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Sunday, February 28, 2010


As I learned, but did not know before our trip, Venice is known as Venezia in Italy. This is something I don't understand. Why does the entire world not use the same names for places. Where did the word Germany or German come from and why can't everyone around the globe call this country I am living in Deutschland where they speak Deutsch? I just don't get it.

While in Venezia we did a lot of walking around. Neither of us are that into doing the typical tourist routes by going to museum after museum followed by churches and paying way to much for admissions to everything. We figure seeing things from the outside is good enough and just being there and trying to embrace the area is what means the most to us. And to use our money instead to eat our way through where we are as I think you might have gathered from my last post we did. And it was great!

On Wednesday when we headed out we just started walking. We didn't know where, we just went. It turned out where we were staying was close to Rialto where the famous Rialto bridge is. If you have already looked at Ryan's blog (or if not your should the time lapse photo he posted was when we were standing on the Rialto Bridge Wednesday night. We stumbled upon the market area with many vendors selling fresh fruit and veggies and then another area with lots of seafood vendors. Oh how I wish I lived in Venice for the day and could buy all these wonderful things to take home and prepare a scrumptious meal.

From Rialto we took a waterbus to the outer island of Murano. Murano is known for their blown glass and as soon as we got off the bus there were people pointing us in the direction of a glass studio offering a free demonstration. Of course these people's real goal was to get us to visit their shop and purchase their glass. Ryan and I listened to the short spiel saw the glass artists at work walked through the store and left. During our time on Murano we saw more glass than I've ever seen in my entire life. Store after store after store packed full of very beautiful pieces, but everything was extremely expensive. We did not bring any home with us. We also went into a church while we were here. Venice has churches everywhere. Actually all of Europe has churches everywhere. I personally do not like when they charge admission to enter a church. I believe God's house should be free for anyone to enter no matter if they are coming in to worship the Lord or to admire the history or art within the walls. I have no problem donating, but I don't want a house of God to become one more place on a map that you have to pay to go inside. What I was going to say about the church on Murano and really every church is that I love being inside a building where I know people have been worshiping the same God that I do for hundreds of years. Walking on the same stone tiles on the floor. Looking to the ceiling and often seeing masterpieces displayed above our head. I honestly have not gotten tired of walking into churches everywhere we have been because each time feels like a spiritual experience for me and I hope during the time I am here each I will continue to feel the spirit in each one I come across.

From Murano we headed to San Marco which is where the Piazza is along with the Bascillica of St. Marco and the Bell Tower. Although it would have been cool we did not want to pay the 8 euro to go up the bell tower (next time maybe). We did walk through the Bascillica which was quite a sight. The Piazza is just an open square. This is the area where Ryan posted a picture covered with water. That photo is from the Thursday morning when the water came up from high tide and everyone walked on the raised walk ways. While we were around San Marcon on Wednesday we had wondered what the platforms all over were for, but though maybe they were left from the Carnival festivities a few weeks ago because during the day they aren't all hooked together. We loved looking at all the art that vendors displayed along the waterfront each depicting Venice in their own ways using various mediums. It was wonderful.

We spent a long time trying to find the location of a film that was supposed to educate us on the history of Venice. When we finally found it we learned that instead of being every hour as the flier we had advertised they only were playing it at 6. And that did not fit our plan for dinner. So now we will just need to research on our own. Which we have yet to do. At this point we headed back to get ready for dinner, but on our way we stumbled upon the venue of the concerts and opera we had been handed fliers for. This is when we decided we wanted to come back at 8:30 for the Vivaldi Four Seasons concert, but as I mentioned did not make it because dinner was so long. But that is okay because if I did not emphasize enough before dinner was SO good!

And I believe that brings me to the end of our day. I want to share about Thursday because it includes my favorite part of the whole trip, but I need to do so in a new post because I need to get to bed so I have energy for cleaning rooms tomorrow. I promise I will keep writing though. Hopefully this gives people something to read in the mean time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Surprise! Ryan and I went to Venice on our weekend (reminder: that is Wednesday and Thursday). It felt like it was too long since we had traveled and began discussing where we could go. Venice was a last minute decision. We did the little bit of planning that we did on Monday night and left directly from work on Tuesday. Tuesday turned out to be a short day for each of us at work and we were on the road out of town a little before 3. Venice is five hours away, so we looked at it just like when we would drive from Oregon to Bellingham for a weekend. It was so great to get out of the mountains, but the drive through them was beautiful. We saw probably more castles than I could count on both hands up on cliffs along the road. We also saw oh so many vineyards. But these vines had been here for much longer than the the oldest I've seen in Oregon. They looked like tree trunks they were so thick.

