New Perspective

You know when you see something and know immediately you’d never be able to un-see it? It’s just going to be burned into your brain forever, even if it fades a little or gets built up or changes in your memory over the years.

I knew the moment I saw the first giant redwood tree that this was something I could never un-see. I’ll always remember these trees, how they smelled and how they made me feel. It was unreal.

This June we traveled out to San Francisco to visit Nate, one of my oldest and most dear friends. Our first day out there, Nate had to work so we rented a car and drove out early to Muir Woods to check out the famous redwoods.

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I was the driver this day, (she who holds the Zipcar membership, holds the power) and this was very hard to drive over for the first time! So much excitement and terror all at once.

To get to Muir Woods, you must do a lot of mountain-climbing. We spent a good bit of time taking winding roads up a mountain. It felt like our honeymoon when we were lost taking a shortcut off the highway to get to our apartment. Thankfully, at the top there is a nice pull-off to catch the view from the top.

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Anyhoo, by suggestion of every single source about visiting Muir Woods, we arrived close to 7:30 AM., scored one of the (very few, maybe 40 total) parking spots near the entrance to the park and spent the first hour with just a handful of other people near us. OH and if you arrive that early, there is nobody at the entrance to charge you for going in (#earlybirdsgetthetrees)

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We had quite the hike, and hope to get back at some point with appropriate hiking shoes and clothes for some more of this magical place.

Imagine this peaceful scene, just about 45 minutes later, packed with tourists. I can’t and glad I didn’t have to witness it – as we were leaving (~10:00 AM) busses were pulling up. Time to scram.

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Another Year, Another Stop in Copenhagen

So, let’s start from where we left off in 2015: Leaving Paris, heading for sunny Copenhagen…

My oldest, most exotic, smartest and most favorite friend was getting married. No adjectives are enough to describe this lady! And, the man she was marrying is, most definitely, the coolest (he’s a creative musical genius AND a librarian), so if I was happier for her I likely could have exploded.

We stayed in an AirBNB near KØDBYEN – which was a perfect location, and a beautiful apartment for our five-day trip. The apartment was just a quick walk from the central station as well as many bus stops. You can’t tell from the photo below, but this place was the epitome of Danish design style; very natural, minimal and modern, and cosy.

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Oh, and it was close to the one and only thing Kyle wanted to do: visit Warpigs Brewpub, a new collaboration brewpub from 3Floyds and Mikkeller that had just opened right before we arrived. It was right around the corner from the Mikkeller bar.  #TOTALLYROCKINGUNTAPPED

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Upon arrival to our Copenhagen apartment, I had approximately 1 hour to settle in, freshen up and get myself to Jana’s bachelorette party. That I planned (with loads of help, thank God). Jana is very creative so we had kicked it off with a glass blowing class – we all sipped bubbly while Jana worked on a matching set of glasses.

Due to plenty of help from the other ladies, we had our own party room at a taco bar. Thank goodness we had our own room since things got a little crazy (piñata crazy)! I can only share a final shot of the bride in her Carmen San Diego hat – a hint into the party theme.

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Where Does the Time Go?

Nobody warned me that the days, months, years would actually fly by after a certain age. One day we’re celebrating our anniversary and the start to the summer heat, the next I’m pulling out sweaters wondering how it’s suddenly late-October and I have yet to buy a pumpkin. Before my memories start to fade, here are the highlights of our summer:

We went back to UD for our college reunion weekend. Naturally, we all acted exactly how we acted in college.

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There is a park in our neighborhood (Yards Park) that hosts bands on Friday nights all summer. It was easy to be regulars and convince friends to come visit for the evening.

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Looking back on my phone for summer photos my first thought was “Why did I take this photo?” Then I realized it was because this could possibly be my Lisa Simpson outfit (if I could only wear one outfit my entire life) – crab necklace, Ohio shirt, and polka dots. All my favorite things. And, I really love crabs. My crab necklace from Baltimore was a necessary accessory when we picked up a bushel of crabs to pick with friends on evening.

No other photos were taken because our hands were much too messy.

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We are really working on our camping skills, so for the Fourth of July holiday we went down to the family farm for some R&R.
IMG_4536.JPGIMG_4542.JPGIMG_4541.JPGIMG_4539.JPGThis summer I was busy with a “summer job” giving Segway tours around the city. It’s not over yet but it has been a total blast meeting people from all over the world to share with them my city’s history. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really nice having a willing (and paying) audience for my cheesy jokes. Remind me to tell you about the bushes outside of the White House…

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My parents surprised me one weekend with a visit to DC! I wanted to give them the full “DC Local” treatment since they normally come in the winter or over a holiday. We hit up Yards Park (I told you we went every week), visited the famed pandas at the National Zoo, and even grabbed some crabs from the fish market. All in a DC weekend.

