Nearing the End :(

12 12 2011

This past week I tried to squeeze in a few things that I wanted to do before having to leave Norway. Monday, Paolina and I finally made it to the Viking Ship Museum. A couple of my flatmates said that the museum wasn’t worth going to because it only has three viking ships. Only three? I’m in awe that there is any still in great condition, let along three! And I’m in Norway – I’m going to check out those viking ships! And I am glad that we did! Paolina and I both loved the museum! When we got there, we even found out that it was free for University of Oslo students! The museum does only have three ships and is quite a bit smaller than the rest of the museums I’ve visited this semester, but I think that it made it even better; sometimes the museums get so large and have so much in them that it’s difficult to really soak everything in and take it all that you’re seeing. The three ships were found in old Viking burial grounds and date from way back in the 800’s. The museum also has other artifacts that were found with the ships, like wagons, shoes, tools, weapons, dishes, and even bones. Two of the ships are in better condition than the third, but when you realize how old they are, it’s incredible that they survived over the many years. The detail on the ships is also very impressive; there is very decorative wood carvings on the ships as well as the wagons. It’s crazy to think that they actually sailed these ships!

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After the Viking Ship Museum, we headed back downtown to Karl Johans gate. Now that it’s the holiday season, the Christmas Market and all it’s booths are set up. I love just walking through and looking at all that they have. The booths sell sweaters, mittens, socks, lefsa, gløgg, and everything in between. The city is also beautifully decorated with lights and Christmas decorations, especially around Karl Johans gate. It also snowed for the first time last week, so Oslo is starting to look a lot like Christmas!

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On Thursday, I hoped on a bus for a last minute trip to visit one of my Norwegian friends in the town of Skien. Skien is a small town about the size of Grand Forks just a couple hours from Oslo and is also the birthplace of Henrik Ibsen. My friend picked me up from the bus station and when we got to his house I met his family and right away we sat down for dinner. His mom had made delicious moose stew and of course potatoes. (Norwegians really love their potatoes!) I had never had moose before, but I loved it! We also had what’s called “Julebrus,” which is a type of soda that is only sold around Christmas. It was so nice to be around a Norwegian family! They were all very hospitable and talkative! They had lots of questions for me about my family and what I think of Norway. The house was so cozy with the fireplace and all of the Christmas decorations!

The next day, my friend took me on a driving tour of Skien and the area. He showed me a huge house not too far from his that has two less rooms than the palace here in Oslo. He told me the family has been wealthy land owners for many years and own a majority of the land around Skien. We also made a quick stop at his uncle’s farm, checked out a neat, old factory and dam, went downtown, and drove by some of his other relatives’ homes. It was very cool to see how much of his family still lives in Skien and how close they all are to one another. The scenery around Skien is also very gorgeous! There are beautiful mountains and calm bodies of water; it was all so breathtaking – I could have driven around all day just looking! After that, I decided I need to come back in the summertime to check it all out again!

When we got back to his house, his cousins had arrived who were staying with them for the weekend. One of them, the girl, who was only about 2 1/2 was adorable! She looked just like the stereotypical, cute Norwegian child with blue eyes and blonde hair. She was a bit shy at times, but whenever she said a word of Norwegian, even if it was just “nei” or “ja,” I almost couldn’t handle the cuteness. At one point, her and my friend’s mom were heading out for a walk and she stood all bundled up by the door and turned around to say, “Ha det!” in her cute little high pitched voice; I almost died from the cuteness!

That night I was in for a real treat! His mom made us the traditional Norwegian Christmas meal! It made me wish that I was staying in Norway for Christmas! We had the traditional ribs, some sort of Norwegian meatball (the name didn’t translate into English), and , of course, potatoes. We also had a different kind of Julebrus this meal. My friend’s brother had gone out and bought it so I could decided the final decision on their battle of which kind was best. After dinner, we had dessert – Norwegian chocolate pudding with some tasty vanilla cream sauce. His brother also made me try one of their chocolate Christmas eggs. It was all so delicious!

