Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Romania Part One: Bucharest

I am back home safe and sound. I got in friday afternoon and then left again saturday afternoon to go up North with some friends. So today is my first official day at home to catch up on everything. My trip was really amazing, despite not so amazing (read: crappy) weather.

Now its time to catch you all up on my week in Romania. We spent the first 2 days in Bucharest, exploring the city and taking a guided tour. I had no expectations on Bucharest before arriving there. It was an amazing and beautiful city. I never realized how much history Romania had!

I'm trying my best to remember all the various place names, but if I get it wrong, perhaps
Miku you could help me? She's Romanian and gave me some great tips on things to see!

One of my favourite places in Bucharest was Unity Square (I hope I have the name right). It is a beautiful square in downtown Bucharest with the most amazing fountains. The day we visited, it was about 37 degrees Celsius, and I was seriously tempted to take a dip in the cool water.

Unity Square

Unity Square

Unity Square

Arch de Triomphe, Bucharest

The People's Palace
Built by Nicolae Ceauşescu during the communist regime, this building is the world's largest civilian administrative building (The Pentagon is the largest overall), most expensive administrative building, and heaviest building. The Palace measures 270 m by 240 m, 86 m high, and 92 m under ground. It has 1,100 rooms, 2 underground parking garages and is 12 stories tall, with four additional underground levels currently available and in use, with another four in different stages of completion. We took an hour and a half long tour and only saw about 5% of the building.

This is the view off one of the main balconies of the People's Palace

Downtown Bucharest, Old Quarter
The city is in the process of restoring the old buildings

Downtown Bucharest
That's it for now. Stay tuned for part two of Romania as well as other updates. Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm still alive!

I know I've been a terrible blogger these last few weeks while I've been away, but I promise you I am still alive and I am still very much actively blogging. I'm in the process of composing a vacation journal of my week in Romania to share with you all when I'm back home in a few days, but I'll say a few things now.

Romania is an amazing country, the people are so friendly and helpful. There is so much history and so many things to see. The landscape is so different and vast. From Bucharest in the south to the Carpathian mountains and Transilvania.

I'll post a few pictures tomorrow, I just got back from Romania tonight and I leave for Dublin tomorrow night for the last leg of my vacation. I'll be back home in Canada around noon on friday.

I hope everyone has been doing good, I will have lots of time to catch up on all your blogs this coming weekend!

Also, I just wanted to add a small shout-out to Kimberly who I know is making the huge amazing move to Los Angeles this weekend (I believe) Good luck!!

With all this moving around and time changes I'm beginning to lose all track of days and times, the only thing I know right now is that I desperately need sleep!

Have a good night everyone!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

German Life in Pictures

Its been a week since my last post - ahhhhh!! I've been so busy visiting friends and family that a quick glance at your blogs is all I've been able to do lately. My time in Germany is almost done now, I leave for Romania on friday! I wanted to share a bit of the daily life in Germany that I've come across the last few weeks. Hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy!

Ps: Jo! I can't comment on your blog either! Maybe its your layout thats causing the problems? Thats all I can recomend.


on the bank of the Main river (that's me!)


Duesseldorf Altstadt


View from the Otzberg Fortress



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Deutsche Küche" (German Food)

I know a lot of you are looking forward to this post, so after a few days' preparation, here it is! One of the main things I miss about Germany when I'm at home is the food. Therefore, when I'm here I tend to pack on the pounds. I figure once a year isn't so bad haha.

My absolute favourite German dish is "Schnitzel". The following picture is from dinner this evening. Schnitzel is basically a fried porkchop, except a thousand times better. The breading that is used has a certain seasoning in it and the grease (yea I know, real healthy!) that it is fried in makes the whole thing very tender. It is usually served with french fries or roasted potatoes. I think I could probably eat this every day of my vacation. I'm not really a big meat eater anyway, so I think that says something!

Schnitzel and french fries

German cuisine is very meat-and-potatoes. It has evolved from rustic farm cooking to popular cuisine. There is an emphasis on pork, whether fried or roasted or cooked or stewed.

The area of Germany where my grandparents live (and where I'm currently staying) is famous for its "Altbier". Düsseldorf was one of the original places where the brew originated. I'm not much of a beer drinker, so it really does not appeal to me much, but I can tell you that it tastes a little thicker then say a typical North American beer and has more of a malt-y taste to it. To learn about the history of Altbier, you can find out more here


I love the coasters that most restaurants use, straight from the old Breweries

Coke comes straight from a glass bottle instead of a fountain. I swear it tastes better this way!

Traditionally in German culture, the "hot meal" is served during the lunch hours and the evening meal consisted of cold sandwhiches. Usually the table is set with various meats and cheeses and you make your sándwhiches accordingly. The following is a typical example of the sandwich table.

Perhaps the best part of being in Germany, is the chocolate! I'm really not much of a sweet-tooth normally, but here I really pig out. The Leibniz cookies in the front are kind of like buttery sugar cookies covered in chocolate. Available at most Canadian (and I'm presuming American) grocery stores. The package in the back are my favourite. They are little marshmellow figures covered in white, milk or dark chocolate. If I could find these in Canada, I'd be in heaven.

I think that's a good overview of German food for now, I may go more in depth in the coming days.

Monday, July 6, 2009

a short update

I'm gathering pictures for my "German food post" which will hopefully be ready in a couple of days. I originally wanted to have it posted by this past weekend, but its been a long and stressful few days here.

It started friday evening, we had the storm of storms. I've never seen so much rain come down in such a short time. The thunder and lightning was incredible and lasted a good few hours. The balcony at my grandparents' place started flooding, so my grandfather was out there with a bucket trying to get the water under control. In the end we were lucky, on the news it said that apparantly entire streets were closed due to flooding, and 2 people were even killed. The hospital around the corner lost power and the airport was closed for over 2 hours. Basements everywhere were under water.


Then on saturday my grandmother got really sick. We didn't know what it was so naturally everyone was very worried about her. We had the emergency doctor make 2 housecalls yesterday because she was feeling so awful and couldn't keep any food down. There was talk of taking her to the hospital.

Thankfully she woke up this morning feeling a lot better, she's eating again and seems to be healthier.

So needless to say its been quite a weekend here in Germany.

I'll have the food post done hopefully in a few days, I just wanted to give you all an update and let everyone know I haven't gone M.I.A

What did you do this weekend? All Americans, did you have a good 4th of July?

Oh and, Happy Belated Birthday Sarah!