Copenhagen

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A few weeks ago, my friends and I had heard about these cruises to Copenhagen where you are on the cruise ship for 2 nights and spend about 7 hours in Copenhagen. The best part of it all was the company, DFDS Seaways, had a special running this fall for 100 kr per person – that’s $17 usd! This fall was the 100 year anniversary of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen. We booked it kind of late so the dates were a bit picked over, but it definitely worked out in the end.

We left Oslo around 4:15pm Thursday afternoon. The Norwegians seem to be very trusting because we never once had to show an ID or our passports going to and from Oslo & Copenhagen. Thinking about that just reminded me that when I flew to Stockholm, Sweden I don’t think I had to show my passport either. Back to the story 😉 We got on the boat and found our little cabin. By little, I mean really little. It had 4 beds and a small bathroom with a super small bathroom. For $17 we couldn’t complain and it turned out to be fine, since we really didn’t even spend much time in the cabin anyway.

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To save even more money since we’re all fairly broke college students, we all brought food with to eat for dinner and breakfast the next morning. We walked around the boat, did a bit of duty-free shopping 😉 and then went back to our cabin to have our “dinner.” We spent the rest of the night at one of the “clubs” on the boat. I quoted the word clubs because on a Thursday night, we were the youngest people there by probably all our ages combined (besides the kids who were being entertained by a pirate) … In other words a lot of old people so not much of a party. 😉

It was a good night, we ended up sitting in this lounge area and ate chips and candy and I had to share my obsession of Smash! candy with them since 2 of them had never tried it so we bought a big bag at the duty-free shop. Thanks to Sara for telling me about it one day, so I tried it and yeah it’s my favorite candy now… I’m quit addicted to it. 😀 Hahah

We arrived in Copenhagen, or København in Danish, at about 9:45am. We hurried off the boat and went to wait for the bus to take us into the city center. We only had 7 hours in Copenhagen so we wanted to make the most of our time. Our first stop after the 20 minute bus ride was Joe the Juice shop to get coffee. I had brought an iced coffee with so I didn’t get anything here. With a map in hand (i.e. Sara’s hand ;)) we headed to Nyhavn, which literally translates to New Harbor, a very iconic district in Copenhagen with beautifully color buildings lining the harbor full of restaurants, shops and bars.

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We then headed over to Amalienborg, the winter home of the Danish royal family. It’s located right in Copenhagen. There are 4 identical palaces and a courtyard with cobblestone streets and sidewalks built in 1760. The palaces are guarded day and night by the Den Kongelige Livgarde or Royal Life Guards. They have the changing of guards everyday at noon. We got there at 11:00am so we decided we had enough time to walk to the Little Mermaid statue and come back to see the changing of the guards since we didn’t want to waste any time. 

I had been told about how small the Little Mermaid statue is, so I wasn’t surprised by how small it was when we walked up to it. Though, I’m sure had I not been told, I would maybe have been disappointed a bit about the size of it. It was still very cool and a must-see in Copenhagen. Image


Back at the Amalienborg palaces, we arrived just in time for the changing of the guards. I had no idea what to expect since I’ve never been to anything like it. It was really cool. The changing of the guards ceremony lasted about a half hour with the guards marching on the cobblestone streets up to the palace, followed by a marching band playing traditional Danish military marches. The marching band only following if the royal family is in residence. I always get random bursts of excitement or I don’t know how to describe it, but just being in a place where there is so much history I love it. I guess that’s the part of me who enjoys history coming out. 😉 I become in awe of how the buildings have been preserved, and all of the traditions being carried on from so long ago. I just love it and get excited seeing it. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that the United States is relatively a young country with not much history dating from that far back and we don’t have any royal family or castles. 😉

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After that, it was lunch time and we had planned on eating at this organic vegetarian restaurant we had saw online located in Christiania. So we headed to towards Christiania or “The Greenlight District”. I had never heard of it, until our friend told us about it when he went to Copenhagen a couple weeks ago. Here is a good description of the area http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/christiania so I don’t have to describe the history behind it.

Being the “anything with peace signs, somewhat of a hippie lover” self I was intrigued and interested in the whole idea and place of Christiania. I had also talked to one of my Norwegian friends and mentioned we were going to Copenhagen, he said we had to go there just to see it. It was about a 15 minute walk from where we were. We could not have had better weather while we were there. It was perfect. The walk was lovely actually, I love old European architecture. The buildings in Copenhagen are beautiful and a lot of them are so colorful.

