back around.

The Dingle Pub, outside shot escape from Blarney, pt. 2
a perfect pint? trinity college

I'm back home now, mostly over the jet-lag. I say "mostly" because I just happened to wake up at 6:30 this morning. Not a normal time for a Saturday morning wake-up in my world. Friends gathered at the BCC last night for a little welcome back meet-and-greet, which was absolutely lovely.

I'll head out and explore some of the local wonders later this morning. One big lesson/reminder from my trip was that it's not hard to just get off your ass and go have fun. Now, I realize we don't have multiple castles within short car rides or even within walking distance (if you're into that kind of thing). But there's all other sorts of things out there. Go explore. Find a spot and hang out. Take your friends along. Eat cake before you have dinner. What's not fun about that?


my bags are packed.... not quite yet

Ireland was grand. That about sums it up. I'll have more pictures once I get back to the states, so this little bit of M. documenting me documenting myself outside The Temple Bar in Dublin will have to do. We managed to fit in a lot of stuff by getting rid of our tentative schedule and branching out. There were many highlights, but one that really sticks out was a woman in her 70s (with red hair, I may add) dancing a jig while the local musicians played at a pub in Doolin. Fantastic.

Now it's time to think about packing up all the bits I've acquired over my month here as I fly back to the States on Monday.... sigh.

Have a great weekend!


off to the emerald isle

Today I depart for some days to Ireland. I am, to say the least, quite excited. Quite. Some time will be spent in Dublin where I know some locals, then it's off to the west and the Dingle Peninsula. Quite excited. Quite. I'm also looking forward to unplugging, as it were. One town we're staying in (the only reservation we made) is so small that has no ATM in it. Anywhere. Quite excited. Quite.

I've been watching this video as the time to my trip ticked by from when I first booked the tickets. I laugh out loud every single time. Enjoy.


wicked storms

Bodensee storm

Today has been particularly stormy here in Deutschland. Lots of wind. Some rain. Spots of sunshine followed by more clouds. I have to say, though, the storm last weekend in Meersberg was the best so far. We watched it come down out of the mountains and move quickly across the Bodensee. Here's a picture I took about 5 minutes before it forced us inside. Rad.




Last weekend was one for exploring local sites, such as they were. Saturday we headed down to Meersburg on the Bodensee and watched a wicked storm roll down out of the Alps. It was an altogether successful low-key day. Most excellent.

Sunday I hitched a ride with some folks heading up to Heidelberg so I could explore. Heidelberg is a delightful spot. I mean, it can boast to being the place where the Bunsen Burner was invented. And they've got a great Schloss (that's a castle to you and me).

One bit of my day there that particularly struck me was the Philosophenweg, the Philosopher's Walk. There's this path that goes from across the Old Bridge of Heidelberg, up the big big hill, then gently slopes down towards the University (of Bunsen fame). I started out on the Philosophenweg by the University, hoping to walk up on a gentle slope, then down all the really steep bits. Well, that didn't really work out. I apparently missed a turn somewhere along the way and the path was much shorter than I'd anticipated. Such is life. I will say this though, I noticed my mistake while standing on the Old Bridge. I had no agenda. I had no one else to consult. So I fixed my mistake. I started up the steep steep part of the Philosophenweg. The entire path up is laid with stone and has a few spots with stairs, made necessary by the incline. Not only is it a steep steep path, but it's also walled in on the sides a good portion of the way (please see the above photo).

The Philosopher's Walk did not make me want to ponder the deeper meaning of life in general. I was not overcome by the beauty of Heidelberg (though it is quite stunningly beautiful). It made me think about my homies plugging away at their PhDs. I mean, think about it, you've got this arduous path up where you don't have any guide beyond what you can see in front of you. There are giant walls on both sides, keeping you in, limiting your view of the outside world around you. Only occasionally do they let you move off the path for a quick look around and maybe take a picture so you can see where you've been and perhaps get an idea as to where you're going. And the thing about that look when you get it is you see how everyone is carrying on down below. Anyway, I salute you, my homies in PhD-land. Keep on keepin' on, because you're almost to another outlook.


döner kebab

I <3 döner kebab

Ahhhh, yesterday I was able to cross one food agenda item off my list, the döner kebab. Such meaty deliciousness in a handy little bread pouch. And all for the low low cost of 2-3 Euro. I know they're bad for me... with all the salt and the fat. But I can't help it. So good.

In other news, the work-week goes well here and the weekend plans are much closer to home, such as it is. There will be a quick trip down to the Bodensee (between Germany and Switzerland). Tomorrow I think I'll head out during the late morning to downtown Stuttgart. Explore things a bit. I like exploring.



bratislava grafitti

stupid man suit


Pivo and Pork!

Pork Fat and Onion: a snack
Ventured to Slovakia this last weekend. Most excellent. Most most excellent. First, let me say I stayed with a friend of mine who was there on vacation with her family. I should also add that she's from Slovakia. That completely changed the experience from what it could have been at some hotel in the Old Town area. I got out into the suburbs (1960s Soviet era GIANT housing complexes), she took me to meet her family and friends, and was an all-around excellent host.

Two words: pivo and pork. Pivo = beer. Pork = (for our purposes) pork fat. Saturday night I went with my friend and her fam to visit her cousin. They started things off with a delicate aperitif which was, in fact, a gin-like drink that had only been distilled once and was 52% alcohol. It could put some hair on your chest (if you're after that kind of thing) if you drank too much of it. Pivo was, of course, on hand as a chaser. But it was all worth it when we got to the food: stuffed cabbage leaves in this this soup-like paprika broth. Delicious. So so good. Real stick-to-your-ribs peasant food (Hungarian peasant food, more specifically). After dinner we gathered in the living room to chat more, drink more pivo, and hang out. The pork fat (a specialty of sorts) was mentioned earlier in the evening, as my friend's husband had told me all about it earlier in the day. The cousin's husband disappeared for a spell, then poked his head in the room and told us to come with him........ sitting at the table was a plate of delicately sliced pork fat. Like bacon fat without any of the meat. Accompanying this delicacy was thinly-sliced onion, and bread. When in Rome... well, I'd like to say I hesitated at the thought of stuffing straight-up pork fat into my mouth, but that would be a lie. I ate freely. And enjoyed every minute of it. Slovakia is not a place for vegetarians. I'm also pleased to report that the combined aspects of the not-quite gin drinking, pivo drinking, and pork fat eating meant I made a favorable impression on the family.

Ah, the pork fat.

My visit really was wonderful. Aside from the great food I was able to really see little glimpses of life there, not just your typical tourist stuff.

old town alley