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Min Fødselsdag

Monday, October 29, 2012

  It's been a while since I've written again but have had a pretty busy couple of weeks. Last week, Claus was out of town from Monday until Thursday so I had a lot more time with the kids which was really nice. That whole week I felt like I was much more of an au pair than I have been; a lot of times I feel my main job is cleaning and don't get as much time with the kids as I expected. But it was so much fun and more fulfilling as well getting to take Christopher to school one day, pick up the two little ones from school another and make breakfast for them with just me, pick up Eva Kirstine from a play date another night... A lot more time with the kids. It's always nice getting Eva Kirstine by myself too, because like I mentioned before, she's usually more standoffish than the others, so when we get to have fun with piggy back rides, playing as ghosts and animals on the way home, making attempts at English and Danish conversation, and just goofing around in general is so nice. She was extra sweet today too. 
  Most of the other festivities I need to catch up on are my birthday festivities. On my actual birthday weekend, I had gotten back from Switzerland on Thursday around 8, at which I got a text from Maria to come out. Soo with backpack and all, I headed straight from the airport to where else buuuut.... Charlie Scott's! Haha we met several people out there and st chilled for a hit until Mischa finally made it out. This was her official last weekend before going back, to South Africa. :(
  We got pretty tired so I headed back a little early... I had a full day of cleaning ahead of me! 
  Since the family was out of town for the weekend, I slept in until 11 before starting my cleaning day... On my birthday. But it wasn't so bad and Lotte took off a couple of the extra tasks for my birthday. So that was nice. I was able to finish around 5 and went over to Rachel's for a bday dinner with her family... Not a planned dinner or anything but it was just nice to have dinner with them. Her kids are absolutely adorable too. Sometimes I feel like they love me more than mine because Clara and Faba are like constantly saying my name, singing to me, wanting to play, or wanting hugs. I think mine are just more reserved... More Danish. Haha they actually do speak less English and don't listen to as much American music as her kids... Maybe that's it. 
  Anyway, we had "burning love" which was just mashed potatoes with bacon, onions, and beets. How could that be filling right? Just like that rice porridge being surprisingly hearty, this filled us all up too. Clara had made me a little heart design and a rock with a heart, glitter and tape... And yes, the tape was part of the art so I couldn't take that off. They were basically constantly singing "happy birthday" to me. 'twas fun hanging out with them and it was soon time to go out. 
  Into the city we went to meet Maria and Jen and try out some new places. So we tried a place called the Rosengården, like that place I ate at in Zürich(!), then the Moose. Both were pretty cool, chill places, with lots of graffiti and foosball at The Moose, and a cozy, local feel at the first.  
  What could possibly be next but Charlie Scott's? So we went there and I think ended the night there. Possibily after trying somewhere else that failed and heading back to our one and only, where we got to play jenga and have super delicious strawberry drinks. We said our last(for now) goodbyes to Mischa that night too. Miss that girl already. 

Our jenga game. And Eugene. 

  This weekend was just full of good times, looking back at it. On Sunday, waking up to a super beautiful day outside, Rachel, Maria, Jen and I all met up at Dyrehaven. After a difficult time finding Jen in this huge park, we finally rode around and got to enjoy the beautiful fall trees and weather until finding a nice little hill to relax. This herd of deer came so close to us at one point. Was pretty cool. We rode on up to the castle too so they all could see, and saw a really cool site. Looking down from the castle, you could see so many people running around, having picnics, flying kites, and taking in the nice weather, and then TONS of deer in the fields afar. I was in disbelief at how many deer there were. Maria and I talked about how it's really an interesting place because it's such nice nature yet there are so many people there that it's almost touristy, but somehow it keeps from reaching that commercial, touristy nonsense. Instead of humans coming in and taking over, it's just humans coming in and enjoying the nature as it it. 

The herd movin on in. 

The view from the castle. All those specs in the back... Yeah those are deer. Riding along side of the field was crazy looking over and seeing a field just filled with deer.

  After a while of discussing how excited we were about Thai food, and concluding that we were not in Sweden, Rachel, Maria and I were off to fulfill our need for Thai. Maria and I said how we'd decided about this Thai food place right when we woke up. Haha This place was not a disappointment. Mom and Dad, I'm definitely taking you here when you come. It may have Ayuttaya beat! :O 
  The four of us discussed a possible outing to the meat packing district, (which we will call MPD from now on to make life easier), but when Rachel, Maria, and I got back to my house we were too content on our "fat boy," with our ridiculously good hot chocolate, blankets, ice cream, and BLOCKBUSTER movie to go out... Or even to move to Rachel's when we found the DVD player was missing. Haha so we just found a silly Hugh Grant movie on tv and eventually passed out. What a nice, relaxing day! 
  Now, onto this weekend where the birthday festivities continued. This weekend was time for my family's celebrations. So on Saturday morning, after actually turning in early from a still crazy Friday night, I was woken up by Eva Kirstine and Clara Louise singing happy birthday to me. I went upstairs to find the traditional birthday rolls, cake, Danish flags, along with some American ones, and presents too! For some reason I didn't really expect the whole bit but I got it! So we had our nice breakfast and opened presents before Claus and Eva Kirstine had to go to a cooking class. They got me really nice running gear for the cold weather! Definitely something I needed. 
  In the afternoon, Lotte, the kids and I helped make the traditional lagkage, or layered cake, which could be described as layersnof angel food cake with peaches and bananas (our choice), a vanilla type cream, and chocolate on top. This!: 
And it was delicious

