Seven German Words To Tickle Your Fancy

German has a rep for being one of the harsher sounding languages. It’s a language that can make “butterfly” sound menacing. (Schmetterling! Argh!) But through two decades spent trying to tackle zee German language, I’ve encountered heaps of words that are fun, funny, or just a bit goofy. Hence, I’ve composed a list of seven German words that I think will tickle your fancy!

Don’t be afraid to unleash your Inner German!

That’s what I tell those who attend my Beginner German For Travelers class as I try to get them to pronounce some über-guttural word. Fahrvergnügen, anyone?

Fahrvergnügen is the pleasure of driving. Well what about Sprachvergnügen — the pleasure of language? Without further ado, and in the interest of Sprachvergnügen, let’s take a look at those seven German words, beginning with the dreaded:

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Getting “Hammered” at Porto’s Festival of Saint John

Porto’s Festival of Saint John

Perhaps you recall my recent mentioning of fish heads? Or of fish-head hats? Of smoking sardines or curly green wigs? Of jubilant crowds to parades floating past while the beats and their throats formed the songs that were sung on the streets with some lyrics I could not work out but so ever enjoyed? 

Does any of this ring a bell?

Ding ding?

Lisbon’s Feast of Saint Anthony

Quite serendipitously, I stumbled upon Lisbon’s Feast of Saint Anthony in late Spring of this year, to be precise. It was my first dabble into the Portuguese festival experience. And it was pretty bomb.

So when I learned — mid-way through our Rick Steves’ Heart of Portugal tour — that we’d be arriving in Porto the night of its patron-saint’s festivities, I could hardly believe my luck.

“You mean I get to partake in more merrymaking, à la portugais?” Sweet! But I didn’t believe Porto’s fête de Saint John could ever quite top Lisbon’s festal homage to its holiest Tony.

But then, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong.

Continue reading “Getting “Hammered” at Porto’s Festival of Saint John”

Left His Fish Tank to Swim in the Ocean, Naked

“I won’t tell you how to get from point A to point B but I will tell you about what happened to me between point A and point B,” Andrew explains in the “About Me” section of his website: beatthegrind.com. He travels the world, with the self-appointed mission of avoiding his comfort zone en route.

In other words: he’s left his fish tank to swim in the ocean. That’s how he words it in the biography section of his Instagram account, @beatthegrind, anyway. And a quick glance at his gallery of photos — with images from Mostar to Melbourne, from Myanmar to Mexico City — seems to confirm the claim.

Could it be true, then? Has Andrew really figured out how to “beat the grind?”

Wit, Depth & Daring

I personally first came across @beatthegrind, aka Andrew Schultz, on Instagram. What made me a follower? He’s an adventurer and a good photographer, for sure. But there are plenty of adventurous folks who take nice pictures on IG. Therefore I’d say it was something extra. 

If pressed in a hostage situation to give a more concrete answer, I’d say it was his Continue reading “Left His Fish Tank to Swim in the Ocean, Naked”

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Today is a special day because it marks a big milestone for me. It’s the one-year (plus one day!) anniversary of my having published my very first blog post. In other words, it’s my very first blogiversary. YAY!

That very first post was aptly titled It’s About Damn Time, because it took me so long to launch the dang thing. But anyway, I thought I would celebrate this feat by doing a quick and dirty year in review and also by looking ahead at new goals for the future.

Blogiversary Accomplishments

Well, for me, the fact that I even started this thing at all was a huge accomplishment! I knew nothing about creating a website when the debatably brilliant idea came to me that I should make one. So, I had to learn. Luckily there are lots of tutorials and articles online to help someone like me. I’m still quite the novice at this website stuff, but hey, I’ve made it work for my purposes so far.

For a visual look at this past year’s accommplishments, here’s a nifty little infographic I made showing some nifty little things! Continue reading “Happy Blogiversary to Me!”

Stef’s Five Faves: Portugal Edition

After fourteen days of intense travels through Portugal, I’ve decided to give an overview of the spots I enjoyed most, aka “Stef’s Five Faves: Portugal Edition!” If you’re planning your itinerary or just want to learn more about what Portugal has to offer, then this is for you! So let’s take a look at the very Best of the West — of the Iberian Peninsula, that is!

First, let me plot the course of our expedition.

Where I Laid My Head

My most-recent Europe trip started in mid-June with five nights in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The first two nights I spent on my own doing pre-tour independent explorationsThat was followed by three additional nights in Lisbon as part of a 12-day Rick Steves’ Heart of Portugal tour. Spoiler alert — Lisbon was a fave. More on that in a bit.

After those beautifully busy five days, it was time to say adeus to Lisbon. Our route continued on with a night’s stay in a town the Romans had occupied millennia before us:

Évora!

Praça do Sertório square in Évora
Praça do Sertório square in the heart of Évora

Évora is cute! It’s a whitewashed UNESCO-World-Heritage town with Roman-aqueduct remains.

Évora's old Roman acqueducts
Here I am, single-handedly holding up Évora’s old Roman acqueducts.
You’re welcome, Évora. You’re welcome.

But the spot that gets the most visitors is Évora’s Capela dos Ossos: a Franciscan bone chapel that’s on the macabre end of the spectrum, but fascinating!

In a morbid kind of way.

Capela dos Ossos, Evora
Those Franciscan monks of Capela dos Ossos had a real sense of esprit de corpse.

Continue reading “Stef’s Five Faves: Portugal Edition”