A walk down Strøget & other places

Lisa here. We’ve done so much walking here in Copenhagen.  Today we started early as we were going to make our way towards the American Embassy and let them know Caitlin was here. Don’t know why we thought we could walk right in and say hello.  We were turned away at the door and told we needed an appointment! I really couldn’t believe that so I asked the gate keeper again saying, “Are you sure we need an appointment, we’re American Citizens! My daughter is going to graduate School here and we just wanted to let you know she was going to be here for a while…” The nice young man told me EVERYONE needed an appointment and directed me to the sign which had the American Embassy Website address on it. Well, all that walking and mission number one for the day was unsuccessful.

So, we then we walked down the street and found Kastellet which had an awesome windmill … which we took pictures of.  It was a beautiful cool breezy day… sun shining… We walked down the street and roamed around Amalienborg, which is the winter home of the royal family.

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Next we found our way to Rosenberg Castle, where we walked around for a bit. I wasn’t much interested in seeing the treasury of jewels.  Queen Margrethe II is a direct descendant of Gorm the old. Image

We stopped at a delightful little shop at the park entrance where Caitlin ordered a most delicious Chai Latte.

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We also went to the botanical gardens which is part of the University of Copenhagen… pretty place, can’t imagine the work involved in the upkeep of that place. They had a butterfly room. I tried to catch one but it flew away.

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Then we went to the train station and bought our train tickets to Bornholm for our trip on Thursday…

Took a stroll down Strøget which is the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe.  We saw the most people I’ve seen ever here in DK. We found a nice place to eat lunch which had an all you eat buffet… and we ate our fill.

Impressions, Copenhagen is a quiet city.  People walk and bike and metro everywhere. Cars are small and there are fewer of them. Everything is extremely expensive.  Minimum wage here is equivalent to about $20.00.  Smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches) are delightful… especially the one with smoked herring topped with some kind of egg salad, crisp fresh onion and some greens served on a dense piece of rye…. Yummmm. The people we’ve met have been very welcoming.  Obesity isn’t an issue here, with all the walking and biking people do. Overall I think they all leave much less of a footprint on their surroundings. I find myself remembering to bring the reusable bags to the supermarket, and not using reams of TP in the bathroom. People here unplug their appliances when not in use and recycle bottles for $$.

The sun rises early and sets late… 10:00 pm… or rather 22:00 hours…and when we fall into bed at night it takes no time at all to fall asleep. I’m signing off now… Night everyone.

-mama trekker

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Smørrebrød!!

Monday July 30th 2012

Today was another day filled with sights to see and lots of walking.  I also got my bike today!  It’s a 7 speed bike and it has a cute little basket and lights and a bell!  I took it for a ride to see how long it would take me to bike to campus which turned out to be 20 minutes… not too shabby! 

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 My Bike!  Haven’t picked out a name yet… taking suggestions!

We headed right to the tourist office this morning to inquire about the regional trains and how they work.  After taking our ticket for the queue we looked around, picking up some maps and brochures for different things.  A short 10 minutes later we were greeted by a smiling face ready to answer our questions.  I asked her about the train system and she told me all about it… yes!  Ready to conquer some other parts of Denmark!  After that it was off to get my bike.  The red one that I had initially wanted had been sold, so I picked out a similarly priced gray bike.  After some haggling courtesy of my awesome mom, we got a discount on the basket bike lights and bike lock.  They said it would be ready to go by 4pm that day, and we were off to explore more of Copenhagen! 

We did a canal tour of Copenhagen, which allowed us to see the city from the water.  I really enjoyed the tour we went on.  We were allowed to ‘hop on & hop off’ so we could see the sights we wanted up close.  We got off at the little mermaid and said hello to this little lady!

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The famous little mermaid!

 After that it was back on the boat to see the rest of Copenhagen. 

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 Some sights seen from the boat!

 We ate lunch in Nhyavn, which is absolutely stunning.  The houses lining the main canal are all historical landmarks, and we ate a traditional Danish lunch of smørrebrød at Cap Horn.  We ate 3 delicious open face sandwich’s, but mom and I agreed the Herring was our favorite… I don’t think I’ve ever had Herring before but this was awesome!  The only thing I don’t really like about Denmark is that EVERYONE smokes here.  They don’t seem to have laws about smoking on the outside terraces of restaurants and I find it a little hard to enjoy the taste of a meal when someone is practically blowing smoke in your face.  Yuck.  The meal was a little costly DKK 330 or 54 USD but it was so worth it to bite into this delicious tradition.  A wicked storm blew in right as we were finishing lunch and we quickly ‘hopped on’ to the second leg of our tour of the day, the ‘hop on & hop off’ bus tour of the city.  

