10 Years of No Apathy Allowed

Andes Mountains, Peru | No Apathy Allowed
A photo from one of my first travel posts during a trip to Peru in 2005

About this time 10 years ago, I started a blog.  In those days, hardly anyone blogged under their real name. Hardly anyone posted photos of themselves. Hardly anyone made blogging their career.  Ten years ago, blogging felt like a small community rather than a mega-blogosphere.

Back then, I blogged about life in New York. Sometimes sharing short ideas or thoughts that today are more likely to make their way into a tweet than into a blog post.  I was living with a roommate in Park Slope, paying our rent in cash to our landlords Vinnie and Mario, and running loops of Prospect Park with friends.  I had just earned a fancy master’s degree and was making way too little money trying to save the world.

Ten years ago, No Apathy Allowed got its first start on Friendster (anyone still remember Friendster?), before landing on WordPress with its very own domain name.  Blogging was more of a way to communicate with my friends and family in Seattle than with the world.

That was nearly 900 posts and almost 2000 comments ago.  I don’t know if I could have possibly imagined that I would still be blogging 10 years later from my apartment in the north of Germany, with a landlord named Volker, a doctor title in front of name, and still trying to save the world.

Amazingly, there are still a few blogs in existence that have inspired me since nearly day one, like the talented Hula Seventy, who also just recently celebrated 10 years, and Marianne Elliott from what was then Frida’s Notebook.  These days I couldn’t even begin to recount all of the blogs that inspire me to keep writing, keep sharing, and keep reading.

So let me raise a glass to blogging, especially to everyone who’s read along all these years, and to many more years of No Apathy Allowed!

How long have you been blogging?  Or reading blogs?  How have things changed for you over the past 10 years?

Wine Tasting in Bremen

Wine tasting in Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Nordblogger meets Ludwig von Kapff

Last week I — along with the other Nordbloggers — had the pleasure of being invited to a wine tasting hosted by Ludwig von Kapff in Bremen’s Überseestadt.  I happen to love that part of town, full of old renovated warehouses and chic restaurants with views of the harbor.  I also happen to love wine and have been dying to do another wine tasting here in Germany,  so it was a win-win kind of evening!

Upon our arrival we were greeted by a long table full of beautifully arranged wine glasses, hand painted place cards, and a very fitting maritime theme.  We began with a toast and a glass of rosé Prosecco, followed by a delicious round of appetizers.  Our first official glass of wine ended up being my favorite of the evening: a Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Horgelus.  It was light and refreshing and exactly the kind of wine you’d want to drink on a summer day.  (I was very excited to be sent home with a bottle of it at the end of the evening, and of course I’m sipping on it while I write this post!)

That was followed by three more white wines, which were totally fine, but not really my favorites: the Blanc de Noir, a Grüner Veltliner called “3 Haberer” from Austria, and a Chardonnay from Metzger called “Prachtstück“.  To round out the evening, I tasted my first real rosé — a Pinotage rosé from Delheim in South Africa — and the Réserve du Cochonnet, a deep, full red wine from the south of France.  I’m not sure I’ve totally bought into the rosé trend, but I will definitely pick up a bottle or two of that red before my next dinner party.

While we sipped each of the wines, Lars — Ludwig von Kapff’s director of online marketing — told us a bit about each of the wines.  With each glass, the time spent enjoying the wine increased and the time spent explaining gradually decreased, as it should be!  Thanks to a sweet booklet of illustrations of each of the wines (by Diana), it was easy to follow along with the tastings — otherwise I most certainly would not have remembered the names to any of them!

Wine tasting in Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Photo courtesy of Ludwig von Kapff.
Wine tasting in Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Appetizers to get us started.
Wine tasting in Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Waiting on our first wine
Wine tasting in Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Just getting warmed up!
Wine tasting in Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
The token red wine. Photo courtesy of Ludwig von Kapff.
Wine tasting in Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Nordblogger meets Ludwig von Kapff.  Photo courtesy of Ludwig von Kapff.

