Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some days...

... success is homemade Ricotta Gnocchi, made using homemade ricotta.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Show

Home made Samosas, Vegetable Curry, Tamarind Chutney and Mango Lassi. Store-bought Chapatis and rice.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Take it for Granted

After a week in Copenhagen I was ready to go home. It's hard to describe fully my feelings about the place. J-Po commented to me earlier today 'Did you like anything about Copenhagen?' which at first I thought was a bit unfair, but I do so like to complain to him that of course he might get the wrong impression.

And there was a lot about Copenhagen that put me off. There was definitely a tinge of unfair "well, this isn't Japan" coupled with discomfort at things being different. There were more legitimate complaints, such as the otherwise excellent Metro systems continued insistence on not accepting bills. There was the odd feeling as I walked down Stroget, which reminded me so much of the busy 3rd St. Promenade, that some things were even too familiar (I hate the Promenade when it is busy). And my flat out dislike of being around so many people who were publicly drinking, no matter that they never did anything to me.

But there was a lot to like about Copenhagen. The convenience and speed of the public transportation system. An admiration of how many people were out their on their bicycles, and the way some people used them instead of cars. Also, I liked the lack of cars. The parks were always full of people just enjoying a nice day. Tivoli was magical. The museums were fantastic and I'd go back to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in a heartbeat. The countryside was gorgeous. Wandering around underneath Hamlet's castle and seeing the sleeping viking something I will never forget. History was in the air and one never gets tired of walking past castles.

No matter my feelings on everything, a week was enough.

So I was a little surprised when I woke up Tuesday morning feeling really rather sad. The reason, of course, was simple.

The boy asked me, when I was a bit tearful thanks to a potent combination of exhaustion and missing my brother, if I missed the now Theo or a younger Theo. I knew what he meant, Theo being 18, traveling, on his own, soon to go off to college, means a lot of changes. The boy wondered if I wasn't missing the times before.

It only took a moment of reflection. I missed the now Theo. The one who could take care of himself and cook me pasta for dinner. The one brave enough to go off to Europe all by himself. The one who spoke with evangalistic passion about how he thought others should do the same.

We'd had such a good time, wandering all over and talking about everything from our parents influences on our personalities to what reminded us of Silent Hill, that I didn't really realize how much fun we were having until it was over. That's how it should be I think, enjoying the moment rather than reflecting on ones enjoyment, but I was taken aback by my sadness. I'd be seeing him again soon enough, and I hadn't been nearly this sad when he left in the first place. Still, it was hard to shake.

We dropped our stuff off at the airport and then went into town for a last bit of wandering before we went on our separate ways. Neither of us knew what to say I think. In times like that things get quiet. Since we still had a few hours together it seemed to much to expound about anything too deep, drawing out the moment into some kind of endless final lecture. Yet, talking about frivolous things felt too light for our last hours together in Denmark. We settled for silence broken up with brief bursts of conversation about our trip, where he was going next, what I was going to do next, and what we'd do as soon as we were back in the states.

Luckily, there were things to distract and amuse us.

The time drawing near, we settled down for a meal at something like a Danish Sizzler, and I picked at my Ceasar salad, managing to eat most of it. The weather was finally living up to expectations, and we were quite cold.

Then, we took the Metro back to the airport, saw two of the drunkest men I'd ever seen in my life, picked our stuff up, and said our goodbyes. I took a half a dozen blurry photos before I finally got this one.

My gate was a mile away and it wasn't until I got there that I let myself sniff a tiny bit before reading my book. The flight was long and I sat next to some very nice Danish men who drank my weight in alcohol but seemed to remain clear headed.

Ten hours later, when I arrived in Seattle, I was done. Unfortunately, since I was in Seattle, I really wasn't. I got picked out for a random customs inspection, made friends with the British guy in the line with me, and tried not to blush when the young woman in customs opened my bag and "Sex and the Immortal Bad Boy" stared up at her, along with Theo's 007 book.

My flight was delayed, the plane wasn't even at the gate. I got to talk to My Boy for the first time in a week while I waited. I sniffled with my mom on the phone. And then settled in for the last leg of the flight.

I wish I could say that my reunion with The Boy in LAX was magical, but I'd fallen asleep on the Seattle flight and woken up too late to use the restroom and by the time I got to baggage claim (there were no bathrooms on the way) I was desperate. He got a hug, a kiss, and my carry-on as I ran off in the other direction to the ladies.

I fell asleep easily that night but woke up at 5am on Weds and couldn't get back to sleep. The morning found me in that exhausted, weepy state that I sometime get into. The Boy has dealt with this version of me before so he was very sweet with me and we walked together down the street to a local bakery.

