Sunday, November 24, 2013

European City #3 - Heidelberg, Germany

We're on to the next city in The LG Report's photo essay series chronicling LG's and Mrs. LG's recent European vacation.  This stop: Heidelberg, Germany.

Mrs. LG is 100% German.  Both of her parents were born and raised there and then met in the United States as young adults.  Mrs. LG's first language as a child was German.  By LG's estimate (although not by Mrs. LG's estimate, she's much too modest), Mrs. LG is about 58% fluent in German.  More on that shortly.

So sit back, grab a stein of Becks and a plate of bratwurst and take a gander at some pix from Deutschland.

This photo was taken at a rest area on the autobahn (which is German for "Watch out mofos, here I come!") between Amsterdam and Heidelberg.  As you can see, they sell hard liquor ("Liquor? Hardly knew her...") right at the cash register so that you can booze up before heading out to your car to drive 125 mph (or whatever the equivalent speed would be in kilometers; feel free to Google it).  

Here we see Mrs. LG at that same rest stop about to sample some of the local German food.  It's always good to indulge in the regional cuisine when in foreign countries.

A close-up look at some local German delicacies, also known as "Delight Kings."

These souvenir license plates were available at the rest stop.  "BABY AN BOARD" proves that the Nigerian inheritance email writers have a part-time job in Germany.  

We stopped at a clockmaker's house/store/factory for lunch on our way to Heidelberg.  It's located in the Black Forest.  We also had some Black Forest Cake there.  It was sort of like stopping in Alaska to have baked Alaska.  That's a complicated analogy but it rings true, just like a Black Forest coo coo clock.

This is the master woodcarver/clockmaker who owns the store/factory.  His name is, ironically (this is not BS) Adolf Herr.  Thus, in German he would be known as Herr Herr (Google the "House of Black Forest Clocks" if you don't believe LG).  We hear he's a big fan of the rock group Mister Mister.  That's cherry brandy that he's trying to pawn off on tourists to get them so bombed that they'll spend $1,000 on one of his coo coo clocks.  

This is a castle overlooking the autobahn.  It's not uncommon to see castles like this perched on hills above  the highway in Germany.  Many of these castles served as fortresses to protect villages hundreds of years ago when they were built.  Today many have been converted to screening rooms for David Hasselhof videos.  An important rule to remember when in Germany:  Don't hassle the Hof!  

This is the town hall of a small village.  The German word for the local government building (e.g. city hall) is "Rathaus," which translates into "Rat House" in English.  The Germans have a strong truth-in-naming law when it comes to government buildings.  In the U.S. our Rat House is called "the Captitol Building."

This was a group of us on the deck of a tour boat making its way down the Rhine River.  George Clooney happened to be on the boat (pictured at left).  

A town along the Rhine as seen from the tour boat.  Someone in that town has a picture of the tour boat as see from the town.  

Another town along the Rhine.  This one has the distinction of bearing the longest town name in all of Germany: Weltschungwanterviessendamenladenberg.   Ah, not really; LG just made that up.  But you believed it for a few seconds, admit it.

Here's some land awaiting development into a mall. It will have two Starbucks.  

This is David Hasselhof's guest house.  The main house that occupies while performing in Germany is much larger, but German law prohibits anyone, including Google Maps, from photographing it. Again, don't hassle the Hof.
This is a nuclear missile silo disguised as an old building.  LG was too smart to be fooled by the camouflage job.

This is one of the main town squares in Heidelberg.  As mentioned above, Mrs. LG's is supposed to be fluent-ish in German.  In a little grocery store just out of view of this photo, LG was putting his purchases into a bag when he realized he needed another.  He asked Mrs. LG to inquire of the cashier if she could provide another bag. Mrs. LG looked at the cashier and said "Can we have another bag?" The cashier replied "Sure."  Apparently she spoke English.  LG felt ripped off. 

This is another square in Heidelberg.  Nobody was around at the time this photo was snapped because "Baywatch" reruns were being aired.  That sculpture is an artist's rendition of what she imagines David Hasselhof's aorta to look like. 

Thanks for joining The LG Report on this armchair tour of Heidelberg.  Our next installment, coming soon, will feature Lucerne, Switzerland.  We hope to see you back here!     

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

European City #2 - Amsterdam

EDITOR'S NOTE THE LG REPORT is normally a family-friendly blog.  We know that many of you read it aloud to your children as a bedtime story.  And while this is certainly encouraged and wholly appropriate in most instances, today's post contains some adult material from another culture (The Netherlands), so we ask that you exercise appropriate parental discretion (e.g. tell your rugrats to go play X-Box Call of Duty: Kill Everyone in Sight and eat a box of  chocolate Pop Tarts while you relax and get your European culture on.  Our nation thanks you.  

