Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rome with my parents

I first want to say that I am really happy that I was able to take my parents to Rome. Yes, Copenhagen and Denmark is a cool and interesting place but it's ROME. I thought it really be a perfect place to go because you can see so much in one area, plus it will be an experience that they will never forget.

We landed in Rome on Sept 8 and I arranged for a driver hired by the hotel to come pick us pick at the airport. True, we could of taken the metro to our hotel by for almost the same price but the driver got us there with less stress and worry. Well almost no stress... My mother and I agreed that we got a little stressed when the driver was weaving in and out of traffic at full speed.

Once at our hotel we were all quite happy. I picked this hotel for many reasons manly because it was close to the Vatican and a metro stop plus it got a good rating on TripAdvisor. So when I booked it I was pretty sure it was going to work out fine.

Once I got settled in and organized in our hotel room. I told my parents that I was going to go out and try to find the metro stops and the Church of St. Susanna. I was looking for this particular church because it was the American church in Rome. When I found this Church website I was so happy because it had so much helpful information and helped me get Audience with the Pope tickets. I also wanted to go looking for this Church by myself first because my mother can not walk that far without experiencing pain. So I wanted to make sure I did all the walking and searching for things so that I could limit my mother's discomfort. I mean this is her vacation too and I did not mind walking around looking for places because I got see Rome that way. =}

Church of St. Susanna
I found the Church of St. Susanna and around 5pm all of us made the walk and metro ride to the Church for 6pm mass. The mass was in English and it such a beautiful Church.

After mass we walked back to the metro stop and there was a small restaurant there. I know this restaurant was nothing more than a tourist trap but it was close and we were all hungry. And even being a tourist trap it was good. I was happy when my mom said she was going to get prosciutto and mozzarella because she never had prosciutto before. After a nice dinner we made our way back to the hotel and got a good night sleep.

The next day I planned on going to the colosseum because the Vatican is closed on Sundays. Again in the morning I left early and checked out the area. Unfortunately my mom was not feeling well that day. I knew she really wanted to come and she the colosseum with her own eyes. But after some discussion and resting my mom decided that she would rest in the hotel and that my dad and I could go. We promised her that we would take so many photos for her that it would feel like she was there.

When my dad and I got to the Colosseum he was really happy on how well I planned this trip to Rome. Because I preordered the tickets (Roma pass) for the Colosseum we were able to skip the long line, show the guard our passes and walk right in.

Many people have seen pictures of the colosseum and it is just spectral just like in the pictures. I think the most amazing thing is that this structure has lasted this long, that centuries ago human engineering and creativity made the Colosseum. I took lots of pictures and video of the colosseum plus some pictures of the forum and Rome from the second level of the Colosseum. I think the best part was just sitting there with my father looking at the inside of the Colosseum; my father using his engineering background describing how the Colosseum would if looked and me just using my wild imagination to envision such a great structure.

Looking out at Arch of Constantine and Roman Forum
from Colosseum

At the Colosseum gift shop my father and I found a small coffee table book my mother might like. When we brought it back for her, she really liked it. It was a book that showed how all the Roman structures looked during the Roman empire and how these structures look now.

Since my mother was still not feeling 100% and I wore my father out by walking around the entire Colosseum and Arch of Consintine, I decided I would try to bring dinner my parents. On Sunday in Rome a good portion of restaurants are actually closed, I asked the hotel for recommendations. They mentioned a good restaurant about a five minute walk that has take out. I went there and it really looked like a great restaurant with fresh roasted veggies, fresh salad and fresh mozzarella balls. I planned on only getting two pizzas, I came back with two pizzas, a fresh salad with mozzarella, roasted eggplant and peppers, a kidney bean salad and bread. It really did feel like a feast in our Rome. We had a mini fridge in our room so we were able to keep some leftovers.

On Sunday afternoon at the Colosseum my camera batteries were dying and my father and I had been out in sun for three hours so we did not go to the Rome Forum ruins. I really want to see what's in there so on Monday morning I woke up early, had a big breakfast in the hotel breakfast room and made my way to the Forum. The forum entrance is actually past the Colosseum and Arch of Consistine, so I got to see the Colosseum and Arch early in the morning with very few people around.

Arch of Titus
Then I waited for the forum to open at 8:30, once it opened I was right there with my Roma pass because I knew I only had an hour and half to see has much as I could before I needed to head back to the hotel. I climbed up Palatine Hill, saw the House of Augustus and a great view of Rome. I think the two best sites to see in the Forum ruins was the Arch of Titus and the Basilica of Maxious. The Arch of Titus had a lot of detail carvings on it while the Basilica of Maxious was just huge. I was waiting for a minute for someone to walk in front of it so that I could take a picture with another person as a perspective as to how huge this place was. At 10am I started to make my way back to the hotel so that my parents and I could start our guided your at the Vatican.

