Feb 16

A Happy New Year!

Well, hi there! I haven’t posted for a little while, because I’ve been super busy. So today’s post will just be a little update on some things.

2015 has been a fabulous year so far! There are a few things that have made me feel really good about 2015, and here they are:

1. Trips. It’s only been 6 weeks since January 1st, but I’ve had a bit of traveling. My parents came to visit for a week. We went to Leavenworth, which is a little Bavarian-themed town here in Washington State. I also went to Reno for a work conference. I know that Reno doesn’t sound exciting, but it was really, really nice to see the sun every day!

Reno

Reno

Riverwalk, Reno

Riverwalk, Reno

My parents visiting.

My parents visiting.

Leavenworth in the snow.

Leavenworth in the snow.

2. Exercise. Ever since I moved to Washington, I’ve struggled to exercise regularly during the winter. It is cold, dark, gloomy and wet in the winter, and I just don’t feel like getting outside. This year, the Ragnar Relay Series had a 30 day training challenge in January, and I decided to do it. Basically the challenge was to exercise for 30 days straight. I took the challenge seriously, and it made my year start off wonderfully. Instead of getting lazier after ringing in the new year like I usually do, I’ve been moving every day! It’s helped me to feel really good!

A little new years day snowshoeing at Mt Rainier

A little new years day snowshoeing at Mt Rainier

Biking for our Valentines Day date.

Biking for our Valentines Day date.

3. Weather. You know how I mentioned how cold, dark, gloomy, and wet our winters are here? Well…it’s been a really mild winter, which has been really helpful for helping me feel awesome!

Our flowers have been blooming all over the place here in Tacoma!

Our flowers have been blooming all over the place here in Tacoma!

So, overall, things have been going really well. However, I’ve also been busy with all of the above, plus working on the house and getting ready for Africa.

I’ll try to get back onto the blog-o-sphere every once in awhile!

 

Jan 14

MY Race of 2015!

After my not-so-great experience at the Lake Chelan Marathon this year, I decided that I was done with marathoning – at least for a little while.

I thought about making 2015 the year of the half-marathon PR, but even that didn’t quite inspire me.

I thought about not really racing much, and just enjoying being active.

And then…a race came along that was too spectacular to ignore.

It will be MY race of 2015!

So here’s the deal: Every year, at some point I read something about the Ski to Sea race, which is a multi-event relay race held here in Washington, where teams snowboard, cross country ski, run, paddle, and bike their little hearts out. Every time I hear about this race, I get super excited because I’m like, “A race where I can run AND snowboard??? My two favorite sports in life! I’m in!”

And then every year, I get super disappointed when I realize that the race organizers do not allow any athletes compete in more than one leg of the race. So…you pay premium pricing for a single event. Um, lame. Can you imagine if you’re a snowboarder? Paying upwards of $50 for ONE run down a mountain in sticky spring conditions? I’m OUT.

So every year, I get excited, thinking that I’ll run-snowboard-and-bike my little heart out, and then I get sad when I realize that I won’t get to do all those things!

But this year, I didn’t let the blues keep me down! I decided to try to find a race similar to Ski to Sea race that allows racers to do multiple legs. And I found my dream race!

It’s called Hood 2 River. (Yes, it’s very hard to say the name without accidentally saying “Hood to Coast.”) Anyway, Hood 2 River is a relatively new race that involves 6 events:

1. Downhill ski or snowboard

2. Cross country ski

3. Mountain bike

4. Road bike

5. Run

6. Paddle (canoe, kayak, or paddle board).

Best of all, you can do the whole race yourself, or can have up to 6 team members!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Finally my mediocrity in a multitude of sports will be an advantage! I may not do any sport well, but I can do a lot of sports average!

Hood 2 River Relay Logo

So, I’m IN! I’m so in! This is the race of the year for me! I’m so, so, so excited! I’ll be doing half the race, and it’s going to be the most.fun.ever!

Would you like to do a multi-sport race like this? How many events would you want to participate in?

Jan 04

And a New Year!

I used to think that new years resolutions were stupid. I thought that most people made unattainable goals related to eating and exercise, which they usually failed at within the first month of the year. So, I thought, “Why bother?”

