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Port of Hamburg: Photo Essay

Sorry Philadelphia, but I’m having a love affair with Hamburg, Germany.  I love its old traditions balanced with a spirit of new ideas, its humble, working class beginnings, and this port city’s seafaring feel.  Where Philadelphia’s shipping history was almost snubbed out because of America’s highway system (in recent years, there’s been a huge push to revitalize it), Hamburg’s is still thriving 826 years later.  Honestly, a life at sea is not complete with a stop at Hamburg Harbor. This past winter, I took a trip back to visit Hamburg and was welcomed by unseasonably beautiful weather.  As a result,

Heini Hiltunen Timo Kaukonen, left, sweats it out at the Sauna World Championships.
From ESPN "Sports from Hell"

That Time I Almost Died in a German Sauna

There are two types of people in this world: there are those who go to saunas for relaxation.  Then there are those who turn relaxation into a competition.  Yes, there are literally people who go to saunas to challenge one another on who can stay in a sauna the longest.  Back in 2010 I read a story about that Russian guy who died in a sauna competition in Finland.  The relaxation aspect of it I can get, but I think it’s a bit crazy that people take it to a whole new level and put their bodies through stress just

dall sheep

Have You Seen the Dall Sheep?

Alaska is teeming with wildlife.  In fact, Denali National Park & Preserve is home to 39 species of mammals, 169 types of birds, 14 fish, and 1 amphibian.  Amongst them are wild bears, moose, coyotes, wolves, eagles, and other creatures worth excitedly wiping out your camera and accidentally dropping it for.  But no animal in Alaska gets the older male tourist population more pumped than the Dall sheep. When compared to the other majestic creatures that you encounter in Alaska, the Dall sheep are simpletons.  You can usually observe them far off in the distance, hanging out on the peaks

Sun Rise

From the Darkness Comes Light

Hey there readers, On A Travel Broad, I tend to focus only on the positive and exciting side of my life and travels.  I share with you pictures from my time living in Germany and stories of my jaunts through Europe and North America in hopes of inspiring you to go out and experience the world for yourselves.  But I hardly ever discuss the difficult times I sometimes face.  Some of these challenging times are by my choice because I love traveling and sharing my travels with you gives me purpose.  In the 5 years since I’ve started this blog,

deutsche bahn

How to Navigate Germany When Deutsche Bahn Train Drivers Go on Strike

If you want to tick off a group of Germans, tell them that the train is going to be fifteen minutes late. But if you tell them that none of the trains will be running due to a strike? Utter chaos! Hundreds of thousands of travelers depend on the Deutsche Bahn to transport them to airports, cities and neighboring countries in Europe. But as Deustche Bahn train drivers prepare to go on strike tomorrow through Monday, these travelers, many of whom will be converging on Berlin this weekend for the 25th anniversary of its fall, are scrambling for an alternative.

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Playing with Roma Children

Below Acropolis in Athens, Greece, Roma children work as street performers, playing accordions, drums and the bouzouki, a type of Greek guitar, for money.  They purposely target marketplaces and tourist areas, knowing that that’s where the cash flows the fastest.  There are several levels of aggressiveness when it comes to begging.  Some casually perform on the street corner — in fact, the older kids are very talented at playing folk music, turning street corners in to concerts.  Then there are others who go from cafe table to cafe table playing music while simultaneously begging for money. Some get creative by

favorite place in the world

Answer to the Infamous Question, “What’s Your Favorite Place in the World”

“What’s your favorite place in the world?”  It’s often the first question that everyone asks when they learn that I’m a travel writer.  In my younger years, I often answered with a place I had recently gotten back from, mostly for the sake of conversation.  “Oh I was surprised how much I loved Denmark” or “I loved Barcelona for the food”. But the more I travel, the more I realize that there is no definitive answer to this question.  People sometimes expect me to pick a favorite place because of the sites (“isn’t Paris the best because of the Eiffel

York Post

York: England’s Most Haunted Town is Actually Charming

York: England’s most haunted town.  Seems like a bold claim, but when you look at York’s gruesome history of the Black Death, murder, poverty, war, and genocide you can kind of see where these ghost stories come from.  As a result, many businesses in York are cashing in on things that go bump in the night.  Nightly ghost tours take upwards of 75 thrill-seekers at a time to go ghost hunting at famous sites, hotels offer premier rates to stay in their “haunted suite”, and pubs have banners and signs claiming York’s most haunted pub, not because of any quantifiable

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The Cats of Athens

People often talk about how many dogs are roaming around Athens, but let’s take a moment to enjoy the cats. With the picturesque views and the natural coyness of cats, I have enough photos to do a 15-month “Kittehs of Athens” Calendar if I wanted to.  Here’s a few of my favorite felines so far.

