Thursday, July 31, 2008

Auschwitz Birkenau slideshow - more info

Chuck and I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC a few years ago. It’s one thing to read about the Holocaust in a book and another thing to face pictures, diagrams, and artifacts. We both left the Holocaust museum feeling a greater sense of responsibility for our own actions and the actions of others. In particular the DC museum went out of its way to tie the social actions of WWII to the present with a large information center on Darfur . It would have been easier to dismiss events of cultures past and foreign to us, but as Darfur is STILL happening today, the overall museum has a greater impact.

Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II (Birkenau) camps in Oscwiecm, Poland gave us the same feeling of responsibility through their sheer magnitude. Auschwitz I is in town and could be thought of as a true labor camp (although many human rights violations occurred there as well). Auschwitz I is what the Nazi’s showed the Red Cross when questions arose. The first few slides are from Auschwitz I and show barrack style sleeping quarters in brick buildings, streets, streetscaping including trees and there was even a swimming pool.

Auschwitz II (Birkenau) is several kilometers outside of town in a wide open field, and it is one of the sights we refer to when we talk of the genocide. Its size and openness hides what we all know. The pictures in the slideshow probably won’t convey our feelings of amazement and shame. It is important to understand that the gas chambers of Birkenau were fully operational for only 2 months and in that time >400,000 Hungarian Jews were exterminated. As with the DC museum, it would be easy to dismiss the large scale industrialization of “The Final Solution” as a foreign problem, something that would never happen in America … but the field of chimneys was a ghostly reminder of the Allied saturation bombings in Europe, and the atrocities of Fat Man and Little Boy (the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

Approximately 6 million European Jews were murdered as a result of Hitler's planned extermination (source: The genocide in Darfur has claimed 400,000 lives (source:

European Vacation - Slideshows are being uploaded...

The slideshows of our trip are being uploaded and are located on the right hand side. A few things:

  • They are displayed by day in the trip, i.e. Prague, Czech Republic (Day 1-2).

  • If you want to view the show SLOWER, hover over the lower white space of the slide show. You will see back, stop, forward buttons on the bottom. Click the square (stop button). Now you can click the forward button when you want to advance to slide.

  • Some slideshows deserve more background info (i.e. Auschwitz), so there will be a separate post with more information.

  • We took hundreds of photos (actually 1016) and I only selected a few for the slideshow. If you want to see something specific let me know.
  • Chuck often tells me that he sees slides 1,2,3 then 1,2,3,4,5 then 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Apparently his computer is much slower than mine in uploading pictures. So, it may take a bit to get all the pictures.

A Non-smokers guide to European Travel

Have you figured out that those little cancer sticks drive me nuts? Honestly, I have no tolerance for it. It's one thing to choose to poison your body, but it's another thing to subject me to your secondhand smoke and thus poisoning me. I have a sensitive nose, so I can smell it from across the room, if someone in the car ahead of me is smoking (windows up or down), on your breath and your clothes.

I knew the whole smoking issue would be problematic for me in Europe. Some cities were better than others. Here's the skinny.

Czech Republic (Prague) - not too bad. There are separate designated smoking sections in restaurants. Smoking is everywhere on the streets.

Austria (Vienna and Salzburg) - terrible. You can smoke everywhere. There are no designated non-smoking sections in restaurants. You'll have to fend for yourself. Vienna was probably the worst city in terms of smoke in restaurants, on the pedestrian walkways and overall attitude. I think non-smokers are in the minority in Vienna. Cig butts everywhere!

Germany (Munich) - not too bad. The Germans were a little more respectful when it came to smoking, unlike Vienna. You cannot smoke indoors at restaurants, so that's where we sat. It would have been nice to sit outside with the breeze, but I didn't order a side of ashtray with my meal. I saw more people walking, jogging, biking than I did smoking.

Germany (Berlin) - not too bad. No smoking indoor at restaurants. It was very pleasant. I didn't notice many people smoking near the tourist areas.

Switzerland (Lucerne) - could have been better. Several restaurants did not allow smoking indoors, but allowed it on the outdoor patios. Other restaurants allowed smoking indoors and outdoors (we did not eat at those places). Most of the indoor seating was opened up to the outdoors, so if the wind was blowing the right way, you got smoked out anyway.

Germany (Trier and Mainz) -not too bad. Although, we were walking around early in the morning and on the road traveling in the afternoon, so I can't give a truly accurate assessment.

