August 5, 2021

Back to Hamburg

Skibosh here!

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Well, Thursday morning after a great night in Mannheim, I got up and enjoyed breakfast with Becca and Oli. After saying goodbyes….I hate goodbyes…Becca walked me to the train station and saw me on my way back to Hamburg to finish out the trip.

The train ride was smooth and uneventful. I arrived in Hamburg around 3:30 so I had about 2 hours to kill before the lovely Meike would be getting off of work and meeting me for a drink and perhaps dinner.

I spent those two hours walking around the Hamburg’s city center. Above you see the Rathaus or City Hall building, I love the old building in Europe. It really makes me realize just how young America is as a country.

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After walking the streets of downtown Hamburg, I enjoyed a pils as I watched the Italy game at one of the cities public viewing areas. It was nice an relaxing and it was a beautiful day in Hamburg, which I guess was the first really sunny and warm day they had this summer, so there were a ton of people out.

At 5:00 I met up with Meike and we both decided it as time to eat. So we walked to the Alsterpavillion, which is the main square right in front of the main lake in Hamburg. We ate a outdoor cafe and enjoyed the view of the lake.

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We were eating right under those umbrellas. It was gorgeous. After ordering our food Robby got off of work and was able to join us. I had schnitzel with a mushroom cream sauce which was fantastic, we enjoyed one more beer and headed back to their apartment to get ready for the 8:30 soccer match, where we were going to head out to another beach club to watch it.

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This particular club in Hamburg was right on the port or harbor, don’t know how you would say it, but Hamburg is the second biggest port in Europe, so it’s a pretty busy place.

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After seeing a little bit of the harbor we heading into the beach club for some beer and pizza. It was the a very cool place and you could tell from all of the people there. It reminded me of the first really nice summer day in Wisconsin and how everyone would finally leave there homes and go outside and enjoy the weather.

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We just sat and relaxed all night. We shared stories about old friends, past loves and just life in general. I learned how Meike and Robby first met in school and fun facts I never really new.

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Overall, it was the perfect way to unwind after a long train ride. It also helped me to save energy because tomorrow night would be my last night in Germany and Robby had a big night planned for us in Hamburg.

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That’s all I got for today. Let’s see what tomorrow has in store. In Skibosh Spaulding Adventure style.

Skibosh Out!

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My Return to Mannheim!

Skibosh here!

Well this marks my triumphant return to Mannheim!

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After two fun filled and adventurous days in Berlin I took a train with Oli and Becca back to Mannheim where Ann and I spent a couple of days last year.

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I was looking forward to a nice relaxing evening of drinks and soccer. Tonight the US team plays at the early game and then Germany plays the 8:30 game. We are planning to go to one of those city beaches, getting drinks, and sitting all night watching the world cup.

Now that might not sound like a lot of fun to some people in the States, but the World Cup is a whole different event in Europe and it is a blast to sit and watch a match with hundreds of other people.

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When we arrived in Mannheim we quickly walked home from the train station, dropped our stuff off and then we met up with two of Becca and Oli’s awesome neighbors Alex and Hermann.

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Hermann drove all of us to the city beach where we enjoyed a lot of beers, food and soccer.


By now you all know that this was the night that USA won in the 90th minute. They were not showing the US game on local TV so we only caught the replay of the goal, but it was awesome.

After the US game we receive free face paint from the bar and we proceeded to put on our game faces for the Germany game.

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We convinced Hermann to give himself a German flag mustache, which looked awesome, but not as awesome as…


German flag side burns! Hermann was totally prepared for the game which was good because it took a while for Germany to score, but when they did the place went nuts!

After the game we went to a bar near their place enjoyed a couple of night caps there.


Then ended back at Becca and Oli’s apartment where we enjoyed more drinks food and a drunk phone call to Spaulding!


Overall it was a great return to Mannheim and one I hope to keep coming back because life is always good with friends and now I’ve met two more so it’s even more of a reason to return.

That’s all for now. Next up Hamburg!

Skibosh Out!

Berlin Day 2 – Ray Day!

Skibosh here!

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So my second day in Berlin is so creatively named “Ray Day” because Ray showed me around Berlin and we had a blast! Yeah, I know we make a cute couple 😉

The day began with a trip to the Bundestag. That is the German Pariliment/Senate building. Ray’s friend Marko works for a congresswoman in Germany and he was able to get us a private tour.

