Dresden and Berlin 2010

Brief trip with the family to Dresden and Berlin in 2010.

Dresden is a surprisingly large, lively, and pretty city. It helps, though, as always, to have a local show you more than just the old buildings in the center (thanks, Dirk!!!). The West Germans have done a good job of unifying the country, because at least in the central part of Dresden there’s not much to remind a visitor that this city used to be deep in the farthest reaches of East Germany. Comfy taverns, perfectly manicured bicycle lanes, recycling bins, vegetable gardens on the outskirts of town…I guess Germany is Germany is Germany, no matter what direction you’re looking in.

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Portugal 2010

Portugal in April 2010.

Just under two weeks in Portugal in early April. This is a good time to visit — not so many tourists and pleasant weather, although May is probably even nicer. We had no problem finding hotels on the spot, with no reservations. All of the rooms were large, comfortable, and clean. It seems that many small towns also have clean, well-equipped public toilets. The pretty tourist towns in Alentejo have free parking outside the city walls.

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South and North Dakota (USA July 2009)

Amanda and Toms in South and North Dakota in July 2009.

Based in Minnesota for a few weeks this summer, we wanted to take a short little trip — an outing. And by American standards this really was a fairly small trip. Just goes to show how disconnected from her original home Amanda has become, because a week was barely enough time to do it in. America’s big.

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Italy – Spring 2007

Amanda and Toms in Bologna, Genoa, and Cinque Terre / Spring 2007.

Yes, Cinque Terre is touristy, but in a good, classy way. Restaurants serve only local food, there’s a well-marked and well-maintained system of hiking trails, and there’s even an electric bus service between the towns. In other words, the local tourism board has got it together. They’ve got vision, and traveling here is a joy.

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Sardegna – Summer 2006

Amanda and Toms in Sardegna (Alghero and the East Coast) – June 2006.

Ah, Sardinia!

First of all, learn some very basic Italian before heading to Sardinia, especially if you’ll be leaving the main towns and beaches and going inland. Knowledge of English and German is usually quite limited, as is the tourism infrastructure. But don’t let that deter you from exploring, because the trade-off is that Sardinia is still “real” and very enchanting.

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