Packed Vatican Museum
Pio-Clementiono Museum - The Laocoonte

The next three days of our trip I planned to be at the Vatican. We were either going to be in the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Square or St. Peter's Basilica. I preordered tickets for the Vatican for both Monday and Tuesday. My plan was for Monday to be a guided tour day and Tuesday to be a relax go at your on pace day. When researching and planning the Vatican portion of our vacation I read two main things about the Vatican Museums: 1) there is no way you can see everything in the Vatican Museum in one day and 2) try not to go to the Vatican Museum in a Monday.
Well, we went to the Vatican Museum on Monday and I would like to mention to any one else who is thinking about going to the Vatican Museum on a Monday: DON'T. It was so packed and hot in that entire place that I was really worried that my mom was suffering from heat stroke.

Basilica of St. Peter
Michelangelo - Pieta
Even though the museum was packed and really warm, I was able to get plenty of pictures and video. Our tour guide took us through the portions of the Museum including Raphael's rooms, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.

At the end of guided your my mom looked really pale and drank all the water I had with me. I was really worried about her, she looked so pale, and I might of been a little pushy telling her to sit in the shade and to drink more water.  But after resting in the shade and drinking some more water my mom was fine. That night I went out to get take out for dinner.

St. Peter's Square
Vatican Museum
Chiaramoni Gallery
On Tuesday, Sept 11, I woke up early had a nice breakfast again at the hotel and headed back to St. Peter's Square and Basilica with a handful of postcards that my parents and I wrote. I had enough time that morning to also go inside the basilica and take some more pictures and video. I meet my parents at the Vatican Museum entrance. I preordered Vatican Museum tickets (no tour guide) for this day also so that we could just walk though the museums at our own pace. Tuesday, was a much better day to go to the Vatican Museum it was not as crowded and we could actually stroll through the museum. Around 5pm I had to leave the Vatican Museum and take the metro to St. Susanna Church to pick up our Audience with the Pope tickets. I left my camera with my parents and they went off to spend more time in the Sistine Chapel. We did see the Sistine Chapel the day before but there were so many people in there on Monday it was hard to take it all in. While I was getting the tickets my parents had a relaxing time in the Sistine Chapel and viewing the remaining parts of the Vatican Museums. I asked my dad what he thought of the Sistine Chapel, he replied with "I was wondering how is a simple MidWest country boy sitting here staring at the Sistine Chapel."

Vatican Museum
Gallery of the Candelabra
Vatican Wall - Seal
That night while eating all our leftovers for dinner and went to bed early for the big event on Wednesday, Audience with Pope.

The Audience with the Pope was the one event I was really worried about because it was so hard to find any information about the event. I was really thankful that St. Susanna Church got the tickets for me and told me to be at the audience hall (left of the Basilica) at least 2.5 hours early. Since the Audience with the Pope starts at 10:30 am that meant we needed to be there at 8am and I was exactly sure where the Audience Hall was. So at 6 am the three if us waked up, had a quick bite for breakfast and left the hotel at 7am. After a little searching and asking one of the Basilica security guards I found the Audience Hall and a long line waiting to go through security. I was worried about this event because from the little I have read about the Audience with the Pope it sounded like we would have to stand for over 4 hours (3 hours waiting for the event to begin and 1 hour for the actual event). During the pushing and shoving to get through the security my parents and I got separated but I knew that my parents could find their way back to the hotel so I was not that worried. But when I entered the Audience Hall I was pleasantly surprised, there were seats. I found my parents and they saved a seat for me. The Audience Hall was laid out quite well, the Pope's chair was in the middle if the stage above everyone and there was even are large screen and cameras so I was sure we would be able to easily see and hear the Pope.

After the audience with the Pope my Mom really wanted to see the inside of St. Peter's Basilica so we made our way through security and enjoyed the beauty that is St. Peter's Basilica.
St. Peter's Basilica - Tomb of Pope John Paul II

Beautiful Dome at St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

Main Dome and top of alter at St. Peter's Basilica 

Now after a great time with the audience with the Pope and then being able to see St. Peter's Basilica my parents were happy and content and really to relax a bit in the hotel room.  Me.... I want to see the rest of Rome so I sent out on an adventure to see Rome. But that story will have to come in about blog post.  =)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rosenborg Castle : Treasury and Crowned Jewels

Written on August 6th and 7th, 2011.  This is one of the many blog posts I have in the works for a long time and finally I have figured out the best way to post all these past adventures really easily. 