Parking on Venice (an island for those who may not know) is very expensive, so we parked in Mestre and took the 7 minute train ride onto Venice. When we arrived and walked out of the train station what we saw was a truly spectacular view. In front of us was the grand canal lit up with the passing of boats and a couple very nice and I'm sure expensive hotels across the water. It was the most perfect "welcome to Venice" I could ever imagine receiving and made me so glad we arrived at night. Although I've also decided arriving places at night can make things more difficult and confusing, but it just adds to the adventure.

We bought "Rolling Venice" cards which got us unlimited water bus transportation for up to three days. That was great and ended up saving us a lot of money. Everything in Venice is a boat. The buses are boats, the taxis are boats, the police vehicles are boats, even the ambulances are boats. It was awesome! It was so wonderful to finally be near water all the time. Ryan and I have both missed water since being in Garmisch. I could totally see Ryan living in Venice with a boat and driving all over the canals with it.

I am not sure how to break up our trip. I feel like I could do it in so many different ways. I think for now I'll start with the food. It was absolutely fabulous. Being an island off the eat coast of Italy Venice is known for seafood. The night we arrived we were pretty hungry, so even though it was late we went in search of dinner after we settled into our rooms. We found a cute little restaurant just around the corner from where we were staying. It looked deserted from the front, but once we walked in there were several tables of people in the back room. I thought it odd they sat people in the back of the restaurant instead of the front where passers by would be able to notice and possibly be intrigued to come in. Now many people know I love food and others may know I especially love seafood, so Venice and I got along very well. This first night I had Tagliolini, a pasta that is flat like fettuccine, but much narrower and sort of reminded me of a cross between a wheat and a rice noodle in texture. With the pasta there was a crab sauce. I was a little leery of a crab sauce because often in the State they are creamy and don't taste like crab. I have made a personal conclusion that cream totally kills the flavor of seafood when you pair them and they do not belong together. Back to my dinner... it was fantastico! The flavor of the crab came through so strong and the noodles where magnifico! Oh I was in love with Venician food this first night. The next day breakfast consisted of a lot of bread products and coffee. It was included where we were staying. Throughout Wednesday we had gelato three times. Although the 3rd time it was sandwiched between two biscuit cookies. And I'll add we shared every time we did not each have our own. Ryan had his first piece of pizza in Italy on a side street off the Piazza. I might have had a bite, or two.

Dinner... ahh the memory of such a delicious meal. I loved that on the menu there was a fish course. I think we should always have a fish course. Since we were in Venice though Ryan and I both had seafood in each of our courses, except dessert. Please feel free not to read this if you are not into food details like I am. My antipasti was boiled octopus sliced incredibly thin in a single layer on my plat drizzled with olive oil with a nice hunk of lemon on the side for me to squeeze. It was oh so good. Ryan had scampi mixed wtih a ton of onions and a slab of white grilled polenta. Also very good. We shared everything but especially our first courses because we both could not decide on just one. Ryan had tagliolini with spider crab not unlike what I had on Tuesday night, but different and equally as good. I had spaghetti with a marinara sauce and mixed seafood including scallops, squid, shrimp, mussels, and clams. Both our first courses probably could have filled us for a meal, I was surprised how large they were, but we were done yet. My Fish Course was grilled tuna with "rocketsauce." I don't know what that was, but it was green and it was good. The tuna was cooked perfect and left extremely rare. Ryan's fish course was actually probably my least favorite part of dinner and I almost ordered that. It was angel fish with balsamic vinegar, but really didn't taste like vinegar, so Ryan added more. And we shared a slice of Tiramisu for dessert because we were in Italy for the first time and I decided we needed it. We also had a nice Cabernet/ Malbec red wine. From Italy of course and only about an hour from Venice. We were planning to go to a concert after dinner of Mozart's Four Seasons, but dinner was a bit over two hours long and when we were leaving the concert had already started and it would have taken a it still to get over to it. Instead we wandered the streets of Venice which were a bit quieter. We came across a Crepe vendor, so we shared a crepe. It had sugar, cinnamon, and grand marnier. They seriously have alcohol everywhere and use it in everything in Europe. You can buy liquor in the gas station. I actually didn't love the crepe because she put so much alcohol on it, I bet there was at least a full shot. Next time nutella and banana I think. And as we headed back to find our beds there was a fruit juice bar open and handing out samples. But all the fresh fruit juice was then turned into fruity alcoholic drinks (like I said alcohol everywhere, but don't worry about us). We shared a glass of sangria, which was delicious and I don't think actually had a ton of the wine in it.

