Friday, July 26, 2013

top quality

The bus to Frankfurt had me arriving at the airport around 11pm. Then I waited. At 3am another bus pulled up to deposit me at the RyanAir terminal, some hour and forty-five minutes away. My flight left at 6:30am.

So it's easy to imagine my appearance as I walked down the streets of Stockholm looking for my accommodations.  But no matter how well I cleaned myself up, I was no match for the Swedes. My self-esteem went from normal to nothing from the moment I arrived until I left.

Monday, July 22, 2013

wherever the weather

Early June in Germany was cold. Excruciatingly so. And my mother bases when the heat should be turned on and off in her house according to the season, not the outside temperature. So there was only one solution to thaw out my frozen fingers: find somewhere warm to visit.

Weather patterns are a funny thing, though. Because as cold as it was in Southern Germany, it was perfectly warm in Sweden and Estonia. And Ryanair happened to fly to both. So I booked the flights and left for the airport two days later.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

family hi-story

Growing up, my mom spoke of her German relatives and how she'd spend summers visiting them in Bremen. However, new stories were never added upon the old.

I had often wondered of those cousins, and the aunt my mom held so dear.  Knowing her not-so-great ability to keep in contact with people, though, it was easy to determine where the disconnect came.

Then, a few years into living in Amsterdam I received an email from her cousin Yvonne introducing herself to me and asking for my mom's contact information. We built up a nice correspondence, which included her brother Christoph too. But my mom's not-so-great ability to keep in contact stayed in tact - despite my admonishments.

That is, until I coordinated a (re)union with them for the benefit of my mom... and myself.

It was a great weekend meet-up. One where old stories were expounded upon and new ones were made. And I couldn't have asked for anything better than that.

Town Musicians 
underground restaurant
private rooms in underground restaurant, where my great-grandfather set up meetings with his sons to discuss business
Roland statue : protector of the city
City Hall

tidbit from Sabine, Christoph's wife: inside every cathedral is a mouse.

Friday, July 12, 2013

home of Picasso

We walked through a museum dedicated to the artist, and stood in awe in front of strikingly beautiful paintings - ones that didn't correlate with the pieces I have grown to know. They were the art of a master. And they hung on the walls, neighboring some of his famous abstract art. It was a side of his artistic genius I had never seen before. Though it was Picasso himself who said, "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."

His hometown may not have been as whimsical and abstract as his art, but the priest yelling at his congregation to sing during Sunday mass in the main cathedral sure was.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

a small detour

"Where are all the good looking men?," Sofia asked as we walked down the streets of Paris. "Maybe, just maybe, I've seen ONE the entire week."

"I know," Anna chimed in, "when I was living in London you would see at least 9 hot guys every day... even if you never left your house!"

I'll tell you where the good looking guys were. They were all on the RyanAir bus with me, a few days after that conversation, heading to the airport to catch their flights home to Spain.  I was clearly taking the correct route back to Germany.

My mom had a 3 day weekend which coincided with the time I was planning to make another "extended layover". She and a friend had plans to pick me up in Paris before continuing on to Normandy. But with uncooperative weather (rain), they instead decided to turn south and requested I join them there instead.

Clearly I obliged.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Parisian photo-ops

Monmartre through time (taken in Musee d'Orsay)

Notre Dam
Notre Dam 
Notre Dam
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Arc de Triomphe on Liberation Day
Arc de Triomphe
Moulin Rouge
Le Sacre-Coeur 
Le Louvre
the 17th Arrondissement