Category Archives: Pictures

Our photographs from around the world.

German-American Couple Visits the North Sea, Denmark and a Whole Hell of a Lot of Sheep

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“Stop. Stop. Stop.”

In mid-August, my German wife and I boarded a train which took us from Hannover to the North Sea of Germany. We met my wife’s family in Husum and stayed with them on the Nordstrand peninsula — in the tiniest, most 1970s bed and breakfast you’ve ever seen. Outside, we were surrounded by giant wind turbines, rolling green pastures and sheep. Oh God… so many sheep.

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Why are we all wearing socks, you ask? Oh, just the rocks and razor-sharp clam shells hidden beneath the mud…

We went for a walk through the Nordstrand mudflats during low tide (Wattwanderung) and visited the Hallig of Nordstrandischmoor. A hallig is an undyked islet, which means it’s basically just a little hill that becomes isolated by the ocean during high tide, and sometimes for several weeks at a time during winter. 27 people live on Nordstrandischmoor, and it is common knowledge that one of them is pregnant. (A real concern, when their only connection to the mainland is a rusty old construction railway.) The very thought of being trapped on this hallig for any length of time had me nervously checking the tide schedules and eyeballing the nearest sheep, wondering about its capacity to serve as a floatation device. “Mother of God, the ocean is closing in! C’mere you little shit…” *BAAA-A-A-AHHHG*

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That’s a church AND a school. “Welcome to 1st Grade, sinners!”

We also took a day trip to Denmark and visited the city of Sønderborg. I was super excited about this, as I am whenever I get to cross a border into a different country. It always feels a little naughty, like I’m getting away with something. Like I’m a drug mule with a colon full of heroin balloons, and my puckering anus is the only thing between me and a life sentence. I was disappointed when we didn’t have to stop for customs or border patrol — we didn’t even have to show our visas or anything! Oh European Union… you are awesome, but you are boring.

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“Where’s the civilian border patrol? Why is no one shooting at us?”

One the way back from Denmark, we stopped by Flensburg, which is the northernmost town on the German mainland. There, we ran into some kind of festival down by the water, where my brother-in-law and I poured shots of vodka into our Flensburger pilsners and named them “Titty Pils.” (My mother-in-law was not amused.)

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“I’m sorry, Schwiegermutter, but I am not the angel you thought I was.”

The next day, the whole family got on a ferry and rode out to another hallig, this one called Gröde. It is the smallest German voting district, with a whopping total of 17 inhabitants. They have a church, a cemetery and an elementary school in which two students are enrolled. Two. You can imagine what prom will be like when they’re older:

“Would you like to dance, Grizelda?”

“I’m sorry, Orbert, but Papa says dancing gives vigor to the Devil’s loins.”

…and then they just sit there, gazing out the window at the tallest hill on the island, at the peak of which are two sheep enjoying the most violent, wool-slapping sheep sex on earth.

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Oh yes, those people laying in the grass in boots and full raincoats are “sunbathing.”

I can’t really do justice to all the things we saw at the North Sea and in Denmark, so I’ve put this little video together. It summarizes the whole trip in about 60 seconds:

***WARNING*** Video contains a lot of annoying wind noises and more than a few swear words. *To clarify that last bit, I wanted to take a picture of the ocean, not record a video. You feel me, iPhone 4 users?

And of course, here’s a picture gallery. I took 90% of these pictures, but the ones that aren’t completely awful were taken by my wife. Please click one to begin the slideshow.

Thank you for reading our blog and have a wonderful day!

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German-American Couple Visits the Spanish Island of Mallorca

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Pictured: The Hawaii of western Europe.

In April of 2014, my German wife and I flew to Mallorca. Mallorca, (or Majorca) is an island off the southeastern coast of Spain, known condescendingly as “Malla.” It is a warm, beautiful and relatively close vacation destination where western European people — particularly highschool and college students on spring break — go to sing, dance and flirt with alcohol poisoning. If you say the word Mallorca to a German person, chances are exactly 2 things will pop into his or her head:

  1. El Arenal, the district where all of the beer drinkin’ and titty swingin’ happens.
  2. Ballermann Songs, El Arenal’s folksy techno soundtrack for the lethally inebriated and/or functionally retarded.