 As most of you Facebookers have seen, we got our first hail this day too. 
And for all you mysterious, non Facebookers that are reading my blog:

Maria and Rachel came,over to join for afternoon rolls, cake and coffee. We went down to my room to watch a movie, but once again, cuddled up on our Fat Boy with blankets and a movie, it quickly turned into nap time. I made our dinner for the night and made my favorite brown sugar, balsamic glazed pork tenderloin (http://www.candcmarriagefactory.com/2011/01/brown-sugar-and-balsamic-glazed-pork.html) halfway in the crockpot until I think it was fried from the wrong converter, roasted garlic zucchini (http://www.thegingeredwhisk.blogspot.dk/2012/06/garlic-roasted-zucchini.html), boiled potatoes and salad. Was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. 
  It was such a good day and I'm so thankful for all they did for me. It felt really nice to be given the full Danish birthday treatment! 
  That night, we attempted to go to a house warming party, but got all the way out there and considered going back right when we got off the train we were so tired. We got ourselves to at least stop in for a bit though. After meeting some people I'd already met a couple times, Ewelina doing funny dances in an apron towel, some delicious homemade pizza that was still necessary even after a day of eating, and barely being able to stay awake, Rachel and I finally bit the bullet (?) and called it a super early night and headed home. So early that it confused Lotte and made her think it was another break in or something. 
  It's nights like those when a bed, sweatpants, and fuzzy socks are all I want. 
  Now here we are today... An ordinary Monday. But some fun fall festivities are in store with Rachel that I'm excited about. And for Halloween, since the kids are missing it for swimming, I'm going to make them these treats if all goes as planned! (Rice krispies)

Oh, Pinterest. 

 Farvel for nu! 
"Bye for now."

Oh! Here's a picture of the beautiful scenery I'm blessed with on my run! :)
Is that a picturesque fall or what? Loove autumn here

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So Long, Switzerland

Thursday, October 18, 2012

  It's my last day in Zürich and I'm writing this as I lay out on a bench in a park that I stumbled upon with a great view of the city. The weather is the best it's been the whole trip so I'm enjoying the sun!
  Yesterday I had a super lazy day consisting of many hours spent in Starbucks updating this blog and catching up with people back home. I also went on a boat tour around Lake Zürich and wish I'd done the four hour one instead of just 90 minutes. It wound up just being a nice nap on a boat, waking up sporadically to nice views.
  After the boat tour, I had to go back to Sprüngli to get some truffles someone recommended... 6.50 francs for FOUR baby truffles. They were delicious but dang.
  To kill time before going back to Pascal's, I went to the river at night and am so glad I did. It was so pretty. I just at on a little ledge by some steps by the water. Really nice.
  Making it back to Pascal's I finally got to meet his fiancé who's also really nice, and we watched How I Met Your Mother! They had catching up to do on it and I was SUPER behind. Lily and Marshall have a baby!
  So here I am, at this park until two before meeting Pascal for lunch before flying back. This has been one heck of an adventure. When I came with such few plans expecting things to just come up, I had no idea this much was ahead of me. I met so many awesome people, saw so many beautiful sites, did so much site seeing and touristy stuff along with local things, experienced church in a different language, milked a cow and worked on a dairy farm, hitchhiked, tasted so many delicious treats, and just experienced so much.
         The people I met along the way have been some of the most amazing parts of this trip. I mean first, all of my hosts have been amazing, introduced me to friends, took me home to their family, offered me, a stranger, a place to stay and offered so much hospitality. Then on the street, I encountered so many nice people, happy to help with directions, show me the way, give me recommendations, or just happy to talk to me at cafés, and even wind up going for a walk around the lake with me... you name it. Then of course, the people willing to give a stranger a ride. Oh, and I didn't mention Claus, a really nice guy I met at the airport from CPH to Germany who helped the four hour layover go by much quicker. It's just been amazing how many great people I've encountered on this trip. Hopefully I can keep in touch with some, but for all the others, I'll always remember the kindness and company they offered.
     HUGE thanks to everyone who helped make this trip incredible, for sharing a bed/ride/food/directions/recommendations/friends/family/experiences/socks... And special thanks to my hitchhiking drivers for not stealing, raping, or killing me. And my couchsurfing hosts for the same. Appreciate it.
                                                 It's been unreal. Until next time, Switzerland.
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Bern to Zürich