Germany (Cologne) - yuck. Not only was Cologne dirty, there were tons of smokers on the pedestrian areas....and the air quality in our hotel room was poor, so we could smell cig smoke coming from somewhere within the bowels of the hotel or outside near the 'fresh' air intake!

Netherlands (Amsterdam) - could have been better. You can smoke everywhere. Some restaurants have a designated non smoking area, but it's not mandated by law, so it's hit or miss.
Here's a link to the country summary.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to Denmark

We're back in Denmark. We cut our trip short by 1 day. We were supposed to spend 2 nights in Cologne, but after the first night, I decided it was time to get back on the road.

We've been working to get the laundry done, replenish the refridgerator, and get back into a daily routine. Chuck still has a few more days off for his summer holiday, so he can relax a bit...not too much though...I'm sick and need some attention!

European Vacation - Day 17/18 (Cologne)

Cologne a word...dirty.

We decided to go to Cologne because of their huge Cathedral, which is amazing architecture and took over 600 years to build!

We stayed at the Sofitel, which typically is a very nice hotel to stay at; however not in Cologne. It was marginal, at best. The air quality was sub-par and in the end I now have a sore throat and sinus issues. One bad day out of 18 isn't the end of the world.

We walked the pedestrian streets and shopped a bit. There is a chocolate museum in Cologne, so we walked along the river and stopped in for a tour and chocolate sample.

Chuck and I went into the huge Cathedral and he climbed the 509 steps up about 90 meter or 3/4 of the way up one of the towers. I sat in one of the pews and waited for him. He came down drenched and the first thing he said was it reminded him of the movie Shawshank Redemption. You know the line at the end of the movie when Morgan Freeman says of Tim Robbin's character (Andy Dufresne) "Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine. Or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards. That's the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile."

Apparently, the air was pretty foul in the stairwell. 509 steps of nasty smelling bodies...I can't even imagine.

European Vacation - Day 16/17 (Mainz)

After our drive up the Mosel River Valley, we cut across to Mainz, our next hotel pit stop. I booked the Hyatt Regency, over looking the Rhein River. The hotel was very nice and I had my best night sleep of the whole trip. The bed and pillows were perfect.

Mainz has a nice downtown area with several pedestrian walkways and a beautiful area along the river to walk, read, bike, and play.

Chuck had some difficulty with the name of the town. Or he was just being humorous on our drive....

Chuck: So, Maine is our next stop?
Holly: Mainz
Chuck: What hotel are we staying at in Maine?
Holly: zzzz
Chuck: Maine
Holly: zzzz

You get where this is going.

European Vacation - Day 16 (Mosel River Valley)

After leaving Trier, we decided to drive up the winding road that follows the Mosel River. There are acres and acres of grapevines lining both sides of the valley. Every few kilometers there is another cute little town, packed with people, shops, and eateries featuring...local wine.

As we drove through, I said to Chuck, "This could be so much fun, if we spoke German." There are so many small towns and given the high number of campers and camping grounds along the river, it seemed like this is more of a local attraction than an international tourist location. So, the odds of English being spoken or even understood were slim to none. And, no...I'm not learning another language.

My DK Eyewitness Europe guidebook, which we refer to quite a bit, recommended a stop at Burg Eltz, a castle between Trier and Koblenz. It failed to mention that there were two entrances and somehow we end up at the hiking entrance. This translated to a walk down a steep hill for 1.8 kilometers (just over a mile) for 30 minutes just to get to the entrance....and then the return was strait up the rocky trail for about 50 minutes. Phew. I'm really going to be a billy goat if we keep up all this climbing! The alternative entrance was a parking lot with a shuttle train to the entrance. Below is a picture of Burg Eltz from halfway down the hiking trail.

It was a hot and muggy day, so we were both exhausted by the time we reached the car. We were planning on continuing up the Mosel to Koblenz and then taking the highway over to Mainz. However, we decided to take a short cut and go over one of the mountains and head straight to Mainz.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

European Vacation - Day 15/16 (Trier)

After Baden-Baden, we continued on our way to Trier, Germany, which is located near the Luxembourg / France border. We stayed downtown at the Park Plaza hotel, a nice moderate hotel.

We knew that Trier didn't have much to do; however it was a good resting stop before our Mosel River Valley drive. Trier is a cute town located on the Mosel River. The old town area has classic cobblestone streets and court yards and quaint little cafes. We visited Porta Nigra which is a large Roman gate and Karl Marx's home, then the visitor's center to get our wine valley drive situated and then we were off for a morning drive.

