Archive for July, 2007

Kevin’s Birthday at diVino

Since today’s officially his birthday–Happy Birthday, Kevin!

View Kevin’s Flickr Photoset from last night.

Oh diVino, our new favorite wine bar in Seattle. <3

Interestingly, we also checked out the new Fusion Ultra Lounge on 45th which was pretty empty, but eh–private party?

Friedrichsbad Baths

Baden-Baden – Day 2

The following day we had breakfast in our cute little hotel above a pastry shop (The Hotel Beeg) and walked around town some more. Most notably, Val brought me to the Freidbrichsbad Baths!

Friedrichsbad Baths

At the Friedrichsbad you lose track of time within 10 minutes and track of the world within 20 minutes

- Mark Twain

Basically you pay a flat fee to progress through the following stations:

1. shower; 2. warm air bath 54 C; 3. hot air bath 68 C; 4. shower; 5. soap and brush massage; 6. shower; 7. thermal steam bath 45C; 8. thermal steam bath 48C; 9. thermal full bath 36C; 10.thermal whirl pool bath; 11. thermal kinotherapeutic bath; 12. shower; 13. cold water bath (immersion bath) 18 C; 14. drying off (warm towels); 15. application of moisturizing cream; 16. resting area

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Casino Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden – Day 1

On Thursday, Val and I took the train (actually 3) to Baden-Baden, the famous casino and spa town. We arrived in the afternoon and walked around before having dinner. We ultimately ended up in this bizarre little restaurant filled with smoke and chicken dolls hanging from the walls. This oddity aside, the food was really good and I found my new favorite German dish: maltauschen. Think big ravioli. Kinda.

Casino Interior

The big event of the night though was to visit the Casino Baden-Baden. This was unlike any casino I have been to in the States (and was certainly not Vegas). For one, it cost money just to enter and there was a strict dress code of jacket and tie. Once inside, we found ourselves surrounded in a lavish room filled with much older German and Russian men. The atmosphere looked something straight out of a James Bond movie. What was even more unexpected was that the place was quiet, save for the clicking of chips and the spin of the roulette ball. Everyone inside was stoic, walking about gravely. We spotted only 3-4 other women there at most. It was also much smaller than any casino I’ve been to. It being a Thursday night, only 4 roulette tables and 1 blackjack table was open.

Given the grandeur of the place, I was surprised to find that the minimum bets were extremely low (10 euros per hand in blackJack, only 2 euros for roulette). Granted, most folks played much much more than that, which made playing side by side with them even more funny.

We played roulette mainly, which was a little odd without the usual cheers and jeers, but still pretty fun. I played a few hands at the lone Blackjack table which was exciting, despite not doing particularly well. Interestingly, an old man was playing 4 of the 7 positions on the table with 200+ euros per hand and was just bleeding money like crazy. The vein on his temple pulsated as he cursed under his breath, hah. The whole experience was quite surreal and it was actually one of my favorite on my trip. I only wish I could’ve recorded video of it!

Tübingen, Germany

While in Germany, I stayed about 3 days in Tübingen, the university town that Val is studying at this semester. Besides teeming with college students, I soon learned that the streets there are filled with chubby-cheeked, blond, blue-eyed babies, and a disproportionate amount of people carrying ice cream cones. No, really. It’s rather bizarre.

Walking past the big church in Tuebingen

It was generally wet while I was there, except for our last day, which incidentally was my favorite. We rented a paddle boat on the Neckar river, had a picnic, and later went to a grassy area to read Harry Potter. So this is what vacation is about.

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View all Tübingen Photos

London Sightseeing

My parents arrived to London Saturday morning where we met at their hotel in South Kensington. It was a pretty eventful next 3 days where we went sightseeing and I had the chance to show them around (namely via Tube). During their stay we went to the Natural History Museum, Westminster Cathedral for Sunday mass, Big Ben & the Parliament Building, the London Eye, the Victoria Station area, the Tower of London, and Chinatown. By far, my two favorite places we visited happen to be the most popular tourist attractions in the city: the Eye and the Tower.

Top of the London EyeThe London Eye is one of those attractions everyone should really do at some point during their stay in London. I mean, who can pass up being suspended 500 feet in the air in a bubble overlooking the entire city? The lines were surprisingly speedy too. My Dad also purchased the little guide book that described the buildings in each direction. You really can’t beat the view.

Yay! Tower of London!The Tower of London was pretty sweet, in the nerdy history-loving kinda way. It was just neat to walk (sometimes run) around a place that I’ve read so much about. The Yeoman Warden tour was pretty entertaining and insightful, another must-do. However, I was particularly enthusiastic–admittedly, I was the only one in my 100+ person tour group who took notes the entire time.

The Crown Jewels were also a highlight of our visit there. I didn’t think I’d be too interested in that sort of thing, but it’s pretty crazy to actually see them in-person. So much sparkle… As I left the Jewel House all I could think of was how badly I wanted diamonds, hah. Read more

Covent Garden Street Performers