Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Berlin's Love Parade is back this year!

I just read online that Berlin's Love Parade is back this year on July 15th!
Link

Monday, May 29, 2006

Eurovision and Finland

This year was my first year enjoying the European-wide talent show, Eurovision. M and I were channel-surfing while propping our feet up after a long day of site seeing in Nice. The show was like Star Search meets American Idol. It was very entertaining and kept us glued to the set anxious for the results.

However, I have to say the results were truly troubling to me. Most countries voted for Finland's heavy metal group that had these monster-like masks on. I have never been a fan of heavy metal so this winner just made me mad. Am I that out of touch with the current vibe or do Europeans like heavy metal more than I do?

In my opinion, Turkey should have won. The Turkish act was great. It was probably less original, but definitely more fun to listen to and to watch. The act consisted of a beautiful blonde chirping the typical pop/dance tune while four hot guys danced around her with star-buckled belts. The star, of course, referring to the Turkish flag.

My pick for the winner, Turkey:


but the winner was, Finland:
Link

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Monaco

Here are some impressions from our trip to Monaco. You can click on my Flickr badge on the right-hand side of this blog for all the photos taken during our trip.

Here is the sign announcing the beginning of Monaco. We took a bus from Nice to Monaco, bus line 100:


The famous Monte Carlo Casino:


We visited the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, too, and it's director was Jacques Cousteau:


Of course, they were setting up for the Formula 1, Monaco Grand Prix that is being held tomorrow:

Friday, May 26, 2006

Back in Duesseldorf

We made it back to Duesseldorf where it is raining and cool. I want to get back on the plane and go to Nice....More soon. We have to unpack and do some laundry. Stay tuned for more beautiful pics of the Cote D'Azur including Aix en Provence, Eze, Cassis, Monaco, etc.....

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cote d'Azur

We made it to Nice on May 18th and are enjoying Southern France. I think I have found my new favorite place on Earth. Here are just a few photos for now:

Spices in Old Town Nice:


and some more:


The Nice Port and very close to where we are staying:


The Matisse Museum in Nice:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Paris Update

We have really enjoyed these last few days in Paris. Tomorrow we are heading to Versailles. Here are a few impressions....

We went up the tower to the top of the inside portion of the Sacre Coeur:


We went to the famous cemetary, Pere Lachaise, and visited the some notable gravesites, the most visited of course is Jim Morrison:


Additionally, we saw the tomb for Oscar Wilde:



Of course we stopped by Moulin Rouge:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

We Made It to Paris!!

We made it to Paris today around 16:00. We were scheduled to take an Air Berlin flight in the morning, but last night we were talking and decided we hate to fly. Airline employees are so rude and annoying these days. No matter if they just started their shift at the airport or if they just started their first flight of a new trip, they are all treating you as if you interrupted their peace and quiet time. (Sorry to all my friends that are airline friends, including ticket counter agents and flight attendants. I was even a flight attendant for three years and I have to say they are usually rude to customers due to burn out, but that's another post for another day.)
Back to the subject at hand, Paris and getting here today.

We took a train from Duesseldorf to Cologne to pick up a direct train to Paris on Thalys. It is a train company that is comprised of several different national railways. We booked first class and it was worth it. The slight difference in fare was more than worth it by the service provided by attentive, friendly train attendants. As well as the comfort provided by the extra wide seats that even reclined in such a way that you felt comfortable enough to fall asleep. The seatback and the seat itself reclined at the same time so you were cradled in comfort. We enjoyed a delicious South African cabernet from the mini bottles just like they serve you on the airplane. We even got a lunch after departing from Cologne. The meal was slightly smaller than the portions served on the airplane, but was still tasty.

We took the Metro from Paris Nord to our vacation apartment here in the historic center of Paris only 9 blocks from Notre Dame. After putting our bags into the apartment and getting situated we headed out the door for a walk. We wandered into Notre Dame just in time for mass. We only stayed for a short time and then walked back towards our apartment. We stopped by a supermarket by the name of Ed where we picked up some groceries and wine. We are now here drinking a good glass of red wine and the bottle only cost 1 Euro. Ed is located across the street from Centre Pompidou--a modern piece of architecture where the building is turned completely inside out. All of the brightly colored pipes are on the outside of the building rather than the inside.

Stay tuned for more updates and photos to follow....

Friday, May 12, 2006

People Who Should Be In Drag!

If you want to see all the photos, just email me and I will forward it to you. Here are a few examples. I have not had a good laugh like this in a long time! I would credit whomever made these photos, but I do not know who it was...

This one makes you almost like them:


This one is very close to looking like Camilla:


I don't know what to say about this one....

What To Do In Duesseldorf (Part I)

If you're looking for a great place for beer in Duesseldorf then head Old Town (Altstadt.) You will find plenty of places to go drinking! The best place to go for real Duesseldorf beer (Alt beer) is Uerige. It is in Old Town basically next to the Rhine. Ask any one where is Uerige (pronounced: your-a-gee). Pronounce the last syllable as gee, not as in ENERGY, but as in GEAR. Take that G sound from the English word GEAR and place a long vowel at the end. eeee

One other suggestion, right next to Uerige is a little bar and a store next to it for the famous Duesseldorf liquor: Killeptisch! It is so good. It is similar to Jagermeister, but so much better. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. If you are sluggish after a hearty German meal and a few too many beers, go have a shot of Killeptisch, but drink it slowly...it is meant to be enjoyed. Afterwards you will be wide awake and ready to hit Old Town for more bar hopping!

If you are looking a more traditional German pub like the ones you always imagined seeing in Bavaria, but find yourself in Duesseldorf check out Fueschen (fox.) It is located at Ratinger Strasse 28 in Old Town.