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Road Tripping Alaska

This past September, my roommate and I embarked on #RoadTripAlaska.  We flew into Anchorage, rented a car and hit the road with only a vague idea of what we wanted to accomplish.  I must say, that given the minimal planning, my roommate and I did a phenomenal job going with the flow and making it up as we went along. But after the journey, I had a dose of retrospect.  Looking back there are things that I learned on the journey that I wish I had thought of beforehand — but I guess there’s always next time! 1. Bring toiletpaper

30,000 Feet is My “Me Time”

My living conditions at 30,000 feet are way better than my normal life here on the ground.  I just don’t treat my body with any type of respect.  I’m an over active person, so every waking moment is dedicated to either working hard or playing hard, preventing me from doing things like… I don’t know… relaxing.  I have to be forced into an environment with no cell phone reception or easily accessible Internet in order for me to allow myself to have some “me time”.  A normal person finds peace in taking a bubble bath or reading a book on the beach, but I find my zen at 30,000 feet.  Here’s a few ways I spend my in-flight “me time”.

1.) I finally get to read those books I ordered from Amazon!

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Kick up your feet and relax!

A pile of books remains untouched until it’s time for me to head over to the airport.  When I moved into my new place last September, I had dreams of sitting on my roof and reading books.  I took recommendations from everywhere — friends, the Internet, Oprah — and bought a whole library off of Amazon.  But then I gave myself no free time and I’m left with a reading list two times the size of my required reading from High School AP Literature.

Although I’m proud to say that so far this year I’ve been on 12 separate flights and have completed one book — Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns”.  I laughed, I cried, I related to it hardcore. I hope to grow up and be like Mindy.  Now moving on to Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”.

2.) I catch up on all the movies everyone’s been talking about

I feel so left out of the loop when my friends are all talking about this year’s top movies!  So when I’m on a long haul flight I am binge watching movies so that I can be a valuable asset to the bar banter, rather than the chick who everyone has to slowly explain the plot of the movie to.  What a drag when everyone wants to talk about spoilers and I haven’t even heard of the movie yet!

3.) I eat a balanced meal for once

This baby is living the life

This baby is living the life

When it comes to food I don’t think to plan ahead.  I go from zero to starving which results in me grabbing whatever is closest to me.  Last night at 12:30 it was a ham and cheese Hot Pocket left over from a 90’s party I had last weekend.  So when I’m 30,000 feet up I finally eat a hearty meal.

4.) I write in my journal

In fact, I wrote this post on a recent flight to Fort Worth, Texas!  Most of my article ideas come to me when I sit with my leather bound journal.  There’s something about putting the pen to the paper that helps me think and write with clarity.  Although sorry to the poor soul who, when I die a legend, has to read the hieroglyphs in order to publish my notebooks.  I have sloppy handwriting and I also don’t write in a linear fashion.  Many of my notes have arrows, bullet points and a numbering system that only I can decipher.

5.) I nap hard

I’m talking jaw dropping, mouth drooling nap attack.  On an average night I get no more than 6 hours of sleep.  Which is fine if it happens once in a while, but this is on a regular basis.  It is no where near the amount of sleep I need, so when I get on a flight I have been known to fall asleep immediately.  I have actually fallen asleep on the runway and woke up in the air — didn’t even feel take off!

6.) I sit still for once

My friends will tell you that I’m constantly on the go.  So it’s nice to be strapped in and relaxing for once.  It’s hilarious, though, that it takes an actual seat belt and confined space to force me to sit still and enjoy some “me time”.

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