Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The German Stench

Probably one of the biggest downside to living in Germany is the Bavarian man. There is nothing better than walking alongside or standing around German men and taking the time to appreciate their oh so sweet aroma. Ok, lets be honest...it reeks and I hate it. Sometimes I feel like I might as well just stick my face up into their non-deodorized armpit because the smell is already so invasive. Is their own sense of smell so numb that they do not realize the effect that they have on others around them? As many of you listeners (I sometimes like to pretend that this blog is like my own miniature radio show) know, I have long enjoyed the daily activity of working out. My daily workday routine involves heading over the gym where my built up aggression from cleaning toilets in combination with ear blazing beats and a delicious mixture of bodybuilding supplements result in a energetic, heart-pounding, adrenaline-filled workout. However on many occasions my lifting "high" has been ruined by the German man's sense of hygiene. So much in fact that in one case I walked into the gym and immediately had to turn around and leave because the German stench is magnified 10-fold when they workout. Well there you have it, that is my pet peeve. A national problem so small that it could be solved by a simple stick of deodorant, yet so big that has caused millions of German woman and foreigners to complain about it and me to even blog about it. The whole situation simply stinks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Birthday Week

So I must have a pretty incredible girlfriend. A couple of months ago Emily told me that she was taking me somewhere for my birthday and that it was a surprise. Of course I was completely OK with this and so for the past couple months I have known that I would be flying somewhere on my birthday but would not know until we left. So this past Tuesday after work we drove to the airport to catch the mysterious 6:35 flight. It wasn't until right before we checked in to get our tickets that Emily revealed to me where we would be spending the next five nights....Dubrovnik, Croatia. What can I say except for Awesome! Emily did not know this, but I actually really wanted to go to Dubrovnik after google searching best places to go in Europe and happened to fall upon a website that had Dubrovnik listed as one of them and I thought that it looked really cool. So I was pretty excited when she told me it was where we were going.

The famous part of Debrovnik is their old town which is completely surrounded by high walls that you can walk on to get a good view of the city. It is also right on the Adriatic coast, and I love water, so this was perfect. High rocky cliffs and beautiful blue waters. It is pretty touristy because of all the cruise ships that stop their, but it was still nice to walk around. Very picturesque. We spent our first day exploring the old town and kind of got our barrings.

The great thing about the location of Dubrovnik is that it is very close to a couple of other countries. So our second day we took an excursion through a local tour company into Bosnia-Herzegovina. Our end location was the city of Mostar which was described to us as the unofficial capital of the Herzegovina region. We were not super impressed with the tour, but Mostar seemed nice. Unfortunately because we were with the tour company we were on a stricter time schedule and didn't have very much free time to explore the town. We had a great seafood lunch though which is always a plus I guess. And, the male waiter told me that he loved me after I ordered, so I guess you could say that the locals are really friendly.

Our third day was Friday, which all of you know was my birthday of course. The forecast said that it was suppose to be cloudy and rainy all day, but it actually only rained for about 20 minutes or so and then was completely sunny! After getting some tasty gelato, we decided to pay to walk the city walls (a huge rip-off, but I'm glad we did it anyways). The wall is about 1 mile long and took us about an hour after all the various stops and picture taking. After the wall we wanted to go swimming and found this little cove that was pretty much made for swimming because they had build all these cement platforms into the cliff walls. But we had the entire cove to ourselves. I loved it. To finish up the day we ate dinner at this nice seafood restaurant right on water not too far away from our apartment. Emily and I actually ended up being a little bit disappointed with food, but it was still a beautiful setting and we had a good time, so no worries. My birthday was great.

Saturday we did another excursion through the same tour company, but this one was to Montenegro. Our first stop was the city of Kotor. Also a walled city right along the water but not as big as Dubrovnik. After a 30 minute walking tour, we had roughly 50 minutes of free time. Emily and I were both very hungry and craving pizza for some reason, so we went back to a pizzeria that we had seen along the walking tour. We each ordered a pizza for ourselves, ordered a bottle of wine (wine is cheap here), and a crepe for desert. Although we were crossing our fingers that the waiter would bring out the cork with the wine, we were not so lucky. So we had to share a bottle of wine in 35 minutes. Now some of you might say to yourselves," Well why didn't you just ask for the cork to the wine after he brought the wine out?" And my response to you would be that you do not understand European service. In Europe, waiters don't come back to check on you to see how you are doing once they have brought you something. In fact at the end of the meal you practically have to go search them out to get the bill. It is as if they want you to dine and dash. Anyways, we were not drunk, but it did make for a more humorous run back to the van, and Emily bit her tongue really hard trying to eat the crepe. We are not sure if that was from the alcohol or not, but we are leaning towards yes. After Kotor, we drove for a little bit longer to reach Budva, another coastal city, and with yet another walled in old town. We didn't do much here except walk around and explore ourselves. There is a really nice hotel that is on it's own island there, but other than that, I wouldn't be able to tell you much about Budva, except that apparently rich Russians are buying up a lot of land and building hotels there. But anyways, Montenegro was fun. It would be nice to explore on our own sometime.

