I know you guys in Seattle had a scorcher this past weekend too. I still read the news. Iíd guess it was up around 90 here as well. And although I am incompatible with sunlight, I lathered on the 45 SPF and took to the city. Why? Because this weekend marked the arrival of our first official visitor.
And the award for the first person to visit us goes toÖ.
Juliane Moore! No, itís my sister-in-law Carolyn. The eldest female of the Cundiff clan was out in London after finishing up her MBA program and made a stop off to see her sister and me. We took her up to Utlieberg to look down on the city and it was the first time we had been there on a clear day. We saw stuff similar to this.
Continue reading "Hot Weekend"...
Chizzy wanted to do a photoblog of Stockholm, but sheís in Paris for a week and she never did get around to doing the other posts she promised so Iím taking a shot. Actually, there are a lot more photos from the trip (including a boat excursion to the city of Vaxholm) so she might still do one yet.
Each time we leave a location we went to visit, we promise that we will do better research before we go to the next place so we know what to do. That still didnít happen here. Like I mentioned before, I didnít even know Stockholm was in an archipelago until we got there. The reason I bring this up is because there are very few instances where we actually knew what we were taking pictures of so captions will be limited. This shot from the plane gives a very good idea of the geography we were in.
We do know that this particular square in Gamla Stan (the old city) that Chizzy is standing in has a rich medieval history. It was the site of the first town hall and is the location of the ďStockholm blood bathĒ where 100 political dissidents were beheaded and their heads were left to roll around in the mud for three days.
OK, hereís some scenery.
Continue reading "Stockholm Pictures"...
Did you know Stockholm, Sweden is situated on 14 islands? I only found that out this weekend when Chizzy and I took advantage of a Whitmonday weekend to head up to the Nordic city. Actually, that whole eastern coast region is one of the larges archipelagos in the world with some 25,000 islands. It is an absolutely beautiful city and everything about it was fantastic from a US tourist perspective. The prices there are very comparable to prices in the US and is considered a very safe city. English is far and away the most predominate language spoken after Swedish and everybody we spoke with sounded like they could have been from the Midwest. Chizzy thinks it is because they donít overdub the American television shows that seem to be playing non-stop on the TV. They just subtitle them with Swedish. Weíve pretty much been off TV since we got here since we canít understand it so it was refreshing to catch a CSI: Miami in our hotel at night. It was only dark from about 11 at night to around 3:30 in the morning while we were there. Iíve never been that far north, so it was a cool experience for me. Chizzy has been to Alaska and Finland before so it was something she has seen before. We were very lucky to have two crystal clear days with plenty of sun and we actually came back pretty red.
It seemed like every corner we turned and bridge we crossed in Stockholm had a photo worthy sight and we took tons of pictures. However, bad luck finally hit us on the last couple hours of our trip while in the very cool Vasa Museum. The digital camera died. The zoom lens just got stuck in the out position and nothing would display on the LCD screen. If our new camera canít extract all the photos from the Compact Flash card that was in the old camera when it broke, we will be super-bummed.
So, Iím just going to cut this post short and hopefully we can do a more detailed post with pictures very soon.
Except for yet another holiday on Thursday (Ascension), I completed my first week of German class. All hopes of a possible side benefit of meeting some new people to hang out with went out the window pretty quickly. There are five others in the class and three of them are about 12 years old. The other two are women who are probably in their mid 20's. Nobody speaks English at all, including our instructor. Two of the kids are from Macedonia and the other is from Honduras. One of the women is from Moroco and the other is from Lebanon. The class is taught only in German and it is working pretty well so far but I am very interested to see how some of the more complicated grammer will be taught. The woman from Lebanon is a bit slower than the rest of us but I'm pretty sure it is because she is learning the alphabet from scratch which wasn't part of the class for some reason. The teacher just walked in the first day, points to herself, and says "my name is..." in German and we are off and running. In general she just pulls out some pictures and says what things are and pretty soon we are going around asking each other questions with our new verbs and nouns and reading from a workbook. I am one of the star pupils and when I get praise from the teacher, I yell, "USA, USA, USA" and I give the number 1 sign. That's a joke for Nick. The teacher is actually a real stickler for not talking in class (a few of the students share other common languages), not rocking in chairs, being on time, not yawning, and doing homework correctly. It's like she is German or something. Oh, I'm on a roll this morning. Speaking of which, I now wake up at 7 am since I have somewhere to go. It's good.
We got up at 7 this Sunday morning because we were meeting one of Chizzyís coworkers, Shane, at the airport. Heís staying for a couple months to help out. The sun was already shining when we woke and it was really nice the day before so I decided I was just going to wear my khaki shorts out. Not particularly Euro-stylish and very rare here, but Iím starting to care even less. Chizzy correctly noted last night that the fashion sense here took a serious nosedive when the sun came out. Oh sure, give these guys some winter cold to throw on the layers and scarves and walk around all fancy, but give them the sun with the opportunity to dress down and all bets are off. The best look going is the dudes who roll their jeans up to right underneath their knees. No. Even a clueless guy like me knows where the line should be drawn. I feel like Iíve been transported to a surreal high school production of Grease.
Anywhoo, itís another holiday here in Zurich. Labor Day/May Day. I just found this out a couple days ago because the tram stops had notices posted that service would be stopped for several hours due to the parade. Wow. I thought this would be such a great day for this dude to show up. First time in Europe and here is a great sunny day and a parade down the middle of town. Well, it turned out that the parade was less of a celebration and more like a massive Communist march. The parade was just getting going as we got into town and we saw lot of hammer and sickle flags and thought we were just seeing the Russian contingent of the parade. It only took a couple minutes to realize what we were actually watching was a huge socialist/communist political march of which we were probably not welcome. Indeed, it became more and more apparent that the number of people out in the streets was conspicuously small for such a nice day. Whatever the Swiss equivalent of the SWAT team is was out in full force and some shops had actually boarded up their storefronts. There was obviously some tension there and a worry that the march would take a physical turn for the worse. It really was strange but the march was pretty peaceful. We moved along and showed Shane some more of the city and explained the Commie march was not an everyday occurrence. We didn't have the camera on us to caputure the event.
Wikipedia (a great online encyclopedia resource if youíve never heard of it) came to the rescue about what was going on. It appears May Day has an international reputation as being ďa focal point for demonstrations by various communist, socialist, and anarchist groups.Ē