Monday, September 25, 2006

Grand Rapids

Last weekend I went to Grand Rapids, MI to visit a special friend of mine. Left work early after another one of those crazy weeks. Pretty easy drive and since I've done it a couple of times on-route to Holland, MI I decided to see how good Verizons VZ Navigator actually was. Lets just say I was impressed. I can recommend using it. OK, back to topic at hand... as I said the drive was easy, rainy, but nothing special. Stopped in Lansing to pick-up a little present and then continued on to GR. The last hour was pretty interesting since the rain really picked-up and as the icing on the cake I was treated to a wonderful lightshow. Long story short, after a good 4.5 hrs I got to GR. We just hung-out and chatted a bit until it is was time for some well-deserved shut-eye.

Saturday-morning I slept-in and - looking at the forecast - we decided to do the outdoor-activities in the morning since it would rain for the rest of the day. After a quick stop at the post-office we went to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. What a beautiful place. We especially liked the Orchid Wall... Never knew there were that many varieties (according to the guide > 200,000) and in that many shpaes and colours. Wow! We also saw the worlds largest seeds (two coconuts seeds). They are huge... At first they looked like rocks (hence we missed them the first time around) but the guide (thanks again!!) pointed it out for us.

After the seeds and a lovely walk to the sculpture garden we decided to splurge and take the VIP (...;-) guided-tour. Since the tour will point-out many things you will miss on your own - including the artists thoughts behind the objects - I would highly recommend taking the tour. It was well worth it... for more reasons then just the excellent narations.

We decided to give one of the highlights of the tour - Nina Akamu’s 24 feet tall 'The American Horse', created in homage to Leonardo da Vinci's original commission by the Duke of Milan a closer look. Very impressive.

After the garden (sorry, no pics this time since I forgot my camera...) we went to Pannera for lunch. Since we wanted to play Settlers of Catan for a bit we decided to skip the first one (way too busy) and opted for one with an open booth. The game and my opponent were very imposing since I hadn't played in a while versus my oppenents multiple times a week. I had to add some Dutch in the mix in order to compete. We decided that every number had to be pronounced in Dutch and since I'm the only Native Dutch speaker that equalized things a bit...;-) Oh, for those interested... I still lost that game, as with all the other ones. The next game we decided to try French... That didn't help either, but we had lots of fun and re-discovered some talent we didn't think we had...

Around 5.45pm it was time for church. God decided to make throw us an obstacle course... I was raining like CRAZY!!! Wow!!! At church we even had to wait a bit in the car since it was raining way to hard. It finally let up a bit and we decided to make a run for it under the cover of my jacket. It didn't help much...

Once in church the unusual things kept coming. How about the announcement of a Counrty worship-song accommodated by actual line-dancing? Not crazy enough? How about an evacuation due to a Tornado warning? Well, one of the more memorable services I've ever been to...

The evening didn't end there... Oh no... Next stop: Wealthy Theater for a performance of the River City Improv. We met-up with a friend at church and headed over to downtown GR. We got the tickets and scored front-row! What an impressive show. Absolutely hilarious on numerous occasions. Never heared a line 'the white men stole all my candy' just level the place and (the same sketch about a girl selling lemonade) in the style of a late-night religious fund-raser was an instant classic. If you're ever in GR on a night when they perform, go see them! Check their website for the latest schedule.

Since we did church on Saturday, Sunday-morning was a nice and relaxing time filled by some more Catan. This time the Cities & Knights expansion version. Makes it very interestng I must say... Still lost, but that was more to my fierce opponent...;-). At 1pm it was time for some football, another mutually liked past-time. Found a nice Buffalo Wild-Wings that was showing the Bears vs Vikings and had a great time. Thanks to the Pittsburgh fans for their impressive cheering! After we saw Brett Favre throwing his 400th career TD-pass on another screen we re-focussed on the Vikings, but a late 4th quarter INT lead to a TD for the Bears and a loss for the Vikings. Well, can't win 'm all.

Time flies when you're having fun so time to leave GR (which was bright and sunny again) and head back to Ohio. Wish I could have stayed a while longer, but since I promised the boss to check-up on a few things at work I had to leave. It's still a 4 hour drive so...

Thanks to everybody who made it a weekend to remember...

1 comment:

Jen said...

What a great recap of the weekend. (I had fun too!)