Posted by: darrellteri | November 3, 2018

Birmingham, England

First thing I know that this is late but been very busy trying to get back to my usual routine in the states.     First thing Birmingham was my entry into Great Britain which was my 19th country in this very long trip.     I arrived here via Flybe airlines.     This was an ENJOYABLE experience on an airlines I have never heard of.      Eventually in our of these blogs you will see why I emphasize the word ENJOYABLE,     While in Birmingham we stayed in the center of town close to the main mall and market area called Bullring.      Unfortuneately we missed most of the open air markets but staying in the center of town was cool.

No that is not the wall street bull but the 2 bulls are in honor for the Bullring area of Birmingham.

The coolest thing we did in the area was take a bus 30 minutes away to the Cadbury factory.    I really enjoyed the tour of the factory but the best part of the tour was the cafe we went to before our scheduled tour.     Of course they had to make it good but this was easily the best hot chocolate I ever had.      The tour told us about the history of the company, how the chocolate was made and the different chocolate and candies that Cadbury make.

 

Posted by: darrellteri | November 3, 2018

Warsaw

Don’t know how I did this but I did not do a blog of Warsaw Poland.    I guess I was so busy in Berlin I forgot to do it.    Warsaw was one of the cities that I really wanted to see and after a semi slow start I really enjoyed Warsaw.     The first cool thing was I saw my hotel as soon as I got off of my bus from Vilnius Lithuania.     It was a 7 block walk but not having to double check your google maps so make sure you are going the right way in an awesome thing.     After checking in I had to walk around the town and I was able to get this awesome shot very close to my hotel.

This is the Palace of Science and Culture that is in the center of town and it awesome when you can see it at night.     This building has been around for awhile but the skyline is full of new building since a lot of the town was bombed in WWII.

While in Warsaw I went to 3 very different museums.     The Marie Curie museum, the Warsaw Uprising museum, and the Museum of Neon.    Marie Curie is arguably the greatest female scientist ever if not the greatest scientist ever.     The picture below sums up her career.

2 nobel prizes.     Enough said.      the next museum was the Warsaw Uprising museum.    This museum is about people who tried to undermine the Nazi occupation of Warsaw and Poland during WWII    At the museum of neon you saw old signs from the communist era.   In Warsaw and other cities in the old Soviet Union there were many bright neon signs downtown.    Signs using the bright neon gas went out of fashion around 10 years before the fall of communism so many of the old signs no longer exist.    So this museum have the signs that they could find.    Some in good shape and some in very bad shape but they still collect it but of how rare the signs were.

I also tried to get to the Copernicus Science Center but I did not get tickets in advance and got there after it open so the line was too long for me.   Also the rain did not help.     So I decided to head over to the old town section of Warsaw.     Even with the rain it was cool to walk around.    It was like other cities that I have been in Europe with building with intricate details on the side and huge open spaces.

Since Warsaw is a relatively cheaper city I was able to have a huge lunch for cheap.     I had duck in beet sauce with perogies on the side at a place in the old town and it was delicious.

Finally I did a lot of walking all over the city and you will see interesting murals and other street art everywhere you go.     Even the subways were colorful in some places.

Posted by: darrellteri | October 7, 2018

Amsterdam

Finally met up with Teri in Amsterdam after 4 weeks alone in Europe.     Of course she had us set up in a great hotel at the Doubletree that is close to everything and only steps away from the train station that brought me in from Brussels.    She had two walking tours set up for us.     The first one was an overall walking tour of the history of Amsterdam and showing the downtown area.     This was cool and it showed all of the main things that you heard about Amsterdam including the red light district and explaining how the “coffee shops” works.    Another thing you can’t miss is that Amsterdam is either at or below sea level.    So you will see the famous canals while walking around.

In this city it is always important to look up at the buildings because a lot of them have hidden meanings in them.    The second tour we did was black Amsterdam.     Some parts of the black Amsterdam tour talked about in more detail things that was discussed on the general tour.     Where on the general tour she explained that the Netherlands got very rich by being involved in trade on the black Amsterdam tour they made sure to point out that part of that trade was the trading of slaves.    Another thing is when we are looking up at the top of buildings in Amsterdam we can see the impact of slavery on the rich inhabitants of the city.