There are so many bars and restaurants in Old Town Duesseldorf that it would take weeks to try them all. One of my favorite places is Anaconda. It is located at Andreasstrasse 11 and their phone number is 0211/ 8693939. Click on the link and then click "Program" to find out what the DJ's are spinning the night you want to go. Sometimes they play lounge/chillout, but every time I have been they are playing the best house music. Yes, I am gay, but this club is mixed, but mostly straight. Europeans are not as uptight about sexuality so go have fun where ever you like.

If you are looking for a great seafood restaurant in Duesseldorf, look no further than Fischhaus. It, too, is in Old Town located at Berger Strasse 3-7, telephone number 0211/8549864. The decor is a little outdated, but the food is always tasty. The last time I was there I had the Provence Mussels. They come in a huge, metal pot and they serve a very generous portion of them. I could not finish the whole pot myself. Don't worry, they will provide you with a menu (Speisekarte) in English if you request one.

I can't mention restaurants in Old Town without mentioning my absolute favorite pizza place in the world, Lupo Pizzeria Trattoria located at Bolker Strasse 52, telephone number 0211/131535. The pizzas are not the typical American thick pizzas. No, these pizzas are thin and amazingly delicious. I always order the pizza margherita (cheese pizza) and add the garlic later. They will bring you garlic and pepperinchini's that are swimming in I assume olive oil. You just take the spoon and smear it all over your pizza.

Finally, I can not forget about Media Harbor. This is a relatively new section of Duesseldorf. It is located on the Rine in the shadow of the Rhine Tower. There are many restaurants and bars in the area along with some of the world's most stunning architecture. One of the coolest bars is Eigelstein located at Hammer Strasse 17, telephone number 0211/ 6027477. What is most noteworthy about the place is that they serve Koelsch beer. That is the beer from Cologne and in the past you could not find a bar in Duesseldorf that would serve a Cologne beer. The two cities have an old rivalry dating back centuries. I will let you in on a little secret, SHHHHH!, I prefer Koelsch over Alt beer! I hope I don't get run out of town now....

Last, but not least...if you want to see a movie (Kino) in English head to CineStar. It is a large cineplex in Duesseldorf located in the Oberkassel neighborhood. They usually have 4-5 movies running in English. Check their program guide and look for OV--original version. One tip: You can drink BEER at the movies!

Enjoy Duesseldorf, I sure do!
Link

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wuerzburg, Germany

My partner and I drove from Nuremberg back to Duesseldorf today. On our way we stopped in the beautiful city of Wuerzburg. I was really impressed with this city. It looks like an old city from the medievel times right there on the Main River.

We visited two of the main sites: The Fortress Marienberg & The Wuerzburg Residence.

I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful, Franconian city of Wuerzburg!


Wuerzberg seen from the Fortress MarienbergWuerzberg Residenz or in English, the Wuerzberg Palace (think Baroque style and on the edge of tacky--but I have to say I like it):
I loved these trees! They are in the gardens surrounding the palace:
This was so beautiful I had to accidentally take a shot. No photography allowed in the palace. I guess I was just being the typical American and doing it any way:
Link

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Smoking in Germany

If you are coming to Germany to visit or live, be aware that a lot of Germans smoke. I** am amazed every time I go out to eat and someone at the table next to me lights up a cigarette. It is disgusting. I should not have to eat while breathing in deadly cigarette smoke. When is the German government going to step up and ban smoking in public places? I miss California because you were not permitted to smoke even in a bar! It was great. Now I go home from even a restaurant and my clothes, skin, hair, etc stinks like smoke. If you are in Germany reading this blog, QUIT now. If you do not quit have the decency to not endanger others by smoking inside.

Here is a good reference for you:


**Disclaimer: I can make these statements because I used to smoke, but quit. If I can quit, any one can.

Monday, May 08, 2006

In Nueremberg

I have not posted lately because I am in Nueremberg (Bavaria) right now on another family emergency. Back in early April my partner´s mother passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Spain. We are here to assist his father and all is well again. We will be driving back to Duesseldorf soon and then packing for our vacation to France that we have been planning for since February.

We are flying on Saturday morning to Paris and will be there for 5 nights. Then we are taking a train to Nice and will be there for 8 nights. If any one has any suggestions on sites to see in Paris and/or Nice & Provence please leave a comment. We do have excellent travel guides, but word-of-mouth is sometimes better. We have checked Tripadvisor.com as well.

More soon...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My First Piece of German Junk Mail Today!

For those of you in Germany, this may seem like an odd post, but for those of you in America it will come as a surprising fact. After landing in Duesseldorf December 31, 2005, I received my FIRST piece of junk mail today. Back in America my mailbox would be overflowing with junk mail almost daily. Well, in Germany, you rarely receive junk mail. I almost feel honored to have received this junk mail today. It is for an online casino and I do not know where they got my name, but I am honored. :) I feel like I am finally a recognized resident of Germany! Hurray!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Food From Home?

Are you new to Duesseldorf? Where can you find some of your favorite foods from back home?

I go to Karstadt on Schadow Strasse 93. Just go in the main entrance off Schadow Strasse, straight ahead of you will be an escalator down to the grocery store. In there you will find salad dressings from home (the US) like Newman's, Kraft macaroni & cheese, tacos, tortillas, black beans, refried beans, salsa, microwave popcorn, Betty Crocker cake mixes, all the delicious healthy foods you are craving from home.

There's another store I have been meaning to go to, but haven't yet. It is the American & British Foods Store located at Cornelius Strasse 45.

When I have a craving for some Hershey's chocolate syrup for my ice cream I go to the International Food Store at Kurfürstenstr 28, near the Hauptbahnhof.

Lastly, you can go to yahoo.de to find their map/locator service. It is called Routenplaner. Here is the link.

If any one has any other suggestions, please leave a comment.