Sep 20, 2011

Yes, it's a giant duffel of yarn. Stop smirking.

My absolutely fabulous trip to Europe concluded with U.S. Customs agents giggling at my giant duffel bag filled with sock yarn. I find it hard to believe that they haven't seen far more interesting or funny things come through customs (I remember a funny story from my former roommate involving customs agents inspecting an obscenely large, black dildo in a velvet bag...), but I'm glad I could provide them with a smile, especially considering what a shitty job they must have at times.

The only way this trip could've been better was if it had been longer (and if I hadn't left my capris in Düsseldorf). We were able to visit all of my family in Germany, including my grandmother, both uncles and several cousins. My grandmother is getting on in age, so it was particularly nice to be able to spend some quality time playing Canasta with her, which also allowed husband to learn the source of my poor sportsmanship when it comes to losing games (apparently in runs in the family). He quickly learned that the key to my grandmother's heart was to a) let her win and b) not question the rule changes that seemed to happen frequently. I was also able to meet the three cousins that had been born (and grown up!) since I last visited, including my absolutely awesome 13 year old cousin Camilla. She even convinced me to *gasp* read Twilight, which I had sworn I would never do. I'm reading it in German, though, so it doesn't really count. Plus, I haven't gotten to the "sparkling" part yet, so there is still time for me to bail out.

Aside from turning to the dark side, we also did some sightseeing in all three of the German cities we visited and spent a few days sans family in Bozen/Bolzano, Italy. Short little tour of our vacation through photos:

The Uerige pub in Düsseldorf, perhaps the most well-known of the breweries in the Düsseldorf Altstadt (old town), as it has the longest bar of the world.

Cute flower shop in Kaiserswerth, a historic old town near my grandmother. This building is wicked old (forget exactly how old... but very)

Now down to München (Munich to you Americans), with a dragon climbing the Rathaus. I won't bore you with photos of the damn Glockenspiel - most of my pics are of the throngs of tourists watching it (I don't get it). Dragon is way cooler.
The interior of the Theatinerkirche, which is fucking amazing. Perhaps my favorite church interior ever. I could've stood there for hours.
Münchener surfers. Didn't expect that, now did you? There is a HUGE park in München - the English Garden - with this river that runs through it - Eisbach - which is very fast moving, so they created this artificial wave in it, and people surf on it. It's really pretty cool. Also, it being a German park filled with sunbathers and people floating in the river, I hit my quota (and then some) of old man butts.
Now Italy. This was taken from the cable car between Bozen and Oberbozen, the latter of which offered glorious views of the Dolomites (which you can kind of see in the background).
And look! There they are!
Town square of Bozen, which I found to be absolutely charming. I could easily have spent several more days there, sitting in cafes, drinking outstanding coffee, my new favorite drink - Hugo (prosecco, elderflower and mint) or beer, watching the ridiculously chic Italians walk by.
And this. This is the reason I would rather live in Europe than in this overly-processed country. Drool.
We took a day to travel to Verona. I have mixed feelings about that city. It is quite beautiful, with plenty to see, a lot of history and simply gorgeous Piazzas, river views and buildings. However, all of these things mean that it is PACKED with tourists, and on a hot day, you really don't want to spend your day pushing through tour groups with their fucking flag-wielding guides giving you a nasty looks. I'm glad we went, but I'll only go back if it is the off season. The above pic is of love notes, love graffiti and eternal love locks in the courtyard of Casa de Julieta (Juliette's house). Cheesy, but kinda cute.
Ah, back in Germany. Cooler weather, better beer. We were up near Regensburg (old city, founded by Romans) for the last part of our trip. Of course we had to visit the Walhalla, set up in the hills overlooking the Donau (Danube). It houses busts of prominent Germans, and is just an incredible building, with a spectacular view. Another one:
So gorgeous.
In Regensburg, the Regensburger Dom (cathedral), which is stunning. Apparently it is essentially the same as the Kölner Dom, just smaller. Whatever, it was awesome.
Along the Donau, which runs through Regensburg, there were of course more opportunities for beer. This little building has been around for over 100 years, and has high water signs all over it from the multiple times the river flooded. You'd think they'd move...
Lastly, a pic of the maypole in Cham, where we were staying (where previously discussed awesome cousin lives with rest of family). You can't really tell, but the pig has this very pitiful, pleading look on its face. And that was our trip in a nutshell!

What, you thought I would end it there, with no photos or detailed discussion of the yarn? You should know better. Although you're partly right. The visit to the Wollmeise Mecca and the subsequent purchases warrant its own post, which will come soon. Promise.

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