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Round Up #35

Where did all my round ups go?  I can’t believe it’s been awhile since my last rounding up of good blogposts.  Since I have houseguests at the moment, I may have to pare it down to my favorites.  Sorry if a few are a few weeks old.  Can’t be helped.  Hold on….a Nerf bullet just flew by my head…damn kids.  Here are some good ones to go check out this weekend.

Five Travel Apps that Could Save Your Life – Well, I don’t know about that, but you know I am always on the look-out for useful travel apps for Europe.  These are mostly US-specific but still, check them out.

New Ways to Stay in Rome – I have a friend who ALWAYS stays here.  She loves how eco-friendly the place is, even though the bathroom is down the hall.  I think they do have apartments with bathrooms, so don’t discount them.  It’s a great place to stay.

Why Gossip Should be Avoided and How to Steer Clear – Oh the fishbowl.  Isn’t that military life?  Someone is always gossiping about someone else.  Check out this great advice.

Canary Islands, Part 2 – I linked to “part 2″ because “part 1” talks about this milspouse’s nightmare with Ryan Air.  That deserves a blogpost highlighting her blogpost all by itself…OMG!  Anyway, so Coconut’s trip to Tenerife was kind of miserable over Spring Break.  I want you to read it.  Then, the next time you check out a vacation spot, talk to others who have been there.  Read every resort review you can from the same time of the year as you will be going.  Frankly, during Spring Break, almost no resorts have true beach weather on the Med…unless you are talking North Africa, you take the risk of rains, cooler temps, lots and lots of wind (especially the Azores and the Canary Islands) and closed down shops and restaurants…everything is run a little half a**, as it is still a little off season, weather-wise.  And the worst part, is that the prices won’t necessarily be that cheap, because all the Europeans lately have been on our same Spring Break schedule (their Easter break) which drives prices up across the board.

How to create beautiful iphone photos – Thanks fat Mum Slim.  She is one of the peeps I follow on Instagram.  I know nothing about photography, and she has shown me a trick or two in this blogpost.  I mean, I can’t put substandard fare on Instagram, although the filters can sometimes make your shots look pretty artistic and fun.

Tips for PCSing to Korea – It can happen.  I have a friend PCSing from Belgium to Korea right now!  Wow!  And she can only take one of her doggies:-(  It’s a command rule:-(  Plus, half her HHG shipment only!  I thought these tips were pretty interesting.

Top 10 Homecoming Don’ts – Do you have someone coming home soon from a deployment?  Read what Spousebuzz has to say about the dont’s.

Cesky Krumlov on a Budget – OK, I envy you folks stationed in Grafenwoehr, Vilseck and Hohenfels.  Within a short drive, you can be in the Czech Republic having a great time!  Cesky Krumlov is one of my favorites.  I have good memories of being stationed in Vilseck and later Grafenwoehr.  Take advantage of this stuff while it is so close.

Germans and Birthdays – The birthday thing is just done so differently in Germany.  Read this before making a faux pax.  Plus it’s just nice to know if you have any German friends.

Hot Dogs for a Crowd – Who here has not had to run some kind of food event for fundraising?  I bet not one of you.  I used to dump the hotdogs in a bunch of water…yuck, watery hotdogs in my crockpot.  Here is a much better way, plus I think you can jam more of them in there!

Funniest Mistakes the English Make in German – Yeah, ha ha…we Americans do the same thing.  If you are learning German and want to sound like you know what you are talking about, read over the short list of mistakes.

Arriving in Paris:  Getting to your hotel, situated and settled -  Forgot something?  Looking for something?  Need to decide on something else?  Read these helpful tips!

Spargelzeit in Germany – I actually used to put this season on my calendar!!!  No matter though, because you see stands all over the Heidelberg and surrounding area to announce that the delicious white asparagus is in season.  Cooked right (yes, you do peel the outside) in a little bit of butter….heaven in my mouth!  Sorry I am posting this so late, but I think you may still find some out there.

So you want to move to Germany…moving with pets – The flying thing with the airlines from stateside is still not set in cement.  The airlines, especially United, are still not clear cut on their policies and prices.  I have been watching and talking to friends….what they are being told is still all over the map!  Many have gotten so frustrated, they have taken the financial hit and gone with a pet shipping service.  Others have stuck it out and sweated til the day they got on that plane with their pet.  Read this post about some basic information to get you started.  I’ll blog more later about some of the services friends were happy with after this PCS season.

