Tramps Abroad

"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


One chapter ends, and another begins

The time has come to say goodbye to this little blog of mine. Come join us in our new adventures stateside at

Don't forget to add it to you bookmarks and blog feeds. We may not be tramping around Europe anymore, but I promise we will still have good stories to share and plenty of pics of Penelope!


Countdown to Lift Off: 3, 2, 1...

It's official. Tomorrow morning we leave Heidelberg and return back to our home in North Carolina.

We have had the most amazing, unbelievable year here. It's hard to believe that one year ago we knew next to nothing about the country and culture of Germany, and I knew not a single word of the German language. And now we feel so comfortable in this home away from home we can't bear to leave.

Yet as I sit here surrounded by bags and suitcases and leaving becomes that much more of a reality, I can't help but think of the many things that await us in the U.S. Things that I have been missing and craving ever since we left last year. Knowing that they will be within my reach this time tomorrow makes the leaving just a tad bit easier.

Here's what's one my mind at the moment:

--AIR CONDITIONING! (mid-90's for over a week with no escape has been torture! what are these people thinking ?!)
--Ice in my drinks (mildly cool drinks on a hot day just doesn't do the trick)
--Free water at restaurants (did I mention that it's HOT here?)
--Friends and family (I bet you were wondering when they would appear on my list)
--Being able to understand everything people say
--Being able to express what I want to say without sounding like an idiot
--My house (it's been a blast sleeping in the living room and all...)
--Having a dishwasher and a microwave and a fridge larger than the one from my dorm room
--Target and all discount stores (and how basically everything is less expensive than Europe)
--Mexican food and all things spicy
--Cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies

You can bet that I'll be savoring most if not all of these things in the next upcoming days.

But in the meantime...

Take a look at this cute little thing that suddenly found herself in Germany nearly one year ago

Penelope was four months old and had just learned to sit up when we moved to Germany last August. Love those roly poly arms and legs! Where did all that chubbiness go?!


This little girl has seen more in her first year of life than most people see their whole lifetime (and, sadly, she won't remember a bit!)

So long Heidelberg! So long Germany! It's been good ride.


Countdown to Lift Off: 10, 9, 8, 7...

Only seven days until we leave Heidelberg and return to the good 'ole U.S of A.

So as we pack up and say goodbye, we've been reminiscing about the things we'll miss when we leave...
(click on picture captions to read more)

1. Strolls along the Neckar

2. Walking to our destinations instead of relying on a car

3. Exploring castle gardens

4. Learning firsthand about German culture

4. Feeling safe wherever/whenever I am and not being on guard about my stuff being taken while I'm not looking

5. Being surrounded by hills and mountains

boat ride down the neckar

6. The simplicity of life here

7. The Kids Club outside our door

8. The frequent holidays and city festivals

9. Going to the zoo that's only a few minutes away

10. Beautiful, historic buildings on every street

11. Fresh bread from the bakery (on every corner)

12. Having a drink at a cafe in the Marktplatz

13. The busy Hauptstrasse

14. Cheap booze

15. Views of Heidelberg from the Philosopher's Way and from the castle

view from the philosopher's way

view from the castle

16. Easy access to the rest of Europe (especially thanks to cheap flights on Ryanair)

17. Gluwein and Christmas Markets

sipping gluwein

18. Trinkschokolade at Schillers

19. Playing in the snow

20. Beautiful churches

21. Meeting people from around the world on a daily basis

22. Afternoon tea and Kuchen with friends

23. Our favorite cheap lunch place, 'Falafel', and the chef at 'Couscous', and Doners

24. Traveling by train

25. Picnics on the Neckarwiese

celebrating the warm weather

26. The Castle

And so many, many more


Penelope (almost) 15 Month Update

Here's what Penelope has been up to the past couple of months:

Running (mostly away from her parents)

 Climbing onto chairs and couches and playground equipment and anything else in her way (no serious injuries...yet)

Inventing her own language--which she talks to us in constantly, but so far we only understand "dog", "dada", "nein" (German for "no"), and "this"

Copying everything we do (talking on the phone, kissing, dancing, "typing" on the computer, clapping, and a few of our bad habits which I won't mention)

Deciding that she only requires one nap a day

Giving up the pacifier during the day (but requiring at least 5 in her crib to sleep)

Eating pretty much anything under the sun (but only on her own terms)

Drinking out of a cup or from a straw (but mineral water really throws her off)

Finally sprouting teeth to equal a total of eight (getting the top four all at the same time wasn't a pretty sight)

Learning how to play with other kids (but still prefers adults since they are much better at sharing and dole out more attention)

Keeping in touch wtih friends and family far away

Wanting to listen to books and read them herself ('listen' and 'read' are defined very loosely here)

pat the bunny

smell the flowers

how big is bunny? soooo big!

trying on mummy's ring

And screaming, and laughing, and disobeying, and cuddling, and teasing, and smiling....

And making us terribly exhausted yet filled with even more love for her at the end of every day