Billund, Denmark

My final blog post wrapping up my time in Denmark! Whew! Thanks for sticking with me and my inconsistent posting. Lucky for you, being behind means double the blog posts and photos. Who doesn’t love that?

For my last day (April 30), Louise, Eva, and I headed to the city where my Danish adventure began: Billund. Also known as, LEGO’s headquarters where Louise works!

Our first stop was Louise office where she took Eva up to see her coworkers, while I wandered around the LEGO campus.

After 30 minutes, we met up again and grabbed some Indian food for lunch and headed to LEGO House: Home of the Brick. This is a new LEGO complex (only a couple of years ago) and tells the story of the LEGO Brick.

LEGO House: Home of the brick

For our first stop, we started at the top of the building where LEGO fans’ creations are displayed. The massive dinosaurs were in the same room. Then, we headed down the stairs to check out the LEGO cities. The cities were amazing with moving parts and sounds of real cities. To mimic day turning to night, the lights would dim and crickets would chirp. Simply amazing!

Then, Louise and I went to the first activity station to build our own LEGO people. Once we built our figures, Louise and I played them on a platform where they got their picture taken for a magazine. So fun!

My beach boy and traveling LEGO gal

To start off, Louise I felt like I was reliving my childhood and the best time!

Next, I built a fish to go in the LEGO fish tank. Similar to the LEGO people, I built my fish and then placed it on a platform where its picture was taken. Then, I added eyes and a mouth before the fish swam into the tank.

My fish! Can you see it swimming in the tank?

After making fish, the three of us walked through some of the other exhibits. I played a game with Louise that involved moving different colored houses around to please the LEGO citizens. Then, I participated in a LEGO robotics battle where I had to free the scientists from the ice to do research on the animals.

Soon after I finished, LEGO House was closing so we headed to the basement to go briefly through the museum. Louise explained to me how the same level of quality the company was founded upon on are still upheld today. I learned too that LEGO originally produced wooden kids toys and not LEGOs. Go figure!

Upon exiting, I scanned my wristband and received a plastic card and 6 red LEGOs. My plastic card gave me a specific combo (#366,167,297) to make. With just 6 red LEGOs, MILLIONS of variations can be created.

Once the museum closed, Eva, Louise, and I headed to the LEGO employee store as Louise needed to purchase some gifts.

Then, we headed to the airport so I could fly to Rome, Italy.

Thank you Louise, Kristian, and Eva, for welcoming me to Denmark and into your home. I cannot wait to come back to Denmark with some other family members in tow to see you all again!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

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Silkeborg, Denmark

Are you tired of Denmark blog posts? Well, I promise this is the second to last post. I have fallen behind with traveling and having poor WiFi connection. #thestruggle

Monday morning (April 29) in Denmark began with a nice walk into Herning with Louise and Eva. Upon our return, I had an impromptu photo shoot with little Eva using the delayed timer on my camera. Despite her facial expressions, I can assure you she thinks my peekaboo and patty cake skills are stellar!

After lunch, Louise and I headed to Silkeborg while Eva stayed with grandma.

In Silkborg, Louise took me to Sky Mountain. There, we climbed to the viewpoint and soaked in the view.

Sky Mountain

After snapping some photos, we hiked down to the lake and then hiked back up to the car again to head into Silkeborg to explore.

Hiking through the woods

In town, Louise and I stopped at a couple of stores before sitting down near the lake to have a quick dinner of sandwiches where we chatted about everything and anything.

Once wrapping up dinner, we hopped into the car and headed to the sports arena to watch a handball match!

Handball is the second most popular sport in Denmark after soccer/football. The sport involves passing a volleyball-type ball between players by either a bounce pass or a direct throw of the ball. Points are scored by throwing the ball into a soccer/football goal. Two 30 minute halves are played with a 15 minute halftime break.

Recently, Denmark won the Men’s National Handball Championship. Louise and I watched two local teams play. However, both teams had national players on their teams. Pretty cool!

