Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gran Canaria in pictures

mein Mann among the dunes

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Portuguese Seafood on the Algarve Coast

Yes, our visit to Portugal was weeks ago, but the food is still on my mind :) We had some of the BEST SEAFOOD we've ever had when we were on the Algarve Coast. Here are pictures of our gourmet Portuguese food!

Octopus Casserole. The 2nd best dish we had all week in Portugal. There were two casserole options: Octopus and Seafood. We chose Octopus....expecting a CASSEROLE (and not so sure about the casserole part). But we tried it, and it was NOT your typical casserole (perhaps just a bad translation). It was awesome. More like a stirfry. And the Portuguese Octopus = AMAZING! TRY IT!

THE BEST MEAL OF THE TRIP! MONKFISH KEBABS! Oh my GOODNESS I cannot tell you how absolutely amazing these were. WOW. Seriously, thinking about these makes me salivate.. and it's been 2 weeks! The best dish of the trip, by far. Have you ever had Monk Fish? Man. Try it.

Sardines Before.

Sardines After! He was DYING for sardines. NOT as good as the sardines in Cinque Terre, but still delicious!

Monkfish Dinner #2. The first night was SO good, had to try it again. Monkfish + Prawn. DELICIOUS!

And to top it all off, the typical Algarvan Dessert - some sort of fig something that was on fire - great display!

The best appetizer we had was fish soup and all the restaurants offered it. It was basically a tomato soup FILLED to the brim with LOTS of fresh seafood (whatever the local fisherman brought in that day). Delicious. And cheap. Alex's favorite... I think he had it for 5 days straight :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Ascension Day

Today is one of those awesome days when America should get a lesson and have more holidays. Today, the Germans are celebrating the Ascension Day (Catholic Holiday), the 40th day after Easter, the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven... and the Germans take this seriously... by taking off working, walking through the town (there are 4 different stations set up) and singing for about an hour, and then hitting up the biergartens for the rest of the day. Life is gut.

In other news (das wetter), we had some nasty weather this week. Often times, in Germany, it rains. Not news. But rarely, rarely, do we get badass thunderstorms, lightening and all.. and that is JUST what happened yesterday! I was outside drinking my coffee, reading my book (the usual morning ritual) in der sonne, when all of a sudden, the winds begin, and the clouds roll in, and we get an AWESOME thunderstorm, lightening and all. I ran through the house shutting all the windows, and then moved my ritual to our bedroom because we have the cool windows that face the sky so you can REALLY hear the rain. It went on for a few hours and it was just glorious!

In other Rapalje News, I, Casey Rapalje, will be employed... for two weeks. Hahah. But really. I had lunch with my old German teacher on Tuesday and she hooked me up with a 16 year old girl who need to brush up on her English before heading to FIJI for 4 months (and I thought my life was good..!). So I will be working with her 10-14 days, 3 hours a day, helping along her English. Should be fun! Today, I am heading into the city with a German friend for lunch. Tomorrow I get to meet one of my friend's new baby, Cooper AND tomorrow is the start of the Altstadt Festival in the city! We will head down there in the evening. And SATURDAY WE LEAVE FOR GRAN CANARIA!! Yes, I already said it, but Life is Gut :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kinsale & Bantry, Ireland: A Travel Recommendation

Kinsale, Ireland: a must-stop. Not because there are a million things to see and do, but because the town is adorable, the people friendly, and food awesome, and the B&Bs affordable.

We arrived in Kinsale and walked around for a bit, through the narrow colorful streets. The weather was actually nice, which was a pleasant surprise and change! We checked out all the gourmet restaurants and decided on Max's. The menu looked fabulous. Seafood seafood seafood! We headed there early because we were hungry and turns out, it was a good decision! We got the very last table!

After dinner, we headed to a typical Irish Pub because the Barcelona v. Manchester United futbol game was on. We ran into other Americans and had a blast! Overall, GREAT trip in Kinsale, just great!

To Stay: Chart House... as long as you feel comfortable staying in someone's actual home. The location was great, typical Irish breakfast, and the owner/cooker/maid/she does everything is super friendly and helpful. However, it was our FIRST REAL B&B stay. I mean, this was someone's home and we stayed in a room in her home, with her and her husband.. and some other people renting a room... which is interesting, but you have to at least try it! And this is the place to do it.

The dining room - everything was VERY formal

A had a full Irish breakfast every morning, not just at this B&B, but for all 10 days!

To Eat: Kinsale is known for their awesome food. Gourmet. Just delicious. We ate an enormous seafood meal at a place called Max's. We both gave it a 10! Another gourmet restaurant the Chart House owner recommended was called Fishy Fishy. But Max's was just awesome.

As for Bantry, not worth the stop. I have no pictures to PROVE that's it's not worth it, seeing as my memory card ate them, but take my word for it. We stayed at the Maritime Hotel which was SUPER impressive online.. and online only. Yes, our room was VERYnice. But online, the view was spectacular, right on the water, viewing the sunsets, etc. Not so much. So skip Bantry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland: A Travel Recommendation

The Cliffs of Moher lived up to their hype. Definitely worth the visit. And that's that.

Breaking the law... climbing over fences that aren't supposed to be climbed over. But aren't the views worth it?!

We were there!

Sitting on the edge

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Mosel 2011

This past weekend was the Happy Mosel Fest. Since we had such a good time last year, we had to go again this year of course! The Germans shut down 180km of the B53, a road that runs parallel to the Mosel River. Along the road and in the towns you pass while you bike are stands set up selling mainly wein, but also bier, brats, pommes, etc. We biked from Schweich to Ensch, 14km each way. It was a blast! After the fest, we came home, hung out & ate dinner with some friends.

Here are some pictures from the festival:

Mosel River Valley - Riesling Vines EVERYWHERE! I'm a lucky Girl!

We love German Riesling

At our second stop along the Mosel - Brats und Bier

Me playing the Electricity Game with 2 little German kids

Before - No hands!

...And After. A fell off his bike

JP and I laughing after the fall!

Also over the weekend, while JP was visiting, we took the train to Boppard, Germany, and took a Rhine River cruise to St. Goar. We shared a bottle of local Riesling and took in the view - the ride passed by 6 castles. We walked around St. Goar for a little while, had some more wine and pommes mit mayo, and then took the train back to Trier. The next day the three of us biked into the city for some sightseeing and German food and drinks!

Overall, a great long weekend (Alex was off on Friday) with friends!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kilkenny, Ireland: A Travel Recommendation

Kilkenny was a much smaller town, especially after just coming from Dublin. While there were not a ton of must-sees here, it was a good little stop along our route around the entire country.

After we got into town from Dublin, we walked around and saw the sights in just a few hours. Then we stopped at a few different pubs for some Guinness and typical Irish Pub Food. Being a small town with only a few sights, we left first thing in the morning to our next stops: Cashel & Cahir (upon recommendation from the Butler Court owner), and onto Kinsale for the night.

Where to Stay in Kilkenny: Butler Court Guest House - a great Bed and Breakfast, very nice room and bathroom, right in the center of town, with a VERY friendly owner who offers lots of travel advice, and a cute little dog roaming around to greet you!

What to See in Kilkenny: Smithwick's Brewery, Kilkenny Castle, the Cathedral

In front of Kilkenny Castle

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Ring of Kerry, Ireland: In Pictures

Castlecove - at Ireland's "only beach bar"



Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park