Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Berlin, Finally

So, I'm finally getting around to posting about our trip to Berlin, which was less than a week before our trip to America. This is probably going to be pretty terse, since it was a while ago and I'm kinda in that just getting it done mode.

On the first day I was there, while Hunter was in conferences and stuff, I took Sadie to the zoo. She walked around a little bit but then eventually fell asleep. I didn't take many pictures of the animals, but this orangutan just looked really badass so I took out the camera, and then I saw the gorilla so I had to get one of him, too.

We saw the Brandenburg Gate, but were there at the time when the light was behind it, so this is the best shot we got:

And then the next two are Sadie and I in front of it.

Sadie and I with the Reichstag in the background:

And some more Reichstag:

Here I am in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall:

And some shots from Checkpoint Charlie:

Berlin seems to have an interesting relationship with its history. At the subway stop near Checkpoint Charlie, there were signs for an English language school that said "We have ways of making you talk" and "You are now entering the English sector" or something like that, which I thought was kind of weird? Like, imagine an ad for Jenga in the NY subway that says, "Don't let these towers fall!" I mean, basically what I'm saying is TOO SOON. But then again, I'm not German so maybe they just don't have the same sensitivities as I do.

They also offer tours around the city in the infamous Trabant and I saw some souvenir stands selling miniature ones. There were posters advertising, and I'm translating here, "East German products with the quality of the Federal Republic!" There is a word, ostalgie, which is a portmanteau of the German words for "east" and "nostalgia," and I definitely saw it there.

So yeah, this post isn't a comprehensive account of what we did and if one of the handful of readers out there has any specific questions, I'd be happy to address them. I just wanted to get these pictures uploaded because we're going on another trip in a week or so, and I don't want to get even more behind.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yo Yo, Maastricht!

I know, the pun titles are getting worse.

Anyway, last weekend we had one of the many long-weekends that mean it's springtime in Germany. We had not yet gone to Maastricht, which is one of the closer towns in the Netherlands so we made the trip, about an hour.

The main thing I wanted to see was the bookstore that's in a church. It pops up every so often on lists of beautiful bookstores, and it is beautiful. However, it's just a bookstore that used a church for a building. The design of the bookstore isn't really integrated into the design of the church. Here's a pic:

I picked up a couple pieces of loot: a tote bag that said "I got 99 problems but a book ain't one" and a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland translated into... Limburgish... hang on, Googling... yes, that is the name of a language. I was hoping to get The Little Prince to add to my collection, but they didn't have it and I guess I'm not 100% certain it even exists.

We also visited a basilica to Saint Serviatus. It was really pretty, and sadly not many of my pictures actually came out. I had one of the ceiling, and one of this cool modern stained glass window, but Sadie was grabbing for my phone while I took them, so they got a bit shaky. Anyway here are the ones that did come out:

This grandiose key is one of Serviatus' emblems

This is I think the oldest, or one of the oldest, parts.

We also tried a pretty delicious chocolate filled waffle and stopped at a cafe where Sadie was, of course, admired. It was a really nice day out and there was also an outdoor market type thing. We are definitely not opposed to going back on a Sunday or some day when there isn't much going on here.

But does it have a Moon Door?

So that's it! A quick post about a quick trip!

And yeah, I know I haven't posted about our trip to Berlin yet. That... might be next?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Trip to America: Highlight Reel, Part Two

I realized after I made the last post that there were some pictures I uploaded but for whatever reason didn't actually get posted. So I will post those and then move on to the California pictures.

Reading to Great-Grandma Bubbles

Ok so now here are some of the pics from the west-coast portion of the trip:

Sadie with her little buddy, Jameson

Sadie was a little scared of Goofy

Got her mouse ears on!

I think Eeyore was her favorite

She liked Winnie before he got too close

This black widow was killing a moth and it was just too cool not to take a picture of

Hanging out in the suitcase

She had a tea party with my mom. I didn't know she could dunk!

Other highlights:
We got to hang out with Hunter's brother, although somehow he managed to avoid all the pictures.

We went on the Tower of Terror, which, after childbirth, is the most I've ever felt like I might actually die.

We hung out with my high school friend Brett (somehow also no pictures) and got 2nd place at trivia in Mariposa (we should have gotten 1st but they had these dumb physical challenges).

Shut down the Dirty Donkey bar in Oakhurst which was both awesome and depressing.

Had a joint birthday celebration with my grandpa, my uncle, and me.

Saw my sister and her boyfriend (and their two cats).

I probably forgot some things. I've just been incredibly overwhelmed and backed up since we returned, so I had to make this brief. But seriously, if anyone wants more details on anything, let me know and I'll be happy to write more! I just wanted to get something down before I forgot.