Walking under the large “Christiania” wooden archway is like walking into a completely different word. Once entered you are not allowed to take pictures and that is clearly stated all in spray paint on the hippie-esque buildings and signs. We walked around for a short time and tried to find this restaurant, but had no luck. We realized how unprepared we were because non of us had exchange Norwegian Krones to Danish Krones so we couldn’t even eat at any of the restaurants or cafes because they don’t take credit cards. So we basically just walked back out. I would have liked to eat lunch there and walked around more. I didn’t really feel uneasy about being there, though I’m not sure the others felt quit the same way. 😉

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We left Christinia and headed back towards the center part of Copenhagen. We stopped at cute little sandwich shop and got panini’s. I had a chicken one and it was delicious. Maybe it was due to the fact I was starving and hadn’t ate chicken in over a month.

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We enjoyed are quick lunch and then headed to the shopping district of Copenhagen. It was again a nice walk. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet at all in this post is how many people ride bikes in Copenhagen. It is crazy! They are everywhere! ImageImage

My goal for shopping was to find this place called the Sweater Market. I really want to buy a Norwegian sweater and I had read online this store has all sorts of Scandinavia sweaters. We walked down the main shopping street and we stopped into this sporting goods store that my friend Sara wanted to go in. She had been wanting a Fjällräven backpack. It’s a Swedish company that has these backpacks. They are actually really cool looking.

We never made it to the Sweater Market because we ran out of time and one lady we asked thought it might not be open anymore. We only had about 4:45 minutes before we needed to get back on the bus that takes us to the ship. We decided to just head back to the bus stop and then find a place to buy food for dinner because it’s cheaper than eating on the ship.

We made it back just in time for departure and then spent the rest of the night mainly in our cabin. We were all extremely tired from the walking and all the we did. We got back into Oslo around 10:00am Saturday morning.

I enjoyed the trip a lot, but for sure would love to have spent more time in Copenhagen. I definitely would recommend it as a place to visit! 🙂

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15 Things & Packing Tips!

Long time, no blog! I haven’t written in over a week mainly because I haven’t done anything too cool or out of the ordinary here in Oslo. I’ve basically went to my classes, did school work i.e. reading, and hung out with friends. Ooooohh! I’m officially going to PARIS! 🙂 I booked my flight and rented an apartment for the time we will be there. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to go to a specific city as much as I have always wanted to go to Paris! I’m meeting up with my friend Amber, who is studying abroad in Spain this semester. We actually met in my French class last year at UND. A friend of Amber’s is also coming with and then Kailey, who I graduated high school with,  lives in Germany and is meeting us in Paris as well. We were in French class together all 4 years of high school. Our tip is planned for the end of October and I cannot wait! 🙂

I’ve decided to do something a bit different with this blog because like I said I haven’t done anything too out of the ordinary this past week. So I thought I shall do a sort of “15 things” post. I have three categories: “Things I’m Glad I brought”,”Things I shouldn’t have Brought”,”Things I Wish I Would’ve Brought”

THINGS I’M GLAD I BROUGHT:

Glad I brought

1. My Nike running shoes! The only comfortable pair of shoes I brought with me and so glad I did. I would tell anyone who’s studying abroad make sure you have a good pair of shoes for all the trips/touristy stuff you do – they usually require a lot of walking!

2. My backpack! It’s a good dual purpose item that all study abroaders should have. The obvious use is for school, but it’s good for just weekend trips when you don’t need to pack for more than a few days. It’s so much easier than lugging around a big suitcase.

3. My water bottle! Good in so many ways. Buying bottled water in Norway is freaking expensive and you basically are getting the same water from the tap as you do in the bottle, so you save a ton of money. Plus it keeps you hydrated 😉

4. My makeup and enough to last me while I’m here! Okay so of course this one only pertains to girls and girls who love makeup. Most people would say to just buy it in your country abroad. If it’s going to cost you the same price as back home than definitely save the room in your suitcase, but check that out before you leave. I was looking at makeup at a store the other day, for a basic Maybelline concealer it was like $16. An Essie nail polish purchased at H&M was $18. You could get both the concealer and nail polish in the US for the price of just the concealer here.

5. Adapters/Converters! Buy a good converter for your laptop and then a few converters before you leave. It will save you money and the hassle of trying to find one abroad.

THINGS I SHOULD NOT HAVE BROUGHT:Should not have brought

1. So many sandals! My advice to you, think about the weather for the whole time you’ll be there, not just the first month.  You can’t wear flipflops in the winter 😉

2. My Columbia fleece! This is just a personal preference, but whenever I wear mine (I’ve only done it twice) I feel like such a foreigner… I don’t know why. People don’t really wear them here.

3. PINK yoga pants/capris! In the United States, for the most part, it’s acceptable to wear yogas as basically pants. Here, that is not a thing. Yoga pants are strictly for the gym. I’m glad I have a couple pairs, but I definitely brought too many.

4. My ‘big’ camera! Again, this one will be probably just my personal preference, but truly ask yourself, will you really use that camera if it’s so big. I haven’t used this camera once and I’ve been on a couple little trips where I could have taken pictures with it. It’s just too bulky to carry around in it’s case and honestly my little point and shoot camera is just fine for me. If it was an actual DSLR camera, I’d probably have a different opinion.

