Monday, August 25, 2014

Back

I flew back to the US on Wednesday in the late afternoon after staying up for almost 24 hours of travel time.  I was able to stay up until at least 8 pm on Wednesday night (and that was really pushing it) before zonking out.  Over the next couple of days, I would wake up really early (like, 4 am early) completely ready to go, and get tired by the time dinner rolled around.  The two days of work at school were weird, as everyone was yawning at 8 am while I was 3 hours past breakfast and my first cup of coffee.  I think I had more trouble adjusting to coming back to the US than I did going over to Europe, and my body has only just settled back in to a normal sleeping/eating pattern.
Over the weekend, I meant to catch up on blog posts.
I have all the pictures ready to go, all the big points I wanted to make outlined, and even links to places we went bookmarked on my computer.
And I just... didn't get to it.
Instead, I spent time with Scott (who I hadn't seen for almost a month between his trips and mine).  We cooked a couple of meals together, watched some dumb TV, and went on a few dates.  I snuggled my kittens.  I read a book.  I looked over my school stuff to make sure I was prepped for the beginning of school this week.  
Basically, I decided to be a little greedy and spend time with my own little family before things got busy again.
And it was amazing. :)
I kicked off my first day of classes today, and this week I plan on finishing all my Italy posts along with starting on all my fall projects.  There's lessons to plan, dance stuff to figure out, a house to deep clean, and even (gasp) Christmas knitting to line up.
But I have to admit, it was really nice to enjoy my last weekend of summer with Scott.  :)
Sometimes, it's good to have a slow and relaxing recovery weekend after a crazy, packed, breathtaking trip.

PS- And just in case you're wondering (because I know you are)...
The cardigan was finished somewhere over Quebec, with 2 hours to spare before I reached Minneapolis (and an entire flight to Duluth).  It'll be out in the sun on my back porch tomorrow, blocking. :)  It truly was my European trip knit, started the day I left and finished the day I got back (minus buttons and blocking, but I think it's okay to overlook that).  
Personally, I think that's pretty cool. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Vernazza and the Cinque Terre

All my flights to meet up with my parents went exactly as planned, and minus a small hitch where the hotel we made reservations at closed two weeks before we got there (like, bankrupt closed and completely shut down), everything was fantastic as the whole group met up!
My parents and I enjoyed an evening stroll and dinner in Parma (yes, the origin of REAL Parmesan cheese) before grabbing my brother Kyle and his girlfriend Kendra in the morning from the airport. We were on our way to the Cinque Terre!
We enjoyed a boat ride in to Vernazza, one of the 5 towns along the coast.
All the towns were picture perfect! Boating in took longer, but was well worth the time. Each of the towns we passed were gorgeous and way better than any of the pictures I've seen. By the time we pulled in, we were all excited to run around and check things out!
Vernazza in the evening!
First time I got to dip in to the Mediterranean Sea. Much more swimming followed!
What followed was days filled with hiking from town to town in the morning and afternoons, followed by swimming in the sea before happy hour and an amazing dinner every night.
We tried a different wine every night, then often hiked past the vineyard where the grapes were grown that next day.
The hikes were a ton of stairs up and down, and in the 90 degree heat, felt a little tougher than normal. It's okay- at night, we made sure to taste the local gelato. 
The Cinque Terre was incredible, and definitely one of the highlights of the trip. For sure. I liked staying in Vernazza, which was one of the smaller of the towns, yet big enough to still try new places to eat every night.
Pretty much a magical place. :)

Finishing Denmark

Internet has been pretty spotty throughout Italy, so I've mostly been updating my Instagram with a quick pic when I can. With my trip winding down, I realized how far behind I was, so I'll do a couple posts to catch up!
My last two days in Denmark were exactly what I wanted them to be- relaxing, seeing a couple more sights, and doing awesome friend stuff!
Heather and I had lots of coffee while we walked and shopped!
We went to the Aarhus art museum with the crazy rainbow walk on top and had our minds blown in some "inclusionary" art. 
Heather and Thomas treated me out on my last night- and boy do I mean treated!! Numerous courses, wine, and lots of laughs ensued. 
And to end my time in Denmark?
What else but eating cookie dough and watching New Girl together!? :)
Yaaaay Denmark!
Of course, since we didn't eat ALL the cookie dough, Thomas insisted on actually baking some cookies...
Where I was glad to give my emotional and dancing support!
Heather walked me to the bus station in the morning for one last sad goodbye...
Before I started on my way to Italy to meet up with the folks!
Oh, and sweater progress in Denmark?
Not too shabby! :)
Italy next!








Monday, August 4, 2014

Denmark!

