Friday, August 31, 2007

What better way to see Paris...

...then with a Parisian?!
I was originally supposed to get back to Copenhagen on a Tuesday after my vacation to DC and Wisconsin, but I ended up staying in the States a few extra days to go to a meeting for work which meant that I flew back overnight on a Thursday...arrived in Copenhagen at 1pm on Friday....stored my bags at the airport...and met up with Jamie and Virginie to head off to Paris for the weekend!

Jamie (American), Virginie (French), and I all work on the same team at Maersk and who could pass up an opportunity to let Virginie show us around her favorite city?! We arrived early Friday evening and headed to a cute little apartment in the city that Virginie's mom owns (it is near the Nation metro stop if you are familiar with Paris). From there we met Virginie's mom for a lovely dinner followed by a drive around Paris at night.

Saturday we toured ALL of Paris. Okay, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much - we hit all the attractions except Le Sacre Couer. Paris had just installed a new city biking system, which, in my humble opinion, every major city should do. There are stations all over the city and the main point it to keep the bikes in circulation so after you 'reserve" your day ticket via the kiosks, it is free for the first 30min, 1 Euro for the next 30min, 2 Euro for the next 30min, etc. But if you ride 20min to your destination, store the bike at the station, and then pick up a new bike later, the clock starts over it is essentially a free system. Well done Paris! And we were off!!!

After dinner we went to a bar in the district near where Virginie used to live...she remembered it as being "super" (said in a thick French accent!) and she was correct. We met two French guys (Nicola and Pierre...pictured below along with the bar owner) and had a great time talking with them before we all hit the caves for a night of dancing!

Sunday was a little more low key, but we still took full advantage of the bikes and Virginie's knowledge of the city as we biked through the maze of streets. She took us to brunch at Le Pain Quotidien which is a MUST DO when you are in of the best brunches I have ever had in my life and the atmosphere (large wooden tables that you share with other diners, a decor that gives a modern twist to an old French farmhouse).

An absolutely fabulous trip...the only problem is that it was too short. Merci Virginie!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!

After a great stay in DC, I headed to Chicago and Wisconsin for the "main event" of my vacation - my parent's 40th wedding anniversary!

I flew into Chicago and my mom and I headed to The Berghoff which is one of Chicago's oldest restaurants (107 years) and is where my sister Kelly works in event planning. After that we were off to shopping on Michigan Avenue - gotta take advantage of being paid in kroner when the dollar is so low! Later that night we met back up with Kelly for dinner in Lakeview a great neighborhood in Chicago where my sister lives. From there it was up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin...where my parents now live.

In between party preparation I was able to spend plenty of time enjoying one of my favorite places - the lake! Up early to ski every morning, days spent out of the boat, jet skiing, para sailing, swimming, and hanging out on the pier.

The big event...

and Tim started things out right by bring bringing the Sol!

My parents has spent months planning this party...which was on a steamship boat called the Louise. They had people over to the house beforehand for appetizers and it was fantastic to see so many of their friends!

Despite the rain, and thankfully Bobby and Susan had a spare tent to set up, it was a lot of fun! Granny even came up with her own way to stay dry!

Kelly and I put together a surprise slide show for mom and dad. Everyone came back to the house afterwards to watch and enjoy a delicious cake made by Chon...the cake maker where Kelly works - both were a big hit!

I guess all that is left to say is....


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Home Leave!

Being an expat you are given one "home leave" a year...which means that the company will pay for one trip home a year...a nice perk and a great vacation! I did a terrible job taking pictures during my first part of the trip...which was a five days in DC.

Aaron picked me up and brought over a fabulous picnic that we enjoyed in the typical DC summer heat...which was a great change of pace from the cooler, rainy Danish summer!

We headed to McLean for the last summer Gathering...the college ministry I used to volunteer with . They had a post service BBQ where Jeff and Aaron showed off their skills.

I spent a few nights at Stephanie and Matt's house....and we all headed over to a fantastic dinner at Amie and Alex's where I got to see Sophie for the 2nd time this year (I first met her when she was only 5 days old!)

And that ends the photo part of the tour...but other great parts of the trip were...

  • Jeff and I headed to Goddard to see the Wake Forest University alumni softball team (that I used to play for) play in the opening round of the CAN softball tournament...they won...GO DEACS!!!
  • Frontline at McLean Bible Church...where I got to see James, Rachael, Micah, Jess, and Michelle...among others.
  • Quality hang out time with Stacey...can't wait to see her again in Europe in November!
  • I went back to Maersk Line, Limited to see my former colleagues...and Susan and I did some power shopping in Reston afterwards!
  • Dinner with Erin Norris and Sheila Dillon...and I even got to meet Erin's dog Rufus!
  • And what trip to DC would be complete with out heading to Rio with Kara for some excellent Mexican food...which I miss very very much in Copenhagen, they haven't quite mastered yet.

And was off to the Midwest....