Country Roads

September 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Posted in Over There, Sightseeing | Leave a comment
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Mountain ViewI wanted to do this for a long time: explore Shenandoah National Park. One way to do it is to take a ride on Skyline Drive. For a full experience you actually would have to camp there but some friends and I decided to make a day trip. We definitely planned to go camping but August still was to humid to do this. Beware of the mosquitos. They can drive you crazy. We could only get rid of them after turning on a smoky fire.

The park is perfect for hiking up the mountains to catch breathtaking views of the area. There are multiple paths you can follow. From beginner to expert you should find a trail that suits you well. The park has much more to offer than you can cover in one day. Someday I’ll drive the whole 105 miles of the Skyline Drive. A camping trip is already in planning.

   Shenandoah Valley   Relaxation with a View

Left my Heart in San Francisco

September 26, 2009 at 10:12 am | Posted in Over There, Sightseeing | 2 Comments
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It all started out good when our taxi driver asked us if we knew that we’re staying in a fancy hotel. We actually didn’t know that hotels on Nob Hill are supposed to be swanky. When we decided to go on a trip to San Francisco for a long weekend we found a good deal for a hotel that even had a spa. Well, we didn’t get disappointed. The hotel we stayed in, the Huntington, feels like staying with your rich uncle with a great taste for interior design. Should you plan to stay there don’t miss out on the Espresso Martini in the hotel bar.

Knowing that we just have three days to explore the city we tried to pack as much sightseeing into our day as we could. A must is seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t forget to bring a sweater. It’s always kind of chilly. In this city weather can change fast. We decided to take the boat tour in the bay which also let us see Alcatraz. We tried to avoid setting a foot on the island. There are masses of tourists and I don’t think you actually miss something. While being in the bay area we checked with Giradelli. They give out free samples in their store. Even though the samples are good I still think European chocolate tastes better. Don’t miss out on Lombard Street. Probably the funniest street I’ve ever seen.

Did I already tell you that I love San Francisco? This city really has flair. From great panorama views from up the hill to laid back people. This city is adorable. Personality is everywhere. People keep their architecture and culture intact and maintain it well. Apart from the hiking to get from point a to b it takes time to get around. After a while we actually decided to always take the taxi. Cable Cars are definitely made to entertain tourists but are a rip off. You pay the same price for a ride with a taxi. Because we got so many recommendations from friends for good restaurants and bars we wanted to visit taxis are the way to go.

We got a good impression of San Francisco within three days. If prices for living wouldn’t be that high we would totally consider living there. Sarah and I will go there again. Next up: Making a tour to the wineries and exploring the surrounding area.

Severe Storms at Nationals Game

June 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Posted in Over There | 1 Comment
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Last time I tried out to go to a baseball game it didn’t quite work out. #fail

Severe Storms at Nationals Game

Oops!…I did it again

March 1, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Over There | Leave a comment
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Before:

Before

After:

After

2008 in photos

January 26, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Back again, Over There | Leave a comment
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Being extremely busy at work in summer made me realize that I did not write to many blog entries this year. Here is a quick overview of the year in pictures.


brothers
January – My brothers and I in a local bar in Germany last time I visited. Too bad we didn’t have a camera to take better pictures.




bowling
February – Me bowling at Lucky Strike. Man, I tell you I suck at this and Wii training didn’t help at all. The pose in the picture actually looks better than my game was.


wizards_game1
March – Sarah and I at a Wizard’s game in the Verizon Center, Chinatown, Washington DC. Wizards vs. Orlando Magic…of course they lost!


deutsche_bank
March – Joachim, Sarah and I doing the Josef Ackermann victory sign in front of the Deutsche Bank in New York City.




cherry_blossom
April – Me at the Cherry Blossom festival saying hi accompanied by a human beaver and a ranger (?).




asia_cafe_friends
April – Lucy, Lalesh, Joachim, Andrea, Sarah and I hanging out at the bar in Cafe Asia in Rosslyn before dinner.




sangria_old_town
May – Me having a big gulp of Sangria in a bar in Old Town, Alexandria.




lucy_farewell
June – Farewell party for Lucy one month before she moved to Los Angeles. DC, a place of constant change.




euro_cup_2008
June – Public Viewing of Euro Cup 2008 finals at the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC. Too bad Germany didn’t win.




shannadoa
July – Me in a resort in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. I have to go there in winter again to try out their skiing area.




appletini
August – Me having a girly Appletini at a wedding in Minnesota. Yeah, I know…it’s lame. I like the original Martinis better though.




superior_lake
September – Having a Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest beer at Superior Lake, Minnesota. Two worlds collide.




food_and_wine_festival
September – Wine & Jazz festival in Crystal City, Arlington. Pay a fee, drink and eat as much as you can and listen to Jazz. As you can see the cigars were good too.


mexico
November – Visiting the beach and ancient ruins in Tulum, Mexico. You see the green sticker? Every bus tourist belonging to a group got one. Damn, where is my group?


blackboard
December – Hanging out all dressed up at the Blackboard company Christmas party with colleagues. Probably one of the few companies that organized one in times of recession.

