Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paris, France! Reunited with old friends :)

video


In the first 5 hours of us being in Paris we were already dragged to the Eiffel Tower! It was even Margaux's first time going up! 

Brave girl

Finally reunited!!!

Randall's cute new hipster glasses

Created by Gustave Eiffel in the 1890's as the entrance to the World's fair.








Love the contrast! :)

Brussels, Belguim




They put lemon in our coke!


Yummy burger and fries :)


Me and TinTin!


Nice view on our walk home


Pretty and super old little block we stumbled upon


In Brussels!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amsterdam!

Seems to be our first real breakfast since we started the trip




So many bicycles!

Every house in Amsterdam is actually leaning out towards the street. It was done on purpose. If you look at the house to the left with red shutters, there's a hook on the top. Because houses were taxed by how wide they are people would build them really skinny. So they could move furniture in and out through the windows the hooks are used to create a pulley system and the houses lean forward so they can pull the furniture up without hitting the building. Those clever Dutch!

Sex show.

Kids playing on the canal after it iced over.

'English breakfast'



Found a random statue of Rembrandt with lots of little soldiers around him. No idea what it means. Kinda interesting.



YES!



Concert hall with the best acoustics in the world. It would be great to see a show here.

I Am Amsterdam!

Dam Square with the National Monument built in remembrance of those who died in WWII

In front of the Royal Palace.

Royal Palace. It wasn't originally, but Louie Bonaparte was made King and decided he wanted to live here. He also wanted to make his first speech in Dutch, which he didn't speak, but he did it anyways. His first sentence was supposed to be "I am your King." It came out "I am your Rabbit!" He then became known as the Rabbit King. 

I got a heart biscotti with my coffee at the coffeeshop!

Doughnuts and pizza together!

Wok to Walk. Best take away ever.



I myself am ridiculously sick. What a bummer since we're in Amsterdam, the older and more experienced big brother of Las Vegas. We're trying to take it easy. I got some sleep on the train. Our first night in though we hit up a burger place. That's right folks we went all the way to Amsterdam not for the pot or prostitutes but the worlds best burger and fries! And it seriously was. It's a place called the Burger Bar. I think you're supposed to cut them with a fork and knife cause that's what all the locals were doing but I'm sorry I haven't had a burger in two weeks and I don't have time for all that. Randall got his first look at the red light girls. While I on the other hand had my head stuck to a map and missed everything. We woke up early the next morning and grabbed some breakfast across the street from a tiny cafe called The King. It was absolutely great! Then we headed out to meet up with a tour that took us around the city. We had a great guide. It just happened to be the coldest day of winter they have had so far this year. Not good for me. I stuck it out somehow though. It might have been the coffee break in the middle that helped. We went from Dam Square through the Red Light District and past coffee houses (those are the places that sell weed) and stopped at the Anne Frank House and a nice little cheese place. We saw the city's widest and slimmest buildings. In Amsterdam homes are taxed by how wide they are not how tall or long. The smallest house was literally only one window length long. Our guide said the guy that lives there must sleep length ways cause he's over six foot haha. We had a nice snack and some coffee at a cool cafe after the tour. Randall had the traditional Stammpot. It's potatoes and gravy and just all around yummy. After the tour we went back to the hostel for a bit. We decided we were going to do a tour of the Red Light District that night. All the scandalous things Amsterdam has to offer. We grabbed some great pastries before hand and then spent about 2 hours walking past prostitutes and talking about sex. Great times. Found out that the one place that does sex shows puts out swan food every night to attract the swans of Amsterdam because they think it's funny to have monogamous and pure birds in front of a place that does sex shows. What funny people. The oldest prostitute in town is about 82 years old. She apparently still gets great business. You have to be at least 21 to rent out a window, but you only have to be 16 to visit a prostitute. We ended the night at a bar of course. We got a free shot and Randall tried the Dutch version of Natty Light called Jupiter. Our second day in Amsterdam was rather uneventful. We walked to the I Amsterdam sign and walked through the parks. We had breakfast at a pancake house. We went to a coffee shop. Neither of us smoked. Just trying to warm up is all! That pretty much does it. I wish I wasn't feeling sick and the weather wasn't so crappy. Oh well, maybe next time!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cologne, Germany

First sight off the train, the Cologne Cathedral.

the North gate of the city. Built in the 1300s.

A statue on the outside of the bridge, Hohenzollernbridge. There is one statue on each of the four corners and this is either Friedrich III or Wilhelm II.

Hohenzollernbridge rebuilt after WWII when it was destroyed. 

A pano of the massive cathedral

Fence along the bridge. Couples carve their names on a lock and lock it to the fence.

Lengend has it that once upon a time the people of Cologne never had to work. All work was done at night by little elves. Until one tailor's wife got so curious she laid out peas on her staircase to trip some of them and they never came back again so the people of the city had to work for themselves.

thought this was hilarious. Compare it to the states store, Forever 21.

The German Chocolate museum. Supposed to be shaped like a ferry boat.

Randall enjoying a cup of Hot Chocolate in the cafe at the museum.

I got a cappuccino, but they gave me a piece of chocolate with it!

The south city gate leading to Rome. This is the start of major parades in the city. One of 3 gates still standing.

The backside of the south gate.

Archway built by the Romans right next to the Cathedral. Built in 50 AD!

Another shot of the cathedral! SO HUGE!

Also built in 50 AD by the Romans as part of the city wall. Crazy how small it is compared to the Colosseum. It is in such good shape because it was used as a lavatory by an old convent next to it. 

St. Gereon Cathedral

Looking back into the city from the opposite end of the bridge. You can see the two towers of the Dom directly next to the end of the bridge. In WWII when the city of Cologne was first bombed it was by over 1,000 bombers at one single time! Can you imagine? The only thing not leveled was the cathedral. Some argue that it was done on purpose because the pilots used the two towers as landmarks to guide them in the right direction on bombing raids all throughout the war. 



I personally did not sleep but two hours last night due to a terribly rude Russian boy who talked and drank in the room all freaking night long. He speaks no english as far as we know so even the Kiwi's, who he also woke up in the middle of the night, yelling at him didn't shut him up. Despite that setback, we woke up bright and early and cooked ourselves some scrambled eggs and toast and an orange for breakfast and headed out to explore the town! Our first stop we saw for a brief moment when we got off the train. The Cologne Dom is freaking HUGE and towers over everything else in the city. It's not the prettiest Cathedral we have seen, but most definitely the largest. Then we walked to the North city gate and then to the bridge. We walked the length of the bridge and saw all the names carved into locks. We walked back and thought about going into the Ludwig Museum, but there were way too many people in there on a weekday. We wandered around the entire city just looking at all the sights. We didn't actually do all that much. It's such a strange city. Everything is very modern and built up, but if you know where to look there is hidden ancient history everywhere. Randall and I went to a place called the El De House. In WWII the Gestapo actually rented a building and turned it into a prison/interrogation space/office. We walked around inside for nearly two hours. They let you walk down into the basement where they held their prisoners and you can still see hundreds and hundreds of scratches and engravings in the walls where people were trying to write out their last words or thoughts or even trying to give hope to the prisoners that came in after them. It was an extremely heavy experience. There are photos of the city of Cologne in the old offices though and the city is nearly entirely leveled. It's crazy to see stuff like that. But I'm glad I got to do my WWII thing in Germany finally! After walking around town all day long we just went back to the hostel and cooked up some dinner. Randall had some beers with some other kids but I started getting pretty sick pretty fast so I just went to bed. That was our exciting time in Cologne!