Hello Ibiza, Goodbye Amsterdam (EuroTour 2015)

The last leg of our EuroTrip ended in Ibiza, a small island off the coast of Spain. I was looking forward to this beach getaway the most. I love the beach, the lazy time just enjoying the sun, the breeze, and the water.

We took a local train from Amsterdam to the airport. Since I hadn’t gotten a chance to take a photo at the Amsterdam sign at the main train station, after we checked in and went thru airport security I left my carry-on bag with my friends and went outside the airport to capture a few flicks with the Amsterdam sign at the airport.

Of course our flight was delayed, but once we landed in Ibiza we took a cab to our AirBnb, grabbed food nearby, and walked around along the beach. We met a woman, Alesandra, who was about our age dancing in the street to a live band, her mother and grandmother sitting nearby encouraged me to dance with her, so I did. Afterwards she offered us free tickets to the club she worked at and told us to text her beforehand to confirm if she was working.

We woke up the next morning and walked a bit to find tickets to do excursions etc. we got the information we needed but didn’t book anything. We found a place nearby to get breakfast right on the beach complete with delicious mimosas. Let the fun begin!

After breakfast was the designated time for sun & sand. But before we could get our relaxation on we were intrigued by a speed boat pulling a group in a what can only really be described as a huge inflatable circular water raft.  Instant fun and we signed up immediately!

The four of us dropped our belongings, grabbed the life vests and hopped into the raft holding on to ropes on either side of us.  The ride was quite bumpy and a few of us fell off the inflatable benches onto the raft floor with the velocity of the boat making it pretty difficult to gain composure.  I’m pretty sure a few of us sustained a bruise or two, but it was so worth it.  It was unexpected fun, especially since the boat driver was deliberately maneuvering the raft to keep us from gaining composure and getting drenched in the process. 11907760_10153585525919190_1803335373055328077_n I don’t remember the cost and unfortunately (or fortunately) it wasn’t captured on any camera. But here’s a shot of the boat and raft in the water.

 

We made it back to the beach where we rented an umbrella and chairs.  A few of us went to a nearby shop to purchase some libations.

Luckily we happened to find a store with an ice bucket special that included a bottle of alcohol, ice, water, cups and juice.  I did a bit of negotiating for the price since we wanted to swap out the type and brand of alcohol pre-designated for the deal but the liquor bucket ultimately made for a great beach trip.

After a quick photo shoot we went back to relaxing on the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Full Tank, Empty Bladder

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So…I learned an invaluable lesson this past weekend.  Make sure you leave for your destination with a full tank of gas, and an empty bladder.

I left D.C. late Saturday night after a full day and having a few drinks with new and old friends.  The thing is, I knew I needed to use the lady’s room, but I only realized this after I was outside of the venue. Instead of going back in, I thought “I’ll be okay, I can make it home”.  So I headed to my car only to realize that I was already on “E” and hadn’t gotten gas on my way to DC like I needed to. As I’m getting closer to home I’m thinking there is no way I’ll make it home before:

1. My bladder gives out; or

2. My gas tank gives out.

I didn’t want to stop on my way home, because it’s mostly highway, and I didn’t want take a chance that a gas station I stopped at didn’t have a public bathroom or have to get the stupid bathroom key. Anyway, As I’m about to pull into my parking spot in front of my house I run out of gas. I put it in park and ran into the house so fast.  I woke up the next morning and peeked out at my car to see I was parked between two spots.

Needless to say, Sunday morning I started walking to the nearest gas station, purchased a gas can and a gallon of gas and walked back to fill the tank.  #LookatGod

Moral of the story once again is, make sure you leave for your destination with a full tank of gas, and an empty bladder.  Because this story could have surely ended a lot worse.

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The Mainz Festival, The Speakeasy and Cooky’s Reloaded

Friday night I went to the Mainz festival by the river. (I’m a week behind on posting so this is from the previous Friday.)  I’ve learned that Germans like to have festivals for any reason. And I couldn’t begin to tell you the meaning behind this one besides just being another reason to eat and drink your choice of alcoholic beverage.  The Mainz festival was similar to a big carnival, complete with rides, local goods, and of course beer and wine. I was excited about the crepes, they were yummy and I was hoping it would help soak up some of the alcohol I had consumed.  When I realized that my tab was growing largely due to my choice of mixed drinks and my colleagues who choice wine and beer had minimal tabs, I quickly switched to wine.

German Culture Lesson 1:

Wine costs less than water in many cases. So hydrate well or you’ll find yourself dehydrated AND intoxicated very quickly. If you’re on a budget skip the hard liquor and opt for the beer or wine.

Later that night, closer to midnight, I headed out with another friend to hit the club scene.  We met up with one of his male friends who had stepped outside of the spot he was in to meet us and direct us back there.  This place was unmarked and blended easily into the neighborhood.  He rang the doorbell and we waited for about 5 minutes before someone came to the door to let us in.  There was a small group that had come and was waiting behind us to get in as well. Unfortunately, they weren’t allowed inside.  We met up with another female inside who was a really cool Kiwi.

