Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Our Nile Cruise

Starting in Cairo, we sailed to Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo, and Aswan.

Trouble at Sea: Our Red Sea Dive Trip in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world, but Saudi Arabia is a very restrictive country to get into. That alone would have made the trip memorable...but then things went south and the Saudi Coast Guard and a hospital got involved.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Discovering Turkey

We emersed ourselves in Istanbul, explored the white travertines of Pamukkale, and traced history through Laodikeia, Hierolopolis, and Cleopatra's Baths.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oktoberfest!

This weekend was all about drinking and eating.
We'd found a store (C&A or H&M, I forget which one exactly) that had an entire floor selling dirndls and lederhosen. So we got some. Check it out:
 We met up with our friends at the Paulaner tent and got a table outside. I really don't know how many beers we had while we sat there for hours enjoying the gorgeous weather. I think we tried each type of beer that they offered. FYI, a radler is the perfect Sunday morning beverage: a lager mixed with lemonade. Delicious, refreshing, and just plain good.

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I also got a call from one of the superintendents back at the office (yes, he was working on a Sunday) about mid-way through asking me what he needed to give our boss to answer some random question that came up. I apologized for the noise in the background, as we were at Oktoberfest and the best answer I could give him to direct him to where on the network the file was most likely saved. It wasn't really something that I could have answered anyways, but I'm usually the "go-to-guy" when it comes to finding things in the archives.
Prost!
But back to the festival: if you have a chance to go, you should.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Munich, pre-festival

Kacey and I toured Munich with Mike's bike tours. This is one of those cases where revisiting a place with someone was more fun having been here before without them. We both like bikes, and tours, and this tour delivered. One of the highlights was getting bier mid-tour.


You can still see the bullet holes in the stone.


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I would have to say that this particular tour is a must for anyone 40 and under travelling without kids. It was just a really good time.
Refreshments in the biergarten
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Zugspitze

Since we're spending the week in Garmisch, we had to summit the Zugspitze. We took the cable car up to the top and were treated to a spectacular view.



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Arriving at the summit of the Zugspitze feel like arriving on a foreign planet.

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Innsbruck Mountain Bike Race

 Drove on down to Innsbruck. This town is pretty cool. There was a mountain bike race course set up that ran through the cobbled streets of the old section of town. What a great introduction!



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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dachau

Today we visited the Dachau concentration camp near Munich, so I hope that you'll understand why the tone of this post is much more somber than the rest of this blog. There is a palpable gravity to this site where so many thousands died under the lie that "Work will make you free."
 The remnants of the rail line are still visible as you approach the entrance to Dachau, recalling the industrialized atrocities of the past.
While all of the structures that contained the prisoners have long since been torn down, it is their very absence that evokes the a deep sense of emptiness for the lives that were taken here.
 And, while somber and dare I say, sacred, there is a peacefulness here that must be experienced to be understood.
Dachau is intense. These photos can't convey the experience of walking along these paths. The only sounds you hear are the wind rustling through the leaves and the crushed gravel underfoot. But inside your mind, only questions. "How could they?" "What must we do to prevent this from ever happening again?"
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Neuschwanstein, again.

The trip today is to Neuschwanstein Castle. Last time I was here, I took a train here and was pretty much bound by that schedule. This time, we drove, which allowed us to take our time walking around the area and really breathing it all in.

But it does bring up an issue that I, well, I wouldn't say I 'struggle' with but it exists by the very nature of revisiting somewhere that you've already been with someone who hasn't been there before. With so many places to see in the world, I think you should only go back to the places that you enjoy enough to visit instead of some place new. But at the same time, you're creating shared memories with your travel companions that may last a lifetime.
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Monday, September 17, 2007

The Eagle's Nest & a Salt Mine near Salzburg

Today's excursion was to the Eagle's Nest. And what a day for it. Overcast and gloomy, we rode on the bus up to the 'welcome center.' It was as welcoming as a long tunnel could be, at the end of which was an elevator that took us up to the actual building.


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For such an infamous building, it was rather small. And cold. And really, kind of spirit dampening. Just like the weather outside. So, perhaps it was really more metaphorical than anything else. Not in the fully over-whelming, "I walked the earth there and I still can't comprehend how evil this place is" somber gravity of the Dachau concentration camp way, but it a "Huh. This is kind of depressing, can we go somewhere else now?" way. Still Want to go?


Salt mine:
The second half of the day, we spent going into another mountain in another country. A salt mine in Salzburg, specifically. We had to take a sled down into the main area, and I think there was a lake at some point. But with all the water, salt, and general darkness, it wasn't the best environment for a camera.



That's salt. Where are my fries?
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Sound of Music

Fun fact: "The Sound of Music" is known in Austria as "My Heart, My Song" because Austria has such a deep musical history. Since the movie wasn't really well known until lots of tourists started showing up on buses decorated with Julie Andrews, I can only imagine the Austrians' bewilderment at people pointing, posing, and taking pictures of various locations around Salzburg.

Here are our pictures:
You are 16, going on 17...
On the steps to sing Do, Re, Mi...

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I have confidence...

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Monday, September 03, 2007

When in Rome...

Flew in to Rome,
08/31/2007

Took a tour of the Vatican

proceeded to walk all over the city of seven hills.

pics

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