Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Fringe in Frankfurt

After a year and three months I decided it was time to get a haircut in Germany. I got my haircut back in the spring when we went home by my girl, Sarah, but that was eight months ago. It was time and I needed a trim real bad and I couldn't wait until Christmas. I decided try out a guy that a lot of my co-workers go to named Rico. Rico was great and I will definitely use him while I am in Frankfurt. Sorry Sarah this was done out of desperation, you are still my #1 hairstylist.

 Before- I was starting to feel like a hippie or a mermaid

After- Young and fresh or at least I am hoping. I brought back the bangs or for the Brits that read this blog, the fringe.

A haircut always helps the self confidence and gives me a little boost. Rocking the new do!!!

--Marisa

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Portugal, Part One - the Algarve

As the temperatures recently dropped like the US dollar, we decided to head somewhere warm this Fall Break.  It's hard to believe that we have already made it through two months of this school year, but it definitely felt like an appropriate time to have a week off to go and visit sunny Portugal!

There aren't too many people that I know that have been to Portugal and it's definitely not a huge tourist stop for European travelers............which was all the reason to check it out for ourselves.  Not to mention that it seemed like a really small country that we could easily get around in a week.  The plan was to fly south into Faro, visit the Algarve region for a couple of days, then drive up to Lisbon for a couple of days, and finally take a train up to Porto before flying back to Frankfurt.

The Algarve refers to the southern, coastal region of Portugal, which was once under Moorish rule (Muslims from North Africa) and still features many remnants of that period (i.e. almond and orange trees, white-domed buildings).  We stayed in Lagos, which is a beach town towards the southwest and ventured around the area in a rental car.  The weather was California-esque (blue skies, sunny, and in the low 70's every day) and the scenery was unbelievable.


Beach in Lagos - where we rented an apartment

 We stayed on this street right in the city center - the white and black tile-paved paths were very different from elsewhere in Europe

 Main plaza in Lagos - again, the white and black tile

Sailboat coming in to port in Lagos

Old fortress guarding the party beach town of Lagos - apparently the Australians hit this place hard in the on-season

This guy plays guitar with his faithful companion nearby for anyone that cares to listen.  He had a lot of great covers and he literally plays every night that he's in town.

Check out his version of Gnarls Barkley- "Crazy"



Lighthouse at Cape Sagres 

Overlooking cliffs at Cape Sagres - I couldn't help but think about explorers that might've stood here and contemplated upcoming voyages into the vast unknown.

The highlight here was our trip out to the southwestern tip of Portugal at Sagres, where we took in the high-cliffed views of the Atlantic, complete with a lighthouse and an old navigator's school established by Prince Henry (dubbed "Henry the Navigator").  It was really laid-back with no particular schedule and it was interesting putting yourself in the shoes of the old 15th century explorers.

Large assembly of rocks thought to have been some sort of wind compass or a sundial at the old Navigator's School.  Allegedly, famous explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama, Pedro Cabral (founder of Brazil), and Barolomeu Dias all studied at this school at some point.  That's almost as impressive as the line-up of East Paulding HS's famous alumni.

Another thing that was apparent right away was that the Portuguese cuisine was unbelievable.  They don't serve much in the way of fancy dishes, but their seafood dishes were generous and flavorful.  This was a feature that was not limited to the Algarve, as we would find out throughout our trip.  All in all, the Algarve was a wonderful place to start a great trip!

Fishing boats parked at the beach town of Salema.

--Justin

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Portugal Preview

I really can't believe I was just here....


and now I am back in Germany with the heater on and wearing a winter coat. More to come from our trip to Portugal, but all I have to say is it was amazing!

--Marisa

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Volksfest

Right after the Frankfurt Oktoberfest we headed down to Stuttgart to visit my aunt and uncle, but also to enjoy Volksfest, Stuttgart's version of Oktoberfest. I love those places that are only an hour and a half away, but it feels so much further. Going to Stuttgart gives us the much needed relaxation that we crave while also enjoying some family fun. It is just far enough away that all the duties of home are left at home and you can just enjoy your weekend and forget about all the stuff you need to do. Do you have a place like that?