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Surprisingly, the music didn’t bleed into the outside, so it was hard to tell what the vibe would be like inside, but it was definitely live inside.  It almost reminded me of a speakeasy from the way you were allowed or not allowed in. But the inside décor was nice as was the crowd.  The bartenders were very attentive to the patrons. They made unique drinks that were quite tasty and garnished with fresh fruits that I wasn’t quite able to identify.  This place was different than any place I had ever been but hoped to return again. I made sure to thank the bartenders as I was leaving, in hopes that they would remember me, should I return, and not get the treatment of the group they denied entry to. I think the name of the place is called “Popular”, and the guy who escorted us mentioned that he usually ended his night there instead of beginning it there, so I’m not sure if it’s more of an after-hours spot or even what time they close.  By the time we left we could hear the music spilling outside that we couldn’t before.

Ironically, we left after an hour or so and made our way over to Cooky’s.  This time however,  it was a decent crowd and the music was decent and I danced a bit. Although the music was mostly from the early 2000’s, it was still pretty good.

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Wine and Ass Man What?

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The weekend of  July 27 was spent sipping wine and exploring quaint towns in Hesse.  A few gal pals and I went up to the Frauensteiner Weinfest (Frauenstein Wine Festival).  It was smaller than what I had expected for a wine festival but it was interesting nonetheless. There were a handful of wineries represented from the area as well as a few food vendors and a barely there live band.  We met a super cute guy whose family owned one of the wineries represented at the festival.  He lives in Berlin and works for Lufthansa in the First Class Lounge and was very well traveled.  He had spent a few months in the states so his English was really good.

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The town was so cute, I took the shot below directly across from the festival. You can see a castle in the back.

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After flirting and a few glasses of wine later we decided to head over to another nearby town, Rüdesheim am Rhein and Assmannshausen.  The river is really nice and you can apparently take a lift over the town to the other side of the river, with a great view.

With a name like Assmannshausen, you’ll never forget it…

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Walking though the town was pretty fun too, it was rather warm out and we thought this restaurant had the right idea. And these fellas were more than happy to oblige my photo taking.

For dinner we stopped at traditional German Restaurant. It was too hot for heavy German food so I had a chicken salad and saved room for Gelato. Yum!

A few shots of me enjoying the scenery and trying not melt. It was literally between 96 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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We continued walking around for a bit, luckily during the summer here it doesn’t get dark until about 9:45 or 10:00 PM.

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We saw a big group singing as they proceeded into Bollesje which seemed to have a prisoner’s theme with wardrobe and all. There’s a holding cell inside the restaurant and it seems like it would be a fun place for bachelor party, which I imagine they get a ton of.  Here are some flicks:

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Mon Amie Maxi

Part of my full week of going out every day included reservations at a nice French Restaurant in downtown Frankfurt.  Eating Mon Amie Maxi was a great experience. The food was good, the wine was good and the atmosphere was good.  I ordered soup (Lobster Bisque) and a wedge salad and even that was good. This was my attempt to watch my spending.  That didn’t work out so well since the two bottles of wine we ordered were 69 and 35 respectively.  That’s Euros!!!! I still ended up shelling out close to 50 euros towards the bill.

Here are some shots of the food we ordered and there were no complaints…Chicken Cordon Bleu, the Maxi Burger, and the Catfish (I think).

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Wine Festivals

The Maryland area has great wineries. And with those wineries comes Wine Festivals. They start as soon as the weather breaks and it’s a fun experience. I had been wanting to go to a real wine tasting and wine festival for years, but I didn’t make it to either until last year.

A few weeks ago probably the biggest wine fest in Maryland was held in Columbia, Maryland known as “Wine in the Woods”. The name may sound scary but I hear it’s a great time and an event not to miss. Unfortunately, I missed it. Not intentionally, however. I had pre-purchased my tickets but it turned out that my aunt’s funeral was being held on the same day in Philadelphia. The weather wasn’t so cooperative for the wine fest this year anyway. Wine in the Woods has many local wineries so you get to taste different wines from around the area.

More recently was the Caribbean Wine Festival in Mount Airy, Maryland at the Linganore Winery. They have a really good sweet white wine (dessert wine) that I like called “Sweet Chessie”. Sweet Chessie can only be purchased at the winery, as most of their other wines can be purchased in stores throughout Maryland. It’s $16 and comes in a super skinny bottle. I’m sad that I didn’t get to buy a bottle to take home. By the time my friends and I were ready to leave the lines for purchasing were ridiculously long.

I remembered that they gave out stem-less wine classes last year and decided to bring my own glass from home.  I secretly want to be a wine-snob, but until then I will share what little I know. Most importantly, the wine glass design is essential for enjoying the perfect glass. No-0ne likes fingerprints on their wine glass. For a little light reading check out The Anatomy of a Wine Glass.

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