McDonalds in Spain

October 25, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Reviews, Spain, Travel, USA 7,726 views

McRoyale DeluxeI was weak once. On my first ever trip abroad to Scotland as an early teen, when given a day to myself to wander about and choose my schedule, I ate lunch at a Burger King. And later, as a 20-year-old, having moved abroad for the first time, it didn’t take me long to visit the McDonalds in the center of Copenhagen. When in Budapest, someone talked me into entering what was described to me beforehand as “the most beautiful McDonalds in the world”, and, while I can’t speak for the entire world, I must agree that it is quite pretty. Each time, my justification was curiosity about how my American culture had been translated to another culture, but I’d be lying if part of it wasn’t the comfort of familiar food that makes these chains so successful.
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Parenting Tip: How to manipulate a three year old

October 24, 2012 By: erik Category: Musings, Offspring, Parenting 192 views

Uninterested NoraLately I’ve been reading some books on parenting, and the paradigm that best jives with my morals and ideals originated from a psychologist named Thomas Gordon, who became an expert in relationship conflict resolution, valuing negotiation and collaboration over the use of power. I had not heard of him until recently, but he was thrice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, so he’s not a complete kook. It makes sense that losing an argument because the other person played the power card would breed resentment and poison the relationship. I’ve had some success with talking through conflicts with my child, but sometimes when you’re parenting, you don’t have thirty minutes to work through the peace process and converge upon a solution of compromise for every item of clothing your kid refuses to put on in the morning before school. I have found a few shortcuts that I’d like to share with you.
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Cloud River

October 23, 2012 By: erik Category: Photography, Spain, Timelapse, Videos 83 views

River FogThe town in which I live is situated at the mouth of the river Asón, which begins way high up in the mountains and flows down into the tidal basin estuary you see in the current header image of this blog. Occasionally I have noticed a fog hanging over the river in the mornings. The fog yesterday, however, seemed more dynamic. I could see it churning with my naked eye. I’ve always been a big fan of churning and flowing clouds in timelapse videos, and the visibility above the clouds was fantastic, so I raced to set up my tripod, camera and intervalometer before leaving to walk my daughter to school.
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Atomium, Breakfast and Goodbye

October 22, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Photos, Travel 197 views

AtomiumThe second “must see” tourist attraction in Brussels after the Grand Place has got to be the Atomium, a bizarre and unearthly structure built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, which is, in theory, modeled after an iron crystal. I saw it once when I was flying into or out of a layover at the Brussels airport, which makes sense given its proximity to the airport. If nothing else, it’s very big and very bizarre.
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Rainy Saturday in Antwerp

October 20, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Travel 323 views

Antwerp ArchitectureOn Saturday, October 13th, my fifth anniversary, I took the Metro into the center of Brussels with Simon, and from the train station, we bought tickets to go to Antwerp. I like train travel; I miss it from my days in Denmark. It’s a lot more comfortable than traveling on an airplane. The trip from Brussels to Antwerp took under an hour. I had been impressed by the architecture of the Brussels train station, but then I was absolutely floored by the majesty of the Antwerp station.
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Birthday Dinner at Comme chez Soi

October 18, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Partying, Photos, Reviews, Travel 366 views

Comme Chez SoiI have long been a fan of my blog buddy, Simon’s, penchant for blogging about his hobby of going to really expensive Michelin Star restaurants. He really is quite prolific. I knew it was an expensive hobby, but I always wondered just how much it costs, what the ambience of the places feels like, and, of course, what such exotic food must feel like in one’s mouth. When he asked what kind of restaurants I would like to try during my visit, I immediately got excited about maybe going to one of these fancy places. He sent me a list of possible options, with links to menus and his blog posts about each one, and I very quickly settled on the most expensive one, Comme chez Soi.
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Stew and Beer and Chocolate in Bruges

October 17, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Photos, Travel 352 views

Bruges Sunny SkyI began my thirty-fourth birthday with a pretty severe hangover from the night before. It’s been years since I’ve had such a throbbing head in the morning, especially from such a small amount of beer (two liters over six hours), so I suspect it was more about not having a bottle of water beside my bed like I normally do to stay hydrated at night. Anyway, it was a bit of a slow morning. Brian and I had made tentative plans the night before to maybe go visit the town of Bruges, a little more than an hour away. I was delighted when he showed up with his whole family, his wife, Cloe, and two sons, Aiden and Milo, ages 4 and 0.5 respectively.
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Drinking Beer in Brussels

October 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Partying, Photos, Travel 355 views

Delirium Cafe WindowTired and hungry from my multi-kilometer tourism trekking, it was time to taste some typical Belgian food and, more importantly, some Belgian beers. My hosts, Simon and Paola, chose La Villette, a small, warm restaurant boasting Belgian Cuisine. Simon and I took the metro into the city and stopped off for a pre-dinner beer at a dark, cozy pub. It was down a small alley that had actually caught my eye earlier in the day. It was a narrow, dank, stone alley off of a main pedestrian street that led, after six meters, to two doorways: one led, jarringly, into a bright florescent lit shopping mall, and the other to a dark pub.
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Walking Around Brussels

October 15, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Photos, Travel 312 views

Cinquantenaire ArchesOn the evening of Wednesday, October 10, my plane landed in Charleroi airport. That’s Brussels’ version of the out of town airport that the budget airlines fly to; London, Rome, Stockholm, and Paris have similar airports. I walked past customs and out into the arrivals area and began searching for my ride, an internet friend named Brian. After about three minutes of walking up and down the very small area outside a cafe, I saw Brian entering the doors. We shook hands and headed to his car, which had been parked for such a small amount of time that the parking machine didn’t charge him a euro dime.
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Nora’s First Bicycle Ride

October 09, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Videos 116 views

Nora on a bicycleToday I had to go pick up Nora after school because my wife had to work an extra hour in the afternoon. Unsure what the standard procedure was, I followed the other mothers’ lead and walked over to the school playground and gave Nora her sandwich (all Spanish kids eat a sandwich between lunch and dinner). She snarfed it down and played with some of her classmates, particularly with the two girls whom she has known for a few years from daycare.
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