About

This is my personal blog on a variety of topics, including a lot of travel. Use the menu navigation to find a category. If you are interested in Mexico and Mexico City, please go to my other blog, seemexicocity.wordpress.com.

  • San Diego recommendations

    September 15, 2019 by

    A word about Tijuana A word about Tijuana… Tijuana is a city of 2 million+ people in Mexico 16mi/25km south of downtown San Diego. See also Tijuana recommendations. Tijuana IS safe and can be visited in as little as half a day. Experience a completely different place, and eat food that is far better and… Read more

  • Tijuana recommendations

    September 15, 2019 by

    Why go? If you’ve never been to Mexico, to eat real Mexican food and see a quirky version of Mexican color and culture If you’ve been to Mexico, to have great food and see a quirky but interesting a real border culture and a vibrant city of 2 million. If you only like the most… Read more

  • Where did the Christian God come from?

    April 10, 2019 by

    I just finished a great book which chronicles the changes in why and how people worshipped from hunter-gatherer times to today. Fascinating even if you’re a non-believer; after all, religion is a fundament and continues to be a huge driving force of our culture. So where did religion come from? Where did the Christian “God” come from? The… Read more

  • Amsterdam – where to go

    April 3, 2019 by

    HOTEL/AIRBNB I would suggest staying as central as you can as this is a centralized pedestrian and bike-friendly city. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world to stay, so I don’t have anywhere specific to suggest since I always stay wherever there’s a deal. Look at booking.com. Hotels: the sedate, stately Amrath… Read more

  • Languages: how I relate to them

    February 5, 2019 by

    Dutch sounds ugly to the outsider mainly because of the excess of guttural sounds – both ch and g are pronounced by hacking up phlegm. But when youre “inside it”, I mean when you speak it and are deeply familiar with it, of course there is a way of writing or speaking it which seems… Read more

  • Atlanta

    December 28, 2017 by

    A walk through Atlanta’s hip intown neighborhoods By Brian Gross A Virginia–Highland B Little Five Points C Inman Park (Springvale Park) D Krog Street E Krog Street Market F Inman Park Village G Two Urban Licks H Historic Fourth Ward Park I Ponce City Market J Piedmont Park If you’ve visited Atlanta before, you may have… Read more

  • San Diego y Tijuana (español)

    September 15, 2017 by

    Recomendaciones en SD y TIJ Toma en cuenta pasar la frontera de sur a norte en coche puede tomar 2 horas o más.  Entonces NO recomiendo rentar un coche en TIJ y llevarlo a EEUU. Si vuelas a TIJ y tomas el puente de TIJ aeropuerto directo después de tu vuelo no hay espera (se… Read more

  • Portugal

    August 4, 2017 by

    Lisbon The interesting bits of Lisbon are super small, walkable. Don’t miss the old streetcars/trams and the funiculars. The Baixa is sort of the old downtown (17th c. I think after an earthquake) To the west up the hill is the BAIRRO ALTO. You can take several elevators up to the Bairro Alto. from Baixa.… Read more

  • Poland (South) + Slovakia (Tatras)

    July 26, 2017 by

    View this post on Instagram View from the #peak #lomnickystit #slovakia #nature #travel #instacool #beautiful #picoftheday #photooftheday #photography #mountains A post shared by Brian Gross (@df2dc) on Jul 17, 2017 at 11:58am PDT It’s long been on my list to really explore Poland. Of course it’s a huge European country and culture. But also, it… Read more

  • High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia

    July 26, 2017 by

    This place is AMAZING and you can easily do it as a daytrip from Kraków and also spend some time at Štrbské Pleso lake. Take the 6:25am Majer bus from Kraków bus station to Zakopane arriving 8:25. Note, no real places to eat at the Zakopane station. From here take the 9:05 Strama bus to… Read more

  • Barcelona

    May 14, 2014 by

    Barcelona, despite being the most touristed city in Europe, is still my favorite place to travel in Europe (other than Amsterdam, which was my home for 11 years). Why? It has good weather (for Europe), very low prices (for Europe), good food, sea, mountains, wonderful neighborhoods and architecture, including plenty of my favorite kind –… Read more

