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Monday, July 25


After hearing from friends their rave reviews of Flickr, we decided to host all of our European travel pictures there. Right now, it has couple sets from recent travels and we'll continue to update the album as time passes.

I hope to display many pictures publicly to get feedback on the photographs. On that note, due to the public nature of these albums, we're keeping pictures of ourselves private. If you have flickr, email us and I'll add you to our "family or friends" list so you can view private pictures.

Thursday, July 21

Bamberg, Germany

Bamberg is another one of those Unesco World Heritage sites that was saved from the terror of the war. Its buildings are intact and in great shape. It is a city rich in history but also rich in breweries, there are 8 breweries and 1 brewpub in the area.

Like Regensburg, we bought a Bayern pass for the day and headed to Bamberg at 10am. After arriving, we saw the Cathedral, the Rathaus, and Rosengarten.
Then it was a pit stop for bier and lunch. We first had Rauchbier (smoke bier) that Bamberg is known for. Then it was off to Ambräusianum (the only brewpub) for food and more bier. The food was good, Putenfleisch (turkey) mit Kartoffel Knödel (potato dumpling) und Gemüse (vegetable). The turkey was a tad overdone for our taste but still good with gravy/sauce. The Kartoffel Knödel was well seasoned but very gummy and the Gemüse was cream of broccoli and out of this world.

On we went to see the Altenburg castle at the top of the hill. What we learned was the hill wasn’t a mini hill or a short hike, it was a full fledged “you better be ready for an uphill work out”. (There’s a reason, they call it Bamberg, berg meaning hill/mountain.) The hike was unplanned but well worth the views of the city. After hanging out in the cool air, we returned back down to the city and walked to Michelsberg Abbey.
Michelsberg Abbey

We finished our day with bier from Brauerei Spezial and Brauerei Fässla. Spezial‘s interiors has the old world charm like it was in 1536! We also ate dinner at Brauerei Fässla. I ordered schnitzel mit Kartoffel Salat (potato salad) und Gemüse Salat (vegetable salad). He had Brathähnchen mit Kartoffel Salat und Gemüse Salat. Our main dish (meat) was superb. Potato salads are usally tangy and that's a hit or miss for us; unless they're exceptionally outstanding, we generally agree they taste okay. Like the one here. Germans are crazy for potatoes and bread.
Inside Michelsberg Abbey
Each bier was very unique and delightful. My favorite was Weisse Bier from Spezial Brauerei and Helles and Hefeweizen from Ambräusianum. In addition to those, he also enjoyed the Fässla from Brauerei Fässla. The Rauchbier from Schlenkerla was our least favorite. It tasted like the bier had sat in cigarette smoke for few days. We knew this but when in Rome…

Bamberg is an amazing city and we’re both glad to have visited it in peak summer weather. With few more breweries to check off our list Bamberg will be seeing us soon. Until then, we are looking forward to having the bier in our apartment for these warm summer nights.

Tuesday, July 19


Watching TV here is pretty ridiculous. Most of the time it’s Scrubs, wrestling (WWE and WWF), American movies that have 1 star ratings, and Soccer (Fubball), to name a few. There are more news channels then there is to report- BBC, RT, French news, Spanish news, Turkish news, and German news. I appreciate the diversity and the attempt to reach the global audience but I wouldn’t mind bad TV in other languages. My least favorite thing is the dubbing; almost everything that’s in foreign language is dubbed.

Once we get our apartment, we’ll get a larger variety of channels. I hope. What we’re looking forward to is the American/English channels with German subtitles. That’ll help us learn the language tremendously.
There’s a government license fee for all residents that use internet, radio and/or TV to pay 18 Euros/month. The Gebühreneinzugszentrale or the GEZ collects the funds. This finances the public broadcasting system and instead of waiting for contributions they make everyone pay. I’ve also read if you don’t pay, someone comes to your door to collect the money. No joke.

And Hasselhoff? I haven’t seen the guy on TV, yet; that could change after we get cable.

Sunday, July 17

Regensburg, Germany

Our first trip out of town was to a town called Regensburg, an hour away. The best part about traveling within Germany is the Bahn. It’s called Deutsch bahn or DB. Within Bavaria (the state we live in) we can buy a Bayern pass for 29 Euros. That means 1 and up to 4 adults or children can travel within the state (round trip) for 29 Euros. The only catch to this is the pass is valid for one day only. This is perfect for day trips to Regensburg and other small to medium sized cities in the state. (We visited Munich and learned a day trip there wasn’t enough time. We will be going back.)

We left at 8:30am and arrived in Regensburg at 10am. Upon exiting the Hauptbahnhof (main rail station), we spotted a large crowd gathering in the city center, 200 meters away. The crowd was because of the flea market that takes place in the beginning of summer in Regensburg. In the entire day of strolling and sightseeing we probably saw 200+ vendors selling antiques and trinkets.

The city had military connections before the war and it is close in proximity to other cities bombed in Bavaria however, thankfully, Regensburg had little damage to its buildings and the city’s livelihood after the war. Due to this Regensburg is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site. There are some magnificent buildings still standing from before the war that are refreshing to see. The Dom being one of them. The Dom (also known as Regensburg Cathedral or Kathedrale St. Peter) was completed in 17th century and is reminiscent of gothic architecture of its time. The Steinerne Brücke (stone bridge) was built in the 12th century and it connects the two parts of the city over the Danube river.

Our only meal in Regensburg was an Indian lunch. (A side note, we don’t normally seek out Indian restaurants while traveling.) When we arrived at the train station, there was a large banner for Indian lunch buffet at a restaurant nearby. After seeing the church and browsing the flea market vendor tables, we went to Ganesha for lunch. The buffet had fish curry, pork vindaloo, chicken kheema, rice and daal. Everything was surprisingly good and authentic; I specially liked the pork vindaloo and chicken kheema. The service was also impeccable. We ate a large lunch that would hold us over until the evening and it did just that. The dinner was ice cream (Eis) in Nürnberg.

Regensburg was the perfect day trip for a beautiful Saturday.

Friday, July 8

Busier these days...

I haven't forgotten about Pork Bier Belly; we're just busier these last couple weeks due to multiple things. None of which includes travel but we hope that changes soon.

One thing that has engulfed our lives is the apartment hunt. When he isn't at work and when I have time we're constantly searching for apartments online, scheduling appointments (in our broken German) and visiting to see the apartments themselves. As you can imagine, it's twice the work because of the language. At times we find a place but it doesn't have a fitted kitchen or a balcony or an elevator (things that aren't posted online so we find out when we get there.) Google translate is our new best friend.

And the other thing that's kept me busy is language classes. I am taking German 4 days a week, 3.5 hours each day. It's been wonderful learning the language and meeting other individuals that are on the same level as myself. I've learned many verbs, nouns, and am able to speak in basic conversations with strangers. I am escatic to be able to go the farmers market and ask questions. Ist das gemüse aus Bavaria? (Is this vegtable from Bavaria?) Inlined with my local eating. The verb to cook is kochen- Ich koche Kohl mit Karotte.

He takes a class with a tutor that teaches him conversations and business language. And although his classes aren't as regular, he is also learning from coworkers and at meetings.

And I am also researching ways to post our photos online; I've looked at Flickr and Shutterfly. I am looking for something that doesn't have to have a log in to view the album, unlimited picture upload and zero cost would be great but it's not crucial. Any of you have suggestions?

And on the travel front, I can happily report that we're planning a trip to Prague in few weeks. I have also started researching Spain and Italy for weekend trips but nothing solid on that front, first that apartment!

Das ist alles.
That's all.