I'll have to post about Thursday morning later, which does include a little food. We did have breakfast again where we stayed. And for lunch, our last Italian meal we had pizza from a place it seemed all the school kids went to eat and hang out after school, I think because it was so cheap. After the pizza we also shared one last gelato. I miss it already.

That sums up our food consumption. It was so good. I highly recommed tagliolini if anyone can find it in the States. We looked at the German groceries today and weren't able to. I knew we should have bought some while we were there, but we didn't. Bummer, we'll have to go back. ;)

It is late and I do have to get up for work, so I'm going to lay down the computer for the night. I have more to share that hopefully I can finish, or at least work on tomorrow. I still need to catch everyone up on our last weekend. We went snowboarding the first day and to Innsbruck, Austria on the second. And then there are other things I'd like to post on too. Sometimes during the day I think of titles for blog posts, but we seem to stay pretty busy and in down time usually catch up on missed episodes of the Bachelor (which will free up time after it ends next week), One Tree Hill, Ryan and 24 and now I've been trying to work on my German with Rosetta Stone that I get to use online for free from the military. So I apologize for not posting for so long, but if I can get to it in the next day or two I might give you enough to keep your reading for the next week or two. For now, goodnight.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

60 Years Later...

Today is my Grandma's and Grandpa's 60 Wedding Anniversary. I am so excited for them and so proud to be a part of the legacy they started so many years ago. When I spoke with my Grandma on the phone early today I told her it seemed like yesterday to me that we had a big party for their 50th anniversary. Doing the math that would have been when I was 12 years old. That is hard for me to believe. I love my Grandparents SO much and I only hope that I can someday have a marriage that lasts as long as theirs. When I said to my Grandpa today, "I hope you are going to do something special for Grandma today because I think she deserves it." His sweet response was, "well I KNOW that she deserves it." This was after he told me he thought he would get her some flowers today. :)

To my wonderful Grandparents- I love you SO MUCH!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finally our weekend!

This week was a doozie (not sure how to spell that word). We are not always the best at what day it is all the time because Friday has become our Monday and Wednesday Thursday has become our weekend, making Tuesday our Friday. Every Sunday we can expect to be run ragged, but this weekend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all tough.

We have come to the conclusion that it is best to get in and out of a stayover in 15-20 minutes and in and out of a due out in 45 minutes to an hour. Of course suits always take longer than the standard double queen room. Friday I had 4 due outs and about 10 stayovers. This felt like a lot being my first day back after doing nothing all weekend, my weekend that is.

Last Wednesday I literally spent all day in bed. I was exhausted after my first full week of work not to mention last Tuesday night was a multi birthday/ going away party for a ton of people at a bar/casino/restaurant called "Peaches" in the marianplatz (downtown/ town sqaure) and we didn't get back to the Abrams until about 2am (this is WAY late for me). You may hear about Peaches frequently while we are here, but hopefully not too much because it isn't that great. I actually think it is a fairly typical trashy bar EXCEPT on Monday nights they have half off pizza and so that is good for us. We went this Monday and I had pizza with tuna and onions and no cheese and then used their spray olive oil and balsamic all over it. I may have blogged about our first pizza night there too. It is pretty good pizza, but they now have a menu with four pizzas that are not half off and it says "California Pizza Kitchen" on it. That makes me wonder if they buy those pizzas frozen and then just heat and serve and therefore don't have a huge margin, but seriously that would be disappointing. Another good night is Tuesday, which was the night of the party. Tuesday is "dollar night" where we can buy certain drinks such as beer and gluwein (hot wine) in US dollars which makes it a much better deal obviously. So my beer and gluwein came to $11 instead of 11 euro, which is great for my bank account. And in the winter Peaches has a wooden shed-hut-house thing attached to their normal building. This area was not all yuck and trashy bar vibe like inside, it was just chill. So once we went in there I actually had a very enjoyable evening. There was a bunch of Russians who were on a ski holiday and they really liked us and said if we come to Moscow we can stay with them. I'm not sure what the chance of us making it that far east is, but it is fun to be meeting people from all over the world.

