Friday, January 8, 2010


I have an addition to the list in my previous post;

18. You will spend the night in an airport.

Nicole and I are spending the night in the luxurious Copenhagen airport. There was some confusion with our schedule and Marissa booked less nights at the hotel then were originally in the plan. Nicole and I didn't think to double check the days, since it was all written down in the e-mail we'd been sending around, but Marissa must have misunderstood the times because she only booked the hotel until today and was set to fly back to Amsterdam today instead of tomorrow, when Nicole and I are scheduled to.

Of course we found all this out today when we tried to check in for our flight, which isn't really until tomorrow.

We attempted to change our flight, but apparently they 'don't have that concept' here.

So Nicole and I said farewell to Marissa at noon and went to Christiania, an interesting neighborhood in Copenhagen which began in the 70's as a community of squatters. After that we had hot chocolate and juice, and saw a movie. Now we are back at the airport, sleeping on the floor. I feel like I'm doing a lot of that, this vacation.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's Bound to Happen

I have compiled a list of things that will certainly happen if you travel anywhere at all, ever in your life.

1. You will get lost. Really, truly lost, probably in the middle of the night when you are alone. Definitely after the trams/buses have stopped running. Most likely in the rain.

2. You will take a taxi, either because you forgot to get directions to your hotel or because you are too exhausted to find a bus.

3. You will break an American law, probably a small one like riding on the back of a bicycle.

4. You will drink interesting beer.

5. You will drink too much interesting beer.

6. You will take ridiculous pictures which your friends might forbid you to post on the internet.

7. You will get sick. You will also forget to pack tissues or appropriate amounts of cold medicine.

8. You will run out of socks and/or underwear. When you get home, you will discover that you actually had 10 additional pairs in your zip-off day pack that you never thought to check for. You will then regret turning everything inside out for the last week of your journey.

9. You will get sunburned or frost bitten.

10. You will eventually stop showering.

11. Your facebook friends will triple.

12. You will forget to send postcards.

13. You will see terrifying bathrooms. They will be one of the main factors in your shower-taking cut backs. The other factor may be laziness.

14. You will find a new favorite food which is impossible to come by at your permanent residence.

15. You will leave something behind.

16. You probably won't notice though, because you'll buy so many random souvenirs that you'll be frantically preoccupied looking for luggage space every time you have to repack.

17. Once you get home, you'll appreciate your bed more then you ever have before, now being able to compare it to floors and bunk beds and trundle beds and cots and having to share a twin mattress.


We went to Sweden today. It's pretty much the same as Denmark, except for this sign.

Here is a closeup:

I'm 99% sure that the sign, which was up in front of a museum hosting a Nelson Mandela exhibit, was a joke. There was also a 'Europeans Only' sign. What the heck, Sweden?

To get to Sweden, we crossed a cool bridge that was half tunnel, half island and half bridge called the Oresund Bridge. The bridge was cooler than Sweden.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010: The Future

Amsterdam was crazy for new years. We grilled various things for dinner at Micheal's apartment, (a German friend of Marissa's). He was the most enthusiastic human being ever; He got really excited by American slang, by my method of preparing steak for the grill (which was admittedly unique and interesting--but let us never speak of it), by deciding who would ride with whom on bikes...He was just generally excited about life, which was genuinely refreshing. He was truly cool.

Example of his coolness:
Nicole: "Give me the spatula."
Michael: "Vhat? Vhat iz thez 'spatular?'"
Nicole: "No, SPATULA."
Michael: "SpatuLAR?"
Nicole: "No, spatuLA. LA."
Michael: "Here iz ze spatular. Ze eggplant looks done."
Nicole: "..."

We were going to go to Dam Square to ring in the new year, but it turned out the trams weren't running. Luckily, all together our little group of 7 people possessed 4 bicycles. I rode on the back of Jordon's, Marissa's boyfriend's, bike. I was given a back seat because I didn't learn to ride a bike till I was 10 and even then I didn't learn very well. No one wanted me behind the handlebars after all the wine I'd drunk at dinner. Nicole was brave and rode on her own, Marissa and her friend Mel shared a bike and Michael and his gorgeous Polish girlfriend Magda rode together. It was about as scary as riding on the back of a motorcycle, (I can judge as I have ridden on both), though on this occasion I didn't have a helmet and the road we were on also housed fast cars and some other (very drunk) bikers and also mopeds all of which kept driving around us at high speeds. Another biker who, we suspect, was (quite) drunk crashed into Nicole and knocked her over. She was not injured, though I may have pulled something laughing at her. Jordon and I made it through the night uninjured.

