Copenhagen

 

I really loved København. It’s one of my favorite cities and my favorite city this year, so far. There’s so much to do and see. The only downside to my visit was just how cold it was. The guide told me it was “the first real day of winter in Denmark.” Ohh, lucky me. I said this last winter at home but I’m saying it again – This is my last winter. We’ll see if it’s true.

To get to Copenhagen, I took the train at 8:00 to the metro to the bus to my flight at 12:00 to the bus in Malmo to the train to finally get to Copenhagen around 4:00. I spent a very short time in Malmo and it was pretty but I didn’t see many things to do there. Combined with everything in the news, I won’t be going back for another visit anytime soon although I did have the best train station sandwhich of my life before heading across to Copenhagen.

I’ve become really lazy in preparing for weekend trips and hardly ever look at what I should do or plan anything besides accommodation before I go. So I tripadvisored what to do for Friday night and ended up going through Hans Christian Anderson house/ museum. This was not exactly what I thought it would be from reading it online and so I was a bit disappointed. Then I went to Tivoli Garden which was super beautiful. It’s not much of a garden, it has rollercoasters and other rides which would make it really family friendly. I was walking through and came to a bridge when I saw lots of people standing around waiting for something. I pretended I knew wat for an waited with them. Turns out, they were waiting for a synched light and music show from the pond lights. It was quite impressive and I think that was worth the money I paid to go in. Check Facebook for the videos, but here’s a few pictures of the park.

I ended up making some friends at my hostel. Quite impressive for me not only because I never talk to other people in the hostel but also because I really hated my hostel (Copenhagen backpackers, do not recommend) and was in a really bad mood while I was there. The other girls in my room were British living in Germany teaching English it was nice to have someone to relate to that also spoke English natively. I also became the spokesperson for all of America as they asked me questions, mostly about American boys they dated, and seemed to think I could give them a definite answer on what all Americans would or wouldn’t do. Sorry, I’ve got no idea if someone in Idaho feels the same way about me on everything or not. I’m guessing not but they didn’t seem quite satisfied with that answer. I now assume all English people have the same opinion about everything (jk, kind of).

I took two free walking tours on Saturday. They were absolutely great and I recommend Copenhagen walking tours to anyone. Magnus was a fantastic tour guide and we covered so many things I can’t begin to remember them all, so here’s my best try. We saw the round tower, rosenburg palace, the cathedral, højbro clads, and many others along with a lot of history. basically if you’re wondering about any building in Copenhagen, the answer is it’s not original because it burned down. There was the first great fire and then the second great fire. and lots of disagreements with the Swedes.  And there was a story about a crazy guy who employed a dwarf to listen to conversations under the dinner table but he also was a good height for something else (yeah, true life, you’ve know read a story about dwarf blow jobs). There’s still a cannon ball lodged in the side of the wall from a battle. We finished the first tour at the food market where I had lunch with a German woman named Bubsy who I had made friends with on that tour. We had an opened face sandwhich – the same thing from Prague last week but I liked it better here for some reason, and I tried a local beer, and we had slow pour coffee which our guide was convinced was a must try. We didn’t really see the appeal, it was more like tea.

Tour two started off with me falling on icy cobblestones, cartoon style. My knee is still seriously bruised from that one. On this tour I heard about the trash factory and how Denmark is so efficient at burning trash for energy, that they ran out of trash last year and had to buy their neighbors. The trash factor is also something crazy like a ski slope, something else, and a trash plant combined. We finished this tour at Christiania which is sort of like it’s own state, sort of owned by Denmark, there’s a lot to talk about here. So a while ago, the town was left empty. Eventually a couple thousand people moved in, these people were all hippies. Marijuana was of course, very popular here. Eventually harder drugs were brought in and after some over doses or arrests (I can’t remember which) the town went into the main building that was the problem and gave the residents 45 days of rehab to sober up or leave Christiania. Nearly all of them got clean and stayed. Today there’s about 700 residents of this town and weed is still very popular. There are regular drug busts (every couple days) and even more regular users. There’s a lot of double standards that exist here. For example, residence say they’re against capitalism, yet don’t allow tour guides to take tours through and make tourists pay for a tour through the town. While weed isn’t legal in Denmark, the country somewhat allows this to continue as Christiana brings in so much money from tourisms every year since it’s an attraction all its own. There’s graffiti everywhere and tons of local artists. I was hanging out with a couple Portuguese girls in Christiana and they were nice enough to give me some recommendations for Lisbon in a few weeks! I have to admit, sometimes talking to people and actually making friends pays off. There are three main rules in Christiana, no running, no taking pictures down the Main Street, and have fun. Running causes panic for obvious reasons and the no pictures is because weed is still illegal. However, one of the girls I was with asked one of the sellers if she could take a picture and he was okay with it, just didn’t want to be in the picture. Christiana really considers itself separate, as you can see by the sign welcoming people into the part of town and also letting one know they’re returning to the EU. below is all the pictures from tour number 2.

