Tag Archives: Photography

The Empire Riverside Hotel in Hamburg, Germany

Empire Riverside Hotel - Hamburg, Germany

It looks a little like the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey: “What are you doing, Dave? Don’t touch the black monolith, Dave. Oh no, you touched it, Dave, you stupid pink monkey.” — Image Credit: © Empire Riverside Hotel. All rights reserved.

For my wife’s birthday this year, I took her to the Empire Riverside Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. Normally, I would have cheapskated my way out of this and booked an Airbnb or something, but not this time; I wanted to pamper my wife. Pamper her like a drooling toddler.

The Empire Riverside Hotel is a huge building, jutting out from the Hamburg cityscape like an L-shaped Tetris block. (“For the love of god, why won’t you just give me a straight piece?”) If you book a room on the south side, you’ll have an awesome view of the Elbe River and the Hamburg Harbor. If you book a room on the north side, you’ll have an awesome view of the Reeperbahn, some feisty prostitutes and a bunch of dildo shops. The rooms on the east and west sides have views of both, so you can fill your gaze with maritime sentiment, or catch an eyeful of titty. Either way, you win.

For reasons I will never truly understand, my wife loves Hamburg. She even loves the shipping dock, with its endless horizon of container cranes. (Personally, I find shipping docks ugly and unnerving. I mean, they’re filled with giant robots designed specifically to pick up heavy things and maybe — if they feel like it — drop that shit right on your head.) Anyway, my wife and I would typically spend our time in Hamburg strolling along the river or drinking brew doggies on the Elbstrand, but not this time: We just couldn’t leave our badass accommodations.

Empire Riverside Hotel - Hamburg, Germany

“Wait, where is everyone? Is this the zombie apocalypse? It IS the zombie apocalypse! Oh my god, quick! We have to– oooh, look honey… salad rolls.” — Image Credit: © Empire Riverside Hotel and © Andrea Flak (http://andreaflak.de/). All rights reserved.

With the exception of a quick boat tour around the harbor, called a Hafenrundfahrt (Tee hee! I said “fart.”), we spent the entire time inside the Empire Riverside Hotel. The rooms are super sleek and modern, and the windows go all the way from the floor to the ceiling — so you really get that, “I could totally fall out of this window” feeling. Also, the Wi-Fi actually works, which is surprisingly rare in the hotel industry, even though fast, free, internet access is a God-given right and should be available in every corner of the globe. (It says so in the Bible.)

Empire Riverside Hotel - Hamburg, Germany

“Afraid of heights? Perfect time for a drink!” — Image Credit: © Empire Riverside Hotel. All rights reserved.

There’s a very cool lounge on the ground floor called David’s, which offers renowned sushi so expensive it’ll shrink your tuna roll. One floor above is the Waterkant restaurant, where you can easily drop a couple benjamins on dinner for two. And then there’s the bar way up on the 20th floor called, unsurprisingly, Skyline Bar 20up. Everything about the hotel is cool, but by far our favorite part was the spa. It’s not huge or anything, but it is complete; there’s a sauna, steam bath, relaxation room and a gym — you know, for people who like to work out and make the rest of us feel guilty for sitting around all day in fluffy white hotel robes. They also have two foot baths and a full-body submersion pool to help you cool off after you come out of the sauna. And here’s the thing: My wife and I were there mid-week, so we had the whole spa to ourselves! (Everyone else was at work, earning money and paying their taxes on time. Suckers.)

Now, I’ve never been a tremendous fan of saunas — 5 minutes inside of one makes me feel like a hamster in a microwave — but I have been slowly learning to enjoy the experience. (My record time is 11 minutes!) But I discovered I really like steam baths. The one in our hotel was super dark, with cool lights in the walls and steam so thick you could hardly see across the room. Of course my wife preferred the dry heat of the sauna — she’s a true German — but apparently hot, moist, dark places are ideal relaxation conditions for uppity American bloggers like myself.

steam bath

“Ha ha ha! I have no idea what I’m doing!” — Image Credit: Chris Feser (https://www.flickr.com/photos/feserc/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I spent way too long in that steam bath. So long, in fact, my wife had to keep checking up on me:

THE WIFE: “Honey? Are you still alive in there?”

ME: *Hissing at her and pretending to be a vampire* “Yessss, we are alive, but the light burns our skin. Close the door, fair maiden, or come inside and stay — stay forever.”

Once I got to the point where I was about to pass out, I would run from the steam room and jump into the cooling pool. The water was ice-cold, which made my heart pound dangerously hard. Then I would go back inside the steam room and do it all over again. I did this so many times the tiny construction workers inside my body were terrified: “We’re in the Congo! Cool this mother down! Oh shit, now we’re in the Arctic! Heat it back up! Oh no, now we’re back in the — hey, wait a minute…”

Thankfully I’m still relatively young, so my heart didn’t stop, but eventually I decided to join my wife in the relaxation room — where the sane people were. We spent the remainder of the day reading and napping in absolute tranquility. It was glorious.

Clearly my wife and I had an awesome time at this hotel. The prices blew my wallet up like a hobo with a hand grenade, but still, I am compelled to award the Empire Riverside Hotel with a triumphant 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
If you’re ever in Hamburg, you should totally stay there. Tell them some American guy from the Internet sent you. That should score you a look of perfect apathy.

Oh, and here are some pictures I took during our trip. Click one to start the slideshow. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!


The Hanseatic City of Lübeck, Germany

Lübeck, Germany

“Welcome to Lübeck, you picture-ruining sons of bitches.”

