Wednesday, May 30, 2012

København, Danmark

København, Danmark

Dates of Trip: May 10-14
Traveling Companions: Katarína (Slovakia)
Means of Transportation: Train & Plane

The View from the Round Tower

My trip to Copenhagen started out early evening of Thursday May the 10th. My friend Katarína and I caught a train to Vienna, and then a plane into CPH. You may be thinking, "Copenhagen? That is random... why did you go there?" It is a little bit random, but I went because the opportunity presented itself. Katarína had a friend from home studying there and she offered me the opportunity to go with her. It is this very friend who came and picked us up from the airport. His name is Martin, and he was accompanied with his friend Gabo, who was also from Slovakia. It was really nice of them to pick us up, especially considering we did not arrive until midnight. Throughout the whole weekend I saw just how hospitable and polite Slovakians are... they were all so nice to me! Once they drove us back to the dorm we were staying in all 4 of us split a bottle of wine just to wind down and enjoy the fact that we were all in Denmark together.

On Friday Gabo drove us into town so that he and Martin could show us around the city part of Copenhagen a bit (We were technically staying in a suburb called Kongens Lyngby). Three words can adequetly describe that day: SO MUCH WALKING. We saw the ever popular and over-rated "Little Mermaid' statue. (Hans Christian Anderson is a pretty big deal there... they even have a Hans Christian Anderson Museum attached to their Ripley's museum.) We also visited a section of Denmark called Christiana.
Outside of Christiana
Katarina and I before entering Christiana
Apparently the deal with Christiana is that it used to be some form of military base. It was evacuated in the 70's and some hippie/gypsy weed smoking folk decided to move in without permission. The thing is, they didn't move out when the government realized they were there and told them to scat. They have put up enough of a fight that everyone just kind of treats them as their own entity, not really under Danish rule. As I am sure you expected, Marijuana is legal there. No, we did not buy or smoke any as we aren't that type of crowd. It was really cool visiting it though. There was a lot of really bright, intricate graffiti there, which I loved because it wasn't just trashy street rat type stuff. Sadly I could not take any pictures of it... it was against one of Christiana's 3 rules: 1) no pictures 2) no running 3) have fun. Not kidding. Those are the rules. On the way out there is a sign that says "You are now entering the European Union." (on the back side of the entrance sign I have a picture with above) From that point on you are subject to Danish laws. 
Also on Friday, I tried my first Guinness, we ate cheap Chinese food, and I bought American Peanut butter! We happened to stroll past a candy shop that had an entire wall devoted to American delicacies; cheetos, kool-aid mix, pop corn salt, jello mix... quality stuff. It was a great day.


At the Beach
The whole gang (Gabo, Katerina,
Martin, Me, & Katarina) in
front of Kronborg (from Hamlet)

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) was holding it's world championship tournament, and Slovakia had a game on Saturday morning so we stayed in and watched that; they won and advanced to the next round! Afterwards we headed towards town again, but got in a fender bender. It is just my luck to be involved in an accident in a different country. Everyone was okay, but there was the unavoidable wait for the exchange of information, authorities, etc. Since we couldn't do much to help out, we left the boys to deal with all of that man stuff. Kateřina (Czech), Katarína (Slovak) [I know... it's confusing] and I all walked to a market to use up some time. We ended up buying this really delicious almond bread. I love markets. We had originally wanted to go into town to take part in some type of "electric-fest" or something like that. You could test drive electric cars and Segways, which I was super keen on. The car things took so long that it all ended before we could get there, so we had to restructure our day a bit. We had a lovely afternoon of driving where we visited the beach, the castle from Shakespeare's "Hamlet", and the former royal palace, Frederiksborg. We stopped at the store on the way home and got ingredients to make a very delicious dinner of Chicken and potatoes cooked in wine...YUM! I still need to get that recipe from Katarína...

Martin and Katarina at Tivoli
Canal Tour
After our canal tour
Gabo had to go out of town on Sunday so we were car-less. We decided to get something called the 24 hours cOPENhagen card; it would give us free entrance to a lot of tourist sites, as well as unlimited public transportation. I would say we definitely got our money's worth. We took an hour long tour of the Canals, visited a Jewish history museum, checked out the new parliament building (which has been rebuilt twice due to fires), as well as the ruins that were discovered beneath it during the second reconstruction. We visited one of the oldest functioning conservatories called "The Round Tower" which had arguably the best view of the city. We tried to check out the royal jewels, but got there 5 minutes after closing time...typical. We also went to an amusement park called Tivoli. All of this was included in our cOPENhagen card, it was a great investment. To finish off the night, I had a nice skype date with my parents while Martin and Katarína watched another IIHF game; Slovakia won again (They went on to win 2nd in the world, next to Russia). Finally we ate crepes for dinner... I feel no shame.

Martin was nice enough to escort us all the way to the airport via public transportation. We had to leave the apartment at 3:30 AM, which was just was too early. I caught a few hours of sleep, but everyone else stayed awake the whole night. There is no way I could have managed that. Due to a few delays we got back to Linz later than expected, around lunchtime on Monday. Luckily, this caused me to miss my German course and gave me an excuse to drop it, so YAY for being done with that waste of time class.

Until my next journey... Auf Wiedersehen!

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