Core Course Week: Icelandic Adventures

Hey all! Remember when I actually posted on my blog? Me neither! April has been absolutely insane here. Between two weeks of traveling and three weeks of being overwhelmed by class work, I haven’t had much time to post. So I’m going to jump back 5 weeks ago to when I went to Iceland. Iceland is the most magical place I’ve ever been. Everything stands in sharp contrast to one another. The white of the snow with the black of the rock. The red of the lava with the blue of the ice. It seems like this place shouldn’t exist, but luckily, it does and I got to spend a week there with my core class, Glaciers and Human Impact (aka The Ice Cubes). Throughout the semester, my class has been studying glaciology and how glaciers have responded to climate change in the past in order to understand what may happen in the future. Ping ponging between glacials, stadials, the past, and the present has been difficult to keep up with, but going to Iceland with my class really put it into perspective. There’s something about seeing in person what you’ve been talking about that just clarifies everything. DIS is a really unique study abroad program, because it provides the opportunity to contextualize your learning outside of the classroom and to see more than just Denmark. We arrived in Reykjavík on Saturday evening. After dinner at Potturin og Pannan, we had the evening free. So we all hung out at the hotel then went out to basically the only street in Reykjavík that has anything on it to check out the night life. It was a great night of dancing and slipping on the ice covered streets.

IMG_1437

Anchoring down in Reykjavik

IMG_1400

View from next to our hotel

Sunday we had breakfast at the hotel and then went to the University of Iceland for a lecture on the geology and glaciology of the country. After that we took a long walk along the water where we had a packed lunch. Then we went to the Iceland Meteorological Office to hear about how they have to predict and issue warnings for any of Iceland’s strange events. From volcanic eruptions to meltwater floods to the general weather, the IMO has a lot on its plate to keep the people of Iceland safe. Afterward, we visited the 871 +/- 2 museum, which has a house foundation dated to 871 (give or take 2 years). Then we had another night in Reykjavík to ourselves. We decided to tuck in early since we would be out hiking the next day.

IMG_1443

View from the walk to the Iceland Meteorological Office

IMG_1444

871 +/- 2 settlement

On Monday, we left Reykjavík and started heading east. We started out going to Þingvellir, which is the site of the first Icelandic parliament and also where two tectonic plates are spreading. After walking around in the frigid temperatures, we went back to the bus and headed to lunch at Frioheimer, which is a greenhouse that grows tomatoes and has the best tomato soup ever. Then we visited Seljalandfoss, which is a beautiful waterfall on the south side of the island. Everything was covered in ice so a couple of people got stuck behind the waterfall, which was comical to say the least. Then we drove for a while to the black sand beaches of Reynir, where there are massive waves and basalt columns. Then we headed to the hotel for dinner and to work on our booklet for the trip.

IMG_1448

Overlooking Þingvellir

IMG_1452

Þingvellir

IMG_1457

Walking between the basalt cliffs

IMG_1459

Looking back to the basalt cliffs

IMG_1461

Lots and lots of basalt

IMG_1471

The guide said this was one of the best scuba diving spots in the world

IMG_1477

Cute little greenhouse where we had lunch

IMG_1478

Rows and rows of tomatoes

IMG_1479

Best tomato soup of my life

IMG_1486

Seljalandfoss

IMG_1498

I only almost faceplanted like five times

IMG_1499

The rails were not much help

IMG_1505

Looking from behind the waterfall

IMG_1517

Not a cloud in the sky

IMG_1531

More basalt!

IMG_1532

Black sand beaches

IMG_1540

You guessed it! Basalt!

IMG_1549

Don’t be deceived, these waves were big enough to take out a girl in our class

IMG_1561

Working on our field journals

We were off for another day exploring Iceland on Tuesday. We went to Vatnajökull National Park first thing in the morning, which is home to more beautiful waterfalls including one surrounded by basalt columns where we ate lunch. After hiking around for a couple of hours we hopped back on the bus to head to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, which was frozen over but absolutely amazing. When you walked along the shore, you could see the giant pieces of ice meeting the ocean and getting battered by the waves. Then we went to the hotel for dinner and an amazing sunset.

IMG_1570

Vatnajökull National Park

IMG_1571

Vatnajökull National Park

IMG_1572

Seriously, so many waterfalls

IMG_1577

Got my jacket around my waist like a 90s mom

IMG_1594

We could not have asked for better weather

IMG_1587

The most perfect picnic spot

IMG_1597

The glacial lagoon was frozen over

IMG_1603

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

IMG_1607

Washed up icebergs

IMG_1609

Close up of the sand

IMG_1610

Still amazed by the contrast

IMG_1622

Sunset at our hotel

On Wednesday, we got to hike on a glacier. We wore crampons and were given pick axes for the trek. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Then we were on the bus for several hours as we headed back to Reykjavik. We stopped at a geothermal power plant to check out where Iceland gets its energy and then had the night in Reykjavik once we were back.

IMG_1628

Just hikin’ around on a glacier

IMG_1630

Pretty sure I dug my pick axe into that

IMG_1637

Posin’ and frozen

IMG_1634

Ice, lots and lots of ice

IMG_1641

Another picture of the glacier

IMG_1645

Panorama of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been

IMG_1649

Geothermal plant

Thursday was our final day. Before heading to the airport, we went to the Blue Lagoon, which was the perfect way to end the week. It opened an hour early for us so we had it all to ourselves for a little while.

IMG_1655

Blue Lagoon

One of the main highlights of my time in Copenhagen has been my core class. I am really lucky to be surrounded by wonderful and hilarious people that I have had the chance to know in and out of class. DIS really makes it easy to meet your classmates outside of the classroom through field studies and study tours. I have loved every second of the Glaciers and Human Impact core class, and this trip to Iceland was the icing on top of a great semester. Shout out to the Ice Cubes for being the absolute best!

A Week Out of a Backpack: Berlin

Saturday morning we left Prague at 7:45am for Berlin. I was starting to get sick of bus rides, especially after the last experience. When we arrived in Berlin, we took the S-bahn to our hostel where we dropped off our stuff. Then we went to lunch, and this is where I separated from the group. My favorite painting was at the Old National Gallery so I had to go see it. While they went to the East Side Gallery and a few other places, I went to the museum. Figuring out the public transportation was brutal, but eventually I got there. I was so excited. I bought my museum ticket and went straight to the Caspar David Friedrich room to see Monk by the Sea. I scanned the room and didn’t see it. I thought ‘Wow, is this really your favorite painting if you can’t even recognize it?’ Then I asked one of the attendants and she said, “Oh, I’m sorry. That painting is under restoration. Come back in October!” I smiled and said thank you and went into the next room and cried a little bit. I went through the museum though, which was actually really cool, but I was devastated. Until next time, Monk by the Sea! Afterward, I went to the Reichstag, where I had agreed to meet Grace, Jess, Marli, and Brianne. After we finally found each other, we went to the Brandenburg Gate where there was a group of teenagers dancing very inappropriately and made me feel like some old prude because I was disgusted. But Brandenburg Gate was magnificent. Then we went to the Holocaust Memorial, which was very eerie, especially since by this point it was dark. The whole thing made me feel very disoriented and confused, which is exactly what it is supposed to do. Unfortunately, the museum beneath the memorial was closed at this point. Then we headed back to the Reichstag to get a tour, since our reservation was later than when we had met up. We went up to the dome on top and got a great view of the city, but it was really dark so the pictures didn’t quite turn out. After that, we headed to dinner at a bar where I got cheese-covered noodles. Yes, I am five. Then we headed back to the hostel. It was really weird to think I was going back to Copenhagen the next day.

IMG_1321

Old National Gallery

IMG_1322

“Seashore with Shipwreck by Moonlight” by Caspar David Friedrich, taken out of spite and frustration

IMG_1325

The Reichstag

IMG_1330

Postin’ up in front of the Brandenburg Gate

IMG_1334

Holocaust Memorial

IMG_1335

Inside the dome on top of the Reichstag

IMG_1336

Looking down into the Reichstag to see the Bundestag

IMG_1338_2

Cheeeeeeeeese noodles

The next morning, Jess woke up early to get ready and I thought ‘I should probably check our flight status since Norwegian has been cray lately.’ Thank God I did, because our flight had been cancelled. So we all got up in a panic to figure out how are we going to get back. After 2 hours of trying to call Norwegian, we decided to just book a bus back. This was fine but our 1 hour plane ride just turned into a 7 hour bus ride. Ugh. Brianne rebooked through Norwegian so she left for the airport soon after. Since we were already up, the rest of us went to a flea market on the north side of Berlin, which had great stuff and fortunately/unfortunately I was out of money at this point. We wandered around for an hour or two, then Grace wanted to stay a little longer, Jess, Marli, and I went to find food for the bus ride to Copenhagen. We went back to our hostel, but we got off a stop early to look at grocery stores. Fun fact: Everything is closed on Sundays. After we gave up on shopping, we went to cross the bridge over the S-bahn to get to our hostel on the other side. Once we got to the bridge, we realized it was shut down, police tape everywhere. There were police officers preventing people from crossing as well. We asked the officer what was going on and he told us that there was an unattended backpack on the bridge that they think could be a bomb. Okay. Good. Cool. Great. So we had to walk about 6 blocks to the next bridge that crossed the S-bahn. We got to our hostel around 1:00 pm and our bus was leaving at 2:15 pm. We lingered at the hostel, and we were freaking out because Grace was still missing and we thought we would have to leave without her. We eventually called the cab, because we figured most public transportation would be messed up around us since an S-bahn station was shut down and nothing was coming through. We packed our stuff into the cab and drove a couple of blocks. When we were on the main street, I yelled out, “There’s Grace!” Then we were hanging out of the cab windows yelling at her to run to the hostel and get her backpack. Somehow she saw us and took off toward the hostel. We had the cab turn around and we picked her up. I’m not quite sure how the stars aligned, but they did, and we made it to our bus on time. And even though I didn’t see the Berlin Wall, I did pass it briefly in the cab. So basically I have to go back to Berlin. Seven hours and a ferry ride later, we finally made it back to Copenhagen. It was really interesting because when I was walking down my street, feet aching, it really felt like I was coming home.

IMG_1341

Flea market in north Berlin

A Week Out of a Backpack: Prague

We left Vienna on Thursday for Prague. We got on our bus at 10:00 am and everything was going smoothly. We were woke up about an hour outside of Prague and told to get off the bus for 25 minutes, which is required by law apparently. We got off and were waiting in a rest area. We checked every so often if they were letting people back on yet. Then Brianne got up to check and ran back saying that the bus was moving. We jumped up and ran outside and the bus was gone. So here we are, stuck at a rest area in the Czech Republic, most of our stuff on the bus. Needless to say, we were in a state of panic. The rest area was mostly a restaurant so we went to the manager of the restaurant, desperate for help. He spoke almost no English so we had to talk almost exclusively through Google Translate. He ended up going around to different bus drivers in the restaurant and asking if they were headed to Prague. We ended up riding with the Czech national men’s soccer team. We sat quiet as church mice, because they were watching American Sniper and we didn’t want to disturb. To be honest, we didn’t know who they were at first but found out as we were getting off at the bus stop they dropped us off at in the city and the team captain shook our hands. After that, we were still in a panic on how to get our stuff. Marli’s twin sister Nikki is studying abroad in Prague so we called her at the rest area to go to the bus stop and get our stuff off of the bus before it left for Berlin. We took the Metro to the original bus stop we were supposed to be let off at and ran into Nikki and her friends holding all our stuff. We literally caught them by seconds or they would have been off on the train to go to class. We celebrated getting out of this bind, but unfortunately Brianne’s purse was missed and so she spent most of her time in Prague trying to figure out how to get her stuff back. After the Metro run in, we went to the hostel and dropped off our stuff and had the first calm moment of the day. We had only lost an hour or two so we jumped right into sightseeing. First stop was Wenceslas Square, which had a lot of stores and Trdelnik, which is fire baked bread covered in cinnamon and sugar. I was already in heaven. Then we walked to the river and took in the view. The city is kind of set up like Budapest, which hills and castles on the west bank and city sprawl on the east. We walked down the river toward the south side of the city where Nikki lived. After we managed to meet up with Nikki and her friends, we took the tram to grab dinner. After dinner, we went to a jazz bar that is in a Metro station, which was really cool and had a great half dark, half light beer. Afterward, we went to Anonymous Bar, which is based on everything Guy Fawkes related. It was really cool, but really expensive. At this point, I was falling asleep on the couch at the bar so I failed to get any pictures of it. Then we headed back to the hostel.