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    I'll continue here with my trip to Bern. After Erwin and his grandma dropped me off, I was able to catch a ride in like 15 minutes. After what was a kind of strange drive, I made it to Bern. My main safety measures with hitchhiking were intently watching the street signs making sure we were going to my specified destinations.This ride consisted of trying to communicate with a Turkish/Italian/Swiss guy, getting a free cup of coffee, and I think him wanting to marry me. But I made it to Bern to meet Martin, a friend that Pascal's, for lunch. He took me to a very traditional Swiss restaurant that's supposed to be one of the best in Bern. I had veal cordon bleu and rösti, which is like the Swiss version of hashbrowns... Delicious!
  Martin was really nice and good to talk to, and showed me the capitol building and told me a little about Bern and where to go. He was just on his lunch break though so it was just a quick visit. I'm really glad he could meet up anyway though.
  From here, I went back to a little market before going in search of "the bear pit." Trying to get directions from non-English speakers made for the funnest communication attempts so far... After growling like a bear to three different people that told me what seemed like very different directions, I finally found this spectacle. I was walking over some bridge, (which there were many of which I think was part of the confusion with the directions) and finally spotted this hill at the end of the bridge. This was the bear pit... A hill on the side of the bridge that housed three bears.
   The city was really cool, with this really cool clock face, statues I was actually impressed with, little secret passageway doors all around like the one in the picture, and of course more pretty buildings with flowers everywhere.
  Next it was off to the Rosengarten Café, which was recommended by Martin. During this trip, I made an effort to take all the locals' recommendations and they've all been excellent. I'd hiked two mountains on this trip but this walk up to the top of this hill was still a trek. But it was definitely worth it. It offered the best view of the city while eating a fruit cake... So much cake on this trip.
  I killed time here waiting for Nicholas, my next host, to get off work. I met him at the train station at around 5 with plans to go evening kayaking! His place was a really cozy loft that he had decorated with pictures and posters of places he's traveled, plants all around, one of which was from Mongolia? Madagascar? Shoot I don't know. Somewhere cool... And herbs just chillin' on the kitchen table. Peppermint was the only one I knew though. Outside, he had a nice little porch with more plants and an awesome view of the Aare, the river that kind of circles around the city. (pictured below)
  And this was the river we were to kayak. To get to the launching point, we had to carry the kayaks through a tunnel with really cool graffiti the whole way through. I was in for a little surprise with this kayaking trip, as everything in Florida is just easier... The hiking is just walking through the woods, kayaking is just paddling through a still river... Not too difficult terrain anywhere. So getting into this river with a little current meant me spinning in several circles, getting a little wet, and almost running into a big rock. But I made it out alive without flipping or anything... Success!
  Coming in from the cold, my nice hot shower and hot tea were much appreciated. We discussed some of our travels while making one of the most delicious pizzas with zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and probably more that I'm forgetting. He was somehow successful in getting me to try this pepper that was the second hottest in the world... How he got someone that doesn't like any spicy things to try this is a mystery to me. I guess I don't turn many things down though, right Mischa?! One tiny piece had me downing two big glasses of milk to soothe my burning mouth.
  Before this trip, when I read some couch surfers' references on pages mentioning watching movies, playing cards, and other ordinary things, I wondered why travelers would want to do this. But eating pizza, drinking wine, and watching Planet Earth were exactly what I needed that day. It was such a nice, relaxing night, and I'm so glad I met up with Nicholas.
  Now... I'm just on this morning? So much has happened! Since Nicholas had to work, I had to begin my journey at like 7am this morning. And it was a COLD morning. I thought my feet were going to freeze as I stood at a poorly chosen spot for like 30 minutes. But one guy brought me to a better location where I got a ride in like five minutes by a really nice lady.
  She also didn't speak much English but we were able to talk about her being a gardener, our favorite flowers, and some of my traveling experiences. She had to drop me off about 20km before Zürich so I just caught another ride. Like most of the drivers, we were able to exchange a little about our hometowns, marital status, families, and travels. This guy even showed me a video of his son playing the accordion. That lady was so so nice and wouldn't let me go without giving me 20 francs.
               Hitchhiking and all has definitely made me feel like a real traveler... Ate breakfast at a rest stop this am, practically finished getting ready in this Starbucks... It's almost Alexander Supertramp style, eh? But with an iPad. Couch surfing has been great too. Strangely, it hasn't been strange staying with random people I've never met, even when it's sleeping in the same room!

The view right outside Nicholas' apartment! 

The super awesome, homemade pizza

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A Day on the Farm

  It's almost the end of my trip and I keep looking back at everything in amazement of what all has happened. I'm just in Starbucks now, back in Zürich after another successful, but cold, hitchhiking trip from Bern.

Recap: Yesterday, I woke up in Luzern at this dairy farm and went out to help Erwin's grandma and uncle in the barn. It was about 7am when I was up and ready to milk some cows (my 6am plan failed but 7 was still pretty good right?!). Just walking out of the house to see this land at dusk was so nice. I entered the barn with work boots, Erwin's clothes and all. I've never milked a cow before nor was I caught up on the new advances in this work. So I was surprised to find his uncle attaching this crazy looking suction thing to the cows' utters.
  I asked later if I could try the old-fashioned way just to get the full experience, so he taught me how to milk one and gave this milk to the cats. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be! Maybe Paris Goes to the Farm or whatever that Paris Hilton show was made it look more difficult than it is... Likely.

The rest of the time, I helped them shovel poop, sweep the hay from the troughs, wheelbarrow the leftovers out to the trash, feed the baby calves (soo cute), and refill the hay in the troughs. I enjoyed being able to do this stuff I've never done and be able to help these nice people out at the same time. At least I hope I helped without disrupting their routine or anything. His uncle later said I could be a farmer. Haha
  I had to step out of the barn at one point to see the sunrise. :)

When our work was done, about an hour and a half later, it was breakfast time! Eggs, bread and honey, and milk fresh from the farm! Ah so good.
  This was one of the most unique experiences I've had and enjoyed it so much. Talking... Or trying to communicate with his grandma, mainly through Erwin's translating services, was sweet. She did like to talk a lot. I would ask Erwin how to say certain things and thanked her for the meals in Swiss-German... "Danke for tsatsa" (proper spelling to come soon).

