on my last night in copenhagen, i ended up getting a free ticket to the tivoli symphony orchestra concert (courtesy my landlord/roommate, who plays the tuba in aforementioned orchestra…). it was kind of nice to come full circle…i’ve visited tivoli in all of the other seasons, and it was fun to see it packed that night with the beautiful-late-spring-weather- outdoor-enjoyment crowd. : ) i would really love to be able to stay longer in cph…

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may day in dk

May 1, 2008

in denmark, may day is more of a political holiday than it is a day for making paper baskets and leaving them on your neighbors’ doorstep filled with flowers (which is what i remember doing on may 1 as a child). here’s the wiki-info i was able to dig up: “Left-wing policial day. Many people try to get a day off this day, and some even have it in their employment contract. A few people attend political meetings, though many – especially young people – meet at the sites of the political meetings to drink beer and other alcoholic beverages. Copenhagen’s Fælledparken is well known for its annual May 1st gathering. This is a full holiday for blue collar workers, but not for white collar workers.” we decided to check out the activities at fælledparken (which were crazy – lots of music, political speeches, LOTS of people, tons of beer). we international students celebrated in our own way with a picnic featuring delicious sandwiches engineered by cat and a fantastic ‘apple sand’ cake that laura got from lagkagehuset (my favorite, favorite copenhagen bakery!) in honor of cathrine’s birthday.

sandwich detail – there’s pesto in there!/klaus and cathrine enjoying the picnic goodness

our scan|design group spent last weekend in nykøbing, north sjælland, where our mentor has a wonderful summer home. the best parts of the trip: bringing bikes on trains and ferries, smørrebrød, a sunny beach, cooking and eating with friends, and taking a break from thesis at the lovely ‘oasen.’ below is a selection of my favorite photos from the trip (photos 6, 9, 16, 22 + 24 courtesy heather burpee – thanks!).



april 16 is the birthday of queen margrethe ii of denmark, and is recognized as a special day. at noon on her birthday, the queen appears on the balcony of amalienborg palace (her residence in copenhagen) to wave to her subjects and admirers as they wish her a happy birthday. this year, queen margrethe turned 68, and appeared on the balcony with her husband (or “prince consort,” as is his official title), henrik, as well as her younger son, prince joachim, his two sons, nikolai and felix, and his fiancée, marie cavallier. the royal family smiled and waved from the balcony for a few moments as the royal guard music corps played birthday songs before retreating back into the palace – but not without two further appearance “encores,” which were met with much cheering and flag-waving. : )

the crowd gathering in the amalienborg palace courtyard as the royal guard marches past

queen margrethe appeared solo first before being joined on the balcony by her family

many people were waving the danish flag (or dannebrog) to celebrate the queen’s birthday

the royal guard music corps playing birthday and other celebratory tunes

no royal danish celebration would be complete without a changing of the guard – because this is a special day, they were wearing their dressy red uniforms

many of the danish kids were really into the celebration (love the tiny soldier outfit) – it seemed that there were many groups of schoolchildren in the crowd, and lots of grandchildren on grandparents’ shoulders : )

bike bucket full of tiny celebrants/i think my favorite was the group of kids wearing little crowns : )  happy birthday, queen margrethe!

cph zoo

April 10, 2008

jen and cat and i visited the copenhagen zoo last saturday, which was really fun.  it’s been a long time since i’ve been to the zoo.  i have to come clean – i was secretly hoping to see the new elephant house designed by foster and partners, but unfortunately it won’t be open until june.  we did get to see it under construction, but no (real) elephants were present (see photos).  we did get to see lots of fun animals – i think the butterfly house and the hippos (the latter were too difficult to photograph) were my favorite.  and the ice cream.  anyway…photos:

monkey mountain!

jen feeds the elephants…

red ibises and the penguin pond

jen and i analyze the red ibises, each in our own way…

hungry cats

the butterfly house was amazing!

pink flamingos (i don’t think i’ve ever had to pluralize that before…and i hope i never have to again)

cat with toucan digits/signpost in the petting zoo area

zebras and gazelles graze together

the giraffes were very, very tall – i could have walked right under the taller one in the photo to the left

the airstream-trailer-zoo-sushi-bar

and last but not least: kissing llamas…aww…

fastelavn!

February 3, 2008

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fastelavn is the danish version of carnival/mardi gras, and is appropriately a very family-oriented holiday (just as the danes seem to be a very family-oriented people). it’s actually kind of like halloween – children dress up in costumes, decorate festive bouquets of beech twigs and beat the crap out of a barrel that historically contained a black cat (cover your ears, lester!!), but in modern times contains candy, a less cruel and controversial alternative. it was fun to see the danish version of this holiday, and i got to see a few different fastelavn activities (including the barrel-beating above):

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the national museum in copenhagen hosted a ‘fastelavnsfest’ (note the image on the poster)

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first, there was lots of gathering of children in the atrium and decorating of the beech twig bundles

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there were some pretty cute costumes, and parents were very involved (and some costumed themselves)

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more cute costumes…and my favorite, a pirate! arrrr…

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evidently it was very important to fasten lots of brightly colored feathers and scraps of tissue paper to one’s bundle of twigs, as well as a carnival mask and a cutout of a paper cat

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then everyone marched upstairs with their festive implements to the barrel-beating room! there was one barrel for each age group, and the kids lined up behind them and took turns whacking them with sticks…

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kids waiting their turn at the barrel/one child takes a running approach

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more barrel-beating

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and finally, the candy! the barrel-beating doesn’t have the fun or danger of the blindfold (as with piñatas), but those barrels are pretty tough, and it took a long time for the kids to beat them apart. the kid who breaks the barrel open is supposed to become the ‘kattedronning,’ or queen of cats, and whoever breaks apart the last piece hanging from the rope becomes ‘kattekonge,’ or king of cats. that all goes back to the black cat thing i mentioned earlier…

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also, yesterday, i was having coffee with friends in christianshavn, and this group stopped outside our cafe:

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i’m pretty sure this was associated with fastelavn (a very nice old man tried to explain it to me, and he mentioned the children/costumes/barrels, also). anyway, it was a group on horseback from the riding school hopping from cafe to cafe…

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the parade of horses drew some costumed children (love the toothpaste costume!!)…and they – the riders – did some singing…

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after which it is traditional for the owner of the cafe to serve fastelavn buns (which i tried at the bakery, and, like all danish pastry, they are delicious) and mulled wine to the riders…

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the proprietor serving wine/horses all gussied up
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i think they had been to a fair number of cafes at this point…and they seemed to be having an awesome time. luckily, there was no falling off of the horses. ; ) happy fastelavn, all!! may you have many feathers in your branch bouquet, and may your wine be mulled!

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i love this ad. even in the winter, copenhagen bikes!

here’s a link to the ‘official’ cph bike culture blog: http://cycleliciousness.blogspot.com/