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Our Delicious Lunch!

 

We were able to ride out the storm and see a lot of the city from the bus.  Copenhagen is really a small city; you can see practically every major site in an hour on the bus!  I think that is why so many people bike around here!  After our bus tour we were back to the bike shop to pick up my bike and then back to the metro to head home.  I got off at the stop near my University to time how long it would take me to travel home, and biked up right as my mother was crossing the little bridge to get to my building.  Perfect timing!  We went to the mall to actually look around at what the largest mall in Scandinavia had to offer, got an ice cream treat and stocked up on some breakfast for tomorrow.  It’s bed time again now.  Looking forward to another awesome day tomorrow in Copenhagen!  Hopefully we will be able to get out and get pictures of all the things we couldn’t in the rain!

A not so lazy Sunday

Sunday July 29, 2012

 

Today was an excellent day! I woke up without a sore back because I had a wonderful bed to sleep in. when I finally rolled out of bed it was time to go to Christianshavn, part of Copenhagen to walk around this beautiful part of the city.  First stop was a walk past the Royal Library.  In Copenhagen if it is not a special shopping day, most stores and businesses are closed.  We couldn’t go inside the library, but we got to see the town around it.  After walking around the canal’s in this part of town, we took a walk around Christiansborg palace & gardens, where these kids were either having the best acid trip of their life or just doing some interpretive dancing… either way it was kindof awkward walking past people just twirling and spinning with no real destination in mind.  The gardens and castle were beautiful and mom and I enjoyed walking around the grounds.  We continued our walk around Copenhagen and casually strolled over to Christianshavn, which is best known for its picturesque streets and canals.  I think this is my favorite part of the city, because you really get a feel for how old this place actually is.  We stopped and had lunch at a little sandwich shop here, where our chef whipped together a yummy tuna fish sandwich for us, which we split.  We then continued our walk and stopped in Lagashust—resisting the temptation to buy every pastry in sight.  This shop is famous for its sweets, when I was in Copenhagen last year I had the pleasure of enjoying a strawberry tart and savored every last bite.  Today we just savored the smells.  We continued our walk down the canals and meandered over to the entrance of Christiana, Copenhagen’s free town.  We didn’t have enough time to take a stroll through the streets, however I did get to take a picture of the entrance, and then we headed on our way back to the metro. 

We then walked around my campus, and found the building where my language course would be.  I think the campus is pretty much closed for the summer, or it might have been that it was Sunday, but we couldn’t go in any of the buildings, so we just lazily walked around them.  We then walked from campus back to my apartment to see how long the walk would be (it’s 45 minutes).  On the walk home we passed by this very interesting stained glass art piece.  Mom and I decided it was about the creation of life.  There was a statue in the middle of women’s bodies surrounded by water. We then realized that the stained glass was different pictures of distorted men and women’s bodies.  My grandpa says that women are the hub of the wheel.  I think this piece is centered around women and how they are the center of the creation of life.  The water (which is usually a sign of life) flowed over the women’s bodies and surrounding the statue the glass art with men and women and other forms of life… I’m not entirely sure on this one…I’ll post some of the pictures and let you guys figure it out for yourself.  When I get on the internet tomorrow I am going to translate a brochure I found in Danish that (hopefully) explains what this piece is about.  Whatever it is I still find it gorgeous.  At night it lights up, but I have yet to see it when it is dark out because it doesn’t get dark until much after 10:00pm. 

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the middle part of the piece

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one of the 4 main sections 

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pregnant woman

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weirdo lookin man?

We then headed over to Bilka to get the FINAL things needed for my apartment and headed home.  I was able to finish putting my room together and then relax and eat dinner with mom.  We planned out our Monday (I’m getting my new bike!!) and now moms relaxing while I am blogging!  It’s been a fun day!  I can’t wait to start seeing some more of Denmark this week! 

 

Peace and love   

 

-Caitlin

First Days in Denmark! -Warning, it’s quite long!

WOW!  Finally I get to sit down and blog!  It has been a crazy couple of days… but honestly (and surprisingly) has all flowed very smoothly.  So on to my life from the minute I stepped off the plane!

 Let me start off by saying I am so lucky to have an amazing mother to help guide me through this process.  It wouldn’t be the same without her here and I feel loads better discovering all of this with her!