I hated having to leave his great family and their cozy home, but they assured me I was welcome back anytime and I plan on visiting again on my next trip to Norway. Luckily, my friend came back with me to Oslo to hang out some more before I have to leave. On Sunday, I took him to the bus terminal and saying goodbye to him made me realize how close I am to having to leave Norway. Friday will not be an easy day I’m sure, but I have to remind myself that I will be back to Norway, and I will get to see all of these wonderful people again! Until then, I’m studying for my last exam, packing up the last of my things, and trying to fit in all of the last minute fun stuff, like going ice skating near the National Theater and visiting the Henrik Ibsen Museum!





Final Exam Chaos

6 12 2011

Last Friday, I had my first 2 final exams. It is extremely important to do well on the final exams, because 100% of the final grade is the grade from the final exam. My first exam was for my Norwegian Art History class and started at 9am (we were supposed to be there 15 minutes before the start time); I woke up and looked at my phone, it was 8:30! I have never gotten vertical so fast in my life! I jumped out of bed, changed clothes while calling my friend that is in that class, grabbed my bag, and hurried to the T-bane. My friend was nice enough to agree to beg the proctors to let me show up late and let me know as soon as they arrived after she talked to them. In the mean time, I made it to the T-bane and headed towards campus. After I got off the T-bane, she texted me saying I could come up to a half hour late and they would still let me in. I still kept trucking; I hate being late! I’m usually the one that is there 15 minutes early just because. I made to the classroom at 8:55 and had just enough time to catch my breathe before they handed out the exam.

Now this class covered a lot of information in just one semester. That being said, my friend and I were both a bit worried about what would actually be on the exam. The exams over here are mostly all written exams consisting of a few short answer questions and an essay question. They usually offer a few different questions and then it is just required that you pick a certain number of them to do. For example, our art final had four short answer questions and we had to pick two of them to answer, and it also had two essay questions and we had to pick one of them to answer. Luckily, there were two short answers and one essay that completely knew the answer to. In fact, the essay question I chose was to describe all the different aspects of Vigelandsparken; for my Norwegian Life & Society course, I had written a whole paper on Vigelandsparken about a month ago and bought a book on Vigeland. All I had to do was remember what I wrote in that paper and there was my answer, how convenient. :) Fortunately, I got done with that final in less than the four hours allotted and had time to run back to my apartment to freshen up and look like a real person again.

I went straight back towards campus to meet my friend for a quick lunch and then went back to campus to study for about an hour and a half before I had to be at my next final. The second exam was for my Norwegian Life & Society class. This exam had the same layout where we could pick what questions to answer. I didn’t know all the topics as well as I did on my previous exam, but I knew enough to answer all of the questions adequately. After a couple hours in that exam, my write hand was feeling the “burn” from all that writing! My first exam was about 10 pages long and the second was 8 pages long. That’s a lot more writing than I am used to in one day!

When I got out of my second exam, I had a text from one of my Norwegian friends asking me to join him for a pub quiz. These pub quizzes are pretty popular in Norway, and we had been trying to make one work since about August, but each time he was either working or I was busy or traveling, so I figured I should definitely go this time since I’m leaving so soon and we both were free. My friend, Paolina, ended up joining us as well because she also was curious as to what all the fuss is about when it comes to these pub quizzes. I had about an hour and half before the pub quiz started, so I once again ran back to my apartment, changed, dropped off my bags, and headed back to the T-bane to meet Paolina; we were going to make it just in time before it was supposed to start. Unfortunately, Paolina just missed the T-bane at her stop and had to wait about 15 minutes for the next one. Luckily, my Norwegian friend said it would be fine if we were late. So we finally headed downtown, hopped off the T-bane, took a 15 minute ride on a trikk, got off and went and found the pub. The cute, Irish pub was packed when we got there and the quizzing had already started. The quiz had a few different rounds; the first two were random trivia questions pertaining to everything from European pop culture to Disney movie characters to world history, and it was all in Norwegian! I was able to translate most of the questions, but still didn’t know most of the answers; I blamed it on the fact that my brian was exhausted from all of my test taking that day. The last few rounds were music trivia and we were able to answer a few more questions during those rounds. Even though we didn’t know much of the trivia, Paolina and I had a blast! My friend and his friends were hilarious and my face was sore at the end of the night from all of the laughing! After the pub quiz, we grabbed a kebab and headed home. I’m so glad that I got over my tiredness and made it to the pub quiz; we should have made it work a long time ago! :)

This week I have my oral exam in my Norwegian course and my written exam is next week so I’ll be spending a lot of time studying up on my Norwegian skills, but hopefully I can fit in a few last minute Norwegian adventures since I leave in only a week and a half! I can’t believe how this semester has flown by!





