Exploring the world one word…and one mile…at a time

Archive for September, 2013

Revisiting Rothenburg

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L to R: The streets of Rothenburg; The famous wall; Delicious Schneeballen!

I’ve spent four months of my life in Germany. I visited my family here for one month when I was ten years old, another month when I was sixteen and about two months spread across three visits over the past three years. The large time span between visits has allowed me to experience the strange intersection of memory and reality. Nowhere was this more evident than when I visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber last week with T, S & J. (more…)


Brötchen and Handball: Our German Stay-Cation

L to R: The TVG handball team; morning along the Main; garden scenes and fresh bounty.

L to R: The TVG handball team; morning along the Main; garden scenes and fresh bounty.

We’ve been in Germany for more three weeks, and our spoken language skills have progressed to the point where we can order dinner and drinks in a restaurant (confirming that things are meat-free as needed), handle travel on the bus and train (including reading the many signs indicating the once-mighty German rail lines are running late again), decipher pop songs on the radio (and Adam Sandler movies), and make (limited) small talk.  I can also rattle off most fruits and vegetables and kitchen verbs, thanks in large part to cooking several dishes from a German recipe book. But the true test of our German skills is tackling the morning visit to the local Bäckerei for fresh breakfast rolls (Brötchen). (more…)


Wandering Around Wϋrzburg

L to R: Riding the rails into Wurzburg; street scene on our way to Kult; tasty vegL to R:gie finds; Bavarian beer; posing with the locals (it's election season here...)

L to R: Riding the rails into Wurzburg; street scene on our way to Kult; tasty veggie finds; Bavarian beer; and posing with the locals (it’s election season here…)

A few days ago, M and I took advantage of a regional train pass that allowed us to head anywhere in the state of Bayern (Bavaria) for a combined fare of €26.  We first rode the bus to Aschaffenburg where we boarded a two-hour local train to the city of Wϋrzburg.  We hadn’t done much research before selecting it as our destination for a one-night adventure (inexpensive, interesting, and semi-local were our main requirements), and we weren’t sure what to expect.  Perhaps for that reason, we were quickly captivated by the place. (more…)


Runner’s High, German Style!

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L to R: Ummm…this way to number pick-up, I think; The Start/Finish (Ziel) line; Team “Partner Look” pre-race; The socks post-race; Our race swag.

J and I run a lot of races. However, since many of our races take place while traveling, it’s rare that we get to run with friends. Yes, running is an individual sport, but taking on a race with friends is much better than going it alone. While J and I are always each other’s personal cheering squad, a bigger group means even more positive energy.

Today, we joined T & S for a 10K race in Elsenfeld, Germany, a small town near Groβwallstadt where we are staying. In some ways, the race was like most American races: there were timing chips, a DJ, t-shirts, water stops, etc. In other ways, it was totally different: (more…)


Grüße aus Deutschland! (Greetings from Germany!)

L to R: Our flight from Dublin to Frankfurt; practicing my German;

L to R: On our flight from Dublin to Frankfurt; practicing my German at 38,000 feet; the main street in the town where M’s family lives; exploring the Johannesburg Castle in Aschaffenburg; and the cast of “Spring Awakening”…auf Deutsch.

We’ve been in Germany just ten days, but it feels like a lifetime…in a good way.  We left Ireland last Tuesday after a fantastic week, capped off with two active days in Dublin.  It was a short, productive flight to Frankfurt; M worked on the poetry book he’s co-editing, and I practiced my German (which needs a bit of practice).  Our flight landed nearly an hour late, but M’s uncle and cousin were waiting patiently for us just past customs.  We had initially planned to take the train, but after a long week of travel, we were grateful for their offer to pick us up.  We chatted all the way back to their house in a small town along the Main River south of the city of Aschaffenburg.

We stayed local the first few days, getting used to another time zone and catching up with M’s family.  We’ve traveled here each of the past two summers, but in prior years, our visits have been planned around M’s cousins’ weddings.  It’s a nice change of pace to be without a formal agenda on this trip. (more…)