Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The beauty of a week

I just love feeling like I got something accomplished!

Not only did we have a decent Thanksgiving after arriving late, but we also got our holiday plans taken care of and booked.

It's always funny to me how Stefan and my cultures rub off on each other. I hate to be late, while Stefan takes the laid back American approach. Thanksgiving was no different. I just missed the subway I needed and expected that Stefan would be finished with the office. I thought maybe he would greet me outside rather than me having to venture up and sit in on a discussion between him and his colleagues. Our reservations were for 8pm... we arrived closer to 8:30pm. I was having flash backs from our trip to Reims where we wanted the day to be a success but somehow weren't communicating clearly.

On our walk to the restaurant I also managed to step in dog poo. Sometimes life is so comical. As a side note, I also learned that Stefan believed that Black Friday was due to the fact that Americans 'got money' on Thanksgiving. I have no idea where he got this notion. He said 'all of these years I have been telling my brother that'.

Needless to say we made it. Our table was there... the feast was there. I think I was a little overzealous with the truffle sweet potatoes because I ended up eating way too much and feeling a bit sick. What is Thanksgiving for right?

As for our travel plans we have decided to maximize our time (seriously) by going to Copenhagen and Stockholm. We are leaving early in the morning on the 26th and arriving home late on the 1st. Not only did we manage to book this trip, I also found out about an ice festival in Bruges. I have heard such great things about the place and the ice festival was all the more reason to go. So we are going to be heading there for the weekend of my birthday.

I am really excited for all of our trips. Each city has great things to offer that I am really excited about. Copenhagen's bright row houses along the waterfront I know are going to be so beautiful for a color enthusiast like myself. I know that the Little Mermaid statue that is there is supposed to be quite small, but I am still going to go visit her.

From all of the descriptions I have read about Stockholm being the Venice of the North and having unique food similar to Japanese cuisine I am sure it is going to be fascinating. We are going to visit the ice bar and go on an ice wrecking cruise around some of the islands.

We'll have a 3 day weekend in Belgium and I know we'll enjoy the waffles, beer, and chocolate. No stops in Antwerp for diamonds this time.

The Christmas markets open this weekend and I am going to hope Stefan doesn't have loads of work and we can go to Regenburg for their market. I have heard nothing but good things about the place. It was one of the few cities that didn't get bombed during the war, so it's very old old Germany with Roman city gates dating back nearly 2000 years. The markets are so spectacular... this is from Allägu last year. I love how each city has a unique take on things, however some things are standard - like glühwein.

That is one of the exciting things about Europe - they really built things to last and with pride. I wish sometimes that America took more of an initiative to build lasting beautiful structures. People travel to Barcelona to see Gaudi's works, they go to Rome to see the coliseum, Paris for the Eiffel Tower... and while America does have plenty of natural beauty, much of the architecture is seriously lacking. Strip malls and the consumer mentality definitely feed the US. That's probably the art historian in me coming out, but I wish America was more willing to leave a legacy behind through public art. I immediately feel happier when I am in a city that obviously appreciates aesthetically pleasing structures.

I guess maybe even the strip malls give the US character. I try to view it as an outsider as I read books by foreigners who travel to the states. Everything must seem grandiose and over the top, especially considering the places that foreigners travel to - Las Vegas, New York, California, Texas, Florida. Rarely do people get a glimpse of smaller American towns. America is a consumer land. Even the Europeans go to shop there since the quality and right now with the exchange rate it's all very affordable. Days like this make me so happy not to feel the urge to join mass humanity on Black Friday or feeling the Christmas spirit through purchasing.

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