Tourist Tuesday

29 11 2011

This week my friend, Paolina, and I finally got back to some good ol’ touristy things! :)

Yesterday after my Norwegian class, we made our way up to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump for some “Tourist Monday” activities. The ski jump was opened in 2010 and is about 60 meters high, and it is massive! We had visited the jump back at the end of August, but the lift to take us to the top was under construction. We had been planning on going back for awhile now since the construction ended, but waited until a day with good enough weather. And thank goodness we waited. The views of Oslo and the harbor are fantastic from the top of the ski jump!

The admission for the jump tower also includes the admission for the ski museum that is closer to the base of the jump. The museum covers a lot of different topics related to skiing from the history of skiing in Norway to the Royal Family skiing to handicap skiing and other winter sports. The end of the museum leads to a cute little gift shop that also has all things Norway. I was really excited to check this site off of my list since we had already been there once and were tempted by the jump, but weren’t able to go to the top the first time! I definitely recommend going to Holmenkollen if you’re ever in Oslo!

Today we had a real “Tourist Tuesday!” Me and a couple other friends went to the Munch Museum. After learning all about Edvard Munch and his paintings in my art history class, I really wanted to check out the museum devoted to all of his art work. And as a bonus, since we waited until the off season to visit, admission was free! It’s very hard to find anything for free in Norway, so us college students were excited to find that out. The museum normally displays Munch’s more well known works of art, but right now there is an exhibition just on his paintings that are in the festival hall in the University of Oslo’s Law Building. We had mostly looked at his other works in class and at the National Gallery, so even though we didn’t know much about the paintings we saw, it was cool to check out some more of his lesser known works.

Tomorrow is my last class of the semester, and after that it’s just finals left for this girl! I have my Norwegian Life & Society final as well as my Norwegian Art History final on Friday. Needless to say, this week will be quite uneventful, filled with lots and lots of reading and studying!





Dublin: Where the Craic is Mighty!

22 11 2011

Here’s the post all about my stay in Dublin!

After a couple of days of traveling around Ireland on my own, a couple friends of mine arrived in Dublin. Before we all had left Oslo, we had gotten together and planned exactly what we wanted to see during our time in Dublin. First up on Saturday was Christ’s Church Cathedral followed by a walk through the Temple Bar neighborhood. Around noon we did some shopping and explored around O’Connell Street and the Spire.

That afternoon, we headed to the Guinness Storehouse, one of Dublin’s biggest tourist attractions. The brewery itself is huge, but we were just in the storehouse building. There we went on a self guided tour through all the floors that explains the process of brewing Guinness as well as the history of Guinness. I really enjoyed the tour; the information was set up in a simple, easy to understand way and had a lot of fun facts spread throughout, too. When we were finished with the tour we grabbed a bite to eat at one of the restaurants located there. After eating lunch, we went up to the top floor where the Gravity Bar is. Here you get an amazing view of the city and fortunately for us, the weather was great so we could see for miles!

Once we left Guinness, we made a quick stop at our hostel before going to the Old Jameson Distillery, which was right around the corner from where we were staying. The old distillery wasn’t quite as large as Guinness, but the tour was amazing! This tour was led by a guide who was hilarious! Anytime he could, he would squeeze in a joke; I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that much on only an hour long tour! Our guide was also very knowledgable and the tour itself was informative and interesting, but mostly memorable because of our tour guide!

