Sunday, August 26, 2012

Louisville Ironman 2012!

We're here in Louisville, Kentucky supporting my dad and one of my uncles as they complete an Ironman today! For those of you who aren't familiar with the Ironman, it is a marathon triathlon with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, finished with a 26.2 mile run. Crazy!

My brother Kyle was supposed to do it as well, but he had a surprise appendectomy on Thursday night after his appendix ruptured and we're all just thankful that he's alright and resting in the hospital. Next time for him!

This is the first Ironman that I've been to and I have to admit that after being here...I want to do it. A marathon was already on my to-do list, but now I think I may have to do that and eventually also do an Ironman....I guess we'll see.

In the meantime I'll just have to keep cheering for the athletes and enjoy hanging out with the family!

Here are a few more from our day! They're not the higher res files, but as a result they upload at a fraction of the time. If you reeeeeally need to see them in higher res, let me know. ;)

Morgan, me and Casey!

Awesome family!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Something Beautiful

This came through yesterday on Wimp, and I feel somehow struck by it, though I can't say exactly why.

(Magic Carpet - Daniel Wurtzel)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23rd - And we're home!

Flew back from Paris this morning! I'm excited to sleep in something resembling my own bed tonight! Really excited....

I had grand plans to come home, go running this evening, and stay up until at least 10:00 p.m., but honestly, I couldn't care less about the running now. All my body wants is to go to bed... I might be able to make it another hour and a half, but that's probably it....

In more productive news, I made dinner and did some laundry! I'll have to pry open some previously packed boxes tomorrow to figure out what exactly I do and don't need for the next month... brain can't think of anything else interesting to say in this condition....maybe I'll get up early(ish) and go running....

Hey, I also watched some movies on the flight home today. Four movies, actually. John Carter, Mirror Mirror, The Hunger Games, and The Avengers (the last two were re-watches for me). John Carter was....very interesting. Weird. All over the place. But, for whatever reason, I liked it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20th - Brugge!

We took a day trip today to Brugge. Definitely a good idea. I still need to edit my photos from today, but as soon as I do, I'll get one up here.

We walked around Brussels yesterday and Brussels is nice, but Brugge was nicer (no offense Brussels!). Brussels is a more...typical city. Brugge is incredible picturesque. Everywhere you look, it's just gorgeous. Canals, architecture, everything - just beautiful!

We rented bikes at the train station and rode them into the city center and then walked around by foot for most of the day. Frites. Ice cream. Waffles. Chocolate. :) Yum!

Belgium seems to be close to having figured out the 24/7 self-service stamp machines (brilliant idea!) but they're not quite there. I visited more than three or four stores/post offices before I found one that was both open and sold stamps to the States, but victory was had!

We're taking our last train ride tomorrow morning to Paris! Hard to believe!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19th - Bound for Belgium!

It's hot here! What's up with that? But, that aside, we're here in Brussels!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18th - Amsterdam!

Beautiful here!

We leave tomorrow for Belgium. :)

But first, let me tell you a few things about our time here in Amsterdam.

Yesterday when we arrived we took a bit of a break at our hotel and then headed out to see Anne Frank's house. And we headed pretty much straight across the city from where we were. And you know where that took us? Straight through the red light district! :D Exciting! Or not.... at the very least, it was definitely different.

We made it through mostly unscathed...lots of scantily clad women behind glass...not really my thing...

As in every European city we've been in, this one is also full of smokers, but as most of you know are familiar with Amsterdam, you'll be unsurprised to hear that they're not smoking tobacco here!

Let's see...we took the longer way home last night to avoid the red light district.

Don't get me wrong. Amsterdam really is beautiful. Beautiful canals everywhere. The Dutch people really built this land. Literally in many ways. And the town has lots of fun details. The houses tend to be crooked because the wooden foundations are rotting and between that and when they replace them, they're not always straight.

Anne Franks' House was really cool. Very emotionally moving. It's hard to understand how people could have been (and in many places still continue to be) so incredibly racist.

Pancakes, waffles, and frits have all been consumed! More to come in Belgium!

Today we went on a three to four hour bike tour of the countryside around Amsterdam. We'd originally planned on a different bike tour, but that one ended up being full and we switched to another company. Very fun. Not as informative as some of our other bike tours, but a lot more biking. I should note, however, that the ride was still pretty easy. In that time slot we only went about 15 miles. We had a nice stop at a farm that made cheese and wooden shoes. And we definitely came away with some delicious cheese!

I'm not sure how we managed it, but we arrived in Amsterdam just in time for their warmest days. We'd sort of been looking forward to cooler weather, but I think we'll have to wait for that...

Ice cream and other random snacks and we pretty much collapsed upon returning to our hotel rather early-ish. Good times!

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17th - Amsterdam Bound!

We leave in just a few minutes to travel across Germany to the Netherlands! Exciting! Pictures to come!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16th - Day in Berlin!

Barely a week left! Unbelievable!

Today we took a five hour bike tour of Berlin. Very fun. :) It started to rain at the end of our tour and it was only then that I realized that I perhaps was not quite properly dressed for the weather unless it was mild and nice. With the rain, I was cold. It was beautiful, but I was cold.

After the tour we went and got some drinks to warm us up. I ordered a large hot chocolate and was happily sipping away, noting that there was a lot of unmixed chocolate in the drink, but that I didn't really mind. However, about halfway through, there was a lot more unmixed chocolate and I pulled the lid off and looked in to see a chocolaty mixture that was not very liquidy at all. Chocolate pudding, it would appear, rather than hot chocolate. Delicious, all the same, if rather odd...

