well, France was fast. and other than having the worst bed I have (not) slept in on this entire trip, it also had the best pub I have been to on this trip. as well as a supah cohl Cathedral of Notre Dame. and a wonderfully amazing night city scape.

as we drove in to France, we could not help but notice how often we drove through pockets of... stank. after determining it wasn't either of us nor a problem with our car, we accredited it to the big trucks we were passing and the cheese they must be delivering.
and during our dinners in Strasbourg we saw (and smelled... again) where the cheese ended up.

now, I love cheese... and pretty much anything dairy really. but a little part of me throws up a lot when simply thinking of all that cheese being consumed in such a small area.

and onward I march.

so we exited Strasbourg France faster than Moses out of Israel... 'cause you know, he didn't have a car. and even if he did, he surely wouldn't have hit pockets of autobahn at speeds of 185 kilometers per hour.
and now we come full circle back to Zurich Switzerland - where the Starbucks is twice as much as in California and the endless river is clouded with swans.

tonight we begin the strategic packing of t
he luggage and then cross our fingers and hope it arrives in San Francisco with us. if only I had a larger purse to stuff all of my designer jeans in JUST in case. : \

in other news...
...an inexpensive dinner for 2 in Zurich cost us $70 USD. what. the. hell.
...hello front desk? yes you had mentioned the mini bar was free but, I only see a coke, a beer, and a bag of M&M's. oh - the beer was a mistake? it's $13? thanks.
...yes I exaggerate. but not by much.
...leftover photos from 3 weeks, 10 hotels, 3 languages, 6 countries, and 10 cities below. free souvenir to anyone who can guess the correct city for at least 3 photos. and I didn't say GOOD souvenir.


french. I don't get it.

of the 2 nights I have spent in France I have had Italian food twice, Belgium beverages four times and French fries?
neh. nein. and not ever.

which is sort of the opposite issue I had in Bruges. where soup - for my non-speaking english, german, french throat - was non-existent after 2pm but fries with 99 different sauces was as common as a Ford with a gun rack in Texas.
oh Bruges... and your airy wafles (served only at certain cafes between the hours of 2:15 and 4:30 in the afternoon). you make everything so beautifully complicated but in the end, I still like you. the 48 hour beer festival that I missed 24 hours of thanks to me sleeping in the hotel due to my sickness was a dream come true (once I was awake from my sick napping).

I spent a majority of my time tapping my toes at the Trappist beer booth waiting for people to get out of my American female way.
and after snatching up as many cardboard beer coasters as possible, I ran off with my friends to have the bestest half a roasted chicken that I have ever had and that wasn't because of all the beer I had beforehand either. it. was. GOOD.
exit Bruges, Belgium. arrive Strasburg, France...
where all the stores close at 6 and restaurants don't open for dinner until 7 which leaves exactly 1 hour for happiness.
a Rochefort at pub number 1 and a Cuvee at pub number 2 can only be answered by a vegetarian pizza for dinner.

in other news...
...so many churches so little time.
...am I the only one that sees an issue with a jewish man leaving a contribution for a catholic cathedral?
...4 weeks of no-gyming means at least 8 weeks of gyming to get back in shape. : |
...olympic triathlon = 0.9 mile swim; 26 mile bike; 6.2 mile run. hmmmm.


spreck ou eng els?

Germany made me sick. literally.

after we missed out on the morning BMW factory tour in Munich, we (well, I) did some more shopping amongst the lunch crowd before racing off to Stuttgart. and man - there is nothing there.

ok ok. Porsche is there. and maybe Mercedes. but seriously - I can only take 5 hours of car history and facts and strolling about aimlessly. plus, Stuttgart is where we made the mistake of falling asleep with the window ajar. hence no voice 2 days later. secretly I think my traveling companion is a little happy about this.

after Stuttgart was Koln. which proved to be equally... uneventful. the Kolner Dom was uber cool though (claims to have the bones from the 3 wise men... riiiight) but our hotel room smelled of old invisible trash and we were stuck eating dinner at McDonald's where we dodged the stinky homeless people like pacmen from ghosts. sigh.

but hey - I now have new boots and Laserkraft 3D on MTV... in Amsterdammit!! not bad.

thus far since parading in to Amsterdam we have visited a pub (a real one... with lots of rapist - I mean - trappist beer), went to the photography Museum called FOAM, walked through the Heineken brewery and sent a video of us singing in dutch to 2 lovely companions of ours, saw two women working in the red light district (and not successfully), and bought a tram ticket to get on the metro. oops.

other than being slightly chaotic and confusing, Amsterdam is also dirty.
and I'm not just referring to the windows either. the ground.. the garbage.. the canals. ok - I guess garbage is always dirty no matter where you are. but it is especially dirty here.. I can just tell. reminds me of certain San Franciscan corners that I avoid. if Amsterdam was void of everything that makes it Amsterdammish, it would be absolutely beautiful... but then it wouldn't be uniquely entertaining.

tomorrow? Breda.

in other news...
...kids have tantrums in Europe too. but they're not as annoying since I can't understand them. high 5.
...the dutch take bicycling very extremely hardcorely seriously. SO very extremely hardcorely seriously that they get their own red and green lights at every intersection.

