Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Garmischer Fest

July 28, 2008 Leading up to Oktoberfest in Munich, a lot of smaller towns in the Bavarian area will hold their own version of Oktoberfest. Garmischer fest was at the end of July/beginning of August. Traditional dancers perform, Maß's (a liter of beer) are served, 1/2 chickens are devoured, men lift stones...very barbaric! The night of the stone-lifting competition, Sebastian, Terri (my roommate)'s boyfriend, reserved a table for a bunch of us. Our table was in a great location and we enjoyed the entertainment of men lifting a 500 pound stone, while drinking Maß's of Marzen beer, and eating the delicious chicken and brotzeit served at beer fests.

Enjoying the festival

My Marzen Raddler Maß (Raddler = beer mixed with lemonade...delicious!)

Brotzeit, a typical Bavarian spread of meats and cheeses

Courtney and I enjoying the stone lifting!

Roommates, Terri and I

The beast! He lifted the 500 pound stone past the 100 mark!! (check out the red lever!)

German drinking games :) The announcer challenged us to stand on the table and chug our Maß while the rest of the people at the table held the table up in the air!! *This is the same announcer that chugged several of his own Maß's while announcing...love it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Canary Islands!!!

July 19-26, 2008 As a college graduation present, mom took me to the Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco!! We stayed at the Apartmentos Casablanca in Peurto de la Cruz. We rented a car for the week, which was well worth it...minus the stress of the STEEP hill outside our apartment, the hilliness of the entire island, and the yellow road (see pictures!)...but we made it! We decided to just do as much sightseeing on our island as we could instead of hopping around from island to island. Each morning we would go somewhere new and then return later in the afternoon to lay out by the pool at our hotel (I'm not a huge fan of black-sand beaches but we did spend some time out there). Two of our bigger trips were a day trip to the volcano, Mt. Tiede, the highest point in Spain! Little did we know how many people would be going to the volcano - we probably waited in line (in the heat and sun) for 2 hours to get on the cable car to go up the volcano. The drive through the national park to get to the volcano was gorgeous! At some lookout points we could see some of the other islands! Our other big trip was a drive to Masca...via the yellow road -- a one lane, curvy, hilly road that was not one-way at all and even had tour buses driving around. When there was a tour bus it would usually wait in a pull-off point and wait for cars to go around it or if something unpredictable happened - cars usually had to back up to make room for each other, since it was a one-lane road! Masca was beautiful and in the end, worth the stress of driving on the yellow road. more pictures