But Mallorca isn’t just an STD riddled playground for Europe’s shameless youth; you’ll see a lot of middle aged and retired people there too — just wandering around, snapping pictures with cameras from the 1980s and relaxing in tapas bars as they seek some momentary escape from the hollow footfalls of death’s relentless pursuit.

And although we did visit the El Arenal party district once, my wife and I mostly stayed in and around the capital city of Palma. In Palma we saw the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (more commonly referred to as La Seu), walked up to the Castell de Bellver (or Bellver Castle), and even rode the historical train to Port de Sóller. We had an awesome time, and I took a whole lot of pictures to show you, my faithful readers. Please click one of the images below to start the slideshow. We hope you can dig it!

 

German-American Couple Returns to Portland, Oregon, for the 2013 Holiday Season

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Good ol’ Big Pink, lookin’ like a dildo in a hurricane.

The Wife and I flew back to the United States for the holidays this year. We spent Christmas in Portland, Oregon, and New Year’s in Cannon Beach. You know what was weird about being back home? The fact that it wasn’t weird. I’d been in Germany for a year and 3 months, and the Pacific Northwest felt exactly the same way I left it; green, rainy and full of Subaru Outbacks.

We had a fantastic time with our friends and family, saw lots of familiar places and even returned to the same beach where we got married. It was a great trip, and I captured the experience in the following sequence of horrible photos taken with my iPhone (and without a lick of photographic talent).

Click one of the images below to start the slideshow. We hope you can dig it!

German-American Couple Takes the Steinhuder Meer Bike Tour (And I Have an Allergic Reaction to Eel Meat)

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“Bike tour on a beautiful summer day? Obviously something bad is going to happen.”

On a lovely Saturday in August, The Wife and I rode our bikes to the Hannover Hauptbahnhof, got on the S-Bahn and rode that sumbitch out to Wunstorf Station. There, we got back on our bikes and took a glorious ride to the Steinhuder Meer; the largest lake in northwestern Germany.

It’s beautiful, with tons of paddle boats, row boats, sail boats and young people making out on the dock like they ain’t got no shame at all. In the middle of the lake is a small artificial island called Wilhelmstein, with an 18th-century castle on top. (Leave it to some rich old German bastard to build himself a castle. Jesus. I can’t even afford a new bike helmet.)

The Steinhuder Meer is a big lake. It covers an area of about 12 square miles (30 km), but it’s super shallow. Its average depth is 4.4 feet (1.35 m), which means an average person could walk right across it… except for those few spots where it hits 9.8 feet deep. That’s when you go in over your head and scream like a little girl. Air bubbles rising to the surface. Eels coiling around your ankles. Underpants filling with trouser apples.

I’m not kidding about those eels though. The Steinhuder Meer is lousy with ‘em, and the nearby town of Steinhude sells eel sandwiches in every pub, deli and restaurant you can find. Now, I have a deep and enduring fear of eels. Take one look at a group of eels and you just know they’re evil. Evil, and cursed by God.

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“Is that an eel orgy? No? Oh good, then I’m just having night terrors again.” — Image courtesy of Peter Harrison (http://www.flickr.com/photos/devcentre/)

So, it was with a good measure of apprehension that I tasted the eel sandwich my wife bought at Schweer’s Aalräucherei. I considered it a revenge bite. Revenge against every eel in the world just for creeping me out. Unfortunately, I am allergic to fish. I had no clue eels were in any way related to fish (I am a wiser man now), so of course I just went for it; I took a huge bite and swallowed that mother like it done me wrong, and I discovered exactly 2 things in the following moments:

  1. Eel meat is super oily and tastes like rubber bands dipped in toilet water.
  2. I am allergic to eel meat. It causes my lips, mouth and throat to swell up, turn red and itch like unholy hellfire.

I am no stranger to this allergic reaction. I’ve tried all sorts of fish, and the only one I can get away with is tuna. Something about tuna fish is just fine with my body. So is shell fish, like lobster and shrimp. But every other kind of fish — especially salmon — makes my throat itch and my lips swell up and stick out like a Simpsons character. The sensation is a combination of burning, itching and aching all wrapped up in one mix of poetic justice. Fortunately, it comes on in like 30 seconds — so fast I can’t really ingest enough to be in any danger of asphyxiation — so I just put the stupid fish down, say, “God dammit,” and wait 45 minutes for the swelling to subside.