5. Bootcut/Straightleg jeans! This is probably the biggest thing I regret bringing. All my jeans I have with me, would be considered “in style” back home. Here? Definitely not. NO ONE WEARS THEM! 😛 All they wear are skinny jeans…at least I brought one pair of those 😉

THINGS I WISH I WOULD HAVE BROUGHT:

wish i brought

1. Slippers! For wearing around my room and my floor. I have flip flops for the shower, but in my room my feet get cold.

2. Rainboots! Again like I mentioned with the sandals above, research the climate/weather of where you’re study abroad at to see what’s the best footwear. It rains here a lot and when it snows it’s the wet kind of snow, so Uggs would not be a good choice.

3. Fall jacket! I didn’t pack a decent “fall” type jacket, all I brought was my Columbia fleece that I talked about above and my winter coat. So I ended up having to buy one while I was in Sweden.

4. Skinny jeans! I’ve again mentioned this above, I should have packed only skinny jeans! 😉

5. A duffel bag! I wish I had brought a bag that was bigger than my backpack, but smaller then my suitcases to bring for longer trips.

I hope some of these things were helpful to those who are going to be studying abroad. A lot of the things somewhat correlated with each other, so I’m sorry if it was a bit repetitive. I don’t have anything else to update you with, except to look for a more entertaining blog next week. I’m going to Copenhagen, Denmark on Thursday with a few of my friends so look out for that blog sometime late next weekend! 🙂

Stockholm!

It’s been a while since my last post on here and I apologize for that. 🙂 I won’t waste anytime, I’ll just jump right into what I’ve been doing.

Last Thursday, I had my first movie theater experience abroad. I went with my friend Simon, his friend Niko, Niko’s girlfriend, Simon’s friend Max, and then 2 of my Norwegian friends. We planned on going to see The Conjuring at 9:00pm, but that did not happen. When we arrived to the ticket counter at the theater, we were told that they only had 10 seats left, but none of them together. Which was actually weird to me, that the seats are reserved. So we decided not to go to that one because who wants to sit alone at a scary movie? None of the other movies playing at that theater were English, so we decided to walk across the street to the other theater to see if there was any decent movies playing there.

We ended up seeing Kick Ass 2 for the price of roughly $17.00 USD for just the movie ticket. Sometimes, you just have to get over the prices of things here and just live. 😉  I’ve never seen the first one and had no idea what it was even about to be honest. It actually wasn’t that bad. The movie itself was in English and just had Norwegian subtitles. It was a cool experience and I think where ever you study abroad it’s something you should do! 🙂

Friday morning I woke up and finished packing for my weekend in Stockholm with my aunt and uncle. I took the airport express train from the central station in Oslo to the airport. My flight left Oslo around 1:00pm and arrived in Stockholm right around 2:00pm. I got off the plane and walked to the baggage claim and met up with my aunt and uncle. They arrived in Stockholm from Copenhagen about an hour before me.

We checked in to the hotel at like 3:00pm and then headed out on a boat tour of Stockholm. We stayed at the Nobis Hotel, which was very nice. I would definitely recommend it, if you’re not on a budget. It’s located right in Old Town and by the main shopping area. An interesting fact about the building the hotel is in, is that the term “Stockholm Syndrome” originated in this building as it was home to the famous bank robbery in the ’70’s.

The boat tour we took was beautiful. I never realized that the city was made out of 14 islands. I was surprised by the beauty of the city. The buildings are beautiful and we had the best weather. It’s been unusually warm here in Oslo and Stockholm the past few weeks. I’ve been loving the weather, but is it bad that I’m secretly wanting winter? 😉

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After the boat tour we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant that served traditional Swedish food. Of course I had to go with Swedish meatballs because how can you not order those in Sweden? They were quite good! It reminded me of home with mashed potatoes and salad.

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The next morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. I was in LOVE with European breakfasts. I could not believe the array and quality of food to choose from. Breakfast was amazing and after filling myself up with Swedish pancakes and fruit, we took a cab to a couple museums. We first went to the Vasa Museum which, according to Wikipedia, displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged and sank in 1628 on it’s maiden voyage. The other museum we went to was Nordic Museum, which is basically a museum about Swedish and Scandinavian cultural history. I really enjoyed both museums and had fun at them.

