Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday-Sat (May 25-29)

On Tuesday,we went to Annita's parents' farm where we got to go on a real carriage ride! It was so beautiful, you can't even imagine! We drove through a near by preservation. So nice. We also did more shopping for some more clothes for will. For the rest of our stay in Denmark, we most chilled and hung out, which was nice, especially since we would spend the next week in Paris running all over the place.
After safely and uneventfully arriving in Paris on Wednesday night, we met up with my friends Alana and Noelle from the program I was on last semester, Mickael, who we have been staying with this week, and this guy Dave who we met at the airport who had also had his luggage lost and was from NY. We hung out in alana and noelle's apartment in Luxembourg and then went down to the Seine to hang out. A great way to start off the week.
On Thurs, we woke up pretty early and walked to the Eiffel Tower. There was a giant ramp in front of the tower since someone was going to do an epic fall into it on roller blades. Unfortunately it was raining. Fortunately, not many people ventured out and we had a nice umbrella. Walking around we found a cool park that I've never seen before that had nice bridges and foliage. We also walked along the Seine to look at the house boats. I think that would be so awesome to have a boat on the seine in Paris!
We walked to les egouts, which are the sewers of Paris that you can tour around, but they were closed :( Then we walked to the Petit and Grand Palaises. The Petit palais is free, but right now theyre doing a special Yves Saint Laurent exhibit so there was a line and it was raining so we nixed that. We walked to the nearest Metro to go to La Defence, the modern NYC-ish part of Paris.
when we got out at La Defence it was pouring rain, so we went to eat at Hippopotamus, a easy steak and burgers place thats not too expensive and would fill us up with its American sized portions. By the time we were done eating, the rain let up a little bit and we walked to the arche there. The arche is huge and very impressive. You can see from the steps of the arche down to the Arc du Triomphe which was cool. There is also a lot of neat modern art around which made it really nice to walk around. It has very modern skyscrapers, not at all like the traditional Paris most people know.
Then I was able to get in touch with my friend Pat, who is French and works at Societe General, a French bank. the next day would be his last day, so it was ok for him to take a break and meet with us to chat. Unfortunately, he left Paris this past Monday and will be back from June 11-19, but I won't be in Paris around then. At least I got to catch him this one last time! He was supposed to have a job in NY this summer, which would have been SO awesome, but the "budget was cut" so they cancelled the job/internship he was gonna have. Mega bummer...
Then we took the metro over to the Arc du Triomphe. It was suddenly pretty nice out so we went to the top of the Arc and had the most awesome view of Paris. So great! We must have stayed up there for about half an hour...
then we went down, and suddenly it was raining again. We hung out by the tomb of the unknown soldier under the arc, since we were going to meet my old penpal Salome right near by so we figured we'd wait it out.
We met Salome at La Flamme, a cafe right by the Arc. She also had a bunch of her friends come, which was really nice and they wanted to improve their English so we'd talk to them in english, but then they'd get frustrated and start talking in french, which really helped my french, since its a little rusty from not really having used it this semester as much.
After having some sodas with them there, we went back to Mickaels and had dinner with him and his mom. She made chicken and potatoes which was sooo tasty! we stayed in that night because we were so tired.
On Friday, Noelle, Alana, Will, and I went to Giverny, which is where Monet's garden is. We had the most amazing day ever! We got really lucky, since it was the only nice day in Paris this week. We walked to Monet's garden, about a one hour walk, and had stopped in a Lidl (a super cheap super market) on the way to get sandwiches. We saw the garden, which, compared to when I saw it just before it closed for the season last fall, was amazing, though some people said it is usually more full this time of year but there was a late frost or something. The garden was amazing and the pond was as beautiful as you can imagine. We also went into his house which was nice. However, there were a lot of school children that day so there were times where it was very very crowded.
We had a picnic for lunch, eating our sandwiches in a field next to a restaurant. We cat napped and sunbathed and just enjoyed the sun in general. I kept reminding myself how lucky I am...
On the way back to the train station, we went kayaking. I couldnt really take pictures for this but it was so much fun. They kayaks were cheap and we got to do it for 2 hours. We packed some bread and wine and off we went along the Seine- so fun and beautiful!!! there wasnt much to see in terms of a description, but it was beautiful with the blue sky and all the foliage and the boats cruising by us.
That night we met up with one of Salomes friends and went traipsing around Paris into the wee hours of the night, having a total blast! It was really great...
On Saturday, we went to where I used to live in the Cite Universitaire because they were doing a cultural event called Fete de la Cite. We saw spanish dancers and there was a lot of food, though you had to pay for it and we were too cheap to do that. So after wandering amongst the buildings there, which there is one for all different countries and they are all different, we walked across the street to Parc Montsouris. There were picnickers and families, despite the cloudy weather. will and I sat at a bench there to rest our exhausted feet.
Then we met up with alana and had some sandwiches at a cheap place. we went to the eiffel tower to see that guy do that jump I mentioned earlier. It was super windy, his shirt was blowing like crazy. He jumped from 10m high and roller bladed down a 40m ramp. It was really intense, since he clearly lost his balance but he didnt fall. We left right after, but apparently he did another jump because he wasnt satisfied with the first one.
After that, we went to a sports bar because there was the championship rugby game, on par with the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, everyone seemed tired and my friend Noelle joined us, but she did not seem at all interested in the sport, so we left. I was kind of bummed, but it was 3 against one haha. So we went to a friend of Alana and Noelle's couscous restaurant. It was so nice! I had chicken on a skewer with cousous and this great sauce. It was nice to rest our feet and the food was free! So awesome, but we that meant we missed the game. We tried to go out after on rue Moufftard, but I was super exhausted so we went back.
Alright, well I'm using alana's computer and shes trying to pack (its her last night!) and its not looking good, so I'm gonna help her b/c we are waiting on her to finish before going out to dinner and drinks... talk to you all soon!!!!