Kasseler Rippchen

January 5, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Posted in Over There | 2 Comments
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On our way back from Minnesota to DC we got stuck in Milwaukee because we could not catch our connecting flight and had to stay overnight in a hotel. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant. Guess what I found on the menu: Kasseler Rippchen served with Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Correctly spelled! I needed to try it out even though I’m not a huge fan of it. Having grown up in the Kassel area my mum cooked this dish every once in a while. Conclusion: Not bad at all. The meat came close to the original, the Sauerkraut has room for improvement (was kind of creamy). Yum!

Kasseler Rippchen

Artificial Christmas Tree

December 31, 2008 at 10:47 am | Posted in Over There | 2 Comments
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Christmas TreePreparing Christmas when family plans to come in is a lot of work. This year my in-laws flew into DC to spend Christmas day with us. I was used to celebrate Christmas with either my or Sarah’s parents so this was a new experience for me. Well, what do you need to do? Cook dinner and of course buy a Christmas tree. After running and driving from A to B I realized that getting a real tree would be more difficult than I thought. Artificial trees are the standard in the US. People rather buy a plastic tree than a real one. In the end I gave in and bought an artificial one even though I like the smell of a conifer tree. Yeah, I have to admit that I went for the cheap shot at CVS: $20 for a mini tree including the already attached lights. Call me uncultured but it worked just fine and in the end is reusable. 😉

Virgina voted Democrats

November 5, 2008 at 12:23 am | Posted in Over There | Leave a comment
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Virginia didn’t go Blue for the last 40 years. This year there was change. Amazing! Even though I can’t vote myself here’s my virtual contribution:

Vote for Obama

Camping trip to Northern Minnesota

October 19, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Posted in Over There, Sightseeing | Leave a comment
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Four weeks ago we visited Sarah’s family in Minnesota again. Sarah planned to meet up with old friends so my father in law, John, and I decided to go for a camping trip in Northern Minnesota. We had planned to do this for quite a while. This autumn seemed to be the perfect time to go for it. Almost no more mosquitos and pleasant weather. The place we were heading for is north of Grand Marais, one of the last outposts before you enter wilderness, not too far from the Canadian border. Don’t get me wrong but it’s a six hours drive to get there from Minneapolis. After equipping ourselves with camping gear, we also needed to get some alcoholic beverages to survive the upcoming cold weather front. Up there it’s much colder than in Minneapolis. And while it was October what else can you get than Oktoberfest beer.

Driving by Superior Lake is really amazing. You can’t imaging how big that lake actually is. It’s so big that you can’t see the shore on the other side. We found a camping site at Flour Lake. After working long hours it is the perfect place to relax and let your brain calibrate to normal. The air is clean, no sound except for the animals and a perfect clear, starry sky at night. When we arrived it was almost dark and kind of hard to get the campfire going because it started to rain. However, after collecting some wood we could warm up and relax. The night in the tent was cold but not so bad in a good, comfy sleeping bag. We got woken up by chipmunks sliding down our tent. These guys seem to be used to humans and were sitting with us for breakfast.

On the next day we rented a motorized boat to go fishing. This is not exactly what you’d probably think of a typical trip to the wilderness. Man, where’s the canoe? Oh well, I was happy that we didn’t have to paddle all the way on the lake. The one we were on was really huge and it would have taken us all day to make our way to the other side of the lake. We were looking forward to a nice dinner but luck wasn’t on our side. We only caught two fish all day and they were not even very big. Thankfully, we also brought food supplies: Riceronies and some sausages.

The beauty of nature up there is stunning. You hardly see people if you don’t want to. For a more extended trip you should rent a canoe and make your way from one lake to another carrying it from portage to portage. After three days we left the site to drive back to civilization. I was looking forward to take a warm shower.

Euro 2008 Soccer Finals in DC

July 13, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Over There | Leave a comment
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Being away from home can be hard sometimes. The best way to feel the German vibe is to see a soccer match especially when the German team made it to the finals. There were a few places in Washington DC that you could see the matches in a public viewing environment. Besides the Goethe Institute some pubs offered live broadcasting as well. Austria arranged for a huge public viewing in their embassy on June 29th. Around 800 people came there to cheer up the Spanish or German team or just wanted to watch the game. After waiting in line for about half an hour you could enjoy free Bratwurst and cold beer/wine. The embassy set up one huge repro TV (for the next time please make sure there’s no direct sunlight!) and three LCD screens. Too bad Germany lost the game. I would have loved to celebrate a German win. However, the Spanish team made the better game and had strong defense and aggressive offense. Congrats Spain!

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