Here's Chuck outside Karl Marx's home (now a museum). He's reading Karl Popper's book, Open Society and Its Enemies.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

European Vacation - Day 15 (Baden Baden)

Our next stop on the trip was Trier, Germany; however our driving route was up to Basel, Switzerland, then along the Black Forest (Germany), through Baden-Baden and then on to Trier. Before we left Denmark, I went to Baden-Baden's website to see what we could do there for a half-day. Yes, I know; I'm a planner.

The website said: Baden Baden is so nice, you have to name it twice (Bill Clinton). Well, it has to be nice, right?

We got a late start, so we were a little behind schedule and by the time we arrived in Baden Baden, we were only going to have about 4 hours in town. It was 2pm and we were both hungry. After going to the casino, which is supposed to be the most beautiful in the world, we wandered down an alley off the pedestrian mall. Chuck spots the following sign and proclaims, "It's the Kranz Bar. It has to be good."

Eating at the Kranz Bar and Bistro was very familiar. Even though it wasn't apple smoked pulled pork, our meals were the best of our trip, thus far! I had veggies and chicken in a curry and tomato sauce with rice and Chuck had mediterranean penne pasta with chicken, tomatoes and olives in a balsamic sauce. Yum.

European Vacation - Day 14 (Mt. Pilatus)

When I planned our summer holiday several months ago, I stumbled upon a site that featured hotels on top of Mt. Pilatus (elevation 7000 feet). Cool, right? Absolutely.

We drove to Alpnachstad and took the steepest cogwheel train up the side of the mountain. As I posted before, I've suddenly realized that I have a (slight) fear of heights. My palms were sweating the whole way up the mountain. Once we arrived, it was breathtaking. Pictures just don't do it justice, but enjoy the ones I picked out below (out of the 100+!).

There are several trails of varying levels that you can take. I liked the one that was clearly on firm ground, a huge sturdy railing between me and falling to my death. However, I did agree to a walk on a trail that appeared safe. I made it about 15 minutes and then stopped, sat on a bench and waited for Chuck to go around several more bends. His comment, "I bet they don't have too many emergency situations here," was the icing on the cake. I was envisioning walking on a 4-lane highway (while hugging the mountain wall on the 2' path) and then he says that! I immediate thought, hmmm, he's right. There wouldn't be any emergencies; you'd just fall to your death. Ok. That was enough hiking for me. I waited and kept imagining my 4-lane highway.

We took the aerial gondola half-way down the other side of the mountain and got off to ride "Switzerland's longest summer tobaggan run." Honestly....sooooo much fun! For 8 Swiss Francs, you ride on a sled down a metal runway, curving through the meadows and surrounded by Swiss cows with those HUGE bells around their necks dinging and donging. When your run is over, you get hooked up for a 'backward' ride up to the starting point. The picture below is of one person heading down the track and another person being pulled up backwards.

We stayed at the Hotel Bellevue. Where it lacks in plush amenities, it surely makes up for it in the shear beauty of the surroundings. It's quite a feeling to have all the tourists leave the mountain at 6pm and then you have the whole place to yourself (plus about 20-30 other guests) until the next day at 8:30am. There was a welcome on the main deck with drinks and snacks and then we all headed into dinner. What a great way to end our short stint in Switzerland!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

European Vacation - Days 12 & 13 (Lucerne)

Lucerne (Luzern), Switzerland has been our location to relax a bit on our whirlwind tour of Europe. We both read several books, walked around town, saw a few of the sites and shopped. I bought some pretty cool Christmas gifts to bring back to the US.

Here are a few photos. The first one is Chuck reading his latest book while sitting in the shade (our balcony still had some sunshine). The second one is of a second covered pedestrian bridge. You can see how clear the water is in the last picture. There are swans all over the place in Lucerne. Even though the swan is the national bird in Denmark, I've seen more swans here!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When will I ever use Math when I grow up?

Obviously, this is a joke. In our professions, I think Chuck and I know our way around math, equations, calc...etc.

But the purpose of the post was all the currency conversions. Here are the rough conversions we’ve been using…

1 Danish Kroner = $ .20 USD
1 Euro = $1.50 USD
1 Swiss Franc = $1 USD (an easy one)
1 Czech Koruny = $ .07 USD
1 Polish Zlotych = $ .50 USD

I sure hope the Dollar starts to bounce back. It would be nice to have the Dollar equal the Euro. But, that’s wishful thinking.

European Vacation - Day 11 (Lucerne)

When I planned the 3 week trip around Europe several months ago, I thought we might need a break from walking and sightseeing, so I planned on spending about a week in Lucerne, Switzerland. We are staying at the Grand Hotel National in a junior suite overlooking the Lake for 4 nights and then 1 night on top of Mt. Pilatus.