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We started the tour in the main meeting area of all the politians. They were busy clearing out all of the chairs because something very unusual was happening and it was kinda cool to be there while it was happening.

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You see the German President had resigned a few weeks early. I’m not going to go into the reasons why, but it has never happened before and in the next couple of weeks they will be electing the new president.

It was in the main room that our tour guide told us about how the German government works and processes they take to elect new laws and regulations and things. Big decisions all the way down to the correct amount of curvature a cucumber should have…no joke!

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After that we gathered in the elevator with everyone else and headed up to the roof of the Bundestag where you could walk around the glass dome that was constructing on the top the building.

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At the top we met up with Marko and he gave us his own little private tour around the top of the Bundestag pointing out all of the government buildings that surrounded the building.

He also gave me a great little gift bag full of German governmental goodies, like a German law book, in English, so I am now aware of some of the laws I have broken being in Germany. There was also a book on the Bundestag and my favorite, two German pins which will go nicely on my German hat I purchased at Octoberfest two years ago.

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Some of the things you could see from the roof are the Berlin television tower you can see there on the left and then if you squint and look closely on the right, you will see a gold dome of the Jewish temple that was built after the war to show the Jewish community that there is a place for them in Berlin.

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He also shared with us a humorous story about the picture above. If you look close you can see metal letters kinda of hidden in the grass. You see on the front of the Bundestag is the saying etched in stone above the pillars.

You might be able to barely make them out. It reads “For the German People”.

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The story goes that the particular saying could be considered some what offensive to all of the other people of different nationalities that are living in Berlin. So there was a big movement to try and get the saying changed to “For the People”.

Well, the government agreed that it should be done, but unfortunately they could not change the front of the building because it is a historical monument. So instead they put it inside where all the politians could bring dirt from their home villages and add it to the area where that saying was put.

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Now completely hidden from the public by growing shrubbery. Pretty typical of any government I would have to say.

After some great stories and information about the German government Marko had to get back to work, so Ray and I decided to take the audio tour of the glass dome on top of the Bundestag.

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The main idea behind the glass dome is transparency. Anyone during business hours, can go up to the dome and look down into the the main area of parliament and watch as their government works. It’s the idea that their government is completely open and transparent to the public.

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The mirrors inside the dome help bring in natural light to the parliament room, so they can save money on electricity. Overall, it is a pretty amazing structure.

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After our tour, we enjoyed a lunch at the top of the Bundestag and then headed off to see more of Berlin.

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We walked through the Berlin Dome, which is a huge church in Berlin (obviously)

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It never ceases to amaze me how incredible small old churches can make you feel. Coincident? I think not. At the top of the Dome we had a great 360 degree view of Berlin.

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Towards the end of the day we headed towards Alexander Platz to get a up close and personal view of the Berlin television tower. One of the main tourist attractions in Berlin.

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Which after only three tries, I finally got this shot of Ray and I in front of the tower. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. As the sun went down we had dinner at a nice outdoor cafe and we watched a World Cup match and enjoyed some food.

On the way back to the hotel Ray took me to the old town center of West Berlin. There was an old bombed out church that they left standing as a reminder of the destruction that war can bring.

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It was a pretty sobering experience standing there and seeing the destruction that has been there for since the war. It’s incredible moving.

Overall, “Ray Day” in Berlin was spectacular. We saw a lot of the city and were still able to get together with Becca and Oli at the end of the night for a drink and some talk about Noble Peace Prize winning scientists.

That’s all I got for now. Tomorrow I head off Mannheim with Becca and Oli to enjoy the US Soccer Match in the World Cup, followed by the German match.

I can’t wait!

Skibosh Out!

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Anja Day in Berlin!

Skibosh here!

This morning woke up to another beautiful sunny day in Bad Doberman.

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After eating breakfast, I packed up, checked out and took some final pictures of the town and Hotel before Ray, Anja and I headed off to Berlin.

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Once the car was all packed we enjoyed a nice 2.5 hour drive to Berlin from Bad Doberman. I ‘d like to call this day in Berlin “Anja Day”.