...Dear Casey & Laura, pop art and Dave Matthews look-a-like below. enjoy! xo
...I love it when photos accidentally make me look like I'm peeing like a man.


care for another sugar cube? now let's scuttlebutt.

dinner was served on a table carrying a crying gerbera daisy - its face frowning at the ground despite the yum lasagne mit kase and Table Mountain Sauvignon Blanc I presented to it.
fine. be sad. but keep it to yourself... stupid daisy.

maybe the walls within the Residenz Museum would have cheered the gerbera
up. we toured the socks off of the Museum and Treasury today with audio guides in hand... but the place is so large, and so full of information that I eventually just started holding my guide up to my ear with nothing playing while I breezed through room after room.

it really was... too much. but worth the money.

coming in at #3... ?
seeing the amount of damage World War II caused to the building.
the areas where repairs have been made were either extremely noticeable or pointed out by the museum. at one point Nick looked at me and said "wow. Hit
ler really f-ed up"

the amount of gold everywhere.
whether it be the inlay on the walls, or within the desk made of marble, or the bed frame that was never even slept in but simply there for showing off. everywhere.

the hall of rooms that were used for welcoming guests.
there is a room for an initial greeting, which connects to a room used for
standing and socializing, which connects to a room for sitting and light banter, then another for tea and scuttlebutt, then another for... sigh. it goes on and on. I had no idea there were so many steps involved for greeting visitors - no wonder my friends leave my parties so early - I have no tea and scuttlebutt room!

walking through 90+ rooms in the museum and disguising me sitting in all the chairs to rest my old legs as me being so intrigued by the paintings on the walls, I was gerbera-daisy-sad to discover all the clothing shops in Munich are closed on Sundays. instead of working, the locals were busy throwing frisbees, walking dogs, playing the guitar, sleeping, drinking beer, riding bicycles, and surfing in the Englischer Garden by the university.
super cool ja??

all we need is a walk-through
of the BMW factory in the morning and then BAM... Munchen ist getan.

in other news...
...I miss my dog.
...only 1 request from my readers? really?!


munchens and ponchos. but not munchens IN ponchos.

Munchen no longer brings thoughts of little kids and small adults to my mind. hooray for that.
because frankly, those kinds of munchens make me uncomfortable. sometimes.
rather - as of now - Munchen makes me think of BMW and that awesome 1987
bitte nicht beruhren red M3 in their museum, the tastey yoghurt mit muesli and honey I had for breakfast, the 1972 Olympics and the fact that Olympians stayed in this very same hotel, the uber-easy subway system that spits me out in to the German-heavy city center, and a 5 person street band drawing an audience of 63.5 people (there was 1 munchen).
with the exception of one saleswoman being entirely rude to me in a shoe store, iheartMunchen.

the BMW Welt, Museum, and factory are just 10 minutes of slow-walking-because-my-feet-hurt-so-damn-bad away. after about 2 hours of loitering about the BMW Welt building we realized we were not in the actual museum (trust me - it's an easy thing to overlook) so once we had seen far too many new BMW customers be united with their new vehicle fresh from the factory across the strasse, we headed to the museum.
and let me tell you, there is absolutely no way for me to put that place in to words... so I am hoping my photos will do it for me.

what I can say though is how interesting I found the motorcycle history to be. if you recall, BMWs were the main motorcycles used by the Germany army (duh)... and then? nazis. but the word "nazi" wasn't mentioned ONCE. sure, I understand why they wouldn't want to but, it's history. and I think the word is a little desensitized anyway since it is spray-painted on so many walls over here.
after explaining that BMW was forced to make a motorcycle specifically for army use, they shut down the factory - then the time-line didn't pick up until after the war was over. whew.
in addition, when BMW decided to change up their motorcycles and create something ..lighter.. they did so by switching to aluminum and magnesium components... whereas their competitors simply used their same old materials but drilled a bunch of holes in them. : |

I guess if I really wanted to lose some weight I could just chop off my cankle.

in summary, the BMW experience showcased technology and history in art form.

