Are tourist city passes worth it?

Our take on how to make the most of your big city trip

IMG_0314
A view of the Seattle city skyline from our boat ride on the Puget Sound


Our move to Seattle in January 2012 was the culmination of our dream to experience someplace very different from Texas, and it was also the beginning of our eventual jump into long-term travel.  It whetted our appetite for learning about new places, and we were excited about the cross-country move.

But when we arrived, we were also overwhelmed.  In addition to looking for a place to live, we were challenged with getting to know our new home city.  So much to do!  So much to see!  Where should we start?  To be honest, we didn’t learn a lot about the city ahead of time; we knew that it was beautiful and rainy and home to Starbucks and Gray’s Anatomy, but as for the specifics, we hadn’t much of a clue.

Continue reading “Are tourist city passes worth it?”

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.

Continue reading “Ja, Bier! The wonders of drinking German beer in Germany”

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

 

IMG_0890
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.

Continue reading “Berlin’s Holocaust memorials and museums”

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.

Continue reading “Berlin: Random facts about Germany’s capital city”