London

August 23, 2012

Laura and I met up in London for my last week in Europe. From the get-go things were a bit crazy. I had specifically looked at the time she would be landing and arranged to be ready to meet her early early in the morning, but I had been exactly 24 hours early. So I spent my first day in London solo, heading to “The Great British Beer Festival” and quickly joining up with a bunch of locals who seemed ecstatic at the chance to hang with a “colonial”.

 

Once Laura did arrive, we took to the streets. We did Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Westminsters, Big Ben, National Gallery, Camden Market, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Borough Market, Tower of London, London Bridge, etc. Most of my photos are from our day trip to Cambridge where we realized we were very bad at “punting” and very good at “Pimms-ing” (Pimms is a liquor mixed with Sprite and fruit, made into a traditional summer British drink).

 

We also caught a concert at Koko one of our last nights. A band Laura and I have seen a few times in the states happened to be in London, so we jumped at the opportunity. I still haven’t gotten Laura’s pictures yet, so until then… here are a few of mine.

 

Kings College Chapel at Cambridge University

 

Laura masterfully guiding us down the River Cam

 

Dispatch @ London

 

Amazing concert, double encore.

 

Us enjoying London Bridge until…

 

The monsters attack… OUT OF NO WHERE!

 

Until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh + Glasgow

August 22, 2012

I know I’m back state side, but I’ve got 2 more trips at least to show you all. This post…. Scotland.

So you’ll have to remember… Scotland is in the UK. London is in the UK. Olympics are in London. So we were where the Olympics were… right? Right?

Get it? Cuz I’m close to being an Advocate. Oh, that’s bad. That’s bad.

One of the million pictures I took from Edinburgh Castle. Liked the “Cannon Scope” view.

In case it wasn’t clear, SO MANY of the buildings in Edinburgh look like castles. Including bars, dentist offices, etc. Everything is old and beautiful. One of the coolest places to live.

Playing dominoes in a re-created Prisoner of War dungeon. Seemed sort of nice, actually.

Another view from atop Edinburgh Castle.

Had to get the “Phone Booth” shot.

Not Pictured: anything from Glasgow…. because Edinburgh was better. Unapologetic.

Meet the residents of Groningsestraat 15

July 27, 2012

Meet Odie. Odie is a rambunctious golden lab. What he lacks in training and will power, he makes up for in love and cuteness. He enjoys long walks on the beach, knocking cat food off the counter, and being as loud as possible in everything he does.

 

 

Meet Roamer. Roamer is a Himalayan mix with beautiful blue eyes and a very thick coat. He likes sharing my bed, curling up between your feet, and shedding on every square inch of a three story home. Roamer’s only complaint as of late is that sometimes it appears as though I’ve forgotten to feed him, because the dog has already knocked over and eaten all of the cat food.

 

Meet Topsy. Topsy is the oldest of the bunch, weighing in at just over 40 years old. He apparently was a “make or break” aspect of the home purchase. Something along the lines of, “You cannot buy this house unless you promise not to get rid of this turtle.” He enjoys small amounts of fruits and veggies, basking in the sunlight, and hiding amongst the backyard shrubbery. He pointed out how little I knew about turtle habits when he scoffed mockingly at my attempt to give him a lime. Turtles do not consider limes to be sufficient meals. Now I know.

 

Bruges, Belgium

July 24, 2012

Rawr! Welcome to Bruges, Belgium. Typically this is less than a 3 hour trip from Den Haag. But if you’re Dan, the trains will stop running and it’ll take 6+ hours each way with layovers in Ghent, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Brussels.

Bruges has in its possession many beautiful churches and castles. In this particular church sits the Madonna of Bruges (one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside Italy).

Also known as “Belfort”, has, apparently, an amazing view from the top. When we first got there, the line was asburdly long. So we went back around 4:30… as they were closing the tour. Worst life.

Canals everywhere

 

The Provincial Court (Provinciaal Hof)

 

For the fatherland…

 

 

Budapest, Hungary

July 23, 2012

One of the first things we did was to climb the 300+ steps of St. Stephen’s Basilica. It provided a fantastic view out on the rest of the town.

This  building is the Parliament, as seen from across the river.

Displaying characteristic irreverence towards the statues in Buda.

