Sunday, December 6, 2009

Worth at Least 284 Words

With winter setting in and the temperature dropping, I've had less time to ride the bike. But at the same time it's still a little warm for any substantial snow fall. It sucks that we're in this transitional time where the conditions aren't conducive to riding my bike or snowboarding. Tomorrow I head down to Garmisch for three days where I'll hopefully get to snowboard for the first time this year (actually, first time in two years. Unfortunately I'll only have one day to ride). Even if the conditions aren't that great it should be an ample warm-up to the season. I'm planning a trip to Austria for the weekend of 18-21 December and then New Year's in Davos, Switzerland where I plan to ride for an entire week (all dependant on how much effort I put into après ski).

Penny and I spent last weekend in Italy. On Saturday we traveled to Venice and spent the afternoon walking around and sight-seeing. I haven't conducted any formal research, but I'm almost certain the only reason people still live in Venice is to provide workers for the tourist shops/restaurants/churches. Despite the fact that any small Italian village is more authentically "Italian" than Venice, we had a nice time navigating through the small alleys and watching the town slowly sink.

This past weekend Penny's parents came out to visit. An almost obligatory weekend adventure during December in Bavaria is a trip to the Nürnberg Christmas Market. At all Christmas markets there are numerous booths selling various wares from tree ornaments to handmade candles to knit hats. Out-numbering the vendor booths by about two to one are food vendors selling sausage, snacks, and glühwein, which is a spiced, mulled wine that is served warm. A lot of people really like it, though I believe that is only because drinking it is the "in" thing to do around the holiday season. For those that haven't tried it (and those that have and lie to themselves that it tastes good) it tastes like boiled gym socks (with an undertone of apricot and oak and a strong, lingering finish). Oh yeah, there are a crap load of people as well. So in the end you go there full of Christmas cheer, and you leave angry because you've been bumped into all day and you have no money left (with only an extra inch on your waste and the taste of gym socks in your mouth to show for it).

I've put up some pictures, scroll over them for captions.

Iceland: barren and beautiful.
This little guy is a riot - and not a quiet one I learned the other day. I saw this in Reykjavik and immediately thought that the producer of this product is sitting on a gold mine if he could market it for all children.

Little punk needs some wrap.

The leaning tower of Venice.

This is the famous Nürnberg (Nuremberg) Christmas Market.
Enjoy the show. Nine more working days until I'm not in charge anymore. I can't wait to be responsible for only myself.