Wie Geht’s

A week or so ago, the 2nd, a clean, modern Railjet wove a path through the green landscaped between Vienna and Munich carrying a group of people who I had never met and myself.  It sure wasn’t free, €85 later the ticket booth spat out some freshly printed permission to experience a huge decrease in personal space and comfort.  The comfort spoken of is the train station bench.  Maybe that puts train travel in perspective, but it sure beats defying gravity in an aluminum Pringles can with four jet engines and seat taken from some poor girls barbie corvette (at least thats how I feel in an airplane, an object engineered to be comfortable for very small, slightly deaf people who can ready skymall more than 5 times and unable to describe the lawn yeti statue word for word).

So I made it to Munich.

I was picked up by Tobi, a class/team mate at UCSD last year who is also a Munich suburbs local.  The past week or so I have been all over Munich and Bavaria, climbing castles and learning about stuff in museums, and maybe drinking a few beers.  Twice I have had Asian food and been pleasantly surprised.  So far all that is missing in Munich is a Rigoberto’s Taco a block or two from the ocean. Otherwise, nothing is missing.

In the pictures: BMW HQ “BMW Welt (World)”, the Olympic park and view from the tower, multiple castles and the surrounding mountains, the view from a summit in the Alps, a large cathedral in town, some great meals, and some of my favorites from the most amazing museum I have ever seen.

Also I forget to mention the surfers in the last few pictures, apparently there is one good spot in Munich.  I will upload the video soon enough, but check out the line up.


A change of plans and some new places

Pictures below…

So, it may be news to some of you, maybe a shock to some, but I decided nearly a week ago to decline my contract in the Czech Republic and return home. However, I am not coming home without spending some time traveling Europe and taking in some new sights, smells, taste and attractions. If you really want to know more about my choice to return home you will have to talk to me personally, because I am going to talk about the fun stuff here.

Continue reading

Casinos, the lake, a castle and beyond

The next destination, post-Bologna, was Gorizia on the border of Italy and Slovenia.  We managed to play one match against a local club team, our first competition and our first win.  The gym was no longer plywood and lacking A/C, although the weather was much more pleasant.  The city was splattered with Casinos and so we had to try out the local entertainment.  Despite the language barrier, the casino experience wasn’t anything different than in the States besides the “no fun” policy.  One of my team mates hit his jersey number roulette and we celebrated as necessary only to be quickly hushed and informed there would only be one more round on this table.  No fun. Fun.

Other than no fun, I was not fond of the lack of refrigerated drinks, including milk (refrigerate after opening).  How can you have a cold glass of whole milk when the milk is sitting on a shelf at room temperature? Clearly I wasn’t meant to live in Gorizia.

The pictures few pictures are below, and then I’ll move on to Slovenia.

Slovenia is like nowhere else I have been – Continue reading

The tour begins…

It’s been a while since I have posted anything and I apologize, but I have been busy.  The tour kicked off in the afternoon of the 9th in a gym with plywood floors, no A/C, and some Italian coaches running our practice.  Despite the odds, we survived a full practice in the and managed to sweat through most of our practice shirts. From the end of the first practice till this moment free time had not been abundant.  The 10th and 11th were two-a-day practices and left all the guys pretty well spent physically.

Although tired and sore, we found the time to see as much of Bologna as possible.  Sleep was hard to come by, but the experiences were well worth the loss.

Below are the few pictures I found time to capture.

The next post will be up shortly, Slovenia and the Czech Republic in detail.


Buon Giorno

As most of you are headed to bed I am destroying some morning pastries and yogurt in the lobby.  Dinner last night wasn’t so bad either – lasagne alla bolognese and seasoned chicken plus rolls.  This meal was merely a room service snack, but I’ve yet to have a better dinner in my life besides Sara’s grilled cheese.  Food here sure is almost as important as family, and if you’ve ever seen a Godfather movie you know how important family is to the Italians.

Without a doubt the changes take some getting used to for an inexperienced world traveler, but so far the change has been a pleasant experience.  Nearing a complete adjustment to the drastic time zone difference (as I have mentioned +9 hours), I am feeling more and more at home.  There are still a few “things” holding back my assimilation and here are just a few…

Apparently there is a floor 0 and -1 in my hotel, and I am glad that I’m on a positive integer floor.  This tiny little juice cup was good for a couple of sips before a refill, and julia look at how small it looks in my hand!  This last picture is the view out my window and I apologize that you can’t feel the weather but its just like home, perfect.

Made it

I took a few pictures along the way, which was quite a “way.”  The fact that I made it to my hotel without missing my train or getting a little lost was a mini-miracle.

On the plane I spent the majority of my time reading my Italian guide book, focusing on the airport and train station methods to avoid madness and pickpockets.  I was more prepared for the trip from the airport in Rome to my hotel in Bologna than I have been for any midterm the last three years in college.  And somehow I managed to do everything wrong and still end up right here in my hotel room.

Theses pictures are the only evidence that I made it, or at least that my iPhone made it.

In order, left to right top to bottom:  lots of leg room aka “lol”, a super fast train sorta, random tall buildings, my hotel SavHotel, my bed for now, toilet/bidet weird, hotel room key keeps the lights on (took a few tries to figure it out), and i guess that’s a power outlet.

Hope you have google translator


Our tour director sent us this link recently, and apparently the locals are excited about our arrival. If you can’t read italian the I will paraphrase from what google translated for me: There is a USA volleyball team coming to Bologna to practice at some gym at some time and here is a list of their names.

Its cool, but in LAX were I am writing this, a couple jogged up to their gate 10 min after their plane left and then literally exploded in an array of emotions cursing the gate crew. It started with some frustrated, out of breath questions and expanded into iphone slamming, cursing, complaints about the effectiveness of the airport staff due to their obesity, to excessive sobbing arriving finally at polite conversation about booking the next flight. MTV’s latest show LAX gate 69A was based on this event.

So far its been an entertaining trip, hopefully it doesn’t slow down here…