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.

roma kids

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

cats of athens

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.


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

A World of Bacon


It’s bacon!

I just ran a program on my Facebook to find words that I use frequently and, whaddya know, I use the word “bacon” way more than any other word! I’m borderline obsessed with bacon.  I then compared it to trends across Philadelphia and then the United States only to discover that we are a nation of bacon obsessed people.  Clearly marketers were aware of this phenomenon way before it dawned on me.  Companies including Denny’s with their “Baconalia” event and Oscar Mayer who ran the Bacon-Barter challenge last year, have pioneered the bacon advertising bandwagon.

Our fascination with fatty strips of pig got me thinking about what bacon is like around the world.  I remember when I lived in Germany I spent months trying to find bacon and would often bribe my army friends to infiltrate the American base rations to bring me back some real freaking bacon.  Nevertheless, the “bacon” we know and love isn’t bad in other countries… it’s just different.  Here’s some of the bacon adventures I’ve encountered.

The American Bacon-Topia

I guess I should start with America and the different types of bacon-like substances we’ve got here on the home front.  Sure we’ve got bacon and it’s immitators including turkey-bacon and the like, but what about the regional delights!  I grew up in South Jersey where if you didn’t order bacon at one of the thousands of diners in that lovely state, then you ordered a side of pork roll, also known in some regions as “Taylor Ham”.  Pork Roll is basically a ham patty and is closely related to the Philadelphia delicacy of scrapple which is a bit more heinous. (To read more about scrapple, check out my article “Beyond the Cheesesteak: What to Eat in Philadelphia” on Viator.)


I can’t decide what I like more: American bacon or  British bacon.  Now I know what you’re saying, “ARRGH – Don’t tread on me” and “No taxation without representation”.  I’m not trying to start a bacon revolution or anything.  I’m just saying that British bacon is like American bacon but thicker and meatier.  You have to eat it with a fork and knife!

Czech Republic

Two words that may or may not go together: Spaghetti Bacon!?  It’s bacon in spaghetti.


I hunted for months to find bacon only to find something called “Schinken” time and time again.  Schinken is cured strips of ham sliced thin like most deli meats.  For a while I tried frying it as I would bacon because, well, I thought this was German bacon.  And that didn’t work out to well.  But I quickly discovered after watching Germans eat, that it tastes great eaten straight from the package or placed delicately on top of a lightly buttered brotchen, sans frying.

It didn’t satisfy my bacon-cravings entirely but it was an okay substitute… at least until I found “Speck”.  Speck, which directly translates to fat, was the closest thing to American bacon that I could find.  Unlike American bacon which comes from the pigs belly, speck comes from the pigs shoulder, which serves for a leaner, less fatty bacon.

German is a language that has a ton of hilarious words, but one of my favorites has to be “Kummerspeck“.  It translates directly to “grief bacon” and it describes the weight gained from emotional overeating.


In Montreal, Canadian bacon was just what I expected it to be — small disks of ham.  But when I googled “Canadian Bacon” to find a little bit of history about this succulent breakfast side, the first thing that came up was the movie “Canadian Bacon” with John Candy.  So I’m gonna leave it at that!



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