Happy New Years Eve

Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010 - 6:50 pm (11:50 am CT)
Munich
Wow it is crazy that we celebrate New Years Day at midnight, go to bed, wake up for our morning train and people in Minnesota will just be celebrating the New Year. Alas...Today we finally got to see the sights of Munich. It is very easy to see the main sights in a day as they are so close to each other. We started by walk down from Karlstor Gate to the Marienplatz (Mary's Square), stopping at St. Michael Church along the way. All the churches in the center of Munich were destroyed during WWII and rebuilt. All the churches have photos of what they looked like after the WWII. AMAZING! Next we walked to Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). This is the Cathedral for the Archdiocese of Munich. Pope Benny XVI was the Archbishop here in 1977-1982. For being the cathedral it is rather plain compared to the other fabulous churches in town. We finally got to Marienplatz just in time for the daily "jousting" of the glockenspiel on the New Town Hall. After that we hiked up the 306 steps of St. Peter's Church to get the best view of the city. It was your typical hike up....2 way traffic on a single lane stairwell. The view was great! We check out a couple more churches and had some lunch and then hoped on the train for Dachau. Dachau Concentration camp is surprisingly only 10 miles away from Munich. Crazy to think of what was happening so close to this great city. It is a very somber experience. It hasn't changed since the last time I was here 10 years ago. After that we hopped on some trains and head tours the Olympic Park. Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics. We saw the swimming pool arena and the olympic tower which only cost €4.5 to go up a whopping 186 meters (~600 feet). It was dark by the time we go up there so there wasn't too much to see. We could see the stadium but it was dark....you would think it would be some what lit up...but NO! They were preparing a skiing hill for some ski championship thingy happen in January 2nd. Right now we are watching some "Die Simpsons" in German (Eric is so happy...the Simpsons) Yesterday it was Family Guy in German. Next is Two and a Half Men. We are going to head down to the Marienplatz later for fireworks. This place LOVES fireworks. Every where we go we see people carrying huge bags of fireworks (most of which I think are banned in the US) and you can hear them going off all over the place. But Simpsons are done now, time for dinner. Ciao! Gl├╝ckliches neues Jahr!

Castles and More Castle

Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 30, 2010 - 9:47 pm (2:47 pm CT)
Munich
What a long day! We started out by going on an 11 hour tour of Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. So we were up early this morning and got on a packed bus with the most scatter brained guide. Apparently there were more people wanting to go on this tour today than usually. They normally have 2 busses but today that had at least 5 that we know about. It was so crazy the amount of people fighting to get on buses for the tour. Unfortunately we ended up on the worse bus. For some reason they decided that our bus should do the tour backwards. So we went to the Neuschwanstein Castle first. Well that caused our tour guide to go into frazzled mode as she didn't know what to do about lunch and the other stops along the way. We had the stuck up Chicagoans next to us. And a group from Singapore. I thought Japanese tourist were bad, well this group from Singapore are whole other level. Our guide told us to be back at the bus immediately after our tour. The group from Singapore demanded an exact time to meet back at the bus and they ended up being the last people on the bus....15 minutes late. How frustrating! They wanted a time and then didn't even make it back in time. The hike up to the castle was a work out. It is 1 mile straight up on a snow packed walk. You could ride a horse drawn carriage but the line for that was ridiculous long and we had plenty of time to walk up. The weather didn't cooperate at all. It was so foggy we could barely see the castle!!! My pictures show what we were dealing with. Thankfully after our tour on the way down the clouds lifted long enough for me to get some pictures. So the tour was fine. There are 4 floors but not many rooms are finished as Mad King Ludwig died before it was done. They are such Nazis about photos...not allowed. I snapped a few of the last room when everybody had left. I've gotten quite good at taking secret pictures. After that we went to another castle, Linderhof, which was tiny but still very interesting. It was so cold waiting for the castle tour. Finally we stopped at the tiny town of Oberrammergau for some shopping. Very cool town...google it! Beautiful Cuckoo clocks and a Christmas store. We made our way back to Munich by around 7:30. We went to Hofbrauhaus for some oom-pah music and beer. Very historic beer hall, just like I remembered. We grabbed some lunch and are now chilling in the room. Tomorrow we will actually do some tour around the center of Munich. Because the castles are closed tomorrow we had no choice but to do that tour today (along with the rest of the world).

Welcome to Munich

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29, 2010 - 8:45 pm (1:45 pm CT)
Munich
Today was a pretty easy day for us. We had a 4 hour train ride (which we almost missed). Long story short, it was slow at the grocery store and hence we almost missed it. Thankfully we didn't, we would have to wait 5 hours for another train and we would have to pay a lot for it. Anyways, the train ride was fairly boring. It was fog/misty the whole time so we couldn't see much. We got to pass through Austria though and around a big lake. We got to Munich about 1:30 and after checking into the hotel we headed to the Deutsches Museum. Funny story on the tram. Eric got up to sit by me and this old guy drinking a beer was asking us questions. I think he finally understood we were from America (he kept saying Canada) and that we lived in Chicago. I figured it was the closest major city that he may have heard of. Very funny he continued to talk to us in German and then when we got off he shook Eric's hand and patted me on the back. Weird! Back to the museum...I remember it being much cooler than it really was, but then again the historically train display, the musical instruments display and the bridges display were all closed for renovations. Shucks...hun Dylan? Also all the information on the displays were in German. Makes trying to figure out what everything so hard....how lame! So we did the mining display, aeronautics and astronomy. After that we wandered around the city center by the train station and the Karlstor Gate (the city has four old gates to the city). Stopped for some pizza and then went shopping at Karlstadt...the Munich equivalent of Macy's. A very huge department store. Everything here is still decorated for Christmas which is very awesome. They have an outdoor skating rink setup in the square near the train station. We picked up some very delicious pastries called Trimmi? and we are now just chilling in the room. Eric is watching the Chelsea/Bolton game which is live from Chelsea Stadium in London. Announcers are speaking in German so Eric is talking to himself as he watches the game. Ha ha. Tomorrow is Castle time.

Zurich and Liechtenstein

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28, 2010 - 10:10 pm (3:08 pm CST)
Zurich
We had a very eventful day today (after a very restless night) I fell asleep at about 6:30 and walk up a few times and at 1am I was wide awake. Couldn't get back to bed. I watched a movie and eventually fell back to sleep. But yet when the alarm went off this morning it was very hard to get up. Anyways, we did a walking tour of the city of Zurich. Not really much to see here except a few churches. In the afternoon we took a tour of Swiss Countryside and Liechtenstein. We spent an hour in Rapperswil, a cute little town on the Zurich Lake. I had the best Quiche Lorraine there with real swiss cheese. Then we stopped a few small towns on our way to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. What a neat little town in a little country. We made our way back to Zurich at around 7pm and did some shopping along their famous Bahnhofstrasse. Tomorrow we make our way to Munich. Yeah!

Lucerne, Switzerland and My Birthday!

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010 - 6:06 pm (11:06 am CST)
Zurich
I apparently like right at 6 past the hour. Hum. Well I can say I'm very pooped. I've been up for 28 hours straight with maybe a little cat nap on the plane to Zurich. Eric is snoring away as I'm updating my pictures and facebook status. I've had a lot of Birthday wishes on Facebook and it isn't even noon back home yet! So today was very eventful. Here is pretty much a recap of the last 10 hours. Flight to Zurich was uneventful. Wow the KLM Flight Attendants are beautiful and VERY friendly. Sure beat the old bags from Delta. No issues with the luggage, we scooped them up and head for the train station. Fortunately for me Swiss Rail has the "Happy Birthday Pass." I get unlimited travel today for only 33 Swiss Francs (SF)!! To put that in prospective, Eric's one-way fare to Lucerne was 27 SF. Score me! Switzerland is VERY expensive. A locker at the train station was 8 SF (thankfully all of our stuff fight in one locker). A Big Mac Meal and Mc Royal cost us 18 SF. And that was the small drink and fry that Eric I shared. Yes kill me, we ate at Mc Donalds. We were starving and it was the first thing we saw that wasn't very confusing. Remember we are operating on very little sleep and I don't speak any German and all the other places had their food listed in Germany and I was too tired to figure out what it all meant. We went on a walk...a very long walk if you ask Eric. He at one point said that next time he is going to suggest some where warmer. I'm thinking its ok, except for the slipping on snow cover esclator on the way down to the train station. We got to see the nice sites of Lucerne including the and Chapel Bridge. We made our way back to Zurich and are now relaxing (or sleeping in the case of Eric.

