European Travel Weblog - Summer 2003
Sunday, 21 September 2003
Bacon and eggs. Yesterday (our last day waking up abroad) it was pouring rain, so we opted not to bother going to downtown Reykjavik. Instead, we took our time getting ready and checking out, played a game of checkers (Natalie won) and a game of chess (I won) and went for a walk though the botanical gardens nearby while the clouds were parted for a couple of hours. Along the walk we found another palm tree and took its picture (other stumbled-upon palm trees: Poland, Germany, Italy, and France). Natalie also took my picture hugging Björk!!! Well, sorta... Björk may be a famous Icelandic musician, but a björk is also a birch tree, and that, in fact, is what my picture was taken with. Sooner or later we found ourselves on the airplane and chasing the sun across the Atlantic. (We left at 4:35pm from Reykjavik, arrived at 6:10pm in Minneapolis... a 6.5 hour flight condensed to about 1.5 hours!)

This morning I woke up at 6:00 (Minnesota time) and couldn't get back to sleep. Natalie awoke shortly after. Our bodies though it was anywhere from 11:00 (Iceland) to 13:00 (France/Germany/etc.), though the slivering sunlight outside was telling us differently. We got up and went to church this morning (our first English-speaking service in 5 weeks) and on the way back to the Larson's home in Maple Grove swung by Cub Foods to buy some bacon, eggs, and Krispy-Kreme doughnuts. I was starting to get sick of the continental breakfast (rolls, cheese, jam, coffee) and was soooo ready for an all-American late morning greasefest. Not that we didn't try a few times in Europe (in fact, in Munich I went to at least 4 different grocery stores to find eggs, but couldn't... so either I was missing them b/c they don't refridgerate them in Europe (likely, even though I looked on shelves as well) or you had to go to a special shop for eggs (also likely... our last day there we met an Aussie who found some in the butcher shop next door). But right now I am 3 eggs, 4 strips of bacon, and 3 glazed doughnuts fuller and happier.

We have eight days to re-pack, tie up loose ends, bring our finances up to date, find a place in the DC area to live, move there, and start work. Man, It feels like no sooner had we set foot on US soil that life got more hectic again (but it will only be as hectic as we choose to let it be). In fact, it was a bit strange to go to Cub Foods today to get the groceries... mega-shops like that just don't exist so much in Europe, even in the suburbs... and where they do exist (more common up in Scandinavia), they close at 4pm-5pm on weekdays, and don't open at all on a Sunday (like today). There are advantages and disadvantages to both lifestyles, I guess... in general, I think most Europeans take life less seriously, and living it more seriously than we do in the USA (I'm not 100% sure what that means, but I'm 99% percent sure that I mean it). Sure, it's annoying to be missing one ingredient in the meal you were planning, and have not store open to go and get it... but on the other hand, is it necessary to take our film to have it developed less than 24 hours after touching down (as Natalie is off doing right now). Sure, it's convenient, and we'll have a lot to do in the next couple of days as it is, so it's nice to have that kind of taken care of. Ah, well... just stuff to think about.

It's wild to think that just yesterday we woke up in a country 5 times zones away. It seems like months ago already. Hmmm. I think Natalie and I have both decided we're hooked on this sort of thing, and will have more adventures to come. Yeah. Now, if you excuse me I'm going to go listen to some Icelanding music and read my French books...

posted by burr - 05:06 pm GMT
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About the Trip
For the fall of 2003, we're taking a break from Madison to work for a bit in Washington, DC. Natalie landed an internship at the Smithsonian Institution after acquiring her MFA, and Burr will be doing research at the National Library of Medicine. But, with a month or so of free time between the end of our lease in Madison and the start of our capital tenure, we decided to jaunt around Europe! We'll be sleeping on trains, seeing some art, and visiting some friends. Here is a loose itinerary.

Since Europe is riddled with "cyber-cafes," we will stop occasionally to post our thoughts about the trip and keep you (beloved friends + family) up to date with what's going on.

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