296. Tour de France Final

IMG_3336 (640x480)Despite some hiccups in our plans, we managed to make it to Paris in time for the final leg of the Tour de France, one of the few distinct events on our combined bucket list. We waited for what seemed like hours in the blistering heat on the Champs Elysée, gradually elbowing our way to the front, and it was totally worth it!

Even the parade of advertising floats (the original Raison d’etre of the Tour de France) was great fun. I found it quite entertaining that everyone on a float had a really industrial sized harness on, and wondered how many promo girls fell off before that became the norm.IMG_3245 (640x480) IMG_3277 (640x480) IMG_3275 (640x480)

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TD9 TDF2 TDF1 This washing powder float actually had a guy gyrating and thrusting along to “I’m Sexy And I Know It.” Interesting choice…TDF6

And then of course the cyclists. They came whizzing by unbelievably quickly! Not to worry though, as they did 8 laps. Would have been all very anti-climactic to wait there for 2 hours just for 3 seconds of action. There was also a great buzz around the area afterward, with temporary bar/restaurant areas set up. We attempted to get close to the prize giving, but it seemed they roped off so much of the surrounding area you couldn’t even get close to seeing what street it was on.

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We were also lucky to be directly in front of the action when this guy needed to change his tire. Never have I seen a car screech to a halt so quickly, and amazingly he had a new tire and was back in the race in less than 5 seconds!TD7 TD8

Few things beat being able to say you have stood on the Champs Elysée watching the final leg of the Tour de France!

292. Release of the Danish Christmas Beer

IMG_8281 (480x640)There should be a giant sign at the Danish border that says “Be warned: you are now entering Beer Country.”

The Danes love beer like a fat kid loves cake. And at Christmas, the breweries bring out all their Christmas beers. Tuborg in particular does a massive marketing push, with the release of their Christmas Beer being a massive event all over town on the first Friday of November. It used to be a Tuesday, but apparently workplaces and Universities nationwide were unimpressed with Wednesday’s productivity.

Most bars in town will have a free keg of the Christmas beer to give away from exactly 8:59pm. From 8:56pm there was quite the mosh pit at the bar, but in an orderly Danish kind of way, as patrons competed to be the first to taste the slightly darker Tuborg. Once the keg had been given away, the natural progression from there was the limbo, and the more Danish Shnaps.IMG_8275 (640x480) IMG_8270 (640x480) IMG_8300 (640x480) IMG_8307 (640x480) IMG_8335 (640x480) IMG_8349 (640x480) IMG_8356 (480x640) IMG_8358 (640x480) IMG_8359 (640x480)

Just as I thought the free beer fun was over, suddenly a bunch of blue santas turned up and were handing out bottles, unloaded direct from the giant Christmas Tuborg truck. IMG_8362 (480x640) IMG_8363 (480x640) IMG_8366 (640x480) IMG_8368 (480x640) IMG_8369 (480x640) IMG_8371 (480x640) IMG_8373 (640x480) IMG_8375 (480x640) IMG_8379 (640x480)

The madness didn’t stop there, though, as we arrived in town later on to find even MORE blue santas, and a selection of other bars giving out Christmas beers from other breweries.IMG_8381 (480x640) The most entertaining part of the night was when people started drunkenly confessing that despite all the hysteria and excitement, most of them don’t actually like the Christmas beer!

264. Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum was probably one of my favourite art museums. Not only did the audioguide (definitely recommended) walk me through his life via his paintings, but the curators also had a wonderful collection of art that influenced him, among other special collections.

My favourite of Van Gogh’s works was Sunflowers, possibly because its vibrant colours really stood out compared to the opposite wall, which housed paintings from nearer to his death, as his mental illness was affecting him more and more (hint: they are kind of gloomy).

It was also interesting to note that he would never have been as famous as he is today, if it weren’t for his brother’s wife, who inherited his collection and boosted it to fame.

Another highlight of the museum was a collection of advertising prints from France in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as art featured on programmes from stage shows and the covers of sheet music.

All in all a great way to learn about Van Gogh’s life, as it was narrated through his art, as well as his influences and the art that was incorporated in to daily life at the time. Well worth a visit!

139. Tits Galore

This is a post about boobs. Fair warning.

I have recently just experienced my first ever “You know you’ve been in Europe too long when” moment. It came when I saw a particularly outrageous ad, and thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until I saw it twice more that I realised just how out of place it would be in most of the rest of the world.

That’s right, just about every bus in Aarhus is currently sporting a giant pair of tits! Only in Europe! Bad enough that there is a giant campaign for breast implants all over town (or “Nye Bryster”, as I can now add to my Danish vocabulary), but the buses actually show naked boobs. Not some subtle innuendo, or a covered but large breasted woman, or even a ‘pretending to be artful naked yet covered’ photo. Blatant boobs. Not even a head featured in the image!

I don’t know which is worse, the ad itself or my lack of shocked reaction (at first). It strikes me as particularly hilarious, that the Danes, who are notoriously modest, reserved and hard to break the ice with are so complacent about nudity,  whereas the countries where people are instantly friendly and open are quite the opposite.

Then again maybe it has something to do with Denmark housing the woman with the world’s* (or maybe just Europe, I’m not entirely sure) largest [fake] breasts. Not only does she live here, but she also hosts a reality show, called Familien Fra Bryggen. I’ve seen it before, but I don’t know what anyone’s talking about, seeing as how it is all in Danish. I suspect the men of the nation view it in the same way.

*Linse Kessler, owner of (at least) Europe’s largest assets and sister of famous Danish boxer Mikkel Kessler. He refuses to have anything to do with her show. Can’t think why. You can thank me when you win the local pub quiz on that knowledge.