After my reaction to the disgusting eel meat, we had a fantastic day and took a bunch of pictures. Click on one below to start the slideshow and, as always, we hope you can dig ‘em!

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Pictures: Expat Couple Visits St. Pauli’s Red Light District in Hamburg, Germany

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Welcome to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, where you can legally pay someone to touch your pork roll.

On March 23rd, 2013, The Wife and I took a day trip to Hamburg. We rode the Metronome (or “slow train,” as we affectionately refer to it) north for about one hour, changed lines in Uelzen, then rode another hour to Hamburg.

When we first arrived, I was struck by the extent to which Hamburg reminded me of Seattle. It was beautiful, with a lively and colorful bay rife with wide-eyed tourists staggered about in circles. However, where Seattle has hills and skyscrapers, Hamburg has cargo cranes and a world-famous red light district. The red light district surrounds the street called Reeperbahn, which runs right through the St. Pauli quarter of the city. St. Pauli used to make me think of St. Pauli Girl beer (which is actually brewed in Bremen). Now, Saint Pauli makes me think of a slightly intimidating neighborhood where a couple of euros gets your bone smooched.

The Red Light District of St. Pauli is best seen at night, or so I was advised, enthusiastically, by the German guy I spoke with at the Restaurant Fischerhaus. Sure enough, there were neon signs and crazy porno storefronts everywhere, so I imagine the effect at night would be much like that of the Las Vegas Strip, where my every sense is subjected to a spectacular display of Shock and Awe. And much like the Las Vegas Strip, I wanted to spend just enough time on Reeperbahn street to have a beer, take a few pictures and get the hell out of there before shit got weird.

Here are our pictures. We hope you can dig ‘em!

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Pictures: Our Looney Tunes Trip to Berlin – January, 2013

Oh Kreuzberg, you big silly. Is that a meat-eating flower jutting out from a mural of pure, German madness? "Have fun on your way to school, kids!"

Oh Berlin, you big silly. Is that a meat-eating flower jutting out from a mural of pure, German madness? “Have fun on your way to school, kids!”

The Wife and I were recently visited by one of our very close friends from Portland, Oregon. We shall call him, “Looney Tunes.” Looney Tunes spent New Year’s with us in Hannover, and then on January 2nd, we all took the CE train to Berlin.

I’d only been to Berlin once before, back in June of 2011, and that trip was wildly different. It was summer and we were staying in Mitte. This time around, it was winter and we were staying in Kreuzberg. Kreuzberg used to be punk rocker central and it was scary as hell, but it is rapidly being gentrified. Walking down the street, the buildings go like this: scary apartment building, crazy graffiti mural, depressing pub, Turkish döner place, Vietnamese restaurant, scary apartment building, really nice coffee shop. It’s kind of jarring how the places with money stick out from the rest, but Kreuzberg does have its own unique charm, I suppose. Looney Tunes absolutely loved it. The Wife and I will stick to our quiet little Hannover for now.

Here are some of the pictures from our trip. We hope you like them!

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Pictures: Oktoberfest 2012 – Hannover, Germany

This was the view as we approached the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. I was so excited I had to go pee pee behind that tree on the left.

This was the view as we approached the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. I was so excited I had to go pee pee behind that tree on the left.

In Hannover, Oktoberfest takes place at the Schützenplatz, which is an open area directly across from the AWD Arena (home of the Hannover 96 soccer team, and yeah, you heard me right, I just called it ‘soccer’). This year, Oktoberfest ran from September 28th until October 14th, and yet The Wife and I almost missed it! We kept meaning to check it out, but (my wife) couldn’t seem to find the time. I finally jogged past the fairgrounds one morning and noticed it would only be open for one more weekend. That’s when I finally convinced my wife we had to go.

“I ran past Oktoberfest this morning and there’s only one weekend left!” I exclaimed. “There were tons of beer tents in there! They even had roller coasters with Germans on them! Screaming Germans! I need this, honey. I need it so bad.

The Wife relented and we experienced our very first Hannover Oktoberfest together. It was AWESOME.

Here are the pictures we took that night. I’m sorry there aren’t more; I was too busy experiencing pure, unadulterated joy.

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