Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Some trip pics

Curt put some of our Europe trip pictures on Flickr. Some time this weekend I will put all the pics on Shutterfly with descriptions and all that good stuff.

Monday, June 26, 2006

We are FINALLY home!

And we were never pickpocketed. Woo-hoo!
Sorry that I never blogged while in Paris, we didn't have Internet access in our room and believe it or not we never found an Internet Cafe.
So, we were supposed to come home yesterday (Sunday). But we didn't actually come home until today.
We flew out of Charles de Gaulle. (That airport sucks! It is tough to navigate. I was fed up with it before we even got on our flight to London.) So we are on the way to London from Paris and there is some weird smell, so the pilots turned the plane around. Which is fine, safety is a priority. So we sit on the plane for like an hour while firefighters are looking around. They figured out that it was the AC so they had to turn that off. So it was nice and toasty. We waited for buses to pick us up.
The highlight of the fiasco for me was that I spotted an actress who frequents Lifetime movies. She was also on "Melrose Place." I looked up Rena Sofer on IMDB and she has been in a lot of other stuff, too. She is gorgeous. She has always looked gorgeous in the movies and pictures. Well, she looks that way in real life, too.
OK, that was the only good part ...
So we are finally schelped on buses. (And it was raining, too.) We have to go back through the Passport counter, then pick up our luggage and go back to ticketing to be reissued tickets. It was a mess. British Airways handled the whole thing horribly. It took forever for us to get new tickets. Our flight left at 9:40 a.m. and we had our first set of new tickets about 3:45. Yup! 3:45! We get to American to check in for our flight to New York and then we were to stay overnight and fly to San Fran in the morning. We are told we are on standby behind 10 other people. NO WAY! So I stay with the luggage and Curt goes back to tell BA that this is NOT gonna work. He got back to me and the luggage about 4:30. We had a new flight out in the morning (Monday) directly from Paris to SFO. BA gave us a voucher for a hotel and meals. There were about 20 other people at that hotel from our London flight, too.
I haven't mentioned yet that we won't be flying BA EVER AGAIN! And Curt missed a day of work. I had taken today off to get things done and to get rested up for work again.
So we slept well and had a good dinner and breakfast and headed to the airport. We flew Air France home--and they were great. They were so organized. We had the 2 middle seats, but hey we had seats!
So I will post pics soon and write about all our fun in Paris.
Glad to be home.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Good Girls Go To Heaven Bad Girls Go To Amsterdam

Says many T-shirts around here.
We arrived in Amsterdam on Sunday. It was about a five-hour train ride from Stuttgart.
After we checked into our hotel we took a walk. It is very busy here—lots of people. It reminds me a little of San Francisco.
Our hotel is pretty nice. It is newly renovated. The only problem with that is that they are still renovating. So construction is still going on. It isn’t too bad—but still a little annoying. Oh, and talk about annoying … our toilet runs for like 5 minutes after you flush it. Argh!
Since the streets are small and there just isn’t a whole lot of space many people ride bikes. You have to be careful when walking around. And you have to be careful with the trams, too. I can’t imagine how people can handle being stoned and not be run over a bicycle and/or tram.
Our first night here we walked around and had dinner at an outdoor café. We had pancakes (crepes) for dinner and a couple of drinks,
Afterward we walked around the Red Light District. It isn’t as exciting as I thought it would be—but still odd. But there are plenty of “coffee shops” and sex stores. There are also lots of places to buy food, and especially pastries.
The women standing in the doorways is weird, too. The prostitutes literally stand behind a door with a glass window so you can see the goods. The women rent the windows and make pretty good money in an eight-hour shift.
On Monday we slept in, which was really nice. Sunday to Monday was the first night I got good and enough sleep since we have been on vacation. We had lunch at a café called Poco Loco. We sat outside. I had a really good goat cheese sandwich.
After lunch we went to the Leidesplen to hang out. We took a tram over there. There were a lot of big outdoor cafes. We plopped down at one and had a drink, then eventually moved inside so Curt could watch football.
We got fries at a stand (with ketchup sted of mayonnaise like they like around here) and walked back to our hotel.
We have spent a lot of time at outdoor cafes just people watching and having drinks. It has been very relaxing.
Later we had tapas at Poco Loco—our fave café.
This morning we had breakfast/lunch at Poco Loco. Yes, we do love that place. And I have had a glass of Sangria there all three times.
After our meal we did some walking around, found another café to sit at and have a drink.
We just came back from the Anne Frank house. The house seems pretty much the same as it was when Anne and her family lived there. The tour took less than an hour. They had quotes from her diary in every room of the house. We couldn’t take any pictures. Pages of her diary were on display, too.
Afterward to another bar to watch the end of the Germany/Ecuador game.
We had dinner at another outdoor café. And then we went to a bar to watch the 9 p.m. football match.
Today we are off to Paris.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Another Deutchland update

