BootsnAll Travel Network


July 28th, 2007

The Most Expensive Happiest Place on Earth

After 50 weeks and 21000 miles on the road we returned to the in-laws last Saturday July 21st at 5 minutes before midnight. 2 weeks sooner than expected.


First however I need to talk about the leading up to our return. 

A couple of months ago Allison’s parents told us that they wanted to invite us to Disneyland. All we had to do was pick a day. We chose Julian’s birthday and used the time to get the kids excited abut it, since they didn’t know what Disneyland was.  It turns out that Dan (Allison’s dad) and I weren’t all that excited, because we were both very skeptical how much we would enjoy it. I was mainly worried about the culture shock for us, not being able to drink and drive, have to buckle up (even the kids), not being allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks, but also a lot of stupid rules and regulations out of fear of lawsuits. For example, Julian wasn’t allowed to go one of the safest slides I have seen in the last 11 month, because he wasn’t able to swim from 1 end of the pool to the other. With a waiting parent and at least 3 lifeguards this slide wouldn’t propose any hazard, especially since he has been on slides 3 times the height and speed. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against rules. After all I am German and I think we are the inventers of rules and regulations, but there is also a thing called common sense and another thing called law suites. So yes, I was a little disturbed at first, mainly because I had to keep telling the boys: “Oh no, we are back in America, you can’t do that here!” I must say however that the people enforcing all of those rules did it in a very friendly way. 

Allison & Julian, Allison's Parents and William in the Teacups

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

New Experience 117

July 12th, 2007

It seems every time I am writing a blog I am whining about not wanting to drive more and not wanting to see many more things, because most likely we have seen it even better on our trip before. We visited over 100 places, had to pack in and out over 100 times as well and it is getting tiring and after the disappointment on the Baja we thought things would get a little easier in the States. Boy where we wrong.

It started at the border. We had to stand in line for about 1 hour at the Tijuana crossing and made it to the US without any problems. Even the US customs officers, who usually make so much drama, were all relaxed. The only problem was that there was no office where we could cancel our Mexican car permit and turn in our tourist cards. That’s a must, because otherwise we wouldn’t be allowed to return to Mexico in the future. So we had to drive back into Mexico, find the office to turn in our permits and stand in line for another hour to get back to the US. Again no drama.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Up the Baja

July 5th, 2007

It was tough to leave Ajijic – we had a great apartment, kids in a good school, a lot of free time and met some nice people to hang out with.  But our next stop was the Baja peninsula and Matthias and I were both looking forward to it very much.  We had heard great things from a lot of different travelers and couldn’t wait to get there.  What a huge disappointment we had awaiting us.

First we had a long drive to Mazatlan.  Mazatlan has the reputation of being another Mexican resort town.  It is true that there is a section of Mazatlan full of tourists and big resorts, but the old part of town is really quite nice and the view from the waterfront is spectacular.  The hardest part of being in Mazatlan was the heat and humidity.  The temperature was in the low 90’s, and the “feels like” temperature was just under 100, but after being in the cool mountains with a great climate, it took me a couple of days to adjust.  We signed up for the car ferry from Mazatlan to La Paz (which is on the southern end of the Baja, about 1500 km from Tijuana).  The ride was 19 hours, and we spent the night in a cabin with 4 beds.  The ferry was brutally expensive (around $400) but I was kind of excited when we first boarded.  There was a lot to explore, and it kind of had a Love Boat feeling with the narrow hallways, dining area, lounge and cabin areas.  After just a bit of exploring we realized that this boat had seen better days (big on the Boat, low on Love) and there wasn’t really anything to do except start out into the Sea of Cortez.  Never the less, we did have a good time and between nap time, dinner, breakfast and movie hour, we found enough stuff to do to keep ourselves busy. 

Sea of Cortes

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

About to Hit the Road Again

June 24th, 2007

Our faithful readers will have noticed that we haven’t been updating our blog very much lately.  We’ve been in Ajijic for nearly 6 weeks and have only posted a few blog entries.  The first week we were here we enrolled William and Julian in a pre-school here and we’ve had every morning (Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 1PM) without William and Julian.  It really hasn’t been for lack of time that we haven’t been writing blog entries – simply laziness.  It had been a long time since we have had so much “free” time and we’ve really enjoyed it.  The main thing we accomplished was to become totally addicted to the TV show House, MD.  We downloaded and watched all 3 seasons in less than 4 weeks.  That is a total of 70 episodes.  If you realize that we have been watching that much TV it is no wonder we have not had any time to write blog entries.  And even if we had gotten around to writing, what would we have written about other than Dr. House?  We haven’t been doing anything else except watching that show?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,


June 20th, 2007

The morning we were supposed to go to Guanajuato Matthias was still just tired of traveling and he decided he didn’t want to go.  In the end we decided to split up, he took Julian and William and I were off to Guanajuato.

Riding the bus is very exciting for a 4-year old.  There are lots of buttons and knobs to turn, there was a TV, they gave us free sandwiches, drinks and there was even a bathroom on the bus.  William took a backpack full of books, extra clothes and 3 pairs of shoes (something I didn’t notice until we were unpacking in Guanajuato).  The bus ride was 4 hours, a little too long for both of us, but we still had a great time and it was nice to be able to spend some time just him and I. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

The Old Riviera

June 8th, 2007

When you drive into Ajijic there is a sign that says “Riviera Alta.”  You might think it means the OLD Riviera since aside from the dozen Mexicans that live in this town all you see here are ex-pat retirees from the US and Canada.  High-water socks, bad Hawaiian shirts draping over big bellies, thick wide black old people glasses, canes, grey hair, etc. are all encountered every time we step out of the apartment.  Really “Riviera Alta” means the high Riviera since the elevation here is over 5000 feet, but I chuckle every time I see that sign since “alt” in German does actually mean “old”. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

More Pictures and Slideshows

May 28th, 2007

One of Matthias’ hobbies is creating slide shows on the computer set to music.  He has 2 slideshows that he loaded onto You Tube.  One is of our trip to the San Blas islands in Panama, and the other is a slideshow of our entire trip so far.  You can find the slideshows here:

We’ve also put up a few more pictures on our flickr site.

Tags: , , ,

Champion 2007!

May 20th, 2007

As probably all of our readers already know this weekend the greatest soccer team of all time (VfB Stuttgart) won the German Bundesliga for the first time in 15 years. It was totally unexpected and therefore it is even sweeter now.

During our travels this year Stuttgart was televised several times and every time we got to see them play they won and captured first place. After a few ups and downs this season we watched them again last weekend and they were again in first place on the last day of the season. The last and most important game was also televised in Mexico and we couldn’t wait to watch the game, but then a catastrophe happened. Our landlord didn’t pay the cable bill and cable was turned off for the most important soccer game of the last 15 years. You can imagine how frustrated I was.

In a previous post we mentioned a friend of ours who we referred to as Dave the Prick.  That actually wasn’t our own name for him.  He’s well known in Seattle under that name.  But we take it all back.  Most people who know Dave probably wouldn’t even dare to ask if they could come over to his house at 8:15 in the morning to watch a soccer game that he didn’t really care about.  No one really would expect any answer from him other than “F—, no!”  But luckily we got his life-partner Terri on the phone the night before and she agreed that Dave would be up and would let us in. 

Thanks Dave and Terri and thanks to the greatest soccer team on earth, who has the chance to also win the German Trophy next weekend.  So if you missed them becoming German Champion don’t forget to watch them win the trophy next weekend.

Tags: , , , , ,

Congratulations Oma

May 19th, 2007

Allison’s mom, Oma Joyce, who has been the subject of several blog entries retired last week.  We would like to congratulate her and say thank you for all her help and support she has given us, even despite the fact that she isn’t the greatest supporter of out trip. 

We hope she will enjoy her retirement.  Our first retirement gift to her is this: we’ll loan Joyce and Dan the Yodavan anytime they want so they can start their own adventure. 

Buen Viaje!

Oma Joyce and Opa Dan in Costa Rica

Tags: , ,

Mexico City

May 19th, 2007

Wow, what a city!

When we started our trip a lot of people warned us not to go to Mexico City, because it’s dirty, chaotic, polluted and dangerous and we decided not to go. Then again we have been warned of almost any place we visited that it’s too dangerous, so statistically speaking, the odds of getting hurt in Mexico City are slightly higher than in Seattle, but not as great as in Detroit.

Street Side Scene Under our Room in Mexico City  

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,