Today we took a quick 1 hour drive to Interlaken, which was the first place opened up to tourism in Switzerland. They are working on constructing a tunnel so I'm sure the drive will be much smoother and little less stressful in the future. We were pretty high up in some mountains with very little earth on the passenger side of the car. Good thing I took my Dramamine!

Interlaken is very pretty. It's a little tourist town located between two lakes. The view is beautiful with mountains and even one snow covered. We shopped a bit and then drove back to Lucerne, stopping a few times along the way to eat a late lunch and take pictures.

Here are a few pictures. The first one is of the mountains surrounding Interlaken. The second one is one of the lakes near Interlaken. The water is so turquoisy blue.

European Vacation - Day 10 (Lucerne)

This morning we drove from Munich down to Lucerne (Luzern), Switzerland. It was just over 4 hours and the roads were quite good. The highways or expressways in Europe are well kept and smooth. For the summer season, I expected a lot of construction and we only saw a little bit of it. And, the construction work doesn’t back up traffic for miles and miles like in the Midwest.

We needed to buy a vignette or highway toll sticker for the car when we entered Switzerland. We also had to buy one when we entered the Czech Republic and Austria; although, in Austria we stopped to buy one (obviously at the wrong spot) and were told we didn’t need one. So when we arrived in Vienna, we asked the concierge and quickly got one affixed to the windshield.

The drive into Switzerland is beautiful. We were winding around a few mountains, but also went under many in some pretty long tunnels. So far, the longest tunnel we’ve been in has been 6.6 km (4 miles). That tunnel kept on going. Imagine what would happen if you got stuck under there!

We arrived in Lucerne just after noon. I could probably live here forever…if I was independently wealthy, but that’s a minor detail. As a reference a grilled chicken breast (with no side dishes is $24USD / 24 Swiss Francs and a diet coke is $6USD / 6 Swiss Francs). I like the conversion factor in Switzerland. It seems like I’ve been doing non-stop math for the past 4 months!

Below is the famous walking bridge and tower in Lucerne.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

European Vacation - Day 9 (Munich)

Today was more of a leisure day. We spent the morning walking through the English Garden. It took us just over an hour to walk to the halfway point, Lake Kleinhesseloher (or Kleinhesseloher See in German).

We stopped along the way at the Chinese tower and watched part of the big party. Munich is very efficient at throwing parties! We were at the Chinese tower / HB beer garden at 10:10am and based upon the amount of empty beer glasses and dirt/mud on people’s shoes, my guess is they had been there all night. We tried to get some pictures of the traditional dress without drawing any additional attention to the foreigners (we were basically the only ones not in traditional dress). The shorts that the men wear are called Leiderhosen. There are two buttons on a flap near the waist. Apparently, they are not only stylish but functional. When you need to use the facilities, flap down the leider and pull out the hosen. Below is the party at 10am!

European Vacation - Day 8 (Munich)

I think we did everything that Salzburg had to offer, so we were up early and on the road by 7:30am. It was only a little over an hour to Munich and luckily we were able to check in early. The weekend we were there, Munich celebrated its 850 year anniversary, so it was over-run by people and the roads were closed to our hotel. We were able to pass through 3 checkpoints and get to our hotel.

We joined the ‘free tour’ which is quite common in larger European cities. College students run tours on a tips only basis. There’s no need to sign up in advance and you can pay as much or as little as you want for the ‘free tour.’ The only downfall of the ‘free tour’ is a few shameless plugs for paying tours and a restaurant here and there. Our tour guide, Patrick, did a great job, was quite the ham, and got a generous 'tip'.


  • We saw the current Pope's original Church. The Bavarians are quite proud that the Pope hails from Munich!
  • The new Jewish synagoge, which started its construction on November 9, 2003 and completed construction on November 9, 2006. Unfortunately, the monument to the 4,000 Munich Jews that lost their lives is below ground. There's a hallway between the Jewish community center and the synagogue. Originally the plans were to have it above ground, but still today there are threats and armed guards are necessary.
  • The tower where Hitler 'hatched' his plan for the Night of Broken Glass, which was the first organized SS effort in plain clothes to persecute the Jews.
  • Marianplatz with the huge 'New town hall', which looks more like a big gothic church and tons of beautiful flowers and a show in the clocktower at 11am and 5pm. It's quite the crowd pleaser!

Pictures to follow. Stay tuned.