In the picture above you see the rich owner with his slave which he is displaying as one of his proud “possessions”     Below is a plaque that you can easily overlook.    It is by one of the main churches in town and I guess it is tribute to one of the main “professions” in Amsterdam.

Ok let talk about the red light district.     You have the girls in the window.   Ok expected.     You have theaters where you can see live sex shows.    Ok expected.     You have sex shops.    Ok expected.      You have a museum of sex.     Ok expected.    What I did not expect was there is also an red light secrets museum an erotic museum and tour led by an ex prostitute and I am sure that there is more that I am missing.     No city that I have ever been to and the country count is up to 30 is even close to the number of options to learn about the oldest profession in a museum or official setting.

 

Posted by: darrellteri | September 27, 2018

Brussels

I am a little behind because I have been so busy with this trip.    Well I am winding down and a little over a week ago I was in Brussels Belgium.    This was another city that was even better than I thought it would be.    The first place I have to talk about was the European Union (EU) visitor center called the Parliamentarium.     I really enjoyed this place.    It explained the history of the EU and all of the 28 “current” members of it.     It just listed Brexit as an item that happened in 2016 but it did not go to any detail because the EU and Great Britain are still negotiating the terms of the breakup.

The picture above is so ironic.     This is not about Brexit but the fact that Britain was hesitant about joining the EU when the idea was first proposed in the 50’s.

Most of the exhibit area was dark so it was hard to take good pics but the first pic is just an example of the how they showed informative facts all over the area on either the history of the EU or one of the member states and the second is showing that they are over 700 delegates and just like the US House of Representatives the number of delegates per country depends on the size of it.

Anybody who have been to the Newseum in Washington DC should be semi familiar with a picture like the one above.    They have the latest newspapers of most of the countries in the EU so you can look at the headlines of all of the member countries.

The second place I have to talk about in Brussels is the Grand Place.     Every city in Europe has it main square and some of the are surrounded by an elegant building or two but no place is like the Grand Place and everybody building surrounding it is as grand as this one.

Besides the elegant Grand Place there was also many other squares and mini but elegant malls where there was tons of bars restaurants and street performers.    The picture below shows the corner of where I ended up many times.     To the left is my place where I had brats and fries and to the right I had my belgian waffle.     The waffle was sorta like a Belgian waffle you can get in the states but you can load it up with all types of extras like ice cream nutella etc….

Oh yeah I have to show the pictures of the mall that is downtown.    Not really that big but elegant and of course they are stores where you can get your Belgian chocolate here.

A few more things about Brussels.    There are 3 train stations in this city which is surprising.     My hotel is by the Nord train station.      This is only a 3/4 mile walk to the center of town where all of the action is at.     This looks like a rough area but it is ok.    During the day there is a street that is non stop shops but people from all over the world with most of them from North Africa, the middle East and Indian peninsula.     There is also a red light district in Brussels.     Not like Amsterdam which I will talk about in a upcoming blog but it is there.     Overall Brussels is another city that I really enjoyed and could have been there a day longer but there was areas I didn’t even see and I even had a 40000 step day.

 

 

Posted by: darrellteri | September 22, 2018

Day trip to Luxembourg and Dinant Belgium

I am staying in Brussels and I wanted to do a day trip to Luxembourg.     I saw a trip that was offered by the visitor center than include the city of Dinant Belgium.    It looks like everybody does the same package by the way.     Except for it taking the entire day it was great.     They was hoping to get back between 8:30 and 9 but we end up getting back to the pickup point at 9:45     Luxembourg is at least 3 hours away from Brussels.     We had a 25 minute stop at a rest area so that is why I am not giving an exact time.     Also there was some construction so we did not get to Luxembourg city until around 12:30.    Once there our guide lead us on a walking tour of the city which was great.    We started off in the upper part of the city and eventually through a ton of steps (which were gradually) we made our way to the lower part of town.    During the whole time the views were spectacular.

After the walking tour we had a hour and 1/2 to get lunch and check out more of the city.     I got lucky I saw a kebab place and just had lunch there.     The food was good and had a window seat to people watch and most importantly the food arrived quickly.     Some people I met on the tour tried this Mexican place and unfortunately for them the service was so slow it ate into most of their time checking out the town.