Yesterday we along with Martin, Simone and Lea headed to Lake Konstanz. We walked around the shops and had lunch at a Chinese restaurant they like. The food was very good. Afterward we took a ferry to Meersburg. Unfortunately, it was hazy so we couldn't see the Alps. We got yummy ice cream right when we got to the island. There was one cone called a Rambo and it was huge. I had never seen a cone that big. Lea tasted her first ice cream and she really liked it. We walked around the area and up to a castle. It is amazing how old things are here. Cobblestone streets kept Lea moving and she liked that in her stroller. We eventually took the ferry back and headed back to Stefan and Sandra's. Lea did very well on her first day trip.
When we got home Stefan was making spaghetti for dinner. Very good!
Today we visited the Mercedes museum. That was pretty cool. It wasn't just about cars--there was a lot of history, too. You could probably spend all day there. We got a pic of the pope mobile. Apparently Arnold's car was there, too. But I missed it.
After the museum, Curt and Martin headed to the Italy/USA (oo s ah) game, Simone and Lea went home and Stefan, Sandra, Markus and I headed to the plaza. We had lunch at a nice little cafe, then on the hunt for T-shirts. Talk about a pain! But I got enough after going to many stores. We gave our postcards to the "special" post office on the plaza that will stamp the postcards with a World Cup stamp. Eventually we met up with Giesela. The 5 of us had dinner at a cool Italian restaurant. Afterward we went to the TV tower to look over Stuttgart. That was very cool! On the observation deck they had a map to show you where everything was out there and tell you how far away the surrounding cities are.
Now we are home. Curt and Martin should be heading home from the match. The game was tied 1-1. My bag is pretty much packed to head to Amsterdam next.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More Deutchland ...

Yesterday we spent in Ulm, Germany.
Stefan had holiday. So he took Curt and me down to Ulm for the day. It is a small town. Ulm survived the war. So the buildings are all older--like 1300s and such. Amazing!
We walked around a farmer's market and bought honey and a honey liquer. The liquer is for me. It is 33% vol. It is a teeny bottle.
We walked around the very small fisherman's wharf, walked along the Danube River, visited a gorgeous cathedral. The stained glass windows were amazing.
For lunch we had pancakes (crepes) and I had cidre to drink. Yum! The German bier so far has been very good, too.
We came home and rested a bit, then out again. We met Martin and Sandra at the plaza in Stuttgart. They had the area set up for people to watch fussball (soccer). We spent some time in the wine village. Then Curt and Martin went to hang out with all the other crazy people and watch the game on huge screens. Stefan, Sandra and I walked around the plaza, had ice cream and then sat at an outside bar for part of the match. We had a drink, talked and then headed home. We were wondering if Germany had won the match. Then we started to hear cars honking and people cheering. So we knew Germany won. 1-0.
This morning we went to Simone's brother's house for a brunch. Everyone in the area is on holiday today. Marcus' birthday was yesterday, so today we had a celebration. Curt and I tried a Bavarian sausage today with sweet mustard. It was very good. I can't remember the name of it. We had these huge pretzels, too. I took a pic of Curt holding the box of yummy, warm pretzels. We just sat around and talked and had fun for hours. It was very relaxing. Most of the friends there also spoke English. But sometimes Martin had to translate for us or Simone's parents. Marcus and his girlfriend Giesela are coming to the states in August. They are planning to visit San Francisco. They were excited to find out we live there. So we will meet up with them.
After we left the brunch at 5 p.m. (We were there about 6 hours.) Martin, Simone and Lea took us to one site before going back to Stefan and Sandra's for barbecue. We got an amazing view of Stuttgart. Lea was getting sleepy so we took her and Simone home and the three of us came over to Stefan and Sandra's for dinner. Excellent food. We had sausage--a different kind. Yum!
Tomorrow we are off to Lake Constance with Martin, Simone and Lea.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

We are in Deutchland!