Last year, for the first time, I really took resolutions seriously. And while I didn’t succeed with all of them, I succeeded with quite a few. Now I think that resolutions are awesome! It’s great to sit down and reflect on what we want out of life, and then make little goals to help us get the life that we want.

Now that 2014 is over, it’s time to look back at what my goals were, and to confess on how I did. So here goes:

Goals for 2014:
Fitness Goals:

  • Complete another sprint triathlon. Panic less during the swim. I TOTALLY did awesome at panicking less during my tri…goal achieved! Unfortunately, I failed to train well for the race. While panicking less made the race more comfortable, it didn’t make the race much faster for me!

    Feeling happy and strong for the run!

    Feeling happy and strong for the run!

  • Complete another marathon. Train better. Again, I rocked out on this goal…but it didn’t make me any faster!

Financial Goals:

  • Put 27% of my income into long-term savings. (Most of this will go towards retirement). Total success! I put 27% of my income into mine and Husband Saign’s retirement accounts, put a little extra into our Emergency Fund, and put a lot extra into paying down our mortgage. I’m really proud of how well I did with this!
  • Sit down 1x/month with Husband Saign to track net worth. Fail. I finally gave up and joint Mint.com. This would have solved the problem wonderfully, except we can’t get Mint to connect with TWO of Husband Saign’s retirement accounts.

Spiritual Goals:

  • Pray/meditate each day before work. Overall, this went pretty well.
  • Read the whole Bible in 2014. Fail. No excuse.

So there we go! I really didn’t succeed with all of my resolutions, but I succeeded with some, and now feel that resolutions are GREAT, because they get me moving in the right direction!

Now to plan 2015 resolutions…

Do you love resolutions, or hate them?

Dec 22

Santa Runs Tacoma 21k Race 2014 – Recap

As I look back, I can say that when I consider the hours that I put into preparing for this race, I put in an appropriate amount of time.

The only problem is that those hours were spent sewing costumes instead of training.

Ada the Dog in her Tiny Tim Costume

Ada the Dog in her Tiny Tim Costume

For the second year in a row, Ada the Dog and I ran Santa Runs Tacoma. We had a free race entry from winning the costume contest last year. This year they added a half-marathon distance. I decided to run the half-marathon because I wanted the medal. 5k and 10k runners don’t get a medal, so I decided that I had better run the half so that I could have a medal. Yep.

I decided not to train. I guess I didn’t really plan out how to not train, but after running the Snohomish River Run, I thought about what I should do to train for this race, but every time I went out for a long run, I decided to cut it short. In the end, I ran 5-miles or so 1x/week and that was pretty much my training. I wasn’t too worried about it, because I knew that I would have to stop to get Ada the Dog water, so it would be a slower race anyway. So, I figured, “It will be fine! It’s just one foot in front of the other.”

Then, the day before the race, as I was madly sewing my costume, I started to feel worried. I tried to convince myself that everything would be okay and that it was okay that I didn’t train. And then I thought, “I’ve not trained before for races, right? Hmm…when was the last time that I didn’t train for a race?” And then I remembered: The only time that I didn’t train for a race was Ragnar with Nuun, and as I result I cried, couldn’t finish the race, and ended up in a boot cast. Fantastic. So, that was a great confidence boost.

With that in mind, I decided that I’d go sans-Garmin, and walk, jog, skip, jump, whatever I felt, and just have fun on race day.

i prepared an amazing Tiny Tim costume for Ada the Dog. Husband Saign made her an adorable little crutch. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen.

Ada the Dog on race day, ready to run!

Ada the Dog on race day, ready to run!

On race day, we stood under the start arch, and got judged for the costume contest. Ada the Dog wasn’t totally comfortable in her costume, so I considered taking it off right after the judging and putting it in Gear Check. But she just looked so ridiculous and cute that I decided I’d try to have her run at least the first mile in the costume.

Ada the Dog as Tiny Tim, and me as Ebenezer Scrooge

Ada the Dog as Tiny Tim, and me as Ebenezer Scrooge

Well, that didn’t end up working out so well. We took off with the crowd, and immediately after running under the start, I realized that I couldn’t keep Ada the Dog in costume. She was excited to be running, and excited to be surrounded by people, and completely confused about why she was wearing pants. She was pulling, and swerving, and acting like an untrained puppy! Within a few meters of the start line, I pulled to the side and removed her costume. After she was costume-free, we thing took off running again, but there I was, stuck carrying her costume, her leash, and my Nuun bottle. It was not comfortable. At about .5 miles, the race runs over a bridge, and I spotted a little hidden area on the bridge, where I stashed her costume. I also stopped to take a photo!

View from the bridge

View from the bridge

I felt so FREE after the costume was dropped! Unfortunately, we had spent several minutes taking the costume off, stashing it, etc, so now we were stuck behind groups of walking people, strollers, etc. This was mostly just a problem because I had to weave around the crowds with Ada the Dog on leash, and this was a bit messy.

By about mile 1.5, we were ahead of all the strollers, and we could just steadily pass people without too much fuss. I felt GREAT! It was so fun to just pass, and pass, and pass! I felt so fast! I think I should start purposely starting races behind everyone just so that I can keep passing!

And the race went on, and I just kept feeling strong and happy. I stopped at every water stop to give Ada the Dog water, and I stopped at several puddles to let her drink. And we just kept passing, passing, passing. Oh! And then we were passing pacers. First the 2:30 pacer, than the 2:20 pacer, and at about mile 10 we passed the 2:10 pacer. When that happened, I just thought, “Okay! Yay! This won’t be a personal worst!” Ada the Dog was running strong. I considered not stopping at the last water stop to give her water, because I wanted to get to the finish more quickly. However, my guilt took over, and I stopped. I worried that the 2:10 pacer would pass me while I was getting Ada the Dog water, but he didn’t!

Usually I feel pretty good for miles 1-10 of a half marathon, and I start feeling tired and having to push myself for miles 11-13. But that didn’t happen for this race! I just kept running and passing! I smiled the whole time, and felt strong and happy!

Finally, I was at the finish! In the shoot, I heard someone coming up behind me. No way! I was not going to get passed! I decided to make a game of it, and I started sprinting, trying to stay ahead. As we crossed the mats, the man was about 12 inches in front of me. “Aw man! No way!” I shouted. The man turned to hug me. Then a nice lady dressed as an elf gave me a very sincere congratulations and placed my medal on my neck.

I checked my finish time: 2:07:30.

I then found out that Ada the Dog won the dog costume contest! Woot!

I felt great! Ada the Dog ran strong. I ran strong. We both were happy and friendly for the entire race.

That night, I felt like I had run a marathon. I felt so free and happy for the entire race, but apparently I was pushing myself pretty hard. I spent the afternoon lying in bed.

The next day, I found out that Ada the Dog and I made the local paper!

Ada the Dog and I in the paper, next to the obituaries and everything!

Ada the Dog and I in the paper, next to the obituaries and everything!

I LOVE this race. It’s super convenient and a pretty course. But my favorite part is the jingling. People wear jingle bells while they run, so as you take off from downtown Tacoma, you hear jingle, jingle, jingle, and you see a crowd of red and green, and it’s just the most fun ever.

What do you think Ada the Dog should wear for next year’s race?

Dec 10

Dat House

Hello, hello! I’ve been missing from the blog-o-sphere lately. Here’s the story of why:

Once upon a time, we bought a house.

We bought the house because it fit our needs. The house is in a safe neighborhood, near my work, had a large space for Husband Saign to work, a backyard for Ada the Dog to play, and enough space for our hobbies and potential future children.

The house also has some…shortcomings. It was last updated in the 1990s, so there are a lot of cosmetic problems. The cosmetic problems didn’t really bother us, because, they are just cosmetic…things that two crafty and creative people such as ourselves could update.

We forgot that these two crafty and creative people both have jobs and hobbies, so finding time to fix up those cosmetic issues hasn’t been easy.

Lately, we’ve become determined to at least finish the living room, which has been in shambles for several months now.

Husband Saign installed oak floors in 2 rooms, and finished the hardwoods throughout our home! They’re so beautiful! (And that was a BEASTLY project!) He also has been adding new beautiful trim. He replaced our beat-up slate fireplace hearth with a beautiful marble hearth.

I’ve been painting, painting, painting, because it appears to be the only thing that I know how to do. (And I can’t even cut the paint in, so I leave that job to Husband Saign!)

Rollin, rollin, rollin!

Rollin, rollin, rollin!

Husband Saign installed, then sanded, then finished these gorgeous floors!