I'm writing to you from the comfort of Aarhus, Denmark, in my friend Heather's apartment! It's been a supremely packed time so far here, full of both touristy stuff and hanging out with my long-distance friend! :) I spent my first two days in Aarhus with Heather and her husband Thomas, then Heather and I rode the train to Copenhagen for a girl's weekend! It's been amazing so far, and it's hard to believe I only have two days left in Denmark! 
Since I have to type this out on my phone, the entries are going to be a little shorter than normal and mostly picture-heavy, but I'll try to give a decent explanation as to what's going on and what I get up to :)
Heather initially picked me up after almost 20 hours of travel in Aalborg, where we took the train back to Aarhus. I was really loopy and really tired, but determined to stay awake to get my body quickly adjusted to Denmark time. It worked!
My first couple days in Aarhus was a mixture of both sightseeing and hanging out with Thomas and Heather and getting a taste of Danish life!
Inside the Aarhus Domkirken- or the city cathedral. One defining factor of Danish cathedrals is the white-wash walls; when the Danes converted from Catholicism to Lutheran, all the catholic frescoes were white-washed over!
Hanging out with some French dudes.
Heather and Thomas have been awesome at making me traditional Danish cuisine- especially desserts!
Checking out Aarhus University, where Thomas teaches!
Dinner on the canal is quite fantastic! And notice what we're dipping our fries in? That's a mix of mayo and sweet and sour sauce. Awkward, but actually kind of good. 
Gorgeous views along canals wherever you walk!
We also did some shopping and a Vikings museum, getting a little history lesson in!
On Saturday we jumped on an early train to Copenhagen for some great lady tourist-time!
Hanging out with Hans Christian Anderson, one of Denmark's well-known figures!
Heather and I: "We know him!"
The enormous Danish city center!
"Why hello, dashing sir"
The entrance to Tivoli Amusement Park, which is a big attraction in Copenhagen. It's a super cute old-school amusement park, lighting up at night!
Heather and I got stuck in a doorway during a brief 20-minute downpour. The weather in Denmark is schizophrenic...
The changing of the Danish guard!
Gotta have mini donuts in Tivoli!
All of their rides were old-school: Ferris wheel, Merry-go-round,  bumper cars, and the like. 
Lights were everywhere, though it was a little hard to see since the sun doesn't go down until like 10-10:30 pm since we're so close to the arctic circle. Still incredibly pretty!
We rounded out our evening listening to a big band performance in the Tivoli band shell. All the explanations were in Danish, but it was a great concert nonetheless!
Sunday began with a trip to the Assistens Kirkegard, or local cemetery where some of Denmark's more famous locals were buried, including HC Anderson, Soren Kierkegaard, and Niels Bohr.
It was the opposite of an American cemetery- we joined runners, people hanging out and drinking coffee, and ladies pushing prams with babies around!
It was gorgeous and cheerful, with well-groomed paths and well-tended graves. Quite a different vibe seeing people hanging out there. Apparently Americans associate cemeteries with ghost stories too much...
We then walked all over kingdom come to hit up the castles and big tourist sights:
Rosenborg Slot (Castle)
Christiansborg Royal Palace (Can you see how menacing ol' King Christian is sitting on his horse? Creeper!)
And the Nyhavn Canal! It was crazy hot out there and packed with tourists, so we walked the Canal and got out of there.  We headed to the Rundetaarn, which is the oldest working observatory in Europe!
It was cool cause it was a big steep walkway to the top so astronomy equipment could be wheeled up- lots of circles around to emerge:
At the top and above Copenhagen! 
The observatory telescope was set up, and I got to take a look at the sun throwing off some flares- SUPER cool!
We ended the day at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a big museum that housed lots of Danish painters and sculptors, as well as some works by the greats!
A really pretty Monet...
Vincent Van Gogh... 
And one of my favorites- Degas!! I was super excited to see in person my favorite sculpture:
"The Little Dancer", which was really big and really cool!

We dragged our sore feet back to the train and got in last night back to Aarhus.
Some showers to get clean and some cake for dinner helped with being quite tired after so much tourist-stuff!
Today is a little more relaxed- I did some laundry this morning, and we'll be shooting off soon to bike and get some coffee, mail postcards, etc. The weather is cool and threatening rain, so it's a perfect day to regroup and just hang out. Tomorrow we'll do the big Aarhus art museum, a Danish dinner out, and then I'll be packing to head to Italy on Wednesday to meet up with my parents! My next post may be from Italy :) I'll try to post a little more frequently so it's not so many pics all at once, but we'll see how that goes. ;)
Oh- and here's a glimpse of how the cardigan is doing, for those who are wondering:
Plane, train, and bus time means I'm already past the arm holes- Woowooo!!
Time for lunch- maybe an open-faced Danish sandwich? ;)
Cheers!!