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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.

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.

tips

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

Why I Love Edinburgh Scotland

I get this question all the time: “What’s your favorite place in the whole world?”  I have to admit, I’ve gotten around, but my answer always remains the same — Edinburgh, Scotland!  Edinburgh has the perfect balance of proper royalty and grungy underground.  It’s a city that has a rich heritage and history, but when it comes to fashion, they are on top of the up and coming trends.  I enjoyed my time very much in Edinburgh and plan on going back.  Why?  Well there are a ton of reasons!  Here’s just a few of the reasons why I’m itching to go back !

 Edinburgh from the castle-2

1.) The Funkiest Hostel in Town

Edinburgh has plenty of wonderful hotels so it is not hard to find accommodations in Edinburgh.  While I was visiting, I stayed at a really hip hostel called the Caledonian Backpackers.  The staff were really friendly and knew about all of the secret local spots, the common areas were really chill (Nintendo Wii AND SpongeBob marathons – say what) and free breakfast!

2.) Edinburgh is Legendary

I’m a huge history nerd.  So when it comes to learning the stories that make a city, I want in.  I took a New Europe tour with a bearded gentleman that sounded like a pirate and learned so many of Edinburgh’s legends.  Almost every corner is chocked full of tales of corpse snatchers, murderers and individuals surviving the Gallows.  On top of tales of living legends, some of those who have passed are believed to still be lurking through the streets, waltzing through Grey Friars Kirk, and terrorizing pub-goers.  That is why any visit to Edinburgh is not complete without taking a walking tour and/or a ghost tour.

3.) Pass the Haggis

The food is nothing to run home and tell mom about, but who goes to Scotland without trying Haggis?  Haggis is a surprisingly delicious potpourri of heinous animal parts.  The way it was described to me was that after the rich ate high off the hog, the middle class got the rump and the poor got the scraps, it was the poorest of the poor who got the everything left.  Haggis is actually very tasty.  It reminds me of the taste and consistency of a sausage, however it is a bit pepper which I presume is to mask the flavor of Haggis’ true ingredients.

View from J.K. Rowlings Window

View from J.K. Rowlings Window

4.) Home to Great Writers

Edinburgh has spawned some of the best writers, hands down.  Naturally, one of the most recent was J.K. Rowling who wrote the first two Harry Potter novels from the Elephant House Cafe by a window that overlooks Grey Friars Kirk and has a fantastic view of Edinburgh Castle, perched on a cliff over the city.  Clearly, the legends of Edinburgh, the picturesque alleyways and buildings along with Edinburgh’s colorful characters would encourage any writer to take the pen to the page.  I know it did for me.  And because Edinburgh is the home to fantastic writers, Edinburgh has the Writers Museum.

scotland 0395.) Storm the Castle

Edinburgh’s got palaces, castles and ruins all over the place!  On one end of the Royal Mile, the main street of Edinburgh, is the Edinburgh Castle while on the other end is Holyrood House, the palace that the royal family still uses to this day.  All along the way are old buildings, historic alleyways and other historic markers of Edinburgh.

6.) Take a Picture – It’ll Last Longer

You can’t walk a block without having to go “oh wait guys – this right here – this is a great picture” and then snapping a picture.  Being in Edinburgh just makes you feel like a professional photographer.

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