as an end-of-the semester treat, scan|design arranged a trip to norway for us (‘thank you, scan|design!’). we took the ferry (= cruise ship) from copenhagen to oslo, and then marianne, our intrepid mentor, showed us around lillehammer and and the capital for three days. our trip coincided with norway’s national day, may 17, so we got to see traditional costumes, parades, and lots of other celebratory goings-on. in lillehammer, we got to visit maihaugen, an open-air museum that had an exhibit on norwegian history as well as several examples of traditional wooden buildings. after our day in lillehammer, we took the train back to oslo, where we visited the vigeland sculpture park (which i visited last november and love) and the newly opened operahuset, which was fantastic (and i have to say better than copenhagen’s…particularly in a roof-to-roof comparison). we had a great time, ate some delicious lefse, sampled different foods-in-a-tube (including, yes, the always-wonderful nugatti), and enjoyed some blueberry muffin ice cream at anker brygge, oslo’s new harbourfront development/restored warehouse district. having visited norway once in the winter, it was really nice to be able to see what the landscape, and oslo, were like in the spring. i was really impressed with the city – and got to see many places that i hadn’t visited before. it was also nice to be there for the national day and to learn a bit about norway’s historical ties to denmark. so again, ‘thanks, scan|design…!’


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

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!


February 3, 2008


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):


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


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


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


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


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


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…


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


more barrel-beating


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…


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


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…


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


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…


the proprietor serving wine/horses all gussied up

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!

happy snowman!

January 6, 2008


it’s sure no minnesota here, but we did get some snow in copenhagen last night.  : )  it seems that someone scooped up all of the snowfall in our courtyard to build this guy (who i think looks particularly jubilant, perhaps still celebrating the new year).  from a distance, i thought he was shoveling, but no – that’s a technicolor plastic hockey stick propping him up.  awesome.  that’s all for today, but stay posted for photos of my new apartment and neighborhood, coming soon!


i made it back to cph just in time to catch the new year’s eve celebration with my friends libby and todd. it seems that in copenhagen, festivities take the form of fireworks – and not a singular, citywide show. everyone has them and was setting them off – i started noticing it while i was on the metro on the way home from the airport – i would have loved to have been able to see it from above, as it seemed that every other building had someone out in the yard or the street lighting firecrackers. it was like one giant, citywide party. : ) we enjoyed it by taking the whippets for a walk on the beach (fireworks are kind of scary for doggies, but they were very brave), from which we could also see the celebratory fireworks across the øresund in malmø. the festivities lasted for quite a while (actually, they are still going on now, twenty-four hours later, as i write this…). here are some of my favorite-fireworks-photos:img_1231.jpg

fireworks above libby + todd’s apartment complex…


…and between the buildings!


some fireworks faves…





one of the local acknowledgments of new year’s day in copenhagen is a special changing of the guard at amalienborg palace. the royal band plays some special tunes, and people crowd around to watch the police-escorted royal guard change over at noon. this was really fun to see. it’s nice to see celebrations like this in public spaces. : )


an over-the-crowds shot of the band and the guard


guard on the march/view into amalienborg courtyard from outside


guard with politi escort


guard change in process


the royal band plays a few songs


the band plays, the crowd looks on/the danish flag on (what i believe is) the queen’s residence


and…one final shot of marching : )


other than that, i’m back to it…school starts for me in one month (yes, time to finish that other thesis), so i’m going to try to pack in some fun and photos before things get too busy. hope all are well, and godt nytår (happy new year) from copey!!

(black and) white christmas

December 27, 2007

hello all, from duluth, mn!  i’m at home for the holidays…it’s been a fun trip.  i got to spend some great time with family and friends…and had a truly white christmas!  soon, back to copenhagen for  the new year.  in the meantime, here are some photos that i took today at my parents’ house: