Tag Archives: travel

allein in einer fremden Stadt

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At the end of February I took a few days off of work and met Rick in Amsterdam for the day. We arrived around the same time on Thursday morning, but since had (literally) just flown from America, I gave him a few hours to nap and wandered the city on my own. After accidentally walking through the Red Light District I treated myself to a latte and the most delicious sandwich (goat cheese and hummus and honey and zucchini) at a cafe called Staalmeesters. Which does not seem to have a website but by no means does this mean that I do not recommend it!

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After seeking out the famous big yellow clog (near Dam Square in front of a souvenir shop, for anyone who is wondering), we spent the afternoon at the Heineken Experience. Of course it was very touristy but you get some free beers during the tour and my dad even bought me a bottle of Heineken with my name on it, which was pretty cool.

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We rounded out the day with dinner at Winkel 43 which, if you will recall, I went to the last time I was in Amsterdam. We had actual dinner but really went there for the apple cake. Delish.

The next day I was left to my own devices, as Rick had to go back to America (no rest for the weary!) After staying in the hotel as long as possible (thanks for the free lodging!) I headed out for a day of wandering. I stumbled upon some real gems, notably the Eichholtz Delicatessen, which was utterly overwhelming, and Kitsch Kitchen where I had to really restrain myself from purchasing any household items. I also fell in love with Hopjes (coffee-flavored candies), and would not turn down a bag of them from anyone who visits Holland in the future (!)

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Eventually it was time to go home, along with my backpack full of American treats my mom sent along and enough Stroop to last me the 2:45 train ride home.


top o’ the morning to ya

After nearly a week of traipsing around Ireland like a roaming Viking (which who knew they have ties to Dublin?) I have returned to Hannover for 10 days of catching up and preparing for and completing my second to last round of grad school finals. But never fear, after completing what could be up to 6 hours of Service Operations presentations, I will be back on the road to Munich and Italia for a week or so.

Ireland is hands-down legit the Emerald Isle. Thanks to our Paddywagon driver Joe (awesome tour, btw) we spent three days on the world’s most cramped bus listening to tales of Irish folklore, learning the words to Galway Girl, and seeing all the sights southern Ireland has to offer. Including but not limited to:

Galloway: unfortunately on Good Friday, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited country-wide. It is not advised to spend Good Friday in Ireland. As a result of both an early start and the lack of things to do in Galloway, there is not a single photo of the city on my camera. But here’s a picture of the bus we rode around in for 3 days instead (complete with travel buddy)

The Cliffs of Moher: on perhaps the sunniest day southern Ireland has ever seen, lending itself to some fabulous pics

Some tiny Medieval Irish towns, and then to Blarney to kiss the stone. I can state with conviction that this is not an advisable activity while both hungover and bus-sick. It would also do one well to research the actual kissing of the Blarney Stone before agreeing to take part in the act.

The bus tour was capped off with a trip to the Guinness factory, my only complaint being the hurry with which I had to finish my complementary pint.

The next day Lauren and I wandered around Dublin alone, impulsively deciding to take part in a Viking Tour (complete with chic headwear and life vests for safety)

Finally yesterday we finished up with a day trip, where we enjoyed a Kilkenny in Kilkenny and spent about 5 hours parked at the Temple Bar listening to live Irish tunes. While I do not particularly look forward to all the schoolwork that looms ahead of me, I will be glad to shower without flipflops and not eat every meal in a restaurant, at least for a few days.

And a few more gratuitous pictures of Ireland because it was so damn lovely.

pip pip cheerio

Leg Three of Spring Break: London

After exhausting the tourist sites in Paris, I returned to CDG and headed to London to meet up with Lorraine!

We went to mass in Westminster Abbey

my German friend took this from about a mile away, apparently

Wandered around in the Tower of London for a few hours

complete with Beefeater tourguide

Went shopping in an assortment of stores, from Harrod’s to Marks and Spencer

she later returned to buy the smaller version

Met some girls learning English in Trafalgar Square and answered their probing questions

we wanted them to take our picture... guess they still have some learning to do

Finished the trip with a visit to Rick’s favorite London spot, the Tiroler Hut.


Things I Had Forgotten About Germany: A List

1: They recycle like fucking crazy.

Bins everywhere for “Restmüll”, “Altpapier” and “Bio”. For now I’m just putting everything in one bag and hoping no one notices I’m not recycling or composting.

2: Pillows are twicce the size as American ones.

I’m still trying to figure out if there’s an ergonomic reason for this, or they just like their pillows abnormally large and square. Either way, there’s no way I’ll be using the pillowcase I bought today anytime after this year.

3: Open Container Laws.

(Or lack thereof) I saw some people casually drinking beers outside the train station today, and that’s when I remembered why I love Europe so much.

4: Corny Bars.

Uncontested, my favorite German snack. Like a Quaker Chewy granola bar, only with a strange, more German flair (aftertaste?) to it. And of course I have to get the Corny Free variety (half the calories!), as I am apparently watching my weight now.

5: Many people actually do smell very stongly of B.O.

No elaboration needed… Smelling a person before you see them is never good.

6: Kids wear those square backpacks.

Though I haven’t seen many of them because it’s not the school year (right?) I have seen enough to believe that they’re still in style 4 years later. While they may be better suited to holding books (due to their boxy shape) I can’t imagine them being either comfortable or stylish to anyone.

7: No one wears flip flops.

And I mean no one. I guess my plans to fit in as a German were foiled when I put on my $1 flops from Old Navy before leaving the apartment this afternoon.

8: Eis is 1000 times better than ice cream.

I wish I felt bad that the first thing I ate when I arrived in Germany was one Kugel of Erbeer Eis im Becher [one scoop of strawberry ice cream in a dish]. But it was so good, I chalked it up as a prize to myself for arriving in Germany in one piece.

9: Bike lanes.

Though I haven’t been run over or gotten a bell rung at me yet, I’m sure its only a matter of time, as I’ve caught myself walking too far to the left of the sidewalk many times already.

10: Döner.

I haven’t had a taste of this Turkish-German delight yet, but there’s a restaurant a few blocks away, right across the street from the Eis Cafe, and cattycorner from the Strassenbahn station I need to go to to get to and from school everyday. It’s only a matter of time.

lessons in patience

I’m drafting this in Word because thank you, Philadelphia Airport, your wi-fi isn’t working.

You may be asking yourself, “Where are you finding the time to draft a blog post in Philly?” Well, curious readers, I found the time when my flight was delayed at least 3 hours (final count yet to be determined, as we haven’t left yet) due to Delta Airlines being unable to ensure that there are enough mechanics on hand at any given time to give clearance for an international flight to depart. Instead, we’re waiting for an additional mechanic to be flown in from Cincinnati (where the fuck is that, Ohio?) to inspect our airplane so we can take off.

Thankfully, I watched the entire first season of Airline (starring Southwest Airlines) on Netflix earlier in the year, so I know all about the trials and tribulations of air travel. It’s unclear whether I’ll be able to make my connecting flight in Paris, as our delay is around the same amount of time as my layover between flights there. For now, I’m just playing it cool, munching on this $3.99 bag of Combos I bought when they so kindly let us off the plane about an hour ago, and counting how many people come running up to gate A8 only to find that they have missed their flight to Phoenix. Current count: 5.

** Update: Made it to Paris. About 4 hours behind schedule, but still alive and ready to tackle the world… or something.

concrete jungle where dreams are made of

In the past 10 days I’ve been in at least 5 different cities (wherein ‘city’ is a loosely defined term… I’m not sure that many people would count Scranton, PA as any type of metropolitan area.)

In this time, I feel that I’ve learned (relearned?) some valuable travel lessons. Thank god, because I leave in 10 days. Some highlights include:

1) Don’t lose your shit when something goes horribly awry. There is always a plan B. And you will not be stranded in Manhattan because of a Chinatown bus driver’s incompetence.

2) Driving in a city is a real pain in the ass. Additionally, the world will be a better place when I am no longer behind the wheel of a vehicle on a daily basis.

3) Even though it’s probably only a few dollars more for an upgrade, cheap lodging always brings its own kind of adventure. Being afraid of what may have been in/on/around a bed before your arrival is for whimps and will only decrease your fun.

Happy Travels! The countdown is on!

threat level midnight

Its been almost 2 months since that last post. Up until today, my attitude towards my moving to Germany for at least a year had remained essentially unchanged.  However, in light of recent events some sort of panic-switch has been flipped into the “on” position, and terror has set in.

Luckily, I already have a lot of important things in place: an apartment, a plane ticket, a guaranteed spot in the class. However, there are quite possibly hundreds (ok dramatic) of things I have left to do in a very short period of time. Things I haven’t even thought of, like buying some suitcases for the first time in my life and how I’m going to pack enough clothes for a year in just two suitcases.

Wish me luck.