Monday, May 28, 2012


We just got back from our time in Copenhagen and I am so jet lagged.  This is probably the worst I've had it, but I'm forcing myself to stay up and write this so that I can get somewhat back on time before I have to go back to work.  

To sum things up, I love Copenhagen and would love to live least during the summer months. Before we headed to Copenhagen though, we stopped in Stockholm for a night.

This was taken in a square near a restaurant we ate at that had traditional Swedish food.  I had meatballs and Casey had herring prepared in three ways.   Everything was delicious and a nice, yet slight, change from the food we had been eating in Ireland.  I like this photo because it reminds me of René Magritte's painting "The Empire of Light."

 Here's another picture from Stockholm.  I'm not sure what it was, but I thought it looked cool.

Now on to Copenhagen.  Getting to and from the airport was super easy and in no time, we were walking down this street.

Located in the Nørrebro neighborhood, Jægersborggade is probably the coolest street in Copenhagen...maybe in the world.  It is full of great restaurantes, a fine bakery, a perfect coffee shop and populated with the cool, stylish young Danes.  

Across the street is a big cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen is buried.  The layout is so unique, with many small areas separated by hedges and filled with trees and bushes.  Everything is very spread out with lots of space.  For this reason, the locals use it as a park and layout in the sun next to the graves.  We spend part of our first day doing just that and enjoying the unexpectedly amazing weather.

Half of our time in Copenhagen was spent with Casey's extended family that live in Denmark.  The relation travels up to her great grandfather and it was so nice to meet them.  There were all so friendly and generous of their time and it was a real treat to have them show us around. 
 Here's a family photo, with Ryan on the right.

 We had lunch with them and then we all took a canal tour.  The tour started in Nyhavn (New Harbor), which was named that some time ago and is not actually new anymore.  But back in the day, it was filled with sailors and bars and was the only place in the 50s where someone could get a pair of jeans, or cowboy pants as Ulla, Casey's great aunty, called them.

 The one thing I noticed on our canal tour was all the crowns.  It seems like they love putting them on everything.  Here's exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

 Exhbit C.

We did a bit of exploring on our own too.  Here are just a few photos of some of the interesting things we saw.

This is a massive piece done by the artist Shepard Fairey.  I have mixed feelings about him since he has become extremely famous as a street artist and is definitely making a lot of money off of it, which is the complete opposite of what his artwork is about.  Let's just call him a sellout and leave it at that.  But this huge piece was pretty impressive, so I'll give him that.

This sculpture/fountain was pretty cool.  Its of a bull crushing a water dragon.  I'm not sure what the symbolism is, but I'm sure it has something to do with their past and the influence of the Vikings.

This is a typical sight in Copenhagen.  There are many massive brick apartment buildings with many units in them and small little balconies sticking out.  I took it more for the patterns, but I think the uniformity of the apartments says something to the socialist economy of Denmark.

We spent our last day with Casey's family in Roskilde, an ancient town about half an hours drive from Copenhagen.  The main attraction was the cathedral.  
 This cathedral was built during the 12th and 13th centuries and was the first gothic cathedral to be built with brick.  Not only is it incredibly old, it also houses the remains of most of the Danish monarch, including Christian I, who ruled Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Not sure whose tomb this is, but it was one of the past kings.

 I found this door completely intriguing.  The imagery and style are unlike anything I've ever seen.  It's somewhat primitive, dark, and almost violent and so interesting to be on this cathedral.  It almost makes me think it was carved in the 1200s when the main part of the cathedral was completed.

 Another erie part of the cathedral was this sculpture.  This part, we learned, was added on more during the renaissance, which explains the more decorated façade.

At the harbor, there is a miniature model of what the city looked like in 1400.  This photo isn't really telling, but I thought it was a cool vantage point.  The layout shows a lot more farms with the homes spread out and trees everywhere.

Also at the harbor are Viking ships.  There is a Viking museum where they have an outdoor area that shows ships being built.  They use traditional techniques to build the ships, so everything is hand cut, carved and shaped.  Pretty impressive.
 Here is one that isn't finished and on display.  When we looked out into the water, we saw at least two ships out in the bay.

