Monday, January 11, 2016

A couple of pictures from 2016...and also 2015

Since it's mid-January, it's possibly too late to post pictures from Christmas/our time in New York, but I'm going to post a couple anyway. To make this post more timely, I'll also include a couple from my birthday this weekend. Yep, I'm 30 now, which feels remarkably like 29. Sam baked me an excellent cherry pie (actually two!) for the occasion, something he has only ever done twice since I've known him, so it did feel rather special. Otherwise, I just enjoyed having the day off, went for a nice hike, had a happy hour and then a dinner party with friends, and just generally kicked back.

At any rate, here are a few photos from both the beginning of the year and the end of last year:

Our attempts at getting tickets to Hamilton were foiled by all these people who were also trying to get tickets to Hamilton. Honestly, after talking to some of them, many of them definitely wanted it more than us.  
In Central Park. One of our engagement photos was taken in this tunnel. It looked a lot better than this does. 
We saw a few of our favorite New Jerseyans while we were in town!
Me at Pedernales Falls State Park. January 9 never felt nearly this good on the East Coast.  
More Pedernales Falls. It was actually crazy windy, but otherwise a beautiful day. 
Sam came with me naturally but none of our photos together came out. (He's still too embarrassed to take his selfie stick out of the house.)
I think 30 is going to be pretty great. I've learned a lot in the last decade. Except for Calculus and the soundtrack to Garden State which I've spent my 20s quietly forgetting. A friend made me a birthday card with a message in it she got from some birthday book she owns. She said that January 9 is the "day of ambition." I'm taking it as not exactly a mantra, but hopefully a sign of things to come. I've got a few things I'm excited about on the horizon, if not a fully fledged five-year plan, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the future's going go.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A short visit to Copenhagen

Sam and I are back in Austin after what feels like quite a while away (at least as measured in how abject and needy Dinah seemed by our arrival). I'll post a bit later about Christmas in New Jersey and New York (spoiler: we did not get tickets to Hamilton). Sandwiched in between our time on the East Coast, we took a short trip to Copenhagen. We were able to get some cheap flights, due to our usual strategy of going places at a time of year when no one else wants to. Copenhagen in winter is a bit light on daylight and chilly during the day, although really no worse than New York. While I got tired of the guide book constantly talking about how great it was to sit in the parks or cafe decks on a sunny day, overall, I'd say Scandinavia in the dead of winter has its own quiet charm. 

Nyhavn. Hans Christen Andersen lived in at least three of these houses. 
 When we first arrived, we were immediately committed to going to all the museums. Our reasons for trying to pack it all in were two fold. 1) We'd bought a 48-hour museum card that got us in anywhere, and 2) Everything would be closed starting on New Year's Eve day. I think we made an impressive showing of our 48-hour museum marathon though; we managed to fit in: the National Museum of Denmark, the Statens Museum for Kunst (Danish and European art museum), Christiansborg Palace, Rosenborg Castle, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Tivoli Gardens, and the Round Tower observatory. Here's a few pictures from some of those places:
The view from the top of the Round Tower. It used to be an observatory used by Tycho Brahe, but today it's only occasionally used by amateur astronomers. 
Inside the ballroom of Christiansborg Palace. It's still used for parliamentary functions. Note the awesome tapestries and Stanley Kubrick-esque flooring. Also, a rare photo with Sam in it. 
At the Louisana, there was a room where you could place polka dots anywhere you thought a colored polka dot was needed. It would have been very exciting to place the first one, probably. 
The Louisiana is a wonderful museum in part because of its beautiful sculpture garden overlooking the ocean. We would have enjoyed it even more if it hadn't been quite so cold and windy by the seaside. 
 Aside from museums and royal residences, our main goals for our vacation, as with any vacation, were to eat great quantities of food. Our AirBnB hosts were kind enough to point us in the direction of a great indoor food market that reminded me of the Ferry Building in San Francisco or Pike Place in Seattle. If we hadn't been traveling light, I most certainly would have returned with some expensive olive oil. Our food odysseys also took us to a microbrewery, a restaurant with an all-you-can-eat herring buffet, and most notably to a 12-course meal at a fancy restaurant, Kokkeriet.

Knowing that Copenhagen was a foodie city but otherwise having only heard of Noma (which closed permanently while we were there and thus we were unable to come close to getting a reservation), I'd done some research to find a nice splurge place. This particular restaurant follows the Noma methodology of using locally grown and foraged ingredients and redesigning traditional Danish food. Better still on Tuesdays they offered their 12-course tasting menu for the price of the 7-course one. That said, we still were talked into several wine choices that elevated the price from special occasion expensive to more-than-the-rent-of-my-first-apartment expensive, but I consider it worth it for the experience. The chefs would come out and serenely whisper a litany of ingredients that we would try to piece back together once we'd actually tried the dish. The only thing I know for sure that we ate is duck.

One of the things in this picture is celery root. That's about the best I can do. 
 We celebrated New Years in the city which more than made up for the fact that everything was closed before and after. After dinner at a tapas place that won our business by virtue of having seats open without reservations, we headed to the square in front of city hall.  We were told that people gather there to watch the Tivoli Gardens fireworks. The fireworks over Tivoli were nice, but I think the coolest thing about New Years Eve in Copenhagen is that everyone everywhere was just shooting off their own fireworks in the streets. Apparently it was all legal as we saw cops drive right by some kids shooting bottle rockets by a church and not stop. The sounds reverberated off the stone streets and buildings making it feel a bit like you were constantly under attack. Overall, not a bad way to ring in 2016 at all.
It looks like we're the only people here, but we were not. We stood clear of the main crowd after seeing an errant fireball head their way. 

New Year's Day swans.
As you know Sam was also on this trip, so these are only a fraction of the total photos taken. I've put a bunch more here (which again are only a small portion of the total number he took) for those who are interested in a more in depth look at our travels. Hope everyone is having a wonderful 2016 so far!