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Europe

Europe

Party for one, please

May 10, 2015

Our day began semi-early as we had to meet our tour group at the station at 9:30. We rushed over and got breakfast and just barely made it on time. Then we were told our trip was delayed one hour still due to the strike. So we sat and enjoyed our breakfast and coffee while people watching.

Our trip to Fussen was mostly uneventful but as we got closer the scenery became more beautiful with rolling fields of thousands of cheery daffodils and the alps in the background. We arrived mid-afternoon and I was quickly becoming hangry. We both enjoyed a brat and a beer – staples of German cuisine (and a favorite of my own).

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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.

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Europe

Run, Forrest, Run

May 8, 2015

Our day started out pretty early as we had to go back to Amsterdam central station to get to Munich. The trip began fine as our seats were in a first class cabin and we had it to ourselves. The problem occurred when we had to transfer trains earlier than anticipated due to the strike and had no assigned seat. It was pure chaos. We stood for a long time time and finally understood some German saying move to the front where there were plenty of open seats. However we were soon kicked out of those as people had reservations. We finally found some non reserved seats and sat by an older German lady. She was kind to us and offered a little giggle after I replied “Gesundheit” to her sneezing.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Europe

Je suis fini.

May 3, 2015

Aaron and I slept in even though we went to sleep around 8 p.m. We walked to breakfast, a charming French cafe with an equally charming Portuguese server with a slight tick. We ordered the brunch special. The bread and jam were delicious! The cafe American (filtered coffee) was good too as Europeans like their espresso.  I tried to use as much French as I could remember (je voudrais…, petite dejeuner, etc.) and all was going swimmingly until the waiter asked “Fini?” I replied “Je suis fini.” He informed me this meant I was dead. Aaron and I had a lot of laughs about this. In case you are wondering J’ai fini is the correct way to say I have finished. Not I am finished. Duly noted, kind sir.

Right after Kim died.

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Europe

Two Flights, One Taxi, One Bus Ride and One Train Ride Later

May 2, 2015

I flew separately from Aaron and unfortunately landed on opposite sides of Paris city center.  Aaron actually arrived in Europe the night before on an early morning flight from London to Paris. The most logical meeting point was the famous Gare du Nord train station. Both extremely jet lagged but a little pep in our step as we are in Paris! After some struggles with our bank accounts to withdraw cash, we were able put our luggage in a locker to allow us to explore the city without checking into our hotel on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.

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