hey everyone! Sorry its been so long before I could update. I dont have my laptop here, so I've been using other peoples' computers. Here are some picks i put up on facebook and made public so everyone can see!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday May 24

Hey everyone! Im at the Aalborg airport waiting for my flight to paris and they have these free computers, so I have 15 min to make an update!
Wills bag is no where to be found! :( we told them that when it is retrieved to just send it home, because the effort to get it back to paris will be unbareable...
On Monday will, Ninna, Annita, Johnny, and I went to a monastary and museum called Borglum. In it there was a carriage museum with old carriages and sleighs as well as old cothing that people really used to wear! Then we saw the beautiful view from the hilltop there as well as the herb garden.
Ill skip the kind of boring parts of the museum and cut to the cool stuff. There was a really nice church that has its oldest parts originating from the 13th century. It is a beautiful church. We were lucky enough to have a quartet of visitors just bust out in song. It was perfect full tonal sounds (not like gospel) that sounded like they were made for that church. The sounds vibrated off the walls and really amplified the quality. I loved that.
Apparently Hans Christian Anderson stayed in the monastary once, so they have refurbished the room he stayed in, which was kind of funny, especially the dummy of him dressed up.
There was a cool kitchen with real meats and a washroom with old washing and cleaning tools.
Across the street is a windmill that we walked too. It was on a hill where again there was a breathtaking view.
Then we went to a town called Løkken. There they have a hard candy making place where they use original techniques to make it first into taffy and then stretch it out to make tiny hard candies with shapes inside. Its hard to describe, but they make the taffy into layers that are applied in different way to have a huge string. Then it is stretched out very thin and the candies are tiny but keep thi image in the middle. They have all kinds, ones that spell things, ones that have faces, or sunsets, or flags. Anything. It was really cool
Then we ate at a small, cheap restaurant that was really nice with a lot of wood (ambiance). Will had a traditional boef sandwich (beef sandwich) which was beef on hamburger bun (kind of like an american hamburger) but there is gravy drizzled all over it so you cant eat it with your hands.
Then we had these desserts that were interesting. They were these pancake balls, nice and light and fluffy, with vanilla ice cream and rasberry sauce. mmmmmmmmmmm
Finally, we went to Annitas friends shop. They are glass blowers, and the husband is actually an American. Funny, but he actually makes a lot of the glass just like how they made the candy. He would make a flower like shape, then wrap it in clear glass (this is all super hot so its moldable) and then stretch it out to make tiny bead like things that he can use later to use to make bowls and cups and things. We also saw him actually blow glass, and he made super thing bubbles of glass and we got to feel them- theyre like plastic pieces of paper! So cool...
Well gotta catch my plane back to Paris now!!! Will check in soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (May 21-23)

After going out with Line around Aalborg, we relaxed in their beautiful backyard and got to finally meet the kiddies! Line and Søren have 2 children. Laura (pronounced la-wa) is 3 with white hair. She can speak Danish and wants to do everything herself. She was very very shy with me and Will since she couldnt speak to us and she didnt know us. They also have a 1 year old boy Viktor. He is so alert, with big eyes that are always looking around.
Will and I also walked to the park that is around the corner from Line and Soren. It has a nice little lake and trees and plants. there are lots of paths, and there is a field where kids picnic and drink and hang out. There is a university in Aalborg so apparently there is a large youth population there. It was quite beautiful and definitely worth the walk. Will met some kids who had a rope or something tied between 2 trees that you cant try to walk on. He was pretty good actually.
That night was an early night and Line, Soren, Will and I watched a little tv and then went to bed.
Friday Line and Soren took Will and me out for a drive. We went to the Aalborg Tower, the tallest point in Aalborg where you can see the whole city. You can see the zoo and the river and all the houses.
Then we went to a hill that also had a nice look out point where kids were sunning since it was so unusually hot.
After we drove for about half an hour to the place where Line and Soren got married. It was a castle that Sorens friend owns now and its like a catering hall. I was very beautiful, especially the rooms where Line and Soren got married. I dont know the name of the castle, but it is not what you expect a castle to look like. Its big, but not enormous and it is white stucco it is wide but not tall and there isnt any kind of fortification or towers like english castles and such.
There is also a beautiful cemetery where there are trees and plants, which is funny for a cemetery. There was a funeral in the church, so we went to lunch and came back.
We had pizza for lunch in the town where Soren grew up... We even saw the house he grew up in! The pizza was crazy. There was a pizza with kebab and fries on it, one with spaghetti and meats, a vegetable type one, and a chili one that was spicey. We were so full, and it was surprisingly very good, considering it wasnt ny pizza!
The church was amazaing. Apparently when they were refurbishing it they uncovered these paintings from the 1400s under the paint. They were beautiful and reminded me of what the danse macabre paintings i had studied looked like. The church was the similar style to the one in the city and was very cool.
On the drive back we passed these "tumuli" or hills that were used as far back as 900bc for burials. they are just randomly placed around the countryside among the farm land! crazy!
Then Line dropped us off in the city center to walk around while her and Soren went home to get the kids and do stuff around the house. When we were in the mall there were was a drumline and these girls dressed in sparkly exotic dancing outfits with these feather things on their backs dancing through the mall. It was really awesome, and Im glad we stopped in for a minute.
After we walked home and tanned and napped for a little bit. Then a babysitter came for the kids and the 4 adults went out for dinner. Will had a steak thing and I had some sort of danish meat thing that was kind of like a hamburger without the bun. The restaurant was beautiful with these cool floating vases. The restaurant was located on a street full of bars and restaurants that they said is full on friday and saturday nights with students. However, in the summer the sun doesnt set here until about 930pm. It is still not totally dark at 11pm, so after dinner we had a few drinks at different bars but it was pretty empty, especially since there was a concert going on that was apparently very popular... The bars were funny too. We went to the one where Line and Soren met. There was also one called Kvisten (close enough). And others called Hollywood Blvd, Manhattan, LA, and American Spirit. You think they like the US a little?
Sat. we woke up and went on Sorens parents boat. They have a beautiful boat that they got after they got rid of their sailboat. Its wayyyy bigger than the Endless Summer, and so nice. apparently it is made of iron and only a few were made like that. They will be taking it to Germany for a month this summer cruising up the Reine. Thats the life!
AFterwards we went and got sandwiches and went to see a viking burial ground. It was soooo cool! There were tons of graves (i think like 400) and it used to be the site of a village as well. There were sheep too, and when we were eating our sandwiches they tried to take them right from us. They were definitely not afraid of people.
Then we went back home and watched a big handball game that was on tv, but Aalborg lost :( Next, will and I went for another walk to that near by park. After, we started playing this really awesome game called the viking game. Its pretty simple, you throw sticks at the other peoples blocks that are sticking up in the ground. I was pretty aweful and they finally had to give me a handicap for the last game hahaha!
then we hung out the 4 of us, and later will and i went to the bars around midnight. It was definitely a lot more active. People were dressed up like it was Carnivale or something, apparently because there is a huge parade next week (for those of you who go to Binghamton, think parade day!). It was really weird, since I didnt even know how to ask "do you speak english" in danish. I wasnt really too fond of that, it was very uncomfortable and I felt rude not knowing more Danish...
Speaking of Danish, the few words weve picked up:
Tak (pronounced tock, like tick tock)= thank you
Hej (pronounced hi)= hi, hey
Flodeboller= a wonderful chocolate everyone should get

Thats pretty much it haha However, everyone here really does speak English. I mean everyone. TV shows are in English with Danish subtitles, the songs are American, and children start learning english in 3rd grade.

Sunday we slept in and Annita picked us up. She lives in Astrup, a small suburb-like town only 20 minutes from Lines. We kind of just cat napped during the day, looked at old photos from when we were kids, and chatted about old times.
Annita has a wonderful daughter called Ninna. She is 7 and very cute. She loves to chat and draw. Shes actually quite good at drawing! (just like annita!)
One of the interesting things about reminiscing was when Annita found the list of rules my mom and dad gave her when she first arrived in ny. Curfew was 2am... onthe weekends! and 11pm on the weekdays! She was supposed to brush my hair 5 times a day and potty train will for 45 min per day! hahah!
We also drove out to the beach for ice cream. Apparently the Blue House is the best place for ice cream. The ice creams were huge, and there was a line, though they said the line gets massive during hot summer days and nights. There was a great view from a near by hill and the beach was very windy and chilly, but very beautiful.

Ok so this is very long already, so Ill stop here, since Monday was packed, but Im almost caught up... No news on Wills bag. It should be in Aalborg, but the different people weve been speaking to have not been very helpful. Hopefully will have it tomorrow. Thanks to all the support of Line, Soren, Annita, and Johnny (Annitas husband) as we harass the hell out of British Airways, Aalborg Airport, and Copenhagen Airport. Gah!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

First week back in Europe!

Ok, so for those of you out of the loop, Will and I left last monday for the airport. We were supposed to take Icelandair from JFK to Iceland to CDG in Paris. BEcause of the volcano activity, however, we were told to take Air France directly to CDG. We spent about 6 hours in JFK, before finally getting on a British Air flight to London. When we got to London, we had a paper ticket. The people at BA were confused, and told us to stay in the terminal to wait on all these lines to get our real ticket. well i got a little plane sick so i had no energy anyway, so i didnt mind sitting in lines. when we finally got to someone who had half a brain (after talking to 4 different people) he told us we were supposed to go on Air France, in a totally different terminal and that the flight was at 1 and it was already 12:30 so wed missed it! so frustrating. but we got on a flight at 4pm with BA to CDG. only to arrive without williams bag that we had put through because there were large liquids on it. We still dont have that bag, its floating around europe somewhere.
so after 24 hours of travelling, sitting in lines, and waiting around, we finally made it to paris after midnight on wed morning (reminder: we had left on monday afternoon). we stayed with my friends noelle and alana who áre 2 american girls who were on my study abroad program with me. noelle is in paris doing an internship. alana stayed in the program to do one more semester. the next morning, alana had a final at 10am and noelle had to get up for work, so we all got up at 8am... Will and i went to the Luxembourg gardens to walk around and we went to the rooftop of where i had class which has an amazing view. we then met with alana when she got out of her final and had pastries in front of the sorbonne. we also saw the pantheon and then walked past the cluny museum where you can see the old roman baths. we cut through the latin quater with its old french cobble stone streets and came out at the seine river. we went in the notre dame quickly and when we get back we are going to try to get on the top (it opens at 10am so well get there early but the line is often long). we then went to shakespeare & co which is a great english bookstore with a lot of character that will loved. alana went to her next final and we walked up the seine browsing the small waterfront booths called bouqinists. we passed the musee d´orsay and walk to the louvre. then we cut up past the arch du triomphe du caravel (i htink thats what its called), through the beautiful tuileries garden, to place de la concorde with the obelisk and the view of the arc de triomphe. we then walked to the madeline church, which is a stunning greco-romesque style. definitely google it. we met noelle for lunch. turns out she now works with one of the girls she and i had grammer class with, so she came along too and we ate sandwiches in front of the church. then we walked along through paris kind of wandering in the general direction back towards where we were staying with the girls in luxembourg. we stopped at h&m to get will some clothes since BA will reimburse us for them. we ended up running into two guys who had also lost their clothes who were on the same flight as us! Weirder coincidence: they are from NJ and one of them goes to buffalo! paris is huge, running into them is very unlikely. unfortunately, they leave thurs and we dont get back to paris til wed night, so maybe well see them on their last night out...
the flight to denmark that night was uneventful, that god. we got in after 11pm and Line picked us up. her and her husband (Søren) welcomed us to their beautiful home just on the outside of Aalborg, the 4th largest city in DK. It is only a 20 min walk to the center of the small city which is on a fjord (think salty river). The city is very strange. it has very old bits, but then there are lots of modern buildings mixed in. its also very developing and there is a lot of industry that they are trying to move away to beautify the city. its very tiny to american standards as well.
When we arrived they had philidelphia cream cheese for us! We ate it with some of Sørens home made bread! for breakfast there was cereal called american crunch which was granola, very tasty! haha. they also dont have their cereal with milk but with this liquidy yogurt. kind of like the kids drinkable yogurts but less sugary. eitherway, it was sooooo good.
Our first day there, Line was so awesome and took us to see the city. we walked to the center of the city where we saw really old buildings and narrow cobbeled streets as well as the main street which is much wider and has a lot of shops. i loved the character of the old buildings. we then went into this museum that is in the middle of the main shopping street. you put some danish coins in and then an elevator comes up. you take the elevator down underground to the museum. there is no receptionist or anything. the lights to the hallway light up and you walk in. very much like getting on space mountain at disney. apparently when a shop had done some remodelling they realized they were right on top of an oldddd monastary. Ok so here's a summary: there was a village starting at 900AD. Then some franciscans came to Aalborg and built a church there in the mid-13th century, then tore it down around 1300 and build another church which didnt close down until 1530 (Reformation?). so there were some cool skeletons and they had a lot of cool buttons you could press that would light up certain sections of what you were looking at and there would be a description. i liked this museum a lot. then we went to a cool tea house that had all kinds of tea, like one that had something champagne. i didnt even know you could have champagne flavored leaves?? lol there was a chocolate store next door and we had free samples of flodeboller, a marshmellow type thing with marzipan and covered with chocolate!!! soooo good! they also had chocolate 'sushi'. they were pieces of chocolate that you ate with chop sticks and dipped in the different sauces it came with! very cool
we also saw the local church that apparently no one goes to lol. very different from american or southern/eastern european churches. its hard to describe, but they are all white, very high ceilings, and very bright paints on the ornamentations.
we then had sandwiches from this great sandwich place (I forget the name). they had bagels! apparently it was the last day of school for high school so the kids were dressed like it was halloween! there were star wars ranger things and lots of super mans and others.
we ate by these fountains by the water. all the little blonde kids were there with the babysitters playing in the fountains. speaking of which, we have been really lucky so far, its been all nice hot weather, unusually so!
we finished the day in the utzon center, which is a beautiful building you should google since i dont know when ill have pics up next... it over looks the water and the ceilings are shaped funny so that its almost like being in a ship. there were some cool architecture models from the architecture schools students and some modern art stuff. the building was designed by the guy who designed the opera house in sydney australia. who knew it was a dane? apparently all the danes do... there was also a very very bizarre modern art exhibit we werent too fond of. lots of square cubby holder looking things.
its really late now so im going to go to bed! sorry its so behind! theres so much to say, im sure im forgetting something! xoxo