June 4, 2013


As we see the closing brackets on our French adventure (July 2015) we have started to apply ourselves. After the initial years where everything was an adventure,  the middle years where adventures required a change in zip code, and a couple of complacent years where we were just too happy to explore Bordeaux, we are endeavoring now to create and execute our liste de seau.

The long glow of a North sea sunset

Well we just took Norway off the list!  A week in Copenhagen, Kobenhaven, followed by an arduous week in the fjords.  Arduous?  Well we walked and hiked a lot, but there were hot tubs and midnight buffets and dancing and shuffleboard..... We took a Royal Caribean cruise in the land of Kong Oscar.  In the footsteps of Vikings, we climbed above the snow line, into and over frozen waterfalls, across chèvre, llama and brebis paddocks, and fortunately chose the South side for one climb, where we watched a massive avalanche slide down the North side and into the already icy North sea Geiranger Fjord.  That was a highlight, not just the avalanche, but the entire "randonee", high and far, and sunny with non stop views back upon our fjord and our anchored Vision of the Seas!

We enjoyed the nature, the exploration factor and the cruise. We mused that we were in fact not the typical cruising enthusiast, and wondered what we would think of it all when we did arrive at that golden age, I'm guessing 68 on average for the typical cruiser. As we lapped up the luxury and excess, which defines a cruise, we tried to think who we should convince that this lifestyle matches their own??? It was difficult, and we realized that we wouldn't even recommend a cruise to ourselves, it's a strange thing.  I'm not saying that  we don't like them, and  I'm not saying that we won't continue to enjoy them, but they are a strange combination of travel and social and lazy and new and stupid and fun.
Formal night
This particular trip was on a very nice 5 star ship and included five stops in the fjords and was our excuse to revisit Copenhagen after a 30 year absence.  We walked both sides of the street, being French some of the time and being American when it suited us. It was the first time I had really appreciated having the second language as there were a lot of French people on the boat and I'll state the obvious, French cruisers are more my type than the American variety.  We made some friends, some of which we'll keep, some of which simply made good dance partners.  Oscar was a bit more adventurous and made new friends from Denmark, France and the Ukraine. He won a gold medal for the fastest rock wall climb and I came in second, due to the fact that there were only two of us.  But I did win a medal for bean bag toss, a GOLD medal!
That's Oscar in the roght corner

Copenhagen was wonderful, most impressive was the bike culture, the fresh food and the open spirit of the people. The city has not so much created bike lanes, as bike roads. All the major roads have two sidewalks, two bike roads and finally two car roads. The bikes have their own traffic signals, and the Norweigien cyclists and pedestrians respect the rules even better than the cars. No one runs red lights and only the tourists J-walk.  At rush hour, the rush of bikes is formidable!    Copenhagen also has wonderful bread with which they make crazy sandwiches, towering combinations of fresh vegetables, meats, fish products and cheeses. There is also an alternative community where the worlds unwashed can dip in for their choice of hashish from competing merchants!  Who knew?

At the Louisiana Museum in Danmark
Noir Hiking

We exchanged our apartment for one in Copenhagen, it was our first foray into the interesting world of We found a kindred spirit with a similar desire to voyage and we swapped beds, bath towels and  refrigerators for a week. Strange? But no different from staying in a hotel, in fact more reasonable when you start to think about how many people have slept in any Marriott bed by the time you get your chance.  And with the comforts of a stocked kitchen, a washing machine, and someone else's DVD library (We watched Breakfast at Tiffany's in Danish!), it quickly feels like home!  We will do it again! 

As always, it felt good to return home. We dined on our ritual comfort food of chicken pesto pasta, and spent days trying to remember where we hid the important stuff from our houseguest.  Bordeaux continues to please us and it's a nice place to come home to.

Oscar's stage debut in Poor Beck
We are trying to buy a new project, we have found a house in front of the city's public gardens and we are trying to turn our verbal deal into a written one. It's going fine, but painfully slow, but we have gotten used to the slow pace of real estate in France.  If this one comes together, we will own it as of October and we can start by landscaping the 600 sf garden that it opens on to.  Very exciting prospect, and something to show you when you come to visit!