IMG_1235

Wenceslas Square

IMG_1237

Old Town Hall Tower

IMG_1241

Prague Castle from the east bank

IMG_1242

Along the Danube River

IMG_1248

Dinner of potato dumplings and beef

Friday morning we got up early as usual and went to breakfast at Cafe Louvre, which was highly rated, but I found it pretty meh after all the good food we had had up until this point. Afterward we raced to Prague Castle to see the changing of the guard, but when we got there we could hardly see because we went to the wrong side. Afterward we wandered around the castle for a bit, which was absolutely beautiful, and had a great view out over the city. Then we walked down to the Lennon Wall, which is just a wall that is spray painted with John Lennon quotes and there is constantly someone playing Beatles music. It was very cool all the same. I also ran into a girl from my hometown there which was really random. After that, we took the funicular railway up to the top of the giant hill on the west bank to Petrin, where we climbed to the top of a mini Eiffel Tower to see for miles. No lie, the height made me a little anxious so I was glad to leave. Then we met up with Brianne, and she finally had all of her stuff from the horrendous bus service and all was well. We stopped for appetizers at a vegetarian restaurant then we went to the Prague Beer Museum, which was a restaurant that had like a million different beers on tap. Then we went back to Wenceslas Square were we got another Trdelnik, because who can resist? I went back to the hostel after that because my feet were not having it and they went out. It was nice to just chill out for a bit and take in everything had happened on my own. It felt like a lifetime had passed since we arrived in Budapest and I was starting to really look forward to being back in Copenhagen.

IMG_1249

Tea and Breakfast at Cafe Louvre

IMG_1255

Prague Castle Cathedral

IMG_1261

View of Prague from Prague Castle

IMG_1262

Another look out over Prague

IMG_1267

Straight up cheesin’

IMG_1280

Marshmallowin’ at the Lennon Wall

IMG_1282

A little inspiration from the Lennon Wall

IMG_1284

Lennon Wall

IMG_1289

View from Petrin Tower

IMG_1292

Panorama from the top of Petrin Tower



A Week Out of a Backpack: Vienna

On Tuesday, we took a bus from Budapest to Vienna. Originally we were supposed to leave at 11:00 am, but that bus was cancelled so we switched to one at 7:00 am and got to Vienna a lot earlier than anticipated. We were dropped off at the bus stop on the outskirts of the city where we walked to a nearby amusement park, Prater, to ride the ferris wheel that gave us an amazing view of the city, albeit terrifying because it was extremely windy and the ferris wheel is really old. If you walked around inside it, it would tilt to wherever more weight was. I sat in the middle and prayed for the bolts to hold. We then went to the hostel to drop off our stuff and get recommendations for lunch. We ate at a place called Quell that served the best meatball like thing I’ve ever had. Afterward, we went to Belvedere Palace, which is the served as the summer home of Prince Eugene of Savoy and is now an art museum. The museum is home to “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt. Unfortunately, there was a museum employee staked out in front of it watching everyone like a hawk so it was impossible to get a picture. I did get a picture of a Caspar David Friedrich (my favorite artist) painting just to spite that man. More on him in the Berlin post coming soon. After that we took a walk through Stadt Park to get to the Museum of Applied Arts, which would have made me feel cultured and mature but it mostly made me sad because all these old people were there mingling and I could barely keep my eyes open at 6:30 pm. I’m supposed to be young and full of energy! But instead I found whatever exhibit had a chair and sat there until I was kind of embarrassed then moved to the next exhibit with a chair. Next stop was apple strudel! So good. We then wen to Cafe Hawelka, where we were seated next to a very intoxicated artist who told us all about the history of Vienna and how he went to the States for a snow sculpture competition in very slow, deliberate English. They had great frankfurters and beer though! That was the last stop of the night before we went back to Hostel Ruthensteiner.