That pretty much sums up most of the trip. Our flight left early Sunday morning to get back to Garmisch. We had a great trip though, it was an awesome surprise. Thanks again Emily!

Monday, April 12, 2010


That’s right everyone, I’m famous. Well…Emily more so, but this is my blog, so we are just focusing on me. Last week Emily and I and a few other of our friends were “extra’s” in the filming of movie coming out called the Chalet Girl. A snowboarding Cinderella story staring Bill Nighy, Ed Westwick, Brook Shields, Sofia Bush, and Nicholas Braun. The scene that we were filming was an engagement party for Sofia and one of the dudes. They provided all of us guys with tuxedos and the girls had to bring an array of their dresses for the costume designers to choose from. It was a very long day. We arrived at 7:00 am and were there until around 6:00. As I have never been an extra in a film before, it was very interesting to see how the whole process works. Lots of dry rehearsals, numerous takes, and uncomfortable miming. Did you know that the people in movies and TV shows in the background aren’t really talking…they are miming. It’s really weird to do. Unfortunately, if you see this wonderful film I kind of doubt if you will see my smiling, miming face, however there is probably a 90% chance that you could see Emily’s. She was much closer to the action of the camera and basically got to hang out with Bill Nighy for most of the day. He’s a pretty hilarious guy. Super down to earth and easy to hang around. I’m sure that Emily will post all about it ( emilyhodgin.blogspot.com ). There isn’t a whole lot more that I can describe, we did a lot of standing around. Bottom line of the story, it was a fun experience, we met some stars, got free food, and made 45 Euro. I hope you all are doing great. I miss all of you.

It is hard to imagine this guy as the Davy Jones in Pirates of the Carribean.

The three of us in the back that you will probably never see.

The girls making friends with one of filmmakers. It was actually his birthday too.

The costume designer didn't trust us guys to keep our shirts clean during lunch so they made us where tight white t-shirts over top of them.

Outside of our extra's trailer. Mom, do you recognize Emily's scarf?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gosh Darn You Allison Jerks!

Great... so here I was just enjoying myself in Germany, minding my own business when one of my previous employees from the Allison drops the bomb-shell on me that she and others at work check my blog everyday. Well crap, I'm terrible at this blogging thing but you Allison people sure do know how to kick a man while he's down. I don't know why people would want to stay at such a place with inconsiderate employees. Ridiculous and outrageous is all I have to say.

Well, now that I got that out of my system and I feel that I have been guilt-tripped into posting, here is what has happened lately...

So two weeks ago my cousin from Boston College was randomly in Germany for a week with her school choir. For the last part of their trip they were going to be in Munich, so on a Thursday Emily and I drove up to Munich (only takes 1 hour) so we could meet here. Days before we had coordinated with her that we were going to meet her at her hotel at 2:00. Emily and I got into Munich around noon and parked at her hotel. Since we had 2 hours to kill, we figured that we would walk into the city center and then come back at two. What happens next is crazy. A few blocks away from the hotel Emily and I were stopped at a crosswalk waiting for the light to change when all of the sudden some random homeless dude comes up to me and slaps me in the face. Naturally my only reaction was to slap him back, so we got into this big slapping fest. Ok, I have to stop the lies. That didn't happen, but how great of a story would that have been if it were really to unfold. So what really happened was that Emily and I were waiting at the crosswalk when a tour bus pulls up to the stop light. Emily turned around and on the second level of the buss in the front row is my cousin. Emily starts freaking out and waving, then my cousin notices us and starts freaking out and starts yelling for the bus to stop. We didn't really know what to do, but the bus driver opened the doors to the bus and we just jumped in. We spend the rest of the afternoon walking around with my cousin ( who's name is Christina by the way) and her friends from her choir. Emily and I had already been to Munich before, so we just followed them wherever they wanted to go. It was a good day. Nice to see family so far away from home.

So here is the proof just in case you thought I made up my cousin just like the homeless guy. We are standing in front of the Glockenspiel of city hall. In German in is called a Rathaus. See the little figurines near the top, just a few minutes earlier than this picture they were spinning and dancing.

