Tuesday, January 15, 2008


We had pizza in a piazza in Pisa. Not only was it fun to say, it was great actually having a chance to do it. We went to see the Pisa leaning tower after we arrived. It was raining and cold. Since it was during the off season, we had no problem to get tickets to go inside the tower. (Because of the tower's structure, the tower was limited to certain number of people each day. It was recommended to purchase tickets online two weeks early.) Walking inside the tower was more difficult than I thought... the stairs were narrow and it leans so much to one side that I had to walk against the wall. It was very beautiful even on a raining day. We could see the green fields surrounding Pisa, and the mountains beyond the field.

Next day, we decided to check out Luca... however the train was on strike. Bummer! But it was okay...because we could take bus... so we were told. It took us a while to find the right bus stop and we waited for an hour....and the bus never came. Super disappointed. The public transportation is just not that reliable in Italy. Anyway, we spent the second day wandering Piazza die Miracoli and took more pictures. Although, we were disappointed of not going to Luca, the food in Pisa were surprising good. We were impressed that we could eat cheese with onion jam.

I am so looking forward to seeing more of Tuscany. Next time, I am going to rent a car for sure since we have a GPS now. (Yes...we have a GPS but we don't drive and don't have a car in Germany.)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Holiday with Family in Florida

Family - what makes us smile!
Time in Florida was short and flew by fast. We ate... talked..., and ate... talked, and more food... more conversation to catch up with everybody's life. The food and conversation were excellent! It was fun.

Our 20 minutes on the Florida beach. Blue sky and white super soft sandy beach. Lovely.

Games on... we played Trivial Pursuit from the 80s (before my time in this country)... tough game by the way. All the cousins got together...second time in one year... a record. Last time was at Aaron and Becca's wedding. Aaron and Becca continued our tradition of meeting for New Years!!!! (Well almost...we had new year's on the plane :-( but the general timeframe is good enough)!

Christmas Market in Germany

If you like Christmas, you would love Christmas Markets in Germany. One of the best time to be in Germany - feastive cities/towns and cheerful people due to the side affect on glüh wines. We usually ate tons of food and had a few glüh wines while walking around.

We saw several Christmas Markets that were close to Stuttgart. Some were local Christmas Markets so they were small. I went to one of the small ones in Tübingen. It was cute surrounded by old buildings. Since it's a local market, there were kids playing instruments instead of caroling - trying to earn a few extra holiday bucks. Tübingen Christmas Market only lasts for a couple days over a weekend. Thus, the market was super crowded. There was a time that I could not walk or move unless people started moving around me.

Ludwigsburg - a professional Christmas Market. It started pouring rain after we were there for about one hour.

Stuttgart - one of the biggest professional ones in southern Germany. The booths were heavily decorated and sold various products from Christmas ornaments, candles, sausage, sweets, glüh wine, to household kitchen wear and clean supplies. They also had small rides for children.

Finally, my favorite Essilingen - a professional medieval Christmas Market. Forgot the camera so...no pictures. Hopefully... next year. Besides the traditional Christmas Market, Essilingen had a separate Medieval part that was lite with electrical and oil lanterns, fire torches, and random wood fire places. The booths sold medieval clothing, containers, and food (a roasting pig on top of fire, big chunk of meat with bread...) They even had two huge wooden bath tabs with real naked people taking baths and a porto-potty that would amaze you.