in other news...
...to go back and buy that M-series hat or not to go back and buy that M-series hat. that is the question.
..."I don't know if I can get it all in but - I can get some of it in." - Nick when trying to take a photo of the BMW Welt building with the 50mm lens.
...maybe I should have taken the fluorescent orange MARRIOT'S GREAT AMERICA poncho that my dad had offered me because this clear one I borrowed from him instead looks like a giant condom. which makes me look like a...
: |


The Sound of Pillows...

walk through a castle? CHECK.
see a 2-story McDonalds? CHECK.
drink a red bull in the very place where it comes from? CHECK.
eat red curry thai chicken at the restaurant in the BMW museum / factory? CHECK.

it has been an eventful day... and at the end of it, I land in - what appears to be - a bed the size of an olympic pool at the Four Points hotel in Munich Germany.
honestly, I cannot wait to sleep. so I apologize ahead of time for my brief synopsis of what the day brought ('or should I say braut).

wait... what was that you said? you challenge me to a RUN-ON SENTENCE DUEL????!!!

WELL, how could I possibly turn that down after the early start that I had this morning so that I could start our drive off to Salzburg Austria where all the tour buses accumulate and clog up the museum and everything-else-that's-interesting drain with their camera straps, audio head-sets, and obnoxious guide that requests all 84 of them cross the same bridge at the same time that we have to (doh!) in order to get to the most awesomest Festung Hohensalzburg ever that showcased so many torture devices it made me timid to remain in what clearly looked to be a psychotic little town (or at least used to be) before The Sound of Music decided to shoot in their hills - which we didn't visit since I don't believe in twirling in the mountains so freely like that, at least not on an empty stomach, which I then filled with bread and a salat with pesto pumpkin seeds, balsamic dressing, and sheep's milk cheese (I am pretty positive that may have been the best salat ever. and 'pretty positive' for me is something I never say) which then gave me enough fuel to hit the gas pedal and drive another couple of hours without falling asleep to Munich Germany, then walk briskly through Olympic Park and then leisurely to my room where these wonderful down-feather pillows - when turned upside-down then right-side-up whisper my name (like those little tins that moo).

good run-on ja? now where's my medal.

in other news...
...what Munich built for the 1972 Olympics is amazing - architecture ahead of its time.
...castles are far too claustrophobic for my anxiety's taste. thank goodness I toured one finally - I will now retract my bid from that one in Los Gatos I was looking at.
...another plus to walking miles upon miles every day? buying NEW SHOES when my current ones fall apart. yeeeeeeaah buddy.


showering: a waste of time no matter where you are

now that I have finally figured out what day it is... happy Thursday!
to all my California friends: the day is almost over and then, just one more before you can start your crazy weekend plans. but really, I don't think Friday even qualifies as a day. it should really just be called 'Fri'.
I know you all concur therefore... moving along.

after a restless night of sleep for me, I got up to do so
me necessary laundry in the sink... and then strung the clothes up on a line through the living / bedroom. I am sure the housekeeping crew appreciated all the striped socks and undies on display - and they didn't even leave a tip.
we ran downstairs to grab a quick bite and then headed downtown to catch a Nordkette up to the Austrian Alps.
while the tram was highly decorated with Australian and Japanese tourists exchanging broken HELLO's in each other's languages
, there were also some hard-core local slalom bikers joining in on the ride. when there is no snow on the mountain, bike jumps and trails and structures are available and... I am pretty sure you need to be high on not one - but several - different things in order to attempt these trails. good thing drug-infested Zurich is just around the corner!

I digress...
after tramming up 5500 feet in 20 minutes the view was...
amazeballs - and it just kept getting better as we hiked the rest of the few feet up to the vista. which is - evidently - the Ibex's most favorite location to lay a poo (photo below. photo NOT of the poo, rather just the Ibex). fortunately we did not see a single Ibex in person (I don't like things with horns. unless it's a unicorn)... instead we were stuck with just the poo on our shoes as evidence that they had been there (and been there recently). thank you Ibex.

we grabbed some very authentic and yum lunch while on the mountain and then I fell asleep back at the hotel... dreaming of picking out a Lady Gaga costume for Halloween and then eventually deciding everything was way too riskay for me to wear and then I woke up, ate some chocolate, ate some salad, sipped a coffee, The End.

in other news...
...showering - it sucks whether I am at home or on holiday.

...sauerkraut is way better in Austria and is entirely different from what I remember my dad purchasing at the hockey game in 1993 when I first tried it.
...you know you are in a wiener-heavy city when the ketchup packets they produce are big enough for one whole wiener. Austrians = so smart.
...to my friend Marisa (the only person to throw a request my way): I give you the closest thing I could find to an Austrian knitted item below. it was in the window of a kindergarten.