Thoughts from Places: Göteborg and Kobenhaven

***I started this in October right when I got back from my trip but then schoolwork had to take priority and then before I knew it, it was Christmas break, which meant spending time with family and friends, and then second semester hit the ground running and now I’ve found a small window to catch up on blogging***

The week is reading week, and it came just in time.  While I have 3 papers due next week, including my research proposal for my dissertation (NBD, eep), I took the weekend off to do a bit of traveling.  I went with two other girls in my program and we had a great weekend.

It all started when we woke up before the sun to head to the airport Friday morning.  We arrived at the airport an hour or so early and hung out, grab some coffee and tried to stay awake.  The plane ride was short, sweet, and pretty uneventful.  We landed in Göteborg and proceeded to find the bus to the center of town.  The airport was rather small so it wasn’t all that difficult.  Thanks to the stellar directions provided by google maps we took our luggage on a lovely walking tour of the city while trying to find our hotel.  Once we were settled we got our city cards and found some food (Hard Rock Café).  That evening we went to the Universeum and my inner twelve year old had loads of fun climbing things and pushing buttons and playing with the interactive stuff.  I also got a small toy dinosaur and have begun taking pictures of him doing things.

Day Two involved proper exploration of the city.  We checked out tourist information and got some postcards to send home.  We some time before the sight-seeing tour bus so we took the tram over to Haga and wandered the streets.  It’s a beautiful part of the city and there are some pictures to come because that was before I lost my camera…I left my camera on the tram back to the center of the city, but before you get too worried,  I got it back on Monday morning, hooray!, making Göteborg my new favorite city.  More on that later.  We got ourselves to the meeting point for the bus only to wait for ages because the company didn’t realize they were meant to be giving tours that day.  Eventually the bus came and we got on the tour and observed the beauty that is Göteborg.  I wish I had pictures of it cause it is a really quaint city.  After the city tour we got some lunch which was the oh so authentically swedish dish called the Big Mac.  Believe it or not, that was the first Big Mac any of us had eaten.  We finished the day with more wondering and the largest cinnamon bun, a kanelbullar.

The next day we ventured by train to Copenhagen.  The trip was an adventure.  We were seated near this American boy doing his year abroad and trying really really hard to impress the women he was sitting with.  He was the stereotype of American’s abroad: loud, obnoxious, and talking a lot on things he knew little about.  Amusing for a short amount of time, rather annoying three hours+ later.  Let’s see what else happened.  The boy is the most memorable part of the journey, but it was really cool when we crossed into Denmark all the signs on the train switched to Danish and the train staff switched from Swedish to Danish.  We had no idea what was going on in either language but it was interesting.  And, across the platform at one of the stations in Denmark, by the airport I think, there was a man with a Red Sox cap on and I got really excited.

Copenhagen is a very pretty city. As it was October, everything was decorated for Halloween,  which was a nice change from London.  We got off the train and went on a quest for a city card so that we could check out some palaces and Tivoli and take public transportation.  Naturally, tourist information was closed so we went to many a hotel.  Eventually our quest was successful and we set off to visit Rosenborg Slot, a charming castle with a rather intimidating throne room with lion statues and thrones out of silver and narwal tusk.  They were so epic, I wish I had had my camera.  We also got to see some of the Danish crown jewels, which are pretty swanky.  After touring the Castle we had lunch in the garden and set off to find Den Lille Havfrue, The Little Mermaid statue.  We walked past some charming houses and through the park to the statue, my friends took some pictures and we set off for the next castle, Amailenborg Slot.  Then we wandered around and found ourselves at Nyhavn, one of many canals that is lined with cafes.  We too the opportunity to stop for a warm drink before continuing on our way to Tivoli.  On our way we past the longest shopping street in Europe and found the Disney store.

Tivoli was beautiful.  It’s an amusement park that inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyworld.  There are themed lands and vendors everywhere.  It’s smaller than I expected but, when it’s al decorated, it was incredible.  There were massive pumpkins everywhere and black cats and scarecrows.  After walking around for a bit we explored the local cuisine (Hard Rock again) and made friends with our waitress, who reminded me so much of my rugby coach that I was afraid she would tell me to do sprints, and the host, who had a profile like David Tennant.  There were two very drunk men who wanted to become friends but we successfully dodged that bullet.

Now the entire time we were in Copenhagen everyone we met immediately started speaking to me in English while my travels companions got a mix of Danish and English.  It wasn’t until we were on the platform getting ready to go home that I figured out why.  Looking around, I was one of three people wearing colour.  Everyone else was sporting a black jacket.  There was an English man in a green arm jacket sort of thing and an American in a red jacket and then there was me in a multi-primary coloured jumper and a silver vest.  To say I stood out is a bit of an understatement.  The journey home was quieter than the trip there.  We were in the quiet car and people there were quick to enforce the no talking rule.  There were some tourist from Asia who were asked to leave our  compartment because they were talking, and there were two men who hadn’t boughten their tickets before they boarded and were kicked off because you could not purchase a ticket onboard.  There was one lady who gave the evil eye to any of the fellow passengers who were talking, but would look at my friends and me with a polite smile the few times were talked.  Also, I was sitting in the window seat and had to get up, but the person next to me was asleep and so I climbed up and over the seats and that got a chuckle, from the evil-eye lady so I think I made a friend somehow.

Our final day in Sweden was pretty stellar mostly because it began with me getting my camera back!  We went to lost and found and someone had turned my camera in.  I was not expecting to see it again, but I figured I had to try and there it was.  So we walked around the city and I took some pictures and we found a bookstore and I got a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Swedish.  Then we gathered our things and went back to London.  Overall it was a great trip and I can’t wait to travel more.

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