We lost Marissa and Mel at one point during the night, between midnight and 12:30, when they fell really far behind during our bicycle journey and for some reason went to Leindsplien, while the rest of us went to Dam Square.

We saw lots of fireworks, none of them actually sanctioned by the city. People were selling them in the square and lighting them off right in the middle of the crowd.

Michael bought fireworks and we set them off. I threw one under a police car by mistake; no worries, the car just kept driving. I suspect the police had bigger fish to fry that night than a drunk American tourist with terrible aim. I kept scouting out locations to throw my fireworks after I lit them but people kept walking into my spots so I ended up throwing lots of fireworks at people or groups of people. We, of course, had a fair amount of fireworks thrown at us as well. Its really something of a miracle that no one's hair caught on fire.

It was an awesome New Years, though.

Monday, January 4, 2010


We are in Copenhagen, Denmark now. We have a very strange hotel. It is called the CabInn and it's like living in an airplane. The bathroom is exactly like an airplane bathroom except there's a shower right in the middle of it, like there was in Marissa's apartment.

The beds are very strange also. There is one regular type bed, and underneath it is a trundle bed. High above the regular bed is the loft bed. It is very high up, and to reach it you need a ladder but there isn't one attached to the bed. There is a detachable ladder on the wall near the door though, which you can hook onto the bed.

When she saw it, Nicole said "I feel like we're in Peewee's Playhouse: there are detachable ladders."

I agreed.

I am on the top bunk, Nicole has the regular bed and Marissa has the trundle bed, as Nicole and I were both tired of sleeping on the floor. So far it's snowed twice since we've been here and it continues to be very cold.

Today we saw the royal palace and the crown jewels and I got yelled at by a guard with a big machine gun for trying to get a picture in his guard booth. I didn't know it was a guard booth, it looked like a coat closet. But he didn't shoot me, so whatever.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Merry Christmas Amsterdam!

I went to Amsterdam for Christmas, as everyone who reads this blog probably knows already, but if you're like me and have listening problems that's why I haven't been answering my phone. Nicole and I came here to visit our other friend, Marissa, who is going to school here.

Amsterdam is really cold. Like, super cold. And it keeps snowing, which usually I would like, but not when I have to walk through it everyday. This trip has caused me to create a new rule: I will never travel to cold places in the winter. I think it's a good rule.

Nicole and I are sleeping on the floor. We have a twin mattress. We shared it the first night, which sucked--Two grown people were not meant to share a bed that size. After the first night we started trading off and now one of us sleeps on an exercise mat on the floor every other night.

And the shower. Let me tell you about the shower.

The shower head is in the middle of the bathroom. A curtain runs right through the middle of the bathroom. The toilet is on the shower side of the curtain. And when you shower, the entire room fills up with water. It's a race against time to finish your shower before the water overflows the bathroom door and into the apartment.

We escaped our lack of beds and bathrooms and went to Belgium the other day, specifically to Brussels and Bruge. It wasn't much of an escape as Nicole and I still had to share a bed. But at least it was a big bed.

I did not love Brussels. There were French people there, which was one reason it sucked. And it was dirty. But it had great waffles.

While in Brussels we went on a day trip to Bruge, which Marissa said would be touristy and lame but which Nicole and I loved. I would go so far as to say that it is my favorite place so far on this trip. There were swans everywhere and lots of awesome chocolate shops and cool Gothic towers. We got chocolates from a chocolate shop called The Chocolate Line that Rick Steves mentions in his book. Hold on, can I put the word chocolate in that sentence anywhere else? No? Okay. My box had lemongrass chocolate, ginger chocolate, passion fruit chocolate etc. It was pretty delicious.

Being in Bruge was like being in the movie In Bruge. But without the murder and mayhem. But still fun.

After our day trip we went back to Brussels, and I drank lots of Belgian beer. I really liked the cherry beer and the passion fruit one. And the mango. Those were good. Nicole had a coconut beer and instead of a glass they gave her a coconut shell. She drank it fast because she was embarrassed that she was the only person in the bar with a shell instead of a glass, which did look kind of silly I guess. She wouldn't let Marissa pour any more of the beer into the shell when she was done drinking it, she just had the rest out of the bottle.

Then we came back to Amsterdam, where we discovered that it had snowed in our absence. And it had gotten colder.