Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Best Cuisine: #2

#2: France

Variety: 5
Croissants, bread, frog legs, foie gras, beef tartare, duck confit, Alsatian cuisine (like German) wine, and on and on
Price: 3
Beverages: 4
French Wine...need I say more?  Beer...not great.
Fullness: 3
The bread can always fill you up.
Fancyness: 5
Casual Dining Experience: 5
Picnic from a market with great cheese, bread, wine, and chicken.
Venues: 4
"It": 5
It's France.
Total: 34

Best Cuisine: #3

#3: Krakow

Variety: 3
Pierogi, Glumpki, Kielbasa, Meat
Price: 5
One of my favorite stories: I treated my couchsurfing host and her roommate to dinner one night.  I got my food first (a lot of food) and was first to the cashier.  The total was 8 euros.  I told her that I wanted to buy the other dinners, too.  She said that I just did.
Beverages: 3
Pretty good beer.
Fullness: 5
Again...I couldn't finish my dinner.
Fancyness: 2
Sausages and cabbage....not featured in Etiquette Magazine.
Casual Dining Experience: 5
Sausages and pierogi everywhere
Venues: 5
Great bars, eclectic restaurants
"It": 4
I'm 1/4 Polish living near Chicago...this was really cool for me.
Total: 32

Best Cuisine: #4

#4: Prague

Variety: 2
Meat, sauerkraut, dumplings, meat
Price: 5
It's cheap.
Beverages: 5
Amazing beer.
Fullness: 5
When I...I...can't finish a meal, that's a lot.
Fancyness: 2
When you're stuffed with fat and beer, how fancy can it be?
Casual Dining Experience: 3
Good cafes, but lacking on the grab-and-go area.
Venues: 5
The bars are simply amazing.
"It": 4
Nothing else like it.
Total: 31

Best Cuisine: #5

#5: Switzerland

Variety: 4
Raclette, Fondue, German-Swiss, Movenpick Ice Cream, Swiss Chocolate, Rosti
Price: 2
Geneva's horrible.  The rest is pretty expensive.
Beverages: 3
Average wine.  Average beer.  Helped by imports from Germany and France.
Fullness: 3
The German food helps in this category.
Fancyness: 4
Casual Dining Experience: 3
Venues: 4
French dining + German dining= pretty nice
"It": 3
Yes, you get the famous fondue...but you can only afford to dip bread into the cheese.
Total: 26
Nestle Factory
German Beer
Swiss Sweets
More German influence

Friday, March 26, 2010

Top Museums: #1

#1 House of Terror
Budapest, Hungary
A GREAT museum.  Basically, it documented and presented what life was like during the Nazi and Communist occupations following WWII.  While you learn TONS of information, you are met with an experience...not a museum feel at all.  This is one of those things where words can't describe.  Just do yourself a favor and go here.

History: 5
Very detailed description of the occupations by the Nazis and Communists.
Fun: 4
As fun as learning about oppressed people can be.
Touching: 3
Presentation: 5
As soon as you walk into the first exhibit, you're met with loud music and multimedia.  The place was chilling, awesome, impressive, and scary.
Niceness: 4
Not bad.  Not the best.
Magnitude: 4
Information: 5
Every room had fliers with information.  To add them all up, its a book.  You can practically read a book in there.
Atmosphere: 5
Between being in the original Nazi and Communist HQ, the primary artifacts from the era, the multimedia presentation, and the impressiveness of it all, you become engrossed in the topic.
"It" Factor: 4
A museum about oppression and resistance...during the post WWII era.  Just a great museum.
Language: 5
Total: 44

I wasn't allowed to take pictures while in the museum.  Oppression continues.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Top Museums: #2

#2 Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Copenhagen, Denmark
Clearly, I like modern art and Copenhagen (3 of the top 5 museums).  This one takes the cake.  But what really took it over the top was an exhibit: Faith, Love, and Hope.  A Danish guy lived as a vagabond in America for a few decades.  While there, he documented his trip with pictures and stories.  He stayed with poor inner-city black couples to KKK leaders in Elkhart, IN.  To see a Dane's perspective in Denmark, surrounded by Danes...amazing.  And being the only American there, I kept being asked if this is what it's really like in America.  Never have I felt so ashamed, proud, and homesick all at once.  Moving experience.
The other, more permanent exhibits, were awesome, too.  Just a great modern art museum experience.

