Friday 23 – Monday 26 March 2012 Term II: Copenhagen

So after much consideration I have decided that I am: a) no longer going to try to count my blogs because I seem to have over counted and am now, once again, behind instead of ahead and b) not write a blog for week five because I seem to have no notes on it and I can’t really recall what happened except that Lindsay’s boyfriend – who goes to school in Dundee – brought down two sexy Irishmen to celebrate the end of Lindsay’s vet exams. This is so unfortunate; the exact thing that I said would not happen this term has happened: I’m reaching the end of the line and am five blogs short (repeat of last term). Though, fortunately, I have enough adventures stored up and coming up that I can make those final five up (hopefully) before the deadly deadline (hehe, I’m such a geek).  To celebrate the completion of my essays, my dad and I headed over to Copenhagen, Denmark for the weekend. We are both Iceland fanatics and have always wanted to go to Scandinavia to see what the ‘origin’ land is like. It was pretty cool. We arrived on Friday and spent most of the day just wandering around eating (that was mainly me, I was hungry when we got to the hotel so we went in search for lunch and then it just went downhill from there). My feasting on Friday was important for the rest of our trip though because of the restaurant that was recommended to us by our hotel (The Best Western City) which was a juice bar called ‘Joe and the Juice’ which didn’t have the most amazing juice but did have the most delectable and mouth-watering –plus healthy- sandwiches, I had one every day we were there. If you ever go to Copenhagen look for the round pink sign with the siluette of a man on a bar with a cup and a straw in his hand, that is the place, go! Okay to prevent myself from none stop raving about ‘Joe and the Juice’ I am going to turn to my well-articulated chicken scratch notes.  On Saturday we decided to catch the train to Elsinore to visit Hamlet’s castle (all my Shakespeare dreams are coming true, though I need to go to Venice, and Cyprus, and Athens, and Verona…hmm okay maybe not), aka Helsingor and the castle/fortress of Kronborg. This is the famed castle that Shakespeare used for the setting of his Danish tragedy, and the city that surrounded Kronborg was actually called Elsinore and Hamlet is loosely based on a Danish legend. Both fortress and castle were huge and very impressive; if I was a conqueror coming over to take over Elsinore and the surrounding area, after one look at Kornborg I’d throw my hands up in defeat and turn around. I have seen many castles, fortresses, and palaces in my travels and Kronborg is definitely near the top of the list, it is a beautiful fortress with many windows looking out to the Baltic and Sweden right across the way. After the castle we were going to try to see Karen Blixen’s house author of Out of Africa’s in Rungsted but were too late and ended up just walking in a big circle, though it was a lovely walk through the woods to her house.    On Sunday morning I went over to my dad’s room to collect him for breakfast and while I was waiting for him to put on his shoes I went to the window and began to play with the curtain which was sort of like one of those bead things you would hang in front of a door if you were a hippy but instead of beads it was just thin bits of thread. As I gathered up all the pieces in my hand and slowly let them fall I happened to look up and see a very creepy looking man leaning out the window in the hotel opposite us looking directly down at me. We shared eye contact for about a minute or so and in that time I noticed that he seemed to be hiding something away and then with a creepy smile he withdrew into his room and closed the window. An interesting start to the day, if it had been night and I had seen him from my room window I would’ve been seriously concerned but seeing that breakfast was mere minutes away the oddity of it was erased from my mind with the excitement of soon to be consumed coffee. After breakfast we headed over to Rosenborg castle which was built in 1606 by King Christian IV. Like Kronborg, Rosenborg was a very impressive castle though much more beautiful and artistic; it was obviously more of a castle than a fortress. It was a renaissance style castle (obvious in most of the bottom floor rooms which were dark) that underwent improvements and redecorations as each monarchy and style changed. The change was obvious from floor to floor (it was three stories) and sometimes from room to room. As mentioned the bottom floor was primarily renaissance and dark, except for the marble room which was an absolutely stunning room made entirely of marble, the second and third floor were decorated in later periods such as Rocco and where much lighter and less cluttered with heavy furniture. Along with the different decorating styles the castle had multiple little rooms that were interesting and sometimes a bit odd. One such room was the mirror room which was covered entirely in mirrors, floor ceiling and walls; another such room was the marble room, and then there was Christian IV’s toilet on the bottom floor covered entirely in blue and white tile with a window looking out into another room as if he wanted to watch people as he was in the loo. Though the most astounding thing about the castle wasn’t a room but an artefact; on the third floor was the throne room: a long room with the king and queen’s thrones – plus three huge lions made entirely of silver- on one end, the queen’s throne was nothing super surprising; simple and made of silver, the king’s, however, was made entirely of narwhale tusks from Greenland! Though the castle was amazing one of the most interesting and entertaining things was outside of the castle; the two military guards on duty. This was an absolute hoot. So there were two guards, one blond and one brunette, as we exited the castle we noticed a girl being coxed by her friend to go and take a picture with the blond guard, as she did so I happened to look over at the brunette guard and he had the funniest look of complete envy and annoyance on his face, like this was a regular occurrence: the girls always chose the blond and never the brunette. Ugh it was so funny. After the castle we went to the solar observatory built by Christian as well and walked around the Latin district (titled so because it is the university district and it used to be where all the educated were and Latin used to be the language of the educated).  