By the time we were done at the Old Jameson Distillery, it was time to head back to the Temple Bar area to meet up for our Musical Pub Crawl Tour! This was another tour that I had found online and my friends and I decided to book it since it was only about $15 per person. It was advertised that it would give insight to traditional Irish music and tradition and be led by two authentic Irish musicians. We met up with our musicians/guides and made our way to the first pub. Here we all sat down and the musicians went right to “work”! They, once again, were cracking jokes left and right! They were so funny! I’m not sure if most Irish people are this humorous or if we just were lucky with the tour guides we got. These guys knew so much about the traditions of Irish music and were great musicians also! They played all sorts of songs, playing their instruments as well as singing. You could tell that they were having a good time and I think that made the rest of us enjoy ourselves even more. And, man, did they have stories! I think they told us stories as much as they played music! We were at the first pub for about an hour before walking to another one. At this pub, they asked for volunteers to sing a little tune from their home country, since traditional Irish music is mostly about sharing music and getting music from others. Unfortunately, my friends and I were either too “chicken” to get up and sing or couldn’t think of an appropriate song to impress them with, probably both. :) Overall, the pub crawl was great fun and very entertaining!

Sunday morning we went to a beautiful park called St. Stephen’s Green and just walked around, taking in the scenery and nice weather. Afterwards, we walked up the popular shopping street, Grafton Street, that led us to Trinity College. We ended up deciding to do the guided tour at the college, and thank goodness we did! We had a student tour guide had dropped out of architecture school after 5 years and then transferred to Trinity College and made fun of himself for it every chance he got. Once again, we got the funny tour guide! I’m not sure if all their tours are this funny, but I wish that tour would have lasted all day! These Irish tour guides were fabulous! Our tour stopped outside of the library, where we went in to see the Book of Kells. We checked out the whole exhibit on the Book of Kells and walked through the actual library itself.

We then made a quick stop for some delicious coffee and a sandwich and went to see one of the museums. Museums in Dublin are great since the majority of them have free admission. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see them all, but we did fit in the National Museum of Archaeology so we could see the Bog Bodies that they have on display. The pictures aren’t exactly pretty so I’ll let you google the Bog Bodies if you’re interested in seeing them. :)

After the museum, we walked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The sun was just setting as we got there, so we were able to get a couple nice pictures with the sunset sky. We roamed around the inside of the cathedral for awhile before heading out to find a place to eat. We weren’t really in the mood for supper, but decided to “ruin” our appetites and get crepes instead. (It was vacation so we could have dessert first :)) The crepe place we went to was right next to Temple Bar and the crepes were amazing. Mine had Nutella, strawberries, and whip cream. Sugar coma, I know; I couldn’t even finish the whole thing! But it was delicious! That night we were all so tired that we called it a night early and went back to the hostel and watched a movie that they were playing.

Monday morning we had to check out of our hostel and had to carry all of our stuff with us. Therefore, we weren’t really in the walking and exploring mood. Instead, we found a cute restaurant to grab breakfast at. It was a great bargain and offered a great view for people watching. :) We hung around the O’Connell Street area before catching a bus to the airport and flying back to good ol’ Olso!





Ireland: Land of Wishes, Luck, & Leprechauns

16 11 2011

Here come a couple blog posts all about my trip to Ireland! :)

I was there for a total of 5 days and had a blast! My first two days I was traveling solo; my friend Paolina and her boyfriend were in London and met me in Dublin a couple days later. At first I was skeptical about being there alone, but I ended up really enjoying the time I spent on my own! Rather than exploring Dublin first and having to double-up on some sights once the other two arrived, I found two great day-trip tours to go on while there alone. And I couldn’t be any happier with that choice! I would have really missed out on a lot of Ireland if I would have spent all of my time in Dublin!

The first day-trip I took went to the village of Blarney and the towns of Cork and Cobh. In Blarney, we were dropped off at the Blarney Castle. While there we had time to roam around the castle and kiss the Blarney Stone. The stone is up at the very top of the castle so you first have to climb up the narrowest spiral staircase I’ve ever seen, and then you have to lay on your back while one of the workers lowers you down in between the castle wall and the stone  so that you can kiss the stone. Kissing the Blarney Stone is said to give the kisser the gift of eternal eloquence. After the castle, I made my way back into the village of Blarney to grab lunch before we had to be back on our bus. I ate at an old mill that is now turned into a shopping center, restaurant, and hotel. For my first real meal in Ireland, I, of course, ordered fish and chips. :)

That afternoon, we then hopped back on the bus and headed to see Cork and Cobh. In Cork, we took a driving tour around the town and saw some of the sights. Then we drove to Cobh. Since our tour guide liked us so much, he made an extra stop for us. There we got to see where the Titanic was last anchored. We also went to a gorgeous cathedral and to a museum on Irish emigration.

