Allison Day
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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Hello, Venice! {May 2014}

Since we had a weekend in the middle of our Stuttgart business trip, we decided to take full advantage of it.

First thing in the morning on Saturday, we headed off to the airport.

And ate some slightly crushed macarons for breakfast.

This is a totally normal thing to do in Europe, I promise. 😏

We jumped on an Air Berlin plane.

On our flight within Germany, there was a group of guys goofing off, and going up and down the aisle. In the US they might have been met with annoyance, but here the flight attendants let them make an announcement over the comm system. We couldn’t understand a thing they said (it was all in German, of course), but these guys had the entire flight cracking up.

Soon, we landed in…


Just kidding, this was a short layover before our final destination.

Off we go again.

(This time with snacks!)

And soon, we landed in Venice.

Our true destination!

Since the airport itself is on the mainland, we had to find transportation to get to the island of Venice. I believe there’s a train you could take, or you could hire a taxi to drive you to the island.

But come on, this is Venice! Of course we took the Vaporetto.

It’s a bit of a long walk from the terminal to the Vaporetto.

But soon, we made it to the docks.

It was a very bumpy ride on the Alilaguna water bus, definitely an interesting experience.

We took the orange line to the Rialto stop.

Hello, Venice!

We made our way away from the Grand Canal, in search of our hotel.

The area just east of the Rialto is quite touristy, with lots of high-end shops. We breezed past there as quickly as we could, and avoided it for the most of the rest of the trip.

Soon, after a few twists and turns (and wondering if we’d gotten lost), we found our hotel – the Superior Starhotels Hotel.

After a little trouble with our room key (we had to get it reprinted twice), we dropped our backpack in the room and headed out to explore.

Sadly, we neglected to get any photos of our room (we take so many photos every time we travel, but always neglect to get a photograph of our hotel room!) But it was the most charming room, with a beautiful, private view a quieter canal.

We didn’t get far before stopping for gelato.

When in Italy…

After all, it was quite a warm day…

And I’m pretty sure my five year-old self would have been quite pleased to learn I had ice cream for breakfast at least once in my life!

Spring Festival, Stuttgart, Germany {May 2014}

One of the lovely things about being further north than we’re used to in late spring, is how late it stays light outside.

In LA at this time of year, the sun would be setting before 8pm.

But in Stuttgart, we’d get more than an extra hour of sunlight every evening.

This came especially in handy midway through our time in Stuttgart – we were there for just over a week, arriving in Germany on a Tuesday evening and leaving a week later on a Wednesday morning.

On Friday, after several long days of work, our German coworkers decided it was time for everyone to go party!

So at around 7pm that evening (though with that light, doesn’t it look like it’s first thing in the morning?!) we all hopped on the train.

And headed to…

The Stuttgart Spring Festival!

Apparently this festival is quite a big deal.

We were told people travel from all around to attend this festival. And apparently it’s quite common for everyone to don their lederhosen and dirndl for the festival – the closer we got to the festival, the more people we saw dressed up!

The festival is huge, filled with all sorts of rides, carnival games, and dozens of food stalls.

We found a table with all of our coworkers, then each of us gradually wandered off to find something to eat.

(So many options!)

Son and I started off with probably the least German food at the entire festival – salmon salad with honey mustard sauce.

(After all the rich food we’d been eating in Europe, we were craving something a little lighter and healthier.)

But not to worry!

Our health kick didn’t last long.

When in Germany… gotta try the currywurst.

And, of course, couldn’t skip the bratwurst!

After all that, it was time to find dessert.

We kept coming back to this Baumstriezel shop… so finally decided to try one.

Baumstriezel is like a very thin rolled pretzel, backed on cylindrical forms, then coated in whatever topping you desire.

We got a cinnamon-sugar baumstriezel – very tasty.

Then got to watch drunken Germans dancing on tables to American country music.

As you do.

We headed back to the hotel after that… it may be the weekend, but we had an early morning the next day! After all, there’s so much to discover in Europe, had to make the most of it…

Hegel Eins, Stuttgart, Germany {May 2014}

Throughout our Europe trip, we couldn’t get over how green it was!

Especially in Stuttgart. Germany was by far the greenest (both in color and in eco-friendliness) of the countries we visited.

Coming from California, where we’re perpetually in a drought… all this green (and cold, and rain) is unheard of for us.

So beautiful.

While in Stuttgart, our coworkers took us out somewhere around the city every night of our trip.

The first night was at a restaurant called Cafe del Sol, which one might compare to a Red Robin or a Cheesecake Factory – huge, loud, great for groups, with a long menu of food that wasn’t anything amazing, but wasn’t bad either.

(I got the Penne Honey – honey mustard sauce on penne with chicken and rocket – which wasn’t bad, while Son tried the “Asian Noodles”… which had very little to do with anything we’d consider Asian. I wasn’t feeling too hot that day, so we didn’t get any photos.)

The second day, they had reservations at a restaurant named Hegel Eins.

(By the way, it was explained to us that in Germany, graffiti is more a form of street art, and not necessarily a sign of a bad neighborhood like it often is in the US.)

The restaurant was located in a museum, and was completely empty when we all arrived.

It was a very interesting, but also very odd place.

When it came time to order, Son opted for the Weiner Schnitzel.

I decided to try the Rabbit Ragu.

(Between the two of us, Son definitely made the better choice. His weiner schnitzel was fantastic! My rabbit ragu was bland, and not that great.)

After dinner, they brought out dessert plates for all of us to share.

It included some sort of strawberry rhubarb cup, a chocolate cake, and popcorn ice cream.

We all hesitated over the rhubarb, and dug into the cake.

And also discovered… popcorn ice cream is strangely delicious.

I haven’t yet replicated any of the dishes we tried in Germany, but first on my list is that popcorn ice cream…

Cafeteria food in Stuttgart, Germany {May 2014}

The true purpose of our Europe trip was business – a client who is based in Germany wanted us to travel out there to work with their team in person for a week.

We stayed in Hotel DORMERO, which reminded me of a Vegas hotel – it was gigantic, had a bunch of restaurants, and even had a threater connected to it.

Plus their breakfasts were 👍 👍

Work was productive, but obviously the best part of the trip was the food.

A certain somebody (*cough* Son *cough*) couldn’t get enough of the bretzels (soft pretzels) with butter that showed up in our conference room every morning.

But only half of the bagels came with butter… so one of our awesome German coworkers ran to the grocery store to pick up some Kerrygold butter for the rest of the pretzels.

(German meeting food is way better than American meeting food!)

And ordinarily, you’d think, cafeteria food? Mehhhh.

But the cafeteria food we got on that trip was the best food we had in Germany.

And not that’s not a judgement on the rest of the food we had in Germany – the cafeteria food was just that good!

Lunch included German favorites such as currywurst, schnitzel, spaetzle, and spargle (white asparagus).

And it was all SO good.

(Plus, “spargle!” is just fun to say.)

Not to mention, pastries!

One of our German coworkers brought in these delicious pastries that are apparently a Stuttgart specialty – they’re called “bobbes”, which apparently means “butt” in Swabian (the region of Germany that we’re in).

And on our last day, one of our coworkers brought in these strudel pastries (I never quite got the name of them). Very tasty.

The food in Germany was a delight!

(And three years later, a certain somebody is *still* craving those bretzels…)

A train from Paris to Stuttgart {May 2014}

Dear Paris,

It’s really quite unfair of you to be so lovely on the day we had to leave.

Paris streets
Hotel Relais Bosquet

We had gotten quite comfortable in our little hotel, with the tiniest elevator I’ve ever seen, and the charming but odd gentleman who manned the front desk.

View from our room

And the bakery!

A girl could get used to getting tasty sandwiches and pain au chocolat every morning, at a charming shop just steps from her front door.

Allison just outside the bakery

The gorgeous architecture…

The beautiful language…

… and you weren’t nearly so rude as they told me you’d be.

In fact, we were quite charmed by you.

But leave, we must.

After all, the true reason for this trip was business, and our client sadly was not located in France.

Salmon sandwich

But don’t worry, Paris. We’ll remember you fondly.

Salmon sandwich

(Especially your food!)

Apricot croissant

But for now, we’re off…

To Stuttgart!