Tuesday, October 26, 2004

rock the vote

I'm curious to hear what you guys think of this new Eminem song/video . I can't say I've ever been a big fan, but I was pretty taken aback by the directness. Ostensibly a get-out-the-vote message, it sounds more like a declaration of war. Anyway, the animation is cool.

Monday, October 25, 2004

London, future plans

I spent the last few days in London and had a very nice time indeed. If I had been there longer I would've contacted (oops, I meant Bilal) and Frank, but that will have to wait until next time. I didn't really have any preconceptions about the city itself, though I was a bit surprised to find that you could really walk around most of it very easily, as it wasn't as huge as I expected. At night we did make good use of the tube, however, and that was incredibly handy. The weather cooperated on Sunday but it was pretty terrible on Saturday.

The pictures below are just two random snapshots from yesterday, one of Picadilly and one of Trafalgar Square. There was some sort of military ceremony going on at the time.

I will be in Edinburgh for another week and a half or so and then will be off to St. Petersburg for about a week. I'm very excited about that, with the only concern being that it could be mighty cold. So I'm stocking up on warm stuff.

Hope everyone has a good beginning to the week.

Trafalgar Square Posted by Hello

Picadilly Circus Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Why you haven't heard from us

After reading Steini's bicycle diaries you must be ready for more news
from abroad. Verena and I have been traveling some of Europe's most
marvelous and exotic places. These pictures document our
journey---nothing for the faint-hearted.

On a different note: Verena has just started with her job in
Bolzano/Italy. For myself the company has not been able to get me a
working visa for the US, since the 65000 for this year have all been
used. It looks like I have to start working in their Madrid office, and
I hope this will still happen in 2004...

OK, now enjoy:

This might be your first glimpse of West Berlin when stepping out of the train station
"Zoologischer Garten".  At least gets you into the right mood (?). NB:
After leaving Edinburgh, we went back to Potsdam/Berlin to clear our old
flat, sell our remaining worldly possessions on eBay, play some skat and
drink some Bier.

On the other hand, Bamberg
might appeal to the more romantic type. It is a beautiful town in the
north of Bavaria (thus, the South of Germany), which should not be
called Bavaria if not to offend the locals (the "Franks"). NB: We went
here to show some friends from the States around, and drink the amazing
local beer (Rauchbier ("Smoked beer"), tastes like smoked ham). I like
our 2 friends from Connecticut in this one...

Next in our attempt to show our
guests the very best of Olde Europe, we took them to the old Bavarian
city of Regensburg. In the background you
can see the old (Roman times) bridge over the mighty Danube river. In
the front people frantically waiting to place their orders in a

Absinthe in Prague. (Verena, Shakti,

Still in Prague, this specimen somehow
failed to illustrate the supremacy of a free market.

In the Italian Alps, close to Bolzano. We
took some days to hike, after having moved Verena's stuff to her new
place in Bolzano. 

In the Italian Alps, on top of the
. After some uncertainty (aka panic) (it was getting
cold, dark and very misty up there) we finally made it to the lift
station, AND it was still running, so they would take us back down to
the valley.

. Hmm.... wasn't that lift
station supposed to be around here?

The mountain Schlern
. Nice view from the
lift cabin. We saved this boy for our next trip!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Finally I’m back from my cycling trip, pheew, this took longer than I expected... (OK, I was back a few weeks ago, it only took a week, but I’m pretty lazy and therefore didn’t write anything earlier.) As has been noted before, Scotland is a hilly place. Therefore, on day 2 of our trip, my friend Valur decided we would never make it to London on our bikes, although going all the way there was his idea in the first place. He didn’t tell me about his decision at first, but it should have been obvious as he didn’t cycle up any hills or slopes, but stepped off his bike and walked. This delayed our plans somewhat. He was also a bit afraid of going downhill as fast as he could, slowing us down a bit more. On the other hand, I could rest quite a lot throughout the day while waiting for him.
The first night we stayed in Dalkeith. Some might argue that Dalkeith is really a part of Edinburgh but we would not agree as it took us quite some time to get there. In the next week we managed to get to York. The weather was good most of the time, it never rained, but sometimes we had to cycle against the wind. That iss not as easy as it sounds.
I had two accidents on the way, when I cycled over some pointy objects puncturing my tires. Valur on the other hand, being quite heavy, managed to bend his back wheel and break it, only by sitting on the bike. So we had to find a bike shop and buy a new one. Other than this there were no great accidents. We stayed at B&B’s and hostels, and usually we didn’t have any problems finding a place to stay. Except of course in the biggest city we came to, Newcastle, where we were on a Saturday, along with everybody from Northern England. So, after looking for a place to stay in Newcastle for a few hours we went back to Whitley Bay (which is pretty close, actually) and stayed at a B&B there. Newcastle is a strange place, it is quite big, but according to the woman in the tourist information center there is not a single internet café there, except for the one in Virgin Megastore, but that one has been closed for a while because they are cleaning the windows or something like that. Strange people indeed.
Finally, we made it to York. According to the guy doing the ghost walk, York is the most haunted city in the world, meaning they have the most ghosts per square meter. They also have the oldest ghosts in the world, a few roman soldiers walking about in some rich man’s cellar. We stayed in York for two days, waiting to see ghosts. The city is pretty nice and plenty of things to see if you have two days, but for some reason, no ghosts.
Finally we took the train to London where we stayed for one night. In London we went to a place called The Comedy Club. There were four people there telling jokes. I thought one of the jokes was pretty funny, because it described all the pubs we came to during our trip. It went like this: “I was in Dublin and I went to the pub. They had just closed the kitchen and the beer was flat. Later I found out it was an English theme pub.” And this is where you laugh.
And yes, we made it to Stansted on time, although it was close. After buying our tickets on Liverpool street station and when we were boarding the train we were told that bicycles are not allowed on Stansted Express. So if anyone of you was planning to take their bikes aboard that train, plan again. We therefore had to take a train to some godforsaken place close to the airport and cycle on the motorway for 30 minutes to get there on time. It was not as fun as it might seem at first, but we made it.
Now I have been in Iceland for almost three weeks, this place is cold and wet actually. I don’t think I have seen so much rain for ... well, since the last time I was here.
I haven’t found a real job yet, but I got a temporary job translating some thing. I’ll finish that in a couple of weeks and then it’s back to doing nothing for a while, hopefully.

Well, good luck to you all, hope I hear from you soon.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Monica toasts to life Posted by Hello

Lots of folks Posted by Hello

Scary ghost in the background Posted by Hello

Monica loves marshmallows Posted by Hello

Heather the banjo-playing Canadian Posted by Hello

My friend Jeff, kickin' back Posted by Hello

Fahd and Bilal Posted by Hello

Blurry Giorgio Posted by Hello

Pictures from our flat party, 10/1/2004. Posted by Hello