The line to get through customs was ridiculous.  This is the only time in my life where I have been scared of an escalator.  There was a HUGE pile up of people and I mean pile-up.  Riding up the escalator we quickly realized that the top was getting closer, and so were the loads of people.  It had turned into a crowd SO massive that when we reached the top we had no where to go, the escalator kept moving and we literally started to pile on top of each other.  I haven’t been in a mosh pit in quite sometime and now I remember why.  Super scary.  Around 20 seconds later however, everyone caught on to what was happening and all shoved in massively together.  We moved somewhat quickly to have our passports checked but got into another massive line down the ridiculously long airport hallway.  Although the process moved somewhat quickly (I thought we would be there for at LEAST two hours) we arrived at baggage claim an hour later.  After picking up our bags we stopped at the one (and only) Starbucks in Denmark to get internet access and a beverage.  We ended up only getting internet because (YIKES) the Starbucks prices were outrageous!  A tall latte (mind you not my Quad Soy Hazelnut ridiculous one) cost around 65 dkk.  USD… 10.76.  Nope.  Not paying 11 bucks for a cup of coffee.  Then panic set in.  What am I to do without my Starbucks?!  I think ill do the European thing and switch to tea!

We got a taxi to my apartment around 10AM.  I really like where I live (sans the construction) because it is super close to the airport (it was only 7 minute drive or so) and it’s only a 45 minute bike ride or a 15 minute metro ride.  I won’t be taking the metro much because again, one ticket to get me around the city or up to my campus is 29 kroner.  About 5 bucks for a one way ride, no thanks… 10 bucks a day will quickly add up.  Anyway, the cab driver had a slight issue finding an entrance to the place (construction) so he dropped us off at what appeared to be an entrance to something.  I left mom with the bags and walked through a parking garage to see how we could possibly get here.  The whole place is covered in dirt and gravel aka luggage transportation hell.  We walked around and around, crossed over a little bridge over a canal and dragged our 6 bags through the least gravel-y place.  Phew!  I was tired after that.  We went to the office and Lasse (an employee of Lejebro) gave us a grand tour of Signahuset (signal house).  First he showed me the common area that students are able to rent for anything and everything.  It’s nice, I think I might try and start a film night or something because there is a giant projector screen in the room.  Then we walked around to the laundry facilities where I learned that it costs me 8 kroner every time I was my clothes.  But the detergent and fabric softener are automatically filtered in, so I figured I am somehow getting my moneys worth.  It costs 50 ore for 10 minutes to use the dryer, so I will be air drying my clothes! Although 3 kroner for 60 minutes really isn’t that bad, but still I need to save every penny, well I guess kroner, while I am here.  He showed me my little storage unit in the basement and then finally my apartment! 

If I haven’t told you, I am in an apartment with 3 other people (who I have yet to meet, I think I’m the only one here so far).  We share a kitchen and 2 bathrooms and honestly it is really cute.  My room is a good size and I have a balcony so I can gaze out at Copenhagen.  I can actually see Sweden from where I stand!  I guess people here don’t really care about cleaning or leaving the place neat, because this place was GROSS when I got here.  Mom did a 5 hour kitchen make over, washing every dish and sorting through every cabinet while I tackled the bathroom.  The reason why it’s so messy is because when people move out, they are allowed to just leave there things here.  Which is good and bad in a sense.  Good because I don’t have to buy all new items for my apartment, Bad because they don’t care what state they leave it in.  After a thorough scrub down however the place looks live-able! 

After we dropped off our things we got straight to work.  First stop was the Danish Immigration Service so I could get my CPR number.  This is vital because you can’t do anything without it (open a bank account, get phone and internet etc etc).    I love street view from Google and thank goodness I do because I knew my way to the metro instantly.  We metro’d into Copenhagen and found the office following a map I had printed off at home.  Super simple!  I was expecting so many lines however we were in and out in less then 30 minutes!  I am now officially a temporary Citizen of Denmark!  YAY!  While we were walking around Copenhagen I took a minute to breathe it all in.  I can’t believe I am really here!  I live in Denmark now!  UNREAL!  Next stop was to get my biometrics recorded at another immigration office but they didn’t open until 3:00.  It was only 1:00 by the time we were done registering.  We stopped at a couple of bike shops to inquire about the costs of a bike.  I think I found the one that I will be purchasing my bike at… they seem to have the most reasonable prices from what I have seen so far.  I just hope I find the perfect bike!  We wandered around a little more and found a Danske Bank so I could open my bank account—again everything went smoothly—and finally meandered over to the office.  Which already (at 2:30) had a crowd of people outside.  At 3:00 the escalator scene played over in my head again while everyone pushed and shoved to be first in the queue line.  In Denmark (and most European countries I think) everyone gets a number and waits for their number to be called.  No standing in line once you’ve got that number!  I got my number and hurried inside to find a seat.  The office didn’t actually open until 3:30, which actually worked out in my favor because it allowed me to lazily lift my glance to the scroller on the TV, which promptly informed me that if I had to get my biometrics taken I could simply proceed to desk 11, 12 or 13. When they opened up, I ran straight back and was finished getting my fingerprints, picture and height officially taken in under 10 minutes.  PERFECT!  Mom and I quickly left the madhouse, and I gave my ticket to some pour soul who was in the back of the line still… your lucky day ma’am!  We then took transport back to the apartment, had a crazy cleaning session, and went to Fields (the biggest mall in Denmark) to go to Bilka (Denmark’s Walmart) to shop for some apartment supplies and dinner.  I had a slight breakdown while shopping, I really need to find a job here because everything is SO expensive and you get so little of it.  This is not over-sized America for sure.  I practically bought travel size bottles of shampoo & conditioner for about 30 kroner 6-bucks each.  A Bed sheet and pillow cover cost around 145 dkk, and the cheapest pillows cost 90 kroner.  I am going to have to get used to this currency really quick and hopefully be able to come up with a monthly budget so I can at least feed myself!   Also a factor in my breakdown was how foreign everything is to me.  I figured food is food, ill be able to tell what I am eating… WRONG!  Fruits and veggies I can decipher by looks but everything else is a mystery.  I want to continue eating healthy, so only fruits and veggies until I can figure out what exactly I am putting in my body!  I have finally gone Raw!  Yay!   

