Chillin in Berlin

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Andrei in Berlin: Brandenburg Gate

I am safe and sound in Berlin, Germany. It has been an exhausting day of travel, tours and exploring. It is 7 p.m. here and think it’s about time to call it a night. Haha, that’s what going to bed at midnight, waking up at 2 a.m. to catch a bus to the airport for a 5 a.m. flight and then walking for 6 hours will do to you.

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Malaga: Spain’s Hidden Gem (Part 1)

When I was researching on places I could go with Amanda I had two requirements: it must be warm and it must be near water. I had had enough of the cold and snow of chicago and the cold and rain of London. I needed some sun in my life. So I went on google maps and looked at the biggest cities along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. There was Gibraltar, Malaga, Almeria, Alicante, Valencia, Barcelona, Palma, Marseille, Toulon and Sicily. With a pretty slim list, I went about researching prices of airfare, travel, hostels and daily life. This narrowed my list down to three cities: Valencia, Gibraltar and Malaga.

Supposedly this is the museum in Valencia, at least Google said so.

I love the city of Valencia because of the way I saw it pronounced in a boring documentary in spanish class in high school. The c in Valencia turns into a th, so it sounds all mysterious and such: Valenthia. I knew they were also known for their oranges, so I did a bit more research. There was plenty of history in the city, but at the end of the day the flight cost 57 pounds more than the other two candidates. Next.

This is a rock solid country. No really, the whole country resides around that rock.

Ahh, Gibraltar, how I love thee. I seriously developed a serious mancrush on this rock of a country upon doing my research of it. You see that jagged stone in the picture, that is all of the country. It is a part of the U.K. and has an area of 6 square kilometers. Yea, its that awesome. The main attraction, other than the views from the big rock are the monkeys on the stone, aptly named Gibraltar Monkeys. The flight was cheap, the hotels were decent and my mind was set. Only one problem, there were no flights on Sunday. I could not afford to miss classes either, so there went my lovable lil country.

 

At the end of the day though, everything works out like God intends. Instead of visiting a country that looked kinda cool, I got to visit a fabulous city that delivered more than I could have ever dreamed of. Without getting into too much detail yet, it is affordable, friendly, spotlessly clean, and absolutely breathtaking. O yea, and the sun decided to come out of its week long slumber and grace us with its presence during our visit to give us shorts and t shirt weather. What more can you ask for?

Part 2 to come tomorrow. I’m about to head out to a bar to watch my beloved Marquette attempt to shock the world!

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Twas all a blur

These past two weeks have truly been a blur with my fiancee Amanda coming to visit. London, Malaga, London, Frankfurt, Lingenfeld, Speyer, Mannheim, Germersheim, Stuttgart, and finally London. We literally went all around the world. It was an amazing two weeks, that I am sure I will never forget.

In the next few posts over the next couple days I will try and share as much as I can remember of my experiences, complete with pictures and videos. To put it simply, there is so much to share, I don’t know where to begin. While I get my thoughts in order, have a quick look at a few of my favorite photos from the last two weeks.

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Andrei and Amanda in Germany (Mar 15-16)

After the jump you will get a little feel for what German life is all about.  Continue reading

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Malaga Slideshow (Mar 11-13)

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Just a little taste of Spain.

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Thirsty Pigeons? (Mar 5-7)

So I am minding my own business walking to church on a particularly clear day Sunday when I hear a loud “plop.” Looking down I see my foot is in three inches of water. This was particularly strange because it hadn’t rained that morning, or even the night before. Taking a quick peep around the corner I immediately saw the source of the deluge, a busted water main spewing gallon after gallon of water. Normally, I would look at it, think to myself “dang, that’s a lot of wasted water,” and walk away, never to think about it again. This was different though. I was in dire need of a picture of climate change and or water conservation for my visual journalism class and all of my previous attempts had fallen flat. By a great stroke of fortune, I happened to be carrying my camera to church (no idea why), and I was able to snap a pretty awesome picture, if I do say so myself. I took a few more too, just in case, but this last one sealed it and off to church I went. All in all, a pretty spectacular morning. Now if someone can launch a protest or some other “newsy” event some time in this next week I would be much obliged.

Now the previous day (Saturday) I happened to be minding my own business, riding the tube on my way to yet another soccer game when in flies that fuzzy thing in the picture. As strange as that was to me (I busted out my camera quicker than John Wayne drew a pistol because I was so amazed), the strangest part of the whole sequence was the reaction of my fellow subway riders. They acted like nothing happened. Nothing whatsoever. It wasn’t like the bird flew in and out in the blink of an eye either. It flew in to my left, waddled its way across the whole length of the train, had a cup of tea, read the morning paper, did the crossword puzzle before finally flying away . . . when we got to the next stop! It rode the train a full stop and no one batted an eye. People these days.

After the whole pigeon ordeal, I managed to see a doozy of a game. Once again, I went to see Fulham play, and not only because they have the cheapest tickets in town (19 pounds). I am a fan. A full fledged scarf wearing, face painting, chant singing fan. I always liked them because they always have an American on the team, but now that I have seen them live thrice, it’s not even close. They are my #1 team in England. As for the game itself, it was a thriller. Fulham won a 3-2 on a controversial penalty kick in the 90th minute. It was awesome to be in the raucous crowd, but for the first time all year, I had great conversations with the people around me. The guy to my right had been coming to the games for over 45 years since he was a wee lad so he had some great stories. When the game winning goal went in, he even turned to me to celebrate. (He was real impressed that an American not only liked and understood soccer, but out of all the teams in Europe I supported lil ol Fulham.) Another day, another great game.

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