Kristina and I in Buda (overlooking the Danube and Pest on the other side)

We saw this church from the other side of the river a day before. Decided it needed to be investigated. Worth it.

Some of the ruins on Margit Island.

Candid of yours truly on a bridge between Buda and Pest. I apologize for the white sunglasses (I have since been informed that they are unacceptable).

What could this beautiful thing be? Train station.

The last day we were there, Mal and I wandered the Jewish quarter. Several beautiful synagogues as well as a memorial re: Nazi occupation.

Matthias Church is at the top of a fairly major hill on one of the hottest days of my life. While it is beautiful inside and out, the group of us were drenched in sweat and mostly just wanted a place to cool down.

This incident marks one of the most frustrating moments of my life. What you’re seeing is the reaction to a “pride” parade/demonstration. A sizable number of Hungarians began protesting by knocking over barricades as well as shouting. I had their words translated, and I cannot post them here. To anyone who knows me, it should not surprise you to learn that it took all my strength not to instigate and become violent against these bigots. Were I not with Kristina and Mallory, I probably would have. Instead, I have pictures.

Riga, Latvia

July 20, 2012

Although wholly unrelated to Riga, Latvia. A quick shameless self-promotion. I am today’s “guest blogger” for St. John’s Law School’s site on international law programs. Here’s the link if you want to see what I wrote:

http://ciclfieldnotes.wordpress.com/

 

Now on to Riga.

After a long day of walking around, this scenic river was a refreshing change. There is a park that runs along either side of the water and it has a very vibrant feel to it. Note: the colors and the playful people.

The square right near our hostel. Behind us is the Occupation museum and behind that is the river. The church tower is beautiful, but the building to the right is just “made to look old”.

This is a more close up at the one tower. We went inside and toured the church.

This one has a great story. So it had been completely abandoned and the insides of this tower were covered with rat and pigeon “poop”. A group of German students were looking to have a function hall, but the government wouldn’t give them one. Instead they made a deal that if they cleaned up this building, it would be theres. But the students quickly realized they couldn’t afford to clean it up. So they started collecting the “excrement” and sold it back to the Latvian government, which was, at the time, desperate for good fertilizer.

Russian orthodox cathedral. I wasn’t allowed into this one because I was wearing shorts. Pretty on the outside, though.

Another good story on this one. The building across the street (not pictured) was some sort of a guild society building. A non-Latvian man wanted to join, but was refused acceptance. So instead, he bought (or built) the building across the street and had the cat’s butt facing the guild. The guild was so upset they petitioned the city to force him to “turn” his cat. He agreed, on the terms that he be admitted into the guild.

This is me in front of (what I believe to be) a Latvian court house.

Not pictured: The Occupation Museum (which I maintain is the best museum I’ve been to in Europe yet), our “Sports Hostel”, and some very cool medieval-style bars.

Haarlem, the Netherlands

July 19, 2012

Welcome to Haarlem

 

A small Dutch town with some beautiful old churches

 

Did I mention churches?

 

Okay, this deserves an explanation. This is inside the home of a Dutch family who housed Jews during Nazi occupation. They housed hundreds of persecuted persons over the years, using secret codes and false walls.

 

And besides the delicious farmer’s market that I walked through five separate times, there was this one church tower that I kept eying.

 

I don’t even know if this one is a church, but I was obsessed with the top of this tower.

Further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sint-Bavokerk

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Boom_Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oslo, Norway

July 18, 2012

1 train ticket from the airport to the city center of Oslo. This was our first crack at Norwegian.

Made it to Oslo

We got there ahead of some of our friends, so we found our hotel and laid out in front of it. The parks and fountains all around Oslo are beautiful.

Another nearby fountain

Then we checked out the Nobel Peace Museum. Quick tid-bit: All of the Nobel prizes are given out in Sweden except for the Peace Prize which is given out in Norway.

Maxin’ and relaxin’ by the fjords

Waiting for the group, slash itching for a nap.

Okay, so there’s this huge park in Norway. If I remember correctly, the government told this one sculptor that he was to design the entire park and fill it with his statues. In return he asked for a studio. The subsequent park has some of the strangest sculptures. We took hundreds of pictures, I’ll send along 2 or 3.

Again, these are some of the tamest of the statues.

On the way to the Opera House, there was some construction..

Opera House!

Our group watching the sunset on one of the Opera House’s balconies.