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We also had a jam-packed weekend with one of our most favorite families. Not pictured: the parents.

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Went to the best and most entertaining concert of my life: Arcade Fire. I have never had so much fun at a concert.

IMG_4751.JPGSent some of our best DC friends off to London for a year of adventure and schooling:

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Went to Cincinnati for Labor Day and I got to see the WEBN fireworks for the first time (believe it) after a wild night in OTR.  Spent a lot of quality time with Mom’s kittens and my grandparents.

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Whew. I think that last photo sums it up! Now that I’ve gone through all of our photos, I realize we had quite a packed summer, full of travel and good friends – what more could we have asked for?

Charm City

I’ll say this right away: I love Baltimore. After our 24 hour stay in Baltimore I was more or less begging Kyle to let us relocate. It would be totally possible I reasoned, it would just be an hour commute for me and an hour and a half for him…

Alright that’s not do-able for a happy healthy life. So, we’ll just have to visit often and pretend.

It’s easy to understand why I love Baltimore, not only are there good people like my friend Laura living there, but there is cheap beer and so much shellfish available I can’t help but feel like I’ve found my happy place.

Here are the photos from our day in the Inner Harbor area and then in Fells Point after taking the water taxi over – where you could buy oysters for $1!! You will see below me rifling through my purse trying to figure out how many dollars I had – because all of them were going towards oysters.

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I love crabs, sometimes I think about what would happen if I had to choose between Kyle and crabs coated in Old Bay…

This is what happens when you grow up in Ohio, shellfish can seem more exotic and exciting than your farm-town husband.

More Thoughts on Copenhagen

This is the last post on our trip. Before I forget, I have a few things to say about Copenhagen:

1) It was cold, and not in the “OMG is it really still snowing in late-March!?!?”-cold, it was cold like, “yep this is March in Scandinavia”-cold. And you know what, the people were just crazy happy that the SUN was OUT, and that seemed good enough excuse as any to grab ice cream and sit outside for lunch. And that’s what it seemed the city was doing, sitting outside for lunch in the sun, and grabbing ice cream on their way home (or wherever they were off to).
2) The men were total peacocks. They had perfectly styled hair you knew has taken a lot of time and probably money to get, and they had really cool thought-out clothes and shoes (in my opinion at least).  The women were more plain, a lot less makeup and accessories than I am certainly used to.
3) It appeared completely common for the dad/husband to be in charge of babies and young children when out of the house. I can’t count how many dads I saw with strollers and with their children sans-mom. You don’t really realize that it’s different, until it hits you that this is NOT like how it is in the US. For the record, the dads all seemed completely capable of handling the children on their own.
4) The people of Denmark really must be the happiest in the world (after UD students of course). They were just beyond friendly and courteous. Must be all of that ice cream and fresh, cold air.5) If you think the US has some hippies you should check out Christiania. I won’t go into any details, but there is a strict “no photo” rule, so the only photo we have is this first one:

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This is the ice cream shop we hit up on our last day, it was quite a crowd for such a cold day:
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Oh and 6) BIKES. The biking culture is not even a subculture like it is in DC. People bike, and that’s just how it is. The bike lanes were safe for riding on, there were bike traffic signals, and EVERYONE was biking around. Hence, floods of bikes tied up outside their metro stations:
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Kyle looks good in Denmark’s hats: DSC_2917DSC_2920DSC_2932
On our last morning, before heading to the airport, our host couple treated us to some DELICIOUS Danish rolls – yes, those are pumpkin seeds on bread – I still have dreams about it: DSC_2943DSC_2944
Can’t wait to go back next year for the big wedding!

Viking Ships and Viking Food

While we had a great time in Berlin, we were certainly ready to head back to Copenhagen right away. I t’s not that Berlin wasn’t great, it just wasn’t cosy like Denmark.

Oh I don’t think I’ve mentioned “cosy” … from what I could tell, if there was one “thing” the Danes would want a tourist to say about their country it’s that it was “cosy.” You can take my word for it, the food, the atmosphere, the people, were certainly cosy.

On our first day back we grabbed some pastries and took a train out to a small town to see a Viking ship museum. The ship museum is focused around 7 viking ships that were found sunk together off the coast. They were able to salvage enough of the ships to preserve and piece back together. It was a very modern, beautiful museum all around right along the water. In the summertime you can take a ride on a ship that was built how the vikings built their ships, so I will be back for that experience one day.