The next day, I was up early again and at the train station by 7am for my second day-trip. This one took me farther west, to the coast, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and to the city of Galway. We first arrived in Limerick and had a quick tour of the city before heading out to Bunratty Castle. The castle was built in 1425 and has now been restored and a folk park has been added next to the castle.  After wandering around the castle and folk park we hopped back on our bus and headed to a little village called Doolin. Doolin is right next to the Cliffs of Moher. Before visiting the cliffs we had lunch at O’Conner’s Pub. It was a quite little pub in Doolin and served delicious chowder!

Next up were the Cliffs of Moher, which were really the main reason I wanted to take this day-trip. Luckily, we had great sunny weather at the cliffs, but it was really windy! The cliffs were beautiful and we had great views of the ocean! The only downfall about the cliffs is that there is a rock fence that stopped me from getting anywhere near the edge! (I think my mom was happy to hear that after seeing my pictures from Preikestolen.) I had thought that the cliffs would be the highlight of the tour, but to my surprise, I liked our next stop even better! It was a place called The Burren, meaning “rocky place.” The Burren is a bit hard to describe and I’m not entirely sure how it formed; all I know is that it was really cool! Check out the pictures and you’ll see what I mean. ;)

After the Burren we continued onto Galway. Along the way we stopped at a few scenic spots for pictures and some factoids from our guide. In Galway, we had about an hour to spend before our train departed. I stopped in a grocery store to grab a sandwich for the ride back and enjoyed my first authentic Irish coffee in a nearby cafe. After that we were on our way back to Dublin.

I have to tell you a little bit about how great the people on my tours were. Starting with our tour guides: they were both old, Irish men filled with tons of information and great senses of humor! They were just as entertaining as the sights themselves. They had so many great little stories that you could only hear from them and made the trips that much more entertaining! The first tour guide I had was named Liam and he was a character! He offered to take our picture at every major site along the way and since I was traveling alone I took him up on the offer every time. The first time he took my picture was at the Blarney Castle and I went and stood by the sign waiting for him to snap the picture and he said, “Okay, well you could stand like that, or you could put one hand here and one over there (as he places my hands on the sign). Right there! Don’t move! Okay, let me take another one!” He was so funny! He has been a tour guide for over 12 years and knows all the best places for pictures and each time he took my picture he would pose me. It was neat to see how into his job he was and that he really did care about all of us traveling with him. Both him and my other tour guide made sure at the end of each day that everyone traveling on the tour knew where they were going and how to get there. They offered to get us a cab, walk us to the tram, or point us in the right direction. The first night, Liam “allowed” me to just walk back to my hostel (it was only about a ten minute walk), but on Friday, Billy refused to let me walk so he shooed me onto the tram and made sure I knew where to hop off at. :) Not only did I have great tour guides, but I had great peers traveling with me as well! I was a little apprehensive since I didn’t know anyone, but I realized it was no problem traveling with strangers. In fact, I think it made the days more fun and more interesting getting to know new people. The first day I had chit chatted here and there with my fellow travelers, but mostly explored on my own so that I could see all I wanted to see in the time we had. But the second day there were only 5 of us on the tour so we got to know each other a little bit more. I first met a father-son duo who were from Texas. I was excited to converse with some friendly Americans, and soon found out that the son is a pilot – hooray for airplane talk! I promise we talked about more than airplanes and aviation, but at times we drifted onto the topic. :) He and his dad were super friendly people and I got to know them over the course of the day and they made the trip a lot of fun as well!

Well there’s a summary of just my first two days in Ireland. Next up: Tales about Dublin! Enjoy some pictures from my day-trips:





7 11 2011

Last week was somewhat uneventful compared to my weekend in Copenhagen. It was filled with classes, shopping, restocking on fruits and veggies from Grønland, and the weekly grocery trip. 