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You see Anja would be be leaving Berlin tonight to go back home and enjoy an all day spa trip with the girls, so I made sure I took all of my pictures this day with Anja!

That is the Bundestag behind us. It is the government building that houses parliament and the senate. Ray’s friend Marko works for a congress woman and we actually got a private tour of the Bundestag the next day so I will talk about the Bundestag more on the next post.

The very first thing I wanted to see in Berlin, was the same thing very same thing every American tourist would like to see first in Berlin and that is the last remaining reminisce of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie (one of the places you could cross between West Berlin and East Berlin)

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I thought, how ironic there is a sign that states, depending what side you are on, that you are either leaving or entering the American part of Berlin and right next to checkpoint Charlie is a McDonalds!

How appropriate is that! 🙂

We also saw the most famous gate in Berlin called the Brandenburger Tor in the Pariser Platz.

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We also walked the Jewish Memorial that has been a source of big debate in Berlin. It is basically a big area with different size stone blocks.

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There was a lot of time and money spent creating a Jewish memorial to remember all of the Jews that were killed during Hitler’s reign. There is no information about what the stone blocks mean, so some people wondering how much its memorializing if there is no information to tell you why it is there.

We also saw the Postdamer Platz and the Sony Center. Whenever Hollywood premiere’s a big movie in Germany the red carpet viewing is here. It’s their version of Mann’s Chinese Theater.

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After seeing all of that it was time to grab a bite to eat and have a drink at one of the many city beach’s in Berlin.

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That’s right I said a city beach. A while ago a business man had an idea to rent open space in the middle of the city, ship in a bunch of sand and beach chairs and then sell beer and currywurst and during the world cup they rent big screens so everyone can view the games outside together.

After dinner and beers we headed back to the Hauptbahnhof to see Anja off. She was very sad to leave her husband, but she had an important spa trip she could not miss.

After that Ray and I met up with Tino(spelled?), a high school friend of Rays, and we went out for a few drinks and a very cool bar on the river. We also met with Becca and Oli who were in town for a business vacation.

Overall, Anja day in Berlin was wonderful. I was sad to see her go, but it was fun and tomorrow Ray and I have a very busy day in Berlin. So I need my sleep.

Skibosh Out!

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The Day After

Skibosh here…who else would it be 😉

Due to technical difficulties (Not having a memory card in my camera at the wedding ceremony) I will have to postpone the wedding night extravaganza post until later in the week when I return to Hamburg. Then I can get Robby’s pictures of the ceremony.

Just know it was a blast and one of the best experiences I have ever had in Germany!

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Today, I will tell you about the best way to recover from a wedding night full of love, dancing and just overall craziness! The best way to recover is this.

1. You need a lot of sleep.
2. You need a nice hearty breakfast.
3. You need chili flavored chocolate, smoked fish, Langos (Hungarian funnel cake) and big bed on the beach and German beer!
4. Awesome friends to enjoy the whole experience with!

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Yesterday could not have been more perfect! After a hearty German breakfast, I ran with Robby and Meike to the train station to see them off. Poor guys have to return home to they can go back to work.

After that I took a little nap and then met up with Ray, Anja and some of their friends and family. We went to a small beach town in North Eastern Germany called Warnmuende!

There Anja showed me the beach she used to visit all the time growing up.

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Right on the Baltic Sea. Those little cabana’s you see our like little fold out beds that you can rent to lay out and enjoy the sun. They also shield you from the wind. (no this is not the giant bed on the beach I mentioned early. That’s doesn’t come ’til the end of the day)

After the beach tour we walked down to the harbor and met up with friends and family so we could take a boat/ferry tour of the port where we learned about the ship building industry that used to be big there.

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Unfortunately due to China’s cheap labor almost all of the shipyards have closed down expect for a few.

This is also a big port where you can catch a ferry and ride it over to the Scandinavian countries for a quick little vacation.

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After the boat tour, the sun decided to break through the clouds and join us for the rest of the day as we walked up and down the board walk.

On one side of the river stores lined the walkway. The only one that I was really interested was the chocolate store.

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It was in this store where I bought the most unique flavored chocolate bar. CHILI flavored! Amazingly it tasted like chocolate, but the after taste was a little spicy. Very interesting and very good!

After that we crossed the river and walked down the other side of the river.

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Fishing boats lined the board walk on either side and they doubled for little vending booths were you can buy fresh fish, beer and other treats.

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We stopped by a boat that had all different fish available to eat. You could get smoked fish, fried fish, shrimp or calamari. I decided to have a type of smoked shark sandwich. It was delicious!

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We continued on our way and it wasn’t long before we came across a crepe/doughnut stand. So Anja and I decided to indulge our sweet tooth and she ordered a banana chocolate crepe and I ordered something that was essentially fried dough of goodness or something similar to funnel cake.

It was awesome, but I definitely needed to wash it all down with a good german beer. Where better to do that then in a giant bed right on the beach!

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And by giant I do mean giant.

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It fit everyone. So we sat in the giant bed for the rest of the afternoon. We enjoyed a couple of beers, the sun and a great breeze that came in off the Baltic sea.

We finished the day at Anja’s parents house. We enjoyed some BBQ’d chicken and sausage and some sweet champagne.

Overall, it was a great relaxing day. The perfect day to recover from partying and having fun with friends and family. Thats all I got for now.

Today, Ray, Anja and I will be traveling to Berlin!

Skibosh Out!


The Wedding

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The whole reason for my trip to Germany are these two people here. Ray and Anja! Many people asked me this year why I would travel so far for my friends wedding.

The answer is simple. When your friends ask you to share one of the biggest days of their lives with you, you say yes. If I would have said it was too far to travel then I would have missed out on little moments like the one above and the ones below.

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Little moments of pure happiness. There are so few of these moments in the very short time we have here that I try never to miss an opportunity to experience them.

It never ceases to amaze me that even though I could not understand any of the toasts or speeches that were given throughout the night, I could still feel the love and caring that filled the entire room from all of their friends and family.

Alright, now that I got all of the sentimental crap out of my system…I swear traveling in other countries alone, gives you plenty of time with your thoughts…sometimes too much I think.

Let’s get down to the fun and craziness of a traditional German wedding. The day started with the wedding ceremony which was held in a very nice room in a small museum in Bad Doberman.

The ceremony was short and simple. There was some instrumental music playing in the background throughout the vows and when all was said and done we lined up to congratulate the bride and groom and headed outside where they preceded to have a beautiful dove release ceremony.

After avoiding being hit by flying doves, we preceded to a park, which was right behind the museum where we enjoyed a champagne toast and some finger food while listening to a violinist play movie scores. Which included the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Then came the first of many German wedding traditions. In America the bride and groom cut cake together. In Germany they do that too, but not until the bride and groom saw through a tree log together.

The lumber jacking came to an end and we escorted the bride and groom back to the hotel where we enjoyed more champagne and jazz music from a saxophonist.

The rest of the night was filled with good food, good friends, great dancing and even better beer. It all started with with the first dance of the evening by the bride and groom.

It is traditionally a waltz. Which is exactly how it started out.

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But then…the classical waltz music cut out…record scratches

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What!?! hip hop music? Well, guess you just have to go with the flow. They then busted out an  awesome hip hop dance routine! From there the night took off. There was dancing

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Just general overall craziness!

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One tradition I loved were some games had to be played. You see in order for Ray and Anja to receive some gifts, their friends made them earn them. Some a Ray’s close high school buddies made them have a dance off, so you think you can dance style of judging.

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They played different styles of music they had to dance to and then the judges shared shared their thoughts about each of their dancing style, which I didn’t even need a translator to figure out that they praised Anja and totally made fun of Ray.

It made for a fun time and one I think I might use for the next American wedding I go to. Maybe not that exact game, but something to have the bide and groom work for my present 🙂

There was also a big fireworks display…

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There were even fireworks with the cake!

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Germans know how to have a good time and I never miss an opportunity to enjoy time in the hometown of good friends. Even if it is thousands of miles away.

You can learn so much about your friends after seeing where they came from and meet those people that helped shape them into the people they are today.

I am glad I got to experience the all of this with Ray and Anja at their wedding. It is definitely an experience I will never forget.

Thank you Ray and thank you Anja. You guys are awesome!

Skibosh out!

Hamburg Hospitality!

Skibosh here!