Mt. Tiede

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Czech Republic

July 11-15, 2008 Mom and Bonnie, my high school french teacher and Girl Scout leader, came to visit me. The one place they told me they wanted to see while they were in Europe was Prague. So, I decided we'd make a nice little four-day weekend out of it and see some additional places in the Czech Republic. We started our road trip early Friday morning with Marianske Lazne planned as our first stop. We ended driving through a cute little town, Chodovar, and stopped briefly to take a few pictures. After our brief stop we continued to Marianske Lazne and then Karlovy Vary, both spa towns in the Carlsbad Region. We had a nice little picnic in the park in Marianske Lazne. We arrived in Prague later that night and checked into our wonderful apartment. Funny how a huge apartment can be cheaper than a hostel room sometimes. I guess there weren't a lot of people that weekend because we got a free upgrade to a one-room apartment, which ended up being huge - one bedroom, large living room with a pull out couch, large entry way, and a full kitchen. We enjoyed the touristy spots of Prague even in the rain. Tara, an Alpha Phi Alumnae I met in May in Darmstadt, was in Prague for work so I met up with her and one of her work colleagues one evening. On our way home I could tell something was kind of odd about my car, specifically about the clutch. I have never owned a manual vehicle before and don't know a whole lot about them but I didn't think this could be good. I insisted that we continue with our planned sightseeing schedule: Kutna Hora, Ceske Budejovice, and Cesky Krumlov all on our way home. We saw the creepy bone church in Kutna Hora, enjoyed the main square in Ceske Budejovice, and walked the small streets of Ceskey Krumlov. We were almost home or so we thought. Shortly after we left Cesky Krumlov my navigational told us to turn on a small, tiny road so I did. As I went to shift into a lower gear I couldn't...I couldn't shift into any of the gears! I was freaking out and I of course had to tell mom, "I told you something was wrong." I pulled out my phone and called ADAC (German equivalent of AAA) and told them our location and problem. While ADAC had me on hold (and while my phone was beeping at me because it was about to die) and Bonnie and Mom were trying to warn traffic, a car pulling a small trailer stopped. Neither one of them spoke any English but next thing you know he had my car in gear and was getting ready to drive away. I was sitting in the passenger seat, slightly suspicious of the whole situation, so I closed the door and down the road we went! I didn't even have a chance to talk to mom or Bonnie to discuss a plan or figure out what was going on. I found out that the gentleman who was driving my car (wearing a mechanic's onesy but apparently not a mechanic....) spoke some German so I tried to figure out where we were going and make sure Mom and Bonnie were OK. We were able to communicate that his friend would bring my Mom and Bonnie and that we were headed towards a mechanic. Once we all arrived at the mechanic's shop Mom and Bonnie told me about their crazy ride in the car behind me -- apparently the guy went straight on the curves and the trailer behind the car went air born a few times. As we stood in the parking lot with the two men who had drove us and the mechanic we realized that none of them spoke English and I certainly didn't know any German auto words. After a few minutes, a well-dressed man came over and started speaking English!! He was there to pick up his car and was a School Master in Austria. He was so kind and helpful and translated for us what was going on. We ended up having to spend the night in the small Czech town of Vyssi Brod, which consists of one short street. The Austrian ended up driving us into town to a hotel, where nobody spoke English, and told the ladies working our situation and got us a room. We ate dinner at the hotel and had a good laugh over the situation and the smoking Mona Lisa picture in our room. The next morning the mechanic was supposed to pick us up at 8:00am with my car but when we went to breakfast one of the ladies at the hotel was able to communicate that it wouldn't be until 9:00. When 9:00 came and went we asked again and found out it would now be around 11 or so before the car was ready. So the three of us walked down to the water that we had passed on our way into town from the mechanic's shop. It ended up being a really nice way to help the time pass by quickly. Turns out Vyssi Brod is a popular place for rafting and at the point in the river where we found a bench there was a small drop of point/rapid that we enjoyed watching rafts and kayaks trying to make it down. We would make bets as to whether the kayakers would tip over or not. It was shameless but fun to watch the kayakers scramble after their paddles and belongings after their kayak tipped over. When we went back to the hotel one of the ladies working had a younger boy translate for us that the mechanic wouldn't be there until 1:00 so we strolled around the one-street town and people watched from a bench outside of our hotel. The mechanic and car finally arrived and we were home bound after a 5-day adventure through the Czech Republic. more pictures

Well in Prague

Houses in Kutna Hora

Town center in Ceske Budejovice

Houses in Cesky Krumlov

Monday, July 7, 2008


July 3 - 6, 2008 Courtney and I took a little road trip to Croatia for our 4th of July weekend. I had booked a hostel for us in Rovinj but upon arrival the manager told us they had overbooked and we would be staying in a villa, Villa Cuvi, close by. It all worked out for the better because the villa was much cuter and closer to the beach. Each morning the owner brought us breakfast on our terrace - bread, jam, and juice. Courtney and I rented bikes for the four days and rode our bikes down to the beach every day and tried out different coves along the beach, including the nudist beach. One morning we drove an hour south to Pula to see the amphitheater, harbour, and a few other sites. more pictures

Flower at Villa Cuvi

Villa Cuvi

The main center of Rovinj

Amphitheater in Pula