After this tour, I had a flight of beers at Mikkeller Bar. I want to say that while I often drink alone on trips, I rarely drink alone when I don’t travel. And I also never get drunk a lone for a variety of reasons which include safety. To all solo travelers, make smart choices while you enjoy yourself!IMG_2175.JPG

Sunday I started with one of the best pastries I’ve had before heading out on tour number 3.

My last tour was also great as well. Unfortunately it was beyond cold and I almost considered ditching early for that reason but I stuck it out. the picture that looks like a random door way is where the founder of Carlsburg, J. C. Jacobson, was born. then there’s a quite famous street where our guide tried to teach us some Danish and I learned that maybe it’s just as hard as Hungarian to master. We talked about the word “hygge” which can best be translated to coziness but means a lot in Danish. The long way to translate it which gives us a better idea in English of it’s meaning is “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” So you can have it with your friends, with beer, with your family, with Netflix. there’s lots of different kinds. and this is what keeps the Danes so happy in the cold – or so said the guide. We visited Nyhavn, the picturesque scene of brightly colored houses and boats. This area used to be the red light district and looks lots of time, and paint, to become the tourist attraction it is today. While I was there, there was some sort of protest going on that didn’t really look like a protest but there was plenty of police everywhere. We finished at the palace of the king and queen, which I apparently didn’t take any pictures of and even saw the Prince and Princess leaving in a car. After the tour ended at the palace, I went to see Frederik’s Church, which is the largest dome church in Scandinavia.

I warmed up with some tea in a nearby restaurant and then headed out to see the little mermaid. I almost skipped due to being pretty much frozen, but I managed to make myself get there. So this is the church, the Kastellet, the Little Mermaid, and Gefion fountain. the area is a bit outside the main city but it was quite beautiful and worth the walk.

Overall, I really loved Copenhagen and I was surprised how much history and things to see there were. I feel like I just saw the top of it and plan to come back again sometime. I actually said to Mom that I would retire here if it wasn’t for the cold. It really is a great city.

Daily life

So here’s finally some pictures of my new place – did you know the Rubik’s cube was invented in Hungary?? Here you can almost see the Tesco that’s a few minute walk from me in the first picture, my apartment building, the restaurant across from my aparment (!!!!) the other grocery store literally 2 minutes from my place, the fancy church in Szazhalombatta, and Szent Istvan Ter which is right outside my building. I really couldn’t be in a better location here. The school is almost as close as the grocery store, I pretty much can pick a direction to walk in and find a grocery store. The only thing that’s disappointing is while there’s three gyms in town, none are quite what I’m looking for.

However, rugby was so great last week so I plan to continue going. There’s going to be international tournaments, how cool is that!?! Definitely makes up for never getting to play in the states. Classes have been going pretty well as well, the students seem to like me and I really enjoy all of them. I’m still working on learning the names. I felt like I was doing well last week until I got to Thursday and still had 7 more classes to see. I’ll keep working on it. This week started Farsang, or Carnival, here. I was planning to go to Busójárás this weekend, but I wasn’t feeling well and my school had a celebration Friday night as well. My school’s celebration was the 8th graders dancing traditionally and the young kids dancing, well, not traditionally. It was super cute and really interesting and everyone enjoyed the teachers dance as well. I pretty much missed all of the Hungarian celebrations going on for this, but there’s a Brazilian one happening in Budapest next weekend I might go to.

With the new school, I’m now teaching Civilization aka culture class. I’ve got plenty ideas for this, but as the curriculum is wide open for me to do what I want with, I’d love to hear what you all think Hungarian kids should know about the states. I have a long list of what the kids are interested in and what I want to talk about with them including food, country music, sports, celebrations, and others. Do you have any good ideas I can add to the list? Please let me know and help me keep class interesting!

Hungarian word of the post: uborka – cucumber (ooborkah) because it’s the only vegetable name I can remember.

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