Gosh that was a bit of a side track from the craziness at work, back to that. Saturday my due outs were bumped up to six. Friday I felt a bit in slowmotion, but Saturday I kicked it into gear and cruised through. I was done a little after our afternoon break at three. I also got my eyebrows waxed in the hotel spa on my 3:00 break and feel much better looking at myself in the mirror now (they had become a forest). And the girl who did my waxing is from Portland. That was cool. So Saturday wore me out, but I still felt went better than Friday. And my leader who was checking my rooms Saturday said I was doing a very good job and thanked me for that because it made his job easier. That of course made me feel good.

Then came Sunday. Dun-dun-dun!I might get redundant every week, but Sunday is seriously out of this world insane. Nearly the entire place checks out. This week was no different, but it was our first Sunday with a full section. I had 14 rooms and 11 were due outs. On these busy days they also have people just there for bed help. This is nice, but also means you sometimes have to wait for them and not finish your room or choose to forgo the help and do it yourself. I've gotten pretty good at beds and can do them in about 5 minutes when I am really pushing. This is the thing that really builds up a sweat. By the end of Sunday I equated to Ryan that the way my body felt was the same way I recall feeling after a hard (and they were all hard) hill workout. I just wanted to flop on the floor for an hour or two in the lobby of Wheeler. Yet I did not do that.

Ryan and I have started working out here. Now that he has a car we go the the gym in the same complex as the resort everyday after work. Before we didn't want to have to walk home when it was dark and even colder than normal, but it has been good to get back to the gym. The first day we went I sort of had a break down because I realized I've never really worked out without a purpose. Even for the few weeks I got back into it in September/October last year it was for the bike ride Steph and I did. Before that everything was for track and I was told what type of working out to do. So being in a foreign gym with no direction surrounded by huge military guys (who smells SO AWFUL) I felt very lost, a feeling I've never experienced in a gym before. So now Ryan tells me what to do everyday. I just do whatever he does, so maybe I'll come back with a huge upper body. Actually all we've done so far is upper body, so I'm making him to lower body now because that has always been what I'm better at and I think it will be good for him. :) We also discovered that the gym has an awful basketball court. We went to shoot around after a workout and the ball barely wants to bounce back to us the floor is so poor. It looks like a beautiful full court with some stands and everything, but man alive the floor is in terrible shape. Oh well.

I think this brings me to today. Day #1 of our weekend. And it looks like Ryan and I will continue to have Wednesday and Thursday weekends. We are thinking of planning another trip and requesting two weekends to be combined and then work 10 days straight. This may about kill us, but we feel we really need a minimum of four days to have the travel time necessary to make it somewhere and then explore. And in housekeeping to get a chunk of time off we hear we must request it far in advance. We would love to figure out a time (before June) when it would work to go to to Vienna, Prague, Poland (to see Sonya), and then back to Bavaria via Berlin. Obviously for this we would need a large chunk of time and I believe we'd need to take some annual leave. Renee and Laura want to come I think too, so I hope they'd let four of us out of the department at once. We'll just have to see what happens. It would be great to go somewhere warm now because traveling is tougher in the cold, but again it is hard to ask for time off on short notice in housekeeping, so for now weekends are spent close by.

Today we went to Murnau. For anyone who does not know Murnau is where I had pursued working before I even knew about this job. The Alpenhof Murnau is a very nice hotel owned by the same couple who owns Sun Mountain Lodge where I worked in the summer of 2008. At Sun Mountain I feel that all the employees are aware of the Alpenhof. We even had a picture of the hotel next to the elevator with a plaque explaining it's existence. Today as we were arriving to Murnau Ryan and I saw the sign for the Alpenhof, so we decided to stop and ask for a tour of the place. To my complete surprise the women we spoke to there had never heard of Sun Mountain and were not aware that the Haub's owned a resort in the States. They were still very kind and obliged our request for a tour. It was a beautiful place, but VERY expensive so don't expect for me to put anyone up there if they come to visit. :) I can definitely understand why my inability to speak the language would preclude me from working there because the people we spoke to spoke okay English, but it was somewhat difficult to communicate with them in fluid conversation.

After our tour we headed into town. It was so cute. Because it has been warmer over the last week some snow has melted and we could see the cobble stone streets. Everything was very quaint. We found the Karg Brauerei and had a beer and a meal there. The waitress did not speak any English which was the first time we have experience that. I think it was good though and it makes me want to learn German that much more because I feel like it will show I respect where I am and that I am not taking the people for granted just because many know a little English. After about 5 minutes of studying a German menu the waitress did bring us English printed menus whcih made ordering much more simple. We've learned that German restaurants, not dissimilar to American restaurants, serve very large portions, so typically Ryan and I share a meal and leave fully satisfied without spending too much money. Although then we headed to the Bakerei across the street and indulged in several delicious sweet treats. I would say this was our favorite bakerei thus far, but there are an endless amount left for us to try. We walked up the street briefly and found a cute home/gift store where I picked up a little something. The woman there was so nice and when none of my credit or debit cards would process she accepted all the euros Ryan and I had for the item which was just shy of the total amount. That was so nice of her. Ryan and I went to the bank to try and figure out why there have been places our cards have not worked and apparently in Europe they use EC card instead of debit cards and that there are some places that won't run debit cards or even VISA cards. So much for VISA is accepted everywhere. So now we are thinking of looking into starting a checking account with a local bank so as not to have this issue along with the 1% we get charge even by our bank on post where our direct deposit is set up to. We were not told that we'd be charged this percentage and assumed we would not be since the bank is located in Germany, but it unfortunately is an American bank. So from now on I'll try to use my VISA from home because then I get 1% cash back every year that will negate the percentage I am charged. But again setting up a local account would also mean we would not have this international charge applied.

When we got back from Murnau we went to the complex with the PX for Ryan to get a gas card, this is also where we went to the bank, and we went to the Thrift store that is super cheap and only opened for a few hours a couple days a week. Ryan's big purchase, which was $10 was for a TV. I bought a skirt, which is too big. But I bought a belt, so it looks cute to wear the skirt high and then belt the middle. Each item was $1. WHAT A DEAL!!! I also bought five travel books on different countries, well once is about all of Europe. The total for them was $2.75. I don't care that they are out dated because I feel like everything in Europe is so old it will be the same in a book from 2010 as in a book from 1999. I'd say it was a great trip to the Thrift store and money well spent, but only our travels will tell if the information is helpful. Hopefully we will get to go somewhere exciting soonish.

Tomorrow night is Faushing. It is sort of like Carnival or Mardi Gras. I think the whole thing has to do with going crazy and more or less sinning as much as possible before lent starts. Although I think it would be sort of interesting to see what this is like culturally speaking neither Ryan or I feel like having to find a costume or crazy outfit to wear. We also don't want to be out late when we have to work the next day and we wouldn't plan to partake in the "craziness" of the night so we figure it probably wouldn't be that great anyway. And there is always next year since we'll be here then still. I also told Ryan that since most people probably won't remember anything from the night we could just tell people who ask that we went, but don't remember it and then they'd be like, "oh yeah me neither but it was so fun." We won't really do that, but I think it is ironic that people are all excited to go and will be all excited they went, but won't remember much anyway. Have a mentioned living here is what I would assume life at a State school would have been like, if you catch my drift.

I feel bad a wrapping up my blog entries, sort of like phone calls. I'm sure my Dad and Stephanie will resonate with that. :) But I'm actually out of things to talk about from our last week, so until we do something to report on I'm done.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


It just took about 5 minutes to load this first picture. I'm going to have to figure something out to make it faster because I have so many pictures I'd like to share with everyone.

This is my wonderful uniform. Not too bad eh? The black thing attached to one of my buttons it where I attach my card to open all the rooms. I love that thing! :)

The other pictures are my room with my roommate Sarah on our couch, my hallway, and our hallways kitchen. Also the guard area we have to pass through when we enter and leave the Abrams. Trust me NO ONE will ever get in to where we live who should not be there. Sometimes they hesitate to let us is. It is very strict security.

Ryan and I are heading in to town to run errands before our Employee Salute party thing at 2:30. Once a month all employees are invited, but since it our first one I think we get something free and all us newbies will be introduced. There should be light food stuffs and we both are into free food, so I guess it is worth it to go to work on our day off.