Sunday, April 17, 2011

København, Denmark--Spring Break 2011

A few weeks ago in the middle of March, I went with Kristin and Amber to Copenhagen, Denmark to visit our good friend Oli Jakup Jakobsen. In the fall, Oli Jakup had studied as an exchange student in Moscow and we got to know him through the young adults Bible study we all went to on Tuesdays. In December he moved back to Denmark where he is studying. He will graduate in May and return to his home in the Faroe Islands. Most of you have probably never heard of these islands, but they are situated halfway between Scotland and Iceland. They are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, which is why Oli goes to school there, but the islands are very different from Denmark and he wants to return as soon as he graduates. Anyway, we decided to travel to Denmark to explore it on our spring break. It was great that Oli was still there so we could spend time with him. He was kind enough to let us stay at his flat. We slept on mattresses on the floor and on his couches. It was a very nice set up.

There is so much to tell, so I will just share some of the highlights. It was quite windy and cold while we were there, but we bundled up as best we could and went to see the sights. The first day we walked from his flat to the downtown area--a couple of kilometers away. It was a long but nice walk and we saw a lot. After that we got the Copenhagen Card so we could take the public transportation.

On our walk we searched for the graves of the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard and the fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen.

And we found them!

We walked over the beautiful canals. It is pretty from a distance, but when you look closely at the water, it is unfortunately full of garbage. Sad.

We saw a protest by a bunch of farmers. They had driven their tractors into the city and parked them in the main square. We asked a farmer what it was about and he told us of how they had lots of extra taxes and restrictions and wanted these lessened. This picture is great and I like how it is a good representation of Denmark--an agricultural country in the midst of high culture and long history.

Copenhagen is a city of bikes. There are probably more bikes than cars. They even have their own bike lane that is as big as the car lanes, and watch out for them because they won't stop for you.

We saw Amalienborg Palace, where the royal family lives. And the guards were in amazing uniform.

We walked around the harbor and some of the most scenic areas of Copenhagen. It was beautiful and people were milling about and enjoying themselves.

We went to a zoo and some other nice museums. The zoo was okay--not the best I've been to, but not bad. My favorite day was the day we took the train out of the city to a little village about 40 minutes away. In this quaint, beautiful village is the Frederiksborg Slot. This is a huge castle and it took my breath away. Unfortunately it closed 10 minutes before we got there. Apparently they close early in the winter months because the castle does not have electricity and it gets dark early. So we had to walk around outside, but we had a marvelous time.

Of course we also stopped along the way at a cute cafe and bought another Chai Latte. I think this was maybe chai latte #5. I think we had one each day. We hadn't had them since we moved to Russia since we couldn't find a coffee shop that served them in Moscow. We were obsessed with them.

On one of the last days, Oli drove us about 100km outside of Copenhagen. If you don't know, Denmark is made up of a series of islands and one main peninsula. Copenhagen is on a small island in the north east part of the country. We drove south and crossed a bridge to a different island. Denmark is very flat with very few hills. There is only one part of the country that has a bit of elevation and those are some cliffs called the cliffs of Mun. This is pronounced as "moon." They are a white chalky substance that look a bit like the cliffs of Dover in southern England. There was a very long staircase that took us to the base of the cliffs where we walked along the edge of the sea and enjoyed the scenery.

Of course we also saw The Little Mermaid. This is the iconic statue for Copenhagen, as their most famous author, Hans Christian Andersen, wrote the story of The Little Mermaid. Overall, this was a lovely trip.

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