After Luxembourg we went to the small town of Dinant Belgium.    This is a small town that is along the river.     The main claim to fame of this place is the creator of the saxophone is from here.     Everywhere is decorated with a saxophone theme.     I am not a small town person but I really like this place it was worth the 1 hour we was here.

Posted by: darrellteri | September 22, 2018

Zurich

I made it to expensive Zurich.     I can not overstate how expensive this city is.     If you need to save money you have to look around to find stuff that is only slightly expensive and not expensive or really expensive.

The first thing I wanted to do here was go to the FIFA museum.    FIFA is the organization that runs organized football and the World Cup around the world.    The museum talked about the history of soccer.     The game was founded in 1863 in England and  the first World Cup happened in 1930 in Uruguay where the host country won the title over Brazil.

One final thing about the museum is that you had a few exercises where you can test your skills on how well you will be in different aspects of the game.

Zurich is at the northern end of Lake Zurich.    Almost everywhere you go you will get great places to take awesome photos.

Close to downtown nightlife is sorta in two different areas.     You had the main downtown where a lot of the bank and businesses are located at. In this area you will see a few pubs.    Some of the pubs where real crowded because they were showing the lastest soccer matches but from what I found it seem less active than you would think it would be on a Saturday night.     The place to be seem to be Langstrasse     Langstrasse means long street.     This is where the action seem to be.     Of course this is the seedier side of town but you also had a ton of restaurants and bars as well.     And the surprising thing is that in a lot of the bars the language you hear is spanish.

Oh yeah almost forgot to talk about the Old town area of Zurich.     This is in another area of town just over the Limmat river.     It is like many of the other cities I have been to but it is very nice with the outdoor cafes, cobblestone streets and the historic buildings and churches.    Even though Zurich is sorta smaller than some of the other cities I have been to on this trip it was one of the more active places I have been to

Posted by: darrellteri | September 16, 2018

Vienna

There have been a few cities that was a little disappointing and some that was a surprising bright spot.     This city totally surprised me.    This was not one of the cities that was on my original plan but I am glad that I came here.    First the non surprising part it is very very picture worthy.    Everywhere you turn I felt like taking a pic either the colorful building or just the details on the buildings.

I went to two museum not everybody has heard.    The first was the Sigmund Freud Museum.    The house and office were Freud had his practice was turned into a museum.     This museum was very detailed and unless you are in the industry it may not be worth the price.   You get a lot of info but a lot could be too technical but if you like either psychology or are a Sigmund Freud fan you will basically learn everything about him and a large part of the history of psychology.    The other museum I went to was the Globe Museum.    It claims to have the largest collections of globes in the world.    The museum also tells the history of the globes and show different types of globes that have been created.

While I was in Vienna I went to the Schonbrunn Palace.    I was debating back and forth did I really want to go here but I am glad that I got to see it.   The ground there are huge.    Of course it is perfectly manicured and there was another building which looked like it was at least 1 fourth of a mile from the main building.     This is what zoom lenses are for because I did not feel like walking out to see it.

The grounds are free to walk around but I also brought the grand tour pass which allowed you to see 40 rooms inside the main palace.    no pictures were allowed inside but it is what you expect with everything super lavish.    One thing that surprised was how massive was some of the pictures.     The biggest one are probably larger then the side of the walls in a normal house.

The last place I want to talk about is the Naschmarkt.     this market was large when you can buy merchandise, groceries and restaurants were there as well.    some of the sellers there are either auditioning for the Grand Bazaar or have retired from there.   It is amazing how they can give a sale pitch in different languages  back to back.

 

Posted by: darrellteri | September 15, 2018

Bratislava

Bratislava is the capital of the country of Slavakia.     It is 30 miles from Vienna.    It is a easy bus ride but I wanted to take a ferry to there.     Twin City Line has a 1 and 1/2 hour ferry ride on a high speed ferry between the two capitals.    It was a perfect day for the boat ride and I was able to arrive in Bratislava first thing in the morning.      The first thing you will notice is a bridge nicknamed the UFO bridge.

You can go up to the top of the bridge.    There is an expensive restaurant up there and right next to it is a cheaper bar where you can order food.

