Thursday, February 28, 2008


For any of you interested, post a comment to this posting with your email and I will invite you to "become my friend" on, that's right,

Its actually a pretty cool website that helps you track down long lost friends and even some family. You can choose exactly what information to put on there and who can have access to what.

Germany Pix

Here are few pix from when I was in Berlin:
Picture above: Me in front of the Reichstag ~ The German equivalent to U.S. Capital Building - notice the nice glow of the cool sunset reflecting off the building.
This is the Grand Palace at Sansoucci Park in Potsdam Germany. This park is the largest World Heritage site in Germany. It is sometimes referred to as the German Versailles.
I believe this is a statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. This is located in Alexanderplatz in Berlin. These guys are famous for writing the "Communist Manifesto." - Real winners ;-)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Back from Paris

We had so much fun in Paris. It is a beautiful city. Now I know why people say there is no place better than Paris in the spring. They have gardens everywhere and trees trimmed to look like rectangles. And when they have leaves and flowers I imagine they are very pretty. All of the old buildings (and everything is old) are enormous. The food I did not think was so great. But I am a picky eater. But the pastries were fabulous!!! They have croissants with chocolate in the middle....yummy! The French people are not rude but they are not all the nice either. Everyone (tourists included) wore high heeled boots everywhere. They really like the boots over the jeans look. It seemed a little ridiculous to me. I am all for looking nice, but it seemed a little crazy to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe in heels. So I was the only person walking around in Pumas. But I was okay with that. And somehow everywhere we went people knew we were Americans before we even said anything. Then we realized that it was probably because no one but Brian was wearing a baseball hat, probably because they don't play baseball there.......duhh.....Brain enjoyed using all the different setting on our camera we got for Christmas. Thank goodness for digital cameras or else we would have spent a fortune in film. It was cold, but not freezing. Below is everything we did. I broke it down by day mainly for me so I don't forget. So this is a long one.......

Day one: We got into the city around 12 and went to the Champs-Elysees (shomps-eleesay). It is just a long street that is pretty famous and at the very end of it is the Arc de Triomphe.

We decided to go on an open top bus tour around the city. It was nice to see the city and decide what we needed to go back to. Here is our first sighting of the Eiffel Tower. It is funny it is so famous because of all the things to see and do in Paris it was not that great. Don't get me wrong it is definitely worth seeing, but after an hour we had seen it all.
After the tour we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
This was the long spiral staircase we had to walk up to get to the top.
Day 2- My Birthday (These pictures are out of order)
The last thing we did on day 2 was go to visit the Eiffel Tower. I think it was great to visit it at night. We took the elevator to the top. Very high. Pretty cool. Once an hour at night all the lights sparkle.

Top of the Tower.

First thing we did on day 2 was go to Les Invalides. It was built by one of the king Louis's to house men injured in battle. Now it is a museum with Napoleon's tomb. The French really love Napoleon!

The building

Then we walked to Musee Rodin (Musee means museum). Neat sculptures.

"The Thinker"

Then we went to Notre-Dame. Cool old church. We got there too late to climb to the top, but I was okay with that because my feet were killing me.

Day 3- We went to the Louvre. It is enormous!!! It was originally one of the many Palaces in Paris and was converted to museum so the building itself is quite beautiful. For those of you who saw The daVinci Code- We were disappointed to realize the end was Hollywood magic. In the end Tom Hank's character discovers where Mary Magdalene's tomb is. He goes to the Louvre and walks on glass and sees the two triangles meet.....anyways as you can see the triangles go can't walk on them.

The triangles meet.

We Saw the Mona Lisa. It was the only painting we could not get next to and the only painting covered by glass. A little disappointing. Brian thinks it is because it is a fake.....And as far as paintings go it is pretty nice, but I don't see why it is the most famous painting in the word.

We also saw the Venus de Milo. We really saw a lot. It took all day to go through the whole (almost) museum. By the end I was sick of looking at religious and naked girl paintings. They really liked their naked girl paintings in the 1600's.

Day four- We got up and took the train to Versailles. After standing in a ridiculous line we got in and there were so many people in there that we could not even move. So we left. We later found out that the workers at Versailles decided to be on strike that day......We went back the next day...So we went back to Paris and went to the Musee d'Orsay. I really liked this museum. It housed all (most) of the impressionist paintings. Really cool!!! I have decided that is my favorite period of paintings.

It was an old train station that was converted into the museum in the 80's. Definitely worth seeing if you are in Paris!

Day 5- Versailles (again) This time it was much better. The workers were not on strike and we paid for a guide. It is really beautiful and once again enormous. But it was the biggest building that we toured. And the gardens are amazing. I imagine they absolutely beautiful when everything is blooming.

The grounds are so big we rented bicycles to see everything.

Lots of beautiful fountains everywhere.

Day six- (Last day) We toured the Opera Palais Garnier. It was the original opera house in Paris. At some point a long time ago they decided it did not have enough seats (2,000) so they built a bigger one. Now it is here the ballet performs. If we ever go back to Paris we are definitely going to see a show at the palais. So beautiful.
Then we went on a cruise on the Seine River. Pretty fun and not as cold as we had anticipated.

We did not know they had a Statue of Liberty too.....theirs is much smaller (Eiffel Tower in the back ground) Brian is very proud of this picture. He decided he liked taking pictures on this trip. It was his goal to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower from every angle. And I think he did it. I was only taking pictures if he was using the video camera. And that was fine with me.

Then we went to the Place de la Concorde. More cool fountains and a really tall 3,000 year old obelisk given to the French by the Egyptians.