The game itself was INTENSE! Louise and I were convinced one of the teams were going to win over the other based on their warm-up exercises. One team happened to be in-sync and coordinated while the other team messed around during warm-up. However, the team who happened to be goofing around won the game by one point!

For me, I found handball to be more exciting than American football. I totally would go back to another game!

A great day!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Hvide Sande, Vedersø Klit, & Ringkøbing, Denmark

After a full Saturday in Copenhagen, my Sunday started out pretty relaxing with a nice breakfast of toast and pancakes with Louise and Kristian.

Soon after, Louise and I hopped into her car to drive to the fishermen village of Hvide Sande. There, various competitions were taking place. Louise and I arrived just in time to see the fishing waders beauty pageant.

Danish models in the making

After the beauty pageant concluded, Louise and I walked to the top of the nearby bunkers and beach. Nothing quite screams Denmark like windmills near the ocean.

Once we wrapped up our seaside walk, Louise drove us to Vedersø Klit, which is a popular area for Danes to have summer houses. Prior to our beach stop, we pulled off the road at a little shop to have some ice cream and to sample some rum. When we arrived at the coast, the sun decided to make an appearance. Perfect weather for a seaside walk!

Am I really in Denmark?

With sand in our shoes, Louise drove us to the old Danish town of Ringkøbing. There, we did another seaside walk before heading back to Herning.

Bench views in Ringkøbing

For dinner, Louise cooked some delicious Thai food. Upon sitting down to eat, the food was piping hot. While Kristian, Louise, and I waited for dinner to cool down, we started to play the board game Ticket to Ride. As the game began, I noticed Louise and Kristian were playing by different rules than what my family does at home. I pointed this out to Louise and Kristian explaining how I usually play. Kristian made the executive decision that we play by the “American rules.” As the game progressed, both Louise and Kristian said the “American rules” made a lot more sense which made me laugh. Louise ended up sabotaging one of my routes I needed to complete and I ended up losing terribly to Kristian who came in second and Louise who came in first.

A relaxing Sunday!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Copenhagen, Denmark

On Saturday, I headed to Denmark’s capital by myself — thanks Louise for sponsoring my ticket!

I boarded a bus at 7:30 am and arrived in Copenhagen around 11:30 am.

As soon as I disembarked, I quickly made my way to Amalienborg Palace to watch the changing of the guards. Quite honestly, I did not stay for the whole thing as I did not have the best view. Arrive earlier if you want to see the changing of the guards!

After snapping a few photos, I walked across the street to the Marble church. Like St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Marble Church is Roman-style with its large dome.

Once I finished taking in the beauty of the Marble Church, I headed towards the famous Little Mermaid Statue. Along the way, I made a pit stop at St. Alban’s Church, which is the only Anglican church in all of Denmark. I adored the location of this particular church. Gardens, water, and a fountain surrounded the building which made the area very picturesque!

Finally, I arrived at the Little Mermaid. While waiting to take a photo of the famous statue, a boat drove by with a bunch of Danish (I presume) men drinking for a bachelor party (once again I am presuming). As I am standing on the steps, the men collectively turn around and pull down their shorts mooning everyone with their beers in their hands. Hilarious! I wish I would have snagged a photo of the white butts behind the Little Mermaid, but some things are best not to be photographed!

The Little Mermaid

Once I escaped the swaths of tourists at the Little Mermaid, I began walking in the general direction of the Round Tower. I managed to walk through another beautiful park and through a residential area with some colorful buildings.

After my wanderings, I made it to the Round Tower. I purchased my ticket and began walking up the spiral floor to the top of the building. Throughout the climb, the building had different museum exhibits you could pop in to learn about the tower’s history. Eventually, I arrived at the top and had a beautiful view of Copenhagen. Out of all of the churches and towers I have climbed this semester, the Round Tower had the most space for visitors to spread out so I did not feel claustrophobic at all!