Husband Saign installed, then sanded, then finished these gorgeous floors!

Here's the trim that Husband Saign has been adding (and the current state of our living room).

Here’s the trim that Husband Saign has been adding (and the current state of our living room).

Marble hearth. We've still got big plans of how to finish the fireplace...still to come!

Marble hearth. We’ve still got big plans of how to finish the fireplace…still to come!

All this working has left me asking one question: Was it worth it???

I’m still not sure. When we bought the house, we thought it would be fun to make it our own. Now we realize that it’s rather time-consuming and expensive to make it our own. We also find it difficult to have guests over when our home is undone, which is frustrating. However, it’s very rewarding to be able to say, “I made that!” when a project is finished! It’s also fun that our house will also be exactly what we want, since we’re making it our own!

What do you say? Are home improvement projects fun or torturous?

Nov 18

How to Save Money on Food While Traveling

When I think about various places I’ve visited around the world, most places make me think of food.

From are-qweye (spelled totally wrong, obvs) in China, crepes in France, and fresh pitas in Israel, I associate so many memories with the fantastic tastes of each place.

Food is a very enjoyable part of travel. Now, of course, we all know I’m cheap frugal. So how do I travel frugally and still get to enjoy fantastic local foods? Well, here’s how:

  1. Pack snacks for flights. Airport food is greasy at worst and tolerable at best, so it’s not a place that I’d recommend you focus a lot of your food budget. Instead, I recommend packing fruits, nuts, sandwiches, granola bars, etc, so that you don’t have to spend money on your flight or at the airport, and can instead focus your hard-earned cash on the fantastic food at your destination.
  2. Fill up if there are meals included in your travel package. Breakfasts are often included as part of a hotel stay. At home, my breakfasts are usually pretty small and consist of a bowl of cereal or maybe some toast. While traveling, if breakfast is complimentary, I FILL up. The goal is to be full enough when I leave that I’m not hungry until noon or later. In Ireland, this meant eating the “full Irish breakfast” which includes toast, eggs, bacon, blood sausage, potatoes, etc. In other locations, it means refilling my continental breakfast plate 2-3 times.

    Yes, I ate all this...and then ran a race.

    Yes, I ate all this…and then ran a race.

  3. Eat local. Usually regional foods are the more thrifty option. Eating local foods is also a fun part of travel. By avoiding familiar foods from home, you make your travel experience more authentic, and you save money!
  4. Picnic Lunch. I LOVE picnicking while I travel, and Saign and I try to make it a priority to picnic rather than stopping at restaurants for our midday meal. Not only is picnicking a frugal option (on our most recent trip to Europe, we stuffed ourselves at lunch every day for around $5 total for both of us), but it also gives us an opportunity to stop in local parks and observe the scenery or action of the place that we are visiting. It’s definitely a win-win!

    This amazing meal cost a few Euro

    This amazing meal cost a few Euro

  5. Try the Grab n’ Go options! Most regions have some sort of grab-n-go food that they’re known for. In Italy, it’s pizza. In Israel, it’s falafels. In Germany, it’s pretzels. In Belgium it’s waffles or fries. These items are usually relatively affordable, but still full of local flavors!

    I don't even particularly like pizza, but this grab-n-go pizza-by-the-slice that I got outside of Vatican City was FANTASTIC!

    I don’t even particularly like pizza, but this grab-n-go pizza-by-the-slice that I got outside of Vatican City was FANTASTIC!

  6. Street Foods. I know that plenty of people are afraid they’ll get sick off street food. And maybe you will. However, I don’t hesitate to follow the locals up to the carts of food, and eat away at reasonable prices. The truth? The more confused you are about what you’re eating, the better it tastes!

    I ate street food every morning for breakfast in China. That's a sweet a delicious sauce that I dripped on my bed!

    I ate street food every morning for breakfast in China. That’s a sweet a delicious sauce that I dripped on my bed!

  7. If you have access to a kitchen, use it! If you can cook where you’re staying, do it! Cooking for yourself doesn’t mean foregoing delicious local cuisine. You can pick up local foods at the supermarket and make them yourself back at your hotel! On our most recent trip to Germany, Husband Saign and I had a kitchenette one night, so we made ourselves a local dish called spaetzl and also made some gnocchi, which is not really a German food, but is way more delicious in Germany than it is in the States! We had fun cooking the meal together, had a fantastic meal, and were able to save a few Euro by cooking ourselves.
    Making a fabulous meal in our hotel room in Germany

    Making a fabulous meal in our hotel room in Germany

    You can't get store-bought gnocci that's this delicious in the States, and I've never see spaetzl in the States. Delish!

    You can’t get store-bought gnocci that’s this delicious in the States, and I’ve never see spaetzl in the States. Delish!

  8. Check the Menu before Deciding where to Eat. If you decide to go for a sit-down restaurant, check the prices before you sit down. If you don’t, you might be in for a nasty surprise!

What do you think

? How do you save money on food while traveling?

 

Nov 11

My First Travel “Hack”

Do you know what travel hacking is? Well, I discovered that I didn’t know what it was when I read this article about travel hacking. I’ve traditionally thought of travel hacking as signing up for travel rewards credit cards with the explicit intent to take advantage of the introductory bonus miles. The article I linked suggests something entirely different. So, I’m not exactly sure what one should call what I did, but I did it, and I’m getting free travel as a result. Here’s how things are looking for me:

  1. I booked my flight to South Africa using frequent flier miles that I earned through United Mileage Plus. I earned these miles both with travel and with a rewards credit card that I’ve had for over 10 years. This flight cost me $28
  2. I signed up for the Barclay Rewards Credit Card, and paid for about half of my safari cost using it. Guys, this is an incredible card. In less than a year, I earned $700 in rewards. Good stuff.
  3. After I received my rewards from Barclay, I called to cancel the card. Like I said, it’s an incredible card, but I didn’t want to pay the $65 annual fee, and the company wasn’t willing to drop the annual fee. (And let’s be honest: I don’t blame them).
  4. I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Card which got me 40,000 bonus miles after I spent $3000 in the first 3 months. It works out well for me, since a one way trip home from Africa is 40,000 miles. I booked my trip home using these bonus miles. This flight was more expensive than the first, and cost me $101.

And that, my friends, is how my first travel hack has progressed so far. I’d estimate that I saved around $1700 total by hacking my way through. Since there’s nothing I’d rather spend money on then travel, this worked out quite well!

Have you ever travel hacked? Do you want to try?

Nov 02

Snohomish River Run 2014 Race Recap

Hey guys! A week ago, I ran the fabulous Snohomish River Run Half Marathon. Here’s how it all went down:

I was nervous about my preparedness for this race. I hadn’t been running as regularly as I should, and more importantly, I hadn’t been cross-training. All-in-all, I felt out of shape and in no way ready to do well. However, there were a few things that made me feel like maybe I’d do okay: 1) I ran a marathon 7 weeks prior. (Though, that’s kind of a long time, so I was worried that my endurance was gone). 2) The weather would be perfect…not too hot and not too cold. 3) The course was relatively flat.

I decided to try for a sub-2, but I suspected that I might not be able to pull it off.

The race started off with a pre-race meeting, which was a bit funny for a running race. It turned out that they had the meeting because the first one mile of the race took place in the start area with a turn-around at the .5 mile point, so to avoid chaos, they wanted us to very carefully get into our pace groups.

I went and stood with the 2 hour pacer. I usually don’t like running anywhere near pace groups, because things tend to get so crowded that I feel like I can’t stride naturally without running into people. However, in theory a pace group would be a great tool, and I’ve always wanted to run with one for the comradery and entertainment. I thought about it, and since this was a small race, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go with a pace group. I decided to run with my pace group.

The gun went off, and given the funny start with the .5 mile turn around and tight quarters, it was one of the most crowded starts I’ve ever experienced. Soon enough, I was slightly ahead of my pacer, because this was where the crowd led me to be. I was running comfy, and my Garmin was telling me I was just a few seconds ahead of my pace goal, so I decided to let myself stay ahead of the pacer, even once the crowd spread out. I reasoned that since I started behind the pacer, if he caught up with me, I’d know that I had to speed up to get my sub-2. The pace group could still be a great tool for me!

