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Showing posts from July, 2010

Baking in Berlin

Our first city in Germany was Berlin and I have to admit that we were not impressed when we first arrived. As you know, I do not like to be hot. Well, our time in Berlin coincided with the Great European Heat Wave of 2010. We half-heartedly traveled around the city looking at important monuments and spent our nights lying naked and covered in wet towels to cool us down (most of the places in Berlin don't have air conditioning because it never gets that hot). Not awesome. We spent about a week and half in Berlin, trying to decide what to do, where to go and how to get there . And then we went on a guided tour. In the past, I had an aversion to doing anything that was too "touristy". This is completely ridiculous, of course, because I am a tourist and I am specifically traveling to places to learn about them. Now I know what I have been missing: a greater insight into the place I am visiting. We chose the free walking tour offered by Sandeman's New Europe Tours

Jon's Facial Hair

Now that we are no longer living in a van where running water and electricity are in short supply, Jon decided to shave his beard. Here are the results: Before After Handsome devil, isn't he?

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

We had a lot of fun in Germany, the highlight being seeing my friend Anke for the first time in nineteen years! We will go into more depth about each city we visited but for now, I wanted to share with you some of the most memorable parts of our German experience. The Fantastic German Windows Anke teased me about my preoccupation with the windows but as you will see in this video, they are super fantastic! Video And not only are they super fantastic, they are in all of the hotels (and apartments), no matter what floor you are on. Can anyone imagine those windows in the U.S.? American hotel windows either do not open or do not open very far. Wouldn't want us crazy Americans jumping out of the window, right? This was only one of many, many examples of Germany treating their citizens like adults instead of truant teenagers. The "Crepe" Pillows Ok, they're probably not called Crepe Pillows but that's what we called them because they were the thinnest pill

The Romance of Europe by Train

We are on the move! We decided to buy Eurail passes and spend the next month and a half doing a circuit of Western Europe, Morocco and some of Eastern Europe. We love traveling by train! Video here . Our tentative schedule is below and has also been updated on the Europe map link under "Where Are We Going". If you have been to any of the locations we will be visiting, please let us know your favorite (preferably free) activities and sights!

Sounds of Sunday

This morning, we went to church in Hamburg. video More specifically, we went to St. Jacobi . We didn't get much out of the sermon (in German), but we enjoyed listening to the largest surviving baroque organ in Northern Europe . Listen for yourself! Download MP3

Back in Action: Ellen Finally Buys A Netbook

I have gone for three loooooong weeks without a computer and I am happy to report that today I became the proud new owner of a (previously owned) netbook. The only...let's call it hitch my beautiful and practically perfect netbook is that it is a German netbook. And the keyboard looks like this: I am baffled as to why the z and the y are switched. However, on the flip side I can now tzpe...I mean type ...ä, ö, µ, €, and ß with total ease. I know, all you Americans are jealous. Now if only we could figure out how to change the Windows XP OS from German to English...

Hey Everybody! We Went to a Wedding in Holland. Isn't that Weird?

In case you are wondering what the title of this post is all about, here you go . Despite the silly stereotype, we met some of the nicest people in Holland while attending Henk Jan and Fleur's wedding as we were fortunate to meet and get to know their family and friends (some of whom were from Switzerland, too). So, how does a Dutch Wedding compare to one in the US? Let's review... It started at at 11AM at a church in Borger . The bride and groom arrived by convertible BMW. We greeted them and then filed into church, accompanied by lovely Alphorn music. Maybe not so Dutch, but definitely Swiss. The bride and groom currently live and work in Switzerland, so that explains the choice of music and the "Welcome to the Swissies" banner greeting them at the reception site. The ceremony was performed in Dutch but, in the recap given by our new friends, we learned that it was mostly a civil ceremony that recapped the story of the lives of the bride and groom

Ich bin ein Berliner!

I'd like to say that we haven't posted in a while due to the fact that we've been having wild adventures in Berlin, but that wouldn't be true. Instead, we've mostly been trying to avoid the oppressive heat while also trying to find a place to live for a while. Most of the time in these parts the temperature never exceeds 30 ° C (86 ° F) and so the city is ill equipped for the temperatures (no A/C in most places). We've had to be creative with moist towels and cold beer. The good news is that we will have plenty of time to explore Berlin as month-long residents of the city. I've landed a computer programming gig from a former employer back in the US and I need to hunker down and get to work!  As for the blog, we'll still be sharing our thoughts about living in Germany and we'll also be taking side trips to explore the surrounding country. And, yes, we'll eventually get caught up with old posts and tell you all about DC, Maryland, New York and

Happy Holland - Sad Holland

What a day! Henk Jan and Fleur's wedding last night kept us up until 2:30 AM.So much fun! Still suffering a tiny bit of jet lag, we were easily able to sleep in until 15:00 today. After a bit of laundry and a bit of food we were ready to give our all rooting for Holland tonight. Movie Link Well, sadly, for the third time in World Cup history , Holland's dreams were trampled. Looking on the bright side of life, we are able to go to bed early tonight so that we are ready for our wadlopen tomorrow!

Auspicious Embarkation Abroad

With some navigational help from an old friend , we left Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon with spirits high, ready to begin the next phase of our journey.  The night before leaving we checked in for our flight and opted for seats in row 6 thinking, at the time, that it was a bulkhead row and it would therefore provide more legroom for the 5.5 hour flight to Iceland.  The IcelandAir website and SeatGuru had different configurations for the cabin layout and so we double checked with the counter agent when we arrived at JFK . She told us that row 6 was not a bulkhead.  *sigh*  We were prepared for a long cramped flight. Then, when we boarded the plane, we discovered that the "non-bulkhead" seat was actually the last row of first class, extra-wide seating! The first-class curtain had been moved forward a row. Pure bliss! I decided to celebrate with an Icelandic beer. Since we were directly behind the "real" first class, we also had the opportunity to s