Last picture - if you look between our heads there is another picture of the Eiffel Tower. We had a great time. But now it is back to real life.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

More from Deutschland

So my project finally finished and I finally had some time to go site seeing. Jim and I originally planned on hopping a train this morning and spending some time in Prague, Czech Republic and then coming back to Berlin. But our stinking hotel failed to give us the wake up call this morning at 530am. In restrospect, it was probably better that we didn't get the call because had been up to 1230am Friday night finishing the project.

When we finally rolled out of bed we decided to go to Potsdam, Germany (they call it the Versailles of Berlin) (Its about 20 min. train ride from Berlin) (see Its a pretty cool town. Frederick the Great, former Czar of Prussia (I think) built these palaces in Potsdam. They are pretty opulent.

We got to Potsdam around noon, hopped on a trolley/train type thing and rode it into town. We went to Sanssouci Park and saw a couple 18th century palaces. That was pretty cool. (I'll post pics when I get state side). The downer was that it was freakn' cold. I'm mean Omaha, Nebraska dead of winter cold. Unfortunately, when we left the hotel it looked quite nice and of course we were not properly layered as a result. Well that's all fine and dandy b/c you know we are guys and guys are tough. But when we discovered after leaving the palaces that the bus stop did not have a bus passing by for another 2 hours we had to walk back to the downtown area (think Freakn' Cold." Anyway, we had to walk for about 40 minute (in the Freakn' cold) before we got back to where we found a place to warm up and eat some dinner. And yes, I left my new earmuffs in the hotel that my lovely wife bought be right be for my trip. DOAH!!!!!!!

Anyway, the palaces were cool and Potsdam is a cool little city - a must see next time you are in Berlin. But we really were blessed when we found this restaurant ( An Italian restaurant on Bradenburg Street in Potsdam. It was really good italian food and hit the spot.

One annoying thing about Potsdam - 90% of the restaurants seem to close at about 6pm on a Saturday night. Crazy eh? This italian place was only open to 7pm(or so they said when we arrived at 6pm) even though they were still sitting diners when we left around 7pm - Go figure...
The thought did cross our minds that they might just not like Americans - I guess we will never now.

Anyway, the plan tomorrow is to sleep in, go to Church, and then see as much of Berlin as we can.

More to come, until next time, as they say here in Berlin -

Hasta La Vista, Baby!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guten Morgan!

I'm (it's me Brian) blogging live from Berlin, Germany. (That's right Kellers, the little red dot in Germany on your Clustermap was from yours truly ;-)). I decided it's about time that I contribute to the Thomas Family blog.

Unlike my lovely wife, who can update the blog with frequent stories related to adventures in child-rearing, my daily life isn't all that exciting to write about (how interesting are stories about how large corporations attempt to reduce their worldwide effective tax rates?!) I know some you are probably thinking to yourselves, "come on Brian, tell us, tell us," but I'm going to spare you the gory details.

Anyway, I'm in Berlin, Germany (something somewhat interesting - hence the post). I'm hear on a business trip. It just so happens to be the week of Berlin's international film festival ( It's a big deal around hear. All the city's theaters are showing are entries in the festival. My colleague and I want to try and see one while we are here. But unfortunately, our work has been keeping us busy. This deal we are working on is supposed to finish on Friday. We planned to stay through the weekend, so hopefully we will have some time this weekend to enjoy the city. If anyone's been to Berlin before and has some recommendations, let me know.

The thing that bugs me the most about this hotel I'm staying in ( (it was the only hotel available as this was a last minute trip and we only had 5 days to book the place + international film festival in town), is that there is no FREAKN' ESPN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean seriously, talk about torture. Everything is in German (on TV), except CNN and the BBC channel - whoop-D-stinkn'-do. This truly is painful. After a long day at work, you can't even watch Sportscenter!!!

Something humorous - on a busy street near our hotel there are some business offices. One of the businesses is named "Rent-A-Cadillac." Inside the window is a 60's era convertible cadillac of some sort. Who woulda thunk it? Talk about a great business plan. Talk about a good franchising opportunity - coming to a neighborhood near you "Rent-A-Cadillac - where even you can enjoy the pleasure of driving a Caddy for a day!" The possibilities are endless.

On a side financial note, when people say the dollar is weak these days - you can't really appreciate it until you travel to Europe. Talk about depressing. The other night we went out to dinner to an Argentinian Steakhouse and purchase a standard steak and potatoe dinner, which would probably cost you at the most $40-50 bucks in the states. The dinner cost us about about $110!! Ridiculous - good thing our client is paying for it ;-)

Anyway, I'll end my ramblings now b/f I say something really embarassing. Stay tuned for the next European blog update - coming soon...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Look out France here I come.....

Words cannot explain my excitement!!! On Saturday Brian found out that he would have to go to Germany for about 2 weeks to "oversee" something. (I don't completely understand what he does) At first I was pretty irritated, I don't enjoy being a single mom. But then he suggested we meet when he is done to celebrate my 3oth birthday. YES!!! I honestly was kind of depressed out turning 30. I really enjoyed being in my 20’s and Oprah says the 50’s are fabulous. But 30, what is fabulous about 30? It just sounds old. But now bring it on. I will be in Paris, there is nothing depressing about that!!! I can't wait. I am actually having a hard time sleeping because I keep thinking about all the places to go. The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Palace at Versailles..... I think I will live on carbs the whole week-French bread, croissants. Yummy!! The only draw back is that it is about 30 degrees. But I will just break out the Nebraska gear and enjoy it!!!