Thursday, May 29, 2014

Copenhagen on a Budget


Denmark is expensive. You can't avoid that. But you can still see Copenhagen without spending all your kroners.

Free Things to Do:
(These are in order, concerning distance from closest to farthest away if you start at Norreport station. They are all within walking distance.)

  • The Botanical Gardens : This is a Copenhagen gem. Climb the spiral stairs in the Palm House, marvel at the plants from all over the world, and see many neat statues. I could walk around here for hours. 
  • Rosenborg Castle Gardens : This is next to The Botanical Gardens and is a great way to enjoy the city on a sunny day. Smell the roses, view the Alice in Wonderland esque gardens, or have a picnic. Fun fact: It's the oldest and most visited park in central Copenhagen. 
  • National Gallery of Denmark : This is a great art museum because it combines both historical and modern art. I thought it felt like half Louisiana and half Ny Carlsberg Glypotek, but those both cost money and this one is free! 
  • Post and Tele Museum : As a Communication major, I don't know why I didn't go to this museum sooner. When I actually went, I realized I wasn't missing much. it's pretty small, only takes like an hour to go through and yeah it can be a bit boring. My favorite parts were seeing the progression of telephones and cell phones. It's still worth going to. 
  • Black Diamond library : What an amazing architectural structure. I felt like I was walking inside a piece of art. They have a couple free art exhibitions and others cost a little bit. You can see all the students studying and working on group projects and can simply enjoy the view of the waterfront. 
  • National Museum of Denmark : If you want to learn about Denmark's history, this is the place for you. I recommend the Stories of Denmark exhibition 1660- 2000 because it lets you see a great range of history. My honest opinion is that it's worth seeing but beware because it can be a bit boring.  
  • Nyhavn : The all- mighty Copenhagen tourist trap. I'll never understand why this and The Little Mermaid are the poster children for Copenhagen. Anyway, walking around and taking a new Facebook profile picture by Nyhavn is free. However, do not eat at the restaurants and cafes there because they are overpriced and poor quality. Go anywhere away from the touristy streets.  
Cheap Things to Do
  • Round Tower : costs just 25kr and gives you a great view of the city. 
  • Rosenborg castle : it's 60kr for students and 90kr for adults. You can see the crown jewels and the spectacular castle. It's a must-do if you want to feel royal and see how the wealthy kings and queens lived.
  • Canal Tour: While in Nyhavn, hop on a guided canal tour because it's a great way to see Copenhagen. It costs a reasonable $6 or so and lasts like an hour. 
Cheap Eats
  • A pastry : they usually cost about 20kr and can fill you up. I recommend Sankt Peder's Bakery and Lagkagehuset
  • Chinese box : This isn't very Danish but you can get a take away box of greasy Chinese food for just 30kr
  • Sandwich Pigen : they have big sandwiches and large salads for about 50kr. Popular among DIS students
  • Studenterhuset : A wonderful place for American and Danish students. They have the cheapest coffee, food and beer. I remember they had a deal where you could get a coffee and croissant for 10kr
I'm happy to share a few of the things I've learned from my time in Copenhagen with others :) 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Today I just wandered around Copenhagen.

My favorite statue in the Botanical Gardens
selfie in the gardens
 I started from Norreport and went to the Botanical Gardens first. They were just as gorgeous as I remember. It was just more crowded because of the nice weather.
Next, I went to Rosenborg where I walked around the gardens.

I saw the top of the Marble Church so I walked toward it. I went inside and marveled at it's size and beauty.
In Kastellet

I knew I was near Kastellet, a citadel I had never been to. So I walked toward there. I passed the Little Mermaid and Amelienborg. The citadel was neat because of how old it was. There was a windmill! It was a bit hard to figure out where to enter but now I know.

I walked down to Nyhavn and looked at all the other tourists.

I walked down Stroget. It didn't take me long to find a shop I wanted to go into. I bought another troll bead for my bracelet. I also went in Magasin, an epic department store.

By this time I was really hungry so I made a beeline to Riccos Cafe, a place where I remember enjoying the food. It was just like I remembered. I got an iced latte and a salmon sandwich. They had free wi fi and comfy couches!
City Hall 

I explored the area around DIS where I spent a lot of time. I walked past City Hall, Tivoli and got a map from the Visitors center.

I walked back and found my way to Christianborg. I hadn't been there since my first day in Copenhagen when we did a little city scavenger hunt.

It was a lot of walking and totally worth it. I couldn't have asked for nicer weather and I did a lot.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Geneva, Switzerland

This past weekend, I flew to Geneva to visit my good friend, Olivia, and her family. (I wrote this sitting in my host family's new egg chair. I feel Danish.)
  • Friday
    • I go to the airport at 3 pm and the kiosk says I need to talk to someone at the customer service desk. "Oh no!" I think to myself. The woman tells me my flight is cancelled! My mind starts going a million miles an hour. But then she says that SAS has rebooked me on a flight that leaves 3 hours later. Thank goodness. The flight was with Swiss Airlines, which seemed to be a classy more expensive airline because there were a lot of business people and they served really yummy food. They even passed out little pieces of chocolate at the end of the flight! Yeah it was annoying to sit at the Copenhagen airport for 5 hours but it could have been a lot worse. I was happy that I was able to call and tell my mom and Olivia about the flight change. I met Olivia in Geneva and we arrived at her home around 11pm. 
  • Saturday

    • We went to Jet d'Eau (I kept calling it either "the fountain" or mispronouncing it as "Je t'adore") and it was quite amazing. It blends in with the clouds and you can get pretty close to the actual fountain. We bought (overpriced) sandwiches from a cafe Lena recommended and ate them by the water (because it cost more to stay there and eat.) We went to a really cool beach that had a playground of swings and stuff to climb on that was all made of recycled tires. We started the day with a fun game of Settlers of Catan. When we finished the game in the evening, Luke ended up winning. I tried my best, but he really knows what he is doing. Her mom made us ham and cheese omelets that were delicious. We went to the transportation place to get Olivia a yearlong bus pass and me a two day pass. Olivia got a new phone while Lena and I looked around in these shops. Just for fun, we tried on these outrageous traditional dresses. They were so hard to put on! Who knew dresses could be so complicated? 
    • We took a boat to the other side of the lake where we saw the United Nations building and a neat giant three legged chair (symbolizing vetrans who lost limbs, I think). We explored the botanical garden and smelled some beautiful roses. We ran (literally) back to the other side of the lake so we could go shopping. I bought a cute top and hair clips from H&M. 
    • We were all so tired and sunburned from a long day. Olivia's mom made a delicious dinner . Olivia and I baked chocolate chip cookies at night.
  • Sunday

    • Around lunch time, Lena, Olivia and I ate crepes at this neat cafe in Old Town Geneva. Guess how much it cost? About $10. Yikes! But it tasted really good. Olivia showed me around Old Town, taking me to the church, the canons, the park, the longest bench, etc. We went to the art history museum and both enjoyed the Monets and Renoirs. We came back and played another game of Catan (Lena won) and they taught me a game they call "Oh Hell" but I think it's also called Up and Down the River because I remember learning it before. It was really hard to say goodbye to Olivia and I was sad to leave Geneva. I am very grateful that she could show me around and that I got to stay with her family. Thank you! 
Overall, I thought Geneva was a unique blend of French, Italian and German. Yes, it was very expensive. I loved the mountains always in the background and being near the Lake. It's an exciting city that's very alive.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Walking around Helsingør

On a walk with Berta & FarFar
This morning, I went for a walk with FarFar (my host dad's father) in the woods with Berta (the dog) and to FarFar's garden. It was so beautiful both in the woods and in the garden. It was quite relaxing and nice to be with FarFar. Berta is so cute because she gets really happy when FarFar comes to the house but really sad when he drops her back off at home. FarFar smiled and said "Berta's my dog" :)

Selfie behind the cheese shop
He dropped me off in Helsingør where I went to my host family's cheese shop. Ulrik showed me around Helsingør like where the best shops are and the church that him and Gitte were married in. We walked to the area near the Helsingor library where there is a harbor and the statue of the boy Little Mermaid named "Him" . He blinks once every hour. It's really great to see all the things that I had seen in the winter time but now to experience them in the summer. I walk around places and think "Oh I remember being cold over there or that thing being covered in snow." Ulrik told me about the old ships in the harbor and how the area has evolved over he years. We drank some delicious vanilla iced coffees at the library cafe, talked about life and looked at the harbor.

Me and "Him"
We went to the new Maritime Museum of Denmark  which was the most unique museum I've ever been to. It's built in an old shipyard. You walk down these big ramps to get to it and all of he museum kind of overlaps each other in a way. It has such a Danish design and is so modern looking. I learned a lot about ships, WWI and ships used for shipping.

We went back to the cheese shop and I went shopping with Gitte. We went to to Fotex and I always love Danish grocery stores because there are honestly more similarities than differences between American grocery stores. Yeah there are a few different foods but it's organized pretty similarly and it works the same of course.
Julie playing the drums 

Gitte and I went to the Espergaerde center to see Julie's marching band. They sounded really great and it was so nice to see them after hearing so much about them.

Today Gitte's egg chair finally came. She ordered it back in January so she had waited a long time for it. Her face lit up like a child unwrapping a Christmas present when she opened the package. The egg chair is very Danish and looks nice.

Gitte loves her new egg chair :) 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

At home in the city of Copenhagen

Today I went to Copenhagen with Julie and ate a nice dinner with some close family friends of my host family.

Julie and I went to go get fresh bread and pastries from the supermarket for breakfast. We quickly ate some bread when we got home and then drove to catch the train. The train we were hoping to catch was cancelled so we had 20 minutes to eat our pastries. I've missed Danish bread and pastries!

In Copenhagen, we saw the Royal Guard at Rosenborg. They were marching, playing drums and flutes. We walked around near Norreport until we saw a Tiger. I did some much needed shopping in Tiger :) It was so wonderful to walk around Copenhagen both because the weather was nice and because I knew it so well. Like, Julie wasn't sure how exactly to get to Cafe Paludon and I knew the way. We ate there for lunch. I got the herring because Denmark is where I learned to love herring and it's tough to find in the States.

  We went to Nyhavn and then to Amelienborg. I could totally be a Copenhagen tour guide. I know my way around pretty well. I felt at home stepping off the Norreport train because I knew where to go. It was near Amalienborg that we saw a crowd of people around a boat. Julie overheard them say that the Crown Prince was coming. Sure enough, he came out of the palace and got onto the boat!

We continued our touristy journey and went to The Little Mermaid. We ate some delicious ice cream there. We caught the train from Osterport and went back to Espergaerde.

Some of my host parent's friends came over (I'm not sure how to spell their names...) and we had dinner with them. They are so funny and it was great to see them again.
At Amalienborg

One of those men is the Crown Prince

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Flight over

The flight from Columbus to Chicago was fine. I sat by the window, next to a nice quiet girl. I read my book about Denmark and Divergent on my ipad.

The Chicago airport can be so confusing because it isn't labeled which terminal the International one is. Thank goodness my mom told me to go to #5 because she was right. I took a little train there. It was a bit surreal how much I remembered Chicago from when I was there returning from Copenhagen with Miaja and Liesje. I recognized parts also from when we flew out of there to London.

I bought a not so great cup of coffee and a banana nut muffin since I had like two hours to kill. I was glad I had a long layover because getting past security and to my gate took like 45mins. When I boarded the plane, I heard some Danish and saw Danes I started to smile a lot. Yay. On the plane, I sat next to a nice guy from Norway. He was an electrician and he had a wife and two kids. He wasn't shy about telling me how great Norway is.

I slept for maybe 3 hours, read like half of Divergent, and watched some TV. The food they gave us on the plane was really yummy. For dinner we had beef, potatoes, carrots, bread and a lemon cake desert. I was content. The flight was fine until we landed and that's when I got impatient, like just let me off already. It was a long line to show them my US passport and then it took a while to get my luggage. I was like I just want to see my host family!

In Denmark  

Julie took these really sweet pictures of me, Gitte and
 my birthday cake
Gitte and Ulrik met me at the airport and we were happily reunited! When we came home, I was reunited with Julie and Signe (they had school). I cried when I saw my old room again because I had dreamed about this moment for so long and was so happy to be back. My host family gave me a really nice Troll Beads bracelet for my birthday.

Almost all of the Sjoltov family came over for dinner. It was soooo nice to see everyone again and chat with them. Gitte baked me a traditional Danish birthday layer cake (lagekage) with candles and everything. I'll always remember that moment when everyone was singing Happy Birthday to me :) I tried to blow out all 22 of the candles but 7 didn't go out so apparently that means I have 7 boyfriends-- one for each day of the week!

I also wanted to clarify that I am not moving to Denmark, I'm just here for a little less than two weeks.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I'm so happy to say that I will be returning to Denmark May 19-May 30!