After the observatory and more coffee we decided to wander around and slowly made our way over to the famous Little Mermaid statue based from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale (he lived and wrote in Copenhagen). While glancing at the rather anticlimactic statue sitting upon a rock in the harbour I found it rather odd and possibly ironic that she is looking out to sea. I understand why the city and artist chose that particular fairy tale (Copenhagen is and was a big fishing city with a lot of focus on its bay) but why is she looking out to sea? All she wanted was to come on land and be with the prince; as Disney so annoyingly put it: “part of your world”. Ugh, Disney ruins everything, I mean the little mermaid is supposed to die at the end of the story not live happily ever after with a guy named Prince Eric (what kind of a first name is Prince anyway, just kidding…). Oh and what is with Ariel’s bangs; those things bugged the heck out of me when I was a kid and they annoy me even more as a partially rational adult. But away from my criticism of Disney (which I could probably write a bloody dissertation on) and back to the original question, why is she looking out to sea? I suppose the best answer would be that she is protecting the outgoing ships, looking out to insure there are no sirens (female mermaids) out there to lull the sailors to their doom.   That night after consuming a famous Copenhagen hotdog, which as my dad says has a perfect ‘snap’ to it when you bit into it, followed by an unbelievably good cupcake I noticed while flicking through the channels that they had TLC and that ‘Virgin Diaries’ was going to be on. A few months ago Paula showed Ghaz and I a very disturbing trailer for this particular show so when I saw that it was going to be on I jumped at the opportunity to see what it was all about. Well what it was all about is making people freak out about being alone. Oh sure on the surface it is supposed to be entertaining so that we can all look at these individuals in awe and amazement (and truly a little bit of pity) like we would at animals in a zoo but underneath it all its about scaring us (primarily women of course) into getting married before it’s too late. Before I go any further I will explain: the ‘Virgin Diaries’ is a show about individuals (in the States) who are 30 (or almost) plus who have never had sex (obviously) and some who haven’t even kissed. This particular episode was about a couple who were about to get married and not only hadn’t had sex but also hadn’t had sex (hence the gross trailer because their kiss is like watching … there really is no way to explain it actually), then there was a 30 something guy who was a virgin though “not by choice” and finally three girls two of which were actual virgins and the third who was a ‘reclaimed virgin’ which means that she had had sex but was reclaiming her virginity and selling herself as ‘new’ instead of ‘used’ (I realize this is a terrible way to say it but the girl had been sexually active with seven guys I think she passed the reclaim point). Basically the show followed them in their pursuit of virginity ending an concluded with the couple getting married and breaking their virginity and the other four not really making any ground but continually repeating (the women) that they were looking for their ‘rock star’ who would sweep them off their feet (and under the sheet, Haha) but also “put a ring on it”. Crimmany by the end of the show –though I had enjoyed it and will probably watch it again- I was 100% convinced that the whole purpose of it was to scare viewers into (for men) bedding anyone that comes along and (for women) settling and getting married before it’s too late and we wake up at the age of 30 to realize that we are alone in ‘no man’s land’ –literally- or worse, wake up at the age of 30 and still be a virgin. Television has gotten so judgmental lately.  On Monday (our final vacation day in Denmark) we decided to take advantage of the fantastic train system over there and go on the 30 minute train ride up to Malmo Sweden (if for nothing else than to say that we had been to Sweden). When we arrived in Malmo we realized that they use a different currency than in Denmark (you get so used to everyone using the Euro or the Pound you forget that some countries use something different) so we spent the first thirty or so minutes wandering around trying to figure out what the exchange rate was. After that we went directly to a souvenir store and bought postcards and stamps. We then wandered around for a bit, trying some mediocre truffles on the way and popping into and H&M before settling in a square to write a few postcards and send off from Sweden (I couldn’t do this because I didn’t have anyone’s address written down or memorized). But we finally got up and moved because there were some questionable looking drunk individuals who looked as if they may come and talk to us at any point. While continuing our wanderings we walked by a restaurant that had some delicious looking desserts on display (I have not yet mentioned that on this trip my goal seemed to be to eat my weight in pastries; breakfast, lunch, after dinner sometimes up to 5 a day, I know that is a lot but they were just so good) and immediately went in for a lunch of a traditional open-faced shrimp sandwich (my dad) and a slice of chocolate mousse cake (me). After lunch we started to get a bit bored of Malmo and decided that we would head back to Copenhagen, but to try to get our money’s worth from the train fare we wandered around and discovered a lovely little park that dropped us off at a photograph museum and the old Malmo castle that was later turned into a prison. So the day and the trip turned out well and we left Malmo in the evening arriving back in Copenhagen about half six where I indulged for a final time on a dinner from ‘Joe and the Juice’.