“I’ll tell you how the sun rose, a ribbon at a time.” ~ Emily Dickinson
– Views from the canal, statue at the Christiansborg Palace, a garden house in the courtyard of the old National Library –
I am hoping that this trend of sunny Sundays will last all semester. We had another beautiful Sunday today, not quite as nice as last Sunday with perfect blue sky, but the sun made a cameo appearance in the movie of today, so I was happy. The canals sure were beautiful today– there were swans everywhere, and lots of really cute kids running around in those big puffy snowsuits feeding all the birds. Besides the fact that I got passed by all these intense runner guys with “Marathon Sports” logos on their jackets and another guy who sprinted past me all dramatically in only shorts and a t-shirt (it was approximately a million degrees below zero), my run was the best part of the day.
– Exploring the city! –
My hall-mate had never learned how to ride a bike, so yesterday, one of our SRA’s and I took her out to the paved cycling path that runs alongside the train station right outside of where we live, and taught her a bit about riding a bike! Boy, after watching her battle that bike for awhile, I don’t even know how on earth I learned how to ride. Sometimes I can barely walk without tripping on every non-existent crack in the sidewalk. Nevertheless, she got better and better, and today, when she and I went out to practice again, she started biking all by herself!
The brakes on the bikes here are a bit different than I’m used to (back-pedaling basically is the brake for the back wheel, and then there’s one front hand-brake for the front wheel), so I was having a hard time describing how to brake – which come to think of it, stopping on a bike is probably the most important thing to learn. But eventually, she got the hang of it! Oh, I was so proud. Now that she’s listened to me talk all about riding a bike as if I actually know how to ride well, I better walk the walk and improve my biking skills. All the Danes are such pros. They can ride one-handed while steering another bike alongside. They can carry their bikes up and down flights of stairs, onto the metro, onto the trains. They carry groceries and sometimes small children and plywood (for furniture?) and books and plants in the big baskets attached to the front of their bicycles. And they do all of this in the snow and rain and sleet and slush and ice. And they carry full-on conversations with the people beside them. And they never ever look winded. Sometimes they ride with no hands and text. I’m so intimidated.
– At the Royal Christiansborg Palace –
Speaking of snow and rain and sleet and ice, we got a taste of that yesterday when we were out exploring the city. Oh, it was so cold. I thought we were all going to freeze to the sidewalk. Three of the friends in our Kollegium group are in a History of Copenhagen class, and for an assignment, they have to find certain buildings and sites in Copenhagen. They have an information packet on all the different sites, and so all of us came along for the “free tour.” We were probably a terrible tour group because we stopped at pretty much every building that we passed and took a million pictures and didn’t really help with any of the assignment, but oh, we had so much fun! Despite the fact that we were all fading from the cold. We went to the Royal Christiansborg Palace, and tried to look for all the different Royal crests. Brady, one of our “tour guides” told us that you could tell how old a Royal or government building in Denmark is by the mark of the crest telling who was in rule at the time. You could really wow someone with that little bit of information – you would just need to have a handy guide with all the dates for each crest, and then walk around the building all Nicholas-Cage-National-Treasure-esque and simply point out the Royal crest and rattle off some dates. Winning. Apparently, a guy in the History of Copenhagen class last semester made some money by leading “tours” based off the assignment guide for all the visiting DIS parents. I told Brady that he should launch a tour website come spring when all the parents visit.
– The beautiful old National Library, courtyard of the Royal Christiansborg Palace, walking to the garden courtyard outside the National Library –
We also walked all along the street that I got suuuuuuuper lost on that first week. It was very disheartening to see how close I was to DIS the entire time. Like 4 blocks over. I hadn’t even really walked that far, I just managed to take the MOST inefficient way possible to get to wherever I was. It was also embarrassing because the entire time I was lost, I thought that the Christiansborg Palace was a university (I know – I just thought, yeah, their Universities are super big and grand and beautiful. It’s Denmark!), and the Black Diamond Library (which is the national library) was the University’s library. We also saw a bride having a photo shoot at the old library, and it was beautiful. I told my friend Melissa that we should just pretend that one of us is having a wedding so we can 1) Go cake/pastry/wine tasting 2) Have photo-shoots in amazing locations all around the city 3) Throw a big party. We’re ironing out the details now, like who our fake fiancé will be, and which church we want the wedding to be in. Or if we even want it to be in a church. I almost think the canals would be pretty magical – all those swans.
– View to the outside of the palace, Melissa! (the Royal Crest of Queen Margrethe II – the current Queen), inside the palace, swans from the canal, view from the bridge outside the palace –