Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travels to Nyon, Switzerland and the Italian Alps

Image from Cogne, Italy:
 Cogne, in the Italian Alps:
 Stacey trying some milk out of a vending machine on a farm in Switzerland!
 A field on the outskirts of Nyon, Switzerland
 A seafood feast held on Sundays in Devon, France. We had some delicious crab and shirmp. Super fresh and fun times.

We went to a fondue place in the mountains around Nyon, Switzerland:

Travels to Cinque Terra, Genoa, Barolo, Milan

Cinque Terra, a view from our hotel room in Vernazza.
After finishing a hike on one of the lower trails, we get to the end to find a 'trail closed' sign. Might have been good to post this at the beginning of the trail on both sides, was admittedly a fairly treacherous walk.
On a short hike into the Italian Alps near Aosta we came across this giant tunnel thing.
A view of the town of Vernazza from the lower trail between Vernazza and Monterroso:
A view of the town of Corniglia:
Vineryards around Barolo:
Another view of the vineyards:
Panorama, more vineyard.
Finish your day with some water, only 59 Euros.
Kidding, if that isn't good enough there is some for 250 Euros (>$350 USD)

Was walking around Milan and came across the Duomo, amazing architecture.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Travels to Prague, Czech Republic

Prague was impressive. It is another European city with lots of old buildings, etc. Reminded me a bit of Barcelona. A welcome small town feel relative to the largeness of Budapest. Prague had a smaller core and we spent a good bit of time just wandering around into various artisan shops. Also took a Segway tour of the hills of the city which was our first time on a Segway, very fun! It took about 5 minutes of training and we had a great time.

Our hotel was in the area called XXX and was centrally located just near the Charles bridge. I discovered XX served at the local foodie restaurant/bar called Lokal. There were two locations. Essentially this was the freshest beer one can get and I got to try Pilsner Urquell served this way. It was very fresh and had a soft, smooth taste.  Generally Pilsner Urquell in the US is served out of a bottle and is in the normal bitter/bad beer category, nothing special or unspecial, just a bottle of average yuck with increasing levels of awfulness as it attains room temperature. Served this way it was fantastic and highly recommended. 

apparently there is a budweiser in the czech republic that is not the budweiser in the US. yes, i tried it. It is not the same.

an image from a coffee shop in prague...choco cafe:

from our segway tour:

an image by the astronomer's clock:
Tank beer, much improved this what real Pilsner Urquell tastes like?

Travels to Budapest, Hungary

Spent a few days visiting the historic city of Budapest. The feeling here is a large European capital. We stayed on castle hill. Toured the parliament which was remarkable. Walked the hill to the Chain bridge multiple times. Lots of history. One highlight was a non-tourist wine tasting in a several hundred year old wine cellar. Only disappointment was we were a little time constrained due to a previous engagement. Also had some excellent dumplings filled with chicken. In most cases, ‘dumplings’ were really just very small doughballs. Was surprised to find many dishes flavored with a delicious paprika which is a red spice. Another favorite was ‘goulash’ which was a stew of meat, potatoes , some other veggies and generous use of paprika in the sauce.

a latte from a fancy coffee shop:

statue of bridge and guy near the parliament building:

our rental car...just kidding

some statues....

this is the part of the castle wall in budapest that was defended by the fisherman centuries ago. rebuilt and now a bar/tourist attraction.
 it is anonymous!

a coke, potato chips, and a donut value meal. oh, and pizza! not only in america!
 castle in budapest:

famous statue

ronald reagan statue, next to the controversial (and last) communist monument standing in city of budapest.

bioshock like font
 mcdonalds ketchup in the grocery store!

several hundred year old wine cellar located under the hilton hotel by a few hundred meters!

a very old espresso machine
 a very new espresso bar. needs fresher beans.

 a late night gelato run with the khronos klub: