Monday, July 22, 2024

Dublin, Ireland

Anna and I went on our last adventure for the summer to Dublin, Ireland. The trip started out crazy when we arrived at Schiphol to find the computers were down due to a Microsoft/CrowdStrike issue. Anna had to get a handwritten ticket. Handwritten. 

We landed and went on a walking tour, my favorite way to start in a city. Following the tour we got fish and chips. Yum. 

The Liffey, which runs through Dublin and where rumor says Guinness is made from but not true.  

The famous Temple Bar

The Love Wall which was created to stop “the locks” on bridges and gets repainted weekly. 

Anna is taking classes over the summer so I napped while she did some homework and then we went out for some drinks. Dublin is a city for drinking no doubt. 

The famous Temple Bar where Anna sang her heart out!

Day two we slept in. Late. And then took a train to Malahide to see the castle. It is a quiet little town with a harbor but we enjoyed the day. That night Anna finished all her assignments and completed a very challenging summer semester. 

Sunday we took a bus to the Howth summit and walk down to the city, along the sea. It was a beautiful view. We had seafood for lunch and ice cream for dessert. 

Monday we visited the Guinness store. I got very few photos but it was a cool tour. 

Everyone told me Dublin is “just for drinking” but we found plenty to do. We stayed at the Abbey Court Hostel which was a great location. Flights can be pretty cheap from Amsterdam. I will be back. 

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Monday, June 24, 2024

Berlin, Germany

Anna and I spent a long weekend in Berlin. I first visited in 1991 just two years after the wall fell. Although I have visited since then, hearing about the history of this city remains difficult. But I truly believe that those who do not study history repeat it. Here I am in front of the wall in 1991 when I was 24 years old.

Anna wanted one of our trips this summer to include an overnight train, so we boarded one from Amsterdam Centraal at 22:30 and arrived in Berlin at 06:30. Anna said she slept 'pretty well,' but I had a hard time falling asleep and probably didn't get more than a couple of hours. But it was more about the experience.

Anna is taking summer courses, so we sat at the train station for a couple of hours while she did homework. When it was open, we went through the DDR Museum where Anna 'drove' a Trabant.  

We checked into our Airbnb early, slept for a couple of hours, and then went to the Disgusting Food Museum. It was actually very interesting, as it showed disgusting foods from throughout the world. Upon admission, they give you a vomit bag. Luckily, we did not need it. 

We made our way to Checkpoint Charlie, an American-stationed crossing point between East and West Berlin when the wall existed. In the area was a portion of the wall although much of it has been taken down. 

The next day, we went on a walking tour, during which we learned a great deal about the war, the building of the wall, and the fall of 1989. 

This was the site where the Nazi's burned books. "That was only a foreplay, where you burn books you also burn people in the end." Heinrich Heine, 1820

I am standing on top of Hitler's bunker where the coward committed suicide. It is a now a parking lot.

A Jewish memorial.

A co-worker was also in Berlin so we met up with her and her daughter at a flea market which was lots of fun. 

The next day, we visited the East Side Gallery, which is the largest section of the wall that remains. The artwork was commissioned in 1990 and has now been determined to be historical and will remain. We also visited the Wall Museum, which was again just fascinating. 

We ended the day at the hotel where Anna did some more studying and I caught up on life. We will take an early flight back to Amsterdam tomorrow. Overall, it was a good weekend. Obviously, Berlin's architecture was impacted by the war so it is not as beautiful as one like Amsterdam. But I am glad Anna got to see it. 

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A beautiful sculpture along the river. 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Venice, Days Day Three

On Sunday we took a boat to the Venetian islands of Murano and Burano. The weather was lovely. White-Anna worried about burning but she did well with the sunscreen.

Our first stop was Murano, which is known for its glass. Because the Venetian government feared fires in Venice they moved all glass work to the island in brick buildings. We watched a glass blowing demo and walked around looking for something for my collection jars. I asked for broken glass but they told me it was illegal to sell Murano. 

The next stop was Burano which is famous for its lace work and brightly colored buildings. The colours of the houses follow a specific system, originating from the golden age of its development. If someone wishes to paint their home, one must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colours permitted for that lot. The island is considered among the ten most colorful places in the world.

We also visited a lace museum. It is just amazing all the time that goes into a piece. Along with glassmaking, it is a dying art. 

We returned to Venice and had a late lunch followed by a siesta. Later I had drinks with a woman, April, I know from work who is from the states but living in Vienna. It is crazy the two of us were in Venice at the same time!