She was impressed when Erwin was trying to think of what "oatmeal" was to tell her that's what we eat a lot in Denmark, and I was able to say it before him. Haha We shared stuff in English and Swiss-German as well as some Danish terms. It's really cool being able to share culture like that. I think being able to say "thank you for the meal" in someone's own language can be pretty special.

  After breakfast, Erwin, his grandma and I were off on our next journeys... Him to the Matterhorn and more travels, and me to Bern.

So incredibly grateful for this experience.

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A Pleasant Turn of Events

Monday, October 15, 2012

  I just arrived to what seems like a dream. But before I can get to it, I'll catch you up on the rest of my Sunday.
 On my way back from chilling at the botanical garden, I passed so many amazing houses. One of which I stopped and stared at in amazement and asked a passer-by if it was really someone's house. This simple remark turned into a long walk and conversation with this lovely Swiss lady who ended up recommending my place for dinner.
  I headed back to Pascal's for the night where we watched the epic jump of that Felix guy. I arrived to his house JUST in time to catch it. I hardly even knew about it before. But anyway, we caught up on our weekends and then looked into the idea of me hitchhiking to Luzern. So we set up a plan and spot to go and were excited to see how it would work out.
  So this morning I woke up and was off to begin my first REAL hitchhiking experience. Cardboard sign and all. I started out at one spot for about an hour with no luck until someone stopped and advised me to move to a better spot. So I relocated to this spot and after just about 15 minutes, a nice old man stopped for me. He brought me all the way to Luzern. He didn't speak much English, but we tried our best to have some conversation. We were able to share about our hometowns, family, and jobs. He trains people for marathons and has ran 6 himself. Pretty impressive. I was so so grateful for this man's kindness and trust in me to give a stranger a ride.
  Gosh I still am in disbelief of the following events. Or this whole trip really. But this man, who sadly I can't remember his name, dropped me off at the main train station where I was to meet Erwin, a New Zealander from couchsurfing, living just outside of Luzern. We had just planned to tour the city for the day and then I was going to stay in a hostel here. So we went off and he took me to some memorial thing that was supposed to be for some soldiers killed in the French Revolution? Heck don't look to this blog for a history lesson. But it was cool... A big stone with a sculpture of a poor lion getting stabbed in the back. We did a quick walk and saw the pretty flowery bridge, then went and tried to go to an art museum that was closed on Mondays, and drove around for a while trying to find a mountain to ascend... Pilatas was too foggy and Rigi was too expensive. So instead, he took me up this other mountain which I think was a far better one anyway. It was a trail I think only locals would really know. We came to some gate that I thought hindered the rest of our trek but he proceeded to just climb right around it. We went up some pretty slippery hills, met all these sweet little cows, and eventually came to see snow. At the top you could see the snowy mountains in the background, trees changing colors AND snow, and fog rolling through the mountains. It was an incredible sight. One of the best or THE best I've seen on this trip. It did cross my mind, while going up this secluded mountain, that it was entirely possible this stranger could've been leading me to the top and proceeding to murder me or other terrible things. But, I thought I could trust him, and figured they'd at least have a link to him from my couchsurfing site if something did happen.
  We went for quite a slippery downhill trek where I thought I was a goner several times. But we made it down safe and got to admire a quaint little church with the coolest door.
  We had decided to ditch the hostel idea as he invited me to stay at his grandma's house in the country. They're all dairy farmers right outside the city. (Right... let's go stay with your grandma on a dairy farm... that certainly could've been another ploy to murder me, but since he passed up the first opportunity, I thought it'd be ok.)
             We drove through such a green, hilly area to finally make it to this little country home. It's seriously like a dream... From their house is a view of beautiful green hills with snow-cap mountains in the distance. Now I'm just enjoying some coffee and "farmers' schnapps" with him and his grandma after a meal she made us of pasta, white brotwurst, and delicious tomatoes from their garden.
  In the morning I'll be helping his precious grandma milk cows before heading off on my next adventure.
            And I guess to make it even more like a novel and keep you in suspense, I'll keep my next plans a surprise. :)
So stay tuned!
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Sunday Afternoon in Zürich

Sunday, October 14, 2012

  Yesterday I decided I was going to have a proper Sunday with church at one of the three great churches, brunch, and a walk around the lake. So this morning I woke up with plans to attend a church service at Grossmünster. As I was cutting it close on time, I wound up choosing Fraumünster instead since it was closest to me. It was a really unique experience attending a service in such a magnificent cathedral and especially in a different language. The organ was definitely the best part of this service. The last song actually gave me chills it sounded so beautiful and powerful. I'm really glad I made it to this service. The one thing I felt was a little disappointing though was there wasn't much interactions between the people... No saying of the peace, communion or visitor introductions.
  After church I hoped to find Sprüngli, which I read was the best place for sweets and popular for Sunday brunch. I didn't know where it was so I just started walking and there it was! Just feet away from the church! From the advice of a Swiss man next to me, I didn't go with the recommended gipfeli from my tourist book. I, instead, got an apple cake called an apfelkuchen and a coffee. A nice Russian lady next to me, that was visiting just for a day, told me I had to get a box of their macaroons. An excellent recommendation, as they're probably one of my new favorite things. They're like mini cakes of heaven. (pictured below). I got them to take to Pascal as a thank you, but I, of course, had to try one... Or two.
  After relaxing there for a while I went for a really nice stroll by Lake Zürich. I lucked out again with the weather today with none of the expected rain. Enjoyed some people watching too in a little park. Main observation? Little kids in their winter gear are so adorable.
Sunday Brunch
By Lake Zurich
delicious heaven cakes
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Swiss Adventure Begins

