Sunday, April 14, 2013

A new perspective

I've been busy here with actual written schoolwork so I've done what Americans do best: I outsourced my next blog post to my sister, who visited recently for a week with my parents. Enjoy.

Derick asked me to provide a guest post about my experience in Denmark during spring break. I certainly am not the writer in the family, I usually leave that to Derick but I’ll do my best to make it interesting! After a long flight and meeting Derick in the airport it still didn’t seem like we were in Europe. It wasn’t until we got off the DC-like metro and began walking through the streets, wheeled suitcases trailing behind, that it hit me I was in a whole new world. After checking into the hotel, we wandered through the city in search of a dinner locale and we took it all in. We had an early bed time the first night both succumbing to jet-lag and in preparation of our Easter Monday dinner with Derick’s host family. Our first full day started our trip of castles, visiting the Frederiksborg Slot. After hopping on a train to Fredensborg and a short ride we arrived at Derick’s home away from home where we were met by bare-footed ten year olds running to greet Derick and us. We were welcomed into Derick’s “home” with hugs and introductions and soon after sat down for our traditional Danish feast of herring three ways, eggs in mustard sauce, pork roast with crispy skin, liver pate with bacon, and meatballs, red cabbage, and great homemade bread . I’m sure I’ve forgotten something but you get the gist. We sat eating, conversing, and joking as if we had known each other longer than an hour or so. After introducing the family to some of our American Easter candies like jelly beans and Reese’s eggs we enjoyed delicious almond cakes and headed to the Fredensborg Slot where the Queen spends the summer months due to its close proximity to a large, picturesque lake. Then at dusk we headed to the train station to get back to the city and our hotel for the night. The next two days consisted of a lot of sightseeing including the Rosenborg Slot, Amber Museum, Round Tower, Boat Tour of the Canal (where we caught a glimpse of The Little Mermaid, among other sights), and Kronborg Slot. Wednesday night was probably the most memorable experience of the entire trip. Each year the Queen moves to her summer homestead which, as I stated before, is in Fredensborg. Fredensborg is the town Derick has called home for the past 3 months. When the Queen moves, the entire town meets at the train station before night fall, supports the scouts by purchasing torches, and then proceed, flaming torches in hand, through the city to the slot. Then everyone assembles near the front door where the mayor welcomes the Queen, the Queen speaks, and the national anthem is sung. This description may provide you with thoughts like strange, barbaric, or dangerous, but it truly was a sight to see that no picture could capture perfectly, although Derick did pretty well. Once again we were able to spend time with Derick’s host family and we all had a good time in the process. Thursday and Friday once again resulted in sightseeing galore with trips to the Zoo, Carlsberg Brewery, and the newly opened National Aquarium all of which were reached by a combination train, bus, metro, or walking. Our final night was spent with Derick’s host family first at the local Chinese buffet and then at the bowling alley. We played a couple games of pool and just enjoyed the company of each other before having to travel back to the city to pack and prepare for our long trip home.
The trip was fabulous for lack of a better description but before I finish up there are just a few general observations that I noticed while wandering through the city from site to site.
1. Bikes are just everywhere. They are taken on the metro and trains and are parked wherever the rider stops. The riders, particularly the women, don’t change their outfits to fit their means of transportation. You would not believe how many women I saw riding their bikes in skirts, dresses, and high heels which leads to my next observation.
2. High heels, at this time of year high heeled boots, were the footwear of the choice by most women walking through the city.
3. Uggs and Ugg-like boots were not seen at all. Like I said earlier, high heeled boots were the choice over comfy furry ones.
4. Derick had told us that bright colors weren’t really common in everyday attire, however he didn’t let us know that we should have packed our fur coats. There were a large amount of women sporting fur coats in varying lengths and designs while walking on the street, riding their bikes, and utilizing public transportation.
5. Denmark has both paper and coin currency similar to the U.S. however unlike the U.S., I did not find any coins on the street, and I had ample opportunity with all the walking we did over the week.

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