Haiku # 7

Our last day in Holland saw us visiting the Dutch countryside— we stopped in Marken, Edam and other quaint villages on the land that was reclaimed by Windmills .

We stopped in the region famous for Gouda cheese and we ate Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Gouda blended with Ham, Spiced Gouda and dare I say many other varieties.

So this Haiku is dedicated to wonderful Gouda Cheese– dedicated to Michelle.

Eat to much Gouda

Makes your Belly like Buddha

A Hellava thing

I AMsterdam

The Museum District in Amsterdam was one of our favorite stops this weekend.  It is in the plaza that this iconic symbol of the city stands.  See photo belowBehind the letters is one of Europes most famous museums the Ruks.  It’s collection numbers in the 1,000’s and is home to several Rembrandt’s. Rembrandt lived, died and is buried in Amsterdam. I was in awe of one of Rembrandt’s most famous paints The Return of the Prodigal Son.

At the other end of the Museum complex sat Amsterdam’ s MOCA and The Van Gogh Museum.  The Van Gogh has the largest collection of Van Gogh Paintings (200) Drawings (400) and letters (700) in the world.  The Van Gogh Museum houses Some of his best work. Here are a fewRobin and I spent most of the weekend at the museums. They were jammed with locals and visitors– it was well worth braving the crowds.

On Sunday afternoon there was a giant craft faire– local artists and artisans showing their wares– it was real fun. See belowAmstetdam is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. Aside from its real diversity, I was struck by how young the people were.  Amsterdam also has the real honor of being the bicycle capitol of the world– they are everywhere. If you haven’t been you have to go. Jim

Inntel not for Intel

Arrived in Amsterdam after disembarking from the Viking Sky.  We travelled from Bergen, Norway through Oslo to Amsterdam– took a cab from the Airport. 

We arrived in the evening at the Inntel Hotel a place I am sure no one from Intel ever stayed. This Hotel is located on the Nieuwezijdskolk which is a pedestrian street in Amsterdam’s Central District it is about a half mile from the train station and less to the Red Light District.

We walked up to our room unpacked and went down to the bar for a drink. We met Joanna and Josh both 23 and totally in lust with one another. The were a totally sweet English couple.  Josh and I talked about the WWF and how he hated Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for selling out and how he loved the marriage proposal Jon Ciena made in the middle of a specific WWF match– Josh knew the number. They drank Blue Smurf cocktails and offered us a sip. After a while we went for a walk.

Amsterdam is the queen of diverse cities– its population in real -life human form is equivalent to the patrons of the Star Wars Bar.  As we walked the pedestrian street our hotel was on, we heard so many languages and saw the faces of so many cultures. Cuisines and smells were from everywhere people eating in cafe chairs outside hole in the wall eateries– shops offering Thai massage, psychedelics were next to a Dunkin Donuts– it was wonderfully bizarre.
To the left of our hotel entrance was a sidewalk cafe “Five Bells” run by Russians, next to that was an Indian restaurant featuring ‘Hot’ food.  On the right side of our hotel entrance was a club whose lined up patrons were dressed in formal gowns and tuxedos everyone wore a face masks.  Adjacent to that club was a gay bar– the men dressed  in a similar fashion –shirt, tie, shorts as if the were in an English boarding school. 

Inside Inntel was a comfortable little hotel with no luxuries but tons of character– I like it.

Haiku #6

The Viking Sky has a specialty restaurant that provides a pre-fixed menu. During the cruise Robin and I ate there twice.

My opinion is less then stellar —actually less than average– the restaurant really tried to be more than it could.

The restaurant’s name was the Chef’s Kitchen and for some reason the Chef fixated on topping dishes with eatable Foam — each Foam dish had a slightly different taste, but Foam was everywhere– I thought about how firemen used foam to put out fires in disaster situations– maybe this was the case. Here is my Haiku on the overuse of Foam– dedicated to Adam.
Hotsy Totsy Chef

Uses Foam to Top off Cod

Off Sides! Call the Ref

Up On The Roof– A Goat’s Story

The beautiful Fjords of Norway are magnificent. As we travelled North from Stravenger, Norway, we cruised for three hours within the Hardanger Fjord meandering left and right. Clear deep channels were shadowed by snow capped mountain peaks.  Giant waterfalls cascaded off the mountains, each landscape was more breathtaking then the next. 

We docked early this morning at a sleepy  port village of 1,000 people called Eidfjord. From there we travelled on land to the Eidfjord Nature Center for another review of Nordic/ Norwegian nature at its best.

On our arrival we stopped at this lovely timber building that had a thick layer of dirt on its roof that was used to grow native grass– quite healthy.  Here is a picture of the house:Upon close inspection this sturdy building housed a cafe and a gift shop to the nature center.  As you can see it was not built into the hill.

We were surprised to meet 4 residents of the roof that had their own little enclosures– you can see the small white units on the photo above.

The 4 residents are in the photo belowThese guys try to eat down the roof to its shingles– big roof difficult  to do.  They were official ‘ baaa’ greeters when we walked into the building– when the place got a little busy they took shelter in their little goat houses. There life is spent ‘Up on the Roof —as peaceful as can be where no one can bother me’. I also believe the roof is self fertilizing– not sure if the roof is in perfect balance with the environment, but roof, grasses and goats all looked healthy

Haiku #5

Jim writes ‘amateur hour’ Haikus as an almost silent protest to the little ironies seen in day to day life.

Spent the day in Copenhagen, another beautiful city. The Danes are lovely people but they will continually brag about something Dane (beer, military library, numbers of bicycles, etc) and how it is the 1st, 2nd or 3rd best in the World, Europe or in Scandinavia. There was a litany today by our guide including the number of ways to cook Cod Fish.

Having travelled to Denmark before I would state that Danish cuisine centers around the Cod Fish— foodies beware!! As such my Haiku is about Denmark’s favorite food.  Here it is

Oh No, It’s Cod Fish

It is tonight’s default dish

McDonald’s I Wish

Murdered Jews of Europe — A Memorial 

While in Berlin, Germany Jim and Robin Pisz stopped at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was located adjacent to the American embassy and Tiergarden Park. (See photo)

The Memorial is large,  covers 19,000 sq meters and has 2,711 concrete steleas. The steleas are of different height and the ground underneath them pitches downward then up. When you enter it gives you feeling of uneasiness, you lose sight and there is a feeling of loss of control—- which was the designer’s (Peter Eisenman) intent. 

The makers of this Memorial wanted in someway for its users to feel some of the feelings that millions of Jews had when they were led away from their home during the early 1940’s by members of the Nazi regime.

Also at the complex is a Information/Exhibition Center containing moving testaments from victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

As with other Holocaust memorials that I have attended in Washington DC and in Los Angeles it is very somber. Up to 6.2 mm Jews were exterminated during the period 1933 to 1945. The photos and stories are wretched. You leave wondered how this could this have happened.

What is this? What is it Called?

Saw this at the Brandenburg Gate?

It is a bicycle built for seven! Seems to be very social way for you and six friends to ride to the beach, not sure a ride up to the mountains would work.  Not sure what to call it –an Octocycle, because it resembles an octopus, but would require eight seats– Septacycle sounds like something you would put on a open wound at regular intervals. Please write in comments a more appropriate name. thanks

Haiku #3 & 4

From time to time Jim writes a Haiku to some of life’s little quirks. I am onboard the Viking Sky a brand new ship that has all the latest. I asked one of the ship’s officer who was Viking’s target audience — he told me 60 and above.

Now I’m no spring chicken– I actually meet the target demographics, but this ship if full of seniors ( beautiful and interesting people) that well exceed that target. If I had to guess, I’d say average age is over 70.

At last nights late dinner and end of night entertainment show the audience may have been reacting to a long day of touring versus the entertainment. These Haikus are dedicated to them inspired by Hannah.

Here it is– amateur hour:

#3

Big Dinner Debates

Food Coma comes with Last Plate

Exhausted at Eight

#4

Stage Show features Swing

Set The Alarm Clocks To Ring

Most Here Are Sleeping

Gdansk a beautiful port city and home to Polska Duma (Polish Pride)

Robin and Jim Pisz visited the Old Town of Gdansk, Poland today. The city itself was masterfully restored after being destroyed by bombing during World War II.

The Vistula river runs through the Old Town and were surprised to find Ocean going ships docked in town where the river is less than 100 meters wide.

St Mary’s Cathedral, Neptune’s statue and many beautiful buildings housing restaurants and shops along the main square were enjoyed as we wandered the streets of Gdansk.

Gdansk is also the home of Lech Walesa, he started the Solidarity Movement  at the Shipyard where he worked as an electrician. Later Lech Walesa became Poland’s first freely elected president and soon after won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Lech still resides in Gdansk with his seven children and is the source of intense Polish pride or Polska Duma.