This past week, Emily and I decided to go snowboarding on Wednesday. I'm just going to throw this out there, but last week was the World Cup Ski Competition, hosted in none other than Garmisch. So not only did we get to go snowboarding on a great sunny day, but we also got stop along the side of the race and watch the fastest skiers in the world fly past us. Pretty great. This was also a day where I took my first nap on a ski hill. At the top of one of the gondolas, Emily and I were sitting on a bench facing towards the sun which felt amazing ( I love the sun) and we both fell asleep. It probably would have looked weird to some, but when I woke up there were other people doing the same thing right next to us, so maybe we are really just trend setters.

Skier about to come flying past us

The beautiful Zugspitze from the top of our lift. Straight back past the mountain is Austria.

What you see down below is the valley where our town is. Garmisch-Partenkirchen. However, what you can see is mostly Partenkirchen. They use to be two separate towns, but then Hitler ordered that they become one for the Olympics that were hosted here. Hitler also had a summer home here. It is still here, a big yellow house that someone lives in now. That must be weird.

Now, to give you a little preview of what is coming up next week, a bunch of us American housekeepers randomly have three days off in a row, so we are driving up to go to Amsterdam, Brugge, Brussels, and Luxembourg. Now, for all of my persistent Allison friends, I will not be posting again until after this trip, so you can take a few days off. Anyways, take it easy. I miss everyone who reads this thing. Well, at least I think I do. I don't actually know who reads this. Take care.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Me and my partner in crime. Emily had just taken a picture for another couple, so we made them take ours. Seriously, I physically forced them to do it.

The sweet time lapse picture that I took at night by keeping the shutter open. Ididn't know that the water bus was coming around the corner, but it worked out kind of nice.

In the morning when the tide is higher, parts of Venice flood and they put up all of this temporary walk-ways for people to get around

Early in the morning. Ghondalas that have not yet gone out to play.

Cool Canal. I have alot more of these types of pictures


The bay with lots of street artist street venders

Alright Everyone I'm sorry that it always takes me so long to get a new post out, but frankly keeping up a blog is not as fun as I thought that I might be. Not to say that I ever thought it would actually be fun to sit down and write everything down, but you know what I mean. But part of my motivation today is that I want to see if I can beat Emily at posting about our most recent trip.

So as the title of this post describes, Emily and I decided to go to Venice over our weekend (wednesday and thursday). We hustled through our rooms on Tuesday and were able to get on the road by 3:00. It is about a five hour drive from Garmisch to Venice. Side-note, I'm very thankful to have a car here. Anyways, driving through Italy was very pretty. About every 10 minutes I would spot a new castle up on some cool hillside. The best one was situation on the edge of these cliffs and it had a vineyard going down the back side of it. For those of you that don't know me very well, I have always been kind of fascinated with castles for some reason. When I was little, there was a book at the library that I would always get that told you all about castles and in the back of it, it showed you how to build a castle out of toilet paper rolls and popsicle sticks. Awesome.

We parked my car at a parking garage in Mestre ( the town just outside of venice which is way cheaper). From there we hopped on the train for a seven minute train ride across the water to the islands of Venice. We got of the train and walked through the train station towards the exits. Nothing was impressive at this point. However as soon as we walked through the exit doors of the train station everything changed. About 30 meters in front of us was the Grand Canal with boats trolling by and all the buildings were lit up by the night lights. Emily and I both kind of stopped and were like "whoa". Pretty awesome first impression. Our entire weekend was awesome. Basically just spent the entire time wandering around and checking everything out. I love all the canals and took a lot of pictures of them that I will try to upload. I loved just about everything of Venice. I am definitely a water person, so the idea of a city that is built on top of small little islands and people use boats to get around is pretty much perfect for me. I don't really know all what to tell you what we did, because really we just did a lot of wandering around trying to see everything that we could and just enjoyed the atmosphere of everything.

Getting back home on Thursday was a little bit more interesting than we had wanted. A friend of ours who had recently just been to Venice told us that we could get cheaper American gas on the way back from Venice at the Aviano Air Force Base. It was about an hour out of the way, but paying American prices per gallon is alot better than paying Euro prices per liter. We got to Aviano which the base is huge, but we couldn't find the gas station. We went inside the commersary to get some snacks and then asked one of the workers where the gas station was on base. She replied that there was not a gas station on base. Awesome. After getting over our initial shock and disbelief of our situation, we attempted to make our way back home. To make a long story short, the route from Aviano to Garmisch is very confusing and very indirect. Our 5 hour drive home took 10 hours. But in the end we made it home safely and had a awesome weekend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

German Food!!!