Amsterdam Airport

December 27, 2010 - 8:06 am (1:06 am CST)
Amsterdam
The flight from MSP to AMS was uneventful. I tried sleeping but it was going to happen. Eric is proud of the fact he watched 4 movies. So we are half way through our 3 1/2 layover before we catch our next flight to Zurich. Nothing really exciting going on. I have noticed, however, that all the signs, ads, and billboards are in English and most of the time only in English. Have we left the USA? BTW Happy Birthday to me! :-)

Not my camera! :-(

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 9, 2010 - 10:56 PM CT - MILWAUKEE -
Very sad day for me. We woke up very early to get to Mammoth Cave for the first tour of the day. Before the tour started I dropped my camera in water...ok I'll admit it, it fell out of my pocket into the toilet. Laugh if you must, I actually did at first. Yes it was clean water!!! But than I almost cry....well ok I did cry. My camera is toast. My precious camera, the thing I love more than life itself! After I freaked out, Eric calmed down and I realize I still have a camera on my phone. Granted the quality is pure crap, but none the less I can take pictures and that is what is the most important thing. So the pictures aren't up to my standards, but its the best I can do with what I have. So after that we drove up to Lincoln's Birthplace. That was cool, it was a school field trip day there so there were people dressed in period clothes and even a very life like Abe with the beard and all! But this also meant millions of little rug rats. Apparently I'm a teacher because I heard kids say Mrs. Williams all over the place. We stopped briefly in Louisville to see the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory with the gigantic bat outside the front. From there we made our way through Chicago (at rush hour no less) and made it to Dylan's apartment by 7:30...just in time to see the Vikings get smacked by the Saints. Boy this day as a whole pretty much sucked. Tomorrow we make our way home. Hooray. I can't wait to see Swirl again but that also means I'm one day closer to school. Oh yes, school again. I can't wait to be done. Ok, time for bed. Nighty Night.

Where is the road???

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010 - 6:25 PM CT - CAVE CITY, KY -
Yesterday we drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way to the Great Smoky Mountains. It was very beautiful but like the name says very Smoky...hazy. We hiked up the Clingman's Dome which is the highest point in NC at 6,632 feet. It was a 1/2 mile hike straight up hill. It was the longest 1/2 mile hike of my life. Then we made our way down to Gatlinburg, TN. Very touristy for my taste. We walked around a little bit and had some dinner. It was pretty busy for a week night after the summer season. We checked out where we need to go for the tramway and suck. BUT today started out crappy....Rain, Rain, Rain. So we had planned on a cable ride to the top of the Gatlinburg...but obviously that wasn't happening! So we decided to head out. We ventured up I-75 to Knoxville, TN and across the Kentucky border, drove up 11 miles, turned around and drove back into Tennessee to get the silly Tennessee sign. Then we went to Cumberland Fall State Park for the Niagara of the South. It was a nice waterfall but no Niagara. We ventured over to Big South Fork NRA to do some hiking above the beautiful gorge of the Cumberland River. We decided to head to Mammoth Cave. This is where it gets interesting. Our AAA map, Rand McNally Atlas, Google Maps and my phone's GPS told us to go on KY State Hwy 9008. There were no signs for KY 9008, nothing. We continued driving for a few miles and this stupid road was no where to be found! We saw KY 80 which eventually intersects this phantom highway in 14 miles and after we couldn't find KY 9008 we eventually figured out that it was the "Cumberland Parkway." It never said 9008. None of our maps said that the other name was Cumberland Parkway. Very stupid! On our way we listened to Betty Bath on the Trader on the Radio. Very funny old women dj. She loved to say the word V-HICK-ALL (vehicle) we cracked up at the various things people were trying to trade/sell (bunnies, "hard worker" looking for some work in the Tobacco fields and many many V-hick-alls). I think Kentucky folk is funny. We finally got to Mammoth Cave at 5:30. The last tour was at 4:30. Oh well, we get up early for the 8:30 tour. We are back in central time zone so it should be easy. Cave City is a bit of dump. I'm glad to not be spending much time here. Now Eric is watching some local Country Blue Grass music on the old color tv...Eric don't like country...I mean doesn't like country. Here are some "vital" statistics as of right now; Miles driven: 2,290, cops seen: 75, states/prov. seen: 48

