American Southwest Family Vacation

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

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.

Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

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

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My VW died on the Autobahn

One of the perks of living in Germany is commuting on the Autobahn. As I happen to drive a VW Jetta, I like to think that it's back home (even if it was built in Mexico). I got my car in Boston, learning how to drive a manual transmission just to get it out of the dealer's parking lot. I took it on trips to Montreal, and it traveled with me to Korea, where it sat idle for much of the time...but it did get to see the cherry blossoms. All told, it's been plated in Massachusetts, Florida, Korea, and Germany.
Memories: My navigator for my US Road Trip

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Well, today, on the way home from work, my car had a critical failure. Apparently, the timing belt had decayed faster in Korea than the maintenance schedule expected. This had catastrophic results, with the auto shop's description of the damage in German:
"Motorschaden, Ventile haben auf die Kolben aufgesetzt!!!!" 
Yes, four exclamation marks after "Damage to the engine, valves are mounted on the piston!!!!"

Auf Weidersehen, mein treuer Reisebegleiter.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Legoland Denmark

Our first real trip with a baby was to Legoland in Billund, Denmark. Well, the visit to Legoland was for me...everyone else was on the trip was there to visit the church where some of their ancestors were married. We all have our own priorities, right?

Legoland is lots of fun, but not so much for a little baby. If you're a blond child, you will probably look like half of the visitors in the park.

Lifelike Lego dioramas
Lego dog actually pees

Lego Castle: Level Expert


Lego crocodile
Lego Buffalo "Carving"
The details at Legoland go down to the last minifig.


RRR with a larger than life Lego Viking
Sitting Bull Statue made from Lego
What you can make when you have thousands
of Lego bricks just 'lion' around
Highly detailed Legoland bikeshop
While Billund isn't really on the way to anything else in Denmark for the average tourist, it's definitely worth a day trip to visit the home of one of the greatest toys on Earth and the open air gallery/museum/showcase displaying all manner of things that Lego can build. TOP:

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Bernkastel-Kues

Bernkastel-Kues was a town on the Mosel river that we had to drive through to get from our home to the Frankfurt-Hahn airport for cheap flights on Ryanair. They are also known worldwide for great wine and having a name that makes you question your ability to spell.


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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tour de France Finish in Paris

Of all the legendary races in all the legendary cities, the Tour de France finish in Paris has to rank near the top. And since the course is actually several laps, you get to see the cyclists race by several times. We found a spot in the crowd a little ways 'up-river' from the finish line, and it just so happened that we were surrounded by Americans on vacation.

RRR catches a glimpse of the leaders as they fly by
However, since I had my dog with me, they all assumed I was a local and didn't pay me much mind until they asked a question about the race that no one in their party knew the answer to...but I did. So I spoke up, and we chatted when the bikes weren't flying by.
Our dog came all the way to Paris but can't see the race.
If you're going to do this right, get in to the Champs Elysee fairly early to catch several laps. Expect to walk quite a bit to the nearest Metro station that isn't congested. And bring some water (for you and the dog).

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Niagara Falls

What happens if a groundhog gets vertigo?




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Horseshoe Falls
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

A great welcome back...

We arrived back at the origin of our cruise, Amsterdam.

Remember that parking situation at the beginning of the cruise? Turns out to have cost us 440 Euro...or something like $600. That's more than it would have cost to go with any other transportation option, even last minute. Lesson learned? Plan ahead.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Port of Call: Copenhagen, Denmark

Since we're time-limited on today's visit to Copenhagen, we...?








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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Port of Call: Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn's a pretty small city and our ship docked within walking distance of the downtown. And it was a lovely stroll through ancient streets.


I added this guy, Vana Toomas (Old Thomas) to my trinket collection


What else did we do?


















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End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you migh...

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