Denmark Europe Study Abroad

Copenhagen: Tivoli at Halloween and the Crown Jewels

This weekend Kelcy came to Copenhagen!

Her flight got in pretty late on Thursday night, but the next day we still got up early because I had to go to class.  After some pastries, I dropped Kelcy off at the museum and we met up again after criminology to go to Tivoli!  It just reopened for Halloween season, so everything was decorated with pumpkins.  We went a bunch of rides, including one that went upside down super slowly (and I don’t think either of us recommend that one because it made us pretty dizzy).  We also got shouted at in Danish at the upside down ride because we were supposed to empty our pockets.  Seeing as that is not a phrase I had encountered before, I was unable to translate this time.  In general though now I’m at the point where when people speak to me in Danish I usually can tell what they want me to do, so that was a pretty exciting realization.

Saturday was basically an informal walking tour covering most of Copenhagen.  We went inside Rosenborg Castle (which used to be the summer castle for the royals) and got to see the crown jewels and some other gorgeous artifacts.  Then we stopped by the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, the sidewalk trampolines, Amalienborg, Christianborg, the old stock exchange (which, fun fact, the Danes tried to put crocodile statues on but no one knew what a crocodile looked like and so they look pretty weird and everyone just calls them dragons) and walked down Strøget.  As the day progressed I realized that I’ve learned quite a bit of history about Copenhagen, so it was exciting to put that to use and tell someone else about my favorite sites.

Kelcy, I know you read this, so thanks for coming to visit me!  It was great to see you again.  And we’ll be reunited in a month in Paris 🙂

Hej hej!

Denmark Europe Study Abroad

Odense: Hans Christian Andersen and Missing My Train

The other day, in a moment of (almost unprecedented) spontaneity, I booked a train ticket to Odense since I didn’t have class today.  This is the third largest city in Denmark (read: not actually a large city), and its claim to fame is that it’s the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen.  (side note: I find it amusing that they’re capitalizing on this fact when HCA left there some time in his early teens and almost starved on the streets of Copenhagen to avoid going back)

My journey did not start exactly the way I had hoped, because I accidentally set my alarm for 6:50 p.m. instead of a.m.  Oops.  Luckily, with Danish train tickets, you only have to buy a new seat assignment instead of a full new ticket, so it was only $5-6.  And the trains here are incredibly nice.

Odense was more or less what I imagined when I thought of Europe.  It seems exactly like the kind of place that would produce one of the best known authors of fairy tales in the world.  Of course, at the time it did produce HCA, the town was fairly poor and was probably not this pretty.  Now, it’s idyllic and old fashioned.  I started out following the Hans Christian Andersen walking tour, and hit all the spots on that, including the museum and the childhood home.  It’s so strange to me that they have the belongings from him and his parents just sitting there.  I could have picked up the china if I wanted to.

Since I’m learning about HCA in class, it was pretty cool to see the places I read about in his autobiography.  Odense also has a lot of statues relatedto his tales, like the paper boat that’s mentioned in The Steadfast Tin Soldier (which, incidentally, was the inspiration for Toy Story).  I spent quite a bit of time in the park pictured above as well.  The rest of my time I spent walking around the city center.  Like Copenhagen’s Strøget, they had a pedestrian street running down the middle with many of the shops.  I ended up stopping for Danish ice cream, which was very rich but delicious.  Although, the whipped cream was a little too heavy/sweet for my tastes.

As Odense is not as catered to the international community as Copenhagen is, it was much more difficult for me, a non-Danish speaker.  English proficiency was still excellent, but whereas Copenhagen has many of the signs in English, Odense was entirely in Danish.  People seemed significantly more surprised when they spoke to me in Danish and I answered with a blank stare or an English response.  Sometimes, if I think I know what they’re asking, I just nod.  Looking forward to learning at least enough in my Danish class to avoid the total “deer-in-the-headlights” look.

Danish word for you: jordbær (pronounced your-bear).  Meaning strawberry.  This is a very important word for me, because strawberry flavor is usually safe for things like yogurt.  Also, strawberry whipped cream was also an option at the ice cream shop but I didn’t try it.

Denmark Europe Study Abroad

Copenhagen: Grocery Shopping Is Confusing

Let’s talk about food.

Today marked my… fifth time at the grocery store, I think.  I initially was going to this pretty awful one, but now I’ve switched to the Føtex, which is much better, because at least in this case the foods are found in logical, non arbitrary locations.  Exception, of course, being the third picture where alcohol is apparently considered “Chips and Snacks.”  The first several times I went were pretty rough, as I mostly wandered around the store, overwhelmed and disoriented, hoping that I might find something that looks like food to me.  At one point, I accidentally bought tortellini that had ham in it, which I gave to my roommate.

Today, however, was the most successful experience I’ve had at the grocery store yet.  After asking an employee (who had to go check with someone else), I learned that “havre” means oats, which meant that I found normal Cheerios!  And, better yet, I actually managed to pay for my groceries without the cashier realizing I was an American.  I now have most of the important staples, like bread, butter, apples, pasta, frozen pizza, and cereal.  What I really need to do is start getting up earlier and actually making time for breakfast, because getting through class without that is a huge struggle.  Overall, though, I’m managing.  Just finding frozen pizza was probably the best thing that’s happened to me with regards to food.

New Danish word of the day: fødselsdag (pronounced few-suls-day).  It means birthday, and is super fun to say.  In one of the sentences we practiced in Danish today: Jeg har fødselsdag i september.