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This is the side of the ship you can ride on in the summer: DSC_2699 DSC_2702 DSC_2705 DSC_2711 DSC_2713 DSC_2714 DSC_2717 DSC_2722 DSC_2733 DSC_2746The highlight of the museum was a room full of Viking clothing and some props. Thankfully, being there in the “off season” we had the space to ourselves to really explore our inner Viking. 
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There was a beautiful restaurant outside of the ship museum, in full coziness they had fur blankets for the chairs and beautiful, natural candle-filled centerpieces. The food was unbelievable as well – take a look at Kyle’s pork sandwich. DM_Ships1 DM_Ships2Yes, my salmon (which was equally delicious) looked a little sad next to that sandwich.

After that big meal (and after all of the coffee I drank) we burned off some energy by chasing ducks around the park.

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DSC_2870And how cool is this tree? It’s an actual tree, carved to look like this. We found it in a cemetery and I could not get over how interesting it was.

Ok, I think I have one more post in me from our trip, then I’ll start to get up to speed on our other adventure photos since then!

 

So, There Was this Big Wall in Germany…

Like the museums in DC, the Berlin museums close right before dinner time, so unfortunately we didn’t have too much time to hit up more than 1 on Day 2 (thanks to the late night we had). Going off of some recommendations we chose to visit the DDR (GDR) Museum, which is dedicated to the life of the people in the dictatorship.  

We didn’t take too many photos in the museum, mostly because it contained a lot of reading and a significant amount of deep thought (which was painful, given the hangovers we still  had). This first photo is a “window” into the Berlin Wall divide, what it looked like between the wall and West Berlin.

DSC_2501We had never learned this piece of history in class – ever. Sure, we talked a little about the Cold War, and when the Berlin Wall fell what that symbolized, however the Wall itself was never actually explained. The entire time we were in the museum Kyle and I were in shock, “WHAT!” we kept saying, and “HOW?” was a consistent question brought up. Take for example the photos below, these were part of an explanation on how the East Berliners were able to go on vacations. The government set them up to travel to other communist locations (Russia) – and ONLY these locations. So they’d go to their DDR-approved beach, and because there was no use for a bathing suit inside the Wall they just didn’t have them, they went naked. Thankfully the DDR Museum covered this nudity in 3-D, just in case the whole wall of photos wasn’t enough.

BerlinWallMuseumNudesDay 3 in Berlin was finally sunny for us. We were dying to see more of the city and of course see this big Wall we’d been hearing so much about, so we rented bikes to take around. If you’re ever in Berlin I highly recommend biking along where the Wall was to see this park. It not only contained large pieces of the Berlin Wall, but it had these poles along the way through that explained exactly what happened at that point and included photos. Just like the day before, we stayed in a constant state of “HOW!?” as we read accounts of families split apart by the Wall, and the general acceptance of the Wall around the world (it was up for almost 30 years).

photo 4 DSC_2516 DSC_2525photo 1 DSC_2531 DSC_2532This area used to be between the Walls separating East and West:

DSC_2534 Showing both sides of the Wall: DSC_2552 DSC_2553DSC_2527 DSC_2515After getting through the park we biked through the city with a goal of reaching the Berlin Victory Column. We passed down a street that was in the process of being closed off, and saw a lot of police standing around the area. I guess being DC residents we don’t bat an eye for street closures, but eventually we came upon what looked to be a large palace with a motorcade out front. “This looks familiar” … thankfully we had our Google-machines on this trip and looked up more detail that we were, in fact, in front of the German President’s palace: Bellevue Palace.

We were about to move on to find that Victory Column when the doors opened up and people started coming out. Kyle was a paparazzi  in another life and was beyond thrilled to have a reason to pull out the 20 pound super-zoom lens we are borrowing from his dad (“see, this is why I bring it!”). Noticing right away these clearly were not Germans on their way out the door we went back to the Google-machine to investigate what was really going on today at the palace.

This is where the entire blog post comes full-circle: 

South Korean President Park Geun Hye was visiting with German leaders to gain insight into reunification.  It was at that moment we realized the streets were all lined with alternating South Korea flags.

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And here is the Berlin Victory Column:

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It would be safe to say one of our most favorite parts of Berlin, after the intense public transit systems, is the food vendors setup underneath the train tracks. After our bike ride we grabbed a couple currywursts (these things were cheap and EVERYWHERE) before heading back to the hotel and on to the airport. photo 3photo 4It’s like a hot dog, but different, pre-cut and covered in a thick ketchup-ey sauce.  I imagine it tastes better with or after a big ‘ol German beer… after a day long bike ride though, it was a little tough to stomach.