On Saturday afternoon the whole crew headed down into the city to enjoy some German traditions. It was my aunt Nancy's birthday on Sunday so this was a nice way to kick off the celebrations.


My uncle had gone to this tent, Schwaben Brau, last year and it is known as one of the best. We decided that was where we wanted to go and proceeded to the door. After a few minutes the bouncer look at me and said how many and I said four and he let us right in...SWEET! 

Once inside we found a table, that was only free until four, and started to enjoy some delicious Schwabisch food and of course a liter of Oktoberfest brew. Anytime Justin and I are in the state of Baden-Wurttembergburg we have to get the Kasespaetzle and Maultaschen. If you have never tried it you need to! The Schlager music was blaring and people were up on benches dancing away.

On this trip to Stuttgart I finally had the chance to meet up with Clare and Brian. Clare is a good friend of my high school friend, Nikki. Clare lives in Stuttgart and we have been following each others blogs for almost a year now. It was great to finally meet her and her husband face to face. Here is the girl shot.

And now the boy shot. Justin and I couldn't stop raving about these two. We had a great time hanging out with them and wished we could have done it sooner. 

A trip to Stuttgart is never complete without a trip to the US base. On Sunday we headed to the PX and picked up some essentials (cheez-its, BBQ sauce, taco seasoning, yankee candle..you know) It was a great trip and we came back well stocked and refreshed.

--Marisa

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Frankfurt Oktoberfest

Weeks ago the month of September brought us the ever-popular three weeks of "Oktoberfest".  Last year we had to indulge our curiosity and visit the real Oktoberfest in Munich, but one can find similar knock-offs all over the country during the same period of time.  This year we went to Frankfurt's celebration with a group of our co-workers.  Specifically, we went on a night to see this famous Schlager singer named Mickie Krause - and when I say "famous" I mean that he's known to old German people that go to Mallorca on vacation (think Spring Break in Panama City, FL).  The music was entertaining, everyone danced on the tables, many Masses (1 liter beer glasses) were consumed, and we all had a great time. 

Fall weather means the trendy hat is back, and Marisa gets to rock her beloved Fall color palette!

Two of our new co-worker friends from Canada, Tran and Kate, very satisfied with their 1 liter Masses.


We didn't catch all of the lyrics of the traditional Schlager jams, but the one line you did hear was "Ich bin solo, ich bin solo, ich bin solo..........scheiss egal!, which translates to "I am alone..........I don't really care."  I also didn't realize until I watched the video that I busted out nearly every dance move in my repertoire in the span of about two minutes - I should know better than to put all of my cards on the table that early in the game!  Lots of fun on a school night and everyone made it safely to class the next day.

--Justin

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fussball Season

As all of you enjoy American football we are enjoying the exciting game that is fussball aka soccer. Pardon the photos they were taken with my little point and shoot from like 2003. A few weeks ago we headed to our annual Eintracht Frankfurt game. Justin was bound and determined to go to a Bundesliga (1st Division) game because last year we only made it to a German league game against a 2nd division team. So back in August we bought our tickets. We were dressed in all our Eintracht gear and it was starting to feel like I was back home cheering on my hometown team.

 Game face

 The Stadium

During the action

It was actually a really good game, but Frankfurt lost in the 89th minute. There were tons of shots on goal and posts were ringing. The only downfall that made the whole experience less enjoyable was the couple sitting in from of us smoked more in an hour and a half than I thought was possible. Once one cigarette was done they were lighting up the next. It was quite disgusting and really made me hate European sports arena for even allowing smoking inside. Due to the smokers I am in no hurry to get back to an Eintracht game..thanks for that.

Enjoy some highlights from the game and keep an ear out for the elusive German "scheisse".



--Marisa
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