Friday, March 20, 2009

The big walk

Tomorrow's the big day, not the big race, not the big top circus, but the big walk with Heather. When I first moved to town, Heather suggested that we walk from the north end of Manhattan to the south end. Tomorrow is finally the day. This walk will just be the east side, from 125th to Battery Park. If we survive that, the west side, which is longer, will follow sometime soon.

Can't wait...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St Patrick's Day

My name says Ireland, the smile says Midwest and the green bagel for breakfast was all New York.

Happy belated St Patricks Day!

Its very strange being in NYC for St Pats on a workday. The young man in a green shirt and hand cuffs being led into the 19th precinct before 9am this morning was a hint that the "fun" had already begun. I was so focused all day long it was easy to forget that there was a huge parade 3 blocks from the office. Equally strange to emerge from the office at 630pm and see people walking around with painted faces, mardi gras beads and leprechaun hats. What did I miss??

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The crowd outside consisted of bikers and khaki Gap people. Inside, 10 or so tables were packed at 6pm.

Where were we? Caracas Arepas Bar on the Lower East Side.

An arepa is an unleavened fried white corn bread stuffed with any number of delicious things.

The first one I had was filled with black beans, sweet plantains, melted cheese and jalapenos. The other one I tried had Venezuelan guac and crumbled cheese. Both were good but the first one was awesome.

Captain Carnivore had one with shredded beef and cheese. His second was pork shoulder.

I would love to go when it's less crowded so I could ask the servers, some of whom are also the owners, more about all of the dishes. 3 kinds of Venezuelan cheese for instance. Who knew?! What's the difference?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Some final Europe thoughts and pictures

I continue to be fascinated by Europe, the people, the culture, the sights and of course the food.

The astonishing thing in all three cities was the absence of smoke in restaurants. There are still many more smokers on the streets than in the US, but being able to eat a restaurant without being suffocated is fantastic!

From Paris, I can say that the city has redeemed itself. In college, I had a horrible time, bad weather, GROSS youth hostel and a museum worker strike. This time around, the hotel room (especially the rain shower/tub) was cool and the weather was nice. Okay, there was still a strike, but maybe that's part of the city's charm;-) I return resolved to learn a bit more French so that I can enjoy the city even more next time. (like is water pronounced "oh" or "eww"?) Rosetta Stone please!

From Berlin, oh Berlin, what can I do so I can move back? Poor Katie had to deal me looking longingly at strange things the whole day. In an effort to be objective, I must admit that graffiti seems to be up and I was still shoved by ladies at stores. And I do appreciate that my year was made so wonderful by the fellowship I was on and the fellows I was with. But the city still has a wonderful feeling for me. It's history is palpable, the markets are phenomenal and the pace of life just feels right. Next time, I definitely hope to have more time to see friends and try some new things like the Berlin Underground tour and the Trabi Safari. One final note, the cheese spaetzle we had was good but the Schlecker cheese spaetzle recipe still reins supreme as the World's Best Kaesespaetzle:-)


Trinity College

Great picture of Katie

I tried to go to Hogwarts but didn't quite make it

I just loved this poster...better put, I loved that I understood it;-)

lovely flowers all over Europe, even some blooming crocuses in London. This flower show was on the Ile St-Louis

Hot chocolate at Le Flore en I'Ile

Seen at The Brandenburg Gate
Can someone from Berlin explain this to us?

Monday, March 02, 2009

XC on the BHP

Jet lag and snow excitement meant that I was up around 4:40 this morning. What to do when there is 6+ inches of snow on the ground? Cross country ski on the Promenade of course!

It was just me and a runner.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Berlin Whirlwind

With a transit strike getting ready to hit Paris, we hopped over to Berlin for a whirlwind visit to reminisce and show Katie some new sights.

As I had lived in the west, we tried a hotel in the east at Hackescher Markt. Great spot! We dropped our bags at headed for the first food stop, one of my favorite falafel stands, on Friedrichstrasse. HEAVENLY! Why can't NY falafel stands import German falafel, bread and most importantly the sauce??!! After my belly was filled with happiness, we headed off to the gummi bear store to stock up on wild fruit gummi candy. Also major yum! The third stop of the day was a cheese spaetzle dinner with some of my fav GW ladies who happened to be in Berlin at the same time. (notice a theme to the day:-)) The waiter was amused by the 4 Amis who all ordered cheese spaetzle!

Friday morning, the only time we had rain on the entire trip, we headed to the Altes Museum to see Neffertiti. Still looking good! Then it was on to KaDeWe, Berlin's shopping mecca. The food floor is simply unbelievable. With the exception of US cheddar cheese, I think you can buy everything there! Our final stop of the day was my old stomping ground in Wilmersdorf. The building I lived in is still pink, the cashier (who sometime had pink hair) was still at my local grocery store, and I still absolutely love the walk up Pfalzburgerstrasse to the Ludwig Kirch Platz. Ah Berlin!

The Queen of Egypt and the Queen of Woodley Park

View to the Berliner Dom from the Altes Museum. The biggest change from this view compared with the last time I was in Berlin is the absence of the Palast Der Republik. Can't believe that was actually torn down

More Paris

[So we've made it back to the States. I'm back in Brooklyn but Katie is still working on getting back to DC, she has got to be one of the most unlucky flyers ever! We had less internet access after Wednesday, so I'll add a couple more posts to finish off the trip.]

Day 2 in Paris was as great as day 1.

We found fantastic fondue for dinner on Tuesday, which gave us lots of energy for Wednesday! Stop #1: Louvre. We did the highlights tour. This was my second time at the museum and I really think the highlights tour is good because the museum is just too daunting otherwise.

Katie pondering Napoleon's Corronation

See mom, we made it

We loved watching artists doing studies of the masters almost as much as we enjoyed looking at the original works of art

I was surprised at how crowded it was considering this is supposed to be the off season. But Winged Victory beckoned us through the throngs of people

Stop #2 was Place du Tertre and Sacré-Coeur in Montmarte. When we exited the subway at Absesses, we were greeted by one of only 2 original subway signs in the Paris metro system as well as an awesome band. The climb to the plaza was steep but well worth it. We enjoyed onion soup and vegetable soup at an outdoor cafe lining the square and watched the world go by. It was also fun to watch 2 guys come up to Katie and tell her that she has beautiful eyes and ask to sketch her portrait. One guy even tiger growled at her...priceless! (they were very correct about her eyes, but very wrong in thinking that giving an Eartha Kitt cat call at her would be effective:-)) We really loved the Montmarte area! Hard to believe that such a quaint area is located just a couple miles from the hubub of the Champs Elysee.

Place du Tertre

Sacre Coeur

High above Paris

amazing area! One of our only major language mishap was that I apparently ordered 2 crepes instead on 1 on our walk back to the subway. Tooo bad:-)

After another big day, we decided to have a picnic in our room for dinner. Tres Bien!!