We came home and cooked up some dinner on all of our clean dishes and then I began to unpack some of my things into the one cabinet that was left in my room.  I constructed a closet with an extension rod I brought from home and began to hang up some of the clothes on some hangers that I found in my living room.  Then I threw the rest of my clothes on a pile in the floor, because that’s what me and mom were sleeping on that night!  (I had my bed set to be delivered on Friday, which turned out to be Saturday because I read the date wrong… sleeping on the floor again tonight—ouch)!  What an awesome first day I had though!  We were able to get so much accomplished and really no hassle.    Onto day 2!

We woke up at 7:00 this morning, Friday July 27, 2012 (thinking we were getting up at 8) ate breakfast (cheerios and bananas) and then realizing it was only 7:00, went over again to Bilka to see if we could get some more apartment things.  We bought lunch and dinner for today and some other cleaning supplies.  We came back all ready to wait for the Ikea delivery people.  We waited outside because we were afraid that they would run into the same issue we did with finding an entrance, and waited and waited.  I eventually went to the housing office to use the phone to call ikea, and then realized the delivery date said the 28th of July, not the 27th.  It was a good mistake however, because I was able to let the Ikea people know that the whole area was under construction and they had to cross a little bridge and then page me so I could let them up to my apartment.  (oh yeah, I have to buzz you in if you want to come up and see me—super cool).  Mom and I realized we had more of the day then we thought, so we went to the post office to get a no spam sticker, but the post office was out of these.  No problem, I just had to order it online.  We then went to Fields Mall again to inquire about a cell phone.  This super cute Danish guy Thomas helped us pick out a phone.  It’s only an HTC wildfire—not the best of the best—but it does everything I need and it was FREE!  I love free! And I only have a 6 month contract so in 6 months I can go back and get the new IPhone when it comes out, and I get a discount on my bill and a discount towards a new phone—hey I like this Denmark, no two year locked in bullcrap—I also got a free premium Spotify membership, which is great for me because I actually use Spotify as my main music player!  Sweet Deals!  He also signed me up for internet, which is just a little USB drive that I plug into the side of my computer and then, voila!  I have internet access!  I only have up to 2 MB per month of internet access from this little thing, and I have 10MB on my phone.  Hopefully that will be enough to cover everything… and if not, I can change it all in 6 months.  Mom and I came back after that grabbed our recycling and went to a place where you turn in bottles for kroner!  All the mess that we cleaned out of our house left us with a lot of bottles!  We just popped them into the machine and got our money!  It ended up only being 8 kroner or so, but we only turned in 4 bottles.  I know I will be dumpster diving if I need cash!  Then we came back to my apartment and mom cooked lunch while I set up my phone and internet.  We ended up falling asleep for longer then we thought, and ended up having a lazy evening.  Which is great because I (obviously) have a lot to blog about, and I am super exhausted still—I haven’t caught up with the time change. 

Womp.  Well that is enough for now!  I think you all can get a picture from this long blog!  I can skype call everyone for free so please skype call me!  I also have FB messenger set up on my phone and that can act as text messaging!  I got to talk with my Brother for a little bit which was extremely comforting! 

Eek!  It’s 10:41 now, the sun is just going down.  I have to be up early tomorrow to wait for the ikea people!  I love you all!  Denmark is Fabulous! 

 Peace & Love! 

-Krueger