Archives

Europe

A Thousand Ways to be Killed by Romans

May 17, 2015

As we have discussed before, Kim was extremely focused on sleep throughout our trip with almost no exception. However the trip to Pompeii was that exception considering it was one of the main attractions on Kim’s list before the trip began. I did not share this enthusiasm and the 6am wake up call to hop on a tourist bus only increased this sentiment.

IMG_3785

Given my state of mind for this two hour drive, I was in no mood to listen to tour guides ramble through a grainy bus speaker system. Especially when the tour guides began to go into painful (pun intended) detail of the different ways the Romans would kill their prisoners of war to make an example of them. Call me crazy, but hearing about crucifixions and impalement is not on my preferred wake-up story list.

Continue Reading…

Europe

Strikes strike again

May 15, 2015

Our pizza and wine infused evening resulted in a later than anticipated start to our only day in Venice. Thankfully the gracious B&B owner left the the breakfast open for us. The fresh fruit and drip coffee perked us up just in time for us to wait in line at bag drop.

Knowing we were short on time but long on activities we maintained a positive attitude and started to multitask by picking up the Venice Museum Pass and getting more cash. Kim had been talking up riding on a vaporetti or a gondola, without really knowing the distinction. Unfortunately, the strike motif of the trip reared its ugly head as the vaporetti workers were striking for higher wages.

Continue Reading…

Europe

Should have been a school teacher

May 13, 2015

Kim proved me wrong again in her ability to maximize her amount of sleep while still accomplishing all a day has to offer. Kim’s coworker had highly recommended an activity in Interlaken called canyoning while I wanted to hike some more as well. My fears of sleeping until 10 a.m. and still being able to do both were definitely unwarranted.

We booked our canyoning trip as soon as we woke up for the next time slot available, 1:30 p.m. This gave us enough time to grab some lunch. We walked around aimlessly for a time looking for Kim’s craving of brunch, on a Wednesday, at 11:00, in Interlaken. Yielding no great options, we wandered into a cafe named after the French capital but without the Parisian prices or ambiance. The food was fine but overpriced as with most restaurants in Interlaken. Continue Reading…

Europe

Nazis and Naked Men

May 11, 2015

Due to our unfortunate train issues getting to Munich, we were forced to move our Dachau concentration camp tour from our first day to the final day of our stay in Munich. This type of tour is never going to be anything but very sobering and eye opening.

Having left our laundry with the service for two nights and needing to pack up our bags before heading to the tour, I left to pick up the clothes in a taxi as soon as the laundromat opened to retrieve them and then immediately pack them in a bag.

After a rather hectic start to the day, we had a calm train ride out to Dachau with a brief history lesson on the Nazi party’s beginnings and the path that led to the first concentration camp. The tour guide, an Australian living in Munich, seemed knowledgeable but we both grew tired of his attitude by the end of the three hour tour.

IMG_3454
Continue Reading…

Europe

Fußball and Bier

May 9, 2015

In the weeks leading up to the trip, this was the most anticipated day for me. I had spent several months investigating and procuring a pair of Bayern Munich tickets for their Bavarian rivalry match against Augsberg. The tickets had a rather difficult time coming to the states but had arrived in time for me to carry them around like my first born child. Come hell or high water or maybe just an everyday rainstorm, I was going to that game.

The game would have to wait for a couple of chores. Kim and I were running out of clean clothes and needed to get some laundry done. After doing some research we found a place online that offered a “vollservice” option, meaning they would wash, dry, and fold entire load for only €12,50. Considering the hotel would charge €8 for just a single pair of jeans, this seemed like a steal. We walked over and dropped them off and headed out for lunch, since we never get up early on vacation.

Kim was excited to try a place called Dean&David which offered some healthier or at least smaller portions than most of the other Bavarian restaurants. I took the advice of the cashier and got some Thai curry while Kim grabbed an unexpectedly tiny wrap sandwich, which left her feeling like some lemon cake. Luckily the coffee shop across the street sold some along with a nice large coffee. By this point, I was ripe with anticipation and practically dragged Kim out of the coffee shop and towards the nearest U-Bahn.

Continue Reading…

Europe

Bells, Whistles, and Clocks

May 7, 2015

The bottle of wine at dinner and the long day of “touristing” meant that our alarms were left snoozing until the last possible minute to catch our bike tour of Amsterdam. Our first day had consisted of doing all of the common tourist activities in Amsterdam but this was partly due to the city. The Dutch are very friendly and tolerant but definitely prefer to keep the locals separate from the tourists. With good reason as I’m sure tourists, especially in Amsterdam, can be very obnoxious.

One of the most obvious ways this separation manifests itself is the use of bicycles; all of the locals have them and few of the tourists are riding. The tourists that are riding use rented bicycles which stand out like a sore thumb. On the bike tour, we were given innocuous looking bicycles which blended in nicely. This tour was led by a local guide who had some insight into the history of the city, common architecture, and culture of different neighborhoods.

IMG_3170

Continue Reading…

Europe

Tulips and Tolerance

May 6, 2015

In the weeks leading up to our Europe trip, coffee and I had been going through a rough patch. First there was the great full cup spill in which I managed to dump an entire cup of coffee on myself at work and had to go home to change clothes completely. Then on a work trip in a taxi poured coffee on myself in an attempt to drink. Finally a week later, I spilled even more on myself walking back from the coffee pot. With all that behind me, I was sure my luck with my favorite beverage would turn around.

I suppose it was this mindset that convinced me that I could carry two piping hot espressos over five moving train cars without incident. I made it four, before one of the coffee cup hit the floor with 50% of the beverage ending up on my jeans. I sulked back to my seat feeling as though a piece of my soul had hit floor with that cup. But at least Kim had gotten her cup of coffee that morning.

Continue Reading…

Europe

All for a waffle

May 5, 2015

In the months of planning that led up to the Europe pseudo-backpacking adventure, Brussels was appealing geographically being directly inbetween Paris and Amsterdam and also economically for its cheap hotels. To Kim, Brussels was a reasonable stop on the trip for a single word: Waffles.

Waffle Shop

Remember when traveling that hotel curtains are usually black out, otherwise you may sleep until noon. Completely unrelated to this little tidbit, we headed out from our hotel in Brussels to find a famous Belgian waffle. We walked straight outside into a downpour and unbelievably high winds. Deciding to test our raincoats and umbrellas, we started walking in the wrong direction. After Kim’s umbrella flipped inside out multiple times, we arrived at the waffle factory completely soaked.

Continue Reading…

Europe

Runaway Eyebrows

May 4, 2015

Our sleeping in on day two caught up with us as we snoozed our alarms for almost two hours. Since we were headed to Brussels that evening, we wished our palace days goodbye and headed to the Gare du Nord. After dropping our bags in a locker, we grabbed a sandwich and café to go to the Louvre.

Louvre Pyramid

We ate on a park bench looking out onto the famous Pyramid. As we walked in we stopped to take a few pictures in front, which apparently was the exclusive ground for a young Japanese lady in a silky purple evening dress taking what I assume to be senior class photos. We shrugged this narcissism off to proceed directly inside with our museum passes in hand.

Continue Reading…