Saturday, October 13, 2012

 Family, friends, friends of family, and any other concerned individuals, I am alive, well, and thoroughly enjoying my time in Switzerland. I arrived in Zürich on Thursday around 1400 and met my first couchsurfing host, Pascal, at the main train station. It became aware to me quite quickly how grateful I was for him being there. It would've been quite complicated finding out where to go, which train tickets to get, etc. So he first proposed to take me to Üetliberg, which was conveniently one of the things on my to do list. Üetliberg is (usually) a good lookout point of the city but it was quite foggy when we got up there. It was still quite cool though. 
        From here, we went to grab a beer at one of his favorite places, a REALLY cool restaurant called El Lokal, that had a super eclectic ambiance... Giant skeleton hanging from the ceiling, chaotic-like decor all around. I wish the picture turned out better to show how interesting this place was. One of his friends met us out here and we had a good time talking before he had to go back to study some more law. We then went to meet a couple of his other friends at a student bar nearby. All of his friends were really nice and really easy to talk to. 
        As always, it was interesting learning about another culture and sharing stories. It seems Switzerland is similar to Denmark in the social aspects, as we discussed how Swiss are also generally reserved at the start but "once you have a Swiss friend, they're a friend forever" kinda deal. It was also interesting learning about all their languages. They have like six: German, French, Italian, Swiss-German, one I can never remember, and most know English. 
        I also learned that apparently the Zürich accent is looked at similar to how New Yorkers or northern accents are in the states. I suppose like the snobby, rich people of Switzerland. It's all European to me, so I'm a fan of it. It sucks having an American accent... Not sure anyone thinks that's hott.
         We turned in rather early our first night out, which I'm kind of glad, so I was able to wake up early the next day for a long day of exploring the city. I literally explored all day; I made it to the city around 10 and was going to try the Swiss National Museum, first but couldn't find it right away so wound up finding the Old Town. I went to a strange museum, Helmhaus, which showcased one painting of a totally naked man, one of 4 rotisserie chickens, one "stewardess in the mountains" (a painting of a stewardess hanging off the ledge of a mountain on a limb), and other very strange paintings... Or super simple ones of triangles or little lines making a circle... Needless to say, I didn't stay here too long.
         Next it was time for all the churches. I stumbled upon Fraumünster, St. Peter's, and Grossmünster. St. Peter's is the church with the largest clock face in Europe. All of these were incredible inside. The organs, flowers, stained glass windows and intricate architecture were breathtaking. I'm planning on going to Grossmünster in the morning. I figure it could be an interesting experience even if it is in German.
          In the afternoon, I found Conditorei Péclard im Schober, or Café Schober, which was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, which I'm SO grateful for. It was amazing... Another place where I wish the pictures turned out better because I can't do it justice. But to give it a shot, on the second floor, it had beautiful red, velvet, vintage chairs as well as a mix of other antiquey looking furniture, a piano, beautiful lighting and chandeliers and so many elegant, eclectic touches all around. I, however, sat downstairs due to the heat upstairs, at a little table overlooking the garden patio, where I would've been sitting had it not been raining all day. I had this delicious Lachspinat quiche... Salmon spinach quiche. For dessert, I was recommended a chestnut dessert that's popular in the winter, which did not disappoint. I wish I could remember the whole name of it. :/