I’ve been getting all my fruits and vegetables from a little store over in Grønland, which is a more international part of the city. When I first discovered how inexpensive, yet high quality the produce is in Grønland, I was thrilled; up until then I had only seen the produce prices in the grocery stores, which are not pleasant. But lately, I’ve really started to dread my trips to Grønland and for a few reasons. The customers are extremely rude – and not just vocally, but physically, too; I’m surprised I haven’t gotten bruised yet. Wh ile standing outside trying to pick out produce, customers or their baskets are constantly hitting each other. They don’t mind shoving others out of their way! Sometimesthey will be “nice” and say “unnskyld” (excuse me). All of that doesn’t happen just outside, it’s also just like that inside the store. The aisles are wide enough for only one person, so you can imagine how well that works out when everyone is in a hurry which is all the time at this place. Once in the check out line, things sometimes calm down for a few minutes, but  it’s a race to get things bagged and get out of there as soon as possible! While I still enjoy the prices of the produce there, it has definitely made me miss and appreciate the spacious stores, usually friendly peers, and customer service that we enjoy in most of our U.S. stores. Whether I enjoy going there or not, it is always entertaining to see how far some people go to get their produce as quick as possible. 

Something less stressful that I did last week was go to the National Gallery again for my Norwegian Art History Class. This was our second time visiting the museum, and this time we focused on Edvard Munch. One of his most well-known paintings is the Scream, which is housed in the National Gallery.  While we were there we also got to go into the study room. Anyone can go in this room if they simply ask, and then they can take closer looks at the hundreds of prints the museum has. During our time in the study room, we got to see some of Munch’s original prints. While he was working on paintings, he would test out his themes and ideas while making prints. The prints allowed him to perfect his paintings as well as serve as a source of income while he worked on his paintings. We saw about 2o of his prints and we even got to pass them around the table so that we could have an up close view. Not many people can say they’ve held an original Edvard Munch print. :) After the study room, we went up to the Munch room and analyzed all of his paintings that are housed there before continuing on to seeing paintings from the late 1800s-early 1900s. Strangely, that was our last class meeting for the semester. Now we have until the beginning of December to study for the exam – much different than how classes are set up in the U.S. 

This week will definitely be much more entertaining than last week since I am flying to Ireland on Wednesday. I will be there until next Monday. So look for next week’s blog that will be filled with all things Irish!

Ha en fin uke! :)





København

1 11 2011

Last weekend, my friend Paolina and I decided it was time to explore a new country. So we hopped a boat Thursday afternoon to Copenhagen, Denmark!

Okay, so it wasn’t quite that spontaneous; we had it planned for a little while, but it was still just as exciting! Our ship left the Oslo harbor Thursday afternoon and we arrived in Copenhagen the next morning by 10am. First on the agenda was navigating the city enough to find our hostel and drop off our backpacks. Then we headed out for a late breakfast. We found a juice and coffee shop around the corner from our hostel. The coffee shop was conveniently right across the street from the Rosenborg Castle. So after our quick breakfast pit stop, we headed over to the castle grounds. We wandered around them and enjoyed the beautiful fall colors. I think fall was  perfect time to visit! We also took time for the necessary photo ops while there. After we made it out of the castle grounds we came upon the National Gallery Art Museum. We had planned on going to the museum since it was free for students, and we are both in the Norwegian Art History class at UiO  and figured why not go check out some Danish Art History; they even had a few paintings from some of the Norwegian artists we’ve studied.

After soaking up some culture in the art museum, we made our way down to the harbor and the canals. I had no idea before getting to Copenhagen that the city had canals, but I was happy to find out it did! We found an advertisement for canal boat tours in one of our guides. The tours only cost about $15 so we bought tickets for the next tour as soon as we got down to the canals. While we waited for our tour, we explored the area a little bit. That part of town sort of reminded me of some of the buildings in Bergen. They were a bit different, but there were a lot that were wooded and brightly colored. We stumbled upon some shops and statues as well as some restaurants to try later in the evening.

