Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Paris Recap

Well, I'm finally back home from my 1st international trip. In fact...I've been home for nearly a week. And while I really did have the best intentions to blog every day during my trip I barely had the energy to check my email at the end of the day. I really only had one completely free day to explore Paris. So when I would get back to my hotel after working about 10 hours, I would hit the streets to see as much as I possibly could during my 4 days there. Here are a few things that I saw:

Sacre Coeur - my official favorite site in Paris (sorry Eiffel Tower)

I liked Sacre Coeur so much that I actually walked up these 5 million stairs twice to see it. My legs hated me for it.

Notre Dame

Arc de Triomphe - this actually wasn't even on my list of sites that I wanted to visit. I've seen it a million times on tv and in movies, but I thought...what's the big deal? It's just a gate, right? But I was close to it one night so I figured...what the heck. I'm glad I did. It's about 20 times the size I thought I was. And the most impressive part is detailing you get to see when you walk underneath it. Ah...the Eiffel Tower. It's just as beautiful as I thought it would be...

...and even prettier at night.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saying Auf Wiedersehen to Germany and Bonjour to Paris

On my last day in Germany, I decided to take the trek to Berlin to visit the Brandenburg Gate. I honestly didn't know much of the significance of this landmark before I went, but had heard that it was a great thing to see while in Germany. Turns out...it was probably one of the most significant landmarks I think I have ever seen. You can read some history of the gate here. Over the course of the Cold War, 152 people were shot and killed for trying to pass through the gate illegally from West Germany to East Germany. Today the gate symbolizes democratic freedom and a unified Germany.

The west side of the Brandenburg Gate

The east side of Brandenburg Gate {once occupied the the Soviet Union}

Right down the road from the Brandburg Gate is the Reichstag Building. This building now houses Germany's Parliament, but at one time was the site for many of Hitler's propaganda presentations.

What's is maybe more eerie than walking through the Brandenburg gate is standing on the same steps that Hitler once did.

During the Cold War, the Reichstag Building went unused after the Berlin Wall was built. After the Wall was torn down, the new democratic goverment decided to move back into this building. The glass dome that you can see in the above picture is meant to symbolize the political transparency that is now promised to the people by the goverment.
I'm a little bummed that I didn't know too much of the history of these amazing sites before I visited, but I'm really excited to start doing some research {I think I may have just become a history buff in training}.
And now on to more upbeat topics...
I arrived in Paris at 9:00pm (3:00 pm in Ohio). I can't say if it is the most beautiful city in the world, but it is certainly the most beautiful city I have ever seen. When I was walking to dinner tonight, I came across this gorgeous building...
I'm not sure what this is, but I'm excited to find out tomorrow.

This is the view from the balcony in my hotel room.

Tomorrow I have a completely free day to explore the city before I head to a tradeshow on Monday...so stay tuned for more pics of Paris

A few things I learned in Leipzig

1. Reliable & safe public transportation is priceless. I would totally trade in my car if we had a transportation system like Europe.

2. Ask for your check when you are ready to leave a restaurant. A server here in Germany will never bring you your check unless you ask. They consider it rude to bring the check beforehand because it would be like asking you to leave before you are ready.

3. Germans can DRINK. A LOT.

4. Its never to early for a beer in Germany. 9am? No problem! Beer is cheaper than bottled water or soft drinks and is served {and drank} at any time of the day.
Small little bars like this are all over Leipzig

5. Soccer is cool. And a big deal to pretty much every country but the US.

6. People go nuts over the World Cup...even if you're country's team isn't playing that particular day...its still a reason to celebrate.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Travel Photos...Buildings in Leipzig, Germany

So a few months ago I found out I was going to travel to Leipzig, Germany and Paris for my full time job. Although I've been bursting with excitement over this trip, I've kept it completely hush hush from the blog. One, because I consider the blog to be about our journey of building our online retail business into a someday brick & mortar store. And two...I honestly was afraid that the trip could get canceled at any moment.

Anyone who travels for work, knows that you only get a fraction of the time that you want to explore the city you're in. That's been the dead-on truth for my trip so far, but I have had a few hours to walk around and explore the wonder that is Leipzig.

Downtown Leipzig is riddled with A-M-A-Z-I-N-G buildings. I found out that since Leipzig is in East Germany, this beautiful architecture is from the pre-Communist era. There are some buildings that have a more modern feel, but for the most part, Leipzig feels like a different world. Walking down cobblestone streets between building that look like they could be straight off a movie set and where bicycles and pedestrians are the norm and cars are the minority has been completely eye opening to how different the European lifestyle is from our own.

Tomorrow it's off to Berlin to site see for a few hours and then off to Paris. Stay tuned for more pics...