Saturday, August 6, 2011

Castles and Palaces - Denmark

There are numerous castles and palaces in Denmark - and they look quite different from ones I've seen before in the UK. We saw several in Denmark, and visited inside two of them.

First, at the end of our train from Copenhagen to where we were staying, we first decided to go one stop further to Helsingor (or Elsinore in Shakespeare's Hamlet).
We were so very tired by then we could hardly keep going - at this point we had been traveling for about 20 hours straight. But, when we rounded the corner out of the train station, there before us lay the beautiful sight of Helsingor Castle. Wish we had possessed the strength to tour it - next time!

This is Hamlet's Castle

The next day we took the train back into Copenhagen and visited Rosenborg Slot. Slot is Danish for Castle or Palace I guess. We wanted to visit this one because is is where the Danish Crown Jewels are housed. Well, we couldn't take pictures of the crown jewels - but they were very nice. There was an especially beautiful little set of a tiara, necklace, brooch and earrings made of emeralds and diamonds that Mathilda especially liked. She has good taste!

Kronborg Slot - Copenhagen

This Palace is pretty small compared to some others - but it was very beautiful and built as a residence, not a fortification. There are still Palace Guards - but they carry automatic weapons these days!

Palace Guard

Later that day we took a short train ride to the northwest of Copenhagen to Hillerod where Fredericksborg Slot is. This castle is in a lovely setting, on a small lake, and there are beautiful gardens. Unfortunately, we didn't have time before they closed to visit the gardens - just the castle. It is also now the Danish History Museum.

Fredericksborg Slot - Hillerod, Denmark

View of Fredericksborg from the far side of the lake.

The Neptune Fountain in the inner court yard.

Exterior architecture - very pretty.

A view of the Royal Chapel - the royal weddings in Denmark are still often held in this Chapel. As you can see, it is extremely ornate!

This is the Great Hall, where the king would hold audiences and entertain his courtiers. It was quite magnificent, and had some beautiful tapestries.

Kronborg Castle Great Hall

One of many beautiful stained glass windows in the the palace - this one is the emblem for King Christian IX.

On a boat tour of Copenhagen we could see the back of the current Royal residence - Amalienborg Palace. The Danish flag is flying, indicating that Queen Margaret was in residence.

Just across the water - at anchor and awaiting its next trip was the Royal Yacht which the Royal Family still uses. Another reason why it is good to be the Queen or King!

So, that's it for Denmark.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh the Food!!!

Hi ya'll - I guess you probably thought I would never write another post, but here it is. Of course, Spring brought the baseball season and things have been really busy when the team is in town. Before I took the job with The Drillers, I had already scheduled a trip to Northern Europe for early June with granddaughter Mathilda (Tilda). This post will just focus on some of the cuisine we enjoyed while on our trip.

First of all, Denmark is VERY EXPENSIVE. Expect to pay nearly $30 to feed two people at McDonalds! However, you can get a Danish Dog, with everything for much less at one of the many carts in Copenhagen.

We had bought some beautiful cheese (called Sara) and sausages on our first day when we took the train all the way to Helsingor (this is where Hamlet lived - OMG!!) We usually had that for our typical Danish breakfast, along with orange juice and coffee (for me).

We did enjoy a nice meal in the town of Hillerod, where one of the fabulous palaces/castles is located. We'll talk castles another time - lol!!

This is what nachos look like in Denmark - but they tasted good according to Tilda!

I order a grilled chicken sandwich - and I got a beautiful feast!

Tilda enjoying a cool beverage (actually iced tea) at the Hillerod cafe where we enjoyed the best meal we had in Denmark.

This is the beautiful house overlooking the sea where we stayed in a small town just outside Copenhagen called Snekkersten. More about it on another post - there was some amazing connection to WWII here.

We spent 4 days in Denmark before embarking on Saturday, June 4 for a 9-day cruise of Baltic Capitals. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. We had absolutely gorgeous weather the whole time.

The first port of call was Rostock, Germany. I didn't know until we arrived, but this area was formerly part of East Germany in the "bad-old" days before the Berlin wall came down. We took a full-day tour with someone I found through Cruise Critic. It's called "Friends of Dave" and he only takes small groups, so it is more like having a personal guide. We chose the "Magical Mecklenburg" option, so we were off early in the morning to Schwerin, which was the former capital of the Mecklenburg Duchy - and remained an independent state until the early 20th century.

Dave's price included lunch at the oldest brewery in Schwerin and we were given several choices while we drove over there and he called in the order!! Such efficiency - lol! I wanted to eat local cuisine everywhere - try new things, etc. Dave told us it was "white asparagus season" in Germany, so one dish would have that as a side. The dish was the schnitzel - so what's not to like. I opted for that choice. Tilda opted for a pasta dish - you will begin to see a pattern there - ha!!

Schnitzel with White Asparagus - oh so good!!

A beautiful and good pasta dish for Tilda.

After Germany, we spent a day at sea on our way to Helsinki. This turned out to be one of favorite places for easy local transportation and the most wonderful market place where your could buy all kinds of food, handmade local crafts, souvenirs, flowers - whatever you might want. We bought some grilled salmon in the Food Hall but didn't get a picture of it - it was so good. And, we bought dried reindeer meat to bring home to my son - his only request. (I think it is still in the refrigerator).

