All posts by Evan Kendall

Floating Heads and Hungry Plants

So a few of you have complained that we are slacking with the blog. To that we say, thank you for noticing!

Froggle’s Fact: “It’s not my fault this time.”

We’re in Glasgow getting a taste of the “real” Scotland, so here are a few photos to hold you over:

 

Heffalumpy’s Hat Tips: 9/10 He’s a sucker for Scotland!

One Day in Dublin

I’ll start by breaking the ice to explain why we’ve been so absent blogging. The answer is simple: Froggle got lazy.
Lazy frog

We both turned in numerous drafts of stories, but he decided to “Netflix and chill” rather than edit and publish our adventures. Luckily, I suspended his Netflix account until he agreed to get back on schedule, and here we are. I digress…


Last November, Jacqueline and I spent 24 hours in Dublin. Business for me, leisure for her—the usual. Although it was shorter than we both had wanted to stay, we were still able to do some cool things. (Editor’s note: Jacqueline did most of the cool things.)
It all began at the adorable bed and breakfast that we had accidentally booked.
Aberdeen Lodge
Aberdeen Lodge
We didn’t get to the B&B—not Airbnb, an actual B&B—until fairly late Thursday night, but the host was extremely accommodating. Before he took us to our room, he served us tea and cookies. Yum, yum!
Tea and cookies
Tea and cookies

“The Business,” or Evan’s Story:

The next morning, I met up with Sierra, my fellow Contentlyian, to head to our meeting. Of course, we had to grab a selfie to send back to our New York and San Francisco buddies. I’ll skip the work recap…
Contently Selfie
Contently Selfie
(Editor’s note: Their meeting took place at a pub. Enough said.)

“The Leisure,” or Jacqueline’s Story:

I woke up bright and early at 10:00 a.m. to the cry of seagulls circling outside my window. What? That’s early for a grad student! Evan had to dash out much earlier, so he didn’t get to enjoy the “Breakfast” half of B&B, but I did! I enjoyed a traditional Irish breakfast, complete with black and white pudding. Spoiler alert: I didn’t touch the black pudding.
A hearty Irish breakfast
A hearty Irish breakfast
I then set out on my adventure. Remember those seagulls that woke me up? Well, seagulls mean beach, and beach means instant adventure. A quick survey of Google Maps told me that the beach was only a 15-minute walk away, so I set off after breakfast. Of course, unlike businessmen (ahem!), grad students don’t get any breaks, so I took a book with me to work on my dissertation at the beach.
As it turns out, the “beach” in Dublin is a giant, rocky bay. But, it was still incredibly beautiful with the tide drawn out, and there were strategically-placed benches all along the shore.

Two hours of reading later, I got hungry, so I walked into town for a bite to eat. The town square reminded me of New England in the fall with all of the orange leaves and mothers with strollers. It was adorable.
Dublin
Because my timing is always impeccable, I finished lunch just as Evan and Sierra were leaving their meeting, so I walked back to the B&B to regroup.

The Reunion:

We have Sierra to thank for most of the recommendations because she studied for her trip to Dublin! Our first stop was “Dublin’s Oldest Chipper,” Leo Burdock for freshly fried fish and chips.
Yum!
Yum!
Chowing down at St. Patrick's Cathedral!
Chowing down at St. Patrick’s Cathedral!
 Leo Burdock, being the old-fashioned establishment that it is, had no seating. So, we walked our fish and chips over to the garden at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Don’t worry, it was more of a park than a churchyard, and other people were eating lunch there as well. We aren’t completely tactless.
Froggle’s Fact: The fish and chips at Leo Burdock used to be served in actual newspapers, but they recently changed to regular paper because it’s more sanitary. Pish posh!
After lunch (Jacqueline’s second lunch), we only had five hours until our flight, so we had to take a trip to the Guinness Storehouse before we left. I mean, what kind of people would we be if we didn’t do that? We didn’t see Christ Church nor the Book of Kells, but we learned all about Guinness and Irish stout.
It's not beer, it's Guinness
It’s not beer, it’s Guinness
And then forgot everything we learned after a couple of pints. There was something about barley and malt and hops.
Then it was back to the airport and home to London. A short trip means a short post. We’ll go back at some point to see more of Dublin, but we’re more likely to see the inside of an Irish pub in Boston before then. Same difference, right?
Heffalumpy’s Hat Tips: 6/10 (Granted, short trip means less to see)

Amsterdam, Or A Land Without Laws

On our recent Euro Trip with Chris Johnson and Jordan Bartnikowski, we spent two days and one night in Amsterdam. It’s a city best known for its Red Light District and “coffee shops,” aka cafés that serve marijuana with a side of coffee, but as we learned in just a short time, there’s a lot more to it than legalized debauchery.

