Monday, October 27, 2008

(travel) On Deck

  • a trip to western Denmark (November)
  • a trip home to the Midwest, USA (November)
  • a girls long weekend in Cancun, Mexico (December)
  • ringing in the New Year in Athens, Greece (January)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

European Summer Vacation 2008 – By the numbers

I don’t have any excuses. I could make up some big elaborate story about how busy I’ve been for the past few months working two jobs and volunteering, but well…that just wouldn’t be all that accurate.

So, here’s the recap of our 3 week European Tour in July 2008.

5 – the number of countries visited (Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Germany, Switzerland)

18 – the number of nights in hotels

16 – the number of billy goats we saw on Mt. Pilatus, Switzerland

208 – the number of steps climbed to get to the Prague Castle

509 - the number of gross, stinky, unbearable steps up the south tower at the Cologne Cathedral

12 – the number of cities visited (Prague, Oswiecim, Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg, Munich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Baden-Baden, Mainz, Trier, Cologne)

4230 – the number of kilometers driven

0 – the number of kilometers Holly drove :)

$609 USD – the amount spent on diesel

1074 – the number of digital photos taken

400 – the number of pictures worth keeping

Chuck's favorites

  • Lunch at La Bastille in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Karl Marx museum in Trier, Germany
  • Munich's walking tour on their 850th birthday
  • The guided tour at Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland
  • My co-pilot (awe, as Holly types this...)
Holly's favorites

  • Feeding the swans in Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Lunch at La Bastille in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Driving the superwide highway on the way to Vienna, Austria
  • The summer toboggan run on Mt. Pilatus
  • Listening to the ding dong of the bells on the swiss cows

Finally. Done.

The last few slideshows from our summer tour are finally posted. Here's a short summary.

Day 8-9 - Munich, Germany
Munich (Munchen) was probably our favorite city to visit on our summer holiday. We were fortunate to be there for Munich’s 850th birthday celebration. I imagine it was similar or a lower-key Oktoberfest. Munich sure knows how to throw a party!

The slideshow is pretty self explanatory. Many of the pictures are from the ‘free tour’ of Munich, which is really a college student giving an organized tour and working for tips. Munich is a city rich in history and we would definitely go back in a heartbeat. You could easily spend a week in Munich and visit some of the nearby sites that are within an hour or so drive.

Day 15 - Black Forest and Baden-Baden, Germany
I don’t think we really ever found the Black Forest because we just saw regular old forests, but you can be the judge with the pictures in the slideshow.

Baden-Baden is gorgeous. It was a rainy and overcast day, so the pictures just don’t do it justice. As we drove out of Baden-Baden, Chuck said, “This is a city that you’d want to live in, not just visit.”

Day 16-17- Trier, Mosel River Valley and Mainz, Germany
Trier was a cute little town with a nice pedestrian walkway through the old town. It doesn't appear to be a big tourist location, but nontheless, we had a nice time. And, Chuck was able to visit Karl Marx's home.

There are vineyards for miles and miles along the Mosel River Valley. The route along the Mosel River takes you through quaint towns all with summer wine festivals.

The Rhine river runs through Mainz, Germany and is a great tourist spot for cruising the river. We spent a quick 24 hours in Mainz walking through the pedestrian area and staying at the Hyatt. Our stay was toward the end of our trip and I must say, the bed at the Hyatt was the most comfortable bed of the whole trip!

Day 17-18 - Cologne, Germany
The last days of our European Summer tour in 2008 were spent in Cologne. It's a huge, huge, huge city and it's probably the dirtiest of all the cities we visited. However, the Cologne Cathedral makes up for it. That is one impressive structure. Look at the scale in the slideshow. We couldn't even get a picture that included the whole building. It's HUGE!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The price of gas (diesel) is falling!

Wow. Diesel is down to 8.42dkk per liter. So, a mere $5.61USD per gallon. This is by far the cheapest we have ever paid since arriving in March.

I think the most we paid was in Switzerland. Don't ask. It's depressing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


In Brussels this weekend, we stumbled upon this craft fair in a square just off the main Grote Markt (Market Square). My very best friend and her husband had twin girls in May, just after I left for Denmark. Honestly, cute kids...and what's even cuter is that one looks like her and one looks like her husband. Too cute.

So, I picked up these little dolls for the girls. A middle aged woman and her husband had about 30 of these hand made dolls in their little booth. They told me that the woman hand made the dolls and that the clothes were machine washable in cold water.

However, after a little google search (don't you love google?)...the bag says Pomme Pidou, which is apparently a Belgium company that makes these little dolls, so maybe I didn't quite understand the translation. Pomme is french for apple, but I'm not sure what pidou means.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Driving the Autobahn

We’ve spent the past several months commenting how much we enjoy driving in Germany. The concrete autobahn is smooth, with ample driving space, nice shoulders, and the drivers are some of the best we’ve encountered. They stay in the right lane unless they are going to pass, which they quickly do and then move back over to the right. It’s truly a pleasure.


Wow. The drive to Brussels was excruciating. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, given that I didn’t even drive! Honestly, the roadway was packed with drivers and so many semis that the efficient passing method didn’t work very well. It added an extra hour to our already long drive to Brussels.

The return trip on Sunday was, once again, a pleasure. We must have hit crazy Friday traffic. The kind of Friday traffic in Chicago that makes you rethink your whole vacation so you can either beat the traffic by leaving early or wait it out and leave late at night.

Up from Brussels. Stay tuned.