A local hot dog and beer was the food of Helsinki (Coke for Tilda, of course).

I must always also try the pastry!!

I forgot to take pictures of our two meals in Russia. The first day we had a typical Russian meal starting with Borscht (beet soup). I like beets, but I may have been the only one in our tour group who ate it - ha!! We had stroganoff and blintzes for dessert. I enjoyed it all - not great, but edible. The second day we had a chicken soup (much better), Chicken Kiev, and other sides. It was in a very charming restaurant in the middle of Saint Petersburg. time I'll tell you about two amazing meals: Tallin, Estonia and Nynashamn, Sweden.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Means Baseball

Not much to write about during the winter!! I could have posted how bad the snow and below zero temperatures were - but nobody wants to hear another complaint about a bad winter!

Hopefully, we have turned the corner at last, here in T-Town. The Bradford pear trees are coming into full bloom and we have a blue-sky day - at last.

It is less than 3 weeks to our Big Rockies Exhibition game - March 30. Needless to say, things are starting to "wake up" at ONEOK Field. The field is looking so beautiful and green - today they are working on installing a new warning track.

Baseball fields covered with snow are a sad sight! This is from February - glad those days are gone - for now anyway.

This Saturday there will be auditions to sing the National Anthem at the ballpark. Tori got her foot in the door when she was up here for New Year's and has already been allotted a slot. She knows the words!! (No apologies to Christina A.)

If you haven't already, check out her singing a cover of some grunge band from Seattle on YouTube.

Both the younger grandsons are 10 this month. Michael's big day was March 6 and Wyatt will be 10 on March 28. Tilda will be spending Spring Break with us and for that we are totally grateful! She is such a sweet girl. And, I have some new clothes to show her that I bought her for our cruise in June.

On the cruise front - airfare paid - check; cruise paid - check; Germany excursion paid - check; now saving for the rest of the things like lodging in Denmark, tipping on the cruise, etc. And - the highlight of the trip is St. Petersburg, Russia. We are booked on a 2-day tour to try and squeeze in the main things one is supposed to do in St. Petersburg. I just want to see the Hermitage - the rest will be gravy for me.

May 31 - Fly from Dallas to Copenhagen (arrive June 1)
June 1-3 - Copenhagen and around there - Hamlet's castle for sure!
June 4-13 - Baltic Capitals Cruise
*Warnemunde, Germany - see old Hanseatic League towns
*Helsinki, Finland - just walk around and see the old town
*St. Petersburg, Russia - see as much as we can - lol!! Russian Ballet??
*Tallin, Estonia - enjoy beautiful old Medieval town and have lunch
at the Olde Hansa restaurant - costumes, candles, oh my!
*At sea - thank God
*Nynashavn, Sweden - not worth trying to see Stockholm - we'll just wander
around the port.
June 13 - Arrive back in Dallas - LATE! Spending the night there for sure!

I am sure to have much more interesting things to post during/after this trip!

Now, let's get ready for some baseball!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Long Time, No Post!

Happy New Year to all!

Now that I have "un-retired", I haven't had time to gather up pictures and do much on this old blog. But, working for a baseball team - well, let's just say that was a dream come true. As a dear old family friend told me - "Your daddy would be so proud". That's what it's all about!

I just tuned in the National Championship game - and there is Urban Meyer at the desk talking about the game - he looks good - sure hate to lose him as Florida "Head Ball Coach", but glad he's doing what is right. Oh...there's Nick Saban with him...well him I can do without - lol!!

Here's the family out at Tulsa's WinterFest - in front of the big tree - which my son, Jeffrey said didn't count' because it was fake!

Tori and Tilda were up for a few days between Christmas and New Year's Day. They are 16 and 14, respectively. They are starting to not be as "bestest" friends anymore because Tori is very trendy, social and outgoing whereas, Tilda is more bookish, quiet and introverted. Oh, the LOVE is still there, for sure, and the rest will work out as they get out of these WONDERFUL teenage girl years - ha!!

Tori, the blonde and Tilda, the sweetie!

We girls all just LOVE the musical WICKED! I swear, these two are the leading ladies - really. Tori is such a "Glinda" and Tilda is "Elphaba" - and both have their strengths, don't they? If you haven't seen that show - you should go see it soon. It is really, really great. The music is wonderful.

Here are Michael and Tilda just before we left to go see it on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That was part of their Christmas presents.

And, by the way, Tilda wore GREEN in Solidarity with Elphaba!!

I'm loving working at the Tulsa Drillers. Every day is something new and all the people are great to work with. I've even been called on to get back to putting together some SWEET PowerPoint presentations for sales meetings and training. I haven't lost my chops!

All in all - life is VERY, VERY good. The countdown is on for the BIG TRIP with Tilda in June. We fly out of Dallas-Ft. Worth on May 31 to Copenhagen, Denmark. Then on June 4 we take a 9-day cruise of the Baltic Sea - seeing many countries including Germany, Finland, Estonia, Sweden and RUSSIA!! Yes, indeed, we get to spend 2 days in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is going to be EPIC!!! Truly, this is a trip of a lifetime and we are both very excited. I will be sure to do many blogs telling you all about it!!

Until then - less than 90 days to first pitch! Go Drillers! Go Gators!