Saturday, June 28, 2008

Amsterdam

Sitting in a large wooden shoe.
Another wooden show in the Amsterdam Historisch Museum.

Mmmm. Pancakes.

On the way to Anne Frank's house.

See the grey building with the white window balcony? That's the narrowest building in Amsterdam. 1 1/2 meters wide!

Orange streamers for the Amsterdam soccer team.

Pretty.

Our room in Marie-Ann's Houseboat.

Walking to town.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Sha la la la, You Gotta ... Kiss the Girl

Copenhagen was once home to the legendary fairy-tale writer, Hans Christian Anderson. As an hommage to this writer, a later sculpture created a statue in the harbor representing one of his stories, "The Little Mermaid," (hence the title of this post).

Copenhagen also has hundreds of beautiful buildings, petina statues galore, and ferocious swans.

Below is one of the cool spires the decorate the city.

Petina statue.

Third largest dome in Europe.

Changing of the guard ... all ten of them.
Pretty church.
Chris and me.

"Wish I could be ... part of their world ..." (Me with the Little Mermaid statue).

Neat picture of a mama swan. This one did not attack.

This one did. (Moments before it grabbed ahold of Chris's jeans).
Roses decorate many of the entry ways all around the city.

The royal palace.

Chris is the "iron and glass arboretum," which turned out to be a very hot greenhouse. lol Very pretty though.
Copenhagen's version of Times Square.
In Tivoli Gardens, a 19th-century amusement park. (The big band and swing dancers in the video below were also in Tivoli).

Cool spire.

In the armory.

I can take 'em. Let me just get this thing aimed...

Crossbow.

Band and dancers.
video


The swans look nice enough here, but the drew blood from Chris and chased me around. lol
video
Can you hear the swan hissing at that lady? That's right. These suckers are mean.

video

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sailing Croatia

Our home for the week.


The guy in red on the left is our "guide-in-training", Ben. Sitting in front is Dannika and Ed. Next to Chris is our awesome friends Darryl and Mary. And in red on the right is our fearless guide, Grant.

On the city wall in Dubrovnik.






More of Dubrovnik.


Chris in Mljet when we finally found the open ocean.



Chris jumping in ... as usual.



I think this is Hvar. lol (Near the end of thetrip, it became difficult to keep all the islands straight.

Marco, one of the crew, readying the little boat to bring us back to our ship.
:-)


Chris jumping in off the boat.



video
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Just words today

Well, I have a lot of really great pictures to put up here, but unfortunately this internet cafe doesn't allow users to touch the computer towers or use the USB ports. The guy barely speaks English, but I'm pretty sure I can catch his meaning through the rudeness. Oh well. Maybe soon.

The sailing trip in Croatia was awesome. Our guide, Grant, was really nice and helpful. There were 18 guests total, one guide, one guide in training, the captain, the cook, and two other crew on board. We spent a lot of time with this nice Australian couple, Mary and Daryl. It was nice to have some people to hang out and drink wine with on the boat when the rest of the group wanted to go out clubbing all night. lol

We got to jump off the boat during swim breaks between islands almost every day. I've decided Chris should be nicknamed "Chris the Fish."He was in the water pretty much every single moment he could be. The Adriatic Sea is really salty around there, so you float really well. It was nice to just kind of float around and bob up and down in the waves. In Dubrovnik, we climbed the city walls--it was like a castle or a fortress--and walked around the entire perimeter. Much of the city was bombed in 1995 by Bosnia, which is just over a small mountain from there. They've done an amazing job repairing the city, though. The biggest evidence of the event is just the slightly different colored tiles which were replaced on some of the roofs.

In Mljet, (this is the name of the island, the town, and also the National Park--creative, no?) we explored a 12th century Fransican monastery. It was on a tiny island surrounded by two lakes, which they connected to the ocean to make transportation easier. Chris and I rented bikes for the day and rode about 14 kilometers around the larger lake. We made it out to the point of the island and got to see where to open ocean comes crashing into the island and the lake. It was amazing. The swells were up over Chris's head when he climbed down the rocks for a picture (which I will eventually be posting, I promise). We stood out there and watched the waves crash into the rocks for quite a while.

