Gliding Through Green Bay… on a Segway!

We were happy that we got to visit some family in Green Bay, WI during the summer. Della’s extended family live there, so we visit fairly often. However, we don’t always get to be tourists!

This trip, Della’s uncle and aunt decided that there was a new activity that we just had to try. We were going to see historic downtown Green Bay… via Segway!

We had never ridden Segways before, and to be honest, had been a little annoyed by them zipping around everywhere in Prague. At the same time, we were quite curious what it would be like.

We chose to do a Segway the Fox short tour which was a quick 50 minute intro to Segways and downtown. In retrospect, we do wish that we had more time with the Segways because that 50 minutes included introduction, practice, and then a very abbreviated tour. It would have been nice to have more time to play around on the Segways, and definitely fun to get a more in depth tour of old Green Bay.

We were impressed with the area! We hadn’t experienced downtown Green Bay before and we thought it was very cute. We enjoyed gliding around to the museum, over the river, and through some of the newly bustling streets. Downtown Green Bay seems to have had a lot of new development during the recent years, so it was even entertaining for Della’s family who live there!

Other Things to Do in WI

We enjoyed a visit to the National Railroad Museum as well. It was a large complex with multiple interesting exhibits. It also houses several full historic trains which you can enter and explore. We had fun learning more about the Union Pacific Big Boy, which was the world’s largest steam locomotive.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers a video about the history of the Big Boy, as well as a narrated train tour around the grounds.

We probably would have enjoyed looking at the museum in a little more depth, but this ended up being a slightly different kind of museum trip. Della’s cousins have some young children who joined us. It was refreshing to look at the museum through the eyes of kindergartners and to feel their excitement during the train ride and through exploring the full size display trains. However, it did change our normal museum pattern!  It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, with activities for adults and children!

We also took the weekend to visit Della’s relatives’ land “up north.” We visited the lovely lakes near St. Germain which is about a three hour drive northwest of Green Bay. We spent time biking through the area, enjoying the scenery, and swimming and water skiing the lakes.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip to a familiar state. We hope to explore Green Bay as tourists even more next time we’re there!

Monthly Recap: Month 7

It is a little surreal to be writing a monthly update for month 7! That means we are more than halfway through our trip… Feels very strange. In some ways it feels like we’ve been going forever! In others it feels like we’ve barely started… And when we think about our long break at home and then heading off to a brand new continent, it almost is like we really just started!

Here are our stats for this month.

Countries visited: 5 (USA, Thailand, Burma/Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia) Though, Indonesia hardly counts because we just arrived on Jan 31.

Beds Slept In: 11 (This is a particularly high number in part because we had 3 different beds in Mandalay… all in the same hotel, but three beds all the same!)

UNESCO Heritage Sights Visited: 0  Total on RTW: 34

We traveled by 6 planes this month!

We traveled by 0 trains this month.

We traveled by 2 long distance buses.

We traveled by 1 long distance boat.

We traveled by 2 shared taxis.

Top Moments:

~ We arrived in Mandalay not entirely sure what to expect. We had heard that it might be difficult to travel in Myanmar… However, the minute we arrived at our very first guesthouse we were overwhelmed with the kindness of the people. “Mama” at Yoe Yoe Lay guesthouse treated us as if we were family and was kind, generous, and fun to be around. Every other staff person there seemed unbelievably kind. The accommodations were also quite lovely and at a good price. It also didn’t hurt that the moment we walked in, we started talking to another couple who we really enjoyed and hungout with multiple times thereafter. The guests at the guesthouse were great and the staff was even better. It made Mandalay particularly enjoyable for us!

Della with "Mama" - the head of our amazing guesthouse - Yoe Yoe Lay

Della with “Mama” – the head of our amazing guesthouse – Yoe Yoe Lay

Eric enjoying breakfast at Yoe Yoe Lay

Eric enjoying breakfast at Yoe Yoe Lay

~ We knew we were going to take a boat tour on Inle Lake. It was a “must do.” However, we had read some conflicting accounts about the tours. Some people said they were canned and that the guides kept taking you to shops and trying to get you to buy things. Others complained about the limitations of being on a tour, feeling constricted in their freedom of where and when to spend their time. Some of those things were true on our boat trip, but somehow it didn’t matter. We spent hours floating through the lake. The destinations on the lake actually hardly mattered – we thought just being on the lake and observing the beauty and the way of life was wonderful. The day was gorgeous and we spent the time on the lake in quiet contemplation, enjoying our ability to do this trip and explore new places.

Families zipping through the waterways

Families zipping through the waterways

People working their fields

People working their fields

Beautiful Inle Lake

Beautiful Inle Lake

Runners up for Top Moments:

~ Our second town in Myanmar was called Pyin Oo Lwin. We had heard that the town wasn’t really worth the trip, that it was only blah. However, we were interested in visiting because Della’s parents had visited on their rtw trip 35 years ago. They had many great memories of the beauty of the town, the old colonial buildings, and of the people out strolling the gardens under their parasols. We wanted to see what they remembered. We spent a whole day chasing the past in Pyin Oo Lwin! We ran into some troubles finding some of the places, but ultimately succeeded and really enjoyed the time biking through town. In additions, the gardens were absolutely gorgeous. We again had a lovely day!  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any parasols.

The pagoda in the beautiful gardens of Pyin Oo Lwin

The pagoda in the beautiful gardens of Pyin Oo Lwin

The beautiful colonial house Candicraig - where Della's parents stayed when they visited 35 years ago

The beautiful colonial house Candicraig – where Della’s parents stayed when they visited 35 years ago

~ Our final day in Myanmar was in Yangon. We spent several days in Yangon, probably more than we really needed to, but it allowed for some relaxing days. Our last day, we headed to the National Museum and then to the nearby People’s Park. It is a lovely park with some strange attractions, like an old plane, trees with hanging bridges between them, and giant banana statues. It also has great view of the Shwedagon Pagoda. But the most fun part was that they decided to blast music throughout the park. When we first heard it, we thought it must be some sort of performance or event, but it turned out it wasn’t. Della was, of course, tempted to dance, though she didn’t because no one else was even moving to the beat. We enjoyed the music, the views, people watching, and the sunset as our time in Myanmar wound to a close.

Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset as seen from People's Park

Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset as seen from People’s Park

The sun sets on our time in Myanmar

The sun sets on our time in Myanmar

Items Missing, Broken, Discarded, or Added:

Nothing!

Packing Update:

See our posts on both Della’s and Eric’s packing update!

Books Read: (Have you read any of these??)

Della has read Snuff by Terry Pratchett (3), Animal Farm by George Orwell (4), The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (3), I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (4), Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (4)

Eric has read Wild by Cheryl Strayed (4), Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind (3), Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (3), No Birds Sing by Jo Bannister (3.5)

Eric and Della have BOTH read Burmese Days by George Orwell (4), Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (4), My Sister’s Bones by Cathi Hanauer (3.75), Hearts in Atlantis by Stephan King (4)

The rating system is for Della’s mom who is refusing to just go look on Goodreads. It is 1 to 5, 5 being the highest.

Make sure to catch up on all our monthly recaps: Monthly Recap 1, Monthly Recap 2, Monthly Recap 3,Monthly Recap 4, Monthly Recap 5, Monthly Recap 6

Home for the Holidays in Texas

The first part of the time we spent on break in the United States was spent with Eric’s family in Texas. During our two weeks in town, we were able to do quite a bit…

We took a trip to Galveston,

decorated for Christmas,

Trimming the tree

Trimming the tree

perused neighborhood Christmas decorations,

met a new family member,

celebrated Christmas with family,

Christmas Eve carols

Christmas Eve carols

ate lots of Mexican food,

watched the Cowboys beat the Eagles and the Colts to secure their playoff spot,

reconnected with our cat,

and drank some good Texas beers.

Lakewood Growler with Eric's cousin

Lakewood Growler with Eric’s cousin

Thanks to all of our family and friends in Dallas for making our visit a fun one!

Awesome sunset

Awesome sunset

Flashback Friday: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Flashback Friday is a picture series where we “flashback” to some of our favorite memories- from either our prior travel or from home. We hope you’ll enjoy some of our remembrances!

This last week, we flew back to the USA. We had a short layover in the Philadelphia airport, which naturally got us thinking about the years we lived in that part of the world! So our flashback for this week is to our visit to Gettysburg in 2009.

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Flashback Friday: Big Bend National Park, Texas

Flashback Friday is a picture series where we “flashback” to some of our favorite memories- from either our prior travel or from home. We hope you’ll enjoy some of our remembrances!

We are taking a slight break from our travels abroad to spend some time with Eric’s family in Texas. This made us flash back to a wonderful trip we took during spring break of 2011. Eric had been singing the praises of Big Bend National Park for a long time and he finally got Della there… Along with both the Hoffman and Jean parents! This photo is taken from Santa Elena Canyon with the Big Bend Basin in distance. The whole area has unreal desert scenery!

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Brewing Up Some Fun at Beer Bike

As part of planning for our trip, we’ve read that it’s fun to visit local festivals. We were in Houston visiting some friends and heard of a festival called “Beer Bike” that same weekend that sounded interesting. We like beer and bikes, so we figured we’d check it out

  • Where: Rice University campus
  • When: Saturday March 29 at 11 AM
  • What: Some sort of bike race between different groups(dorms??). We think there was chugging involved too.
  • Who: Mostly Rice students and alumni. Most wearing colorful t-shirts with funny slogans. We hate to say it, but some seemed slightly inebriated for it being so early in the morning!

There were three different bike races among the groups. It was a little hard to follow the results from our vantage point, but it seemed like one of the groups was clearly better – the ones wearing maroon and gold. If we had to choose a favorite team, we definitely would have chosen them!


 

JUST KIDDING

As most of you reading this blog probably know, Beer Bike is not just a random festival we stumbled upon. We are Rice alumni, and Beer Bike is one of the biggest events of the Rice social year. A lot of alumni return just to see the races, so we wanted to come to see both the event and reconnect with friends.

The “team in maroon and gold” is our “residential college” (for those unfamiliar with the term, think the Hogwarts houses in Harry Potter”), named Will Rice. We are the only college to have swept the three races at one event – and we have done it five times! Unfortunately, this year we only won two of the three races, so no sweep but still a good showing.

It wasn’t technically practice for going to a random festival in a new city, but definitely a fun weekend!

Special shout out to Jenny and James for hosting us, and to Caitlin for driving us to and from the airport