that corner in Germany too.

If you like desert, I recommend Kaiserschmarn when you are there.

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Agree on the RCM Sensor. I had a RCM Sensor Prelude V1 for many years and recently traded it in to the dealer for a Version 2. I was quite surprised at how different it was from the original version (improving on already excellent performance.) The RCM Sensor is one the great “under the radar” phono stages here in the USA.

Susan and I are spending the week at Wrightsville Beach, NC. Here is the view from our balcony.

And not to be outdone by some photos of fancy fare, here is a nice portion of classic poutine we had at Fork and Cork. It’s crispy fries with Wisconsin white cheddar curds covered with house-made veal-duck gravy. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.


Looks tasty. I hate low carb diets! Same goes for low fat diets.

After church brunch in Schaumburg, IL


Caught the sunset from where we are staying on Wrightsville Beach.