Where to pee – Not so funny when you really have to go, is it?  Europe is not like the States where there is either a public toilet or fast food toilet at every corner.  Sometimes, you cannot find a bathroom!  I’ve noticed many Belgians just stop by the side of the road and pee…men and women.  I’ve lost count of how many times I have gone home from work and seen someone peeing in full view.  I saw an American commercial the other day with Charmin and their “clean restroom” iphone app for the US.  How cool is that?  Bottom line, many public restrooms (depending on the country) require you to pay for toilet usage. I think the most I ever paid was the equivalent of of $4 or so in Oslo, Norway!  Read about Edith’s bathroom quest in Italy:-)

Household and Personal Products – Thanks to AmiExpat who is compiling a list of all the products we are familiar with…available over here.  Now you can use the products you are familiar with under their German names.

Spotted by Locals – I thought this site was a fun idea. It’s also now an iphone app and the android version is coming soon.  Read and see tips from locals in 41 cities in Europe.  Find out what the locals do in your favorite European city.  I just downloaded the app. (Note: Of course the free version only allows you to download 5 tips per city…sorry about that!).

Best Tours in Paris – Sometimes, you just want someone to hold your hand or just to make your travels so much easier.  I was SO lucky I had friends studying in Paris the many years I would go to visit.  You just see and experience so much more when you are with someone who knows what they are doing.  Check out these neat offerings.

Don’t let a cruise line, airline or travel agent pick your hotel – Especially without doing some research first!  Some will be out of the way and cost a fortune transportation-wise, because they are not on the main route.  Others will be fleabags.  Just don’t ever go into a booking blind, I don’t care how cheap it is or how attractive the photo is.  You’ll be sorry!  With the internet, there is NO excuse for you not to do your due diligence.  I always google the name of the place + review and start reading….always.

Homemade Gel Air Fresheners – I am a little bit addicted to air fresheners, especially in the bathrooms. I am tired of shelling out all that money for said air fresheners.  I’ve got a cabinet full of essential oils that are mostly not being used.  Now I finally have a use for them.  I think I can do this.

Gladiator School – Now I cannot remember who asked me about gladiator schools in Rome.  I could only find very little information on them…until now.  Here is one that a group of fellow bloggers attended.  Their outfits and poses are hilarious.  Yes, it’s expensive, but for the cool factor, I don’t think you can outdo this!  It also looks like a lot of fun for a group or large family.

Marriage Retreat – One great thing about being in the military is that one time or another, you are going to get a chance to be on an all expense paid marriage retreat.  Here in Germany and Belgium, not only do chaplains with units sponsor them but also the onpost chapels.  We finally went on one a few years ago at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.  Childcare was also taken care of, which was nice for some of our couples who had lots of little ones.  A friend just got back from one in Germany at a very nice spa and resort.  She kept going on and on about the fresh water they drank.  Anyway, it’s nice to read about someone else’s experience with that.

7 Great Reasons to Travel with a Travel Device – I’ve taken my ipad just about everywhere but Russia. I was afraid of the secret police I think and also getting it stolen (but then I saw ipads just about everywhere, even on the subway).  This is why we like to pick lodging with wifi included.  There is nothing like taking a hot soak in a tub watching my favorite episode of Cold Case or catching up on the latest stateside news after a long day walking all over some foreign city.  Plus, as a family, we like to all bundle up into one bed and watch a nice movie before bedtime…when we are not too exhausted.  I also keep up on Facebook, Twitter and Email and have all my Kindle books and PDF books on there. I’m not a big gamer, but I do have quite a few travel and news apps I keep up with and have just started blogging with it.  Plus it’s small and light enough to carry in my backpack or purse.

OK, the distraction overload is killing me here.  Time to tell the boys to go take that Nerf stuff upstairs.  I keep thinking they’ll run out of “bullets” but I think my son’s friend brought his stash along too, as the one sitting right here by my computer has his initials on it…damn kids.

Oh, and let me leave you with something from the archives, Clean Your Bathroom in Under 5 Minutes.  I am proud my younger son has mastered this…now, I’ve got to get it through my older son’s brain!

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One Response to “Round Up #35”

  1. Amanda says:

    I would be so mad if we got sent to Korea and could only take one of our dogs and half the stuff we brought to Germany (especially because we were way under our HHG allowance as it was). Hope your friend is able to find someone to care for her other dog(s).

    On where to pee, in Germany many cities have a store called Kaufhof Galeria which has a “nette Toilette”, a toilette that’s free to use. I wrote a post that has a picture of the store and the “nette Toilette” sign you can look for to designate that you don’t have to pay or purchase something to use the toilet:

    I knew the army had marriage retreats but not that they also covered them. That’s pretty cool.

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