Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas

From my humble home to yours...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Waxing philosophical

On construction sites in Amsterdam there will often be a statement spray painted in English on a ply board or cloth that covers the work area.  Although some may seem somewhat profound, the majority leave you deep in thought thinking: "huh??"

(When tears are your only friends)

There is one, however, which I've deemed my favorite. It was simple, honest, and in today's world quite possible.  It stated:  "Will my future love be genetically engineered?"  Only time will tell.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Typical conversation

The following was from a phone call I had at work with a Dutch guy from another service provider.

guy: "Where are you calling from?"
me:  "Amsterdam"
guy: "But you're not Dutch, are you?"
me:  "no"
guy: "So, where are you from?"
me:  "America"
guy:  "Ah, so what brought you out here?"
me:  "I moved out here a year and a half ago for work."
guy:  "No plans to go back there?"
me:  "Not any time soon, no."
guy:  "I see ... you like weed a bit too much, don't you?   ... Me too."

Monday, December 7, 2009

The best things in life are free

I don't consider myself cheap, just highly attached to my money. It may be a genetic trait- on my dad's side.

Needless to say, my eyes always light up when I see the words "Free".  Free sample: I want one!  Free ride: let's go.  Free concert: heck yeah.  Free software download: maybe that's why my laptop is so slow lately. Free book: bring it!  Free entrance: I'll beat you there.  Win a free trip: where do I sign up?!?  Free food: WATCH OUT!

While we were walking up the Round Tower observatory, we passed by a small window that looked into the church which is attached to it. On the window was a flier for a free Bach orchestral concert at 16:30.  (That's 4:30pm for non-military time readers).  Judith and I looked at our watches, and agreed that we had plenty of time within the next 30 minutes to look at the tower and take our seats before the concert started. 30 minutes later we were seated in our own pew seconds before the first note was played.  The concert was beautiful, and the church was more so.  Each wooden pew was lined with lit candles, and a door physically separating you from the aisle, making it feel like boxed seating.
The following day, as we were walking around the winding alleys of downtown Copenhagen, I spotted a church.  Although quite plain in appearance, it drew me in... and knowing that it is free to enter most churches we decided to take a look.  I had once heard that the original Christus statue was located in Denmark.  I had forgotten as quickly as I heard it... until entering that plain looking Catholic church -- mainly because it stared me in the face from the end of the aisle way.  It's as striking as it's replicas, and the plainness of the church only enhances it's beauty.

Some of the trips I take revolve around one free event that I plan on and look forward to, and this was one such trip. Since it's dedication in 2004, I've wanted to go to the Copenhagen temple, and I had never imagined 5 years ago that I'd one day live close enough to it to take a weekend trip to satisfy that desire.
Free things truly are the best.  Especially since they allow me to save money for my next trip!  Ole!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just like a guide book.... but better.

Before you hop on a plane to Copenhagen,... because I know you're just about to book your flight, take note of the following top 3 can't miss spots .  Honestly, who needs Rick Steves when you have me? 

1. The Little Mermaid:  No one can go to the land of Hans Christian Andersen without seeing the monument which was paid tribute to him, and essentially put the city on the map.  Besides, there's nothing better than watching a bunch of Japanese men in suit and tie standing in front of the semi-clad woman on a rock, holding up their hands in the form of a peace sign.
2. Tivoli Gardens: A place where the the title is actually "I lov(e) it" spelled backwards can't be anything less than brilliant! Plus, it's nothing short of a fairytale land that inspired the imagination of H.C. Andersen and Walt Disney.  Situated in the heart of Copenhagen, Tivoli a park filled with amusement rides, wonderful restaurants, and during this time of year a huge Christmas market. It may not be entirely worth the entrance fee, even with the awesome lazer light show, but it is one heck of a site to see - especially in the evening when most other places are closed.

3.  The Round Tower: Europe's oldest functioning observatory, built in 1642 is your can't miss spot for the best view of the city.  It's just over 12 stories high, but has less than 12 steps to reach the top.  Did they have a stone age version of an elevator you ask?  No, although that would be really cool, they have a spiral ramp that leads all the way up to the top in order for the king to ride up to the observatory by horse and carriage. Over the years there have been many creative attempts to reach the top besides walking... or carriage.
In 1902 a German tourist drove his car up to the top, and in the past few decades an annual unicycle tournament has been held every spring to see who can be the first up AND down the slope on one wheel without touching the walls or falling down.  Record time is 1 minute and 48.7 seconds set in 1989... and once I hone my unicycle skills I'm sure the new record will be 1 minute and 47 seconds.

Ok, now you can click the purchase button.  Have a nice trip... and feel free to thank me later.