 The rest of the day, I saw the Opera House and went to Landesmuseum, the Swiss National Museum. I'm glad I made it here because it was a very interesting museum. It seems the Swiss can be quite creative and even subtly humorous with their normally formal displays. i.e. Instead of just displaying the furniture from different eras in a normal fashion, they decided to throw 'em on the wall. Even some of the descriptions of displays had some less than formal language or humor. The religious displays were some of the most interesting here, showcasing so many paintings, sculptures, chabules(?), and chalices. 
          To kill time before going to one of Pascal's friend's houses, I wandered the city a bit to stumble upon another thing on my to do list... Café Zähringer. I had read about this place being a cafe with a unique atmosphere with a hip, reggae feel. This it was, with my server having dreds and reggae music playing. People around were playing cards, some game I didn't know, or just enjoying some tea. I had some nice pumpkin soup and just chilled after a long day of walking.
           Since Pascal was going on a trip for the weekend, he set me up with this friend, Lukas, who was having a monthly party where they celebrate what could possibly be their last month in this awesome house. So I made it to their house, which was indeed awesome, with a very fun night ahead. At arriving, Lukas was so welcoming, offering a hug from the start, and made me feel right at home. About SIXTY people wound up coming to this party. It was crazy. It was extra nice being around so many people after a long day of exploring alone. It can definitely be fun solo exploring, but by the end of that day it was definitely nice having people to talk to and make memories with. "Happiness is only real when shared?" Maybe not but it can definitely make for a different happiness.
           At the party they actually played beer pong which is apparently just making it to the European party scene. One of his friends made glüwine, which was soo good. It's a hot drink the Swiss, as well as German and Danish and probably other Europeans enjoy during the winter, especially after a day of skiing. It's wine, fruit, vanilla, and some other spices. I can see how sipping that after skiing in the Alps would become a tradition. The rest of the night was really fun talking to so many different people, all of which were Swiss, and continued my stereotypical ideal of Europeans being a beautiful species. Out of 60 people? Probably 70% were beautiful. And none of the other 30% were ugly either. I dunno how they do it. Everyone else went out to the clubs around 11 but I was so so tired I couldn't even get myself to go out... I figured since that doesn't happen often I should listen to my body and sleep.  
          I luckily woke up quite early, allowing me to plan a day of hiking and set up a couple plans for the next couple days. It was supposed to be raining for like four days straight so when I woke up to see the sun shining I changed my plans to do some hiking. I decided to check out a couple other cities too since I'm turning out to have enough time. So I'll be off to Lucerne tomorrow and Bern the next day. While dropping my bag off at the hostel I'd stay that night, I stumbled on Rosenhofmarkt right outside the hostel, a little market of international traders selling their hippie-esque, unique products. This was another thing checked off from my to-do list.
  To get to my hiking destination, Kerenzerberg, in Filzbach, Switzerland, I took a train about an hour out and switched to a bus for the next 40 minutes. It was such a beautiful train ride passing the amazing Lake Zurich and through the countryside seeing some, what have to be happy cows, and going through incredible mountains making feel like I was in a movie. I kept thinking how this whole trip and the beauty and wonder of this place seemed surreal. I wouldn't have minded if the train just kept going but I had hiking to do! 
          So I was finally off on the way up a mountain to see Talapsee, a quaint little lake at the top of the trek. We also saw an amazing, bright blue lake on the way up. Not sure what it was called though. Oh, by "we" I mean me and the two random Swiss hikers I joined (luckily) that were nice to talk to and take my mind off the problems that came with my overestimation of my physical fitness... It was a bit more difficult than expected. Thus, I only did the 3 hour trek instead of the one to the highest peak. The couple took the chairlift down and I fortunately found my way hiking down on my own. This was definitely the best hike I've done. I was able to see Lake Zürich in the distance, obviously beautiful mountains, the beauty of the leaves changing, walked through little mountain villages with houses that had adorable little gardens in their backyards, saw the tallest (or longest?) waterfall in Zürich, and little streams along the way. Sadly no wildlife besides the nicest, prettiest kitty ever and a dead deer these hunters just shot. :/ 
         When I finally made it down the mountain, I missed the bus by FIVE minutes and would have to wait an hour for the next. I didn't really plan or think ahead on that one. But it allowed for me to check hitchhiking off my bucket list! A really nice, non-English speaking guy took me all the way to the train station. I was so so grateful as waiting in the cold for an hour with a very hungry tummy weren't too ideal. I tried to offer him some money but he wouldn't accept it. I just kept saying "danke, danke," and gracious Heinrich was on his way. 
         By the time I got to the station I was STARVING, as that apple and bread and some canned mackerel were my only meals for the day, so I did a bit of over-stuffing my face with a (finally) delicious hotdog with curry mango sauce! What?!, half a can of Pringles, and a chocolate chip cookie. Apparently that wasn't enough so I had to get a Bueno while waiting on the train. Oi vey. Then, making it back into the city, I was so so cold, so a pumpkin spice latte was necessary. Now, on my Saturday night in Zürich, I just took a two hour nap and am now blogging in the lobby of my hostel. Haha 
           It's been such an amazing, surreal trip so far. I've met some awesome people, seen gorgeous churches, incredible mountains, and awesome scenery, stumbled on so many little gems in the city, and have done more than expected in just four days. Everything just keeps seeming to work out really well; It's been easy to find places and things to do, my hosts have been excellent, and my plans for the rest of the trip just seem to be falling into place. It's worked out even better than expected coming here with one night's stay being the only thing planned and set up. Hopefully the rest of the trip will go as smoothly and wonderfully!

              El Lokal
 Café Schober 

Train ride to my hike




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Since I've been here, there have been a slew of mishaps from directional issues, phone problems, key mishaps, and so much more. Just remembering all these blunders can be quite comical/entertaining/eye opening. So here goes.
  My fight with technology seems to never cease. First, when I got here, I went through leaps and bounds to get my iPhone 4 working here... Getting it unlocked, taking it to Apple, erasing everything, biking to and from Lyngby twice trying to fix it, having no phone for a week or so, FINALLY getting it to work to have it stolen right out of my pocket a month later. So I went two weeks without a phone while having a failed attempt at unlocking Lotte's old phone, buying a cheapo one, switching SIM cards a million times, and resorting to buying an ipad during this crisis. I finally find a working
phone from Rachel that I use until I get mom's iPhone 3 in the mail after she upgraded.
  About a week later I drop it in my cleaning bucket.

        A couple days after that, I lose it while I'm out. At this point, I'm so discouraged with myself and technology and luck, and am just so done with dealing with so many mishaps. Especially thinking about possibly going to Switzerland the next week with no phone if the company couldn't get a SIM card to me on time. So stressed. But miraculously, I went back to one of the places we went, barely even hopeful it'll be there, and it WAS!!! So there's one thing of good luck in this post. 

