Sunday, November 27, 2011

Work trip to Europe October 2011, second half

No photos since this was so work focused.

Lazy weekend in Budapest.  Dinner at Nobu (yes, that Nobu-he has 20 restaurants around the world) with the sake tasting menu.  All the fish is amazing, but OMG the wagu beef cubes-like butter!    Wine tasting with friends.  12 Hungarian wines, 6 white, 6 red, tasted by 13 people, basically a bottle a person except for the post-tasting bottles, call it a bottle and a half.  Now I definitely need the next day to be lazy and recover.  Ate a chocolate covered cottage cheese stick.  It was a firm cottage cheese, not the liquidy stuff on salad bars, almost a mozzarella stick, but with the hint of sour-surprisingly good for something with such a bad description.

Trip to Sweden!  As we land in Stockholm, it is damp and grey, the same as Budapest.  But the Arlanda airport makes me want to move to Sweden.  Hardwood floors, all glass windows, clean, organized, and welcoming.  The drive to the outskirts also feels friendly to me because it looks just like the best of the midwest, rolling hills, cut away rocks, evergreens and birch.

Our transportation for the evening is a cruise ship!  We hop onto the Gabriella and sail into the Baltic Sea.  For the first hour or so we are going out past the shore and it is incredibly picturesque.  Cute homes along a well manicured shore-all propped up with stone walls, green grasses and trees all over the place.  On the cruise there is of course the buffet-but we are cleverer than that, we opt for NOT the buffet so that we don’t overeat. So clever…we order an appetizer each and a main entre to share.  And since we are sharing we go a little extragavant and order the seafood platter, with lobster…except there is confusion and we get the platter for two-oh well, the best laid plans!  The first part of the journey is relatively choppy and we fall asleep to the rocking of the boat.  In the morning though it is completely calm and I spend a little time on our balcony watching the little waves.  There are 2 other cruise ships, 3 non cruise ships and an oil drilling rig-spiffy!  Pulling into the port of Helsinki was much faster, it is right on the sea edge and the view is more rugged-little islands run right into the water.

In the port of Helsinki we spend a few hours in the lobby of the Grand Mariner hotel for a little coffee and internet access.  The countryside is lovely and green, but we are barely here and then off to Sweden again by more conventional plane-Molndal outside of Goteburg.

By train from Goteburg to Copenhagen-it is worth an extra $20 to get the first class seats where there are fewer people and it is quiet.  4 hours of green countryside….I nap!  The best part is the bridge over the water to Denmark-a whole line of the windmills we have been seeing, but in the water.  There is a capsizing boat-oh no!  but then the guy in a nearby seat says it has been there for awhile.

Copenhagen-hotel on the doorstep of the train station and Tivoli.  Tivoli is decorated for Halloween and there is a line to pay and go in, so we don’t and instead walk along the pedestrian walkway to the habor.  Lovely theater building overlooking the water.  Wander around the area looking for a wine bar or Italian restaurant but they are not quite right until we find THE spot.  It is clear it is the place to be-it is a busy oasis in a quiet desert!  Mojito and a cider, mussels and a burger.  M has been putting up with my American-style eating, so I practice being European and eat it all with a knife and fork-it is impossible to get a bite of everything at once, but I must admit it is neater. 

Manchester-all these tiny little roads with no shoulder to speak of, no visibility because of all the high green hedges and just a bit disconcerting to be on the wrong side of the road.  But the pub food is good-sweet potato fries!

Off to a little vacation after the worldwind work travel!

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