Saturday, August 16, 2014

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Landed at JFK in NY, went through passport check, customs, baggage claim, rechecked the bags, back through security with masses of clueless people, and hunted down some quick/crappy/expensive airport food. One more flight. I am ready to be home.

Heading Home

Spent some time in Frankfurt and Pfungstadt. It rained off and on all day yesterday, plus now Mike has the sickness I'm now pretty much over with, so we just stayed in Pfungstadt and practiced our horrible German with the locals.

We're heading out today. Train, bus, and three planes. It's going to be a long travel day! See you soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back in Pfungstadt

Been on the rode and without regular wifi. I didn't realize my last post didn't go through a couple days ago, so I've just sent it through. Since then, we've toured a bit more of Munich, a palace of Ludwig II, drove through some of Austria only to realize the closest hotel with a room was in Germany (ugh!), and seen the Rhinefall in Switzerland. We've been busy!


Fancy dirndls!

Opera house

Palace in the alps

Palace gardens


Opposite the falls showing one of the boats that took us to the opposite side.


Drove to Munich today with Jennifer and CJ. Our first stop was a heavy one.

The Dachau concentration camp was the first German Nazi concentration camp. I think I read it was also the longest open since it started in 1933, was liberated in 1945, and then after that held soldiers awaiting trial. It's now a memorial to those lost there. It's frightening. I definitely started tearing up a couple times.
*Couple photos at the end/bottom of this post so you can skip those if you want*

We then drove into Munich and checked into our hotel for the night. We learned how to take the tram and the subway (U-bahn). We wandered around for a bit before settling on Hofbräuhaus for dinner.

The Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) with glockenspiel in Marienplatz.

Archway in the same building


Hofbräuhaus is a famous beer hall that used to be it's brewery. It's loud and packed and the tables are a free for all. We must have wandered around for 20 minutes eyeing for people about to leave; you have to be fast! You also share tables, which worked out in our favor in the end. :)

From outside:

One of the many rooms:

Who ate most of this giant pretzel? You know I did. And I'll never be able to eat a regular pretzel again because this one was so good and fluffy. I think I'll have another tomorrow...


Planning to give ourselves a self guided walking tour of downtown Munich tomorrow then head out. Hopefully I'll see a castle! Also, I'm feeling better. Still a bit congested or something, but better!

***Dachau concentration camp photos below***

Entrance with the phrase "Work makes you free" in the iron work.

Part of the memorial in front of the museum (used to be the maintenance building/prisoner processing rooms).

Sculpture part of the memorial depicting human figures mixed with barbed wire. The audio tour I listened to said it partly portrayed how prisoners would throw themselves at the barbed wire since this was better than remaining in the camp.

East part of the memorial that says "never again" in multiple languages.

Example of the barracks before it really got over crowded. Tour said the barracks were to each house about 200, but towards the end were housing closer to 2000 each. These were rebuilt barracks. None of the original barracks stand, but you can see their outline stones in the field and there were 34.

Prison within the prison. Reserved for those deemed the very worst offenders.

Memorial in the crematorium area of the camp. Inscription reads "Grave of many thousands unknown."

There are now multiple memorials in the camp, some large buildings and some small stones. It's very solemn. I can't imagine the things these people went through let alone returning to reflect or to grieve for those lost. But it's still important to remember.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hallo Deutschland

Spent pretty much all day yesterday preparing and traveling to Germany. Had a quick lunch at this cute spot before we left.

Still feeling a bit under the weather, but doing better. Today we've got a rental car and are driving from the Frankfurt area to Munich.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Puffins and Pride Parade

Alex, Kayla and I got up extra early today to catch a puffin tour from the harbor. Our boat sailed out to this island where we could float close to the shore and see the puffins in their cave nests and flying to and from the water.

They are quite small and live in those little spaces just below the top cliff of grass. Our tour guide said they are "clumsy fliers" but they can dive up to 60 meters. That's almost 200 feet! I tried to get more photos, but they all look like this: a lot of grass/water with small white specks.

Later we went to the Pride parade. Mike and I were ready!

There were many people and rainbows. Everyone was having a good time. It's a family affair so most raunchiness is left at home. If anyone has ever been to, for example, Chicago's Pride, you can tell this looks quite different.

USA represent!

There was a concert of local musicians after the parade. All free!

And more free music at a smaller location after that!

These are some carved wooden sea monsters (dragons?) at an entrance to a shop. Dragons for Mark!

And let me end with this lovely crepe! Because it's pretty. Also, happier than the fact that I think I'm getting a sore throat. All that walking around in cold winds and not enough sleep or water. Yikes! I need to take better care; I've still got a week to go! (PS I hope all my work ladies made it through this week ok! I'll be home and bothering you before you know it! Hopefully, without any sickness...)


Brunch at the harbor.

The restaurant is called Sea Baron and it sells fresh fish on skewers. You tell them which kinds you want out of the case and they grill it up for you. They also have delicious lobster soup and lots of bread and butter.

From top to bottom here: char, minke whale, and halibut.

We took the ferry (at the other end of town) to a nearby island, Videy.

It seems like they have tried to preserve the island as much as they could and it's mostly just grassy hills and birds. I think it's a place to have picnics and enjoy being outside.

We learned how to take the bus!

Also, we had this fancy dinner at a place called Tapas barinn. We decided to have the Icelandic dishes which included:

-a shot of the infamous Icelandic spirit Brennívín

-Smoked puffin with blueberry “brennivín” sauce

-Icelandic sea-trout with peppers-salsa

-Lobster tails baked in garlic

-Pan-fried blue ling with lobster sauce

-Grilled Icelandic lamb Samfaina

-Minke whale with cranberry and Malt sauce

-White chocolate "Skyr" mousse with passion fruit coulis

The waitress said all that was for one person, but we split the orders between two people (3 orders for 6 people) and it was the perfect amount of food (but not enough shots!).

Whoops, we demolished this one before we remembered to take a picture! It was the blue ling. That lobster sauce was real good. :-P