Copenhagen from the Round Tower

Eventually, I climbed down and started walking towards Nyhavn. This is probably the most photographed and iconic area of Copenhagen. The buildings are colorful and the canal is filled with boats, which brings forth thoughts of Amsterdam.

After taking an excessive amount of photos of the buildings and squeezing in a couple camera selfies, I went in search of a boat tour. I purchased a ticket and hopped aboard a boat and listened to Vincent, the guide, enlighten myself and everyone else on the boat with information about Copenhagen and various buildings. Copenhagen is in fact based off of Amsterdam. A past king of Denmark wanted to not only encourage Dutch people to emigrate to Denmark to pay taxes, but also wanted them to recreate Amsterdam. Additionally, the Danish flag is the oldest flag in world. As such, the Danish flag can be seen everywhere. All in all, the boat tour lasted an hour and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Once I disembarked, I walked to Freetown Christiania. This area of Copenhagen lives by its own rules. Most notably, weed/hash is openly sold on the streets. I found the whole area to be very free-spirited and artsy. For me, the murals were neat, but I did not stay long as the smell of weed was overwhelming. Not my scene! If you happen to visit Freetown Christiania, do not take any photos as you will get reprimanded.

Freetown Christiania happened to be the last stop on my Copenhagen “to-do” list so I spent the rest of my time wandering the streets, going in stores that were open (by law stores close early 5:00-6:30 pm), and looking at the architecture before catching my train to Herning.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Jelling, Denmark

For day two in Denmark (Friday), Louise, Eva, and I did a half day trip to Jelling to learn about the Vikings!

We stopped first at Jelling Church which dates back to 1100. Outside the church, two different Viking rune stones are displayed. I found the Danish cemetery to be very interesting (no surprise). Hedges surround each plot and grass does not grow around the stones. Louise, Eva, and I climbed up the two nearby hills to enjoy the view.

Next, we made our way to the visitor’s center across the street. There, I learned more about the Danish Vikings, the evolution of Christianity in Denmark, and the emergence of the Danish monarchy. All I found very interesting!

After the museum, the three of us headed back home. Louise and I ate a traditional Danish lunch of Rye bread with fermented fish. Delicious (not lying)!

Louise and I relaxed for a while after lunch while Eva took a nap. When Kristian (Louise’s boyfriend) came back from work, Louise and I headed into Herning to check out the textile museum.

The textile industry helped shape the Central Jutland into what it is today. At the museum, a new exhibit was opening so Louise and I were able to get in for free! Students at the local college researched the sailor shirt and identity. All of the fashion pieces were entirely unique. I was thoroughly impressed with what each student came up with when discussing identity and their ability to use machines to incorporate intricate text. My favorite piece happened to be a sweater that highlighted the power of of an individual’s passport or citizenship. Besides the sailor shirt exhibit, Louise and I tried out some of thee sewing machines and also learned about the evolution of the textile industry.

After Louise and I had our fill on fabric, we headed back to the house. There, Kristian, Eva, Louise and I grabbed a few things and piled into the car to go to Louise’s mom and step-dad’s home for dinner.

I am afraid to say I did not take any photos of dinner, so you will have to imagine a traditional Danish sandwich and lemon dessert. After dinner, we headed back to the house to get some shut-eye.

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

Aahurs, Denmark

For my first full day in Denmark (last Thursday), Louise, her 8-month old daughter, and I took a day trip to Aahurs, Denmark! Back in her undergraduate days, Louise called Aahurs home. As a result, she took me to all of her favorite places in the city and reminisced while we spent the day there.

Our first stop of the day was the ARoS Aahurs art museum to see the famous rainbow panorama created by a Danish-Icelandic artist. Louise, Eva, and I also explored some other art exhibits while we were there. One of the exhibits had to do with the idea of home. For one of the displays, an artist had purchased signs from homeless people in different countries. The signs were then framed in a golden/ornate frame to show the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty.