Today The LG Report takes you to Amsterdam, the second stop on LG's and Mrs. LG's recent European vacation.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands' largest city, is a very liberal enclave. It's legal to smoke pot and hash in "coffee shops," which are actually low-level drug dens (most don't serve any coffee at all).  But customers are surprisingly well-behaved from what LG hears; of course he didn't go into far as you know.

Prostitution is also legal in Amsterdam.  In the city's Red Light District girls stand in small, neon-lit storefronts visually advertising their wares to potential customers.  However, it's considered rude for tourists, or anyone else for that matter, to snap photos of these women, so LG complied with decorum -- even though certain readers of The LG Report (yes, you...) probably would've preferred a glimpse or two.

Here for your viewing pleasure is a sampling of LG's photos from Amsterdam:

This is the luxury motorcoach that carried LG and Mrs. LG through five countries (of course, it was only the equivalent of going from Washington D.C. to Cleveland or thereabouts).  There was a bathroom on board but, as Mareka our tour guide said, "Only to be used in emergencies."  Some of the male riders (not LG) had post-lunch beer emergencies along the way. None of the people pictured had any idea that they'd be featured on an internationally-prominent blog.  The empty seats represent people who were still getting stoned in the coffee shops at breakfast.   

This, believe it or not, is a food vendor at a rest area on the highway between Brussels and Amsterdam.  Note the wide variety of fresh ingredients and the distinctive lack of pre-made fried meals.  Not a Happy Meal in sight.   And you couldn't supersize your lunch here even if you wanted to. Disturbing, no?

The Dutch, like most Europeans, favor the eco-friendly and efficient transportation provided by bicycles. This is just one of many bike parking areas in Amsterdam.  What you might not realize is that the owners of these bikes got too high in the coffee shops and couldn't remember where they parked their bikes.  Amsterdam locals generally just buy a new bike each week.  LG would like to own the Schwinn and Fritos distributorships in Amsterdam.

This is a building in the Amsterdam's harbor (LG didn't bother learning the actual name of the body of water so let's just go with Amsterdam Harbor and if anyone Googles it to correct him, so be it) .  It was built to look like a ship.  Contrast this with boats on Amsterdam's canals built to look like houses.  LG guesses that the architects and design professionals visit the coffee shops a lot while working.

This is a famous bridge in Amsterdam.  Again, LG didn't bother learning the actual name (there's an art to being an Ugly Amerian Tourist) so let's just call it the George Washington Bridge.  That's probably close to accurate.  

This is another building in Amsterdam Harbor.  It was designed to look like a cross between a flying saucer, a can opener and a seagull.  It might house an art museum but LG isn't certain.  Hey, what do you expect from a free travelogue on The LG Report, accuracy?!

Here you see a canal-side street in Amsterdam.  The Anne Frank House is along one of these streets but LG did not take a tour (you apparently have to purchase tickets months in advance unless you're Justin Bieber).  People sometimes drive their bikes or cars into the canal after a long night at the coffee shop, hence the mostly-decorative protective railing.  US insurance companies would insist on higher and stronger railings.  Just an observation. 

That's Jim in the foreground.  He's a very nice guy from Upstate New York which, coincidentally, has a town named Amsterdam.  It must be karma.  Jim was hoping to be featured on The LG Report, it's a dream come true for him, although he's playing it very cool.  You can't see it, but the guy on the right is reading a brochure for Rogaine Foam.  These are typical canal tour boats but not typical canal tourguide comments.
This is a ship that looks suspiciously like Old Ironsides in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  Since LG didn't bother learning the ship's real name (continuing theme), let's just call it Old Ironsides.  See, U.S. culture does have a big impact around the world!

This is another city street.  The people on those benches are probably high out of their minds. They most likely just finished shoplifting some Yodels.  But the houses are nice in the background.  Those people will probably break into them later in search of drug money.

This is a tower in Amsterdam. The blue ball on top was a gift from the people of Elkhart, Indiana to symbolize the importance of the Indiana state high school basketball tournament and how parents like to get high and drink Crown Royal in the parking lot before big games.  No, wait, LG just made that up, you're busted!.  But the tower is, in fact, located in Amsterdam.  You can figure out the rest of its significance on your own.  That's what Google is for people.  Leave LG alone. 

This is Amsterdam's version of the London Eye.  It's erected twice a year as part of some fair that LG couldn't hear the tour guide describe because LG was too far in back of the tour group busily looking around for the Red Light District.  For cultural reasons, of course.

 You probably haven't seen or referred to a "headshop" since you were 17.  Amsterdam may bring back some memories (or lack thereof) for you. 

Amsterdam is a polite city.  Bar owners would like to gently remind you not to grope women's breasts in their bars. Or, possibly, this sign is reminding people not to wave hello to breasts in the bar.  Or maybe it's asking patrons to refrain from high-fiving breasts. Better safe than sorry; just avoid doing any of the three.        


