The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
- Saint Augustine

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Royale With Cheese

At international trivia night last evening the question was "What is a quarter pounder called in Europe?" John Travolta helped me out with that one.

Speaking of places Vincent Vega enjoys, I am going to Amsterdam tomorrow to visit a very dear friend who lives about thirty minutes outside of the city in a place called Utrecht where she is studying. There I am looking forward to the rituals of girl bonding including (but not limited to) painting our nails (we have yet to graduate from our fourth grade mentality) cook delicious food, doing tours of the city and generally enjoy one another's company. This will be the first time that I am visiting a place where I get to not plan, but simply be guided around the city. I am extremely looking forward to it.

One thing that we do plan on doing while I am there is the NewEurope walking tour of Amsterdam. If you are doing any traveling in the major cities of europe, you seriously have to go on these walking tours. My first was in Berlin. Don't be turned off by the 4 and a half hour time frame, for I don't think it's possible to do Berlin in any less time. The tours are completely free (tips encouraged at the end) and they are lead by young students or recent graduates who are trained to make the tour a little out of the ordinary, but all the more informative and exciting. When in Berlin, we not only saw the Berlin Wall, the courtyard where book burnings during Nazi regimes happened, the "Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial" but also while walking by a parking lot we were informed we were standing on Hitler's Bunker where he later committed suicide.
Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial

Berlin Wall

The next day my friend and I decided to pay for a tour through the same company of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Although it was hard to take, the tour was tastefully lead, and very informative as well as moving. If interested in visiting a work camp while in Europe, I would recommend this tour- but only for the strong of heart. I sat out on a few exhibits because I started to feel woozy towards the end. 
The sign above reads "Work Will Set You Free"a cruel promise by the Nazi's. To a prisoner it was implied that if they worked hard enough they would be discharged, but to the Nazi officers, it was clear that they would be worked to death, and only then obtain freedom. 

On a lighter note, Sandeman's NewEurope Tours are awesome! I've included the link for your own enjoyment 
In Berlin we did the walking tour, the Pub Crawl, the concentration camp tour. In London we did the free walking tour (only 2 hours) and I also did it in Copenhagen (3 hours-although, this one is still in it's developmental stages and needs some work). 
Long story short, I am also planning on doing one in Amsterdam.

In Copenhagen, all students have this week off of classes. But do they know why? Potato picking my friends. Students were given this week off to help their families harvest potatoes before the frost set in. I made myself a potato meal to celebrate this evening. 

Because classes have been cancelled, I have been enjoying the leisure of an underworked college student. I read a book yesterday. No joke! As cheesy as the title sounds "Enduring Love" by Ian McEwan, the book is not a romance novel and actually about a psychological disorder and a stalker. It was made into a movie staring Daniel Craig in 2004.
Got to say though, after the first chapter, it kinda goes downhill. Almost worth buying just for the first fifty pages thou, Ian McEwan (author of "Atonement") has some effortlessly beautiful prose, and at just 250 pages, it's well worth the read. 
Just started "Becoming English: The Making of Mr. Hai's Daughter" which is a nice breezy memoir for a class. Also finished "In Our Time" by (the AMERICAN woo woo!) Ernest Hemingway. I find I have quite a bit of national pride when someone/ something turns out to be American. There is far too few things to be proud of here, especially when it comes to welfare. They get paid to go to college. And we get... well... metaphorically "shat" on (to use the british form of the word) 

Speaking of Britain, I went to London! We saw Wicked, went to Buckingham Palace, the National Museum, Big Ben, Chinatown, Minstery of Sound (nightclub), Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral the London Bridge, the Tate Museum of Modern Art, and London's Chinatown
Above left: Big ben and the iconic double decker bus Brittany and I had quite the night with one evening. For those of you who have never rode a double decker bus, if you've ever seen the third Harry Potter film with "The Knight Bus" that should give you a pretty realistic idea. Above right is me eating Mochi in Chinatown. 
Below is me (Where's Waldo?) in front of Westminster Abbey 
If you've managed to locate me, you can also note the tank top and skirt. It was 85 F the entire time, in October. Needless to say, I throughly enjoyed London. 

I think packing for Amsterdam might be a little different. I finally finished my scarf and am starting on another one. I also shamelessly gave in and created a profile on "Ravelry". If you're a knitter and haven't heard of this site (I can't imagine what circumstance that would be, but regardless) it's by far the best way to find patterns. Furthermore, I threw humility to the wind and took pictures of my knitted items and uploaded them. (For shame!) But here is the one for the scarf. To compare, I included the original picture. 

Besides, knitting is cool, right Russell? 
I really don't even want to know the circumstances surrounding this picture. It gets me every time. 

Another fun thing by way of European Culture was that I bar-tended for an Oktoberfest party in full apparel. My name was also Heidi for the evening. It went grand except I had to explain to a few inebriated people that I did not understand drink orders in Danish and they had to speak English to me.

Anyways, off to pack to see my lovely friend in a lovely place! I may even order "A Royale with Cheese!"


  1. We were in Amsterdam this summer for a couple days and loved the walking tour. The discussion of the red light district was a real eye opener, especially for the professional feminists in my group. You HAVE to go to the Anne Frank museum! It's just to the east of Dam Plaza and we all agreed that it was one of the best museums we've ever been to. Very thoughtful and thought provoking. Glad you're seeing and experiencing so much great stuff!

  2. Ok, I love this for a million reasons. The three most important:
    1: Royale with Cheese. of course
    2: Eating mochi!!!!!!
    3: Seeing Christine!

    Miss you!

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