We learned lots of interesting things about Berlin today. The city has more construction than any other we've been in. More than most cities around the world. I think this is largely a result of it being occupied for so long by the USSR, but also partly due to the funny German nature of never being quite satisfied with where things are. Apparently entire buildings get moved around here and rebuilt quite often.

We're off to Amsterdam pretty early tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15 - Berlin!

We made it by train this afternoon to Berlin! This city definitely has a lot of energy. I'm looking forward to exploring it more tomorrow, hopefully some by bike!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14th - Last Full Day in Prague!

Yesterday we went and had our laundry done. I'm not sure I've ever had someone I didn't know do my laundry. It's just...weird to me. I'm sure the laundry people knew their trade, but it was slightly uncomfortable for me to handover my underwear and articles of clothing that I care something about. In the end, it's just clothing, but I'd like for my stuff to not be ruined by my inability to wash it at a laundromat myself. Everything seemed to come back in good condition, but there is still this twinge of discomfort in the back of my mind.

Also, this morning as I was opening a new box of muesli cereal I cut my finger on the cardboard of the lid. Really? A cardboard cut? Who does that? Perhaps it was a subtle message from the universe to slooooow down - and open my cereal boxes a little more carefully.

Perhaps in response to that or perhaps just out of our need to rest a bit this morning, we've been taking things very slow. No running for me this morning (though I did badger Morgan enough to get up and do push ups/sit ups with me). Breakfast. Internet. Relaxed. At some point we'll go out (and perhaps  I'll update this later with a photo), but for now this is very nice.

I was also victorious yesterday in finding someone to sell me stamps so I could post Kyle's letter to Becca and my letter back to the states. Victory required that I ask at several different stores and ultimately purchase the stamp from a news vender with a relatively large "Hooters" sign on the outside (bad taste - anyone?), but victory was worth it. Kept my eyes peeled after that for a post box and finally found one on our way home.

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 10th through 13th - Prague

We're here in Prague and I'm doing a terrible job blogging. We get home in the evenings and I can only just barely manage to edit and post photos on Facebook, much less on here where the upload takes much longer. Sorry about that!

Prague is beautiful. It had been fun having my dad and Kyle here for a few days. They're just headed back to the States today.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 7th-9th - from Krakow to Vienna to Prague!

I've been falling behind some more! We simply don't have as much time to spend on our computers and there's too much to see on a short visits in each of the cities we've been in!

On the 7th we made our way from Krakow to Vienna, spent all of yesterday (the 8th) exploring Vienna by foot and by bike, and then left Vienna this morning to arrive here in Prague where we'll be for the next few days. It will be a bit of a break from the constant city jumping, though there is a bit more of that to come!

Vienna has been one of my favorite cities so far. I've liked them all for various reasons, but if I were to seriously consider moving anywhere we've visited this trip, it would be Vienna.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 6th - Krakow!

One of the Holocaust memorials.

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 5th - Travel to Krakow!

We spent most of yesterday on trains heading from Budapest to Krakow, but we're finally here now!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August 4th - Gelato Roses

Today was wonderful. We encountered a random parade that ended in a human tower, watched a bit of filming for what looked like a cell phone commercial, bought train tickets for tomorrow, bought a stamp (hopefully the right one!), took the metro to a park, went to a public bath, got the most beautiful gelato yet, went to the grocery store, and got gyros for dinner. Yum! I'm sure I'm leaving some good things out, but those were the highlights.

Beautiful, aren't they?

Mine is the lower one. Flavors: Chili Chocolate, Lavander and White Chocolate, Elderflower.

August 2nd and 3rd - Budapest!

Lover's Locks

Green cow?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Facebook Confessions...


When my friends/acquaintances on facebook get married, I often feel inclined to delete them...not because I don't like them anymore, but because I know that those pictures from their wedding are probably the best looking and happiest they're ever going to be and I want to remember them that way. And because frequently my married guy friends become rather boring and my married girl friends often only post about stuff I'm not terribly interested. Cooking. Babies. Nifty DIY stuff.

I can get as much of that as I want from Pinterest. :) And I am actually interested in some of that stuff, just not in quite the same way...

Perhaps I'll be more interested in some of that if/when I ever get married, but for now, for the couple of you I delete after you get married, there's no offense meant. I'm just simply happy for you and betting you'll be too busy from here on out to talk to me on facebook, and that you won't mind if I clip my friends list a bit to get it back down to people who I might actually interact with. And for those of you who are married and I am still friends with, well, I guess there's something special about you....even if we never talk on facebook.

On the one hand I see the value in friending every person I ever knew, as a network of acquaintances and people I've met, but that's not really what I want my facebook to be. If that's your style, more power to you, and if we interact in some way, I'll be your friend, but please, please don't be offended if at some point you check you're rising number of friends and the number has slipped one or two.

Heck, even if we are friends on facebook, married or unmarried, if you post religious or political stuff, there's a good chance I'm not seeing any of your posts anyway.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 28 - August 1

Falling behind in my blogging!

Market in Zagrab
Croatia was lovely. Dubrovnik was really an incredible city. We were there until the 31st (yesterday) when we caught a bus to Split, and then took the night train to Zagrab and then caught another train to Budapest, and we're finally here in Hungary!

The view from our window in Budapest.