 Here is a woman putting some decorative touches.

One thing we were looking forward to on this trip was seeing a band we all really like in Malmö, Sweden.  It just across the bay from Copenhagen and only took about 30 minutes on train.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any good pictures of the show, but we had a blast and it was so fun seeing a band in another country.  It was also really cool to hop over to anther country for the evening.

 Here is a picture of the train station.  I was attracted to the colors and lines.

And finally, here is Casey and Ryan dancing on the platform after the show.  

It was an amazing trip and it felt so much longer than just 10 days.  Every aspect of this trip was so much fun and it was nice to travel again, even though I could  have easily spent another a week there.  Now its time to pass out!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ireland and the Goods

We're just past the half way point in our trip, so its time for a mini update. Here's a little of what we did with our time in Ireland.

Like any good tourist visiting a place, we opted to walked around instead of the generic "Hop On Hop Off" method of seeing a place.  When thinking about Dublin before we arrived, I had a hard time recalling the specifics of the city.  But when I got there and started walking around, it all came back and I was surprised at how easily I could find my way.  For reference, above from left to right is Casey, Thomas and Ryan.

One of my main goals for Dublin was to find a few pieces of Conor Harrington.  He is probably my favorite contemporary artist and is from Cork, Ireland, but currently living in London.  He's returned to Ireland to do a few murals in Dublin and in a couple other cities.  It's amazing to think that last time I was here, I desperately tried to track down one of his pieces, and now I easily found two.  The one above is called Deadmeat and the one below is Black Herds in the Rain.

Walking around a bit more, we came across this bright little newsstand.  The main draw, besides the bright blue, was the poster on the window.  It's advertising a band called Grimes, who we are actually going to see tonight in Malmö, Sweden!  I also just thought that the building looked cool with its colors.  

 After a long day of walking and popping into shops and restaurants, wandering through parks and down interesting streets, and constantly speaking in an Irish accent, we found a little pub where we enjoyed a Guinness.

This was probably the most interesting drinking establishment I've ever been to.  When we walked in it was quite like the movies where everyone looks at you and watches as you walk though the pub as you realize that everyone here must be a regular.  It was the most brightly lit and quiet bar I've ever been to, with the crowd being old men, family units including their children, and a few lone guys at the bar.  It was so quiet that even with our whispers, we were probably the loudest ones in the joint.

On Sunday, May 20th, 2012, our friends Emily and Daniel got hitched!

I wasn't sure if it was cool to share too many pictures, but here's the lovely couple at the alter listening to the end of The Mamas and the Papas as she just reached him at the end of the asile.  It was such a great ceremony, with lots of cheering and laughter, the best way I can think of to enter a marriage.  

Here are those three again just outside the church after the ceremony.  Casey looking beautiful with her bridesmaid bouquet, Ryan looking dashing with his bridesman boutonnière, and Thomas looking fashionable as always.

Dinner and the reception were amazing.  Dinner was served in a huge stone wine cellar in the downstairs of an old Dublin establishment.  One of the perks of being a bridesmaid's date is getting to sit at the couple's table.  That was so nice to just cheers them at ease and be surrounded by close friends.  The food was delicious and the wine was superb.

After dinner and speeches that ranged from emotional to hilarious, we headed upstairs for some dancing.
They had an Irish band playing who were amazing.  They played traditional Irish music, where everyone kicked up their legs and did the river dance and also more contemporary songs, where everyone kicked up their legs and did the river dance.  At one point, they did a long compilation of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Billy Jean, Smooth Criminal, Sweet Home Alabama and probably six more other recognizable songs.  They were incredible.  We danced the night away and had the best time.  At midnight, we sent the couple off with sparklers as they ran to their car, only to proceed to more dancing, linking arms to create a huge circle and taking turns dancing in the middle.  It was good times!

Now, we are in our apartment having breakfast in Copenhagen.  From our first day here, I have concluded that this is the most amazing city and I want to move here.  More updates to come!