October 2005

Don’t get your hopes up though – this is just a filler post so this info doesn’t get lost in the minutia of the Belgium post I just made (be sure to check that one out too if you haven’t been here in the last, oh…. 2 months 😉 ). Just a heads up that Alisha and I are still doing great, and I still have lots to report and much more coming up. In the meantime, be sure to check out the photo galleries with the following updates:

  • Brussels Weekend – A weekend trip to Brussels, Belgium with some co-workers. See the full report in the previous post.
  • Giro della Toscona – I got to spend a full week with Alisha’s team in Tuscany, Italy acting as the team mechanic/driver. We had a great time and it gave me the chance to watch a 6 day road-race first hand, which I haven’t been able to do yet with my work and with Alisha’s busy travel/race schedule.
  • Oktoberfest – An extended stay in Munich wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the world’s most famous beer festival: Oktoberfest! I had the opportunity to make several trips, and will report on it later, but in the meantime enjoy the pictures.
  • Der Lange Nacht – This is certainly one of the more mundane photo-galleries so far, but what the hey. We partook in the annual Munich event Der Lange Nacht der M√∫nchener Museen (The Long Night of Museums), a night long tour where over 90 museums and cultural centers in Munich open their doors for visits using just one entry ticket.

Also coming soon to the photo-gallery are pictures from a weekend trip we just returned from to Lindau on Bodensee – a magnificant little island town on a lake (the “Boden-see” or Boden Lake) were we spent our one year wedding anniversary – October 23, 2005! We had a relaxing time. Well…. if you call a 5 hour ride spanning 4 countries “relaxing”, that is. But no – it was great, but next weekend is going to be even better for a belated anniversary trip. We’re taking advantage of a German public holiday next week (i.e. a free day off work) and are taking a long weekend trip to Paris for 5 days! We’re looking forward to it very much, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty to report, including pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Moulin Rouge and more.

In the meantime, it is Fall in Bavaria. The weather is getting nippy and the fall colors are here. Actually, the weather in Munich is almost identical to that in Boone. Weather.com shows that Boone is about 2 degrees warmer in the summer and 2 degrees colder in the winter, so we feel almost like we’re at home. Even moreso than the weather, when you go down into the foothills of the Alps, the scenery is DSC03250amazingly similar to the North Carolina mountains. In fact, on a bike ride last weekend at the base of the Alps, Alisha and I were riding along a curvy country road with an old wooden split-rail fense on one side and bright orange and yellow leaves falling all around, and at the same time we both said “this looks so much like North Carolina”. If I had taken a picture, even a true Boonie would have had a hard time distinguishing that location from a spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

So, check back later this week for pics from Lindau, and maybe another post about Oktoberfest or something. Otherwise, we’ll be in touch after our Paris adventure!

From the looks of it, it’s been a good 7+ weeks since my last real update. I’ve just been testing you to see if I had any real readers left, and according to the comments on the last post, I have at least 5, so that’s enough reason for a new post I suppose! Well it certainly has been a busy several weeks at that, and we have some big plans coming up too, so I’d better get as much out now as possible.

The first big adventure was a quick weekend trip to Brussels, Belgium (home of Dr. Evil, if you recall) with a couple workmates having found some cheap Dr. EvilLufthansa flight specials. Before leaving for the trip I had to give myself another geography lesson as a reminder of exactly what part of Europe I would be headed to – for the life of me I couldn’t picture Belgium, much less Brussels, on a map. Turns out it’s the little country nestled to the West of Germany, Northeast of France, and to the Southwest of The Netherlands with a short bit of coast line on the North Sea, just a short hop over to the UK. After looking at the map I had an “oh yeah, I knew that” moment as I realized, oh yeah, I knew that. Brussels, the country capital is just to the north of the very middle of the country, which I found out later, is deeply and bitterly divided across an east-west line based on how the different regions prepare mussels with french fries, the country’s most popular and official national food.

Brussels, it turns out, is also the official capital of the European Union, as that’s where the European Parliament meets. You can see pictures of the EU buildings the Brussels Weekend photogallery – they’re the huge silver, reflective glass and DSC02785.JPGsteel buildings constructed among otherwise Gothic and Baroque architecture of the rest of the city (ok, I just made that up – I don’t know how the rest of the city would be classified architecturally, besides “old”). You can imagine that has ruffled some feathers in Brussels and elsewhere as to what the European Union represents: is it a union of many of the oldest modern (“oldest modern”? What does that mean?) civilizations on earth that should be represented by traditional cultures and architecture, or is it a coalition of ultra-modern countries that are banding together to fight for relevancy in a world dominated by American pop-culture, and increasingly by Asian commerce and trade. I don’t know much about the EU, but one thing I do know is that they don’t know the answer to that question themselves. I made that question up just now, by the way – feel free to use it if you’re looking for a topic for a thesis or dissertation in European Studies. 😉 Oh yeah, you may recall in one of my first posts about my trip to Strasbourg, France in which I called it the European Union Capital. Apparently I was mistaken, as any Belgiumer will tell you that the dinky town of Strasbourg may have a couple insignificant EU buildings, but the real EU headquarters and buildings, no matter how shiny and garish, are in Brussels.