Sunday, 24 October 2010

Seaside Serenity :)

This weekend my roommate Clare and I went with my 'visiting family' to their summer house near the small town of Gilleleje on the coast.

(side note explanation and a bit of recap)
 originally i had wanted to live with a host family while i was in Copenhagen, but they ran out of host families so i was placed in my apartment. but i also signed up for a program through DIS that would give me the chance to meet and get to know a 'visiting family'. a Danish family who i am paired with by DIS and once they make the connection it is up to us how often and what we do when we get together. It is a chance to make a connection without the pressure/responsibility of living together. i really lucked out with my family!
John and Inge are the parents and they have 4 girls;
Camilla (25), Christina, (23), Natalie (21) and Lisa (19).
it's about a 45minute trip form my apartment to their house in Birkrod outside of the city.

on the 26th of September, I went to their house for a birthday party for Lisa and Camilla. I don't remember why i didn't write about it in my blog, i think it was right before the long study tour and i hadn't taken any pictures that day and just didn't have time to really write about it.
But that was was really fun.
The whole family was there: grandma, cousins, nieces, the age ranged form 95 to less than a year :) all in all there were about 20 to 25 people there for a sit down lunch and cake and presents. they day was full of Danish and family. the special birthday layer cakes were delicious, i got to hold and play with one of the babies for over an hour, and i met and talked with so many new people! 
by the end of the day I went home missing my own family but feeling lucky to have the chance to get to know this one :)

OK back to this weekend!
Clare and i took the train up to Birkrod Saturday morning and met Lisa at the train station to drive up to the summer house. I really did not know what to expect of the summer house but it was so much more than anything i had imagined. it was right on the ocean and the walls were mostly windows in the main living area. It was a cozy getaway with a fireplace and everything.
The first thing we did was run out to the beach while Inge finished getting lunch ready.

while we were gone Inge had laid out a buffet of sandwich stuff. a classic Danish meal is called "smorrebrod". they are open faced sandwiches with all kinds of things as toppings. we had tomatoes, avocado, cheese, onion, mayo, remoulade, sausage, ham, herring in curry, plain herring, and a crab salad, there was more but that's all i can remember right now.

After, as we had coffee and tea in sitting area, i showed them my pictures from London and told them about my trip. then we all went for a long walk on the beach together.
we met a puppy! (i miss Nikki Luke and LC so much!!!)
We had some beer and played a few games of pool when we got back.
While Inge finished pulling dinner together, Clare, John and I had a great conversation about vegetarianism and some of the biomedical research going on in the world (Clare is a vegetarian and in the BIO TECH program here), and the difference in the American and Danish school systems.
Lisa's friends who were coming had a mishap at the train station so they were late. They ended up not getting there until halfway through dinner. Dinner was a great meal of pesto turkey, potatoes with carrots and parsnips, salad, and brussel sprouts. the dessert was beautiful and tasty :) vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce and on top it had melted chocolate, raspberries and almonds. YUM!
the rest of the night we played pool and a game called sequence and talked some more as we enjoyed wine and cider by the fire. 
the whole night we had music playing and everyone was singing along. :) the Beatles, Madonna, the eurithmics, Phil Collins, Norah Jones, the who, it was SO HYGGELIGT! exactly the homelike atmosphere i needed :)
 This morning, after breakfast and hanging around the house, we went for a good last walk on the beach.
On the drive back, we went through the town of Gilleleje to see the harbor and small fishermen's cottages
During the drive, the countryside was SO COLORFUL! fall has definitely come to Denmark, i just don't see much of it in the city outside of the parks.
we also took a detour and went to Hillerod to see Frederiksborg Castle (a Scandinavian version of Versailles)It was built in the first decades of the 17th century by King Christian the 4th (it is seriously amazing how many places this guy built while he was king). The Renaissance castle is surrounded by the castle lake,  the Baroque Garden and other romantic gardens. We did not take the tour and explore everything, but what we did see was impressive.
(here's a poster of an airal shot of the Baroque gardens)
We got back to their house and had lunch before searching through their winter clothes to find warm things for Clare to borrow during her class trip to Greenland in two weeks! She was sooo relieved to have real snow gear!

Overall the weekend was so much more than i had expected it to be! The relaxation, food and family time was exactly what i'd needed and Inge and JOhn went out of their ways to make the weekend great for Clare and I.
i am so lucky to have been paired with a family like them :D

thats all for now
missing you at home
(sunset from my bedroom windows)

Oh so cultured....with a touch of sangria

The Royal Gardens is most definily one of my favorite places in the city. i cannot seem to stay away. Tuesday of last week, after i finished my super hard Developmental Disorders midterm, i rewarded myself with a  Hindbaer Snitter (two layers of flatbread pastry with raspberry in the middle and frosting hardened on top) and retreated to the Gardens. I found my spot by the fountain and when that lost sunlight, moved under a giant tree where I finally got some overdue letters written and soaked up my needed dose of nature.

my last cooking class was on the 12th and the theme was fabulous fish.... I cooked, i tasted, but after loving teh other meals so much, this was kind of a downer ending. I dont know if fish will ever be my thing. but ill post the recipies anyways.