IMG_1168

View from the ferris wheel

IMG_1169

Another view from the ferris wheel

IMG_1170

… Another view from the ferris wheel

IMG_1171

The really old ferris wheel in Prater

IMG_1174

Meatball/meatloaf goodness. Way better than it looks.

IMG_1175

The gates to Belvedere Palace

IMG_1176

Belvedere Palace

IMG_1179

Painting by Caspar David Friedrich

IMG_1181

In the gardens of Belvedere Palace

IMG_1182

Stadt Park

IMG_1185

The Museum for Applied Arts

IMG_1186

Apple strudel!

IMG_1187

Pre-devouring the apple strudel. Ignore my hair, we accidentally bough conditioner instead of shampoo the first day

The next day we were up and at it bright and early as usual. The first stop was Schönbrunn Palace, a Habsburg palace, that used to be the home of Leopold I, Maria Theresa, and Marie Antoinette. Then we walked through the gardens up to the top of the hill opposite of the palace to where the summer home was. Now it is a cafe, Cafe Gloriette, so we had cake for breakfast overlooking the gardens. Afterward, we went to a different Saint Stephen’s Cathedral to see Marli’s friend from home sing with her a cappella group. We were there for Mass, which was interesting but unfortunately all in German so I just took cues from everyone else around me on what to do. After that we ran over to the old home of Mozart just to see it, though we didn’t go in. Then we went to the Naschmarket, which is a big outdoor market with produce stands and restaurants. Afterward we walked through the Museum Quartier and went to a restaurant that was in an old winery that was recommended by the guy from Cafe Hawelka. We sat and had a couple of glasses of wine in the old wine cellar. It was an excellent recommendation. We left there and walked to the Vienna State Opera to get three euro tickets for the standing only section for the night’s performance of I Puritani. After we got our ticket, we went and staked out our spot for the show with scarves and left to grab a coffee before the opera began. I have to say, the opera was absolutely amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I loved it. Standing only was a little rough so we sat on the step behind us for a bit of it since three hours is quite long. Also, luckily there were translations on a tiny screen above us, which was really helpful since the opera was in Italian. This was probably the longest day and I passed out immediately after getting back to the hostel.

IMG_1192

Inside Schönbrunn Palace

IMG_1195

Cafe Gloriette at the top of the hill

IMG_1196

View of Schönbrunn Palace from the cafe

IMG_1197

Cardinalstrudel (or something like that)

IMG_1204

Front of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral

IMG_1206

Exterior of the church. It is being renovated so there is just plaster of what it looks like on the sides

Inside

Inside Saint Stephen’s

The Figaro House where Mozart used to live

The Figaro House where Mozart used to live

I had this twice while in Vienna, definitely better than it looks

I had this twice while in Vienna, definitely better than it looks

In the old winery

In the old winery

The lobby of the Opera House

The lobby of the Opera House

Outside the Vienna State Opera

Outside the Vienna State Opera

Panorama at the Opera

Panorama at the Opera

Picture I snuck at the Opera

Picture I snuck at the Opera

Vienna is an amazing city. It felt really livable and I wish I had more time to get wander on the winding streets. While I felt like we did a lot, it felt like a very surface level view of the city. I would love to visit here again.

A Week Out of a Backpack: Budapest

Last week, I traveled with four other girls (Marli, Grace, Jess, and Brianne) to Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin. It was easily one of the most rewarding, stressful, challenging, and life-changing weeks of my life. Each city had its own charm, beauty, and obstacles. I include obstacles because anything that could go wrong did go wrong. But despite the challenges, I feel like I came out of this week with a better understanding of myself and the world. For the next few days, I will post about a different city each day. Today, it’s Budapest.