The event lasted late into the evening, well past my bedtime for a Tuesday evening, but also well worth it.  Thanks to Ludwig von Kapff for organizing a fun evening and bringing the wine-loving Nordbloggers together outside of our monthly Stammtisch events!

* While Ludwig von Kapff sponsored this event, the opinions expressed here are solely my own. *

Are you a fan of wine?  Have you gotten behind the rosé  trend?  Or would you rather have a beer?

Bremen Half Marathon | Week 2

Bremen Half Marathon: Week Two | No Apathy Allowed
Via Daily Mile.

In preparation for the upcoming Bremen Half Marathon on October 4th, I’m reviving my weekly training reports.  I like the accountability and support, both of which I really need if I’m going to break two hours during this race!  My running over the summer has been relatively consistent, but definitely not intensive, so things have gotten off to a bit of a slow start.  But I have 12 weeks in total to get myself race ready, so here’s a look at week two…

  • Monday, speed training: 10-minute warm up, 400m (2:12), 600m (3:07), 800m (4:22), 600m (3:20), 400m (2:11), 10-minute cool down.  I was really lacking energy and was pretty discouraged by my splits, but I stuck to it and just focused on keeping my effort as high as possible.
  • Tuesday, rest: Spent the evening at a wine testing instead of participating in the Firmenlauf — post to come!
  • Wednesday, rest: I would like to turn Wednesdays into my swimming days, but I haven’t managed to figure out the logistics yet given my new office and new apartment.
  • Thursday, tempo run: 5 miles at an overall 9:52 pace, dipping down to 9:25 for the third mile.  Need to work on consistency for sure, but I know my effort was right on target.
  • Friday, strength training: I’ve been loving this set of strength training exercises put together for Seawheeze runners.  Seriously, it doesn’t look that intense, but it leaves my legs trembling and sore every time.
  • Saturday, rest: So I decided that a freelance project and blogging was more important than yoga, so I didn’t do much of anything. Yoga needs to be a priority though!
  • Sunday, long run: I ran my usual 7-mile route through the Bürgerpark and the Stadtwald.  I forgot to charge my GPS watch ahead of time, so I have no idea of my pace, but it felt slow.  On the upside, a deer ran along my path in the Stadtwald, which I’m taking as a good omen.

That’s it for this week.  I’m going to up the intensity a bit next week and hope my body responds accordingly.  Also, new shoes and new running clothes are on my shopping list for August, which should add just the right spring to my step!

Are you in the midst of training for a fall race right now?  Do you believe in omens?

The New Apartment: A Blank Canvas

View from the balcony | No Apathy Allowed
View from the balcony

Hi friends, I don’t have a lot of words for you today, but I thought the least I could do was share a few photographs of my new (still empty) apartment!  I picked up the keys on Saturday and will spend my evenings this week cleaning and painting before moving in this coming Saturday.

To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement!  It’s about 55 square meters (or about 600 square feet) split into two levels.  The living area, kitchen, bathroom, and balcony are on the main level, and then there’s a ladder up to the sleeping area.  It is technically what in Germany is called a Dachgeschosswohnung, or attic apartment, meaning of course that the apartment is where the attic used to be.

If you’re familiar with German architecture at all, you know that this means that some of my walls are slanted where the roof slants in.  In other words, the apartment is not lacking in charm! ;)  I love that it’s bright and airy and that my balcony faces south for plenty of sunlight, and I also kind of love the beams in the ceiling.

Living room | No Apathy Allowed
Part of the living room
Living room | No Apathy Allowed
Living room and the ladder up to the sleeping area
Balcony and kitchen | No Apathy Allowed
Looking towards the balcony + the kitchen
Sleeping area | No Apathy Allowed
The sleeping area, with built-in wardrobe
View out the front windows | No Apathy Allowed
View out the front windows

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now.  I’ll surely be posting some updates in the coming as I get settled in!

What do you think?  Would you live in an attic apartment?  How do you deal with moving stress?

Five Senses Friday no. 64

Rhododendron Park Bremen | No Apathy Allowed
Rhododendron Park

You guys, I know it looks like this blog is turning into a Five Senses Friday-only blog, but I hope you’ll stick around and have a bit of patience as I adjust to my new job and figure out how to balance my life.