On friday, a once a year event took over Copenhagen
"For one night each year, many of Copenhagen's cultural establishments open their doors after hours for a series of night time guided tours and exhibitions. The whole city and many outlying boroughs take part in the night known as 'The Night of Culture', providing a great opportunity for locals and visitors to see a new side to the city. With activities and events for children, couples, families, groups and individuals, Kulturnatten includes dance, theatre, music, art, city walks exhibitions and lectures. The single ticket allows access to over 300 museums, exhibition halls, churches, libraries, schools, organisations, and a great number of venues which are normally not open to the public."
the number of people on the street that night was awesome! everyone from families with little kids and older couples to groups of preteens and students in theri 20s came out to enjoy the city. i could have been happy jsut walking the streets but the tickets were such a good deal we bought passes and explored a few of the MANYMANY event options going on.
Sarah, Amy and I made a great dinner to prep for the cold night and headout out to see what we could find.
We started at the Round Tower, built by King Christian the 4th. the line to get to the top took forever but the veiw was GORGEOUS!

 from there we headed out towards the harbor and Amalienborg Palace.
The museum in teh Palace was open and being inside the buildings we have stodd outsid eso many times was too good to pass up. The main exhibit was dedicated to Queen Ingrid, the present Queens mother.
we saw hwo seh decorated the rooms, read about the work she did in her life for the Danish people and saw some of her dresses.
 one room had the entire family tree of the danish royal family. here is a shot of the current monarchs.
for there we walked arun doutsid efor a while and enjoyed a concert going on in one of the squares. we also  defrosted with some needed hot drinks ( i drink teas at least once a day over here)
The Royal Danish Academy of Music had opened the Garnisons Kirke (church) and we stopped in there to see the beautiful building
Teh Parliament Reception rooms were our next stop. we had to where showercaplike booties over our shoes to be allowed in the building.
one room was empty except for a few chairs and this musician.
i sat there trasnfixed for a idont knwo how long at the acustics in thr room amplified teh music until i felt liek i was floating in a cloud of classical melodies. It was a major high point of the night!
The royal stabels were a reaflly fun treat. the horses were HUGE! the top of thier backs were level with the top of my head. but thier bodies were thing and sleek. They were very beautiful creatures. A stable hand was working with a white one and i got my fingers nibbled :)
the second half of the stables were a bunch of the old carriages used by the royal family
can u imagine riding in something like this??

the carriaged were our last stop of the night but by that time it had actually become saterday morning.
Saturday, me and the rest of the Norrebrogade 176 girls explored the Carlsberg Brewery.
(i read this sign without thinking and then realized what a cool moment that was :) "what time does the next bus come? read the other side" :P)
The Carlsberg Brewery
there were 7 isles like this!
a museum that told about the history of beer making and the ENTIRE history of the Carlsberg beer company
how they made the old beer barrels was actually really interesting to watch.
a miniature version of Denmark's Little Mermaid statue
we met a cat.... it was one of the highlights of my day.............
wow that sounds so sad hahaha. i just really miss having a kitty to cuddle with

some quotes from the walls of the brewery's bar
we did this thing where you smelled a whole bunch scents/flavors that go into different beers
and recorded our favorite and those we did not like.  it was a way to figure out which beers would be our favorites.
I tried the Carlsberg Pilsner with scents of hops, citrus and grain/cereal and the Carl's Special with toasted bread, almonds and caramel
i really liked both but the Special was my favorite
we all tried two

Sunday, i skipped out on homework for as long as i could and enjoyed the sunny day at the park with Sarah and Amy.
Erin sent Sarah  the game rummikub for her birthday!! :):):)
Wednesday this week, i did not have any field studies for my classes, so I found something else:
"Blomstein & Bien" aka
"The Flower and the Bee" children's exhibit at
 the Statens Museum for Kunst/ the National Gallery of Denmark
Sarah and Amy went with me. 
(this is a really sexual and odd painting when you look closely at the little veggies)
"World's Best Grandma"
Sarah's addition (the artist :))
Mine (i have no drawing skills :P)
this was full of little notes about what love to random people
The whole exhibit made me miss my parents, Dana, my grandmas, my friends at home & at school:
 everyone i love!
but it was a cute exhibit that brightened my rainy day
before going home we wandered through the Royal Gardens yet again

Just a last reminder for you all:
yes this is a real sign :D