Thursday, September 27, 2007
We had more visitors this week! My parents arrived last Thursday, Sept. 21. They left for the airport this morning--though not without some taxi drama; more on that later--and their flight should have just taken off. Thus begins the long trek back to Carlsbad. We all had a great time, and there's much to tell. While they did a few "touristy" things, most of our time was spent giving them a taste of everyday life here in Copenhagen. However, since Robyn is a much more polished blogger than I am, I'll simply post a few photographs for now and let her provide the "full report" a bit later.
We enjoyed our final meal together last night at a lovely Italian restaurant downtown (see the picture above). Robyn and I haven't eaten out all that much during the short time we've lived in Copenhagen, so my parents' visit was a good excuse to explore some different eateries. The restaurant was near one of the canals on perhaps the most famous street in all of Copenhagen. It's just out of frame in the picture to the right, which was snapped a couple of days before our meal.
Here's a shot of Mom and Dad near the city center, with the theater in the background:
And here's a shot of Mom and Robyn shopping very intently at a Saturday flea market:
Unbelievably, neither of them bought anything that day!
We've mentioned before that the people here in Copenhagen are quite handsome. On Saturday, we enjoyed a evening drink in one of the coolest bars in the city: The Library Bar. While there, we were able to discreetly capture a photograph of two of Copenhagen's more dashing specimens. We quickly took this shot right before they were overwhelmed by a flood of giggling schoolgirls, all frantically vying for an autograph.
In fact, here are two of them...
We all had a great time. We're very fortunate to have such loving families who come all the way to Denmark to spend time with us!
More pictures and stories soon!
Friday, September 21, 2007
The students are from all over Europe and very smart (the program is quite competitive to get into). They know several languages and are very motivated. That said, I do, at times, miss the more well-roundedness of the American students. Students in Europe take fewer “electives” and their studies focus primarily on their chosen “major.” Therefore, students don’t usually take history, math, science, philosophy etc. As smart and devoted as these students are, I do notice that they tend to have a more narrow academic approach to their studies and therefore their understanding of communication.
The students and the course was a lot of fun and I hope I have the opportunity to do this again, in part, because the location is absolutely amazing. I am here in Montserrat, Spain, which is an hour from Barcelona. I can never adequately describe the environment, but Montserrat, or the “serrated mountains” are beautiful. Nearly 1000 years ago a monastery was built at the top of the mountains (that look like giant rocks protruding from the earth!). It is a functioning monastery (which is why they begin to ring the church bells at 5am! – first Mass is at 5!), but they’ve added a museum, hotel, restaurants, and dorms (where the students stayed) and it now functions as a conference center as well. The land around the monastery is also the Spanish equivalent to a national park.
All of the buildings are beautiful, but the church is especially moving. While much of the church suffered destruction at the hands of Napoleon’s troops, Franco’s soldiers and others, there are parts that date back to the early 12th century! And, the church has been beautifully restored. They also have a world renowned boy’s choir and we were fortunate enough to attend one of their concerts.
If you are ever in Spain you must visit Montserrat. Spend the night in the hotel so you have enough time to visit the museum and church as well as hike the trails. You won’t be disappointed!
Some of the best parts to their trip, for me at least, were the times we spent just sitting around the table chatting. I really enjoyed sharing my new home with my family. There is something about sharing your home and your home town with someone that makes your being there very real. I felt somewhat vindicated when my family ran into the same money problems that we encountered – no, really, they don’t take American credit cards! It wasn’t that I thought people didn’t believe us. There is just something different about having someone else experience your home town – run into the same frustrations that we ran into… smell the smells… see the everyday sights that we see everyday. I love that my family enjoyed going to our local bakery and grocery store. They went shopping for us! They tried a number of breads and pastries and I think they liked most of them .
To their credit, GG, Papa, and Aunt Paula tried all the food and drink that are part of the traditional Danish lunch. I guess this is the part where I have to confirm that GG did in fact drink alcohol while in Copenhagen. We sampled a few of the local beers and then had some schnapps – the traditional drink to accompany the Danish lunch. While I would not want to drink the schnapps all by itself, when accompanying pickled herring, the schnapps isn’t so bad. And, the same must be said for the pickled herring. Neither is good by itself, but together, they improve each other, although neither together nor separate are my favorites. You will have to ask GG, Papa, and Aunt Paula what they thought of the food and the schnapps. I don’t think any of them are going to ask me to bring any pickled herring over with me when we visit.
As the pictures show, Joel and I were able to take some time to sightsee with our family. Frederiksborg Slot is breathtaking, even on a VERY windy day. The pictures of the garden fail to capture their magnitude and precision. I can’t imagine how many people it takes to maintain the grounds. We were not able to eat in the restaurant in the Slot because there was a wedding in the chapel. While we did not see the whole wedding party, it was neat to see some of them as they gathered for the wedding… it added to the romance of the castle (because all castles need a king, queen, prince, and princess!).
I'll post this and then add more... stay tuned!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
We used one of Michelles old sheets for a table cloth... we hope she didn\t mind!
GG enjoyed using our computer phones to call family and friends... and I think she surprised a few in the States!
If you've ever forgotten your sunglasses, you know how bad it is to sightsee on bright sunny days. This isn\t usually a problem in Copenhagen, but we\ve had some of the best weather this summer this week! GG forgot her sunglasses so we stopped to purchase some at the drug store on the way to the train station. The trick was finding a pair that would fit over her glasses. Well, we found a pair, and I just couldn\t stop laughing at them! They are quite the fashion statement!
We spent all day Friday in Sweden -- Malmo and Lund. This is a picture of GG, Papa, and Aunt Paula in the Malmo Town Square.
We took the train over the Öresund Bridge and then on to Malmö. After walking around the city for a bit we ate at Salt & Brygga and had a spectular view of the bridge.
On Saturday we all travelled to Hillerød to visit Frederiksborg Slot (castle). It was finished by Christian IV in 1620. The building and grounds are beautiful, especially on a sunny (if not windy) day. The building is now the National History Museum. We didn’t have time to tour the museum, so after we ate a traditional Danish lunch (I will let our visitors tell you what they thought of their lunches!) we walked the Slot Gardens and toured the Hillerød Walking Street. Here are a few pictures from our day!
Joel and Papa waiting for the women to complete their shopping!
Outside the Slot.
Here we are at lunch. We were the only ones in the dinning room! And, we had a view of the Slot!
The backside of Frederiksborg Slot.
Walking through the gardens.
The beautiful Baroque Gardens.
The backside of the Slot
This is us saying hello from our balcony!
MORE PICTURES AND STORIES TO COME!
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