History: 4
Not much history in modern art.  But quite a bit of social history in the America exhibit.
Fun: 5
Modern art is fun.  Especially when you go with friends.
Touching: 4
The American stuff nearly brought me to tears.  Very moving stories.  And very moving because I'm American.
Presentation: 5
Niceness: 5
The minute I arrived, I felt like I was stepping into a 70s mansion owned by swingers.  That's supposed to be a complement.  It was a great mix of modern and 70s decoration.  Gorgeous surroundings, too.
Magnitude: 3
Not that big.
Information: 4
Permanent stuff, no.  American stuff, yes.  They give you a booklet to read while walking around.
Atmosphere: 5
I've said it once, and I'll say it again.  Modern art crowds are cool.  Mix that with the was just a really cool vibe.
"It" Factor: 2
Have any of you heard of it?  Its a diamond in the rough.
Language: 5
Scandinavia- everything's in English!
Total: 42

Top: Faith, Love, and Hope...the America exhibit
Bottom: In and around the museum...including a toilette outside where the occupant can see out, but no one can see in, and a racecar that's been frozen 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top Museums: #3

#3 Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände (Documentation Center at the Nazi Party Grounds)
Nuremberg, Germany
Nazi history at it's heart.  You can watch all the History Channel you want, but to see this in Germany, in Nuremberg...remarkable.

History: 5
Nearly the entire history of Hitler and the detail.
Ok...maybe not that much fun for everyone.  To me...I could listen to this stuff all day.
Touching: 4
What got to me was seeing the childrens' drawings of Jews.  Heart-braking.
Presentation: 5
The huge black and white photos were awesome.  GREAT pictures.
Niceness: 5
Surprisingly nice building.  Nice red brick everywhere.
Magnitude: 4
A lot, but able to be seen in one day.
Information: 5
The most you can learn about Nazis without reading a book.
Atmosphere: 4
I think I saw ghosts of Nazi past.
"It" Factor: 4
Nazis, Hitler, Nuremberg, future Nazi capital
Language: 1
Nothing in English.  I had to listen to EVERYTHING.  Takes too long.
Total: 41

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top Museums: #4

#4 Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris, France
This is modern art at it's (almost) finest.  I loved the interactive, provocative art...but most of all, all the naked women.  Even the outside was artistic!

History: 2
Some works of art deftly define the culture of the time of its creation.
Fun: 5
What can be more fun that being part of the exhibits themselves?!
Touching: 2
Not sure why I gave it even a 2.
Presentation: 4
Niceness: 5
Magnitude: 5
At least I think so.  I only saw one section and didn't have time for the rest.
Information: 3
Descriptions of the exhibits were decent.
Atmosphere: 5
Bunch of yuppies and hipsters staring at naked women.  What is better?
"It" Factor: 4
Language: 4
Most things in English
Total: 39

Monday, March 22, 2010

Top Museums: #5

Get ready for some massive blogging.  I have 30 more days in France, so its time for my closing blogs.  In the next 30 days, I will be counting down a "Top 5" list on 6 different topics (5x6=30!).  It's really hard to compare things such as cities, museums, foods, etc.  But I'm going to do it because I love to quantify things.  And to make even more quantifications, this is how I'm doing my rankings:
I've made subcategories within each topic.  Each is scored from 1-5.  The entity with the highest score wins.  Simple.  You'll get it once I start.

Ok, I'm starting.

Topic #1: Top 5 Museums

#5 Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Denmark)
Even though Oslo was unable to crack the top 5, they can claim a part of this title.  Scandinavia boasts some very good national museums.  Great history, great art, and great information.

History: 4
Ancient corpses found in local bogs, viking relics, surprisingly rich history of royalty
Fun: 3
As fun as a museum can be.
Touching: 1
I remember getting choked up while looked at the dead bodies...oh wait, no I didn't.
Presentation: 4
Niceness: 4
Magnitude: 5
Couldn't even see everything.
Information: 5
I've never learned so much about prehistoric peoples.
Atmosphere: 4
"It" Factor: 2
Have any of you heard of it?  Wasn't "awe-inspiring."
Language: 5
Everything in English!
Total: 38

I don't have a picture of the museum...but here's Copenhagen!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Need Your Ideas

I had this great idea to use a picture of Uncle Sam to symbolize that I'm asking for your participation...but now I think it's just creepy.  Despite this, I'm leaving the picture.  Sorry.

I thought it would be fun to do a blog with rankings of top cities, food, experiences, sights, museums, etc.  I'll do that.  At some point.  But before I do that, I'm asking for your help.  I would like you to send me ideas.  Is it because I'm lazy and not wanting to come up with things on my own?  No.  I just want to address specific things that my faithful readers might be curious about.  What kinds of things?  ANYTHING.  Here are some examples...
What was your favorite city?
What were your top 5 favorite meals?
What will you miss most from Europe?
How did you become such a great blogger?  And so handsome?
Who did you miss most while in France? (The answer will always be the sender)
Rank your top 10 things you saw.
Can you buy corned beef in France?

You are even allowed to use these examples.  I don't care.  Send me anything.

How do you submit your question(s)?  Easy.  Send me an email (  Comment on this blog (below).  Send me a message on Facebook.  Yell really loud.  I will hear you.  Homing pigeons even work very well.
* I think the only route that would allow you to stay anonymous would be to comment on this blog.  I recognize voices pretty well.

Timetable?  Sooner the better.