Friday, October 24, 2008

Scandinavia (Oct 16-20, 2008)

Paris -> København

Thursday, October 16th, 4:20am
Alarm. Alarm. Alarm. Oy vey. Breakfast, luggage in the dark, bus in the dark, plane, sunrise. Copenhagen International Airport, 9am.

I got my luggage into a locker, and strut out of the station with no map (1st mistake). I found the main street downtown, a pedestrian only street lined with stores and cafes. I found an AMAZING outdoor photography exhibit and took my sweet time admiring the portraits. Then, still enamored of my stroll through gorgeous architecture sans-smog, I found a round building with a line outside... curiosity got the best of me and I found a sign in English (HUZZAH!) informing me I was standing in front of the oldest observatory in Europe. So I joined the line. The tower offered beautiful views of the city below, the water, and Sweden, my destination that evening.

So after I walked down the tower, I found a friendly newsie and asked him how to get to the Little Mermaid statue. He showed me on a huge map in the square. I started the looong walk, a visual memory of the map was all I had, that and the luck that every Dane speaks incredible English. I passed through Nyhavn, the colorful harbour (1st image of this blog). There were lots of restaurants with outdoor heaters and blankets- perfect for eating outside in the cold. But I kept walking towards the Mermaid (2nd mistake!!). By the time I got to The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue) I was so friggin hungry I was out of it. I took the obligatory photo, the necessary sit on a bench, and headed back to Nyhavn for a Smørrebrød, Open face sandwich. Yum. I got a chicken sandwich. I was so hungry at that point, the adventurous side of me which would have tried the eel or the herring was long gone.

København -> Helsingør -> Helsingborg, Skåne, Sverige

I arrived in Helsingborg (in the Scania provence) Sweden around 5ish and was greeted by the beautiful Jessica and her amazing 5-year-old son Tyler. (Backround... Jessica and I met in Gaeta, Italia in 2000ish. We lived 2 hours from eachother when I was in Rome but visited occasionally and became friends. Totally randomly, Jessica was an Au Pair in Great Falls, VA the same time that I moved back to Annandale to go to GMU. It was a happy surprise to us both!)

So, now, sitting at Jessica's kitchen table, while she made dinner and Tyler drew pictures, we realized we hadn't seen eachother in 5 or 6 years. I was exhausted, up since 4:20 and hauling my hungry ass all over Copenhagen, but I craved their company (and the smells from her stove).

Jessica went to work on Friday and I met her there, at the Dunkers Kulturhus, a great building filled with arts and history exhibits (several of both at the moment!!) Both Friday and Saturday nights Jessica, Tyler and I went to Jessica's friends' houses. I got to meet amazing people!! It was so cool to visit Sweden and get an extremly local experience! No tourists, no traps, just Sweden! I loved it.

Tyler and leaves /
the church had a viiking ship in it, of course :) / old buildings, now an Italian restaurant

Helsingborg ->
Helsingør -> København -> Malmö

20: My flight to Paris is at 18h30. That, to me, was a whole free day (if I woke up before the sun) to see more of Sweden, so I chose Malmo (arriving in a round about way, I admit, but it makes sense to me!) This photo is the sun rising over Helsingborg.
Malmo w
as a really nice city, bigger and more modern Helsingborg, but I missed the traditional charm. This time I got a map in the train station (woohoo!) and hit the road. I saw two museums, both incredible! The first Malmöhus, once a Castle, now the Malmo Museum... modern art and history. My favorite wasKommendanthuset, showing photography of Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin Very good, very... racy. She focuses on sexual minorities and brings Jesus into the picture (A reminder for all: Jesus was helping outcasts!!)

I took a great stop in an organic garden where I sipped on organic tea and munched on an organic cinnamon roll. MMM. I also got a good view of the famous building to the left here... The Turning Torso! My tea bag said "we are spiritual beings having a human experience", it was wonderful to sit with this phrase.

The last stop on my Scandinavian adventure, lunch in the well known and beautiful square built in 1590, Lilla Torg.

Here are some cool buildings in Malmo.... Go to Scandinavia!!!