Well, after 24 hours of travel I made it safely to Hamburg. I had very smooth trip overall. I had a 5 hour layover in Heathrow where I enjoyed an English breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, toast and baked beans. It was delicious.

An hour later I enjoyed a beer while I watched Germany lose to Serbia in the World Cup. This would mean many sad faces in Germany when I would arrive, but hopefully I could keep their minds off the loss.

I also met a nice German girl who was from Hamburg that was traveling home after being a Nanny in Great Britain for the past year. She was excited to go home to see family and friends and to start her teaching career.

I was also excited to get to Hamburg to see my old roommate Mr. Robert Reichle!

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You might not recognize him from last year without his mullet.


After a short train ride Robby and his beautiful and charming girlfriend Meike took me out to dinner at a German pub where we enjoyed some schnitzel and then some apfal strudel. Not too mention my first two German beers of the trip.

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After dinner and some laughs we headed home where I promptly texted Spaulding about the adventure so far. I then very quickly and easily fell asleep to get some rest for the wonderful night ahead.

Tomorrow we head to Bag Doberan for Ray and Anja’s wedding! I can’t wait to party it up German style.

Skibosh out!

A Lone Adventure!

Skibosh here!

Well, it’s wedding season again and I am heading off to Germany for another wedding with some great friends. Our friends Ray and Anja are getting married!


No we are not in Germany in this picture. We are actually in Torrence California celebrating Oktoberfest American style.

Sadly Spaulding will not be joining me for this adventure because she has been too busy traveling to New York and Wisconsin lately. Which she should be posting about in the near future.

This trip will not be a lonely one though. It will be filled with good friends, good food and most importantly GREAT BEER!

I am not sure how often I will have access to the internet, but I will be writing every night…well maybe not every night and I will post the stories to the blog whenever I get a chance.

So stay tuned! More adventures are coming your way!

Skibosh Out!

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ps – this beer does not count. I am still in America at the LAX airport.

The Official Beer Counting Post!

It’s finally here. The Skibosh & Spaulding Official Beer Counting Post! Please forgive some of the numbering…we were a little drunk, but we do have the correct number of pictures per beer!



















































Skibosh Out!

























Bye-Bye Germany :(

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Skibosh here! Sadly today is the day we have to leave Germany. This trip has gone by so quickly; Ann and I barely feel that we were even here.  Unfortunately real life calls and we must heed that call.

Today we got up nice and early, caught a train to Munich and made it to the airport in time for our flight back to the U.S. The flight back will be a tough one because we need to stay awake almost the whole time so we can make sure we are ready to fall asleep by the time we are back in Cali in the evening. It will hopefully help with the jetlag once we are back. To help prepare, Spaulding caught some more Zzzs on the train this morning.

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Ha…I get the final sleeping picture! The airplane ride went smoothly. I love flying Lufthansa. We had our own personal entertainment system in the seat back that was in front of us and we got to watch movies which always helps the time fly (ha-ha, pun intended).

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Since we were flying during the day we got to see Iceland. It was pretty cool. You can’t really tell from the pictures but right past the water and rock formation was nothing but white snow/ice covered plains as far as the eye could see. It was a spectacular sight!

We also flew over the Grand Canyon which was equally amazing…just with a lot less snow!

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The 12-hour direct flight back to L.A. definitely gave Spaulding and I some time to sit back and really remember our trip to Germany. Spaulding wrote in her journal feverishly to help her stay awake. Some night in the not too distant future Spaulding and I will open a nice bottle of wine or two, crack open that journal and read every page. Laughing and remembering everything she has written down. It will be a marvelous evening.

Overall, I sat back on the plane with a feeling of comfort, relaxation and most of all…the feeling of love. As cheesy as it sounds, I never expected to feel so much love on this trip. That feeling of love came from many different places, like Salzburg.

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The quiet empty streets at night, which Spaulding and I strolled every night we were there.

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Or it came from the romantic walks back to our hotel in the evening along the river with our own personal fairy tale castle to look upon. These places and now photos will forever hold a place in my heart that I will never be able to describe in words.

Not only were there places filled with the feeling of love, but also there were so many great experiences that showed us love. First, of course, Biberach…

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and Schutzenfest…

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We got to experience something that a very small town in southern Germany experiences every year and they do it to honor their history.