The Boy and I walked back, me chomping on my coconut-chocolate croissant, I felt a little better. Already I made plans to go there with Theo when he got back, then maybe we'd play some Silent Hill on the 46" LCD screen that had appeared in my living room while I was gone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I miss Capitalism

Today, more trains. We went to the airport (only a few stops away) so Theo could check out some ticket info. We discovered the way we should have been handling the Metro ticket situation (anyone going to Copenhagen in the near future -- come to me first). And then we were on our way.

Well, once our train came. Unlike yesterday however, figuring out how to get to the Castle was relatively easy. We'd walked about five steps from the train station when I spotted it in the distance.

"Let's head that way."

First though, we had a little lunch.

These hotdogs, with their crunchy bits of onion and huge sweet pickles and 22dkk price tag rate as favorite meal #3 on this trip. That taken care of, we started across Hellsingor toward the castle.

Hamlet's Castle, Kronborg Slot to those playing along at home, far beat out the other castle for Sheer Coolness. Shakespeare likely never visited the castle of course, but he did pick a neat one.

Because I care about the Danish Economy I got the Super-Cool ticket that cost more and got us into the Church, Royal Apartments, Maritime Museum, and Casemates. We did the Royal Apartments first. After having seen so many rooms of old furniture, walk hangings, and paintings they start to blur together, but there were still some impressive paintings. And impressive rooms.

We then went onto the Church, which, surprisingly, was just a one room church. Oddly relieved, we went onto the casemates -- which turned out to be the coolest part. Of course I had no idea what a casemate was, but turns out it involves going underneath the castle. Down there it is Dark and Cold and you can imagine all kind of horrible things are going to come after you with rusty knives.

Luckily this guy is here to protect you.

He is some kind of Viking dude who sleeps until Denmark needs him, when he awakes and does -- something good. I don't think he's done it lately.

We kept exploring again. For some inexplicable reason they have 2 mannikins of soldiers down there. Demonstrating, I think, how exactly this was useful to the castle. Unfortunately having only 2 serves to be more creepy than useful because our reaction went something like "Huh? Where'd he come from?" and then some nervous laughter.

After that we went to the Maritime Museum, and since it was mostly model ships we moved quickly through. Toward the end we wound up at some stairs with a sign pointing up that said "Tower". With no other explanation needed, we went up.

And up.

And up.

And my calf muscles started to seize up in protest, and then--

We were there. It was windy and cold, but very cool to be at the top of the castle.

Going down was easier.

Worn out by 7 days of travel, we decided to end on that high note and head back to the B&B for a relaxing evening and some packing. This is what tired looks like.

We wanted to get some kind of vegetables, but it seemed that Denmark had conspired against us. We'd wondered earlier when the Information center in Hellsingor was closed, but as we looked for a grocery store we discovered most places were closed. My capitalist American brain was already grappling with the idea of so many stores being closed on a Sunday, but today was a Monday! They were supposed to be open!

Except that apparently today was 7 weeks after Easter. And that is a Holiday worthy of closing most stores.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Where My Shorties At

Sunday we did a new thing. We rode the S-Tog.

Which is just the friendly local train system with a name that makes me giggle for no good reason. S-Tog. Tee hee.

Luckily since we already had the Metro figured out the S-Tog wasn't too difficult. Theo even got to ride for free thanks to his Eurail pass.

We rode it for about 10 minutes and then found ourself out in a more rural area taking a local train. This train was really not much more than a bus and the stop was not quite bustling.

We got off at our final destination and found an absolutely beautiful little suburb. There was a huge park off to one side with a lake where kids were swimming, canoing, and fishing. It was like a scene out of one of the Dutch genre paintings we'd seen.

Unfortunately the scene was missing directions. While my guidebook was very complimentary about the Frilandsmuseet it was not eager to divulge the location. Nor were there any maps of the area, or signs. We walked in one direction but saw that area was mostly residential, and turned around and went the other direction. At the next corner, thankfully, there was a big sign pointing right that said Frilandsmuseet. Good thing too, because the map there was totally useless.

Frilandsmuseet is an Open Air museum that actually started over 100 years ago. There are lots and lots of Farms from various parts of Denmark including the Faroe islands. You can walk inside most of them. This is where we discovered that the Danish of a few hundred years ago were short.

Okay, but there's short, and then there is SHORT. Here, *I* am having to duck my massive 5' 2" frame in order to get through the door.

Yeah. It didn't get any better.