The first thing that we ALL noticed was the ridiculous number of bicycles. They were EVERYWHERE. Seriously, look at this:

More bikes than people
More bikes than people

We wanted to get a feel for the city after dropping off our bags at the AirBnb, so we headed straight toward the city center. We made a quick pit-stop at a farmer’s market, but quickly realized that there were no free samples…only an assortment of raw vegetables and odd, second-hand gizmos.

Once we made it to the main strip, we were a little overwhelmed. The sun was shining, people were out and about, bikes were whizzing across the canals, and hordes of tourists and locals alike were sipping coffee over meals on restaurant terraces. We also had a few close shaves with unruly bikers who tried to run us over.

We eventually made it to the Anne Frank House, but the line was out the door so we opted for something else. We were starving after a four-plus hour train ride from Paris earlier that morning—and by “earlier that morning,” I mean waking up at 4:30 a.m.—so we went on our way to find food. We started, of course, with free samples from the Cheese Museum.

Amsterdam

The Dutch are great, but their cheese game was not up to par, especially after we left France, the cheese capital of the world. They basically had 100 varieties of Dutch Gouda…

On the continued search for food, we couldn’t anything we loved, but luckily, we accidentally stumbled across one of the best suggestions given to us by Kim and Woody: Winkel43. It is apple pie heaven.

What do we want? Apple pie!!!
What do we want? Apple pie!!!

One look at this bar and we decided that we’d lunch there even if apple pie were the only item on the menu. Luckily, they also had delicious, customizable grilled-cheese sandwiches to boot, so we were able to eat a little lunch before testing out the pie.

The pie itself needs its own paragraph; frankly, it needs its own book, but I’m a busy man. (Editor’s note: Clearly too busy to write this post until a month after the trip ended!!) It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, bar none. Trying to describe the taste or flavor through words wouldn’t do it justice, but the fact that we went there three times over two days just for pie should tell you how we felt.

Just look at it in all it’s glory:

APPLE PIE
APPLE PIE

We then explored the Red Light District during the day to get a feel for it before it started getting seedy. We had a fun sexducation in the shops—perusing absurdly large… uh… toys and an eclectic display of DVDs—and seeing some of the “matinee options” in the windows. It was pretty bizarre seeing humans through glass windows at street level. The windows are actually doors for optimum efficiency when “sealing the deal,” so to speak.

Of course, I’d be lying if I told you we didn’t check out the cafes. Sparing you the details, it was fun. A lot of fun. So much fun that Jacqueline and I fell asleep on the boat cruise we took shortly after, but not before I had an out-of-body experience. But hey, when in Amsterdam, right? (Editor’s note: Just as a reminder, we were up at 4:30 a.m.!)

Can't hang
Can’t hang

The next day was a little less crazy. Chris and Jordan spent a few hours going around Amsterdam by bike—I was excluded because I can’t ride bikes… yes, really—so Jacqueline and I walked everywhere. We came across an amateur skateboarding tournament, which was cool, and were able to take some pictures of tourists hanging all over the “I AMSTERDAM” sign. We even made it to the Van Gogh (pronounced “Van Goff” in Amsterdam) museum, but didn’t have the time to go in.

All in all, it was a successful weekend. Well, except for when we returned to London. Chris and Jordan both checked bags for our one-hour flight from Amsterdam to London, and only Chris received his bag after the flight. We spent a good hour watching the baggage carousel spit out the same three unclaimed bags before deciding that Jordan’s bag was not there. Apparently, it had been left in Amsterdam, and it took several hours on the phone with customer service at British Airways over the course of six days before she got it back. And, airport security took her stroopwafels. Sad :(. Yay, British Airways!

Heffalumpy’s Hat Tips: 9.5/10
Heffalumpy’s Hat Tips for British Airways Customer Service: 0/10

An Eye Over Everything

The first thing I want you to know is that Jacqueline and I experienced everything that follows about two months ago. However, because of a series of excuses that I gave Jacqueline, I didn’t actually write this until many weeks after. After numerous threats from Jacqueline to kick me off the “writer team” for our blog—yes, the same “writer team” that only consists of Jacqueline and me—I have finally gotten around to writing this.

Now, to the story. A week before Jacqueline and I left New York City, we spent a Saturday with our good friends Brian Maehl and Tyler Becker. We did an ambitious—and delicious!—food crawl throughout New York, and played many a game of Super Mario Bros., NFL Blitz, and Mario Kart on N64. Needless to say, it was the best send-off  from our home (of the last five years!).