At first, I had fun. I was running and comfortable. The scenery was nice. At about mile 4, I found two girls who were having a rather interesting conversation and running around my pace, so I stayed near them. Having their conversation to entertain me was really, really helpful. Though perhaps it was rude of me to eavesdrop??? Their pace was somewhat inconsistent, so at times I’d let them get ahead of me, but then I’d catch up since I was running more steady. In the end, I stuck near them for the majority of the race. Thanks interesting ladies, I enjoyed your chatter!

While I doubted myself at the beginning of the race, I felt good as I ran the first few miles. However, I’ve run enough races to know that it’s easy to feel good for the first few miles. Usually if I’m going to fall apart during a race, it will be around mile 5. Well, mile 5 and mile 6 came and went, and I was keeping up a good pace. Soon enough, I was at the turn-around. And then I realized…what had seemed to be flat during the first half had actually been a slight downhill, and now I was faced with a slight uphill. Dang it! Oh well, I could stick with it! My hip started hurting, but nothing that I couldn’t push through. Miles 9-13 were all kind of uncomfortable, but I just kept telling myself to keep up the pace. Finally I got to the last half mile. I thought that I should be able to pick up the pace, but in reality, I don’t think that I really did. I rounded the corner and saw the finish! Yay! There were Dawn and Andrea! Yay! WHY WAS THE FINISH SO FAR AWAY??? (It was definitely only one block away when I saw Dawn and Andrea, but it felt like a full mile!) I tried to speed up in the chute, but I started gagging like I was going to vomit. How embarrassing. I didn’t speed up much after I started gagging, but I still made it to the finish. Done! Sub-2!

I wore my new Nuun jersey!

I wore my new Nuun jersey!

When I check my time on the computers at the finish, I was super excited to see a 1:56:57! Yay! While not a PR, it was a post-injury PR, so I was really pleased! I later checked the results at home, and found that my time had been corrected to 1:57:00. DANG IT! Yes, I realize that’s only a 3 second difference. Yes, I realize that it’s still a post-injury PR. But let’s be honest here: 1:56:57 looks so much better than 1:57:00. :(

Overall, despite my 3 second change in finishing time, I’m proud of how I did. It was a great race, and so many things came together (a relatively flat course, cool weather, chatty interesting strangers, etc.) that helped me to do well.

Thanks Snohomish River Run for the free race entry! I had a blast!

Tell the truth: Would 3 seconds that pushed you up to another whole minute category irritate you??? (Also, I realize that I defined that it a bizarre-o way. I don’t know how to talk math all that well!)

Oct 22

EuroBikeTrip 2014 Day 5: The Prettiest Day. Germany

I believe that this may have been our prettiest day of riding. We rode from Friedrichshafen to Lindau. We could see the Swiss Alps for much of the ride, and rode past vineyards, orchards, and of course Lake Constance. The weather was lovely.

Friedrichshafen has a tower that you can climb for views of the town, the lake, and the alps on the other side.

Friedrichshafen has a tower that you can climb for views of the town, the lake, and the alps on the other side.

I love when Europeans put love locks on things!

I love when Europeans put love locks on things!

IMG_0503

View of the alps through the love locks.

View of the alps through the love locks.

 

View of the town through the love locks.

View of the town through the love locks.

IMG_0534 IMG_0622

I wanted to desperately to get a good bike-riding selfie. It never happened.

I wanted to desperately to get a good bike-riding selfie. It never happened.

IMG_0557

We stopped at a rural park along the lake shore for lunch, which was very nice.

Lunch time view

Lunch time view

My love on the bench where we at lunch.

My love on the bench where we at lunch.

We made it to Lindau before noon. We were surprised that our hotel allowed us to check-in right away!

Lindau

Lindau

Lindau is a small island in Germany, just a few kilometers from Austria.

Cute Lindau

Cute Lindau

Lindau

Lindau

I was so in love with this cool vine-tree-thing!

I was so in love with this cool vine-tree-thing!

I was worried that we would get bored with such a tiny island to explore, but it was lovely! We shopped at a farmer’s market that was set up just outside our hotel.

Seriously. I can't even imagine being as cute as this little lady heading to the farmer's market!

Seriously. I can’t even imagine being as cute as this little lady heading to the farmer’s market!

We climbed to the top of the lighthouse, where we had great views of the city and lake. IMG_1248

View from the tower

View from the tower

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Husband Saign and I

Husband Saign and I

Alps and sailboats as seen from the tower.