Not photographed: our Herculean hike on day 2, the museum that houses “The Scream”, and the Boston-themed bar near our hotel that was playing a Red Sox game alongside pictures of Nantucket and JFK.

 

P.S. Happy birthday to my favorite God Mother!

T-Minus 1 month.

July 17, 2012

With about 30 days left in Europe, I suppose I should probably let you know what I’ve been doing for the past 2 months.

Travel:

1. Weekend in Oslo, Norway.

2. Day trip to Haarlem, Netherlands.

3. Weekend in Riga, Latvia.

4. Failed attempt at a Weekend in Bosnia/Croatia.

Activities:

1. Finished a research paper for EU Law.

2. Moved to a beach house (w/ dog, cat, and turtle).

3. Wrote a motion that was introduced in court (still waiting on if its rejected by chambers)

4. Helped Andrew throw an epic Fourth of July party for all the ex-pats.

I’ve learned a handful of Dutch, French, and Serbo-Croatian. My Dutch mostly consists of: men’s room, thank you, you’re welcome. I’m now an expert in summarizing legal documents written in Croatian and Serbian (using the Cyrillic alphabet). At first you would think, “oh, you just use Google Translate”. Nope. These are image files… or scanned newspapers.  The French and German still mostly consist of things I’ve learned from foreign flicks that I’ve said to the other lawyers here. It was rather convenient to know how to curse in German… when Germany was losing in the Euro Cup finals. (Pro tip: Saying “shiza” is sufficient)

So, I think the next couple posts will be picture tours of the trips. I’m thinking about 8-12 pictures for each weekend. And quick stories about each. How’s that sound?

And then before we know it: a quick trip to Germany, Scotland, England, and then back to the contiguous US. By the way, Dana and I have every intention of getting to at least some of the Travers this year. So should any Herans be going… we’d love to join you.

Okay. Hugs and kisses.

So much to say, too tired to write it

June 6, 2012

So every day after work I tell myself I should update you all, but by the time I get home I think of all the things I want to say and get overwhelmed. This post will be a bit piecemeal (I’m writing it on my lunch break), but it should fill in what I’ve missed.

 

My bike is slowly getting better. I found the equivilent of WD-40 and went to town on it. It no longer squeaks every time you pedal. I scraped most of the rust off, and have realigned breaks. Some things that were loose have been tightened, other things that were tight have been loosened. The bike design has the chain and gears completely covered, so if it continues to be difficult, I may have to perform some surgery.

 

I went running. And by running I mean, I ran next to a German intern (Sarah) for ~7-10 minutes before sheepishly telling her I needed to walk. Running is tough. Running on the beach is tough. Instead we went exploring through dunes and through wooded paths. THAT is much more my stuff. “Do we go left or right?” “Lets go up that abandoned path, instead”

 

I will give you guys an Oslo post soon. It was 2 weeks ago now, and it was a FANTASTIC trip. It deserves its own post, or two. Great weather, great company, great sights. Likewise, Haarlem this past weekend was fun. Instead of going to Bruges for a day-trip (as planned) we did Haarlem (weather related change). Haarlem is a town (city?) between Den Haag and Amsterdam. Once I get the pictures from Mallory, I’ll show you the pretty churches, canals, and a WW2 “Hiding Place” museum. Also, there was an open-air farmers market with some samples. We went through it 3 or 4 times to get all the cheese, crackers, pesto, and hummus we could find.

 

Work is going great. I’m no longer receiving emails from my bosses (yes, bosses) telling me that whatever I just finished… was wrong. So, I must be getting better, right? Lots of document review… figuring out which exhibits and witnesses will best make the case against our defendant. And then just mapping and organizing all of that. Its a lot of complex and (for lack of better terms) organization and mapping, and it is enthralling to be working on something so immense.

 

Tomorrow I’m taking a train from Den Haag to Brussels. Mallory and I are then flying (absurdly early) to Riga, Latvia for a few days. Riga has a ridiculous history including being destroyed by both World Wars and then being a former Soviet state. It apparently has a strong Soviet feel to it. (For example: included in our 10 Euro hostel fare is an hour at an AK-47 range). I can promise you pictures and stories to follow.

 

Sorry for the lack of updates, prior. I’ll do my damnedest to keep you posted. And pictures, lots of pictures.