Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beauty of Paris and Order of Germany - Vienna

The intimate hotel located in the center of Vienna was specially advertised as gay friendly on the website. We choose it because of its location and price. We laughed even more when we saw the "Male ONLY Sauna" sign right in front of check-in counter. I was joking about been discriminated as a female afterwards.

Chocolate croissant, tiramisu, and a coffee... guess which meal of the day I was having .... Breakfast! I was not the only person who had desserts for breakfast. Everyone in the coffee shop was. How lovely to start your day with chocolate and cakes! I love it!!

Vienna has the beauty of Paris and the order of Germany, Josh said. Everywhere we looked, we could not help saying "it's so beautiful." As we turned around and looked behind us, we would again said "oh...it's so beautiful...and that...oh...is so beautiful..." We must have said it at least a hundred times. What would be a better idea than spending an evening enjoying food, drinks, and operas at the Film Festival on the Rathausplatz. There were so many people and even when it rained people just put on their rain gear and continued watching the opera. We enjoyed the opera very much although we had no ideas what it was about...besides the obvious... a lot of twists in the plots.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We are in Paris!!

Château de Versailles -- after we arrived and checked into our hotel, we decided to pay a visit since we both never visited the famous Versailles. The line was so long that we waited for almost two hours to get into the palace. It was worth the wait. The palace is beautiful, luxurious, and massive. We took many pictures inside and outside of the palace. If you are interested in finding out more about the palace and what the life was like being a royalty, see http://www.daysofroyalty.com/ It's very interesting.

Picture speaks for itself...

Josh is dancing...

As you can see, we were just excited to be in Paris like two kids. (and Josh is still dancing with such a big smile...)

Both of us have been to Paris before and were glad to visit Paris TOGETHER. We spent the second day in the city strolling around, taking goofy pictures, and soaking up the atmospheres of beautiful and romantic Paris.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Another town another 'Schloss' -- The Baroque residence of the Dukes of Baden. We got there in the early morning and spent some time wondering around town and shopping (as you can see in the pictures...it's not just for me...I know what you are thinking...) Later that afternoon, we went to Josh's friend's house for BBQ. Mathias and Dani have two daughters 3 and 5. They are very cute and love Josh very much. Josh was chasing them around the house and making them laughs. Sometimes, Josh didn't even do anything, they still giggle just by staring at him. It was funny to watch them.

Karlsruhe reminds me of Boise -- quite, peaceful, not a lot of people, house with a yard (Mathias and Dani have a nice house with a inclusive yard.)

Kitchen/Hometown Flavor

As some of you may wonder where and what I go/do during the day or when Josh is at work or laying on the ONLY couch working and watching CNN. Well.... here it is -- Kitchen.

I often spend more than 5 hours for preparing, cooking, and cleaning.) Our menu is interesting and has lots of varieties. Since I have tons of time, I often look up recipes online and experiment with some Taiwanese dishes I miss. Like this dish 蘿蔔絲餅 "Tunip Slice Cake"(I am not sure if the English translation is correct but that's how Google translated it.) It was a big success. We ate them all! My cooking has been adding a lot of difficulty to our plan of losing weight. Both of us can not resist the food and cooking is what I do and love these days. If you had asked me two years ago -- what do I see myself doing in two years.... I did not see cooking to be one of them.

Chef Ally

Friday, July 13, 2007

Rhine Valley

We went to the Rhine Valley for 'Rhine in Flames' which is held a few times (in different weeks of the summer) a year. There were three towns involved with the big firework celebrations - Bingen (the other side of the river), Assmannshausen, and Rudesheim (that's where we were in the picture). We took a ferry across the Rhine River and then took a steep hike for about 60 minutes. We got so tired by the end of day from hiking that we couldn't stay any longer for the fireworks which started at 10:30 pm. (Well...that's another typical Ally and Josh.) On the train back to hotel in Bacharach, we did see about 50 boats lined up on the river, getting ready for the display. Lights from the boats reflecting on the river were so beautiful. Next time, no hiking just fireworks.

See the lift chair behind me!! We should have taken the lift, so we wouldn't miss the fireworks. We lost the path on the way down and snuck between the grape vines.

We stopped in Mainz on the way back home and took a stroll along the Rhine River ....had some tea and dessert, and just enjoyed a good sunny day out!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

First thing you see after you get in the house. The door on the right leads you to the living room. The middle one is our bedroom, and the one on the left is the guest room.

Living room - Josh loves to lay on the ONLY couch working AND watching CNN.

Ally in her favor outfit (GO BSU!) in our bed room. What do you think of our closet arrangement?