This is a condom shop.  The picture pretty much speaks for itself, you didn't need this explanation, did you?  What are you doing still reading down here, you should be examining the hanging condoms and thinking how disgusting (or amusing) they are.  Hey, it's all part of the culture, open your mind!  

Same condom shop but with an artsy-looking (and therefor respectable) mannequin.  And we do mean MANnequin.  Ah, and look in the lower left, everyone's favorite comic book superhero, Condoman, providing protection for everyone! We hear that Charlie Sheen is starring in the movie version. 

This was the view from the third row of the bus on the way out of Amsterdam at 6:30 am.  Roads were already jammed.  Next stop Heidelberg, Germany.  Check back soon for pictures from that fine city!

PS And if you're not a follower of The LG Report, please consider becoming one.  The LG Report is trying to pass the 200 follower mark and is tantalizingly close.  You could be the one to push us over the line...

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 11, 2013

European Vacation - Part 1 - London

LG and Mrs. LG went on a European vacation last month, covering five cities: London, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Lucerne and Paris.  LG is going to post photos from each city in a multi-part pictorial on this venerable blog.  This first installment will focus on London.  That big Ferris wheel you see in the photo above is known as the "London Eye."  It's basically the same size as the Ferris wheel (I don't know why insists on capitalizing the word "Ferris" but it does) that you'd see down at the local Fireman's Fair in Asbury Park or Springfield or Decatur.  LG knows it doesn't look that way but it is, trust him bloke.  However, because it's located in a smaller country than the U.S. (that being England) it appears larger.  Just go with it.  And pay your 19 Euro ($25.46 in U.S. dollars) for a ride.

This is Mrs. LG on the plane over to Europe.  She's not a big fan of photos to be posted on the internet, as you may have guessed.  This move is also called a "moutza" in Greece.  Don't look it up if you don't know what it is.  She didn't mean it for you.    

This is a London taxi cab as seen from the rear passenger's seat.  These cabs are more spacious and, overall, better than NYC cabs by about 1.000%.  The drivers actually know where they're going.  But this particular cab only takes "cash." By "cash," he doesn't mean "cash money American," but still, it was a good ride. Notice that our luggage is enjoying the comfortable seating.

This is Big Ben. LG thinks that he may have been the first tourist to take a photo of Big Ben.  It's a rather large clock.  Rumor has it that the British government will soon be knocking down Big Ben and replacing it with a large smartphone that also tells the current time.  Just a rumour (as they spell it in Britain.) 

This is the American "Big Ben."  Doesn't look anything like his London counterpart, does he?  

This is the view out of Mr. and Mrs. LG's hotel room window in London.  The hotel was called St. Ermin's.  Who knew that there was a St. Ermin?  Not to be confused with that holy rat, St. Vermin.  That bloke walking in the courtyard had no idea that he'd be featured on an internationally famous blog.  There was a quaint little local coffee shop just around the corner named Starbucks. 


This was some official-looking bloke on a tricked-out horse carriage. We didn't know what was going on but it seemed like a good picture. It may have been a scene from the British version of "Duck Dynasty."  Sorry, we have no explanation.

This is the outside of the Lloyd's of London building.  LG has a number of friends who work here.  Some architectural critics say this building is ugly.  LG says that those critics should look in the mirror.

This is called "Tower Bridge." Some dumb American tourists think that this is the "London Bridge," but that bridge is in the Arizona desert. Tower Bridge is older than your oldest piece of clothing (including that favorite pair of sneakers you have way back in the closet.)  LG has nothing funny to say about this. 

This is Royal Fat Albert Hall, funded by a donation from Bill Cosby.  A lot of very famous musicians have played here, including Biggie Smalls and the Monkees.   

This is a photo that LG took from the front seat of the tour bus.  This girl, whose car was in front of LG's tour bus in London, vomited shortly after this picture was taken.  It was early on a Saturday morning. You can see her sort of leaning into the vomit now (perhaps she read Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In.")  Not really an ideal London tourist photo but LG posted it for you anyway.  You're welcome. 

As you can see, military officers in England need raincoats that fit better. This one is a little loose on the guy. Perhaps he recently lost a lot of weight in his hind quarters.

While we happened to be standing outside of Buckingham Palace, the English Royal Guard decided to re-enact the parade scene from "Animal House."  We assume that they did this because they knew that Americans were watching.  You gotta love those Brits, they are so accommodating to their tourist guests!  PS The Dean Wormer look-alike was spot-on.  

This is Buckingham Palace.  We caught Princess Kate running out in her nightie to get the morning paper (the New York Post.)  BUSTED Kate!

This is a new skyscraper in London called "The Shard."  It's tall.  Perhaps the tallest building in Europe.  LG scaled the outside of it and then BASE jumped off, but it was all in a day's work for an adventurer like LG.  Stay tuned for future posts about the rest of LG's and Mrs. LG's European Vacation 2013....