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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Zugspizte take one :)

First of all can I say I love what I titled this post. I think it is perfect and I'm very proud of my creativity.

We had to be at the train station/ gondola at the bottom of the Zugspizte at 7:30 and were supposed to bring clothes for snowboarding, casual street attire, crazy clothes for an MTV party (a Hawaiian shirt was recommended for Ryan), and an all white outfit. We didn't have all this stuff so we just threw random stuff in a bag and brought it. When we arrived they asked if I had a bikini. I did not nor did I plan on being in a bikini up in the snow. They made me put on a tank top under my snow gear. I was very confused. We ate breakfast, but this time out of the food trailer that last time the extras weren't allowed to eat out of. I had a few rolls and three shots of espresso that I got to push a button to dispense. It wasn't bad coffee though even though it was out of a machine like that. And they had Monin syrups. Oh if you don't know Monin you should. They are sweetened with natural can sugar juice instead of processed white sugar like corn syrup. They are so much better tasting and better for you than Torini and such.

After awhile of standing around we all got in the gondola and went up up up the mountain. It is quite the climb let me tell you. This is the tallest mountain in Germany and we went literally to the very top. And it was so awesome that we were not only going up for free we were getting paid to go up. It is fairly expensive normally. Once at the top be got in another gondola and went down a little. The ski area is in a huge crater type thing. It was absolutely stunning. You can't see down to the town or anything. All you see in every direction is mountains and snow as far as the eye can see. You will love the picture Ryan took I am sure. We waited for a little while, but it wasn't too bad of a wait before going outside and being placed on the set. At first Ryan and I were sitting at a picnic table in the back ground, but then they pulled us up by the camera. When things were rolling we walked across the camera and the actors to the edge of a balcony to pretend to take picture with Ryan's cell phone (ironically there is no camera on Ryan's cell phone) and pretend to be talking and looking at the beautiful view. Maybe when the movie is out you'll be able to see both of us now. Since our last extras experience I have started paying a lot more attention to extras in movies and tv shows I watch. I think it is pretty unlikely we'll be extras you can see because most are blurred out or maybe you see a back view. Of course I'll be on the edge of my seat watching for us and probably freeze it a lot to try and spot us and people we know, but I won't hold my breath to having any real face time. I also had to stand on the side of the camera for awhile but I think I was blocking the sun or something for the camera man. I don't know. Maybe my friend Megan who works in the film industry can tell me why, but I was definitely on the side of the camera. Some people work in front of the camera, some behind the camera, I work on the side of the camera. The actors were really nice this time, not that they weren't last time. This time there was a German guy, and a couple English girls, one of which is Felicity Jones and is the star of the movie, the "chalet girl" herself. She is supposed to be an up and coming actress in Britain. Ken was talking about going to a Munich-Bayern (Bavarian) football (soccer) game and was flying high because they won in the semi finals. It sounded so incredible. Apparently he is a big fan. During this scene they also had a few girls in their bikini tops with their snow pants in lounge chairs. I didn't get it. I hope it makes more sense when the movie comes out. It was a nice day, but not hot like that. Ryan and I both left with racoon eyes. That mean was got sun only on the lower part of our face because we had our hats and goggles on. We burned, we peeled, we are finally looking more human today. It has been hard to walk by a mirror that last few days.

After this scene we grabbed our boards and headed to the slop. The worst part of the Zugspitze is that everything except one run has a t bar. If you don't know what a t bar is go back to my post about our first trip to the mountain to board. This time up the bar Ryan rode with me and I made it. I think it helps me to have that extra weight on the other side or something. I rode it up with his three times that day and once we weren't together and I fell twice and had to ask someone who worked on behind the scenes production to ride with me. She was kind enough to oblige though. Maybe I should make it a goal to make it up solo before I leave. That might be pretty lofty of a goal though. We boarded, some people skied, part way down the hill. We all took off our boards and skis and got behind a barrier. This scene was Ken's character crashing during a competition and we were the spectators. They didn't film the crash he started on the ground, but we had to act like we saw it happen. Ryan and I got to do a little extra moving. When they said action we all reacted like it happened and ran to the barrier fence, then Ryan and I ran down the fence to get a better view. I'll have to go over all this again with you all when it comes out so you'll know what to look for. :) Eventually, around 2 we got to break for lunch, so we went the rest of the way down to the bottom of the t bar and took it up again to take a different run into the lodge.

For lunch they gave us meal tickets to eat in the lodge cafeteria. I thought the food was good and way better than what we ate for our first lunch as extras. I had a huge salad, German potato salad, steamed veggies, and some french fries. Ryan had a sausage he wasn't crazy about along with salad and fries.

After lunch we went back to the bottom of the same t bar. We sat here for literally an hour. Then they brought some candy by, which I remembered was the sign that we had 2 hours left and it made sense because it was 4 by this time. Finally we got to go up the t bar and then part way down the hill again. This time a guy arranged us I think by what we were wearing in a line down the slope. Gear off again. They had either Felicity Jones or her double, I'm not sure, on a trailer being pulled behind a snowmobile pretending to snowboard down the mountain and win the race. So we all cheered our hearts out as she passed. It was cheesy. After shooting that a few times the split us down the middle and said for half to go wait at the bottom and ride to the top and for half to wait there. This was when I couldn't get up the t bar by myself and I had to ask for someone to ride with me... embarrassing let me tell you, but she was really nice about it. When we got to the top they had sent the rest of the people to the bottom. Each group sat in their spot for half and hour until they decided not to shoot whatever they were thinking of having us do (I was assuming it would have just been a shot of us all going down the hill) and we all just went back to the lodge. Filing was then done for the day. They had water, cold coffee, and apfel schorle for us and then announced the train down (we took the gondola up and the train down so we got to experience both) wouldn't leave until 6:20 so we had a little more than an hour to wait. We hung out and talked with a nice couple from Munich for that time. On the train back we were in a car with a bunch of the young German extras. I don't know who brought it I guess the crew but there was a rack of beer that they passed out to us, which was great at the end of the long day we all had to kick back with on the ride down. We started talking with the Germans and they were helping me with my German. Then they invited us out that night for drinks, but when we got back to the Abrams we were so exhausted we could get up again to go out, so that didn't happen. But they did say they had seen Ed Westwich the guy from Gossip Girl a US show and the main guy character who broke up with Sophia Bush the first time we were extras. Anyway they saw him out at a bar one night and when he was in the bathroom at the same time as them he asked if they knew where he could get some cocaine. Goodness gracious.... what a stand up guy he is! Way to go Ed Westwick, doing yourself proud in Garmisch.

So that was our second and last day being extras for "Chalet Girl." They got so lucky that the weather cooperated the way that it did. It was a beautiful day! We are so thankful we had the opportunity to go up the Zugspitze and also that we got to be extras again. Oh and we asked Lara at lunch about the premier. She said that if they tell her when it is going to be that she has all the extras contact info and she'll send it to us and that if we pay our own way to London we should be able to go. I hope that works out because it would be incredible. The movie will most likely come out next winter since it is a snowboarding movie. So only time will tell if we get to go. Here's to hoping!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spontaneous Road Trip

Well I'm not sure how spontaneous it was. Last Monday we found out at work that two large conferences canceled due to the Icelandic Volcano and the numerous closed airports including all of the German ones. So with so many open rooms there would literally not be enough work for everyone scheduled last week. OF course they came straight to all the Americans and just started throwing days off at us. I ended up with Tuesday through Saturday and Ryan with Tuesday through Friday. Obviously our first question to each other was, "where do you want to go?"

Later that night in discussion Ryan threw out the idea we just pack up in the morning and drive, not knowing were to. Now this is a very "me" idea and I was surprised he even said it, but as I found out later he wasn't as serious as he sounded. I call the trip spontaneous more because we didn't book hostels before we left and because we were open to where we went if somewhere on the map looked appealing and was nearby. But when we left around 10am on Tuesday morning we were headed to Vienne (They call it Wien over here, but 'W' is pronounced like a 'V' in German and that is what they speak in Austria too).

I'm so glad that we left in the morning and didn't try to rush back after work Monday to pack and leave. So far most of our driving has been at night after work and after dark. The country side we drove through getting to Austria and then primarily once we entered our neighboring Country was absolutely stunning. Lush and green, rolling hills, and we even came across a couple lakes that we definitely want to find our way back to when it gets hot this summer.

When we arrived in Vienna we got a little lost, no surprise eh? We really need to get a GPS soon, Amy any luck in the hunt? :) It was a lot better though being lost in the day light and we got to see a little bit of Vienna that wasn't in the main area we spent the remainder of our time in. Eventually we found our way to where may directions were taking us, which was the Wombat hostel. There are Wombats also in Munich and Berlin. This place was great. Although we did have an old guy from Kosovo who slept all day in our room because he said he was jet legged from a train ride from Italy to there, but as far as I know Italy is on our time zone. It was clean, the reception people were friendly, helpful, and spoke great English, the bedding was clean and came in a sealed plastic bag, we had a bathroom in our room which was a 6 person dorm, and they gave us a coupon upon arrival for a free drink in the bar in teh basement. Oh and they had free internet in the lobby. It was one of my favorite hostels we have found so far. Come to think of it though I think it was also the most expensive. I guess you get what you pay for with hostels, but sometimes you do find a really great deal for a cheaper price. Oh and a huge bonus was we found a parking spot on the block just around the corner from the hostel for FREE! And when we went in to ask for a room and also inquired about parking and whether it was allowed where we were they guy said we were incredibly lucky. When Ryan had read about parking on the internet he thought we'd have to park outside of town and train in and that it would be at least 10 euros a day. So the beginning of our time in Venice started out great.

Once we dropped our things in a lockers in our room we headed toward town. We could have bought a fairly inexpensive 24 hour tram ticket, but for the sake of money, exercise, and seeing more along the streets we opted to walk the whole time we were there. The street we headed down was a major shopping street and was bustling with people. Something else we noticed is that throughout Europe in their main pedestrian areas all the restaurants (and there are a lot) have outdoor seating. The sidewalks are huge and we started talking about how the buildings are so old, but yet when they were built they left a huge space from one side of the road to the other, which today leaves a ton of space for a double lane road and a huge sidewalk on each side. But the buildings were built before cars so were the roads wide for horses or some other reason. It is fun to think of what life was like when these cities began and the buildings were built. It all goes back so long ago.

We stopped into several churches along our way all of which were BEAUTIFUL. I have yet to find a church here that I do not find magnificent. Right after walking into the first church we came across we came upon a Kebab restaurant, which was really a hole in the wall you order off the sidewalk. Many of you probably do not know what a kebab is because it is not like when we grill chunks of meat (well I don't, but you do) and veggies on a skewer. Here they roast, simmer, sizzle, I don't know what to call it a HUGE thing of meat vertically and it spins with the heat thing behind it. And when someone orders a kebab they either use just a knife or a electric knife like a saw to cut off the meat very thinly. By the end of the day the huge chunk of meat is down to almost nothing. I wish I had a picture, but I haven't thought to take one. I'll try to remember to do that. And I'll get more pictures in general up soonish I hope, but the internet is super slow right now and I'll be lucky to get this post loaded. Back to kebabs... they buy or make this bread that is really good and in the shape of a square ciabata roll, but it is really soft and has a little bit of sesame seeds on top. Then they put various things in with the meat like lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, yogurt sauce, other veggies, and then they offer a sprinkling of chili peppers. You might all be thinking... "and you ate this?" Well not exactly. I had a falafel kebab. Falafel, did I describe it in an earlier post from Nuremburg? Falafel is a ground garbanzo bean stuff that they fry. So I got this on that delicious bread and with some modified toppings one of which was roasted veggies and that was so scrumptious. We each had a kebab at this time. Then we shared a falafel one later that night and then each had them the next day before we left. And now that we are back we miss them. They are so good and so cheap. And they are literally everywhere you turn in Vienna. We have a kebab place here in Garmisch, but I don't like it as much as in Vienna. That probably is because the one here does not do falafel so the only time I had one I had just veggies in the bread and it was good, but I love falafel.

So once we had our kebabs in hand and continued walking we eventually came to a huge park that has high cement walls around it. I think it is part of the museum quarter. There are a ton of museums all in this one area, but we didn't go to any of them while we were there. The park was nice though and there were lots of people in it because it was a very nice and pretty warm afternoon. Through the park we came out and got our first siting of the Opera House. Vienna is world re known for their opera and I'd love to go back and see one while we are here. You can get standing tickets for only 3 euro if you get in line (and we witnessed the line) an hour or two before the show. Then we kept wandering trying to find the main Cathedral St. Stephen's that you can pay to climb and have an excellent view of the city. We finally did find it, but it was closed for walking up although we did see the inside. So the plan was to come back in the morning. On our way out the front doors we were stopped by a guy dressed in a costume selling tickets to a show that night. Well we fell prey to his trap and bought some tickets, at a discount he said was a great deal however the tickets were printed with the price we paid so I doubt it was such a special discount. The show was supposed to have a small orchestra, a little opera singing, and some ballet. After that we walked back to the hostel to change before the performance. On the way to the hostel we ran into the Sacher Café. Some of you may have heard of the Sacher torte, for those who have not is is basically a chocolate cake. I made one in high school with my friend for another friend's birthday and we all thought it turned out a bit dry. Being the foodie I am and having read about this place in a book I definitely wanted to check it out so we added it to the list for the next day. I forgot the significance of the café, maybe you figured it out on your own. The Café in Vienna is where the torte (and torte=cake) was first created back int eh 1800's by Mr. Sacher. I think he was a cooking apprentice and came up with this cake as something new and different for someone important they were cooking for and from then on the cake was a hit and so was Mr. Sacher. Something like that anyway.

So we got back to the hostel, changed, and headed right back out again in the direction of parliament to find the palace our show was to be performed in. When we arrived it was even more evident we were caught in a tourist trap by the loads of Asians that were there fresh from their tour bus. They also made us check our coats and pay a euro each, gosh darn them. The palace was a pretty building inside and the room we went to upstairs was also nice but definitely just a side room, rather small, and not a performing arts hall by any means. The stage was the temporary kind you might see at a church or a school. Thank goodness we didn't feel the desire to pay for the "better" seats because although we were in the back row we were only 20 feet from the stage. I was thinking to myself that I could triple jump further than that distance. :) So all this somewhat negative commentary aside we still liked the performance. Well we enjoyed the music, the opera was not great and the ballet was just silly because what could they do in such a small area. The songs were by Mozart before intermission and Strauss after intermission. I was pleased to recognize many of the songs, which I am sure also plays into the whole tourist thing that they would play recognizable songs, but hey let's face it we are tourists. We are glad we went. When we got back we talked to our friend who has been to Vienna and when he was there went to basically the same show at a different palace and thought it was so bad that he left at intermission. So either ours was actually better or he has a better ear for good and bad music. I think maybe it is a little of both. Oh well. We were in Vienna and it is a city the is huge on their music and the famous composers from there so we got to experience a little piece of that.

After the concert we were hungry having not had time for dinner before, but also we had a late lunch. So that is when we got the kebab and then some gelato across the street. Back at our hostel we went down to the bar in the basement for our free drink. We each got 1/8 a liter of wine. All the glasses in Germany and Austria are marked with the amounts for beer and wine. Beer is typically in .3 or .5 liter glasses or a mass which is an entire liter and that doesn't need a line to know what you've got. And the wine seems to often be 250mL markings, but we got 1/8L. Then up three flights of stairs to bed to rest up for another great day.

The next morning we were hungry so we wanted to head to the Sacher Café. We got side tracked checking out new places though and drifted away from our known route. We ran into more guys in costume selling tickets for the same show we went to the previous evening. They made sure it was the same exact location before letting us off the hook of hearing the schpeel. This guy was from kosovo and said he like Americans because he liked President Clinton for helping him and his country be free. He also said he liked us because now we have Obama. I always think it is interesting to hear what people from other countries opinions are of us. We saw ore guys selling tickets, but this time one of them said, "how did you like the concert last night?" We were taken aback and he said, "don't you remember me?" And I asked "coat check?" and he said "yes" so we told him yes we liked it and jokingly he said "do you want to come again..... half price?" We said no but I think he would have sold us tickets for half price had we wanted them.

We ended up at St. Stephen's without even meaning to so we thought while we were there we'd climb the stairs. There was A LOT of stairs and the stairway was VERY narrow. When you reach the top you are in a gift shop (they would) and it is all enclosed with a few smallish windows, but the view was still cool and I thought the climb was fun.

From there we found the Sacher Café and guess what? My torte wasn't bad that I made. The thing really is dry cake. That is good to know. I didn't hate it at all, but I wouldn't say it is my favorite thing ever. They make a ton of specialty "Sacher" items. To drink I had a hot chocolate with Sacher Apricot Brandy and that was really good until I got to the bottom and realize the reason they gave me a spoon was to stir it and mix up the liquor. I didn't love the bottom because it was too strong, so Ryan drank it. Poor Ryan had a ice chocolate shake, which tasted like totally unsweetened chocolate blended with ice and maybe water cause it didn't seem milky. It wasn't very good. I think we spent the same amount of money here as we did for the rest of our meals combined, which was all kebabs, but it was worth it for the experience of having real Sacher torte.

After that we went back to the car and headed to where we decided would be our next destination Bratislava, Slovakia. These two capitals are only an hour apart making them the closest in the world. When we arrived we were lost and everything was in Slovak. Although we aren't fluent in German we are learning enough to navigate a bit on roads. We turned away from the city, realized it, and turned around to go back. On our way back we were flagged down by a cop standing in the road. He didn't, or claimed not to, speak any English but after a moment of not understanding one another he reached in the car and flipped on our lights. Even though it was broad day light we realized EVERYONE had their lights on. It must be the law. Our same friend who went to Vienna also came here on the same trip and was also pulled over, but had to pay 60 euros to the cop who said the road they were driving on was closed, as cars were zooming by them, so they think it was a shady cop preying on American tourists.

When we crossed the Danube river on a cool bridge and entered Bratislava we were again very lost. The street made no sense and very very few had street signs. Because the castle is on top of a hill we were able to find our way there and found ourselves on the map. We got out to explore the castle, which turned out was being redone. It looked like the were re stuccoing the outside and painting it all white. It looked brand new. That was sort of lame. There was a nice park though and a good view over the city.

We once again managed to get lost once feeling like we had found the way on the map from the castle to the street the hostels were on we planned to pick from. But we ran into the tourist office, so we thankfully found parking and went in. They gave us a nice map of the city and a map of the outer country area where there was winery area that of course made my ears perk up. I am loving experiencing international wine. Although I miss Oregon and Washington wine all the time. Then we decided to walk around a little while we were in that area because it seemed to be where all the main "attractions" were. We went into a church but it seemed like evening mass was going to begin and it asked that tourists not come wander in during that time. So we wandered away, but then we went back and actually stayed for mass. I am so glad that we did. It was definitely my favorite part of Bratislava or the only part I liked, but it made it worth the trip. There is always something special to me about going to mass and having the familiarity of it that I had growing up going to mass or going with my Grandparent's to their church. And even though this service was all in Slovak it didn't matter. I knew what they were doing and could even part take a little I just used English. And I knew why they were doing what they were doing and that was to worship the same God that I worship and I found that very powerful. As it was about time to go up and receive communion I realized it was the first time I would be taking communion since my Grandma passed away. Taking communion is always a very special and emotional experience for me, but this time was even more so. I was in such awe of the sacrifice that Christ was because if it wasn't for His death I would not be guaranteed eternal life in Heaven where I know that I will see my Grandma again. I was also pleased to be accepting this sacrament during mass just as my Grandma would have done being Catholic herself and as I did many time along side her when I was younger. It was perfect.

After mass ended and we went in peace (they always seem to say at the end of mass "mass has ended you may go in peace" so I imagined that was what they said at the end of this one too) we went back to the car and headed again in the direction of the hostel. We were lost again, but very randomly ended up on the street we needed to be on, then we drove right by the hostel, but there wasn't a place to turn around. As we were trying to navigate back there I got a phone call. If we were available they wanted us to be extras again for the movie and go up to the Zugspite and do some snowboarding. After a mini conference with Ryan I called Lara back and said we'd do it. So we grabbed a kebab at a place along the road and headed back to Garmisch. We just didn't get the vibe in Bratislava like we wanted to explore anymore anyway so it was all good. And what perfect timing before we were to pay for a night in a hostel or something. We got back to Garmisch just before midnight and went straight to sleep for our big movie day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Don't be disappointed

I just received a phone call and Ryan and I will not get to go to the Zugspitz tomorrow to film more of the movie. Due to awful weather conditions they will not be able to film. Right now it is very gray outside, but earlier while we were at work it was dumping rain. I'm assuming at the altitude of the Zugspitz it could be dumping snow with no visibility and I think visibility is probably important while shooting a movie. So not movie tomorrow, but she said she'd call when they know when they are going to shoot. So hopefully we will be able to go when the weather cooperates. I am sure everyone was was counting the hours for my next post from being on set since I think my last posts about it generated more comments than ANYTHING else I've written about. So I am sorry if you are disappointed. I'll do my best to find other interesting things to write about. :)

50 Rooms

Today I got to work and they did not assign me a section like normal. Instead they gave me a blank sheet of paper and told me I would be "betthelfe" also known as bed help. I worked my behind off today if I may say so myself. Often times the chamber maids will complain that the person who is bed help does not stop to help them enough or certain chambermaids will not let the bed help leave them so they can get all their beds done, but this keeps the bed help from moving on to help other people. Today I was determined to be great bed help. I wanted to be fair and move around to everyone, but also help everyone with as many rooms as I possibly could. I was the only bed help on the second floor and we had 77 dueouts on our floor. One chambermaid had 12 dueouts and another had 10. That is enough to kill a person. At the end of the day I counted my rooms and I'd done 50. That is nearly 100 beds when you figure there was only a couple rooms I helped with only one bed. If only I was paid $1 per bed I would have made a lot more money than I actually did today. The bad thing is that making 100 beds is hard on any persons back, but especially my back. So now instead of going to the gym to workout I am laying on my bed resting my tired and aching body. I felt like I did a very good job today being fair, but offering lots of help to everybody. There were two chambermaids on my floor that refused help today because they only had 6 dueouts and were aware that others had many more. When I signed out at the end of the day I was able to see how many rooms the bed helpers on the other two floors did. On the first floor Zack helped in 31 rooms. On the third floor Danny helped in 33 rooms. Of course I do not know if they were given other little tasks throughout the day, but as far as I can tell I came out far ahead in the number of rooms I made beds in and I think that means that my day was a success!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Three months- WOW!

Holy moly guacamole I can't believe that today is April 17th marking three months to the day that I boarded a plane at the Portland airport and began this journey. I do not know how it feels for those of you at home, but for me time is flying by.

This also means that we are eligible to begin applying to other departments. There is a posting right now for Front Desk Operations and one for Bartender Trainee just popped up. As of right now I am not planning to apply for anything else. Hours in housekeeping have picked up substantially. I am very excited to see what my paycheck looks like that I get this coming Monday. It should have a little overtime on it. Although we'll see if we keep getting hours now that our boss (Chief Brody as one of our leads calls her) has returned from a two week holiday. I also feel like time goes fast in housekeeping. I don't get bored and I get to feel a sense of accomplishment not only at the end of the day but throughout it as I clean each room. Seriously if you all only knew what your hotel rooms looked like before the housekeeper went through it you would be so much more grateful and might be more inclined to leave a tip or at least a thank you note. Although we don't hear whether our time off requests are accepted until the schedule comes out a week before I have yet to hear of anyone being denied their request and for that reason I also am inclined to stay. Ryan and I already have requests for time off for both May and July and will be making another one for June once we find out when my Mom is coming. These are my reasons for staying and Ryan agrees with them. But now that there is a post for a Bartender trainee and I think that if Ryan really wants to pursue Bar tending he should go for it and at least apply. It is something he has talked about for a few years now and I think he would be really good at it. He even talks about wanting to go to Bartending school when we get back. I guess only time will tell where we each end up.

This last weekend we had was Wednesday through Firday. Three days and once again we didn't plan a trip. I think it has been good for us to rest. And just because we haven't road tripped doesn't mean we haven't experienced new things. Wednesday we took the train with a couple other guys Ben and Mike to Nuremberg. We left Garmisch at 9 and got to Munich and hour and a half later. Our next train left at 11:00 and got us into Nuremberg at 12:45. Nuremberg is known for having a great Christmas market, obviously it is the wrong time of year for that now, so I guess we might need to go back around the holidays. We just wandered most of the day. We went into a beautiful (they all are) church. We walked up a hill to a castle and saw a stunning view of the entire city. We wandered through a market in a square. We paid thankful not a lot to walk through a museum that had a lot of old German stuff with no significance to us. And we ended the day having an early dinner at a Bratwursthaus before heading back to Munich and then to Garmisch from there. We got home a little before midnight and I think it was a good day. Nuremberg is definitely worth a day trip.

I honestly can't think of what I did on Thursday, but Friday was fun. Ryan and I went to the farmers market in the Marianplatz. There were a lot of vendors, more than I expected. We could have bought some of the best looking strawberries I've ever seen. Now I'm not sure why we didn't. I have a roll with lacks on it from a man selling fish. Ryan and I bought a huge round of flat bread, olives, tapenade, and a pepper spread from a booth with Mediterranean foods such as what we got and more, and we bought a bottle of Mead (aka Honey wine) that I can't wait to try and compare with what I have come to love in Bellingham. I'm so glad we went and I can't wait to go again next time I am in Garmisch on a Friday.

After the market we headed to the thrift shop on base. I am so excited I got a dresser for only $5. Now I don't have to store my socks and underwear in my suitcase under my bed. It is making my life much more organized and for me a more organized life is a better and happier one.

I also used my weekend to work on my Rosetta Stone program to learn German. I have now completed 3 units for level 1. One more unit to go and I'm done with the first level. I think I am learning, but it is hard to notice very much since what I know I want it to be able to carry on a conversation in Germany with someone. Or be able to understand what people are saying at work. I think it will take a few more levels to get there.

Well I wanted to fill you in on what we did this weekend and I hope I've adequately done so. Nothing was extremely exciting, but it was a good weekend. What is exciting is what Ryan and I will be doing Monday and Tuesday. We have been asked to be extras in the same movie again. But this time we are going to be snowboarding and we'll be doing it, I believe, at eh Zugspitz. This is going to be awesome. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Tomorrow Ryan and I are taking the train north to Nuremberg with a few other people just for the day. Since I may have something interesting to blog about after tomorrow I want to be as caught up as possible on my travels thus far. And goodness I just looked at the clock and it is almost midnight. I hope you all appreciate this. :)

Luxembourg was great. My number one reason for wanting to go was because I have a family lineage to there as I mentioned in a post before I left. But when I was researching things to do there I found my number two reason to want to go there and that is because they have a great wine region for being such a tiny country.

The drive from Brussels to Luxembourg was beautiful. Although we were on an interstate or I guess I should call is an inter country or maybe just the autobahn we weren't seeing lots of grey cement like we've seen through a lot of our travels. There were big open fields that sort of reminded me of driving to eastern WA or OR except not as dry.

Our destination was on the far east side of Luxembourg. There is a stretch I don't know how many km but takes about 30 minutes to drive from one end to the other they call the Route de Vine, the "wine route." It is right along the Mosel Rive which divides Germany and Luxembourg. Our first stop was in the town of Ahn. I think it is funny because I have a friend who's family is from Korea with the last name Ahn, but here I was in Luxembourg visiting a town with this same name. Anyway I had printed out something like 15 pages of wine tasting notes for various wineries and we were able to find one that I had notes on.

At first we thought they were closed but someone came to the door and let us in. I guess this is not a busy time for tastings, although another group of three came in while we were there. The man, part of the family who own and operate the winery, sat with us and tasted with us answering any questions we had about the wine. Luxembourg has a sparkling called a Cravat that I was hoping to love because I love champagne, but I didn't love it at any of the places we went. I ended up taking a couple bottles home with me from this first place. I am forgetting their names right now and the bottles are in Ryan's room. There was a white that I had never heard of... oh yes Axerious I think or something like that. And then a Pinot Noir that I enjoyed and reminded me of home because if I go tasting in Oregon you get pinot, pinot, pinot, where ever you go and this was a good rich earthy one.

Next we headed just down the road (oh and just so everyone knows Ryan was our designated driver and was very responsible and got us home safe and sound). We saw a cute little house/ tasting room and got out to knock on the door. Just when we were ready to get back in the car an old woman cam out of the house across the road. She let us into a very beautiful but very cold cellar, but she did not speak any English. She spoke French and German. I speak a little French and even less German so it was a struggle but did my best to converse in French. It was actually a bit fun to try and use it. She poured us any wine we wanted except for the cheapest ones which I began to gather where a table wine and not something tasting rooms often pour for tastes. In the end we were willing to buy a couple bottles between the four of us I think partially to be nice, but she was adamant we get a case, that is 12 bottles. I tried to explain in French we did not have the money and at this point of the trip we literally had very little money. She wanted us then to get 6 bottles but again we weren't willing. So she didn't sell us anything. I tried to ask if she wanted money for the tasting but she did not understand or was so fed up with us she just wanted rid of us I'm not sure. I said I'm sorry in French and we left. Oh well.

As we were driving down the Route de Vine again we came upon a tasting room also from my packet of notes so we pulled off. This was a bigger on I think. They had a very large tasting room with lots of people in it enjoying wine by the glass or bottle and one large group even had appetizers being brought out to them. They would ask us what we wanted to taste. I don't want to pick because what I want is to experience what each winery has to offer and what represents them. So he just started bringing things. Most were very good. Ryan chose one to try and chose the sparkling wine that had a note that it tasted like lychee a sweet tropical fruit we love. He did love it so before we left I tried it as well and it was fabulous. I ended up taking home three bottle from here. It is astounding how inexpensive you can buy wine in Europe, but it is even better how inexpensive really good wine is in Luxembourg. They say the reason is because France, Italy, Spain, Germany, have all built up reputations for themselves and are pricing not only the quality of the wine, but the associations people have with wine that comes from their region. Luxembourg is totally content providing wines within their own country and the few people from surrounding countries who come to visit. The ONLY think disappointing about that is I doubt I'll find Luxembourg wine in the States.

We learned at our first stop about a wine festival the first week of May in Luxemboug City at a park where all the wineries come together for people to taste and eat and purchase. I would love love love to go but I am not sure it will work out because Ryan and I are taking a trip for his birthday from the 4th to the 9th. He knows we are going somewhere, but doesn't know where. I'm getting really excited. At some point before I leave I'd love to get back to Luxembourg and go tasting again and it would be fun to search out the town my family is from which I know have the name of. Aunt Sally if you are reading this thanks for calling my parents and giving them that information. :)

The rest of the drive back was uneventful. We did get a little lost and had to ask for directions, but that is nothing new for anyone who has been reading about all our travels. Several pit stops at gas stations. Zack and Reneé slept in the back I think or at least rode silent, but I made sure to stay awake and keep Ryan company for our late return. We got back tothe Abrams I think at 1 or 2 in the morning. Whatever it was it was way past my bedtime on a work night... or any night... and made for a tired day the next day.

Speaking of late nights this has turned into one. So I'm caught up and feel good about giving you all something hopefully fun to read about. Hopefully I'll have more stories to tell after my day trip tomorrow.

Teaching Bill Nighy pick up lines

The second thing we filmed (well rehearsed a lot and then filmed a lot) was the same as what I already described in my first post except they shot from a different angle. This meant everyone who was in the first shot had to be in this one and make it look like you were coming from and going to the same places as before. This time before my que to walk across the scene I was standing with Erika (did I explain that she is an American who lives in Garmisch and is a senior in high school on base but was asked to be a stand in/ extra/ double in the movie because she is the same height and build as Felicity Jones the main character? Well that is who she is. She did all the skiing and snowboarding for the movie because the real actors can't. What a lucky girl!) So we stood together with Mr. Bill Nighy. So before our que we were supposed to pretend to be talking to him. Except Bill was actually talking to us because he doesn't follow a lot of directions. He told me he read a book about Oregon written by a man who lived in Oregon and has always wanted to visit. I told him he could stay at my house, but then realized what I was saying and offered to recommend a nice hotel (primarily thinking about The Allison of course). Apparently he read about some big river in Oregon he wants to see and I learned he does not drink when I tried to enlighten him on our great wine region.

We shot the same scene again from another angle and this time were placed in a different place talking to Bill. We filmed this for so long I literally spent at least and hour or more talking and laughing with Bill Nighy. I would have never guessed out of any actor I'd have the chance to chill with this guy. I think out of any character I've seen him play he reminds me most of the crazy pop singer in Love Actually. He sang a lot. He loved Bob Dylan and says that Bob's music is the only songs he can sing all the way through other songs he can only start singing or sing choruses. Later on while filming he would be singing "raspberry beret" up until the moment he heard his que to start walking downstage. We got on the subject of pick up lines and we were teaching him some and then Erika and I would walk away on our que and come back to start over and find him using them on other extras. Then he wouldn't be paying attention to when he had to be back in what they called "first position" and so I would literally grab him by the arm and drag him back. He never stopped talking and everything he said was hilarious. If I am in the movie while talking to him it will definitely look like I was having a good time at this engagement party. Erika asked him what the most annoying question he gets asked is. He said it isn't an annoying question except that he gets asked this one more than anything else and he gets a little tired of it for that reason. The question is, "how long were you in makeup for the character of Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean?" His character had a crazy octopus face and if you didn't read the credit I don't think you'd have a clue it was Bill under there. His answer... he didn't wear any makeup at all. It was all computer generated. Holy cow... there goes the 21st century at it's best.

After that is about when we broke for lunch I think. So again the extras got to eat in their special trailer, while everyone else had more of a selection from their food trailer. Really though I thought they fed us pretty well and everyone was really nice. Lunch was rice with a turkey gravy veggie stuff on top, salad, and pudding. They asked if there were any strict vegetarians and of course I volunteered myself. So the guy said I could wait until everyone went through the line and then the caterer would get me something else. When it was finally my turn he went into the trailer everyone else was getting food from so I got a bit excited. Unfortunately when he came out he handed me a plate, that I thanked him for, with a pile of rice and a very creamy sauce on it and a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower. So I ate what rice I could without eating the sauce and enjoyed the veggies. Then I had a small bowl of ice berg lettuce salad mix and finished it off with a bottle of Apfel Schorle (carbonated apple juice).

During lunch I again avoided complementing Sophia on One Tree Hill when I saw her sitting by herself listening to her iPod in a room just off of where we changed in the morning. I did get my picture taken with a couple friends and the camera guy who filmed us in the morning. If I every find it on the internet I'll definitely put it on my blog for you all to see. Actually if I find it I'll probably have it announced on the 5:00 news I'll be so excited.

Back to work. This time we were filming Ed calling off the proposal with Sophia. Her character I forgot to mention had broken her leg skiing and was on crutches. So after he dumps her she take the ring off and gives it back and then takes a crutch and rams it into is crotch. Ouch! I was standing at a table with four other people and when Sophia raises her voice and says "bad timing?" We all got to look and watch the rest of what happened between them.

The next part we filmed was Nicolas, the brother rushing through all of us and bringing ice to Ed for his "injury." Then we filmed Bill, playing Ed's father, coming to him and helping him off the ground. Instead of saying he was disappointed in Ed he said he believed he had a good head on his shoulders and was following his heart or something like that, but that he still had to worry about his mother. On that que Brooke Shildes, the mother, comes out from behind a curtain tapping a champagne flute (we were all holding fake champagne all day it was sparkling white grape juice). She announced the happy couple and when they didn't appear covered with "they must have gone to steal a lovers moment." Then each time we did a take she would improve a new story about how they met as children while vacationing in the Hamptons together. The whole wile all the guests were looking at each other because we knew what happened and she didn't. Then Bill came up and excused he and his wife to behind the curtain where we here a woman scream as Brooke finds out the news of the break up.

That was pretty much it. Those last segments took a lot longer to film than I took to explain them but without a celebrity next to me cracking jokes and telling me he thought I needed a Channel handbag because everyone does (yes Bill said that) I have a lot less to tell. About an hour before we were done filming they brought a candy basket around that we all pounced on. And throughout the day they came through with water, all sparkling of course because we are in Europe. And also at random times hair and makeup people would come through to wipe off sweat re-powder noses or for me re-tuck bobby pins in my hair.

They let the extras go about 6 but the cast was not done yet. We had to be so quiet and take turns changing because the microphones pick up so much sound and our changing room connected to the room they were filming in. That was something I was very surprised by was that while filming they talk in about a whisper. I was also surprised that they do a lot of practicing right before the film and they break up the scene into little bitty fragments and film from many angles. It made me feel like I could step into the industry tomorrow and be okay because it isn't like stage acting where you must memorize an entire play's worth of lines and once upon a time I was fairly good at that, so I think I could handle this.

Many people were awfully tired by the end of the day and granted even my feet hurt and I wore really comfortable heels. I however would have stayed all night if they needed me or just let me. I loved every second I was there and would love to go back or do another movie. Once upon a time I chose to pursue sports instead of acting. I've always felt it was the right decision and haven't thought too much about acting except when I took drama in high school. So I thought the dream I once had of becoming an actress when I grew up was long gone. Apparently all these years I've just berried that dream and now it is finding it's way to the surface again. Gosh darn it! Now I'm acting all the time. I've fooled Ryan several times already that I'm getting very upset or sad or angry. So he sees that I've got talent. :) Who knows maybe once the movie debuts a casting director will discover my talent as an extra and call me for the big time. I won't hold me breath.

I think in a couple weeks I might email our contact who arranged all the extras to find out about the premier. Rumor has it, I heard through Erika, there is a crew premier in London but I don't know when. If I could weasel and invitation I would totally buy a ticket to London to go to the premier of my first movie. Oh what a dream come true that would be. Not to mention I love London and would love to go back.

That ladies and gentleman is wrap!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bumping elbows with the stars!

So for those of you who are close followers I'm sure you've been on the edge of your seat waiting for me to blog about my movie debut. And maybe because it has been several days since I was an extra you are wondering if I hit the big time and am too busy filming and being a star to write.... well that might not be the case, but let me tell you what did happen.

We received phone calls on Wednesday night saying we needed to be on set at 7am. We filmed at the biggest, nicest, most expensive (those three often go together don't they) hotel in Garmisch. Needless to say when we arrived at 10 minutes to 7 it was my first time to see the hotel up close and personal. We were taken in to where we could change into our wardrobes. I was asked to bring several dresses for the costume director to choose from. They chose a black dress I had borrowed from a girl I know here and I wore it with a beautiful scarf that Barb gave me for my birthday. After I changed someone told me to come find them in makeup, but I couldn't find where they told me to go so instead I went to eat breakfast with the rest of the extras. We had our own trailer, which was a bit small for all of us and had about five picnic tables in it. They had a spread of bread, meats, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and jam along with coffee and tea. This is a very typical German breakfast. There was also a trailer for everyone who was not an extra to get food like scrambled eggs and espresso. While we were eating in our trailer someone came in from makeup and took me with her to the makeup trailer I could not find earlier. There were two chairs one of which was already occupied by another girl. The person who came and got me started doing my hair. Occasionally I would try and steal glances at who was also in there having their hair done, but couldn't really tell. I figured it was someone actually in the movie because she was asking for her hair to be done a certain way and I would have never tried that as just an extra. Then someone came in from outside and asked the other girl if she needed anything to eat. She asked for eggs without peppers. The man then said in German to someone outside to go get eggs without "paprika" the girl started saying "no I said no peppers, no peppers, not paprika" I may not understand a lot of German, but I do know that paprika means peppers in German. So I kindly told this girl what I knew and she calmed down. It was as she was getting worked up about peppers and paprika that I heard her voice very clearly. It is a voice I know very well because I hear it literally every single day when I watch One Tree Hill my favorite TV show for the past 7 years. I stole another glance and clearly saw in the mirror running across the trailer that I was sitting 5 feet from Sophia Bush who plays Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill. My heart rate quickened and I started to sweat a little as I realized that I had been in this trailer with her for 10-15 minutes already without even knowing it. The egg man asked what she'd done the night before and she said she and Brooke had gone to Thaifood. I was wondering who Brooke was and late my question was answered. BROOKE SHEILDS! Oh my goodness! That the guys had gotten really drunk and then come banging on her hotel door and stole a bottle of wine and then wanted to rehearse. She said they ended up having a really good rehearsal. After the egg man left I asked if she went to Rambutan, which is right around the corner from where we live. She said yes and I asked if she liked it, she said it was really good. Then I started talking to the girl doing my makeup. She asked if I live in Garmisch and I explained my reason for being here. Sophia then asked if now is a busy time for R&R soldiers to come on their leave. I explained that they come at all time throughout the year because they all get their leave at different times. Who would have thought I would have ever had a conversation with Sophia Bush in my life. Crazy! When my hair and makeup were done I exited the trailer. I couldn't bring myself to tell Sophia that One Tree Hill is my favorite show. My mom asked if I was star struck. I think in the first instant I was a little bit mainly because of how I realized who was sitting next to me, but I have realized lately that I just don't know how to compliment people who I don't know. I am always worried it is going to be weird and don't know how to say it. The entire day on set and at lunch I never got up the courage to tell Sophia how much I love the show that she is in. Gosh darn me.

It ended up taking longer than they expected for us to get on set because the cast was rehearsing before they needed us. But not everyone was on set because Bill Nighy was walking all over the place. Bill played the old pop singer guy on the movie Love Actually and Davy Jones the evil octopus captain guy in Pirates of the Caribbean. A film guy was working on things for the website and possibly for the bonus features section on the DVD and asked a few of us to be in what he was working on. He wanted us to talk about how Bill is a creep on set and always trying to talk to the extras. Then Bill himself walked up. He actually did talk to all the extras so maybe the story line wasn't that far off. We asked to take a group photo and he insisted we all take individual shots with him. Then we stood around talking and filming more pretending he was creeping us out. Eventually he had to move on and we continued to wait to be called inside.

Maybe around 10:30 we were taken inside. At first we all stood in the back of the ballroom as they practiced their scene.

Let me fill you in on what this movie is about. They are calling it a Cinderalla Snowboard Story. It is called "Chalet Girl." The boy played by Ed Westwick, star of the tv show Gossip Girl, has been in a relationship with Sophia Bush's character for 5 years and they are now engaged. His parent's own a ski chalet. The boy falls in love with a girl who works at the ski chalet played by Felicity Jones. Since her character does not come from a wealthy background like Ed and Sophia's characters Ed's mother played by Brooke Shields does not approve. Basically everyone finds out about the affair except Sophia UNTIL their engagement party when Ed ends the relationship and admits to his affair. The rest I can only assume works out for Ed and Felicity's characters. We were filming the engagement party scene on Thursday.

A few at a time the AD (assistant director) went through the extras pulling people out to place then around the room in between takes of rehearsing the first piece of the scene. It was Ed (who is so short he had to stand on a 2 inch wooden platform haha) across from the guy playing his brother. An older couple came up to his to congratulate him on his engagement and then Nicolas playing the brother offered to get the couple another drink and led them off. After running through it a couple times the AD came to get a few people to to walk across the set as background movement, guess who he chose? ME! I was getting so worried I'd just stand in the back all day, but patience is a virtue. The first time the AD pushed me across the stage on my que I was so nervous, but each time I relaxed and just loved every moment of it. The AD said it was his fault after the first time I walked across, but that as I did and Ed turned his head to look back at Sophia it looked like he was turning back to look at me as I walked. He said I couldn't upstage the stars. Gosh I wish that could have been in the film how cool would it have been for it to appear as if Ed turned to look at me hahaha. The rehearsed a lot and then we filmed a lot of takes, but eventually we moved on the the next segment. It was however on one take that as I walked across the set I LITERALLY bumped elbows with Ed Westwick as he turned to look at Sophia. So when I say I was bumping elbows with the stars I mean it. :)

More to come later.... this was one of my most favorite things I've ever done.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


It is about time I get back to writing about our last excursion. Especially because Ryan and I are turning into movie stars tomorrow and who knows if I'll have time once we hit the big time to write on this thing anymore. In the off chance we don't get our big break this go round we also found out we have a three day weekend next week and are planning on going somewhere (we don't know where yet, tell me if you have anywhere you'd like to read about next) and I figured I better finish writing about our last trip before we go on another and I get even more behind. So here it goes...

When we found our way from into Brugge we had the more exciting entrance I've ever had into a town. Brugge is surrounded by a canal, so to get into the town you must cross a bridge and there are many to choose from. The one that we ended up taking, and led directly to our hostel, took us under a castle entrance just like you would imagine from a movie. It was so cool and I am doing a horrible job describing it. And I don't have a picture, so everyone should go to Brugge and check it out themselves because this place was outstanding!

We arrive at our hostel and where thankful they had a bed Parker could stay in since he did not have a reservation like we did. Reneé, Ryan, and I headed to our room and were surprised to find only one empty bed out of 8. We were not willing to all share this bed, so Ryan went back down to the reception and they gave us a three person room at no extra charge. That was awesome!

Then we met back up with Parker and headed to an Irish Pub to celebrate the last hour of St. Patrick's Day. All of us had worn green except Ryan, so of course I pinched him. :) We each enjoyed a Guiness at the Pub while listening to a man sing and play the guitar, it was great. Then is got better... a man who was originally from the States was making things out a balloons and came to our table. He asked each of us what our job was. Parker is an airline attendant, but told they guy he worked for an airline. I guess Mr. Clown thought he was a pilot because he made him a head set with a microphone and everything on it. He made Reneé a flower (I forget why). He made Ryan a broom, you know to help him be a housekeeper. And, if I may say so, mine was the best. He made me a toilet that I could wear on my head. Then he made a ball of poop that other people could throw into my toilet bowl as a game. Gross? Yes. But also fantastic. :) Eventually the music stopped and we realized how tired we were, so we headed back to rest up for the next day.

In the morning we ate our included breakfast at the hostel, bread, cheese, jam, coffee, watery juice, and hard boiled eggs. Then we headed out to our first destination the Choco Story Museum. It is a museum about the history of chocolate. I liked it. I wouldn't go again. There was a lot of things to read and I read a lot of it and it was very interesting although I can't recount anything to share now. When we first paid to enter there was a tray of white, milk, and dark chocolate we could take to enjoy. YUM! There was a short movie showing people in the jungle collecting the cacao pods and that was interesting because how many people stop to think about where their chocolate started while eating a hershey's bar? Not many I bet. And at the end there was a demonstration of making Praline filled chocolates and we then got to sample those as well on our way out. Those are so good. And I found it interesting that Neuhaus was the creator of Praline. There are Neuhaus chocolate shops in Seattle and my friend Stephanie and I discovered them during our senior year of high school and though they were so good. I didn't know until this trip that is was Belgium chocolate. Anyone who has the chance should definitely try there chocolate.

Next we headed toward De Halve Mann brewery for a tour. Along the way we walked through a small market where people where selling their wears, some veggies, and fish. To reach the brewery we had to walk through a park and at the same time we all spotted a play ground that called each of our names. So for at least 30 minutes the four of us played on the playground. We made friends there too. There were two 12 year old boys playing on the playground that were teaching Ryan how to jump from the tops of the play equipment. Then a group of high school students showed up and were telling us their favorite kinds of beer. That was weird to us because they were only 17, but the drinking age there is 16 and most kids start drinking younger than that. It was also odd to see all these school age children in the park around noon, but we learned that in Brugge you are permitted to leave during lunch and go to the park or where ever you want I guess. It was pretty cool.

We had a couple more pit stops the way to the brewery. We walked by the first place I'd seen selling Belgium waffles and it lured me in. These waffles were the main reason I wanted to go to Belgium (although now there are many reasons I want to go back). They are sweet and they serve them hot. Mine had vanilla ice cream with Belgium chocolate sauce on it. It is heaven in your mouth. I can't even describe it, but if you are thinking about Belgium waffles in the States the only thing these have in common with those is the thickness. These should most definitely not be eaten for breakfast, but eat as many as you can after breakfast. Then just as we finished those we spotted a place selling fries. Since the tour wasn't quite starting we had time to go get some. Belgium is known for four foods: waffles, fries, chocolate, and mussels. I was determined to have as much as I could of all of them. What makes their fries so good is that they double fry them and they are extra crispy on the outside. The most traditional sauce they have with them is mayonnaise. Their mayonnaise is more eggy or something. It is so rich. I feel like I sort of let my healthy eating go over this weekend, but even I couldn't do that mayonnaise. Out of the numerous sauce choices they have my favorite was the curry or curry ketchup. Mmmmmm!

So we did stop eating long enough to to on the brewery tour. It was so great. We saw all the old equipment they used to use way back in the day when they brewed. And they are the oldest Beligum Brewer. They have won all kinds of awards too. At the end of the tour we got a glass of their Blonde I think it was. It was really good though. And because we had it on tap it was unfiltered whereas if you buy the same kind bottles it is filtered. If I go back to Burgge I would go on this tour again. It was great!

From there we headed back to the main square and on the way I wanted to see a tea shop that is across the street from a well known chocolatier and owned by the same family. Although I led us the wrong way at first we found it. The tea shop is supposed to have great hot chocolate, but they didn't do it to go and we had other places to see, so I'll have to try that next time. From the brewery Ryan and Reneé each got another waffle, then I got another waffle, and Ryan got fries, and Reneé got gelato. We did a good job of eating our way through Belgium. Then just before we got to the square we found two places from my Brugge book, the first was The Bottle Shop. This place had every kind of Beligum beer made I think. Ryan and I got a package of Chimay beer giving us all three of the beers they brew with a Chimay glass. Chimay is made by monks in southern Belgium. There are 6 monasteries in Beligum that are well known for their heritage of beer making. Reneé got a blueberry beer that she just drank the other night and let me try. It was really good. It was tart and fruity, but I thought tasted more like a wine than a beer. Delicious none the less. Then next to that was a Chocolaterie, I forget the name of it, that was in my book. The book said they were known for lewd designs. Sure enough front and center in the window were boobs made out of chocolate in all different sizes along with a woman's derriere wearing a thong. Other than those designs though I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. We all got a truffle or a few truffles, none of which made it home.

Finally we got the square where we were going to climb the Bell Fry tower and see Brugge from way up high. We walked up to the counter to buy our tickets and stood there being ignored by the woman for a least 2-3 minutes I would guess and when she came up she said we were too late. My book said it was open until 5 and it was 4:20. Apparently they stop selling tickets at 4:15. It was 4:20! 4:20! And she ignored us from 4:17-4:20. Could she not have sold us the tickets? Not our favorite person we met on the trip. But it is one more reason to go back and I really really want to. Then we headed across the square to a church that is supposed to have Jesus blood in it. I forget the back story with that I'm sure you can google it if you are interested. But the church closed it's doors at 4:00 so we missed that as well. Tired and a bit disappointed we sat on the steps of the church for awhile watching buses and people come and go throughout the square. Then we made a decision to head back to car and head for the beach for dinner.

The coast of Belgium is roughly 20 minutes from Brugge. As always we got a little lost, so it took a little extra time to get there. We we arrived and turned onto a street that runns right along the beach Ryan parked and before he set the e brake my shoes were off and I was running across the sand toward the water in the black of night. It was so freeing to be at the ocean. The sand felt marvelous between my toes. The water was absolutely freezing, but I didn't care enough not to let the waves bring it up over my feet. The day we were there was the day the multi event athletes were competing in california for Spring Fling our track teams spring break trip. Ryan and I both were missing the team, california, and competing a whole lot and just being able to touch the sand, something we'd be doing in cali, was a real blessing. Not that is totally kept me from missing the rest of the trip for the rest of the week because I did a whole lot.

Then something bad happened. Reneé had taken off running after me and just thrown her boots, camera, and jacket on the sand. Being a nice guy Ryan tucked her camera into her boots and set it with her jacket up against a random large piece of heavy equipment on the sand. He and Parker walked toward us maybe for two minutes before we all went back to where her stuff was. But her camera was gone. We looked EVERYWHERE. the only thing that makes sense is that someone saw the camera and saw us all walk away from it and came and grabbed it in those two minutes our backs were all turned. I felt awful for Reneé. All she really wanted was her memory card with the pictures from the trip so far. I appreciated her outlook that it wasn't the material item (although disappointing to have taken), but the memories that were captured. But we didn't let it ruin our night.

We at dinner outside under a tent right on the beach. Ryan, Parker, and I all had mussels with bottomless fries. Reneé, who isn't a seafood person gave it a shot anyway and had a entree of several seafoods most of which she did okay with but the sole was not good at all, even I a seafood enthusiast agreed with her. Our mussels came in I think an 8 quart pot. I've never had so many mussels in my life. It was awesome, but that combined with our bottomless fries made for three very very very full people when we got up to leave. We were all so glad we decided to go to the coast though.

Back at our hostel we got our new room. We had only reserved for one night, so in the morning we had booked for another night and got a four person room for all of us to share. We put our things down and lay down for a bit and then went down to the bar on the main floor of our hostel for one last Belgium beer before we left in the morning. We weren't down there long though because we were exhausted. Thank goodness because this time our room was right over the bar and if I wasn't so tired I don't think I could have fallen asleep so fast.

In the morning we had another breakfast like the day before, then loaded up and headed to Brussels to pick up Zack.

Once we got into Brussels we definitely got lost AGAIN and couldn't find where we had decided to meet. Eventually, after being lost for an hour we were able to reach the arch and I called Zack and told him to meet us under it. Since we all needed to go to the bathroom we went into the Automobil World that was located right beside the Arch. I was surprised but the pointed us right to the bathroom which was upstairs. They were having a job fair, so we sort of thought of interviewing for a job if they had one in Brugge, but we didn't. On our way out we took our time to admire all the awesome cars from around the world. They had them arranged by decades and it was fun to see the progression. Ryan's Grandpa Jack would have thoroughly enjoyed this place as a lover of cars. And in his nearly 98 years I bet he had vivid memories of when each of the cars in the building were released new. It was a fun random stop to finish our time in Belgium.

Then sadly we had to bid adieu to Parker who was going to stay in Brussels a couple days and then find somewhere else to move on to. I don't think I really explained Parker. As I mentioned he is a flight attendant for a Canadian airline. He is from right near Calgary, Alberta. He had three weeks off and was able to get a incredibly cheap flight to Europe through his airline, so he decided the day before he left to just go for it. He had been in Amsterdam about 5 days when we met him and brought him along with us. He just got back to Canada a couple days ago. He ended up going to the Czech Republich to somewhere I forget and then Prague and then from their to Spain and traveled all over from Seveille to Madrid to Barcelona where he flew home from. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with him. He was a ton of fun and we also had some really wonderful conversations with him. All of us hope to see him again sometime, maybe a reunion in Canada? :) Also SO RANDOM... Zack went to Madrid for four days to visit a friend he has there and saw Parker for a moment on the street. I love small world encounters.

From Brussels we got on the road and headed to Luxembourg, but we will have to save that story for a later date. Ciao.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I've got the travel bug

It is official I realized last night.... I have the travel bug. As I mentioned in my post below this one I made a list last night and there are at least 20 countries I'd really like to make it to before we leave. I made this list around 1:00 in the morning when I wasn't letting myself go to sleep, but instead researching things about possible trips. And then when I finally put my computer down I couldn't fall asleep because different places and things to do were forever running through my brain.

When I took this job, when I got on the plane, and even when I first arrived my excitement about this entire opportunity did not have all that much to do with traveling. I thought I'd travel, sure, but I was excited about the job itself and gaining valuable experience in the hospitality industry; I was excited about living abroad in Germany just to have the international experience, but still I was mostly set on just the fact I was living abroad not on the fact that where I'd be would be a perfect home base to venture out from; I was also excited about the aspect of service that I was told my job would entail by serving the Military. I like being a housekeeper and at this point I'm not sure when I might apply to another position. I think what I am doing is good experience for the hospitality industry, but because of the mentality of my coworkers as well as the management my hopes of using this year as a more or less cross training experience throughout the hotel have subsided a bit. I love living abroad and feeling like right now my home is in this little town at the base of the Alps that I have yet to get tired of looking at. I love walking around the town and knowing I am not just a tourist, but that I live here and can actually give tourists advice on Garmisch now. But I didn't realize that I'd want to leave any chance I got to go see other places. Partially I don't think I realized just how close things would be. It took me 8 hours to get to Amsterdam for crying out loud! I went to three countries in three days for goodness sake! Until you are here I think it is hard to comprehend all of this. And once I started going I was sold. Now I don't want to stop. As I'm planning one trip I already have another starting. I'm a mess. And if this travel bug does not subside when it is time to go home to the States I think I may end up broke for the rest of my life because I'm going to spend all the money I will hopefully make continue to take adventures all over the world.

We are going to be STARS!

At work in the Staff Caf where we sit before work, both our 15 min breaks and our lunch break there is a TV constantly displaying a rotation of slides informing us of things going on, pictures of employee gatherings, bad quotes, word games, and whose Birthday week it is. For the last couple weeks there has been a slide advertising for English speaking people who want to be extras in a movie being filmed in Garmisch. Ryan and I emailed the address provided. We got an quick email back asking for some more information about ourselves and then a following email saying that this woman, Lara, would be in touch. We have been patiently waiting for a phone call and yesterday we each got one. So next Thursday we'll be hitting the set all day to become big stars. :) I'm just excited to do it because even if we just stand or sit all day in one place I've always wanted to be in a movie. Ryan and the other hand seems to have convinced himself this could really be his big break as an actor or a professional snowboarder. As much as I love him I just don't think either of those is the case.

We found online that the movie premise is a Cinderella Story with a snowboarding twist. I can't remember their names, but the three cast members I saw that have other well known works are the man who played Davy Jones in "Pirates" he was also the old guy who sang and was always crazy in "Love Actually." Then there is the woman who played Meryl Streep's friend in "Mama Mia" (the tall friend). And lastly there is a main character from "Gossip Girl" a popular TV show. I've never seen it, but my friend Molly watches it all the time.

Next week we will be filming some sort of a ballroom scene. I'm wearing the same thing I was wearing in the picture I sent Lara, it is the only close to dressy outfit I have. I actually bought it for $3 at the Thrift store on base. It is a combination of a skirt that is too big for me to I hike it up to dress level ($2) and then a chunky black belt ($1) that I latch around my middle to give the skirt a dress look. I love that I'll be in a movie wearing a $3 outfit. Ryan on the other hand gets the privilege of being clothed by the costume designer on set because he does not have a tux or a suit with him. That is pretty cool!

The only draw back is we have a three day weekend next week and won't be able to use it. I made a list last night of places I'd like to go before we leave and I've got 20 countries on there. Although we are so much closer and traveling is relatively easy that still is a lot. So it is unfortunate that the movie thing has to cut into our travel time, but I'm still excited and think it will be worth it. Not to mention we get some kind of compensation.