  • Why Australia beats the US with dynamic downtowns

    February 28, 2013 by

    Visting Australia I was struck by the similarities with the United States — only a few hundred years old, a shared language and much shared (British) heritage, prosperous, lands of immigrants – both historically and currently. Plus, the different Australian landscapes remind me so much of the different parts of the Western United States. Of… Read more

  • 6 reasons my next phone will be an Android

    February 25, 2013 by

      SWYPE – invented by the same man who invented T9 (predictive text on old Nokia phones), this allows you to “type” but swiping your finger across the letters. To type “ask”, you move your finger across the a, s, and k keys. No need to lift your finger up until the end. It is… Read more

  • Australia

    February 22, 2013 by

    Australia was never high on my list because it’s one of the least different places from the US culturally but wow! Sydney is truly awesome, what a quality of life. Seems to combine the best of San Diego (weather, beaches), Portland (coffee, coffee, and more coffee) and San Francisco (vibrant downtown and cozy late-Victorian neighborhoods)… Read more

  • How much English do Hindi speakers use!

    January 18, 2013 by

    OK this post is for those interested in languages. I recently spent a month in India, where Hindi and English “compete” as national languages alongside state and local languages, ten of which have 30 million speakers or more. Zapping through the tv channels, I joked to myself that there were not really Hindi or English-language… Read more

  • India

    January 15, 2013 by

    Visiting India really makes you think. The positive things from the visit: – To see and experience the state of India today for myself – since it is such an important country and culture in the world, and something which I am drawn to a medium degree (fabrics, Bollywood, food, history/castles, Hindu religion, etc.). And… Read more

  • Southwest US and California – 3 week car tour suggestions

    December 16, 2012 by

    The things not to miss are: SF, “Highway 1” SF-LA, Las Vegas, Zion & Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, San Diego.  Yosemite is also spectacular BUT will add 2 full days driving to/from anywhere else, so skip it so you can really enjoy the other places. Also are you going in Winter? Because you cannot cross… Read more

  • Georgia and Armenia

    November 22, 2012 by

    Georgia and Armenia are so forgotten really, probably as a result of being  part of the Russian Empire and USSR which was so isolated. Certainly I “discovered” or “remembered” them because I’ve spent so much time in Russia. They are in essence as European as Greece, but they are 1000 miles east of Istanbul. Amazing. Georgia was… Read more

  • Deltalina proves it: English is the freest language

    November 8, 2012 by

    Here in the U.S. we are taught repeatedly that we live in a “free country”. That phrase has been twisted and misused so much by backward folks in my country who hate progress, or freedom for folks who are not like them. But take away that noise and yes – what a free country this… Read more

  • Ukraine trip

    October 12, 2012 by

    “Interesting” is such a blasé and overused word, but “interesting” is in fact how I would describe our trip to Ukraine, in addition to “beautiful” and in some cases “slightly difficult in a post-Soviet way”. Several European friends saw my photos and said they never realized how much there was to see in this country… Read more

  • Brian, where do you find this stuff?

    August 20, 2012 by

    One question I often get is “Brian, how do you find this stuff”? So – Chinese ladies in Texas line-dancing to the South African Dutch country-music version of the theme song — complete with yodeling — of a Japanese cartoon about a Swiss-German girl. How do I find it? It all started with our vacation… Read more

  • My high protein, no-fast-carb diet

    April 27, 2012 by

    The principles of my diet center around one rule: avoid fast carbs. In addition, for general health reasons, I try to avoid too much fat, empty calories, and of course I exercise. (elliptical machine is my favorite for cardio but my goal this Summer is to get a good weight routine). Fast carbs spike your… Read more

  • Portland, Oregon

    September 5, 2011 by

    What a great, walkable city! Probably the best “walkability” and “enjoyability” of any American city I have been to. Portland is a great medium-sized city with a vibrant, real, downtown where people actually shop and go out at night right next to downtown, a fully renovated warehouse district – the Pearl District – filled with… Read more

  • Beijing: China’s power visualized (2010)

    November 10, 2010 by

    Correcting a bad experienceBefore last week, I had been to mainland China only once before. That was in 1998, to China’s 6th largest city of 7 million people, Chongqing (Chungking). There I boarded a cruise along the Yangtze River to see the Three Gorges, a wonder of the world. I had visited dozens of countries… Read more