Our boat tour was a little over an hour long. The tour had a guide that gave us insight to the history of Copenhagen. The only downfall about the tour guide is that he had to speak three different languages during the whole tour. So we had to listen carefully for when he would quickly mention something in English before saying it in Spanish or Danish. The tour took us out into the harbor, around the opera house, the famous Little Mermaid statue, and of course through the canals that run through the city. I really enjoyed the tour and I think it was the perfect way to see the city and the different sights.

After the tour, we were getting hungry and I was getting cold. (I’m not ready for winter weather just yet!) We had planned on eating outside next to the canal at one of the restaurants we had scoped out earlier, but by the time we finished the tour it was too chilly to sit outside. We instead chose a cute little Italian place that was right off of the canal. It had a lot of character, a funny, classic Italian waiter, and delicious personal pizzas for less than $20 – which in Scandinavia, I have found out is a good price for a meal out.

Once we finished our Italian dishes, we headed downtown to a part of town we hadn’t visited yet. Rather than paying for public transportation we just walked. (We actually walked all weekend and didn’t realize how much we had been walking until we were about to leave on Saturday.) Downtown there is an amusement park called Tivoli. We didn’t go in, but admired their lit up sign and a few of the rides that were lit up as well. We strolled along H.C. Andersens Boulevard and eventually made our way back to our hostel after a quick stop at a tourist shop – which was hard to find. In Oslo, there are so many souvenir shops around Karl Johans gate it’s crazy, but the whole time we were in Copenhagen, I think we saw at most five different ones.

The next morning we grabbed breakfast at a coffee shop again and went back to the Rosenborg Castle. This time we wanted to tour it. I think it only cost about $10 for students and it was a self guided tour. This is one of the places I think it would have been beneficial to pay to have a tour guide. This castle was built way back in the day in 1606 and was used as a royal residency until about 1710. Today the castle is filled with things from the royal family and some of the other castles. And when I say filled, I mean completely covered with stuff. All kinds of stuff. You name it and it is probably somewhere in that castle. The rooms to begin with are covered in art work that is painted on the walls and ceilings, and then stuff has continued to be added to the collection. The rooms are in chronological order and each king has a room dedicated to their time period. There’s even a room that is covered in royal dishes from the floor to ceiling hanging on the walls. While it was really cool to see all of these things, it was a lot to take in. Also, there aren’t any signs explaining or saying what anything is. You get a map that gives a very brief description of each room, but you have to buy a book that explains what each artifact is; this is where the tour guide would have come in very handy. But the best part of the tour, in my opinion, is in the basement of the castle. Housed in the basement are some of the royal jewels! They were gorgeous, but unfortunately we couldn’t take any pictures – unless we paid 20 kroner to have “photography rights.” (It seemed as if they liked little hidden charges like that.)

Once we were done taking in the Rosenborg Castle, we headed downtown in search of a pastry shop that was recommended to us by a friend. The shop is called La Glace and is the oldest confectionary in Denmark, opened in 1870. We had been warned that it wasn’t exactly cheap, but we were determined to each delicious Danish while in Denmark. Mission accomplished. With the help of my little map we found the place, no problem. The inside is filled with a bunch of little tables and all sorts of fabulous pastries. We of course each ordered a Danish and I ordered the hot chocolate. It cost me about $12 for a cup and was completely worth it. It was the best hot chocolate I have ever and probably will ever taste! The Danishes were amazingly tasty as well. La Glace is also famous for their cakes. They have a whole pamphlet on their different kinds, and we couldn’t leave without getting a piece to go! I selected a kind that had a macaroon bottom, custard filling, chocolate icing, and buttercream frosting! :)

After La Glace, we walked back to our hostel (we needed exercise after all that sugar!), grabbed our backpacks and headed out on our last adventure before leaving Copenhagen.  We walked from our hostel in search of the famous Little Mermaid statue. The walk was quite nice even though it was really foggy out that morning. Once again, thanks to our little map and my navigation skills we found her! There were quite a few people already there so we had to patiently wait our turn for pictures and try not to get in the backgrounds of anyone else’s photos.

We then headed to find our ship back to Oslo. At this point we were feeling the burn from all the walking especially carrying all of our stuff with us. We got to our boat, boarded, and set sail for Oslo. It was a quick trip and we would have loved more time in the city, but had a blast in the time we had!

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