Star Rating
Five Stars (Deluxe)
Homey, sweet, comfortable and you get to visit us!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We want to go home (Taiwan) *drooling*

Beef Noodle Soup was all I could think about after Celia and I saw it on the TV while we were in Lisbon. (We were like *drooling* so bad and wished to be home [Taiwan] while Josh was laughing at our expression.) Here is a picture of Ally version of beef noodle soup. Later I heard Josh's coworker told me that he was talking about how good the soup was and he couldn't wait to get home and have some more!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lisbon Portugal Final

Three of us at Palacio da Pena in Sintra, the hilltop retreat of the last kings of Portugal.

We spend most of our last day in Sintra visiting castle and wondering around. I had been to Sintra a few days ago and found out later that Sintra is 'one of the a thousand places you should visit before you die' (book). I would go back again even thought I have been there twice.

Torre de Belem - What a attitude Josh & Celia had.

Monument to the Discoveries.

Meet the Youngest of the Wang Family - Lisbon Portugal Part III

Celia (Hsin Yi), smaller version of Ally per Josh (precisely33 pounds less), was expected to meet us at the hotel lobby latest 8:30 p.m. We saw no Asian arrived since I got there. We got worried and went checking her flight schedule. Delay! What a surprised. Finally, she arrived almost 10 pm. After greetings and dropping of her baggage, we headed to a highly recommended seafood restaurant. Our expectation of the restaurant was low if you have seen the fish picture in Part II, you would understand.

OH NO!! It's 10:30 pm and the waiting line was long to outside of the restaurant on the sidewalk. I guessed we passed the tourist dinner time (6-9 p.m.) and were in line with the locals (10-1 a.m.) Thankfully, we didn't wait too long. The smell was so good, we were starving, and we had Portuguese menu. While Josh and Celia were trying to use their limited Spanish to understand the Portuguese menu, I was thinking...let's just order whatever other tables had. They all looked so good. So, we had clams, some oysters, 2 big crab (regular and spider which we couldn't tell which one was which), and unlimited buttered bread.

The dinner was so good and funny. Picture this - hammers up and down, crab juice spill, crab shell flying all around you and the tables next to you. It was quite a first impression dinner for both Josh and Celia. We had a good time making fun of ourselves and teased Celia about her great cooking skills (she never cooked before this trip.) The dinner turned out to be our BEST dinner in Lisbon (and Celia's best meal over a month.) Family and seafood...best combination!!! However, I probably would NOT recommend meeting 'the family' over 'crab' dinner.

Fun with colleagues - Lisbon Portugal Part II

After the first day of encounters, I stayed at the hotel and hung out with Josh during his breaks for a couple of days. It was relaxing... no house works. One time during his lunch break, we jumped on a cable car and let it took us wherever it went (typical us... no specific destinations.) We came across a street performance (actually it was in the park.) It was very interesting and attracted many children and adults. The show was good but we couldn't stay long.

At night, we explored different restaurants with his colleagues. A very fun group of people. This picture was taken after the 'chicken' restaurant. According to Rick Steves, the chicken dish is the best in town. We all ordered the famous 'chicken'. However, Josh and I seemed to have different opinions. After all, we are not fans of chicken.

Here is another picture of a fish taken at a restaurant in the Doca area under a bridge looked just like the Golden Gate. The waiter was trying so hard to sell us the fish. He brought it up three times and we kept saying NO. He was very disappointed. We thought he must want to get ride of 'the month end inventory' since he did the same to other customers as well. If you thought the fish I cooked looked gross, you should have seen this one. I didn't think it would have been fresh or testy. Especially who knew how long it had been there!!

Josh and his buddy Tom. We had a great time of making fun of the fish and what it appeared to be 2 cups of too much butter on our dishes instead of just seafood!!
June 27 Wednesday night, everyone had a break from work and had a little fun. We hiked up to Castelo de Sao Jorge where had the finest view in Lisbon. We walked along the reconstructed ramparts and waited for the shopping group to reconvene. Some couldn't help stopping at shops on the way up. I was not one of them...Surprise! In the castle, there is a restaurant where served great food. All I remember was... good food, plenty to drink, and lots laugh. After dinner, we experienced the 'Portugal style of night life'. Here was what we were told - people don't start bar hopping until 2 a.m. and clubbing until 5 a.m. Can you believe that? We could only manage to experience the early part of night life. I was amazed how crowded the bars, streets along the bars, and clubs were. And it was only Wednesday. Can you image what weekend is like? We all wondered how they could function at work the next day.