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The parades that represented all of the different battles and countries that were involved with Biberach’s past were really neat, but more importantly the respect they had with a parade of the current town’s people that celebrated a 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or yes, even 100th birthday that year was really cool to see.

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To see the massive amounts of people that gathered to show respect to their fellow neighbors was amazing to say the least. And of course they pay tribute to the age-old tradition of drinking beer with friends, too!

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Ok, Ok, so it was a lot of beer with friends!

After Schutzenfest we also got to experience a real Germany wedding and if you don’t feel love at a wedding, then there will be no hope for the bride and groom.

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I don’t think Becca and Oli have a lot to worry about. There was definitely the feeling of love flowing through everyone that night! Along with lots of wine, beer, whiskey and champagne! What an experience!

Most importantly, the feeling of love came from the people we were with. I never expected to feel the love and joy from people I had just met or only met a few times.

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It all began with a small group of people in Biberach. Robby and his incredible family, which included: Anna (Nana), Herman (Manne) and his wonderful and beautiful mother, Magda.

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Nana, Manne and Magda all made sure we were well fed before Schuzenfest and, more importantly, well taken care of afterward. Nana made us that wonderful “hangover” soup that worked wonders, and Manne made sure Spaulding and I had sandwiches for the trip to Salzburg.

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More importantly than the food, they opened the doors to their home to us and made us feel right at home as if we were part of the family! In fact, Manne’s direct words for Spaulding were:

“You are like a daughter to me now.”

Words spoken through two misty eyed people saying goodbye to one another. I will never be able to express my gratitude, appreciation and over all thankfulness to these three amazing people, so I must humbly say:

“Thank you, thank you Magda, Manne and Nana from the bottom of our hearts.”

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And thank you, Robby, for being you and having such I wonderful family! You kick ass, my friend.

From one German family to another, this brings us to Oli’s parents, Wolfgang and Barbara.

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All I have to say is WOW! Not only were they preparing and having to set up for the wedding, but also to house 15 people for 3 days after the wedding is more than amazing, it’s truly unbelievable.

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The day after the wedding, their house was open to every one of Becca and Oli’s friends, plus to their family as well. Wolfgang had the BBQ going all day making sure everyone was well fed and I don’t think Spaulding and I ever got a beer for ourselves almost the entire time we were there.

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Wolfgang had some kind of beer radar that made it known to him that I would need another beer before I even knew I would need another beer. Barbara always made sure we were well fed and also shared with us some wonderful stories of Oli and Jani.

I will never forget our final night at the Proksch residence. It was the evening of Darlene’s piano sing-a-long and Wolfgang’s Louis Armstrong impression. I don’t think I had laughed that hard all year then that night at Barbara and Wolfgang’s.

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Again, I will never be able to truly express in words how much appreciation, gratitude and overall thanks Spaulding and I have for these two wonderful people! So I humbly say:

“Thank you for being gracious hosts, loving parents and overall two amazing people that I only hope to be like some day. Thank you Wolfgang and Barbara for everything!”

Now finally on to our friends! What an awesome opportunity to share with a great group of people. How often do you get to spend time in another country with such a wonderfully goofy group of friends?!

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Thank you to Becca and Oli for organizing all of the tours and dinners and such! You two rock! You two helped create a smooth, relaxing travel environment which is nearly impossible when you are dealing with anywhere from 8-12 people! You two are amazing and Spaulding and I love you for it. We look forward to many more adventures in the future with you two. The next being New Year’s Eve!

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I also want to especially thank Jani for not only being awesome, but for being the group’s official photographer! We have some great photos thanks to you, Jani, and it will help us old fogies remember our great times. I guess the only way to repay you is with an unforgettable 21st birthday in Las Vegas! How many days until then?

Finally, I have one more person to thank. Some one that definitely does not go unnoticed in my life and that is Ms. Spaulding!

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Thank you for another wonderful adventure. You have open my eyes to a world I did not know existed and I am completely in love with you because of it. You are amazing and I cannot wait to have more adventures with you. Thank you for the most wonderful gift you could have ever given me (besides you), the gift of the “travel bug”.

I love you, babycakes! Now let’s go on another adventure!

Skibosh Out!

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