Sunday, November 29, 2009


Yesterday, Mark and I bought a raclette grill. Raclette is a traditional Swiss meal that is popular in the winter. It consists of melting cheese under a hot plate and combining the cheese with potatoes, although it can be eaten with other items. We put the cheese on small pieces of bread! It was so good! We both loved it! I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot more raclette during the cold winter months!

Family Weekend in Berlin!


Last weekend, I flew to Berlin to see my extended family! The last time I was in Berlin, it was 1990, I was 8 years old, and the Berlin Wall had just fallen the previous year. After almost 20 years, it was great to go back!

I arrived Thursday evening at Tegel airport where my Aunt Hanne picked me up. I stayed at her and my uncle Knut's house in Hohen Neuendorf, which is a village right outside of Berlin. Friday, I spent the early afternoon shopping with my aunt and had a great schnitzel lunch! My cousin Simone took me sight-seeing in the late afternoon in West Berlin, where I saw the famous church Kaiser-Wilhem-Gedachtnis-Kirche and the famous Ka De We luxury department store! Friday night, my other aunt and uncle, Peter and Rita came over for dinner. It was fun to have a family reunion! ;)

Saturday was a really fun day! My uncle Knut took me on a tour of Tegel, the neighborhood in Berlin where he, my dad and my other uncles grew up! It is also where his current office is located. I saw all three of their childhood apartments, my da
d's elementary school, and the bar where they hung out. (The bar is now a coffee shop, so we went and had a cappuccino there!) After the tour, he dropped me off at my cousin Simone's house, where I met her family: her husband Michael, and her daughters Nina and Julie. (Her other daughter Marie is currently in Australia). Simone then took me on another sight-seeing tour, this time in East Berlin. We started out at Museum Island and walked around a popular outdoor flea market. From there, we had a beautiful view of the Berliner Dom. Then we walked to Alexanderplatz, passing the Fernsehturm, Berlin's TV tower and popular observation deck along the way. In Alexanderplatz, we checked out the world clock, and then made our way down to the Reichstag, the home of Germany's Parliament. Our final stop on the tour was the Brandenburger Tor, which is the famous gate where the wall came down and East Berlin citizens passed through to the west. We had another family dinner that evening with my cousin Simone's family. It was also fun because we Skyped with my dad back in San Diego!

On Sunday morning, we went for a walk in the forest behind my aunt and uncle's house. Berlin has so many trees and parks. I can't wait to back in the summer and see all of the green foliage!

It was a lot of fun to reconnect with my family and I look forward to seeing them again next year!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Car!

2008 BMW 330xi

Mark enjoying his new ride!

The interior

Plenty of extra room!

Monday, November 9, 2009



Mark and I spent a three day weekend in London last weekend! Mark's friends John and Jen who live in California were there on vacation. It was a lot of fun to catch up friends that we haven't seen in quite a while!

We flew into London Heathrow late Thursday night and met John and Jen in the bar of our hotel, The Chesterfield Mayfair. We enjoyed some cocktails while catching up before going to bed. On Friday, we headed out on the town to do a lot of sight-seeing! We walked from our hotel past Bu-ckingham Palace and then through St. James Park. When we exited the park, we came across Winston Churchill's War Cabinet museum, which we decided to tour. It is a museum that has preserved the underground rooms that Winston Churchill and his cabinet used to run the war during WWII. It is a great museum that I recommend to anyone interested in WWII history. After leaving the museum, we went to take a tour of Westminster Abbey, which is Great Britain's most famous church. It has been used in almost all of England's coronations as well as many famous weddings. The abbey also houses the tombs of many well-known individuals, including Charles Dickens and past kings and queens. After a late lunch we went to the Tate Britain, a famous art museum to view the Turner collection they have on exhibit. After the Tate, we headed back to the hotel to figure out a place for dinner. We ended up going to a good Italian restaurant in the Soho district. After dinner, we had drinks at the posh Mayfair Bar around the corner from our hotel!

On Saturday, we spent a few hours touring the Tower of London. It is pretty incredible that this centuries-old tower has been preserved in the middle of the city. The property actually houses many individual towers where many people were imprisoned and executed for treason during the tumultuous religious times in the country's history. The tower was also meant to protect the city against invasion. The crown jewels are now on display in an amazing exhibit here as well, which include two of the largest diamonds in the world. We also saw an interesting exhibit dedicated to Henry VIII, who ruled England from 1509 until he died in 1547. After the Tower of London, we went to Harrods in Knightsbridge, the famous luxury department store. It has an amazing food hall, along with a floors of designer products! It definitely provides for a fantastic shopping experience!

On Saturday evening, we had dinner at the OXO tower, a building situated on the Thames River. The restaurant is on the top floor, and with floor-ceiling windows, provides an incredible view of the city. It was a great dinner and a good way to end our last night in London. Before we left on Sunday, we walked through the British Museum to view the Rosetta Stone and a collection of artifacts from the Parthenon!