European Vacation - Day 7 (Salzburg)

Salzburg was a little soggy in the morning, so we decided to head up to the Fortress, which overlooks the city and then walk along a ridge over to the Art Museum. The Fortress was basically and old pile of concrete and Chuck and I kept thinking about all the adaptive reuses of the complex. Just imagine what you could do with an old walled city?!!? Unfortunately the Art Museum was closed due to a new exhibit that was scheduled to debut the next day...however, we'd be on to Munich, so we couldn't go.

When the going gets tough, we go shopping. We walked along the coblestone streets of Salzburg and did some shopping. It was pretty uneventful. Salzburg would be a good day trip from Munich (about 1.5 hour drive). However spending a full week here or even more than a day or so, would be too long. There's not much action or even sightseeing options.

Tomorrow we're off to Munich.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pretzels with Salzburg

Chuck and I don't exactly like taking pictures of each other. Here's my attempt at taking his picture as he eats a huge pretzel in Salzburg.

European Vacation - Day 6 (Hallstatt and Salzburg)

Today's journey was the scenic route between Vienna and Salzburg. In our guidebook, it recommends Hallstatt, a beautiful mountain town of 1000 nestled among the Austrian Alps on a clear lake. Well, based upon that description and the fact that it has the oldest Salt Mine in the world, we had to go.

The drive was a little unnerving. Winding roads and steep drop offs, but the view was spectacular. It was raining, so our raincoats came in handy yet again. We parked the car and headed to the Salt Mine and the tram that took you straight up the side of the mountain...and it was a pretty steep mountain!

The tour was about 3 hours long and included a walk through the mountain, sliding down a wooden rain about 35' and then a second rail about 65'. Chuck had the fasted slide time at 33.6 km/hr on the second slide. It was a little scary for me. I think I said Holy Crap about half way down the 65' drop. Ahhh, adventures. The Salt Mine was actually quite cool and I'll blog about that one in more detail later.

Later in the afternoon, we arrived in Salzburg. We stayed at the Hotel Sacher, which is a great hotel, complete with chocolates on our arrival. The Hotel Sacher is known for the Sacher Torte in Austria. We even received mini tortes as part of the turndown service. Yum.
Pictures will be posted soon.

European Vacation - Day 5 (Vienna)

That nasty little blister from the day before is hampering my style today. However, with thinner socks in my tennis shoes, I was ready to hit the pavement...errr...cobblestones.

We started the day with a walk through the Hofburg complex which is located in the center of Vienna. There's a beautiful garden, several museums and some great exhibits. I think my favorite exhibit was the National Library which dated from 1722-1735. It was amazing.

We walked through the Butterfly garden, but unfortunately there weren't many butterflies. We saw more butterflies at the Butterfly garden in Seattle in the first 10 steps than we did during the whole Vienna exhibit.

Vienna is a beautiful city. The architecture is amazing. I can't wait to go through the photos and post a slideshow of Belvedere, the Opera House, Hofburg Palace, and the Museum Quarter. If only there was a little less smoke, Vienna would be perfect.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

European Vacation - Day 4 (Vienna)

Vienna is a beautiful town and quite large at 1.6 million residents; however many of the tourist sites are compacted into a central area within walking distance. We were up early and off to the Stephansdom, which is a pretty large Church in town. One of the employees asked if we were Americans. Yes, why? Well, Americans are always up early. They don't know how to sleep in Europe. Apparently, the employee had met with 3 other American couples, all before 9am. Europe doesn't even think about waking up until at least 10am!

We spent most of the day on foot. We walked to Belvedere (Upper and Lower), the Stadt park and several museums. By the end of the day, I had one little blister on my poor little pinkie toe. Belvedere is HUGE. We walked down the wrong street and ended up walking all the way around the complex before we could enter. It took us 45 minutes to walk around the complex...and we were walking at a pretty good pace, too.

Here's a picture of Upper Belvedere.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

Holy smokes! That's all they do in Vienna. I was surprised at how many people were smoking in Vienna...and how young everyone looks. I swear there were 12 year olds smoking!

Our first night in Vienna we were hungry and tired...after about 10 hours of driving and 5 hours at Auschwitz. We checked into the hotel and then headed out for dinner. We stopped at several restaurants and asked for a non-smoking section. Sorry. It's all smoking. Are you kidding me? The whole place is smoking. Yep, inside and outside. Lovely. We moved on to several restaurants and settled on Restaurant Levante. Their non-smoking section was way in the to a garbage can...and hundreds of little black bugs swarmed around us. So our choice was smoke or bugs. And, to top if off, the food was lousy.

