After about a week of little or no internet access (omigod, somebody like Totally call the e-cops) I am now sitting in a hostel in London that has a couple of computers with decent speed and some internet access to match. Oh, and it's free. Currently I'm loading pictures onto flickr and trying to get in a decent post at the same time. . . most of the computers we've had access to for the past two weeks have either had foreign keyboards (though I suppose they were probably only foreign to us) or were purely limited to internet access so that I wasn't able to load any pictures.
Most of the interesting individual stories will have to wait to be told in person, however, I will attempt to provide a brief overview of where we've been.
We started in London for just a night and by the following afternoon we were in a hostel in Brussels. Aside from TC almost getting pick-pocketed Brussels was great. We walked around the city quite a bit and had a few good meals despite the language barrier(s?). The highlight of this stop was definitely the personal tour that we were treated to by one of my Trek America passengers. Herwig (or Herbie (don't ask)) picked us up in his Passat TDI and we flew, almost literally, up to the town of Brugge to the north of Brussels. The town is incredibly old and it was great to have a guide to show us where to go. Herbie took us to this old, and I mean OLD, pub for a few pints. All the abbeys in the area brew their own beer and it is all excellent, if a little high in carbonation compared to what I'm used to. We also had some of the world's best chocolate in Brugge. And as if that wasn't enough Herbie then drives us to Antwerp for wine and mussels (and a very, very brief look around the red light district). But we had bigger fish to fry and there's not much else to tell about our time in Brussels.
After taking an overnight train to Munich TC and I find ourselves in a very comfortable hostel right next to the train station by about 1300 hours on a Friday. We napped for a bit to gather strength against the impending beer storm and headed out around 1500 hours. Our first stop was a beer hall called The Augustiner. (There's actually two Augustiner's in Munich and they are both supposed to be excellent.) After two liters of beer (EACH) we decided we better conserve our energy for dinner and we headed back to the hostel. . . where, of course, we ended up having another beer (though not quite a liter) with one of our new roommates. Good fortune had bestowed upon us, or in retrospect cursed us with, some instant friends in Munich through TC's good friend in Flagstaff who runs DrunkCylist.com. We had some amazing schnitzel (sp?) and about four more LITERS of beer during dinner. After a little pub-crawling (sometimes literally) TC and I found ourselves wandering home in a driving snow storm. We did a few other things in Munich but between the beer and the snow we ended up with a rather limited (but good) experience. Munich received their highest snowfall in 50 years whilst we were drowning ourselves there.
Next stop; Geneva.
This one was TC's call and it was lovely but I would definitely recommend Geneva during the summer rather than the winter. But really Geneva was just a way of getting our feet wet (or frozen, as the case may be) because we were headed to a small town called Tasch which is just below the ski-town of Zermatt which is where they keep a little thing called The Matterhorn. If the only image that pops into your mind is somehow Disney related then you need to get out more.
In Tasch the grand plan was for TC to go skiing (which he is fairly proficient at) and for me to go snowboard (which I am absolutely inept at). I've snow boarded one day in my entire life. Yes, it happened to be in Telluride (bonus), but it was at the end of the season on ice and I had the worst gear imaginable. Do you think I was ready to take on a real mountain? Nope, but I did anyway. You'll have to see it to believe it but in Switzerland their easy runs are our medium and our hardest black diamond isn't even a black for them at all. That, and the little fact that all the runs go on for days and days and days. It was all very impressive and I was completely unimpressive and achieved a certain amount of time on my posterior. However, TC seemed to really enjoy it and this was one of his big attractions to Europe. Oh yeah, it snowed the whole time. It was wet.
Well, it's gettin' late (or early) so I'm gonna cut this installment here. I've loaded pictures through our time in Tasch onto my Flickr account. Unfortunately, I'm not quite quick enough at installing them into my weblogs yet (have to change the size of each on individually and what not). Going to the British Museum for most of tomorrow (after I find a replacement charger for my ipod, but that's another story). I'm looking forward to a little prolonged time with some relics and artifacts. I'll try to write another entry while we're here in the land of quality connections.