But there was one more thing that made it exceptionally great, and it was Brian’s going away gift to us: He booked us tickets to a “Champagne Tour” of the London Eye. (Editor’s note: It’s actually the “Coca Cola London Eye.”)

London

For those of you who don’t know, the London Eye is a Ferris wheel that offers a bird’s eye view of the city. It’s a major tourist attraction, but it’s also pretty cool. To top it off, our tour included some complementary champagne, which made it that much sweeter. (Editor’s note: And it made our photos that much weirder!)

London

We had a blast. Of course, there were some smelly, rude, and obnoxious tourists taking up space in our pod—which they needed for activities like selfies, selfies, and more selfies (NO ONE NEEDS THAT MANY SELFIES). And then we had to resort to selfies as well because we didn’t trust the selfie crew to take pictures for us.

Froggle’s Fact: “Sometimes people can wear so much makeup that it looks like they’re wearing a mask. Who knew?!?!”

But we loved the ride and the views. It came after a very busy couple of weeks of moving into our new home, so it was nice to take a step back to see it all from a new perspective. It was also nice to learn about the London landmarks. Now we will be able to give proper tours of London…ahem, Rachel. (To read more about how Rachel doesn’t know about London landmarks, click here.)

This post is dedicated to you, Brian. Thanks for giving us a lovely evening out in London. Dinner’s on us the next time we’re together.

Heffalumpy’s Hat Tips: 9/10 (Deductions owing to the selfie crew)

Moving In

If you’ve noticed the long gap in our posts, then you are a loyal reader. Thanks for that! We’ve been offline for a while because Chris and Jordan flew all the way from Boston to go on a Euro trip with us. Pause here to go watch the movie…

Here’s our post about moving into our new flat. Better late than never.

We landed in London on the 9th of July. We moved into our flat on the 3rd of August. In case you don’t remember, the process of renting a flat in London was a tough one. To make things worse, we stayed in two different AirBnbs before we moved in. Although the second was only a block from our new apartment, we took the short distance for granted and didn’t re-pack completely before moving.

With six suitcases, an armful of dress shirts on hangers, and some extras—we couldn’t put Froggle or Heffalumpy in our luggage, of course—we walked the 0.2 miles down the road to our new home. We had to make several trips to make sure that there was someone watching our luggage on both ends. The concierge in our new building allowed us to store our suitcases in their break room. Here’s how ridiculous we looked in our lobby while we waited for the letting agent to give us the keys for move in:

Moving In
This image has a low resolution because Evan took it on his outdated iPhone 5s.

After we got upstairs and inside, we started laying claim to the closets, dressers, and drawers. Jacqueline got the small spaces scattered throughout the flat, and I got the very large armoire for my clothes. Pretty sweet deal, right? Well, it is, but I got it by default—Jacqueline was too short to use the hangers at the top for anything. 🙂 (Editor’s note: I made out pretty well. I have rights over three different drawer units and Evan has rights to one small nightstand.)

It took a while for us to really get settled. You’d be amazed at how long it takes to build up the “essentials.” We’re still working on the final touches.

Plus, we wanted to re-organize a lot of the furniture from how it was originally laid out. Furniture Tetris always takes us at least two full dinner conversations. We take it very seriously. We even make little paper cutouts that we move around our not-to-size floor plan. I had the brilliant idea to move how our couches were arranged, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t come up with the final layout until I offered several bad ideas. One of those bad ideas was the “Fengshui Tunnel,” which isn’t a real thing. But they would have been genius. Just saying. (Editor’s note: the “Fengshui Tunnel” involves taking two very large couches and placing them back-to-back on a diagonal leaving no space but a narrow pathway to the patio door.)

Froggle’s Fact: “Fengshui begins with clearing clutter to allow light and air to permeate your living space. Therefore, the ‘fengshui tunnel’ would have prevented all of these qualities.

Our building has blue and orange window panels, which is pretty awesome because it stands out among a black and silver Canary Wharf backdrop. We also have the BEST concierge staff ever, so this is going to be a good 18 months! It’s home to us now, and just in time for Chris and Jordan to stay with us for a week while we take them on the best tour of London. (Yes, that was a stab at Rachel for the worst tour of London.)

More soon about our travels to Paris and Amsterdam!

Heffalumpy’s Hat Tips for the process of moving: 1/10

Heffalumpy’s Hat Tips for our concierge: 1000/10