You know that vacation my wife and I took to Barcelona, Spain? Well, we took a little trip to Lübeck, Germany right after that. (Like, right the hell after. Not a moment to breathe.) Lübeck is a cute little port town in Schleswig-Holstein, and it was a member of the Hanseatic League during the Late Middle Ages — you know, when they used to pour boiling tar on each other and dropkick babies for fun or whatever.

We saw a bunch of old churches, the port with a ton of boats, the famous marzipan company called Niederegger (you can imagine how carefully I typed that), and the Buddenbrooks House, which is actually a museum dedicated to some asshole named Thomas Mann.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. I’m just pissed because my computer died and I’m still waiting for my new one to be delivered, so I’m having to type this blog post on my wife’s laptop with it’s insane German keyboard. Every time my finger punches the “Z” key instead of the “Y” key, I must resist the urge to frisbee this goddamn thing right out the window.

Deep breath… okay. Please click one of the thumbnails below to start the slideshow, and thank you for stopping by!

Barcelona, Spain: The City of Counts, Gaudi and Catalonia

"Dude, this Goudy character has this city by the BALLS."

“Dude, this Goudy character has this city by the BALLS.”

My German wife and I recently visited Barcelona, Spain. We had an awesome time: beautiful weather, great museums and a fanastic art and culture scene. Of course, it was so painfully hot at night — and the A/C in our rented apartment didn’t work — so we had to sleep with all the doors and windows open, and our naked bodies draped in wet towels so we didn’t die of heatstroke, but still! Awesome!

Now, on an unrelated note, my computer died last week. I am curently waiting for my new computer, and the wait is absolutely killing me. See, I’m writing this post using my wife’s laptop, with its insane German keyboard. So many extra keys! And they’re all in different places, with wacky symbols on top of them! Why, oh sweet Jesus why, is the “Y” key way down here by my left pinky finger? And why must I hit shift+# to make an apostrophe? Holy Christ this sucks! So if you see a ton of typos in my next couple of posts, I want you to blame my wife. Blame her entirely. For being German.

Anyway, please click one of the photos below to start the slideshow. Welcome to Barcelona!

Visiting Konya: Pictures and Videos from Our Trip to Turkey


So much tea, it will forever haunt my dreams…

As you may have read from our last post, my German wife and I recently enjoyed an epic trip to Konya, Turkey, and we had a blast. This post, however, contains the pictures we took, plus a video at the end, which will give you a nice summary of our experience in just 4.5 minutes.

Here are our pictures! We hope you like them!
Click one of the thumbnails below to start the slideshow and see the captions:

*** WARNING *** Video contains some colorful language. (Also, the sound quality absolutely blows, so you may need to adjust your volume settings higher or lower, depending upon which scene you’re watching.)

If you would like to read the original Konya post, check it out: Discovering Konya, Turkey: The Top 10 Preconceived Notions Dislodged from My American Brain

German-American Couple Falls in Love with the City of Bremen, Germany


Remember that pointy bra Madonna used to wear?

At the beginning of November, my wife and I took the train from Hannover to Bremen, Germany. It was just a day trip, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much. The things I knew about Bremen could be counted on a high school shop teacher’s hand (because they’re always shy a couple digits):

  1. Bremen is where Beck’s beer comes from.
  2. Bremen is a city-state, like Hamburg and Berlin.
  3. Bremen is somewhere up north, like Winterfell.

That’s it! Nothing else! So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered Bremen absolutely rules. Here’s why…


Imagine a giant person stepping on that thing. Prolly hurt worse than a Lego.

Unlike Hamburg or Berlin, the Allied Powers didn’t bomb the everloving shit out of Bremen during World War II. (And by this, I mean they did mess it up real good, but they didn’t flatten it completely.) The result is a massive medieval market square still intact today! There’s a beautiful town hall and an enormous cathedral, and you can hardly take a step without bumping into one famous sculpture or another. (Like the Bremen Town Musicians, named after the Brothers Grimm folktale involving a donkey, dog, cat and rooster, who stand on each others backs in order to scare the holy piss out of a bunch of felons during a home invasion.)



The very oldest part of Bremen is called the Schnoorviertel, and it’s the neighborhood where all the medieval sailors and merchants used to live. I swear to Christ, I felt like I’d stumbled into Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series. Of course, instead of Ollivanders, the Leaky Cauldron and Gringotts Wizarding Bank, the Schnoorviertel of medieval times was probably more like a river of human waste and merkin-sporting prostitutes dying of The Consumption.


“Bring out your dead!”

Much like OMSI in Portland, Oregon, Bremen has a kick-ass science museum called the Universum. My wife and I were there for its Universum bei Nacht event, where adults can enjoy the permanent exhibit with live music in their ears, cold brew-doggies in their hands and absolutely no screaming kids biting at their ankles. We also got to place little stickers on our favorite exhibit pieces, effectively voting for which ones would remain, and which would be replaced. My favorite was the shadow room, which featured a phosphorescent wall and a flashbulb. You hold a funny position against the wall until the flash goes off, then step back and laugh at your perfectly captured silhouette. (You can imagine how quickly this innocent little bit of scientific education descended into a porno horror show.)


“Hang on a second, honey. I’m tripping balls.”

I can’t really do justice to the awesomeness that is Bremen, so I’ve put this little video together to summarize our trip. It’s only 95 seconds long, and it features videos my wife recorded herself! Check it out:

And as always, here’s the complete picture gallery with snarky captions. Please click one of the images below to begin the slideshow:

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

German-American Couple Visits the Spanish Island of Mallorca


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


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!