On August 6th I planned on going to Amelienborg Castle, where the royal family lives. But I have never been there and when I noticed on the train to Copenhagen that I forgot to pack my Copenhagen map, I needed to come up with a back up plan. I knew the general area as where Amalienborg Castle was and I knew which S-train and which metro train to take to get to this general area. But after I walked out of the metro station I will be on my own. So I deciede I would give myself an hour to walk around and try to find Amelienborg Castle. If I could not find it within that hour I would change plans and go to Rosenborg Castle instead because I knew where that castle was.

 Well after an hour of looking I saw some great canal scenary, (which I later found out is called Nyhavn) nice restuarants near the canal and a guy that looked a lot like 'Captain Jack Sparrow' but no castle. So I walked back to the metro station and made my way to Nørreport and Rosenberg Castle.  

When comparing the size of Rosenborg Castle to Christiansborg Castle, Christiansborg is much larger. But Rosenborg has much more history in it because the castle has not been damage by fire. I guess I went to the castle during a busy tourist time but that actually worked well for me. Since I was by myself, I would offer to take a couple's or family's picture in exchange of them taking mine. Every time I get a picture taken of me in front of the castle or statue I think how happy my Mom will be.

(Back story: When I was younger and I traveled some where I would bring back tons of pictures. My Mom always said 'You take lots of pictures but there are no pictures of YOU while you were there.' So now I make an effort to get pictures of me in front of a castle. Thanks Mom!)

You can enter the castle grounds for free but if you want to go inside the treasury or castle you much purchase a ticket (75kr = $13) also if you want to take any photos you have to pay an extra 20kr ($4). I wanted pictures so I went ahead paid 95kr. I must say when I went in the ticket office the man behind the counter was really busy and another guy was getting so frustrated by all the people not understanding that their bags must be put in the lockers. He kept saying 'No that bag must go in the locker'.

Once inside the castle grounds the first thing that caught my eye was the ARMED Danish soldiers guard the entrance to the treasury.

I decided to go to the castle basement first this is where the royal jewels are kept first. When I entered the area where the jewels are kept the first thing I thought was 'Crap it is really dark down here this lighting is going to make taking pictures difficult.' And I was right every time I took a picture with the flash the reflection of the flash would bounce off the glass and ruin the picture and when I tried to take pictures with no flash the picture did not turn out that well. So I pose a challenge to my photographer sister JA, when you come to visit I want to see if you can use your skills to take some great pictures of the royal jewels. Well noticing that taking photos was not working out I decided I was going to switch my camera settings to video recorder and take videos of the jewels instead. I think that idea worked out well since photo flash was giving me so many issues. The treasury is split into 9 sections, three of those sections are behind a five inch thick safe door.

Section A is the first section I walked into and it contains the ceremonial arms and large wooden barrels of the Rosenborg wine. Section B is where the objects made of ivory and amber were kept.

Section C is a small room behind a locked glass door and behind this door was hundreds of Rosenborg wine bottles on a wine rack. After a few failed attempts of taking photos I just moved on to Section D.

In Section D, the most notable item in this section was King Christian IV's riding trapping from his coronation in 1596.  Section E also had riding trappings but from the wedding of Prince Elect in 1634.

I have say the history behind all these jewelery peices is amazing. Some of these jewels date back to the 1600's and they look in decent shape.

After passing the safe door I reached Section F where many more jewels and King Christian III's Sword of State is stored.

Section G is where the royal batismal jewels are usually kept but the Crowned price and his wife had twin babies eariler this year and the jewels were used during the cemeromy and moved to another muesum for viewing. Also in this section was King Christian IV's crown used in 1596, this crown was used by King Christian IV and King Frederik III.

Section H had many interesting things in it. There was one cabinet full of rings and all these rings had large colored diamonds on them. Another cabinet stored these gorgeous elmerand earring and neaklace.
I am working on my more blog posts. Thank you all your love and support.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rosenborg Castle : Rooms of the Castle

On August 6th, 2011 I went to the Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, I have already posted a blog post about the Treasury and Crowned jewels. After looking at all the beautiful jewels in the Treasury I made my way to the rooms in Rosenborg Castle. This blog post is going to be just a picture post.  I really hope you enjoy all my pictures. Thank you to all my friends and family for your love and support. 


Rosenborg Castle
Christian IV's 'Winter Room' - Ceiling & paneling in Renaissance style.
Fireplace mantel in Christian IV's 'Winter Room'

Christian IV's Writing closet - Portraits of earlier kings.

