Sunday, August 28, 2011

exploring Roskilde

After being stuck inside all day yesterday due to rainstorms, I was ready to explore this afternoon. Knud and I travelled to the town of Roskilde, which was founded by Vikings in the 10th century.

Roskilde Domkirke
We started our adventure at the Roskilde Domkirke (cathedral), where all the Danish kings and some of the queens have been buried since the Protestant Reformation. There were many special burial rooms and chapels honoring particular kings (all named either Frederik or Christian).  My favorite pieces were the final resting place of Queen Margrethe I and the Alterpiece, which depicts scenes from the life of Christ.
Queen Margrethe I

Next, we stopped by the Roskilde Harbor, where we saw Viking boat replicas, built in the same fashion (and using the same tools!) as the real boats. The harbor also houses many sailboats and fishing boats, as well as a beautiful view.

View from the Roskilde Harbor

I also enjoyed my first Danish ice (ice cream).  It was a delicious combination of strawberry, white chocolate, and mint ice cream, and definitely worth the walk and semi-high cost (about 5 American dollars).

Friday, August 26, 2011

elephant parade

Orientation is officially over and classes have started here in Copenhagen. On Wednesday (the last day of orientation) we went on a scavenger hunt around the city to different posts where we met DIS staff members to learn a little bit more about some national landmarks.

The first stop was a place called the King's Square, which is centered around a statue of a man on a horse. I learned that in Europe, any statue of a man on a horse means that man was once a King, but is now dead. We also went to the Royal Palace, which is a set of four buildings around another statue of a king. Queen Margrethe II, the Crown Prince and Princess all live in separate buildings.

Palace where Queen Margrethe II lives.
Next we got to see the building where the Parliment is housed. According to history, this building was originally created for the royal family to live in after the original palace burn down. But when it was completed, the royal family wished to stay where they were currently living, which is the Royal Palace you see today.

There is something really cool in Copenhagen this year called the Elephant Parade. It's mission is to be the world's largest financial support organization for the Asian elephant, which is currently threatened by extinction.  The Elephant Parade is an open air art exhibit that has been traveling around Europe, including London, the Neatherlands, and now Denmark. The elephant statues are painted by artists, locally and around the world.  Money can be donated, which goes to the Asian Elephant Foundation, in support of elephant hospitals and lease of land where elephants can mate and live in peace. There are 102 statues scattered around Copenhagen. It is a goal of mine to visit every statue. Here is the website if you want to learn more about the project:

A statue names Elephant Sound near the City Hall.
After class today there is a social for all Sustainability in Europe students at an organic restaurant called BioMio. After the social I will hope to get my first taste of Copenhagen nightlife.

Monday, August 22, 2011

all settled in

I have been in Denmark now for two full days. There are so many new things to take in and explore! Yesterday I arrived at 7:30 in the morning and was picked up by my host family. I spent the whole day getting my things unpack and getting to know my host parents. They were very welcoming and one of their cats (named Simba!!) has taken to sleeping in my bed when I am not there.

The first day of orientation was today. The commute to the city is about 40 minutes for me each morning, using both the bus and train system. Hopefully I will get the hang of both systems soon. I also picked up my textbooks today (which were pretty heavy to carry around the city all day). It looks like I will have a lot of reading to do for my Nordic Mythology class.

I tried my first smørrbrød today. It is an open-faced sandwich, usually containing some sort of meat or vegetables (mine had potato slices and lemon). I also experienced my first traditional Danish dinner. Jonna made a meat dish that is very similar to meatloaf, only in small ball-form. We also had some sort of vegetable in a creamy sauce and drank Spanish red wine.

I still don't have wireless internet so I can't post any pictures yet. Hopefully I will have access by Wednesday and can post pictures of my house.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

a pre-departure update

It is hard to believe that I will be leaving for Denmark on Saturday! There are so many things I still need to do and so many people I still want to see before I leave America.

I have been in constant contact with my host family in Denmark. I will be staying with a very nice older couple whose names are Knud and Jonna.

They live only 15 km from Copenhagen, which will make my daily commute to the school nice and short. I will have my own room and share the rest of the house with Jonna and Knud and their two adorable cats.

I am looking forward to meeting them and exploring the city of Copenhagen. The next time you hear from me I will be all moved in and orientation will have begun.