Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Spice it up!

The last day of Bill, Karen and Jeff's visit:

With a little help from Bill and Jeff, we mounted our spice rack - a gift from Bill and Karen. It looks awesome:

We spent the rest of the day in Buxtehude, a small town just south of Hamburg. The fairy tale "The Bunny and the Hedgehog" from the Brothers Grimm is located here. Also the tale "The statue and the frozen Jeff":

Nice half-timbered house in Buxtehude:

Karen and Bill checking out the sour meat and other German goodies at the Buxtehuder Brauhaus brewpub:

Album cover posing in front of the church in Jork:

The highlight of the day was the dinner. Jim rocked with his selfmade Käsespätzle accompanyed by some nice brews!

Saturday morning we brought Bill, Karen and Jeff to the airport. It was very sad - we loved your visit and had a lot of fun with you guys. We miss our roommates!!!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Warum hat die Sechs Angst vor der Sieben?

Weil: Sieben Acht Neun! Keep in mind that jokes don't work in translation, but they are still hilarious between friends.

Wednsday morning we had a relaxed start in the lobby of the hotel:

We went to the Danish Design Center, one of my favorite stops during our stay in Copenhagen.

The coolest exhibition ever was the FLOWmarket which resembles a supermarket with shelves and baskets. You can then walk through and "shop" as you go along. All the items in the store represent things we actually really need but you usually can't buy, such as tolerance, stress killers, non reachability pills, silence, holistic thinking, etc.

Pollution Dissolver:


Jim loading up the goods:

Our goods at the cashier:

After that we went to Illums Bolighus again, shopped more, and drove to Jeppe's Store, the Ølbutikken . This is an awesome beer store. We talked with Jeppe, got a ticket for 510 Danish krones for parking to long, and headed off to the ferry.

Some of us practiced jokes while waiting for the ferry and made funny faces to emphasize those jokes:

After arriving in Hamburg, we girls relaxed while the guys played poker in their jammies. Bill owns our apartment now, but we can still live here! Thanks Bill!

The next day we showed Bill, Karen, and Jeff a lot of Hamburg.

Bill and Karen in the subway:

Hamburg Rathaus:

How many people are there?

The ruins of the Nikolai Church, which was destroyed in World War II, stand as a memorial. There is a new elevator built into the intact church tower that you can take to the top.

The view from the church tower is grand. You can see the Speicherstadt (those houses with the green roofs), the biggest complex of warehouses in the world. The whole complex is under monumental protection. The warehouses are built on oak poles and each of them has a connection to the canal on one side and on the other to the street:

We had a very German meal at the Gröninger Brewery:

Laeisz-Hof Hallway:

Jim and Bill are tried the paternoster in the Laeisz Hof:

A paternoster is a lift which is built with a chain of open compartments. They move up and down slowly in a circle without stopping. So you hop in and out at the desired floor. Paternosters are not built anymore as they are very expensive to maintain and they are also not accessible for disabled or elderly people. Still a cool experience, and...every German kid had a time with the nightmare about the question "what happens on the top of the building? Will I ride upside down?" ..ARRRRRGGGHHHHH. "Mommy, I wanna go out of here!"

OK, that's it for today. The rest of the visit is coming tomorrow!

- Nat

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Vikings, Pølser and Sneezing Turtles

On Tuesday morning we went to the Danish National Museum to learn about the Vikings. That was not so successful since the Viking exhibition was closed for renovations.

Afterwards, Jeff went off on his own and the rest of us walked by the old king's castle, now home to the Danish Parliament building - Christansborg.

Then we headed down towards Nyhavn and had a nice Pølser, which is basically a Danish hot dog. We went shopping at Illums Bolighus, an awesome mall for design furniture and houseware. Bill and Karen presented us a spice rack with magnetic spice shakers as a housewarming gift. This store was the coolest ever, and we could have spent hours in there. Well, actually, we did.

We met Jeff again at the Tivoli Gardens, a famous amusement park in the middle of Copenhagen built 163 years ago. We played some games there, and the guys went on the roller coaster, of course.

In the evening Eric picked up Jim, Jeff, and myself. We drove to Eric and Dorthe's house, which is beautiful. We had some drinks with both of them. It was wonderful to meet Dorthe.

Eric collects conductor's hats and military hats. Jeff couldn't resist trying on a polish hat, though we haven't resolved the question if Jeff's family is really Polish ;-)

While getting ready to go out for dinner, we heard a kind of hissing sound. We thought that Gus, the cat, was kind of grumpy. It wasn't Gus though, it was Morris the turtle who just sneezed.

Eric, Jeff, Jim and I went to Nørrebro Bryghus, a great brewpub with excellent beer and food.

Thanks to Eric for taking us out - it was sooo great to see you again and meet your wife...and the sneezing turtle.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Belated Easter!

A little bit late, but here's what happened over the Easter weekend:

Easter Sunday we had a nice breakfast with eggs from the Easter basket. We put all of our eggs in one basket:

Later we went to the Hamburg Dom. As you can see from this link, the history goes back quite a bit. The Dom is in town three times a year (Spring, Summer, Winter) and lasts a month.

Bill and Jim:

Everybody but me and Jeff rode roller coaster. I get thrilled just by watching it:

After the Dom we went to the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte.

Easter Monday we drove to Copenhagen with our little van and with the ferry - some people were very tired ;-)

We went to Nyhavn (new harbour), which is of course not new at all:

We walked through the city and later met some RBians at Plan B - and drunk lots of beer. No pictures taken there ;-)

More later!
- Nat

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Haben Sie eine Frau?

Bill, Karen, and Jeff arrived on Saturday.

On the way home from the airport, Jeff impressed us with his well founded knowledge of the German language ;-)

After a quick breakfast, we showed them around in our neighborhood: Schanzenviertel and Karoviertel. We went to the flea market at the Schlachthof and also ran some errands.

Later we stuffed our faces with a typical German bratwurst, currywurst and pommes frites (french fries) in the Schanze.

After a nap we went to the Turkish restaurant, and from there on we continued to the Elba River Beach. Every Saturday before Easter Sunday there are huge bonfires, called Easter fires. Easter fires are an old tradition that are supposed to burn out the winter. There are several Easter fires on the Elba Beach, and each destrict competes with the others who has the biggest one. There are people who guard the wood piles the nights before, so no one burns them ahead of tiem. Around the huge Easter fire there are hundreds of people having their own little bonfire. This year the Hamburg police counted 77000 people attending the fires in Hamburg. It is really a nice atmosphere and much fun.

The whole city smells like smoke now, though ;-9

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Windy City Part II

Here comes the second part:

On Friday afternoon Ariane and Lo picked Nat up at the hotel. Nat and Ariane had a coffee at a nice place in Wicker Park. They met Oba Maja, who is a street poet. He sold Ariane two of his poems and he somehow looked wise - the only word that comes to my mind. He is pretty famous in Wicker Park, and there is even a mural with his potrait. We didn't take this picture, but here's the mural anyway. (Image copyright Deirdre Harrison)

Later we picked up Jim up at the hotel and drove by B-I-Double-Nizzy to buy some beers. We all then went to Ariane and Lo's house. They have a wonderful place! We love all the textures: brick, wooden floor, glass, tin ceiling, and plastered walls.

We gave Nanuq a big bone, which he inhaled right away. He's such a cute dog with one blue eye and one brown eye, one side with black whiskers and one side with white whiskers. Ariane and Lo were also having fun unpacking some goodies.

We had a great evening with super yummie food and lot's of yummie beers!

The next day - after the best breakfast in town! - we hopped into Ariane and Lo's awesome gangsta car. It’s a 71 oldsmobile n tha greatest ride I have ever seen. Chillin' around in it is tha hit. Bootilicious.

We went shopping, and then afterwards we went to Lake Michigan and walked around!

What a beautiful city. After the walk Lo, Jim and Nat went to the Goose Island Brewpub, Clybourn and had some samplers of beer and soup.

After a nice dinner we went to the The Map Room and awesome beer bar (actually rated as the #26 best beer bar in the USA for 2006 by RateBeer). It's only a stone's throw away from Ariane and Lo's place. Fun evening.

On Sunday we met Bev - Jim's cousin - for breakfast. It was a really great place called Riverside Cafe which had a eclectic buffet including Western style scrambled eggs, fresh biscuits, tacos BLTs, mini PB&Js, pancakes, bagels and...get this...TWINKIES (Nat will never understand that one!). It was wonderful to see Bev and to talk to her. She used to live on the same street as Ariane and Lo, just a two blocks away. She showed us around and told us how it looked like when she lived there in the 90s. Here is "her" house:

Too bad we hadn't had more time together.

After Bev dropped us off we walked around with Ariane and Lo, ran some errands, Jim played the Librarian, we saw the holy Mary under the highway bridge, and went to the "Kiss 'n Fly" entrance at the airport. We kissed and flew!

It was soooo sad to say good bye. It was awesome with you guys - thanks a lot for everything - we had a wonderful time and we miss you already!!!