I-26 in NC

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010 - 3:18 PM ET - I-26 somewhere in NC.
It is very interesting what a day makes. Sunday driving through Myrtle Beach was crazy. Tons of people on the streets, all the places are open until 11pm or later and it is overall a hopping town. Last night after we watched the Season Finale of Eric's favorite show, The Secret Life, we decided to hit a mini golf place. (because the 36 holes that we had already played for the day wasn't enough). The place was closed!!! 9pm! They really take the seasonal hours seriously. We found one that was open but as soon as we paid he slapped the "Closed" sign on the door. That was the quickest round of mini golf ever. We were the only ones on the course so it was great. We drove down the main street and again...DEAD! I kind of liked it. Now our hotel had quite a few cars still and we saw a lot of school aged children around so apparently they don't go to school (or they are home schooled...don't know). I dragged myself out of bed at 630 for the sunrise and I'm glad I did it was great. I hung around the beach for about an hour. I found this awesome seashell and put it by my shoes as I waded in the ocean....somebody took it! Seriously who low must you go to dig in a shoe to get a stupid shell? I pretty much collapsed into bed and tried to sleep again. We packed up and said our good byes to the Atlantic. The beach was very DEAD, they didn't even put out the chairs and umbrellas! We are now on our way to Great Smoky Mountains. We should be there soon. How exciting!
Here are some "vital" statistics as of right now; Miles driven: 1,854, cops seen: 59, states/prov. seen: 44 (wow more cops than states!)

Rip currents are fun

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010 - 8:00 PM ET
Oh so sleepy. Today was great. I love the ocean! The waves were very high. There were rip current warnings and I could definitely feel the current tugging me away. It was fun! And I certainly learned a lesson last year and wore a shirt so I wouldn't get burned. I got a little on my neck so it was a good thing I wore the shirt. We spend most of the day in the ocean and pools at the hotel. Around 4pm we went to Boardwalk at the Beach and played 36 holes of mini golf in the blazing sun. It was hot! After that we made a trip to Wal-Mart for new swim trunks for Eric. It was quite exciting...we saw two young pretty Lindsay Lohan-type girls getting arrested for shoplifting. Handcuffed behind their back and everything. Cool! They had pink purses....need I say more? We came back to the resort to chill out for a while. Eric has to watch the Season Finale of Secret Life of the American Teenager...he loves this show. Then we are going out for more mini golf. Eric loves mini golf...

Ocean is my calling

September 6, 2010 - 6:21 AM ET - Myrtle Beach.
It is 6:21 in the morning and I'm sitting on the deck waiting for the sunrise. But that doesn't happen for another 30 minutes. Why am I up so early then? I had a dream I missed it and woke up at 5:56 am in a panic. How lame! And of course my body says...I'm Up, I'm up why are you still in bed. So alas I'm out on the deck. Eating Golden Chocolate Oreos (first thing I could easily grab), drinking water, listening to the waves and writing. Awesome! Let see, Duke was interesting. Lots of skinny people running. The campus looks very regal. I suppose if you pay a fortune to go there you expect that. We tried to check out the chapel....but ran into a incident. There was a wedding but it was over by the time we got there. The bride and groom and all the guests were standing around outside and getting in the limo. So I, along with a bunch of other people went in the side door and were standing in the vestibule. This very rude woman said "You need to leave! You can't be in here there is still a wedding going on" (the church was empty they were all outside). She then said the wedding party still needs to take photos (you mean the dress fancy people that just got in the limo?) If I was cleaver I should have told her asked her if she was St. Peter at the Perily Gates! So I peaked inside...I didn't go up the steps or nothing I just turned my torso to see the main stain glass window and she pushed me! I'm like seriously women? get a grip. So anyways we all got kicked out....literally. I also was tempted to say...well it's no St. Peter's anyway so I'm not missing much...but I was nice about it. So we left Duke kind of late and headed south. I must say Google maps had us going some random route. My hubby and I were going a long Sunday drive on NC back roads and I mean back roads. But when I looked at the map, there really was no other way to go that didn't involve a lot more driving. Oh it is 5:39, the sun is suppose to rise in 13 minutes but it doesn't look like it! Very cloudy...hum...disappointed!

WV is actually beautiful

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5, 2010 - 3:32 PM ET - on I-40 East near Durham, NC!


