Friday, April 27, 2012

This Is A Real Letter

Today, Paul.  

As in, just five minutes ago (though, technically, it could have been thirty minutes or an hour ago, it's all very unclear), I reached a level of culinary mastery that very few people ever aspire to, let alone achieve.

I have just succeeded in burning three boiled eggs to little, blackened, exploded, crispy, carbonized balls of ash.

I know, I know--what a marvelous thing.

Subsequently, I have lost all desire towards using the oven or stove or, in fact, entering the kitchen for any reason at all in the forseeable future.  This is, of course, because my mortal eyes cannot withstand the glory of my prowess that still glows brightly therein...also it smells like campfire and sour milk and ozone.

So perhaps, in celebration of my culinary achievement tonight, we could make a visit to our esteemed Edeka Grocer for no fewer than five Oreo Milka Chocolate Bars and then parade onwards to our Doberaner Kebab Shop where we will toast my bright, bright, ruined-saucepan future with some lamb-meat pitas and a shared bottle of schorle.


The Italy Series: Colosseum

Where light posts grow from your head...

How rad a place is the Colosseum?

Super rad.  

Probably one of the more amazing parts of seeing the Colosseum was the opportunity to look into the dark underbelly of the arena--where the gladiators, animals, prisoners and...set designs... were held.  

As you can see, we were plugged into our free and pre-downloaded audio tours on our ipods
(which was the best idea ever).   I highly recommend it for any other budget travelers out there.

The view from the third-floor spectator walkway wasn't shabby, either (guess having the cheap plebeian tickets had its perks)--the Arch of Constantine and Palatine Hill.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Italy Series: Ostia Antica

I've decided to, at the very least, make an attempt to document our Italy trip in a more detailed way.  Instead of doing cool "themes" though, I'm just going the easy route and focusing on chronology and places.  Seems less intimidating that way.

Once upon a time, there was a ghost town.  This ghost town used to be the bustling port city of ancient Rome--Ostia.  Then, time happened and silt happened and the river and the sea moved farther away from the town.  The ghost town was buried and forgotten.  (Well, actually, till the 17th century)

I could give you the gritty logistical details about why this was our first stop in Italy, but I'm just going to go straight onto the main event.

Because of our hyperactive touring style, we were at the gates 10 minutes before it even opened, and we were literally the only people in the city the entire time we explored.

One reason we wanted to see Ostia was because it really was a working city.  We got to walk through old Roman apartment buildings from 100 AD, look into an old tavern and read a mosiac-menu.  And wander through the foundations of this warehouse complex.

We saw original mosaics still on the floors of the many bathhouses or in front of market stalls in the main square...

Probably one of the best parts of Ostia was being able to just climb over everything--nothing was roped off. It felt much more real--not like a museum.

And to be able to get such an up-close look at "working class" Roman architecture was amazing.  I especially loved this concrete and brick arch--a unique and still-used Roman invention.

Taking a lonely morning walk down the main street of an ancient Roman city was an unforgettable experience.  Here we had just reached the old amphitheater.

And we noticed the long-worn wheel ruts in the paving stones...

Took a seat in the stands, and got up close to the temple altars...

And toilets... (How cool is that?!)

Overall, we loved it.  It was so quiet--quiet enough that we could just begin to image what this place must have sounded and smelled and looked like at the height of the Roman Empire, thousands of years ago.

I Like Where I Live

Not only because of the big things--you know, like the fact that I'm needing to learn a new language or that I live across an ocean from my "homeland."  I like where I live because of the little things.

Like yesterday, for example.  Yesterday I had a nice morning of homework.  Then, I got to walk a couple miles through the historic center to my German class at the university.  At German class, I got to talk with Davit from Syria and Katarin from the Czech Republic (we talked about apple struedel).

Then, I met Paul and on the way we stopped by the bakery for a loaf of bread, which they sliced for us.  And, passing the market, we got our first bunch of spring asparagus (only, only, only thick, white asparagus here--people think the green kind is just strange).

Walking home from the market, I saw my favorite view, right before we turn onto our street--with the trees budding in front of a row of colorful old houses, with the giant St. Peter's Church tower behind.

It was a lovely day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Next Announcement

Today's Travel Planning:

We're comin' at you, Athens.
June 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Eine Seemannshochzeit

1970's Naval Wedding in nearby Kiel

Today I went to the female doctor.  No, I don't mean the female doctor as some kind of euphemism--I just mean the doctor who happened to be a female.  I say this because the German word for doctor specifies that you have to say whether it is a doctor who happens to be a woman or a doctor who happens to be a man.  Which makes me think about how fun talking about gynecologists or andrologists must be here:  It's a Female Male Doctor, it's a Male Female Doctor.

Aaaaanyway, I went to the doctor today with Paul as uebersetzer (translator).  Stuff dealing with my ears and sinuses and junk blah blah blah.  Can I just say that I was very impressed with the system.  But that's a different story.

Like I was saying, today I went to the doctor and on the way home we walked by the Rathaus (town hall) where there was a gaggle of full-dress-uniformed naval officers holding long boat oars at attention.  After a bit of eavesdropping, we found out that it was a "Seemannhochzeit"--a sailor's wedding.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bella Italia

Siena Cathedral

We took... a lot of pictures in Italy.

We saw... a lot of amazing things.


I feel like all our other trips here in Europe have been more graspable--more able to be captured, at least a bit, in some sort of narrative.

San Vitale
I can't do that with Italy.  I just can't.  I've been sitting here for two weeks trying to think of a way to highlight certain things or organize a way to tell the story.  But then...then I just get so incredibly overwhelmed.

Trevi Fountain
We were able to see and do things that we've been dreaming of seeing and doing for most of our lives.  I can't even begin to list them here.  And it was the best vacation I've ever been on.

Grand Canal

I would not complain one single bit if every vacation I ever went on was to Italy.


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