Friday, November 8, 2013

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Now that fiscal year end (Sep 30) has passed and all the accompanying push at work to award new projects, I can start traveling around Europe again.  The cooler and wetter conditions during this time of the year do not impact my plans as much.  Autumn is generally my favorite time of the year anyway.  So explore, I must. And see the sights awaiting to be seen all over Europe.

An older brother and his wife visited me in Wiesbaden early October for more than two weeks.  During their visit, we managed to travel to Paris, London, Rome, and several small towns in Germany near where I live.  It was my third visit of Paris this year, my third overall visit of London, and 15 years removed from my first visit of Rome.  I spent a day walking around Köln last weekend. For the upcoming 3-day holiday weekend, I am off to Switzerland to explore Basel and Bern.

From now until Christmas, I plan to get out and see sights around Germany.  For the Thanksgiving weekend, I will visit Dresden and Leipzig, two cities in former East Germany.  Christmas markets are soon to start opening all over Germany -- I plan to visit several that I have not been to.

The opportunity to travel all over Europe is one of the great perk of working in Germany.  I plan to take good advantage of it.  Check back for details and pictures.  Also check my flickr and Instagram accounts for more pictures.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Highlights of Kyle and Nathan's Visit, June-July 2013

Under the dome of Kurhaus, Wiesbaden

Two great-nephews, recent high school graduates, from Seattle visited me in Germany this past summer.  Their visit was for 3+ weeks.  I had planned to show both a good sampling of what western Europe is like.  I will probably provide additional details on a few of the specific places we visited in future posts, but for now will provide a few photos from the sights we saw.

During weekdays, I took them to locations that were near where I live in Wiesbaden.  We stopped in Frankfurt a couple of times; visited Rudesheim and its scenic viewpoint of the Rhine and surrounding vineyards; took a day trip to Cologne and Koblenz; hiked around Bacharach; and showed them the sights of Wiesbaden.  During long 4-day weekends, we took the train to Paris; a short flight hop to Madrid, including a day trip to Toledo; and drove to Ghent and Bruges in Belgium, and Amsterdam in Netherlands.

All in all, they enjoyed their visit.  I believe they saw enough of western Europe that they will want to visit again.  I've started to post the countless photos of our trips in my flickr account.  The following are some pictures from their visit:

Ruedesheim, Germany with a view of the Rhine River

Ruedesheim w/ the Germania statue
In front of the State Theater, Wiesbaden


Roemerplatz in Frankfurt

Frankfurt, Germany over the Main River

At a train station in Frankfurt, headed for Paris

Late afternoon shadows in the Tuileries Gardens, Paris

Pyramid Main Entrance of the Louvre Museum, Paris

Pyramid main entrance of the Louvre Museum, Paris

Sacre Couer Basilica in Montmartre neighborhood of Paris

Arc de Triomphe

Inside the catacombs of Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Cologne Cathedral

Bacharach, Germany with the Rhine River in the background

Palacio Real, Madrid

Plaza Mayor, Madrid


Almudena Cathedral, Madrid

Plaza de Espana, Madrid

In front of Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid
Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium
Heineken Brewery tour, Amsterdam

Friday, September 13, 2013

Family Camping 2011 at Nehalem Bay, Oregon

Annual Family Camping Event at Nehalem Bay, Oregon

This post was from summer of 2011.  It's been sitting in draft mode forever.  I finally dotted the i's and crossed the t's, and here it is...

Just a couple of weekends ago, family and friends partook in the annual camping event.  This year it was held in Nehalem Bay State Park, located in the northern part of the Oregon coast.  During the camping event, we were blessed with great weather throughout the duration of camp -- starting with a few folks Thursday afternoon, most arriving throughout Friday, and everyone prepared to leave prior to noon Sunday.  We have held this event at this same location two times before.  Many of us have camped there also outside of the family camping event.  So the familiarity with the location, as well as knowing the expectations, made it a smooth running event.

We had about 80 participants this year; not one of the higher turnout, but it was well enjoyed by everyone, nonetheless.  As always, we had a great mix of family and friends attending, along with a few four-legged friends; an ever delightful feast of food for our meals and snacks; and enough variety of activities in the campground or nearby outside the camp to keep everyone busy.  The campground had plenty of shady spots to guard against the mid-day sun; adequate facilities, including free unlimited hot water supply for showers unlike a few campgrounds we had been to previously where a roll of quarters was necessary to get adequate hot water for showering; most of all, the park rangers were a bit more lenient in their enforcement of the 10PM quiet time. We even had a t-shirt giveaway for all the camp participants -- red shirts for the camp co-directors, purple shirts for planning committee members, and gray shirts for everyone else.

A lot of credit goes to the planning committee for the success of the event.  They took care of the reservations, coordination and planning, and the logistics.  I offer my appreciation to Mek and his top assistant, Grace, for all their hard work and leadership of the planning committee.

The following are a few pictures.  More photos may be viewed from my flickr page.