Hot Sauce Tasting: Hurts So Good

A quick visit to a hot sauce store in Berlin turns into an unplanned three-hour hot sauce sampling that made us feel like we just dropped acid.

Have you ever planned a hot sauce tasting? Ever even imagined one? Well, maybe you should.

Continue Reading

Base Flying Berlin: An 11th Wedding Anniversary Jump (Video)

Berlin Base Flying

What is marriage, if not a leap of faith?

Fourteen years ago, on or around our second date, Audrey and I went skydiving together. It was, as you might imagine, both terrifying and fantastic. And as much as you also might also imagine that it wiped away my fear of heights, it did not. Perhaps it chiseled away at that wall, but it certainly didn’t tear it down. I still swoon thinking about that airplane canopy above 16,000 feet. I still get wobbly above 10 stories.

So here we are 14 years later in Berlin, celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. What better way to recognize the occasion than to jump (base fly) from the top of a 37-story building?

Continue Reading

Berlin Gastro-Rallye: A Night of Food, Culture and History

A view of Berlin — its cycles of destruction and renewal and the evolution of its food scene — through the lens of a one-night gastro tour.

If you wish to learn about a place, eat your way to the answer. This maxim resonates no less so than in Berlin, a city whose history tells of a rise from the ashes and from oppression and whose present-day witnesses a continual carving out of its own identity.

For as much as we’ve learned and eaten during our time in Berlin, there was apparently still more to eat, still more to learn.

Continue Reading

Beer Me, Berlin!

You know it's been a long day at the beer festival when guys in lederhosen start doing the moonwalk.

— The essence of the moment, Saturday night at the Berlin beerfest.

More than 2,000 beers from over 300 breweries hailing from 86 countries — all spread out over two kilometers in the middle of the city. No, this is not Oktoberfest.

So many beers yet so little time. That's the Berlin Beer Festival.

Continue Reading

The Lesson of the Great Bavarian Wine Harvest

Has anyone ever told you how lucky you are regarding something for which you've worked so hard? Even when they're trying to pay you a compliment, it stings a bit, doesn’t it?

After a visit to a family winery in the Bavarian region of Lower Franconia this past October, I imagine that’s how winemakers sometimes feel.

During a weekend crush event at Bickel-Stumpf winery, we helped pick the season’s Cabernet Sauvignon. We enjoyed the blazing autumn sun, we ate heartily, and we tasted far too many wines. And like any roundly fulfilling experience, one of life’s lessons was reinforced along the way: the best in life is often less about glamour and more about hard work, mettle, and passion.

Continue Reading

Every Döner Tells a Story, Don’t It? It does in Berlin.

Berlin döner kebabs, a local classic

Istanbul is like Kreuzberg, but less Turkish.

— A Berlin cabbie puts the city's Turkish neighborhood in perspective.

Take a walk down any street in Kreuzberg, Berlin and you'll find scads of döner shops offering shaved, spiced meat (usually lamb) served inside rolled flatbread or in a bread pocket. At a distance, all döner shops look similar – meat sears away on a giant spindle, colorful salads await, and a few guys of Turkish origin zip around putting it all together.

Continue Reading

Berlin on a Bicycle: The World in an Afternoon Interlude

Berlin, cut clouds moving quickly. Crisp autumn air. Wide streets. Unfathomable history.

We set out on borrowed bicycles. They give me pause: Audrey’s back tire has a leak and my handlebars wobble like something out of the Wizard of Oz.

I begin to move. My apprehension fades, those handlebars steadier than I imagined.

It's like riding a bicycle,” I laugh to myself.

Continue Reading

The Berlin Street Artist: A Parable of Passion and Practice

berlin street artist

Andy has been a street performer for over fifteen years. He’s originally from Britain, but he’s called Berlin his home for the last four of those years. We watched his show at a festival in Berlin’s Westend neighborhood this past weekend. In his performance, Andy combined juggling, balance and slapstick – all suffused with his dry British humor.

His finale: fire juggling on a tightrope held by members of the crowd.

While I enjoyed the wit, the feats, and the crowd reaction, it was a post-performance chat with Andy that really left an impression.

Continue Reading

The Best European Christmas Markets

We’re here in Beijing, China and the only things going up more rapidly than new buildings are Christmas trees (mostly fake, of course). Last night, we became nostalgic while strolling past another giant shopping center Christmas tree, this one shielded by a roof that houses the world's largest LED video screen (250 meters long by 30 meters wide).

Beijing Christmas Decorations
Getting into the Christmas spirit in Beijing, China.

Though the proliferation of Christmas decorations in Beijing is remarkable, their presence just doesn't capture the holiday spirit like a European Christmas market would. So, we offer a walk down European Christmas Market memory lane and our “Best of” European Christmas Markets list.

Continue Reading

Christmas Reflections – A Detour to Dresden

One year ago today, we left our home in Prague to begin this journey of ours. Our first stop was Dresden, Germany where we found the Christmas spirit in its Advent markets on our way to Southeast Asia.

Christmas Market - Dresden
Smoking men at the Christmas market in Dresden.

We have a soft and nostalgic spot for Christmas markets. We were first hooked by our experience nine years ago at the markets in Munich (Germany), Salzburg and Hall (Austria). The storybook images in our heads sprang to life there in the midst of snow-capped mountains as communities gathered at dusk to drink spiced wine, eat freshly roasted chestnuts out of small paper bags and shop for handmade decorations. Spices wafted from stalls serving waffles and candied almonds and gift stalls burst with nutcrackers and wood-carved incense-burning Santa figurines.

Continue Reading