Thursday, August 5, 2010


E-mail sent by Kelsey to her mother, August 2nd:
hi mom! you're not going to believe what's happened to phil and i! we got pretty lucky, really. today was our last day with the train passes so we were going to Denmark, where we'll be flying home from. our train to hamburg, where we would make a connection to copenhagen, was an hour late, which made us miss the connection, the last one of the night. phil was very worried about our passes running out, having to buy tickets, finding a place to stay, etc. but i had good feelings things would be okay. they actually turned out better than we expected, we got a free hotel voucher for a really nice place! by far the nicest place we've stayed on the trip, and breakfast included! they also gave us passes to use the city transportation and free tickets for the train tomorrow! woohoo! ...
So, pictures from Hamburg--the second-largest city in Germany and the second-largest port in Europe--and the aptly named Europäischer Hof. The first picture is of us stranded at the train station in Bremen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Kelsey and I had become so comfortable in Germany that it was hard to leave for the Netherlands, a place whose characteristics were unfamiliar to us. This has been a common theme throughout our trip: we never want to leave the places that we are, fearing that the next destination will be a step down.
Another trend that has manifested is our love of smaller towns as opposed to bigger cities and popular tourist destinations. So we decided that while in the Netherlands, we would avoid Amsterdam, the biggest transportation hub in Europe and also a top-ten tourist destination of the world. I had much trouble finding last-minute vacancy in Dutch hostels, but I lucked out in a town called Groningen, or what Kelsey calls Walking-Through-Real-Life-Blog-Heaven.
The town, street-for-street, is lined with shops and open, high-ceilinged flats. Most shops are independently run and highly specialized. Eighty percent of pedestrians are riding bicycles, there are virtually no cars, and the policemen are on horseback. And perhaps the most important thing: the people were impeccably dressed.
Many photos were taken, but our image cache needs further categorization. To start, the bicycles:

These bikes are not exceptions; they are exemplary of the bikes in Groningen. These comprise only one constellation in a sky-scape of stars.
Like Ulm, Groningen has a canal running through the city. Groningen is a bit different because the canal is much larger, and is more of a gigantic moat, enclosing all of old-town. Kelsey and I, by luck, crossed the canal at an interesting point. On both sides of the bridge, the canal was filled with old, unmovable ships and boats, all inhabited by citizens of Groningen. Some boats were single units and others served as home for multiple renters.
Pictures of boats:

An interesting lifestyle, I assume.
Here are some of the remaining pictures, mainly photos of shops and other notables and things that caught Kelsey's eye: