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.


Typical Nyhavn pic


The Opera House from the water


Old military hanger that has been converted into apartments


Black Diamond


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.


Rock quarry


Totally unposed…


Some coral fossils, others found much cooler fossils


Church at the top of the cliff


Words cannot describe how beautiful Stevns Klint was


Some geology for you folks




Both the day and the water are crystal clear


Stevns Klint needed to be captured from all angles


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.


Our guide on the hike explaining some of the vegetation


Fresh picked mint for mint tea


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


Everything requires a panorama


Hill on top of the hill


Ørnberg vineyard


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.


The early morning gray


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.


Magnets + nitrogen + water = levitation


Looking at thin sec ions of ice


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.


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