The Daily Headbutt

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's back!

Hey everyone!

I'm going to try to keep my blog going. One of the keys will be linking it to my facebook account. if anyone has any good info about how to do this, let me know. I think this will be a cool way to keep in touch. Anyway, hope all is well out there in the b-sphere.


Thursday, December 07, 2006


Hey all!

Sorry it has been a while, we are in the midst of finals here at school and I have been busy trying to get everything wrapped up and get ready to head home.

We recently headed to Prague in the Czech Republic for the weekend and it was great! A few interesting things we did were touring all over the different districts of Prague and a side trip to Kutna Hora, the home of the Kostnice Ossuary.

Prague is a very well preserved, beautiful city that avoided much of the bombing during WWII. For that reason, there is a lot of beautiful architecture to see. One of the most unique areas is Josefov, the Jewish Quarter. It was well preserved by the Nazis because it was to be turned into a museum-like area dubbed "The Museum of an Extinct Race". The Nazi's had planned to have people dressed like Jews touring visitors around the area showing them what daily Jewish life was like. Very twisted. Luckily, the area remained intact and is a great place to visit today.

Our side trip was a little weird to say the least. Kutna Hora is about 1hr ourside of Prague and the main attraction is the Kostnice Ossuary. During the middle ages, the groundwater was poisoned by leaking graves and the main graveyard had to be completely exhumed much like the graves in Paris at the catacombs. The exhumed bones were put in the new ossuary. The bone structures at the ossuary were started by a blind monk and then they were taken over by the Kint family who constructed a chandelier made with every bone in the human body and the family coat of arms. It was very creepy!

Prague is a great place to visit and a lot of fun, here are some more photos! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Paul vs. Paris

My good buddy Paul was in Paris this week and we had a blast. We did a couple of fun new things while he was here and did a lot of the great stuff we have seen that I have mentioned before in previous entries.

The coolest new thing we did was a visit to the Paris Catacombs. The short history behind this site was early in Paris' history, the groundwater flow through the graveyards caused massive disease in Paris.

To remedy this, the cemetaries were completely exhumed and the bones were stored in old rock quarries underneath the metro in downtown Paris. It is very tastefully organized but the size of the catacombs and the numbers of bones is amazing.

We rounded out the week in perfect Paul style by heading to a great bar where we met our friend Jasmine and drank until the wee hours of the morning. Now Paul is headed to Poland where he will meet up with our friend Mike from Copenhagen. They are going to join up in Poland and do some last minute touring around Europe before we all head home.

Here are a few choice photos... Posted by Picasa

Chartres and The Big Soccer Match

Thanks Mom! My mom remembered Chartres Cathedral from her trip to France many years ago, and it was a great recommendation. Chartres is a small town outside of Paris with a beautiful 12th century cathedral overlooking the town. We met a wonderful lady, Jeannine, who grew up in Chartres. We strolled through town and chatted with her all afternoon. It was so nice to meet a local and have such a great guide! She showed us the canals, the old city walls, and the gates to the city, which had been mostly destroyed in WWII. We never would have seen so much without her.

In other big news, the Beaujolais is here! There are signs everywhere. Beaujolais is "young wine" which ferments for the shortest possible amount of time. It is released on the 3rd Thursday of November and every bar and restaurant has it during the fall.

We also got tickets to a big soccer game - France vs. Greece. I was very excited to see some soccer and Nick was happy to cheer for Greece.

A few pictures at... Posted by Picasa

Loire, Louvre, Rodin!

This entry comes direct to you from the free internet access at the George Pompidou Museum. I only have an hour of free access so I'm gonna keep it short!

My good friends Joe and Carrie were in town doing a little vacationing so we took some time to explore more of Paris and the French countryside. Inside Paris we traveled to a couple of great museums, the Rodin Museum and the Louvre. To be honest, I wasn't sure I would really like the Louvre but it is absolutely incredible! It is the largest indoor building in Europe and the art collection is immense. I really enjoyed the Mesopotamian and Egyptian exhibits the most. We, of course, didn't get to the whole museum but we saw a lot in the few hours we were there.

The Rodin Museum was another great museum focusing on Rodin's work. There are world famous sculptures like 'The Thinker', 'The Gates of Hell', 'Ugolino', and 'Eve'. There are a ton of good photos on the Flickr link. We also took a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower which was super crowded but a lot of fun. It was really windy and cold but the views were fantastic! Now I'll let Jess tell you about the Loire castles.

There are about 300 Chateaux scattered accross the Loire valley. We picked a couple of the main ones and headed for the countryside. First stop: Chambord. King Francoise I needed a hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere for 2000 friends. The main attraction was a DNA-shaped staircase, possibly designed by Leonardo de Vinci, which allows two people to use the stairs without passing each other.

Next stop, Chenonceaux. This is where things get juicy. Francoise's son Henri built this castle for his mistress Diane de Poitiers, who helped design the marvelous structure. This chateaux arches out over a river and features a long ballroom with river views on both sides of the room. Diane ruled France alongside Henri for 25 years. Her world came crashing down when Henri finally died in a jousting accident. This is when Henri's wife Catherine de Medici confiscated the Chenonceaux and gave her a different huge luxurious castle to live in. She lost all power and was forced to live in the French coutryside while Catherine de Medici ruled with an iron fist.

More photos here! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Internets strike again!

Hey all, our internet is down hard so not much is going to come our way as far as blogs, email or skype. Knowing the blinding efficiency of the French, we will be without internet at our house probably the rest of the trip... you think I'm joking, that's the funny part... Later, Nick Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 10, 2006


Skoal! That is what people from Copenhagen say when they toast. And they toast a lot! We happened to be visiting our good buddy Mike during one of the most toast-happy times of year, the release of the yearly Tuborg Christmas brew. At exactly 8:59pm November 3rd, Tuborg trucks full of young people with blue santa hats and lights arrive at bars and flood all of Copenhagen with the xmas brew. It was a really fun time and lots of xmas brew was enjoyed by all.

We then added a trip to the Carlsberg brewery to our tour. It is a great old brewery in the heart of Copenhagen that brews Tuborg and Carlsberg and the employees get to have a pint at lunchtime! Nice perk!

After the brewery, we toured a part of Copenhagen that was very interesting, Christiania. This is a freetown commune in the middle of town where the residents don't pay taxes and 'soft' drugs were available for sale on the famous 'pusher's row' until as recently as last year. Christiania was a very different lifestyle and very interesting. Wikipedia also has a good article available for more info.

Now we are back in Paris and our friends Joe and Carrie are in town so we are going to be touring Paris some more for the next couple of weeks. Here are some photos of Copenhagen! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cinque Terra, Monaco and the French Riviera

Cinque Terre is one of those places that just makes you glad to be alive. It is amazingly beautiful, but also fascinating. Why would people make the incredible effort to build fishing villages on the side of a cliff? It is hard to imagine a time when this would be worth the effort. On the other hand, maybe there was always an allure to living along this slice of the Italian Riviera. Either way, this was one of my favorite destinations anywhere in the world. I can't complain about the development to support tourists, either. As we hiked between the 5 towns, we stopped in one town for coffee, the next town for pizza, then wine, the ice cream...

We spent a few days in Cinque Terre and a couple more days on the French side. The landscape seems the same, but if you get off the train on the Italian side, you get pasta, pesto, and loquacious people. If you get off the train on the French side, you get pastries and coffee. Tough call!
(By the way, this is Jess. Dark Cloud doesn't write this kind of flowery nonsense.)

See pictures at the link below. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

We just got back from a quick weekend in Dublin, Ireland. Jess and I took a flight to Dublin (super cheap, $80 for 2 round trip tix, I love Europe!) and we met a bunch of the UW MBA group there to go experience Dublin. It is definitely the happiest place on earth, WAAYYY better than EuroDisney! The people are incredibly friendly and they had plenty of tourist and non-tourist suggestions for us.

A couple of highlights you'll see in the photos are the St. James Gate Brewery, home of Guiness, the Malahide Castle, and the Brazen Head Pub.

The brewery was fantastic. It had a ton of very educational displays about Guiness advertising, changes through the years (the formula is tweeked almost yearly like Coke's) and the overall brewing process. There is a pub at the top of the main building where you can have a pint of Guiness and enjoy the views of Dublin.

Another cool site was the Brazen Head Pub. It is the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to 1198. The oldest still surviving pub is in England, established 1189. The Brazen Head opened as an inn, stable and a pub at the only crossing of the Liffey River (which cuts Dublin in two). The other fun site was a medieval castle in the little town of Malahide. It was a fantastic old castle with a large public garden and a great, creepy old graveyard complete with broken leaning tombstones. The castle even has a special room in it specifically for Huck, the castle's ghost. All in all, a great trip.

We also had a ton of fun at all the pubs in the touristy but fun Temple Bar area. We are off to Nice next week to escape our bombshelter studio and Paris for a while so post again after we return! Now I have to let Jess type...

Hello! Here are some helpful beer-drinking tips that we learned in Dublin.
1) Only knackers drink Budweiser.
2) Whitwicks is for women. (Joe tried to order one and got denied.)
3) You should just order a Guinness or a whisky, unless you're a knacker.
Also, people actually talk about *how* the Guinness tastes at a certain bar. For example, "Cobblestone Pub pours a beautiful pint".

Another tidbit... Ireland has been experiencing incredible economic success over the past 2 decades, coinciding with a 21-year streak of having a woman president. Coincidence??Dublin was full of fun and we'll defitely be back!

Here are some more photos Posted by Picasa