Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On the third day of vacation,

... my true love gave to me:

6 hours on the road,
a couple of small wrong turns,
lots of rain,
a bizarre detour,
constipation of epic proportions,
and a cabin in the woods on a lake.

John insisted we stop at this place called Inglinge Hög, which is some kind of burial mound plus stones plus ancient Germanic tribal meeting place. Or something. I can’t keep it straight. But as a sign of his incipient madness (more on this around day 9 or 10), he went out in the rain without an umbrella or coat with a hood to hike down a cowpath to find this site *in the rain*. With our digital camera. Hannah and I wisely stayed in the car playing hangman, with words like CRAZY and DAD.

Our cabin was cute and comfortable. This was not your bare bones cabin of the Texas State Park system. This was a cottage, as only Swedes can do. It was basically a home away from home, with linens on the tables, curtains on the windows, pictures on the walls, a fireplace in the living room, and a fully outfitted kitchen (plus washing machine in the store room). We just had to bring sheets and buy groceries, and we were living like kings. Plus we were out in the middle of nowhere, so it was blessedly quiet and peaceful out there. John says that if a moose had just walked past the dining room while he was eating breakfast, the scene would have been perfect.

Day 3 photos on the right.

On the second day of vacation,

... my true love gave to me:

1 ferry ride,
1 German island,
3 Danish islands,
a ride on The Hulk,
2 crappy German clowns,
some bat-shit crazy performance artists in a park,
an ovary in a vice,
and a 10-mile bridge between Denmark and Sweden.

We have an acquaintance in Malmö, Sweden, who generously invited us to lunch on our way through. There was also some kind of big festival in town (where we were going to be staying overnight), so we wandered around for a few hours. Unfortunately, I was hit with *killer cramps from hell* part-way through, so I’m afraid I might not have been the most friendly companion for the half-hour or so until they passed.

During the non-cramping period, we observed some performance artists whose shtick was wild animal noises plus body paint and some kind of “dance.” Their groupie generously gave out CDs of their “performance” to passers-by, which we promptly lost. Later we found ourselves trapped in a tent for a performance by a German clown duo. They were of the non-creepy clown variety, but their show was still pitiful. After each act, one clown would have to indicate that the audience should clap at that point. Even so, there was one man sitting in front of us who laughed like it was his first experience with humor. And at the end, a couple behind us clapped so long, I suspected they might be groupies.

There were also several bands of varying flavors. We wandered through the heavy metal ghetto of the festival, and Hannah pointed out that all the attendees looked like the students at our local high school (which is for students who are not trade-school or college bound).

John and Hannah also availed themselves of the opportunity to ride The Hulk. Considering we had just finished dinner 5 minutes before, there was a surprising lack of barfing. My pictures didn’t come out, which is a shame, because this ride was nothing like the Universal Studios ride. Basically, it was the Spider with this plastic Hulk statue in the center. Hulk smash! And spin!

Day 2 photos on the right.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

On the first day of vacation,

... my true love gave to me:

750 kilometers,
10 hours en route,
50 liters of gas,
2 extra detours,
196 windmills,
2 hot-air balloons,
and a room on the sixth floor of a hostel in Lübeck

John has a great interest in genealogy and has dug up quite a bit of info about his ancestors on his mother’s side. Since we were going to be in the area on the first leg of our trip, we made a detour to Hameln (ever hear of the Pied Piper of Hamelin?—that’s the one) and a village (called Weibeck) just past that where he’s traced at least one ancestor to. Which is when it began to rain. John can be insanely persistent, and he walked around taking pictures in the rain and knocking on doors to ask questions. He actually managed to find someone with the key to the village church so he could look around and take a bunch of photos. I won’t even mention his unfamiliarity with the word “trespassing.”

Hannah occupied herself in the back seat by counting windmills. We saw a few old wooden ones, but she refused to add them to the count. She only wanted the gigantic modern kind. When we stopped for the night at Lübeck, we were within 1 hour of the Baltic. The next day, there were so many windmills that Hannah gave up before she’d really gotten started counting again. But my 2 hot-air balloons counted as 2 windmills each (in Hannah’s estimation), so we “officially” made 200.

Links to our vacation photos on the right.