The Keeeys!
  As many of you may have read, there was the incident with the keys... To recap, I left my keys in the house when I was gone to the city. It was a different routine from the usual so I just forgot the keys which got locked in. I was supposed to be picking up Clara Louise from school and bringing her back until Claus came to get her to take her for afternoon tea after Lotte's grandma's funeral. So it's already a stressful time that I don't wanna add any other issues to. So I go to the school to get her... The bike spoke breaks right when I get there. I borrow a stroller from the school. I planned on just playing with her outside until Claus got home. It starts raining on the way home. This of course ruins the playing outside plans, so I run with her to Rachel's house for cover. I didn't have a phone at this point so I used Rachel's but had to text Pernille to get Lotte's number but then had to find Claus' number through an email to alert him where his daughter and au pair were. So he comes to get us, but I wanted to take the stroller back before the school closed so I start making my way and it starts raining again. I run all the way back to the school and Claus ended up going there and giving me a lift back. All the while I also had milk sitting outside at the house. Luckily it's pretty safe to do that in cool Denmark... Aside from getting rained on.

  I believe it was just the day before this that I was biking to get the rye bread supply for the family when it started pouring down rain the whole way home.

  Just a couple days before THAT, I took a train to Hellerup (just about 4 stops/6 miles down) to try out a Crossfit gym. I arrive at the station to find the two streets to take are like Rygards and Ryvards Alle... I had just remembered the "R" and the gist of the word, so with one letter difference, I was screwed. So I chose the wrong one. Didn't think I'd make it on time. Decided to just bike the whole way home instead for my exercise. Got POURED on the whole way while I was VERY lost. That's the most lost I've been in the city so far. Hellerup just confuses me. But I made it back. Soaking wet and tired. But still managed to go for a run as well. Proud of myself for that one.
Credit Cards
  What else? My credit cards have given me loads of trouble; My Danish card kept getting locked because I kept doing the wrong pins. My American card took days to figure out how to transfer money to this one... A Visa gift card from graduation wouldn't work internationally, had no 
money for a couple days when it took a week for the transfer to go through from my American account...

  I just don't think my feet are made for shoes. I went through two flats that were miserably uncomfortable. Returned them both (left out that I wore them). Got another pair of shoes. Feet were dying of pain. But they're still cute. Then finally splurged and got some nice leather boots, rain boots, and Vans... Which also gave me those insane blisters during that disastrous day in Nørrebro but just because of my mistake of disregarding socks. And now I have little money for Switzerland... Practically the most expensive country in Europe. Haha

I'm sure this post will be revised with more mishaps throughout my time here. Or life in general. Maybe we'll see improvements as time goes along... #Hopeful. 

                              My wishing didn't seem to do much good in the luck department...
              Since October when I originally posted this, here's (my best recollection of... As my memory is obviously not the best) more mishaps that have happened in the last 4 months... (2/26/13)

               Mentioned in another post, there was the incident where I left my purse at a rugby match. Luckily someone picked it up for me but I couldn't get a hold of them til the next day so I was moneyless, phoneless, and keyless so I was kinda stranded. Luckily, Bogdan, on the first day of meeting him lent me a place to stay, money for buses, and helped me get it all sorted. 

               My fight with technology CONTINUED when I bought another iPhone a couple months ago from a dude from a Craigslist type website... I just really missed my iPhone 4 I guess. The day after getting it, it cracked while in my purse before I could even buy a case. Then a couple days later, with a case on, I dropped it and the case proved worthless so now both the front and back were cracked. A couple weeks later, the sound gets an issue that would cost more to fix than to buy a new phone. So essentially I just had a phone I could use for texting, Internet and crappy pictures (the 
shattered back had a slight effect on the camera. :( ) 
              However, I didn't have much longer with this phone anyway as it was stolen right from under me at a restaurant where I'd JUST gotten pictures of  Stonehenge. Ah! Lost all my pictures from London so this guy could get a crappy, broken iPhone. My fight with technology SERIOUSLY doesn't end. Surprised my iPad's still going strong. Knock on wood. 
           One of the saddest losses was getting my bike stolen about a month ago. So sad. Luckily Sune has lent me one of his to ride. :)
            Forgot my keys at Sune's one night so I had to sleep on the steps outside for an hour until the family woke up. 
            If this counts as a mishap, if not it's at least misfortune, I've been halfway crippled since I ran my half marathon where I hurt my leg. So that's sucked. Especially coming at a time when my bike was stolen and being broke so either painfully walking or taking expensive buses, taxis, and trains, AND at a time I had a trip to the UK where I could hardly walk to explore London. :(

         NOW, on my way to meet Jen for lunch, I left my nicest jacket on the stinking train. I tried multiple things to try to retrieve it but no luck yet. Hope and pray and send those best wishes, positive thoughts, good karma, and magic my way that someone turns it in. 