We did have a bit of bad weather on the trip. Only a little rain here and there, but the wind was nuts. The captain kept changing the course so that we would land on the islands out of order, and once, on an island that even our guide hadn't been to. lol The captain also mentioned a cyclone as the reason we couldn't move on to our next destination one night, but we're all pretty sure he just didn't want to steer anymore that day. lol The air and water around us was completely calm all night. Also, a few of the guests pointed out that cyclones only appear in the Southern hemisphere. lol Luckily, Grant had a laptop that he was gernerous enough to let a bunch of us watch movies on since the town consisted of a grocery store, a couple bars, and a few hills. lol

After docking back in Split, we flew to Copenhagen for 2 nights. This is such a great city. It felt like a cleaner cross between New York and London, but smaller than both. There were petina statues everywhere and roses growing around the doorways to many of the buildings. So that was a bit different and wonderful. The only downside was that it was sooooo expensive. A hamburger at McDonalds costs about $2.50 there, which costs about $.89 in the U.S. Not wanting to spend much money, we ended up going to see Indiana Jones at one of the movie theatres. This ended up costing about $15 per person!! Craziness. The movie was really good, though. And afterward, we went to Tivoli, a 19th century amusement park in the center of town. There was a Big Band playing swing music, lots of pretty lights and rides and shops all around, and at the end of the night, they had a pretty cool light show over the lake.

Currently, we are in Amsterdam. Chris and I have had headaches from the moment we got here because of ... well, let's just say from the air here. We're looking forward to checking into our houseboat, which is on the edge of town. (Hopefully a little less smoke is in the air there). Things are pretty expensive here too, so we're looking forward to cooking in the houseboat to save a little money. We are planning on hitting a few museums, and probably Anne Frank's house. Despite the smell of weed, Amsterdam seems really cool, and I think we're both excited to do some more exploring over the next couple days.

Today is actually Chris and my one year anniversary. :-) We started dating in NYC last summer on this day. And now we're in Amsterdam. lol I wonder where we could be one year from now to top that.

Hope all is well with everyone back in the U.S. We miss you guys and are looking forward to seeing everyone in about a week (Chris's family) or two (my family).

And I'll try hard to post some new pics soon.
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Split

Getting into Croatia was ... fun? Ok, that's a total lie. It was eraly in the morning, it was raining, Chris's allergies were on the fritz, and we were having trouble finding out hostel. We get there at 10:30 am, only to get yelled at, more or less verbally attacked, and then thrown out for arriving before 11:30, which was apparently the check-in time nobody bothered to tell us about.

Luckily, a nice woman at an information station allowed us to use her computer to find a new place to stay, since there was no way I was going near that first woman again. We met up with a woman named Suzi, who ran several apartments and hostels around Split. There had been a little miscommunication with availability of the room we booked at the info station, but she was soooo nice and piled us in her car and drove us to a different apartment and gave us information about the area and such. So now we're actually staying in a private apartment within the walls of Diocletian's Palace for less than we were paying for the room with the bitchy woman. lol

So we walked around a bit yesterday. We went out to eat, and then, desperately missing the good old USA, we found a movie theatre playing a moveie in English. We saw "The Happening," which was entertaining. In my opinion, the script and the acting were not so hot, but if you want a lot of really creepy, gorey scenes, this movie is for you. lol

Here's our bedroom. The bathroom is off to the right there.

Here's the huge bathroom. (Yes, the toilet is actually in the shower).

Chris lounging in the living room/kitchen/dining room/laundry room. hahaha And that's the whole apartment. lol

Part of Diocletian's Palace.


More of the palace walls and such.

Split.

So this was our dinner. Heads on the fish and everything. Chris was bold enough to eat a whole piece of squid. One bite was enough for me. lol

Last night was some big soccer game. Croatia won, and apparently has a huge fan base in Split. Everyone was wearing red and white checkers and screaming and singing songs all afternoon, evening and well into the night. It was nuts. Croatians are kind of nuts though. lol Here's a video of some celebrating about 20 minutes after the game ended.
video

So it may be a bit before I update again. Tomorrow we leave for our one-week sailing trip to Dubronovik and back. Hopefully the weather will hold out and be nice for us. We need a little good luck after such a ridiculous day yesterday.

Kutna Hora

Before leaving the Czech Republic, Chris and I made one neccessary stop in Kutna Hora. Here we visited the aptly-named Bone Cathedral. Below is the doormat, of sorts, welcoming vistors inside. The church is decorated with the bones of about 40,000 people who died from the "Black Death." Not having enough room to bury them anywhere, this priest decided to decorate the church with them. (Ok, so he was probably insane, but I suppose a lot of great works spring from insane minds).
Looks pretty from the outside, right?

And then you see this outside. A pyramid made of femurs and skulls.

Or a pimp cup made of bones.... lol

You must admit, it would suck to have your earthly remains stuck sucking on someone else's ankle bone for all eternity. (Ok, so I don't know if that's really an ankle bone. Correct me if I'm wrong, Dr. Mike. lol)

A chandelier made out of every bone in the human body.

This altar is in the back. The floor was covered in silver and gold coins. Not sure why, but it looked neat. (Forgve the bluriness. It was dark in there).

A family coat-of-arms. Check out the huge bone pyramd behind me.

Chris in the center of the creepy cool church.