We have been having an excellent day. We drove some mountains, saw some high bridges, deep valleys, waterfalls and rivers. Wow West Virginia is beautiful. We took the Midland Trail (US Hwy. 60) from Charleston, WV. The Midland Trail was commissioned by our very own George Washington! SO it is old! The views were amazing. Good thing Eric drove as I would have stopped every 5 miles to take pictures. The roads were twisty curvy and not much keep us from going off the edge. We stopped at Eagle Nest State Park and got a great view of the New River Gorge. Shockingly we saw a long train carrying coal...imagine that in West Virginia...how strange...HAHAHA. We drove across the US 19 New River Gorge Bridge. This bridge is the longest single arch bridge in the western hemisphere (so the sign says) and at the time it was built it was the tallest. Seriously tall, the pictures don't do it justice. Every year they close the bridge and people parachute off it so you know its high. After that we drove down the gorge under the bridge...this was the old road and it was a single lane most of the way but the view at the bottom was great.

After that we decided to skip the tollway and head down the state highways to Babcock State Park so I could take a picture of the Grist Mill. According to them it is the most photographed spot in West Virginian so of course I had to have a picture. After that we dropped down some more mountains to Virginia. The most exciting thing about Virginia was $2.45 a gallon gas! Considering we have been seeing $2.75/gallon this was awesome. Lets see we also were traveling north and south at the same time. Weird thing. We were on I-77 South and I-81 North. Granted we were actually going east but I thought it was cool so I took a picture of the signs. (I think the only other person that would find this cool is my nephew Dylan....we are atlas/map crazed people). We are currently on our way to Duke University for my Duke fanatic husband. Then we make our way south to Myrtle Beach. Ciao for now!
Here are some "vital" statistics as of right now; Miles driven: 1,322, cops seen: 44, (16 in OH I thought WI was bad!, states/prov. seen: 39 (wow more cops than states!)

CRICKET!!!!!!

September 5, 2010 - 7:03 AM ET - West Virgina
Ok so I know I'm suppose to be up already but we have another resident in our room that keeps me from getting just a few more winks of shut eye. This annoying cricket that keeps making that cricketing noise. Oh how annoying! Recap of yesterday, drove through Illinois - Corn, drove through Indiana - more corn, drove though Ohio - State Troopers, 16 in all! Thankfully all buy 3 had somebody stopped. Crazy! We finally got to our destination of Charleston, WV. We stopped at this tiny town gas station that had the cheapest gas in miles and I had the feeling they were going to tell me "we dun't like yer kind har" But alas the people seem very nice. We swung by the capital building. It looks like most others. The grounds were very nice with fountains and flowers. That was the excitement for the day. Exciting, eh? Oh now I hear a train...Nice hotel, except for the cricket, in a weird part of town. Hey the cricket stopped...it must be all my typing has intimidated him....Ha!

East bond and down

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September 4, 2010 - 1:15 PM ET - 15 miles west of Indianapolis.
Well we have been making good time. We got to Rockford, IL by 10:30 last night which is amazing considering the 90+ mile thunderstorm we drove through. I actually had to slow down to 50 mph on I-94! We decided to avoid Chicago like the black plague and drove south on I-39 to I-74. So like I said we are about 10 miles now from Indianapolis. Lets see what fun have we had so far? Well how much fun can you have driving through Illinois and Indiana? We saw a lot of corn, semis and fibs (if you aren't from Wisconsin you probably don't understand). We also have been listening to the tunes. We belted out "Sweet Caroline" when the local station had a Neil Diamond Marathon. Reminds us of old times at the Dome. Ah...memories. Hum, we just past Jeff Gordon Blvd. Apparently they really like NASCAR here, I wonder if we will see the brickyard? Who shot MLK? Just wondering....Eric said Jack Ruby. I had to remind him, no that was Lee Harvey Oswald. Weird topics of discussion.... Here are some "vital" statistics as of right now; Miles driven: 656, cops seen: 13, (6 of which were last night in WI!), states/prov. seen: 31....well we are in Indy so time to help Eric navigate! Love ya!

Lightening Display

Friday, June 25, 2010

Driving through a thunderstorm and tornado on our way to Mitchell, SD



Eric is Rocky

Sunday, June 20, 2010

While visiting Philadelphia to see the Twins play the Phillies.  Before the game we headed over to the game, we went over the Art Museum to the Rocky Steps.  Eric did his interpretation of that event.  Haha.  I love the last bit of the clip.."thats how he did it."  It was such a hot day, all I wanted was to wade in the fountain below

Osborne Family Dancing Lights at Disney Hollywood

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bumble plays the drums

My brother, Bumble, got asked to come on stage during the Lulu at SeaWorld to play the drums.  We had so much fun!