Gearing up for 2012

As we bundle up and prepare for 2012, we're so thankful for our family, friends and each other. 

2011, which began as one big headache in Neu Ulm, grew into a surprisingly eventful and epic year. We played less music but traveled more; we worked a lot harder but learned more; and we lived and loved more. 

Below are our top 5 moments for 2011:

1. Return to Oahu/Kalalau Trail
2. Women’s World Cup roadtrip, including a six-city blitz punctuated by U.S. vs. Brazil win in Dresden
3. Czech roadtrip
4. Lisbon
5. Amsterdam bikesgiving

Honorable mention: a local trip to several of Munich’s biergartens, which will undoubtedly become a tradition. Our only regret was not starting earlier.

And before we depart to ring in the new year, we’ll leave you with a quote, courtesy of our friend Tyler in St. Louis, from last year:

“May your coming year be filled 
with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books 
and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful,
and don’t forget to make some art — 
write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, 
you surprise yourself."
                                                                     Neil Gaiman   

(Neil forgot to add: And may our paths cross at least once in 2012.)


Après Skisnutz

Jeremy and I went skiing recently in another trip with the Bavarian Ski Club, this time to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl in Austria. And like our last trip – it was awesome.

I’ll spare you details of the beautiful scenery and my epic superman stunt (the bruises are lingering) and instead share the beauty that is après ski. (French for “after ski.”)

We often discuss how the ski culture here is far superior than that of its U.S. counterpart – we have the Alps, beat that – but beyond opening gigantic mountains for an “enter at your own risk” ski experience, every mountain, bunny slope and hill is equipped with a bar perched in the beauty of the snow-capped eminence.
In all of your slope attire, you ski up to the bar, (it’s a lot like moseying up to the bar, especially in ski / snowboard boots) order a drink, sit outside in the sun and enjoy the best-tasting beer you will ever have. Sausage (product) optional. 

A traditional day on the slopes goes something like this: take the gondola up, ski down, take a chair lift up, have a beer, ski down, gondola or chair lift to a different hill, beer, ski, repeat. By the end of the day, no mountain is left unskied and no high-altitude beer left undrank. (undrunk?)

Which brings us to the après ski – what some claim to be the best part of skiing. 

Around 4 p.m., when most of the lifts close – everyone convenes at a designated bar on top of the mountain for a dancing on the tables, singing, and jumping around (as best as one can in ski boots) party. It’s like Oktoberfest minus the lederhosen.

Below is a short video of some of the action – taken during a spring session in Stubai, Austria, in April.

After a few hours at the après ski party, you ski down the mountain … very, very carefully.



One week later and Jeremy and I are still thankful … and still biking as we traded the traditional holiday in for what we are calling, “Bikesgiving.”
This year, we did things a little differently. Instead of eating turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce, we opted for Thai food (and honestly given the choice between green bean casserole and Tom Ka Kung, I’m thinking the Pilgrims and Indians would have enjoyed the latter as well) and instead of watching football, we drove to Amsterdam. Our Black Friday was Bike Saturday in which – after two days of research and test-drives – we purchased traditional Dutch bikes in the heart of the city.

After a few trips to Amsterdam, hands down one of our favorite cities in Europe, we fell in love with the bike culture and the bikes themselves. Below is a compilation of why Dutch bikes are far superior.

1.     You sit upright with your back perpendicular to the ground instead of hunched forward over the handlebars. It's a more comfortable position and you look quite regal when riding. 
2.     Sight distance. With your newfound superior posture, it is easier to see what's ahead, over cars and through intersections.
3.     Fenders. These semicircular arcs hover just above the top of the bike's tires. They prevent any up-splash when you ride through puddles and also lend the bike a rather dignified appearance.
4.     Fully covered chains. Greasy metal links are hidden behind a chain case, meaning you can ride to work in a suit without getting schmutz all over your pant legs.
5.     Self-locking. Each bikes comes with a built-in lock for the back tire, perfect for quick in and out errands.
6.     Pack mule. The bikes are made for numerous attachments including seats, baskets and bags. A family of 4 could easily ride on my bike, together, with all of their groceries, and a dog, maybe.

