Germany: Any reason to celebrate in Monheim am Rhein, Cologne, and Düsseldorf

Christian let me know that I had to order the right beer for the city I was in. In Düsseldorf, they brew Alt, so that’s what they drink. In Cologne, they brew and drink Kölsch. I would be frowned upon if I ordered a beer in the wrong city. Those fortunate enough to live in Monheim am Rhein could order either, when in Monheim, of course.

Frequently asked questions about our road trip in Europe

We’ve only been home a few days, but Kathryn and I have already heard a lot of questions about our trip. For the benefit of everyone else, I’ve decided to repeat some of them here, along with their answers.

Oktoberfest, BMW, Rothenburg, Baden-Baden, Eiffel Tower

Phew! It’s been about 72 hours since the last update, but we’ve managed to pack an awful lot in. We arrived safely in Munich on Saturday, about six hours later than anticipated, so the thought of doing Oktoberfest that evening was quickly dismissed. My friend in Munich met us at the airport and showed us … Continue reading Oktoberfest, BMW, Rothenburg, Baden-Baden, Eiffel Tower

Letter from … Hungary?

Okay, I’m not really in Hungary. I’m sitting by the pool at my parents’ house in Phoenix, and I’ve been home from Europe for over two weeks. I thought I’d send one last letter to wrap up what went on for the last week of my trip. Hungary was a last minute addition to my … Continue reading Letter from … Hungary?

Letter from Madrid

I’m at the airport in Brussels, waiting for my flight to Madrid, and I thought I’d catch up with an e-mail. It’s Tuesday, September 14, and it’s about 4 p.m. here. I say this because, although there’s a slight chance I’ll finish this message before my flight boards, it’s unlikely it will be sent for … Continue reading Letter from Madrid

Paris on Bastille Day, German tanks on the Champs-Elysées

I wanted to get an early start on Thursday so that I could get a good view of the military parade. The parade started at 10 am. Kirsten was ready at about 10 a.m., so about the only thing I came to Paris to see was obscured by the heads of about 5 million Parisians. … Continue reading Paris on Bastille Day, German tanks on the Champs-Elysées

Paris, visiting the sewer museum instead of the Eiffel Tower

Kirsten actually did meet me on time at the Eiffel Tower. We’d both been up on it, and we had done Sacré-Coeur on Monday which was actually a better view; the line was enormous and we decided our money would be better spent elsewhere. We walked down the street to start a sewer tour (20 … Continue reading Paris, visiting the sewer museum instead of the Eiffel Tower

Sitting on park bench near the Eiffel Tower, waiting for my fiancée

I’m sitting on park bench near Eiffel Tower. I got sick of waiting for Kirsten all morning after getting up at 8 a.m. and enjoying the relatively cool morning air, which she squandered away debating over next week’s accommodations. I bought us some croissants for breakfast and a coffee (4 FRF) at McDonald’s for myself. … Continue reading Sitting on park bench near the Eiffel Tower, waiting for my fiancée

Meeting a former classmate at Parc Monceau, Paris

We got another late start today. Somehow Kirsten and I found it very difficult to get out of bed and out of the hotel room before 11 am, perhaps because of lingering jet-lag or just plain laziness. In either case it seemed like a terrific waste to me. Like most mornings, this one began with … Continue reading Meeting a former classmate at Parc Monceau, Paris

Purchasing the Carte Orange week-long Metro pass, Paris

After a couple days of getting familiar with Paris and getting some relaxing quiet time together, Monday was the day Kirsten and I really began the hard-core sight-seeing in earnest, despite the fact that we slept in pretty late, lingered through breakfast, and left the room after noon. Our first order of business was to … Continue reading Purchasing the Carte Orange week-long Metro pass, Paris

Balmy afternoon at the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

We woke up around 10:00 a.m., refreshed and entirely hungry. After showering and dressing, we walked down the avenue MacMahon, looking for breakfast. We came across a pleasant open air market and seized the opportunity for a picnic. A bakery supplied the croissants, a small grocery supplied the fruit juice and water, some pushcart vendors … Continue reading Balmy afternoon at the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

An afternoon of anticipation walking around Paris

Anticipation was the key word of the afternoon. After waiting for over an hour at Angelina’s, I realized that I either had the wrong place or Kirsten was not coming. I decided therefore to find her hotel, Hôtel MacMahon, suspecting that she might eventually end up there. To find the hotel I bought a good … Continue reading An afternoon of anticipation walking around Paris

Not unlike Rousseau, enjoying my solitary walks in Paris

The owners of the hotel have been quite friendly. They are an older couple, perhaps age 55 to 65. They don’t speak a single word of English, but I’ve managed to conjure up enough French to get by. They were kind enough to let me use a spare room to leave my luggage until I … Continue reading Not unlike Rousseau, enjoying my solitary walks in Paris

Re-familiarizing myself with the Right Bank of Paris

After resting my jet-lagged body for a few hours, I went out to a local store and stocked up on spring water. Then I did a little exploring. I took the Metro to the Hôtel de Ville stop on rue de Rivoli and walked all the way to the Arc de Triomphe. It was an … Continue reading Re-familiarizing myself with the Right Bank of Paris

Early morning arrival at Charles de Gaulle, Paris

I arrived in Paris early this morning at Charles de Gaulle airport to find a temperature in the low 70’s, drizzling rain, and overcast skies. Passport control would have been a snap, but I filled out my tourist card with the point of disembarkation rather than the point of embarkation. Two of my biggest fears … Continue reading Early morning arrival at Charles de Gaulle, Paris