Now that I am here, one of the things that I am curious about is why people seemed to be making such a big deal about the German food and that I wasn't going to like it. I love German food. It is delicious. Great meats, breads, cheeses, beer. Maybe it is the kind of food that is more appealing to a man or maybe it is because I have German ancestry on both sides of my family, but regardless....it's great. One of the things that we did when we were in Munich was go to the famous Hofbrauhaus. Live Bavarian music, servers in the traditional dress, great food, good beer and giant pretzels. Loved it. And if my Mom or Michelle or anyone comes to visit, I will take you there. One thing that I like about the beer here is how simple it is. Yeah there are tons of different breweries, but their beers are very simple. Duncal, Helles, Weisen. Dark, Light, or Wheat. You can get the wheat in light or dark. But one of the really interesting things that you can order here that I think people should try at home is beer with lemonade or maybe it is lemon soda. But it is great. In a dark beer it adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Don't worry though mom, I'm not becoming an alcoholic. Chow!

I suck at blogging.

Well everyone. I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to do this. We are coming up on 3 weeks now and I have not submitted a new post. Luckily though if you have been reading Emily's blog, she does a much better job than I of keeping hers up to date. I'm not going to do a recap of the adventure that we had last week because I simply don't want to type that much. You can look at Emily's blog for that. However, if you ever find yourself in Sulzberg Germany, you should check out the Ryan and Emily castle ruins that we decided to name after ourselves.
This coming monday, Emily and I will have been here for 3 weeks. In some ways it feels longer and in other ways, it has simply flown by. I have new news though, and that is that I just recently bought a car here. Before coming over her, I didn't really think that I would need or want one, but we quickly realized the conveniences of having one here. It is a 1991 BMW 325i. Emily and I were laughing today because one, I now own two cars, which I would have never expected, and two is that my car at home is a Cadillac and my car here is a BMW....so I guess that I like nice cars? Actually the BMW is almost 20 years old, so I don't really feel like I am driving something that nice. And compared to my grandpa's Cadillac, the BMW might as well be a Ford Focus. Anyways, it's nice to have a car here now so soon.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Made it!

Well....we made it. I'm officially in Garmisch...mostly unpacked....and will be living here for the next 13 months! Crazy! Still doesn't feel real. Feels like a big college dorm room without the awkward get to know you games that the RA's always make you play (thanks Tyler for the rootbeer chugging competition that we had while chanting eachothers names as they drank. What a great way to encourage new freshman to a Christian College with drinking games.) Haha. It was actually fun I guess.
Anyways. Emily and I started our day out yesterday by leaving my mom's house at 3:30 to catch our 6:00am departure out of Portland. We then went to Denver, then to DC, then finally over to Munich at 7:00am Germany time. Which is just fantastic because it means that we have to stay up another day to get on this schedule. Once off the plane we went through customs and then met up with the Edelweiss guys that were at the airport to greet us...Rob and Jay. We also met a few others who are starting this same adventure too. We all got along great and eventually made our way onto our buss to head to Garmisch, where we got checked into our dorms and got a tour.
So for now...not much to report. So far so good. I'll try to take some pictures in the next couple of days to show you our dorm, where we will be working, etc. For everyone who reads this. Take care and God Bless. Later

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is this a diary?

Hey, so this is my very first blog post. I'm not really sure why I have never started a blog before, but I think that part of my reasoning is because it seems a little bit like a diary to me. And that of course is a very girly thing to have (sorry to all the guys out there that keep "journals"). But, reluctantly, here I am recording some of my thoughts and what I am up to in the attempt to keep you all informed. So I hope that you all enjoy it, because my testosterone levels have just dropped a little bit with this first post.
So as of today, I officially have one week before Emily and I take off for Germany. Leaving at 6:00 AM on Sunday, we won't get into Munich until Monday morning. I'm really glad that we don't have the same TSA restrictions leaving the U.S. that people are now having coming into the U.S. Have you heard about that? As of right now, the passengers on international flights coming into the U.S. are not allowed to have any electronic devices on board, they have to be checked. Even the in-flight entertainment systems that are already built into the planes can not be used! How to you sit for 9 hours on a plane and not have any movies, music, or games that you can play. SkyMall is great, but I can only look through that maybe twice before I'm antsy for more entertainment. Stupid crotch bomber. Maybe they'll start having some live entertainment. You know, your just sitting there in your uncomfortable coach seat and then all of the sudden Jerry Seinfeld pops out of nowhere and starts doing stand-up comedy. Unlikely I guess. Anyways, I'm just glad it's not me. It better not be in effect still in 13 months when Emily and I are on our way back. I'll take a boat. Well that is all I got for this post. The next one probably won't be until I'm several thousand miles away unless something crazy happens. Later.