Alps and sailboats as seen from the tower.

We then enjoyed snacks and wine at a waterfront bar, while looking towards the Alps over the lake. (We still haven’t figured out how to politely request our bill). IMG_0731 IMG_0728

I enjoyed reading while the city moved around me (occasionally with street performers singing in the background).

This street performer serenaded me while I read.

This street performer serenaded me while I read.

We tried desperately to find live German music, but failed miserably.

We wandered around Lindau at night, but never found any life music.

We wandered around Lindau at night, but never found any life music.

Countries Visited Today: 1, Full-day in Germany!

Kilometers Biked Today: 30

Total Kilometers Biked for the Trip: 162

Have you ever put a love lock on anything? (I never have).

Oct 17

EuroBikeTrip 2014 Day 4: The Most Embarrassing Travel Moment of My Life. Germany

Today was the first day of this trip in which we spent the entire day in this same country. We stayed in Germany for the entire time. Today’s ride was not as nice as yesterday’s. We rode past quite a few vineyards, which was nice, but we also spent quite a bit of time on a bike path that ran right next to a highway.

vineyard

vineyard

 

Saign wanted to go to a museum of a rebuilt water town, and I agreed. The museum required us to go with a tour guide who completed a tour in German. Our large tour group squeezed into a little hut. I was at the back, which made sense to me since I couldn’t understand the lecture anyways. Well , the tour guide felt badly that I couldn’t really see or hear anything, so I heard her say “England,” and the point at me. The entire tour group turned to look at me. Then she spoke in English and asked me to come forward. I told her that I was fine, but she continued to gesture me forward, while the crowd of people parted to let me through. I was mortified, but not knowing the language or the culture, I felt that I had no choice but to simply comply. I walked to the front, where she motioned me to stand where I would block several people. I was so embarrassed! I crouched down and spent the remainder of the lecture squatting so as to avoid blocking the view of others. This was definitely my most embarrassing travel moment of my life.IMG_1233

The water village museum

The water village museum

IMG_0334We stopped in another cute coastal village called Meersburg, where we finally found some bratwurst! I was so excited! I love American bratwurst, so I was sure that I was in for a treat! Saign brought me my plate with sausage and potato wedges. I cute into the sausage and took a bite…to find that it tastes just like an Ameican hotdog. No, not a delicious American bratwurst, but a boring unappetizing hotdog. So…. No more wurst for me!

Blech. Terrible.

Blech. Terrible.

I had a wonderful time exploring charming Meersburg!IMG_1234 IMG_1240 IMG_1238 IMG_0425 IMG_1237 IMG_0415 IMG_0409 IMG_0403Our hotel was in a town called Friedrichshafen. As we got into the town, we stopped on the bike path to examine the map. A kind older lady stopped her bike to help us. We showed her where we wanted to go on the map, and she knew the way. Of course, she spoke German, and we spoke English, so she tried to give us verbal directions, but of course we couldn’t understand. After a few minutes of trying to communicate, she finally gestured to us that we should follow her. We did so, and she went out of her way, biking us right up to the entrance of our hotel. It ended up being very helpful that she directed us, because the bike path had a strange clover-pattern (like a freeway entrance), under the streets, so I think we would have had a hard time figuring out how to get to the right road just by looking at the map. I was very grateful for her kindness.

Saign following our German friend on bike!

Saign following our German friend on bike!

We ended our evening in Friedrichshafen. We went to a restaurant, where we ordered traditional German food followed by a plate called “Dessert for Two.” I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was shocked when our waitress returned with a huge plate with a variety of desserts. (In the end, my favorite dessert was a chocolate-drizzled banana). When we were finished, we sat and sat and sat. We still haven’t figured out how to pay our bill and leave! In the end, Saign had to flag our waitress down to ask for the “rechnung.” I’m pleased that we now know how to ask for the bill, but I’m still confused about how we are supposed to ask for it if the waitress doesn’t return to us so that we can ask! Is flagging her down the appropriate thing to do??? I feel so rude!

Bodensee

Bodensee

Our insane dessert!

Our insane dessert!

Countries Visited Today: 1, Full-day in Germany!

Kilometers Biked Today: 32

Total Kilometers Biked for the Trip: 132

Is waiter/waitress flagging the rudest thing ever????

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