Budapest is the city of extremely fast escalators, cobblestone, and cheap/amazing food. We flew out of Copenhagen at 8:45 am on Sunday and arrived in Budapest at 10:35 am. We dropped off our backpacks at Unity Traveller Hostel, and got recommendations for lunch. We went to a small place a couple of minutes away and got the best food of my life. It was veal and potato dumplings, and it was cheap and wonderful. I unfortunately did not get a picture of it because I immediately devoured it. Afterward, we stopped by Saint Stephen’s Basilica, which was beautiful and we climbed to the top for an amazing view of the city. Afterward we headed back to the hostel to actually check in since we had just dropped our stuff off before. It turns out that Budapest is actually two cities combined into one, Buda and Pest. We were staying on the Pest side and so that day we crossed over to the more hilly Buda side and walked through the castle area. There we went to Fisherman’s Bastion, Saint Matthias Church, the Labrinyth, and Buda Castle. Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace that overlooks Pest, which gave a great view of the city. We didn’t go into Saint Matthias Church, because we knew we had many more churches to see throughout our trip. The Labyrinth is a set of tunnels underneath the hill that was used as prison cells. Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned here, which is pretty interesting. When we came out of the Labyrinth, it was getting dark and we walked through Buda Castle, which was absolutely beautiful. There is something special about Budapest at night. Afterward we went to the Rudas Baths, which are thermal baths that are supplied by hot springs beneath the city. It was a really nice way to end the day. Then we headed back to the hostel for some much needed shut eye.

IMG_1029_2

Saint Stephen’s Basilica

IMG_1030

Panorama from the top of Saint Stephen’ Basilica

IMG_1050_2

Another view from the top of the Basilica

IMG_1048

After like a million stairs

IMG_1051

Inside the Basilica

IMG_1055

A relic from Saint Stephen, his hand

IMG_1056_2

The altar inside the Basilica

IMG_1057

The dome in the Basilica

IMG_1059_2

One more shot of the Basilica

IMG_1061

Saint Matthias Church

IMG_1073_2

Fisherman’s Bastion

IMG_1069

View of Parliament from Fisherman’s Bastion

IMG_1092_2

Buda by night

IMG_1096

Walking around Buda Castle

IMG_1098_2

Buda Castle

The next day we were up bright and early to head to Heroes’ Square, which is a massive monument to the Seven Chieftans of Magyar and other national heroes. There are art museums on either side of the monument. It was quite impressive, and I’m sure it would be really cool at night (which seemed to be a theme throughout the trip). Then we walked along the Danube River. On the east bank of the river is a memorial to Jews who were shot into the river during World War II, called Shoes on the Danube. We then had lunch at the Grand Central Market, which is a two-story market that has fruit stands, butcher shops, souvenirs, and plenty of other things. After that, we climbed to the top of Gellert Hill, which felt like much more than a hill. Afterward, we went caving just outside the city. If you ever go to Budapest, I highly recommend doing this. It was so cool, and the guides were hilarious and awesome. Then we went to see Parliament (which we renamed Jafar’s Castle because I mean look at it) at night, then walked down the river to eat dinner on a boat.

IMG_1110

Heroes’ Square

IMG_1111

Panorama of Heroes’ Square

IMG_1126

On the banks of the Danube

IMG_1131_2

Shoes on the Danube, a memorial to Jewish victims that were shot into the river during WWII

IMG_1140

Inside the Grand Central Market

IMG_1141_2

Meat and potatoes, typical

IMG_1148

The top of Gellert Hill

IMG_1149

View from the top of Gellert Hill

IMG_1161_2

Thuggin’ with Grace, Jess, and Marli while caving in Budapest

IMG_1158_2

Parliament at night

Budapest was so beautiful, especially by night. Am I glad I went? Yes, so glad. Would I go again? Probably not. It was really cool to visit and experience, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. To sum it up, Budapest is my favorite place that I don’t want to visit again.

Core Course Week

Last week was probably been the busiest week I’ve had since coming to Copenhagen so this will be a very long post. It was refreshing to always be kept on my toes, but simultaneously exhausting. The weekend was for some much needed recovery time.

Last Sunday was rather relaxing and absolutely frigid. I went on a canal tour with some of my floor mates. The day started out deceptively nice and then as soon as we got on the boat, the wind picked up and I could no longer feel my fingers. It was, however a great way to see the city from a different perspective. There is only so much site seeing I can do from my bike seat since I am constantly staring at the bike lane and traffic around me. I highly recommend the canal tour, but I would wait until it is a little warmer out. Early February was not ideal.

IMG_0807

Typical Nyhavn pic

IMG_0809

The Opera House from the water

IMG_0812_2

Old military hanger that has been converted into apartments

IMG_0822

Black Diamond

IMG_0824

The boat almost touched the bottom of this bridge, it was concerning

Core Course Week started on Monday and we met near Central Station bright and early. The front of the bus was typical but the back was a giant conference room so of course our entire class squished around the table in the back. Our half asleep, delusional state made for interesting conversation on the way to our first stop of the day. We went to a geomuseum and rock quarry just south of Copenhagen where we learned about coral reefs that existed in the area long ago. Then we went down to the rock quarry behind the museum. I promptly fell in the mud as we started down the hill. Typical. Then we were given rock hammers and chisels and were set loose upon the limestone/chalk rocks to dig out what fossils we could. We mostly found fossilized shells and corals, which we got to keep. It was a really cool place. The next stop was Stevns Klint, which is a beach surrounded by steep chalk cliffs. You can distinctly see the layers in the cliffs and the K-T boundary (a mass extinction event 65.5 million years ago that killed the dinosaurs along with ~70% of all species alive at the time) is really easy to see. So cool! Plenty of time was spent climbing all over boulders along the shore. Then we stopped to see one of the oldest tombs in Northern Europe. We got to walk inside which was pretty cool. The day ended at Vallekilde Folkehojskole, which is a place where people can go for 6 months to learn about a specific subject such as journalism or event planning or video game design. We ate dinner with the Danish students there and played games later on. Since they have a game academy, they have access to the latest and greatest in video games so we played a new game called Joust with them. I can’t even begin to describe this game. It was easily the oddest game I’ve played.

IMG_0831_2

Rock quarry

IMG_0838

Totally unposed…

IMG_0839_2

Some coral fossils, others found much cooler fossils

IMG_0863_2

Church at the top of the cliff

IMG_0843_2

Words cannot describe how beautiful Stevns Klint was

IMG_0854

Some geology for you folks

IMG_0857_2

Cheesin’

IMG_0851

Both the day and the water are crystal clear

IMG_0847_2

Stevns Klint needed to be captured from all angles

IMG_0870_2

Extremely vague picture of playing Joust

On Tuesday, we went hiking in Odsherred and we hiked to the highest point on the island at a staggering 127 m above sea level, which is basically a hill in the States. Since Denmark is very flat, we could see for miles in any direction. We were also almost blown away by the wind at the top. Along the hike we stopped to pick wild mint and other edibles and to drink some tea. Our next stop was this adorable restaurant that uses local food, like wild mushrooms. Then we went to a vineyard where we learned about how the history of the area allows for it to be a good region for growing grapes for wine. Of course, there waswine tasting afterward. We almost got away with some new friends as some of the farm cats jumped on our bus at some point during the tour, but sadly they had to leave us. We then went on to our hostel that we were staying at, which was nothing like the hostels I had in mind. It was an old house near the beach and we had dinner and a bonfire afterward. It was the cutest place and the man who owned it was incredibly nice. I’m pretty sure we ate nonstop while we were there.

IMG_0875

Our guide on the hike explaining some of the vegetation

IMG_0879

Fresh picked mint for mint tea

IMG_0881

On top of the world, literally the highest point on the island

IMG_0884_2

Everything requires a panorama

IMG_0888

Hill on top of the hill

IMG_0895

Ørnberg vineyard

IMG_0897

The nicest hostel ever

Wednesday was our last day touring Odsherred. We walked along the beach in the morning while it was still gray and calm in an attempt to see seals and small dolphins, no luck but very nice. Then we went to a small museum near our hostel that is about the way the sun is documented in different cultures. After that, we had a typical Danish lunch, which had like 7 entrees. We all filled up on herring and rye bread only to learn that that was just the beginning. It was excessive, but delicious, to say the least. We then went to a pumping station, which drains a very large region of the island for agriculture. Then we arrived back in Copenhagen mid afternoon, just in time to get in a nap to recover.

IMG_0898

The early morning gray

IMG_0900

The early afternoon gray

Thursday and Friday were for learning in Copenhagen. On Thursday, our class went to where our instructors work at Copenhagen University to do experiments on ice and then learn about how they use ice to gather climate data from the past. Then Friday we had presentations about different ways to understand climate using proxies, such as coral reefs or tree rings, and a brief lecture about dating this data. Friday night, most of the class went on a bar crawl, not in the Core Course itinerary. We had a great night out in Copenhagen.

IMG_0906

Magnets + nitrogen + water = levitation

IMG_0907

Looking at thin sec ions of ice

IMG_0908_2

Ice cores from Greenland

Core Course Week was a great experience and one of the highlights of DIS so far. It was a good chance to get to know my classmates and instructors outside of a classroom setting. It also provided a more hands-on experience of learning and actually seeing how the lectures come together in a real world context. Overall, last week was exhausting and exciting.

Parliament and Porridge

So this week has been full of trips, classes, and Game of Thrones so sorry on the lack of blog posts. I also haven’t posted anything out of fear of this turning into a food blog, because that’s basically the only thing I’ve taken pictures of in the past week.

FullSizeRender

Sankt Pedrs Bageri wins best pastry so far

IMG_0779

Typical

Today we went to the glass market, more properly known as Torvehallerne, where I ate the best oatmeal of my life. IT HAD CARAMEL IN IT. It was almost impossible for it to be bad. The market is full of different food options, from fresh cheeses and meats to coffee and tea. It’s basically a giant greenhouse with little stores in it and it makes me want to spend all my money. After that we went to the Nationalmuseet, which is a history museum that has Danish exhibits but also ones on Vikings and toys and people around the world. It was pretty cool, but information overload. Afterward we went to get smørresbrød, which is basically an open-faced sandwich on rye bread. It was really good, but it came with pickles on it (which was not listed on the menu!) so I destroyed it in an attempt to prevent my food from being tainted before I got a picture of how pretty it was. However, I did get a picture of it post destruction, but it’s really not the same. So that was just in the past 24 hours.

IMG_0795

Outside the glass market

IMG_0791

Porridge with apples, caramel, and almonds. I wish this was my everyday breakfast.

IMG_0792

Literally five minutes after getting my oatmeal

IMG_0798

The Nationalmuseet

IMG_0799

Smørresbrød, post pickle removal

Throughout the week, we kept busy just with classes for the most part. I went on a field trip on Wednesday to Parliament, which was really cool. We got to speak with three Members of Parliament and an advisor for the Social Democrats, which are the current party that is in power. We heard from MPs from throughout the political spectrum, so it was a well-rounded view of the political system. It was interesting to see how charismatic each member was even if I didn’t exactly see eye to eye with them. American politicians could learn a lot. It was a three hour event that in America I probably would have dreaded, but here it was an interesting look into a completely different political system.

IMG_0787

Outside of Parliament

IMG_0786

Inside the Social Democrats’s meeting room where we heard from three MPs and an advisor

More adventures from the past week include going to Da Blå Planet, which is the aquarium, eating a waffle at midnight, finding the perfect casual bar just around the corner, and seeing the sun for the first time in a long time.

FullSizeRender-2

Me and my roommate Alana at the aquarium

FullSizeRender-1

Just looking’ at da fishes

IMG_3652

Den Blå Planet

IMG_5404

Late night waffles with girls on the floor

IMG_0782

Beer and popcorn at Farfar

IMG_0789

THE SKY IS BLUE. Who knew?

Next week is core course week, so I’ll have plenty to say about Odsherred, which is where my Glaciers and Human Impact class is going. Pinky promise to post more than once a week.