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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

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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,

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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

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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

My Quick Fall Visit to Germany Part I

I can’t believe I never posted this!  Back in the fall, I had a business trip over to my company’s headquarters in London.  After a few days of meetings, eating triangle sandwiches and drinking tea, I hopped on a German Wings flight to Stuttgart, Germany, where one of my best friends in the world, Jan Kagel was living and working.  He had gotten a pretty decent internship with Bosch as a technical translator and, though he was enjoying his time in the south, was pining for the north and for familiar company.  The visit was short, but as we always do on our epic adventures, we fit a lot in.

By this point, I had already experienced Germany in the spring, winter and summer and quickly discovered that even though the seasons change, the weather stays pretty much the same; cold and damp.  I arrived pretty late on a Friday night, so we decided to get some sleep so that we could get up early and hit up Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  For being over 1,000 years old it is arguably the most well preserved medieval village in Germany.  The town is certainly a popular destination for tourists, but it’s not just because of the blast-from-the-past feel, some come for the all-year-around Christmas spirit.  Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the headquarters for Käthe Wohlfahrt, a famous store that sells authentic German decoration mostly for Christmas and home to a Christmas museum.

Though seeing the holiday decorations was fun, Rothenburg ob der Tauber offered a lot of stuff that I am particularly interested in.  I hope all of you know by now that I’m quite the history nerd, and even walking the entire span of the 14th century wall that surrounds the village was excitement enough!  We also got to see the Market Square, the Town Hall Tower, and the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum (Kriminalmuseum).

A portion of the wall that surrounds the town

A portion of the wall that surrounds the town

 

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Such a rainy day — Such a German day

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Jumping as usual

Jumping as usual

Jan and I in the Market Square

Jan and I in the Market Square

There was plenty of delicious eats — which is a given if you’re in Southern Germany.  Plenty of wurst, sausages, brats and all the sauerkraut one would ever want to eat.  But one of the most over rated treats in Rotheburg ob der Tauber had to be the “Schneeball” or snow ball.  It was a clump of dried out dough with powdered sugar on top.  It was marketed as a very “Rothenburg ob der Tauber” thing to eat and a sweet pastry to enjoy at a cafe.  But what you would think to be a sweet and unique treat ended up being a tourist trap.  Buyer beware, it might be a baked good invented in the town, but it’s nothing to go home and tell mom about!  It’s just a bland, over baked pile of flavorless funnel cake.

IT'S A TRAP!

A window of meat is a window of opportunity

A window of meat is a window of opportunity

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