To Queue or not to queue

Are you wondering what a queue is? You know, the LINE you form when you are waiting for something. This concept seems to be foreign to Europeans. We routinely notice in Denmark that the Danes don’t like queues. Chuck was the first one at the kommune, arriving at 9:45am, 15 minutes before they opened. He took a seat and waited. About 20 Danes arrived just before 10:00am. The door opened, Chuck stood up, assuming that because he was the first to arrive, he’d be the first to enter the door. Nope. Not the case, the Danes swarmed the door and he was the last one to enter!

We are also accustomed to a little personal space. I like to leave about 1 foot of space between me and the next person, as does Chuck. This one foot personal space cushion, to Europeans, is a welcomed invite that they may occupy that space, thus making us take one step backwards. Before we know it, everyone has made their way to the front of the ‘mob’ as we gently move backwards.

Interestingly enough, in one of my guidebooks on Vienna, it says that "it is every person for themselves." Queues are unfamiliar in Vienna!!

European Vacation - Day 3 (Auschwitz)

We were up early and left Prague around 4am. Our drive to Oswiecim, Poland, where Auschwitz is located was supposed to take 6 hours, but we made it in about 5 hours.

We decided to take the organized tour that started at 10am and lasted until 2pm. We saw a short film and then walked the Auschwitz complex and the Birkenau complex. We hear so much about Auschwitz and very little about Birkenau. When you see the photos, you'll be surprised at how very different the two complexes are and how much worse the conditions were at Birkenau.

I'll post slideshows soon.

After Auschwitz and Birkenau, we drove 5 hours to Vienna, Austria. We arrived by 7pm and were ready for bed. It was a very long day.

European Vacation - Day 2 (Prague)

Another day of rain. But that didn't stop us. We each had our raincoats (a must have for Denmark) and a huge golf umbrella. We were up early and headed through old town and over the Charles Bridge, then up a few rather steep and winding streets...then 208 steps of pure misery up to the Prague Castle. We had a choice, we could either take the steep winding streets or the steps. We opted for the steps. Ugh. The castle was gorgeous as was the Church.

We took a funicular up a hill to a look out point and then decided to walk down the winding road, in the rain. I'm a bit of a klutz, and luckily (knock on wood) I didn't fall down the hill! We stopped at La Bastille for a late lunch, which was amazing.

After all that walking and climbing, I convinced Chuck to splurge and pay the 15E for a 30 minute Thai massage on my feet and calves. It was kind of a reflexology thing. I was really looking forward to a massage on my tootsies. Well, I think the woman thought to herself, "I wonder how much pain this American will put up with?" It was ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. So much so that I have finger mark bruises on my legs. Chuck says...and you paid for this!?!?

Unfortunately my internet connection is kind of slow, so I'll post slideshows once I get a better connection. Until then, enjoy the one or two in the posting.

Here's Prague Castle.

European Vacation - Day 1 (Prague)

You know how when you were little and you couldn't sleep the night before a big event or trip. Well, Chuck and I must be big kids because we couldn't sleep the night before our whirlwind trip around Europe. We were up at 3am and on the road by 3:30am. Our 8 hour drive to Prague went really quickly and we actually arrived ahead of schedule.

It rained for most of the drive and then rained once we arrived in Prague. We stayed at the Modra Ruze hotel, which was in a great location and we had a very nice Deluxe room. I would definitely recommend the hotel.

We spent the first day walking on the pedestrian street and in the National History Museum. The only thing in English was the following. Everything else was in Czech.
In the evening we went to Old Town and saw the Astronomical Clock. There were hundreds of tourists there for the 'on the hour' event. It stinks being short. There's always one bugger that stands in front of me.

On the Road

We're officially on the road traveling Europe. It's been tough getting online. Chuck and I had a little miscommunication. I thought his laptop had ethernet connection and he assumed I didn't want to get online. So, we only have wireless and that's not quite as easy to find as I had thought it would be. I'm online for the first time in about a week. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Queen's Summer Home

We recently visited the Queen's summer home in Grasten, Denmark. Her main residence is in Copenhagen and she doesn't use this home as often as her mother did. The Queen wasn't in residence, so the grounds are open for visitors (and free of charge); however the actual residence is not open to the public.

The grounds are beautifully manicured and there is a pristine hedge toward the entrance to the residence. Chuck took a pretty cool picture from inside one hedge and a picture of the other hedge. The slideshow is to the right.