We really enjoyed ourselves. It was a nice break away from the busy, people filled city of Copenhagen into a patchwork of the past. Some of the houses were quite spread out and you could imagine this was somewhat like how it might have actually been.

The roofs on some of these places were amazing and made me think both about The Little House On The Prarie (actually, the one where they go to some house that is almost underground -- I forget what it was called) and the Hobbit Houses from Lord of the Rings.

This one actually had succulents growing right above the door. And I loved these houses from the Faroe Islands. I was bummed that the interiors were closed for repairs.

I imagine it is these thick, grassy roots that helped keep the interiors so cool because it was HOT HOT HOT out.

There were a few more modern examples, like this Co-Op from the turn of the century.

There were a few people around dressed in period outfits, and also some animals which I assumed were also in period dress.

Wild Yarn.

After wandering around the museet for a few hours we were both feeling tired and sluggish, so we headed back. We'd been planning on making an earlier day anyway, since we'd been out so late the night before and Theo had some things he wanted to get done on my computer.

Back at our B&B we spent a long time video chatting with Mom for mother's day, while I tried to recover from a blistering headache brought on by too much walking in the sun with too little water. This seems to happen to me at least once every trip. After far too many hours I felt better, and we went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kids, don't do Frijoles

The continued insistence of the sun on being Bright and Up at 5am and refusing to go down until 9:30pm makes me feel like some kind of cranky new mother who doesn't get enough sleep. At this point (with only today and Monday left before going home on Tues) I give up on normal sleep patterns.

Yesterday we planned on being out late, so we opted to get out of the B&B late as well so as not to exhaust ourselves too bad. We were going to grab some pastries but one thing about me and Theo -- rather than the Authentic, Magical, Perfect experience we go for the Silly and Perverse.

So we had Mexican.

Never do Mexican in Denmark. Theo had some in Sweden too and he feels confident in declaring that one should never do Mexican in Scandanavia. His poor enchiladas are naked and lacking in cheese. My Tostada reminded me of the food I used to eat at the dorms. Everything tasted like it had been canned.

And there was a slice of pineapple that I refused to have anything to do with.

(This is just a cool picture, there is nothing more to it)

In the interest of Not Going Hungry we ate our Danican lunch and went over to the Nationalmuseet. Here they actually had some Danish History stuff as well as Egyptian, Greek, Roman and an impressive coin collection.

We took a little too much time wandering through the Medieval/Renaissance and Coin sections and wound up having to rush through the 1660-2000 section. I was a little sad, but still got a good run through. War, poverty, absolutism, more poverty, social-scientific-political change, more poverty, etc.

After that it was time for...


We had grand plans of staying up late and seeing the lights, but we were already tired. The rides looked neat but there wasn't much we felt like riding/we couldn't find in the States and I couldn't get Theo to go on this one.

We wandered a little bit. Saw pirate ships.

Sat and stared at pretty trees.

Tulips are in bloom all over the place and they are beautiful.

We decided that a good way to pass the time until it got dark (in HOURS AND HOURS) would be to grab some lunch. We wound up settling at a place that reminded me of PF Changs, only it was Japanese instead of Chinese.

It was better than the Mexican, not as good as the Sushi. Meanwhile there was this marching band comprised of young boys that wandered around the park every fifteen-thirty minutes.

There was a mix-up with our receipt. First they gave us a receipt for the group prior, then they gave us our receipt but without a charge for the delicious coconut ice cream we had before finally giving us the correct one. The waitress explained exactly what had happened with the mix-up and was very thankful in a formal way and Theo and I laughed about what it would have been like if the same thing happened in LA.

"Yo Dude, you didn't charge us for desert."
"Really? Shoot, my bad."

Anyway, after that we still had HOURS and HOURS until darkness. Our spirits were flagging but we wandered around more and sat down.

The band came by more than once.

Theo remarked in an off hand way that this ride depressed him.

Something about seeing grown ups on such a little train. Gradually, it became darker, and the birdies started to go to bed.

Until we finally got to see Tivoli all lit up. Definitely beautiful, and hard to capture with the digital camera.

At this point we had to stay for the 10:40pm light show. A sweet little thing with more heart than sophistication that lasted about ten minutes.

After that we walked back to our B&B. I insisted on traveling down the more populous Stroget street rather than the more deserted side streets. As soon as we were on Stroget though we were surrounded by people clutching beer bottles, talking loudly, and even someone on the ground with a large gash on their head. I wondered if the deserted streets wouldn't have been better.

Of course there were also still families out and no real danger. We made it back to the Metro and as we got off I passed a teenage girl holding a 6-pack of beer as she got on.

It was time for bed.