Antibes, France: Drinking “the Green Fairy”–absinthe

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La Fée Verte (“The Green Fairy”–artwork inside La Balade absinthe bar)

 

Dale and I were intrigued by the idea of trying absinthe, an alcoholic spirit that up until recently was banned in many countries.  There’s a mystique surrounding this drink, also called “the Green Fairy,” a nickname referencing the drink’s green color (and no doubt thought up by someone who was more than a little schnockered at the time).  It supposedly had hallucinogenic–perhaps even dangerous–effects on its users, and the most famous artists and writers were drinking it, in part because of its mind-bending properties.  How could we pass up the chance to try this beguiling drink when we had the chance?

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Ja, Bier! The wonders of drinking German beer in Germany

 

What we said when we saw how cheap beer is in Germany (also the generic name brand for all kinds of goods, including, obviously, toilet paper).
“Ja!”  –What we said when we saw how inexpensive beer is in Germany (also the generic brand name for all kinds of goods, including, obviously, toilet paper)

The last two posts have been downers.  It’s true.  It took me over a week to write the article about the Holocaust, so that meant hours each day thinking about some pretty tragic stuff.  And then our last post, in which I wrote about the assassination of a President, well, that wasn’t very jolly, either.  So suffice it to say…

I need a drink.

Or at least a blog post about one.

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Washington, DC: President Lincoln and Ford’s Theatre

A Presidents’ Day look at Abraham Lincoln’s life, death, and lasting legacy

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A bust of President Abraham Lincoln, displayed at Ford’s Theatre

Today is Presidents’ Day, the perfect day to talk about Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President and without a doubt one of our most important.  He ended slavery, kept America from falling to pieces, and kicked some serious vampire ass (oh wait, that last one is probably fictional–but I’m pretty sure he would’ve been up to the task).

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Berlin’s Holocaust memorials and museums

Our visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Topography of Terror Museum, and other Holocaust memorials in Berlin

 

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Looking down a row of stelae at The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Twice, Dale and I have been to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and both times it was a powerful experience. The museum strikes just the right balance between straight-up history and horror: it drenches visitors in the details of the Holocaust and in graphic photos and videos, forcing us to face exactly what genocide looks like.

And yet as meaningful as it was, visiting a Holocaust museum in the United States is one thing; visiting one in the city where the Holocaust was orchestrated was another thing entirely.  In the U.S., no matter how disturbed you are at the end of your visit, you can still shake it off and head to your next destination, like, say, the Air and Space Museum, or better yet, you can abandon the museums altogether and go out for oysters and alcoholic beverages.  In Berlin, it’s not so easy to walk away.  There are landmarks of suffering all over the place.

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Berlin: Random facts about Germany’s capital city

"Why aren't all the women in Germany dressed like this?" My mom and I at Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX, in November 2014
“Why aren’t all the women in Germany dressed like this?” Mom (in her dirndl) and me at Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX, in November 2014

 

Several people told us how much they loved Berlin, and a few of the travel blogs we read regularly raved about it.  “It’s special,” a Londoner that we met on the train told us.

We spent a week there in August 2015, and summing up our reaction to the city has not been easy.  It’s not simple enough to say that we liked it (which we did).  It’s just that, for many reasons, Berlin is not a city that’s easy to sum up in a few hundred words.

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