The views from the bridge are great.   There is an observation deck up top and two levels below is the restaurant/bar where you can walk all the around so get views from every angle.     Back in the town is your typical European old town.    Since this place is popular as a day trip at 10:00AM it was already very crowded.    I can also tell that this is a cool city to stay overnight especially if you are there on a Friday or Saturday night because there seems to be a lot of bars in the old town area.

One interesting place I was in Bratislava is around 1.5 miles north of the old town.    By the train station is this very interesting hotel.    It kinda reminds me of a place in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania called Randyland.

 

Posted by: darrellteri | September 15, 2018

Zagreb

Let me get this out of the way.     Of the cities I have visited Zagreb is probably my least favorite.     And this was a city I was really looking forward to see.    Most of the problems were probably my fault.     The main thing is that even though Croatia is part of the EU it is not part of the Schlengen Open Border policy so between coming and going to Zagreb I spent an extra 2 hours getting in and out of the country.     Also I changed hotels to an hostel and the location wasn’t exactly what I wanted.    It was by a ton of restaurants but I should have been closer to the main square.

Now on to the positive stuff.    The main square is a fun place to be.     During the day there is a market where people sell foods and merchandise and you get free wifi from the city and you can move around a little and still be on wifi.

Also in the central square area I had a “kebab sandwich” which was kebabs on sticks surrounded by a local bed which was great.      Another great spot I had food was this place called Torte I.    I heard that the cheesecake was the best in Zagreb and it was very very good.    This was a spot north of my hostel in a small mall.    I had a slice of blueberry cheesecake and it has been the best cheesecake in my 3 weeks so far in Europe.

A museum I was dying to see mainly because of it uniqueness was the Museum of Broken Relationships.     This started as a project with an divorce couple who was still friends and it is now this huge thing with people from all over the world sending items of meaning from their relationships and explaining why they are no longer together.     It is mostly between about lovers who are now apart but you also have a few stories of family members who are estranged.

Another cool museum was the 80’s museum.     I like other people was thinking one thing but the museum is about life in Croatia or as it was known back then a part of Yugoslavia.    It was life in a typical home.    I asked what type of home was this and it was a home between middle class and lower upper class.    Except for the car it was about as nice as the house I grew up in.

In the center of the old section of Zagreb you have the St marks church.    You can’t miss it because on the roof is the crest of the country.

Also in the upper part of town you can get a great view of the lower part of the city.    You can pay and go up even higher at an observation deck at the tourist information center or just look over the edge.

 

Posted by: darrellteri | September 11, 2018

Budapest

I love Budapest.    Of the cities I visited on the epic Europe trip it is probably my third after Berlin and Warsaw.     I am going to talk about the best thing first.    the nighttime boat cruise on the Danube.     If you do this you have to do it at night.     It is a little cold but nighttime is when everything is lit up.    The building are beautiful especially the Hungarian Parliament Building.

A little bit South of town I went to the Memento Park This is a park where they put a ton of statues from the Communist era.    There was no statues of Stalin.    I guess he was just too cruel but there were tons of statues of Lenin and other people I did not know.

with

The best part of this place was a film they had.   It was showing every aspect with the secret police.   It showed how they followed people, how they put cameras in everything including purses.    It showed how they made sure you was occupied while the police searched your house.    It was the best film I seen showing the tactics that was use to keep the public in line.

Another smaller museum I went to was the House of Houdini.     Harry Houdini was born in Hungary before his family moved to America.     It is a small museum but the guided tour that is included talks about his history.    I heard about this just 1 month before I started my Europe trip but it was cool seeing all of these items in person.    After the tour of the house there was a short magic show.     The magician did all of these tricks right in front of us and I had no idea how he did every trick it was great.

The main reason I love Budapest is that it is such a lively city.    We got there on a Friday night and we found a food truck alley and he had dinner there.

This was also next to the most famous ruin bar in Budapest Szimpla Kent.    I ruin bar is a bar that is made when a part of an abandoned building is turned into a bar and Szimpla is the biggest one out there.    It is a quirkly place with tons of different rooms each with own theme.    I went there 2 times.    I was there on Friday night and it was packed.    I was also there the next day as part of a walking tour.    Below is pics from the bar

Budapest seems to have it all    the elegant building from the past and also many areas that are the center of nightlife, shopping and restaurants.

 

 

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