While no one can beat the awesome bike culture of Amsterdam, Germany runs a close 2nd with its well-laid and easily navigated bike paths - something we can now take advantage of with our heads held high … literally.


The Draw of 2010: Part 4 of 4

As 2011 draws to a near, we should finally (finally!) wrap up the last segment of "The Draw of 2010" and reminisce about what we were doing this time last year.

It’s been months and months since we published the first, second and third segments, so let’s recap: after each month ended last year, Jeremy and I would draw a memorable moment in solitude and then reveal to each other the finished product, a task that often ended in giggles and nudity. The drawing would then be forever embedded in our 2010 calendar.  

The drawings below represent the last part of our first full year in Germany – Jeremy’s drawing appear on the left, mine on the right. 

October: Last October we traveled back to the States to marry off Jeremy’s mom Marge and shanghai her honeymoon. Both drawings show a day in the life of a Caribbean cruise. Jeremy’s drawing is our daily travels on a rickshaw on the island of St. Thomas and mine describes our beach dwelling on the island of Nassau where we were visited by a giant manta ray – an amazing sight to see. 

November: In early November we spend a few days in my hometown of St. Louis to visit family before traveling back to the cold Euro-winter. I drew a tribute to my grandma June as I was lucky to enough to visit with Gram often in the few short days we were there – a visit that would come to be my last.
Later in the month, we went to Turkey for Thanksgiving (teeheehee). Jeremy’s drawing depicts our boat ride through the Green Canyon near the town of Alanya. 

December: We spent the final month of 2010 in the cold winter that abounds Germany in December, but we embraced it, as best as ones can when they still live in Hawaii in their minds. On Christmas day, a group of us sought holiday refuge at a small ski lift in a little Bavarian town close to home. From left to right: Momo, Kai, Marina, me, Jeremy, Jeb and Tad bringing up the rear.
For New Year’s Eve, Jeb, Tad, Jeremy and I took the train to New Ulm to visit StevenHausen Hausen (my old roomie in Hawaii) and partake in what would be a debaucherous evening. I’d write about it, but whatever happens in New Ulm, unfortunately stays in New Ulm.

And that concludes the year that was 2010. It was a year of firsts, a year full of adventure, and thanks to our creative doodling, a year we will never forget.


a boooooddymollys halloween

The weekend was full of ghoulish good times as the buddymollys celebrated Halloween. And as an homage to our literary nerd selves, we thought it appropriate to dress up as a double entendre this year.

So we present to you, dear blog readers, Frau Blanks and the hitman.  A free treat comes to those who can guess our trick ...


Alles Gute zum Sky's Geburstag

Our faithful friend, travel partner, Houdini escape artist and loyal ankle biter turned 9 today, and in honor of her wild, very full 60+ dog years on earth, we thought it appropriate to take a trip down memory lane and relive all the places she's been and roles she's played.

Woodland explorer

High flyer


Punk rocker

Cold-blooded killa

Here's to 60 more years of livin' the dream. 


Local man celebrates birthday without cake

By Jerome Buttersworth 
buddymollys Bavarian Bureau 

VIENNA, Austria -- In what Bavarian doctors have called a split-second shift in the earth’s gravitational forces, buddymollys front woman Molly Hayden slipped and struck her right ankle while attempting to pounce on a rapidly moving, inclined conveyor belt at Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration, Wednesday evening.

Witnesses at the scene said the three maß beers in a two-hour span did not contribute to Hayden’s fall, but did enable her to walk around for another hour without realizing the damage done to said ankle.

No foul play is suspected by the conveyor belt operator.

Hayden’s injury resulted in the loss of her mobility for the next several days but it did not impact her ability to plan a “kick-ass” mystery birthday weekend for back-up vocalist and rhythm section bandmate Jeremy Buddemeier.

Buddemeier was surprised at least twice that weekend, the first of which occurred when several friends convened at a “random” Indian restaurant in Regensburg, which is about an hour’s drive south of Weiden in der Oberpfalz.

“Ah man, you got me good!” Buddemeier said.

The following day, the buddymollys took to the open road for a weekend in Vienna.

Holed up in a suite at the circus-themed 25hour hotel, Buddemeier staved off a few painful flashbacks from his years growing up in Gibsonton, Fla., which still has its share of carnival folk flavor. (Despite the hotel’s festive “big top” décor, no circus lunch was served.)

The pair enjoyed the sights, drank deeply of the city’s infamous café culture and caught an opera, all at a leisurely pace of a couple twice their age.

In the end, Buddemeier said he was bowled over by his mystery birthday weekend, but the rich experiences and good times he had with his frau were no surprise at all. 


An abbreviated trip to Dublin

 "Hayden-Jordan cousin collaboration."

 "Ahoy my touristy mates."

"Island in the stream."

"Human molly posing with statue molly's rack."
"Carvery lunch needs no caption." 

"Thoughts from a beer drinker." 

 "I got you giant Guinness."

"Babes of Emerald Isle."


Wearing it well

Nobody speaks the straight truth like Rod Stewart, especially when he’s crooning “You wear it well” or even “Do ya think I’m sexy.” But what if you were to combine those two, like when chocolate first met peanut butter?

Lately, we’ve been getting pictures of folks wearing it well buddymollys style around the world; the verdict: Yeah, we think ya are sexy.

What’s up Peru, what’s up?

What's up Guatemala, what's up? 

Morocco, jump on it.

Where do you wear it?


Lady Lisbon and Papa Surf

Before winter shows her fangs here in Germany, Jeremy and I traveled to Portugal for one last dip in the sun.

Sandwiched between a few days of beach lounging and sporadic surfing in the small town of Prahia da Fonte de Telha was one compact day in Lisbon. 

Jeremy and I had previously been schooled in the ways of malasadas and Portuguese horseshoes thanks to living in Hawaii, but no city has eluded us quite like Lisbon. 

We consider ourselves well-traveled and take pride in our navigational skills when it comes to public transportation in foreign cities. We put forth effort to learn enough words to communicate - order beer, exchange pleasantries, find a toilet, you know, the important stuff. 

Lisbon, however, was a cruel, cruel mistress – beautiful and captivating with her narrow, cobbled streets and sidewalks, (when a trolley passed and you happened to be on a sidewalk, you literally had to suck in your gut) tiled walls, staggered buildings ...
and winding walkways ...
filled with art and mystique. 
We’ve been spoiled by the German efficiencies that were lost on us in the bustle of Lisbon. Streets are not well-marked, no signs exist for the Metro – you just have to stumble upon it - points of interest do not announce themselves and no train or bus schedules exist … anywhere. Even Rick Steves’ directions let us down at times, much to the chagrin of his biggest fan. 
In between meandering around in a state of confusion, we managed to find a flea market where I was reminded of home. 
We visited the Jeronimo Monastery, 
 and sampled wine at the Port Wine Institute.

The 40-minute trek back to our beach hostel took a record time of 3 hours on public transportation with a savings of 14 euros. (I question our frugality at times …) 
Our flight left early Monday morning so we thought it best to call a taxi. We failed miserably. 

After 40 mintues on the phone with 4 different cab companies we had no idea whether they were even coming. In our best broken Portuguese we would request pick-up and give a location. In return we received an earful of the unknown language. With a cringe, we replied “uh, não compreender.”

In an attempt to simplify Jeremy asked, “taxi vir? sim ou não?” (taxi come? Yes or no?) to which our dispatcher replied “sim ou não, OK!”

"Yes or no, OK?" Huh?

We were at our wits' end, expecting to miss our flight when I walked outside and saw the 127 bus pulling around the corner – the bus we knew would take us to the train station.
We ran down to catch it, still packing our bags and began the long trek to the airport. A train and short taxi ride later – we arrived, but our journey home was only beginning. Our first flight was delayed, second flight was cancelled, and we missed the direct train from Munich to our hometown by a matter of minutes. What should have taken about 6 hours turned into a 17-hour ordeal.

Despite the constant confusion and apparent inefficiencies, we still managed to fully enjoy ourselves in Portugal and will definitely be back. 
Many times the universe presents us with lessons, humbling us as only travel can. On this trip, we were reminded that regardless of how calloused our gypsy feet have become, we are walking into many cultures for the first time ... and we still have a lot to learn.