Christian IV's toilet room - ceiling.
Christian IV's toilet - The glazed tiles are from Delft, and were placed in the castle in 1708.
Christian V's room - Decorated with late 17th century Flemish tapestries.  
Pictures in the stair case to the second floor

Frederik V's Room 'The Rose'
Frederik V's room "The rose" -- Paintings, furniture and other objects in the Rococo style of his time. 
Frederik IV's Corridor - Exhibits mainly from the time of the king.
Frederik IV's cabinet - Used by his sister Sophine Hedvig.

Christian VI room - Painting on the ceiling

Christian VII's room - Designed in 1782-1784 in the Neoclassic style to house the Royal Coin Collection. 

Christian VIII's room - Original ceiling from Christian IV's time. 

Royal seal on the ceiling of the Long Hall

Ceiling of the Long Hall

3 silver lions that guard the royal throne

The tapestries are made in Copenhagen and depicts battles from the Scanian War 1675-1679.

Rosenborg Castle

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My parents adventure in Europe

I would think that most of my family already knows that my mother and father were with me in Denmark and that we made a trip to Rome. I figured if my parents are really going to make an effort to come all the way to Denmark there was no reason why we could not make a two hour flight to Rome.

On Sept 5th, my parents landed in Copenhagen, I think the main thing that my parents will remember was that I was late. I missed the early train I wanted to take and when I got to the airport my parents were standing in the airport with their luggage. I felt bad that I was late but all was well. Since we all had luggage we took the taxi to the apartment I rented while we were in Copenhagen.

The apartment I rented in North Copenhagen (Østebro) turned out to be the best idea ever. The apartment had three nice size beds, a nice kitchen, a washer and dryer in the basement and of course a bathroom and shower. I would think that the only complaint my parents and I had was that shower was REALLY small. The location of this apartment was great, it was a nice quiet area, with a grocery store only 1 block away and a great Chinese/Thai restaurant across the street.

Basically the first day my parents were in Copenhagen was very much a relax (I can't believe I am in Europe) type of day with one stipulation they had to stay awake until 8pm. I made my parents stay awake because they would suffer from jet lag the entire trip if I did not force them to stay awake this first day. But at 8pm both mom and dad were out like a light.

On Sept 6th, I only had two things scheduled for my mom and dad; a canal tour of Copenhagen and a visit to Tivoli. During the canal tour, besides being a little cold my parents really enjoyed seeing Copenhagen. Later that day I took my parents to Tivoli, we had a nice dinner and stayed in Tivoli after sunset to see the Nimb all lite up. Of course took plenty of pictures of my parents with the scenery in the background.
Nimb in Tivoli
Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Roskilde Cathedral
On Sept 7th, I took my parents through the Danish countryside to where I work. I timed it so that we would arrive at where I work just as lunch began so that my parents could be served a traditional Danish meal. That day at work the lunch ladies made frikkadellea a great traditional Danish dish. I introduced my parents to my supervisor and my co-workers. I showed my parents around the research center, my office, my lab bench and even my plants in my greenhouse. On this particular day was the farewell party for one of my colleagues (Br). So my parents got to also enjoy so great cake, afternoon snacks and wine. On our way back to Copenhagen we made a short stop at the Roskilde Cathedral. My plan was to show my parents the inside of this huge cathedral but there was actually a mass going on inside. I thought it was a bit odd to have mass on a Friday but oh well. I still got a couple pictures of my parents with the cathedral in the background.

Then on Sept 8 to 13 the three of us were in Rome and that adventure deserves it own blog post. (Coming Soon)

On Sept 13 when we arrived back in Copenhagen after our adventure in Rome we were all exhausted. The three of us went across the street to a great restaurant called Wokshop. It was good food and with a full stomach we all passed out. The next day (Sept 14th) the three if us just relaxed. Of course I went to Netto to get some food but it felt good to relax.

King Tutankhamun
On Sept 15, I took my parents to the King Tutankhamun exhibit in Malmo, Sweden. It was a good exhibit and my parents both seemed to enjoy it.

Sept 16th was another relaxing day mixed with a bit of packing and organizing. We did make a short trip to Rosenborg Castle and walked around the King's grounds. Just like me, my parents were amazed the castle, I mean you just don't see those in the US. Later that night my mom found a NFL game on the television and was getting a kick out of the Danish announcers.

On Sept 17th, after 12 days with my parents it was time to say goodbye. At the airport we said our goodbyes and gave each other hugs.

Overall my parents had a great Europe trip and I am really glad that they could make the trip over the ocean.