         I've also lost probably 5 pairs (or singles) of gloves, including a pair of Sune's. :/      


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 Aah Dyrehaven...
   I got a sense of peace just thinking about this place... This Sunday afternoon, after waking up to sunny skies outside my window, I was eager to enjoy it. I had my mind on Dyrehaven, so I cycled off to check this place out and eventually met up with Anne-Lise. When I got here, I entered the forest and was amazed from the start. It's a huge area where deer were originally fenced in by some king in the 1600s to have a "royal hunting ground." Now it's a place for people to go to walk, bike, run, picnic, and enjoy the wildlife. There are deer everywhere. You'd see them right on the side of the paths nearly close enough to pet. It was so bizarre to me. You'd see deer running through the beautiful meadows with plants flowing with the colors of autumn. It was soo nice.
  I biked around and found the castle in the middle of the forest, then continued to the water I could see from this hill. I walked down these spiral steps covered in more colors of autumn, and just took in the beautiful scenery, sounds, and weather near the ocean with Sweden in sight.
  I then went to meet Anne-Lise at the station and we headed back into the forest. After being amazed once again by all the deer, we found a nice little hill to sit on where we could just watch them frolic around and enjoyed the nice day. The only problem was there were no bathrooms around, so we considered "peeing like the deer" but we felt there were too many kids around. Even though Danes are so open about nudity and privacy, the American and French girl just couldn't do it.
  Dyrehaven quickly became a new favorite place of mine. It was just so peaceful, natural, and beautiful all around. The nature was amazing and it's always nice seeing so many people out just enjoying the sun and fresh air. There were kids flying kites and people enjoying picnics and walks through the forest. Another thing that you definitely can't know until you see it.
The castle in the distance, my feet and bike near the sea where you can see Sweden
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Mischa, Metros, Meat, and Mishaps

After a full day of celebrating Christopher's birthday...
We had Mischa's going away party at good ol' Charlie's. 
So many people came out, with everyone in good spirits. 
Mark, one of the English bartenders, played his cover songs with his country accent that I later told him to ditch. 
Eventually, we moved to The Viking, where we got special treatment and could stay after hours... At least I think that's what happened. 
We added a Danish Maria and a cool Polish girl, Ewelina, to the group of friends. 
 Climbed through Mischa's windows (mainly for the effect) at 7:30am 
Conclusions: Copenhagen is great so far. I've met so many awesome people already, and even at 5am, this city is still well alive with people on the streets.

The next day...
 we met up with Anne-Lise for a chill day at Christiania
Followed by a very entertaining night ride (extra thanks to Christiana), sitting in the front of the Metro. We felt like little kids on a trippy roller coaster.  
Found the coolest playground with futuristic, light up, talking jungle gyms, crazy spinny things you had to hold on to for dear life, and other super intense rides. 
Ended the night with tire swing chillin and shooting the shit about life. 
I'm so so glad I met Mischa, and am definitely going to miss her. I'm glad I'll get one more weekend with her though, for my birthday before she goes back to South Africa!

This week...
I started  my language class on Thursday! Excited about that.
 I've been in and out of bumville with gloomy weather and the stressful job. Gotta keep exercising for the endorphins and relief, and remember the great opportunities that come with this job.
Checked out the Meat Packing District (the hip part of town) with Rachel, Maria, Jennifer (a new au pair from California). Yay new friends!
 We did see the hippest people at Jolene.
Got a reading from a magic 8 ball mirror... I believe mine said something about paddling my canoe. Not really sure. 

On Sunday I
attempted to meet Maria at the Coffee Collective, a new cafe for us...
without a phone
with bad directions
THREE Coffee Collectives instead of just one to walk into and ask "have you seen a girl with pink hair lately?" With no luck at any 
in new shoes
with no socks
resulting in massive blisters
walking around town like a T-rex, hoping no one would spot me
Bought socks and band-aids at Tiger (the Danish dollar store equivalent),
putt em on outside the store and it started raining.
Considered going back for umbrella but figured I'd just embrace the bad luck. 
Decided to head over to Charlie's at 6pm, by myself, looking like a loner alcoholic at the bar.
I finally found Marc and laughed about my ridiculous day. 
Eventually managed to meet up with Maria,
almost lost my cell phone
and ended the night getting stuck in the crossfires of an 18 year old birthday on the train... successfully dodging the puke.
Me, Mischa and Maria; Maria and Maria(top right); and Cjenga, Anne-Lise, me, Mischa, Maria, and Ewelina in the back!
Maria, Ewelina, Anne-Lise, and Jen
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Christopher's Fødselsdag

  So I'm about 3 weeks behind now and so much has happened. For Christopher's birthday, we went to this Frilandmuseet which is like a 5 minute bike from the house, where they took houses from all over Denmark and all different time periods and reconstructed them here for everyone to see. It was so interesting seeing how differently they lived, both in different times as well as for different statuses. Some were from the rich and some the poor, so you'd see some where FIVE people lived in a tiny one room building and some with fancy dresses and china. We had a picnic lunch and rode a horse carriage to see the large amount of ground we didn't cover. This museum was huge.
  Back at the house, we had afternoon tea, coffee and cake, and I actually made apple crisp which turned out great! A successful meal or dessert is always rewarding. I had made chocolate chip cookies with m&ms as well that I'd made the night before for their Disney Sjov. Everyone loved those. People going back for seconds is the best.
  After sitting around the table for a while, I was very surprised as I was vegging out, getting cuddles from Clara and Christopher on the huge beanbag, when they started preparing MORE food. I couldn't believe we were really about to eat dinner. It made me think of how dad and all of us always joke about when we have a big meal and mistakenly think "oh I won't need to eat the rest of the day." But this time it was true. I could hardly eat at dinner. I don't know how they do it and stay so skinny. It was a really nice day but I was exhausted. Preparing  for hours the night before, going out with Rachel and some friends after, then this all day event, then out again! But I wasn't gonna let it that stop me from attending Mischa's going away party!
        So I helped clean everything up and finally headed out... Not even taking a shower. The proceeding parties to be in the next post.
Fødselsdag (foo suls day): birthday.
Clara Louise and Faba, the family friend



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