We are here. My blogspot is in German. But I think I still remember what tab is what. :) The keyboard is different here, too. The Z and Y are exchanged so pardon any typos.
Our flight wasn't too bad from SFO to London and then London to Düsseldorf. I had never been on a 9-hour flight before. I did OK--I was surprised. The worst part was that my butt was numb after some time. We were fed, had movies to watch and free booze!
Once we got to Düsseldorf we had to take 2 trains to get to our hotel in Essen. Curt did a great job of navigating our train rides. Once checked in we had dinner. Our first German meal was at an Italian restaurant. It was good. And whatever that wine was I had was delicious. (Our menu was in Italian and German. But I had my Rick Steves' phrase book to help me out.)
We went to bed about 10:30 and were wide awake at about 2 a.m. Eventually we fell back asleep until 1 p.m. when the hotel called wanting to clean our room. We got ready and headed to Gelsenkirchen where the World Cup game was. We arrived in the city to parties and craziness. We found a restaurant and sat with a couple of other Americans. I had took honkin' beers and some pizza. An older German woman started chatting with us. And she knew everyone around there.
We headed to the tram station--which would take us to the stadium. The first 5 passed us fullz loaded. The 6th train stopped for us. We aren't sure why. But we crammed in there--literally. It was hot, sweaty, smelly and disgusting. At one point the tram stopped for 10 minutes and didn't open the doors. And we needed fresh air. Curt and I got out at the next stopped and walked the last mile to the stadium. It was much cooler and it just didn't seem safe having that many people packed in there--we were stuck like herring, one Czech said. And he was right, we were crammed in there like sardines.
We got to the game pretty much drenched. (I started to wonder why I took a shower that day.) And the jerseys we were wearing are made out of polyester. Bleh!
The game was fun, even tho. I was hot and exhausted. We sat with a bunch of other Americans. At the game they played "I Will Survive." If that doesn't say America, I don't know what does. It was a sad day. U.S. 0 Czech Republic 3.
After the game back to the hotel for a shower, food and sleep. We slept a little better last night--until 5 a.m. and then on and off from 7 to 9 a.m.
Today we took a train from Essen to Stuttgart where our friends Martin and Simone and Stefan and Sandra live. Stefan and Sandra picked us up from the train station and we headed to a bar with an amazing view for drinks and to meet Martin. Afterward to Martin and Simone's for barbecue. Germans love to barbecue, too. We met Lea, Martin and Simone's 9-month-old. See two posts below for a pic. She is a little sweetheart. It didn't take long for her to warm up to us.
We are back at Stefan and Sandra's. Curt is already snoozing. Hopefullz tonight we will get better sleep.
Martin and Stefan have lots of fun stuff planned for us this week.
Oh, and the best part is there are no open container laws here! Woo-hoo!
Update to come soon.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen ... Bye ... Au Revoir

Curt and I are off today for Europe. My iPod is full of music. I have just a few last minute things to take care of and we are ready to take off.
I hope to update a couple of times while we are over there. We will definitely take a lot of pictures. Germany is our first stop, then Amsterdam and last Paris. Paris is #1 on my list of cities I want to visit.
I can't wait!


Right after I posted Kate commented. Talk about quick! She wanted me to keep you guys updated on the games we are going to. Monday, Curt and I are going to USA vs. Czech Republic and Saturday, Curt and Martin are going to USA vs. Italy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Loving the wrong man ...

I got this in an e-mail recently and I thought it was hilarious. Enjoy!

What Loving The Wrong Man Can Do For A Woman!!!!!



Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ready for the World Cup

Our friend Martin sent a pic of his daughter, Lea. Lea is ready for the World Cup in Germany. Lea, Martin and Lea's mom, Simone, all live in Germany. Can't wait to see them and meet Lea!

OK, is Lea cute or what?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Over the weekends

I never did write about out Memorial Day weekend. I do love those 3-day weekends. Never had those working in newspapers. Never had "normal" weekends working in newspapers. People use to say, What? You have to work on Christmas? My answer would be, The newspaper comes out 365 days of the year.
Anyway, M.D. weekend:
Saturday we went to a chalk chocolate festival with our friends Phil and Lisa. There was lots of sidewalk art. That was pretty cool. There wasn't a whole lot of chocolate. Those PR people made this festival sound much more rockin' than it was. But we had fun walking around, and it was a gorgeous day. They did have some biscotti ice cream sandwiches, which were free. Those were pretty good. Those people kept trying to give us free samples. We ended up at a little wine bar and did some tastings. The tastings were very generous. In Napa and other places they give you like 2 sips. These tastings were about half a glass each--and I had 4! After that we headed to Triple Rock for dinner. Yum! Then back to our place. We had TiVo'd an episode of "The Daily Show" with Mini Kiss and Tiny Kiss feuding. So we had to show Phil and Lisa. Anyway, Mini Kiss and Tiny Kiss are hilarious.
Sunday we met our friend Dan and his girlfriend, Zoe, (who were here from Oregon) for drinks at the Round-up in Lafayette. Afterward we headed to his parents house for a cookout. Excellent dinner. We had fun chatting with Dan's family. And of course hearing all the hilarious stories about Dan. (Sorry Dan.) We loved meeting Zoe, too. Dan's parents are great hosts. It had been years since I had seen them.
Monday Curt and I went to "The Da Vinci Code." That was pretty good. I love Tom Hanks. The only thing that sucked was there were no surprises for me. Since I had read the book I knew everything that was gonna happen.
This past weekend we didn't do a whole lot. Getting ready for our big trip. We take off this coming Saturday. Woo-hoo.
We did watch "Jarhead." Excellent movie. Very sad. But an interesting look at that war. Jake Gyllenhal did an excellent job. We also watched "Capote." That was good. But it was kinda slow. And I never could figure out why Truman lied to Perry about not really have much of the novel done or have a title. Any thoughts?