Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
I've many pictures and more to elabotate on further, but for those of you reading at home, yes Amsterdam and Brussels are all that they're made out to be - and more.
In Brussels we partook in wonderful food and drink. We endulged in an amazing home-grown beer at every meal and at different 'Brown-Bars' every night. Every single one was spectacular. We toured a brewery that does not add yeast or sterilize it's equipment, but rather allows the yeast in the unique micro-fauna of the air to make their beer. The spiderwebs weren't for show - they were to catch the bugs flying about! We ate pralines and fabulous meals and walked through spendid old squares.
Amsterdam seemed to have more to say - the architecture is wonderful and all jives. With more canals than Venice, every other street is a view to more of their beautiful buildings. We've had good pancakes, and some beer. (The breweries here are colorful, but no where near as good as Belgium.) The highlight has been the easy-breasy riding of bikes around in well-marked lanes.
I always do remark that bike riding is the most efficient mode of transportation in Boston and here, the people have realized this en masse. I could spend days watching all the beautiful people on their beautiful bikes.
Or just being one of the beautiful people myself . . .
Friday, December 03, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
The Lunatic Express; Open Phones: Travel Discoveries
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I couldn't get enough of Vermont, so I went back again this weekend.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Monday, September 06, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Leaving the urban sprawl behind, but not the heat we arrived in Appalachia. First stop was Sylva. A cute little town in the foothills. Destination: brewery. Heizelmachen was our first. Located in a small store front, the husband and wife team, the former from the Black Forest of Germany, own this tiny operation. Perhaps the tiniest brewery I've ever seen, a chill college student poured our eight brews and furnished us with great Bavarian pretzels. Filling our keg would be tempting, but we already have learned that beer doesn't keep too well in our trunk.
Sylva is apparently a budding brewery town. We also got a chance to try to new brews at Sapphire Brewing Company, which has the cutest setup that feels like you're hanging out at someone's house. (It probably is.)
Leaving our empty mugs, we headed into the park. First hurdle was the Cherokee Indian Reservation. No casinos here, just Bingo night, and a ton of tourist stands selling moccasins, tomahawks, and dream catchers.
You enter the southern end of the Smokies through a meadow, in a valley surrounded by lush, high mountain slopes. Our campground was just a few miles in. We realized we were back in the South with the number of trailers and RVs parked around our site. Gangs of children cruised the streets on bikes and generators hummed. Almost every license plate was from North Carolina. Cooking that night the neighbors, who were rarely seen outside of their RV, were super-friendly and gave us a whole plate of fried potatoes, hush puppies and catfish. How Christian of them!
Chris put it best when he said that Smokies was best on the macro level (and Shenandoah on the micro level). Drives can be long through the park, and sometimes you even sit in traffic, but the views are gorgeous. The first night we try to go to a ranger program in Cades Cove, which ends up being an hour and a half through the park. We give up half-way on the drive and just stop to watch the most gorgeous sunset I've ever seen that hasn't been over an ocean.
Afterwards we decide to keep going to Gatlinburg. Imagine: you drive for over an hour through complete wilderness. You look out on either side of the road and see nothing for as far as you can see. Then all of a sudden - boom - you're right in the middle of Hick-ville Disneyland. Stand-still traffic, neon signs, fat people in fanny packs strolling down the street, tourist traps like a wax museum and house of horrors. We park as soon as possible and started over to the one place that might be the one tolerable place in town: the Smoky Mountain Brewery. I get distracted by an outdoor bluegrass band accompanied by the chickenman.
I didn't get this one on tape, but we also saw the four curly-haired, pig-tailed, gingham-dressed tap-dancing children. But we finally did make it in. The sampler was $8 and an astounding 10 very creative beers. We walked off the buzz afterwards through the neon-lights and slowly made our way back to the other end of the park.
Our next day would include even more miles in the car, but a bit more adventure.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Emerging from the South, we hit Atlanta next. Which is more city, than South. Though I did notice more gals in high-heels and hairsprayed do's than I'm used to.
We were lucky enough to be hosted by a couple I hosted from couchsurfing not too long ago. Tim and Theresa did an amazing job showing us around town in their cool, new mini cooper. First stop was the Parthenon. Yes, that's right, the Parthenon. Nashville made it for their 1897 Centennial Expedition and they liked it so much, they kept it.
As you might imagine, internet connection on the road is splotchy. Especially when you're in the Great Smokies. Here's an update from Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah.