It has been a wonderful week full of strange sleeping schedules and meeting with old and new friends. If this post makes less sense than the previous ones, it is because I went to sleep around 5am. Also, if its long, its because David didn’t include Denmark in his previous post
.. oh yes, Denmark. Thanks to the generous hospitality of David’s cousin Jeanette, we were able to enjoy one of the world’s most ‘Green’ (and most expensive) cities with great ease: Kobenhavn. I know we rant and rave about how amazing every city we visit is, but really I must say, Kobenhavn is no exception. The high taxes and bridge to Sweden really seem to be working for them. I mean, its the birthplace of Legos (David bought some)! The people were generally very nice, helpful, and English speaking, which was a pleasant change.
Our first night Jeanette and her pal Henrich took us to dinner and several very old yet very lively bars that played wonderful music (which resulted in locals singing songs we know, but in Danish). The next morning we began on a walking path through Kobenhavn that would have theoretically shown us all the main tourist attractions – but after climbing ‘the tower’, we got so pleasantly distracted by the aroma of fresh toffee nuts and corn on the cob that we decided it was best to just walk around downtown and enjoy what the people seemed to be enjoying. Now, for those of you who know me, I am not one for mall shopping (nor is David) – so when I tell you that most of this day was spent in what was essentially a mall, you can imagine how nice it must have been for us to spend our time there. We capped off the day with a 19:30 showing of Harry Potter 7 (Danish subtitles of course), and returned to the house to cook a late dinner and meet up with Jeanette for more late night discussions.
In the morning we made for Roskilde, an ancient Viking city and home to the Viking Ship museum (guess where we went?). The unique thing about this museum for me was how well they managed to blend ancient events and facts of WHAT occured with a visible, tangible explanation of HOW it was all possible. For example, in addition to having ancient longships displayed adjacent to their reconstructed counterparts, they also had a fully functioning Viking-age shipyard, in which they described in great detail the manufacturing processes of the time. You can imagine how excited I was when I found a 5 foot spreadsheet depicting the elastic modulus, toughness, tensile, compressive, yield and ultimate stresses of about 2 dozen local species of trees, as well as an indication of what their wood is used for. This place covered everything from materials selection, materials prep/treatment, fabrication techniques, and maintenence/repair – a Viking engineering heaven.
After a few more quick Danish and German pastries we were off to Berlin, where we spent only one night but experienced some of the alternative/trendy/counter culture atmosphere that it is famous for. Because (according to locals) the city is poor, warehouses are rennovated into clubs and people can live in ‘abandoned’ buildings without rent – which allows it to exude a starving artist vibe. What little I saw of it kind of reminded me of a cross between Berkeley and New York City. Also, apparently Gorillaz had ‘played’ a concert nearby in collaboration with Lou Reed (awesome?). A few quick hours of sleep and we were back on a train, to meet Maya
Prague – famous for fried cheese, cheap beer and being the residence of our old friend Maya. Maya and her roommates were gracious enough to let us spend 5 days with them, which proved to be one of the best setups we’ve had all trip. The week flew by, but here are some highlights:
Day 1 – An architectural, historical and culinary tour of downtown Praha via Maya’s expertise.
Day 2 – A casual mosey through more of Prague, as well as experimenting with buttermilk pancake recipes due to an unfortunate mispurchase of buttermilk.
Day 2.5 – A large house party was thrown by Maya and her roommates until about 4am. Some highlights of conversation include
Dann (to me): We (Czech) were once part of what you would call Italy
Stanislav: Its not true, Italy was formerly part of us!
Dann: Well, there was a state
*long argument about the Bohemian crown that ended with
Stanislav: all of this was in a state we owned, this state was called Austria
Day 3 – Rock Climbing at Mammut (Mammoth in Czech)! it was so cheap and so good (: Also, thrift shopping for sweaters because the forcast is cold. After a dinner of Goulash and Fried cheese with Maya, we met up with Stanislav at Cross Club. Cross club is of amazing design; aesthetically it is a love child of Steampunk and Tron. I spent hours studying the intricacies of the walls, tables, ceilings, seating and lighting – all of which were made from old Tram parts.
Day 4 – In the morning we toured our first Christmas Market with Maya. The remainder of the day was dedicated to our extreme efforts to recreate Thanksgiving dinner. For example, David and I searched for 40 minutes to find sweet potato. This day culminated rather successfully with a feast of mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn pudding, kugel and sweet potato pie, lasting from 8:30 pm to midnight. Everything was made and improvised from scratch (even our vegetable stock had to be made, as well as pie crust made of crushed Czech digestive biscuits).
Day 5 – watched youtube and chatted till almost 3, woke up, packed up, ran to catch a train to Munich
As of now we are enjoying the company and generous hospitality of Kaspar and Andrea. We have yet to see Munich, but the fresh sprinkling of snow alone excites me…