Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learning German: Update

So, I didn't learn German after all. I was so busy leading up to the vacation that I told myself, "I'll learn on the plane" (this sounding entirely reasonable to me at the time). But then I fell asleep on the plane. So then I told myself that I'd learn while the others played Guitar Hero in John's living room. But then I played some Guitar Hero myself.

To be honest, just as many of you said, I didn't need to know German. Except for one night in the countryside, I can't think of a time I tried to talk to someone in English and they didn't understand me.

Now, I'm not saying we should all just forget about learning foreign languages. I think there's a lot to being able to understand conversations going on around you, understanding menus and signs (I love reading advertisements in foreign languages), being able to charm the locals with your lack of skills, etc. But I can attest that in the major German cities, English seems to be enough.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Back from Oktoberfest!

As some of you know, I just got back from visiting Germany and Prague. We started in Berlin, where we stayed with John and had lots of fun playing Guitar Hero in his new place. Then Patrick, my brother and sister-in-law and I spent 2 days driving south to Munich, where we tried our hardest to make it into a beer tent at Oktoberfest. After way too much Bavarian food, Patrick and I continued on to Prague.

A little geology, of course.

Neil didn't exactly love walking over this bridge.
Oktoberfest isn't just about beer. It's a full-on carnival, with rides, games, etc.
The famous Lowenbrau beer tent, with giant animated, beer-drinking, growling lion.
Like I said, too much Bavarian food.
Fairytale castle, anyone? This one inspired the Disney castle in Orlando.
In Prague, they're over Communism.
The cathedral at Prague Castle.
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