After the art museum, Louise, Eva, and I walked around the city. We stopped at the public library down near the harbor. I found myself thoroughly impressed with Danish architecture and playgrounds. At the library, for example, the outside perimeter of the library has multiple play sets for children to climb all over. What a great way to bring convince children to get outside and read! Once finished at the library, the three of us traversed the streets soaking in the sunshine.

After a quick lunch of sandwiches outside, I helped Louise load up the car and she drove us to an art warehouse. There, artisans have workshops to create and build and visitors can stop in to have a bite to eat at the cafe or watch the artists at work. I went up to the rooftop where you could walk up and see the city.

Aarhus from the rooftop

When I climbed back down from the roof, Louise, Eva, and I hopped back into the car and drove to the deer park. Yes I typed that correctly. A DEER PARK! There, we saw deer (of course) and wild pigs during our nice walk through the forest.

After admiring the beach and ocean for a few minutes, Louise and I took Eva and loaded up the car again to head back home. A great first day in Denmark!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

The 2.5 Week Adventure Begins!

On Wednesday, I said a “see you later” to Harlaxton manor and my friends following my final British Studies exam.

Alexa, my roommate, and I had a mini photo shoot before I hopped on the shuttle to head to Stansted airport to kick-off my 2.5 adventure to Denmark, Italy, and Slovenia!

Roomie pic: me and Alexa

For my journey to London, I opted to take a train and then a bus to Stansted instead of taking the train all the way to the airport. Now, upon arriving to King’s Cross, I took the tube to London Liverpool Street to catch my bus. I had never been to this station before and I had 15 minutes to find the bus stop. As the minutes pass by, I start to panic as I cannot find where the buses drop-off and pick-up. Finally, I find the bus area only to find out the entire area is under renovation. I decide to go out front to the street side and ask a city worker where to find the bus. He kindly gives me directions and I start SPRINTING because I have less than 10 minutes to catch my bus. I arrive just in time, albeit out of breath, and find out the 4:00 pm bus has been canceled. WHAT?! The bus ride to Stansted is roughly 1.5 hours and waiting for the 4:30 pm bus puts me arriving at the airport around 6:00 pm IF traffic is not crazy. My flight to Denmark, my destination, is at 7:30 pm so arriving 1.5 hours to the airport is a bit too close for my comfort. I decide to book a train ticket to the airport to be on the safe side.

After I arrive to Stansted, I pass through some security and grab some sushi for dinner. Yum! Not long after, my gate is assigned so I make my way to where I need to be and I find out my flight is delayed by 30 minutes. Sigh. Finally, passengers are told to make their way to the priority and non-priority lines.

While standing in line, the associate for RyanAir pulls me out of line for my bag size. I will admit my Cotopaxi backpack does not comply with Europe’s budget air backpack regulations. HOWEVER, the bag fits under the seat. As I politely explained this to the associate, she tells me that does not matter and I must pay the 20 pounds to put my bag in the plane’s hold. I pull out my credit card and insert it to pay. My card is declined. I ask the associate to try again. My card is declined a SECOND time. I go to my wallet and pull out 20 pounds cash and the associate informs me they do not accept cash and asks if I have another card. I respond with ‘no.’ Internally, I am panicking again. Are they not going to let me onto my flight? She sternly tells me for this one time only I can take my bag for free, but I need to put it into the hold. THANK GOODNESS! At this point, I cannot wait to get onto the plane. Being the rebel I am, once my boarding pass is scanned and I pass out of sight of the RyanAir counter, I rip off the tag and take my backpack onto the plane. No hold for this girl’s bag! My seat neighbor asked me how I managed to get my credit card not to work and get my bag on and I had no response for him. Pure luck?

Finally, my flight landed in Billund, Denmark. There, Louise (my aunt’s exchange student from 2003) picked me up from the airport and we headed to her house where I promptly went to sleep.

My family with Louise July 2015 during her last visit to the United States

Eventful and memorable!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo