The Clips and Trips blog was put together in preparation for our leaving the U.S. on an indefinite world travel adventure which started around August of 2009 and returned us home in December of 2012. If you want to see where it all began, read our mission statement from before we left.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

First Visit to Hamburg, Germany

Our first visit to Germany was spent in Hamburg visiting Pam's brother, Chris, and his new wife, Maxi. We were so happy to be there and meet Maxi for the first time. It's great to have some family members so close now. We've made plans to return for Thanksgiving. During our stay, we were shown how Germans do breakfast -- a full spread of meat, cheese, bread, and pastries. We toured the city together on bicycles, which is our favorite mode of transportation in London, too. It's just what happens once you leave car culture. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beer Festival, London, United Kingdom

Beer is a serious matter in England and the type of beer you drink defines you in the British drinking world, particularly, if you drink a cask beer. Then you’re part of a movement in the UK to bring the ancient traditions of beer back into the modern world. You are claiming your national heritage and culture and saying, “Away with those modern carbonated beers.”

The movement is organized by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. CAMRA calls a cask beer a real ale and defines it as an ale that “has a natural taste full of flavor with a light natural carbonation (i.e fizziness) produced by the secondary fermentation that has occurred in the cask.” In other words, it’s a beer that’s naturally carbonated in a wooden barrel. There’s also a special hand pump that’s used to create more carbonation. It’s believed that a real ale should be served warm so the flavor is better appreciated.

Eric has been diligent about trying out this type of beer since we’ve been in London. And we got to do more of a sampling at the annual Beer festival organized by CAMRA. It was held in a convention hall, and craft beer makers came to present their specially crafted real ales. There were also ciders, pear ciders, and international beers featured.

It was a serious event, not at all like a sloppy drunken event you might imagine a beer festival to be. Serious tasters walked around with a beer program and made notes about each beer they sampled.

I think we might have decided that we’re not part of the real ale movement. Eric’s favorite place to sample beer was from the German beer stand.

And my favorite place was the Real Pork Scratchings booth.

Real Scratchings = freshly made pork rinds

Friday, September 30, 2011

Brighton, United Kingdom

Visiting the beach town of Brighton in the southern end of the UK didn't take much effort. A train delivered us from London in about an hour. I had been here almost 20 years before in 1992. As far as I could tell, nothing had changed at all. The blob of spilled ice cream was still there dripping through the slats. It had that slightly gloomy feel that really old carnival piers give me. There's something nice about rock and pebble beaches, though. It's the feel of the smooth clean rocks on your skin. Laying back sinking into the rocks can feel like meditative acupressure. And you don't pick up all those particles of sand that get in between your toes. But walking barefooted to and from the water can be painful as Pam discovered.