Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy everything

I'm setting off on Sunday to spend the holidays with Mike's family in Peoria. If I don't get to speak with all of you individually, have a wonderful Christmas, happy birthday (to you Christmas babies out there - go team!), and a fantastic New Year.
I'm looking forward to another year with my friends and family, some new beginnings (fingers crossed), and whatever surprises are in store for all of us.

Lots of love,

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Deutschland Day 6: The Rhein

OK, back to Germany!

After Heidelberg, we took a tram to a train to another train to Bingen...then hopped on a boat that took us up the Rhein from Bingen to Koblenz. **Side note: despite the laid-back atmosphere established by our hosts, and the reputation of the efficiency of the German rail network, we still managed to have to SPRINT for nearly every mode of transportation we took in our few days there. The most challenging by far was the connection between the express train to the local train in Mainz (on the way to Bingen), which had us running like crazy from track to track (in completely random and unrelated sections of the train station) while trying to decipher the beautiful yet complicated German-language signposts. Is it us or is that normal?**

Here we are at the Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof (after running for the tram to get us there)...taking our first German train on our own.

Can you feel the excitement???

The first noteworthy site at Bingen, while waiting for our boat:
Niederwald Monument in Rudesheim-am-Rhein

Our first castle of the day: Ehrenfels (c. 1211). The castle was burned down by the French in 1689, and the ruins are what stands today.

Rudesheimer Roseneck vineyard

The Mauseturm (Mice Tower, c. 13th century). This was originally a toll tower.

Ehrenfels Castle


Rheinstein Castle

Rheinstein Castle

Dorks on a boat.

Statue of the Loreley maiden.

Katz Castle at St. Goarshausen

Rheinstein Castle

Reichenstein Castle

It was a tad chilly on the boat. Luckily... we had towels!

Stahleck Castle (c. 1095)

Stahleck Castle (now a youth hostel) above the town of Bacharach.

The town of St Goar

St Goar



Marksburg Castle (near Aachen, where bridesmaid Marietta is from!)

Marksburg Castle

Stolzenfels Palace (c. 1255)

Me with Marksburg in the background

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress (c. 1100) in Koblenz...and our last stop on the Rhein.

From Koblenz we took another train to Bonn, and got there in the late afternoon. After packing up all of our stuff at Britta and Philipp's flat (who had already left for their honeymoon), we got a bite to eat at our favorite place: the Wespennest. It was a wonderful end to a fantastic trip.

The next morning we woke up early and took two busses to the airport. Soon enough, we were on our way home...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A brief interlude - Thanksgiving

Thought I'd interrupt the Germany posts with one that's a bit more timely: my friend Brindha's recent visit to New York for Thanksgiving. She brought along her friend Shameela...and I brought along my mom, Michael, and my friend Toni...

Taken within seconds of greeting Brindha. Bless her, she's a beast with the camera. :)

On the subway...

Thanksgiving day and balmy parade weather...

What we were contending with...

Snoopy!!! (I, for one, turned into a 3 year-old as soon as I saw the floats)


I think Mr. Potato Head was my favorite. Isn't he a bit random? Why don't I remember him from years past? Is he new? Either way, he rocks.

A young lady named Dora.


Sweating and smiling!

Frosty! The Snowman!
(I can still hear the little kid who was standing next to me chanting his name)

Getting ready for dinner at my mom's house.

The lovely guests of honor.

Mom and I.

Quorn! (For Brindha)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sophie the demon kitty.

My good buddy Toni and I.


The next day I had to work, so we all met up for lunch before the ladies took of for New Jersey...