  • Dutch anti-Islam party PVV (2010)

    November 10, 2010 by

    As I am writing this it looks like the VVD (free market moderately right-wing party) might ask the PVV (anti-Islam populists) to form a coalition to govern Holland.  (As in most of Europe, you first vote for your congresspeople, and since there is a proportional representation system, it results in the vote being split into… Read more

  • How to trim your cable bill from $77 to $13/month (2010)

    November 10, 2010 by

    In Minneapolis, we had cable internet for $40 and cable TV for $77 (ouch). Even with no “pay” channels we *paid* through the nose because most of the programs we wanted to watch were on BBC America, there being two fans of British TV in the house. And BBC America was naturally only available on… Read more

  • Atlanta – lunch – 2010

    November 10, 2010 by

    ALON’S DELICATESSEN Cuisine: Intown Atlanta’s best delicatessen (along with Star Provisions) – great sandwiches. Where: Morningside (just north of Virginia-Highland) at 1394 N. Highland Ave. Order: the smoked turkey sandwich with avocado and pesto mayonnaise. Small area of tables to consume onsite. Wine store but no alcohol to consume on premises. LA FONDA  LATINA Cuisine:… Read more

  • Atlanta Breakfast 2010

    November 10, 2010 by

    HIGHLAND BAKERY Atlanta’s best quality breakfast hands down,  bakery onsite. In the most exciting and diverse part of town with lots of converted industrial buildings, Old Fourth Ward. Most energietic atmosphere. Where: Old Fourth Ward at 655 N. Highland Ave.; weekdays also Midtown at 1180 Peachtree (@14th) Order: ricotta pancakes, or for the sweet tooth:… Read more

  • Buenos Aires 2010

    November 10, 2010 by

    SIGHTS AND SHOPPING Casa Rosada and downtown incl. Galerías Pacífico shopping center (which has one of the Argentine handicraft/shoe shops) La Boca to see touristy street tango and houses made of salvages metal painted in bright colors. Stop for coffee at La Perla. Puerto Madero – new warehouse district can be seen while going to… Read more

  • Tel Aviv / Israel

    November 10, 2010 by

    Israel was a great place to spend a few days. Tel Aviv is still a little rough around the edges (like some parts of Miami Beach) but there are now some cool places to hang out – Beach boardwalk (with lots of nice scenery- a real ethnic mix even more than the US) The port – a redeveloped… Read more

  • The Bulgarian waitress’s opinion

    August 26, 2010 by

    I couldn't help but ask her where she was from… (waitress) – Eastern Europe (me) – Ah, which country? – Bulgaria – Ah She comes back later with the bill. I'm reading my iPhone. (she) – So did you look up where is Bulgaria? (me) – My dear, actually I know where it is. I've… Read more

  • Choosing a blogging service 2010

    April 10, 2010 by

    I’ve recently become an avid blogger, both for my own thoughts that won’t fit on Facebook as well as for 4 different community causes (a fire station raising funds, a safety committee, a security patrol, and a community news site) So, I’ve explored at a high level the differences between Tumblr (the newest hot thing),… Read more

  • Independent Catalonia? (2010)

    April 10, 2010 by

    July 10 in Barcelona with Denis… witnessing 1.1 million people marching in the streets of Barcelona “for Catalonia” – either for more autonomy, or many, for independence. I couldn’t help but wonder (Carrie…) what would be the consequences of an independent Catalonia? OK, so it would be within the European Union. So the borders would… Read more

  • Religion: my take (2010)

    February 5, 2010 by

    June 4, 2010 Sorry if anyone is offended by the following, but it represents what I think and feel. I am discovering more and more spiritual experiences, however not connected to any religion in particular. I still have a gut negative reaction to organized religions. Very strong when I was an adolescent (around 13) and… Read more

  • Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia

    September 15, 2007 by

    We just finished a driving vacation through Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia, with a brief city tour of Belgrade, Serbia thrown in for good measure. View our pictures Scroll down below the slideshow for my commentary and a map of most of the places we visited. The three countries are very different today, even though not… Read more

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