Adding to the chaos, last week I signed the rental agreement for a new apartment!  It’s a very cute place in an Altbremer Haus in a great location, so I’m super excited.  But it also means I’m in the midst of packing, organizing the move, and getting all the utilities and such set up in the new place.  Not to mention planning some major furniture/appliance purchases and collecting lots of ideas on my Interior Inspiration board on Pinterest.  You’ll definitely be hearing more from me on this topic!

But in the meantime, here’s a review of the past week according to my senses…

Seeing: Lüneburg’s university for a work meeting.  There was no time for exploring, but it reminded me that I need to take a day or overnight trip there to explore the city during the summer time (my last visit was during Christmas market season).

Hearing: The crack of baseball bats.  Yep, even in this Fußball crazy country, there are a few baseball fields around — one of which happens to lie along one of my favorite running routes.  Even though I’m not a huge baseball fan, the sound of the ball hitting the bat is so rare here that it makes me nostalgic every time I hear it.

Tasting: Currywurst und Pommes for a terribly unhealthy lunch on Tuesday.

Smelling: Musty old packing boxes that have been gathering dust in the cellar for a year and a half.

Feeling: A little extra sweaty during my runs now that summer has decided to arrive in Bremen.

Happy Friday!  How has your week been? Feel free to join in if you would like! And for more Five Senses Friday (or Monday), visit Life Simplistic and Travel with Emily. 

Five Senses Friday no. 63

Lisbon's streets | No Apathy Allowed
One more photo from Lisbon…

Folks, lots of exciting changes and new beginnings are underway in these parts.  Some I can already mention — like a new job that will be keeping me in Bremen for a little while longer — and some others I’m keeping under wraps for the moment so I don’t jinx ’em. :)  In any case, this week has been full of anticipation and planning for the future, which is really kind of my favorite thing in the world…

Seeing: Sweden win last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest (although I guess I could also place it under hearing) — a uniquely European annual spectacle of pop music that’s been running for nearly 60 years.  For more insights, it’s really worth having a look at Ginger’s description over on her blog.

Hearing: KEXP‘s live stream.  I love that radio station so much and am still a devoted listener even though I haven’t lived in Seattle for over 13 years.

Tasting: An obscene amount of gummy candies and Fritz Cola at the aforementioned Eurovision viewing party.

Smelling: Freshly ground coffee.

Feeling: Sore shoulders.  I moved out of my old university office this week and have been gradually schlepping all of my binders and books and papers home in an overfilled suitcase, just so I can move them all into my new office next week.

Happy Friday!  How has your week been? Feel free to join in if you would like! And for more Five Senses Friday (or Monday), visit Life Simplistic and Travel with Emily. 

Bremen | Rhododendron Park

Did you know that rhododendrons are the state flower of Washington?  We grew up with them in our yard and every time I see them here in Germany, they feel like ein Stücken Heimat (a little piece of home).  So I’ve always been curious to visit Bremen’s Rhododendron Park, the second largest collection of rhododendrons in the world with over 600 types (!) spread over 46 hectares.  But of course seeing them in bloom is a question of timing — the season is typically from the end of April to mid-June — which never really came together until just a few weekends ago.

Although the weather was a bit cool and on the cloudy side, the flowers were beautiful!  And as a bonus I also discovered that the park is home to plenty of azaleas as well.  It was a sea of pink, purple, red, white, and salmon blooms — serving as inspiration for a whole host of hobby photographers roaming the park with fancy lenses and cameras.  Maybe I should just let the photos speak for themselves…

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

Bremen: Rhododendron Park | No Apathy Allowed

There is still a bit of time this year to catch everything in bloom, but I’d hurry if I were you!  You can reach the park with the Straßenbahn 4/5 (Bgm.-Spitta-Allee or Horner Kirche) and then just follow the signs,   or just take Bus 31 to the main entrance.  Enjoy!

P.S. For lots more photos, here’s my Flickr album.