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After the museums, we went back to the hotel and then my uncle and I headed out to go shopping. I was on a mission to buy a “fall”ish jacket. I didn’t have a nice jacket with me. All I brought was a Columbia fleece, which I felt soooo American in, when I wore it. After a bunch of shops, I finally found one at a store called Bik Bok. Funny thing is, that it’s actually a Norwegian store. I paid around $90 usd for a fall jacket, which is’t too terrible and it looks Norwegian. It  was a little cheaper to buy in Sweden so I’m glad I bought it. (:

The shopping excursion lasted about 3 hours in that  time we picked out a few shirts for my aunt, I bought my jacket and a shirt, and we experience a Swedish outdoor food market. Oh and got lost. 😉 We left the hotel with no map, thinking we would be fine. We somehow got all turned around and gave up trying to get back to the hotel after 20 mins so we opted for a cab ride back to the hotel because our feet hurt. We then relaxed at the hotel until dinner. I ate at the cutest little French cafe and enjoyed a three hour dinner with my aunt and uncle. I really can’t thank them enough for how well they treated me on this trip and all the most delicious meals I ate. (:

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We left Stockholm Sunday afternoon and checked into the hotel in Oslo with my aunt and uncle who stayed two more days in Oslo! Monday we once again had a delicious European breakfast and  then went to Frogner Park where all the statues are. It’s quite an amazing place. We spent a couple hours there and then I brought them up to Holmenkollen ski jump and took them to this restaurant called Frognerseteren to eat their “famous” apple pie cake, which is pretty much heaven. Check out their website here >>> http://www.frognerseteren.no/index.aspx The building is beautiful and has an amazing view of the city.

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Monday night my amazing aunt and uncle took me out to dinner with my friend Sara. I really enjoyed having them visit and am thankful for them taking me to Stockholm! (:

Visitors in Oslo

My contract for my blog for UND only requires me to blog once every two weeks, but that doesn’t seem like enough. A lot can happen in two weeks, especially abroad. My goal is to blog at least once a week, sometimes maybe more. My last blog was exactly a week ago. Maybe Monday’s will be my blog day? 🙂 [when I started typing this, it was Monday…now it’s Tuesday] ;/

Anyway, last week I had class on Tuesday and Thursday. My Wednesday microeconomics class was canceled, so I had the day off. I was still a sick with a cold, that today I’m still getting over. I washed all my bedding and seriously cleaned my room. I swept and mopped the floor and wiped off all my shelves and desk. It felt so good to have a clean room.

Thursday night I went with Sara to the Amatøren, the student run pub here at Sogn. Every Thursday they have quiz night and one of her roommates runs the quizzes. It was fun, though we did not win. Haha the questions were actually really hard and pretty random.

Friday morning my two aunts and two uncles arrived in Oslo. I planned on meeting them at their hotel around 11:30am, but somehow got “lost” with my directions I had wrote down and it took me a lot longer. I also didn’t end up leaving my place until 12:00pm. I did feel bad because they were ready to go do sight seeing and I was late. Oh well, that can you do.

When I arrived, we walked a block to this cute restaurant cafe and had lunch. I had the Norwegian Shrimp Sandwich. I should have taken a picture of it, but I was turned off my the random orange colored caviar sprinkled on top. It was really good, after picking the caviar off. 😉

After lunch, we walked to the Opera. It was my second time being there, so I didn’t take any pictures of myself there. We spent about a half hour there and then walked to Karl Johans gate, the main street of Oslo. There is a lot of shopping, sightseeing, and people watching to do on this street. We walked around for a while, but it of course started to rain. The weather has been absolutely beautiful all week and then when they arrived, it rained for the first time all week. We had ice cream for dessert at Deli de Luca. I kind of love Deli de Luca, they are pretty much on every block in Oslo and have like everything. It reminds me of a cross between a convenience store and Panera Bread.

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^^ My ice cream! 🙂

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^^ The Opera

Saturday morning, I got up early to make sure I wasn’t late getting to their hotel. I arrived around 10:30am and they were just waking up! I totally knew how they felt thought. The morning after I arrived in Oslo, I slept in until about 1:30pm. It was of course raining pretty heavy again, so umbrellas were a must. We went down to the harbor to catch the water taxi/ferry to go see the Viking Ship Museum. We got off the boat and expected the museum to be right there, but it wasn’t. It was about a 20 minute rainy walk up a hilly residential area.

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^^ View as we were leaving on the ferry. Such a rainy and cloudy morning.

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^^ Boat on the pier that had fresh shrimp and other fish for sale!

The museum was really cool. It’s so crazy how those viking ships are still preserved from so many years ago. We spent about 45 minutes inside the museum and then walked to the Kon Tiki Museum. I had heard of Kon Tiki before, but had no clue what it was. We then went back onto the ferry and headed to the Akershus Fortress. We walked around inside it, which I thought was so cool. I had never been to any sort of castle before. Inside by this pond area, there was a wedding going on and the bridal party was dressed in their tradition Norwegian costumes. That was really cool to see.

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^^ One of the viking ships inside the museum

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^^ Viking ship! It’s so crazy how these are still preserved from soooooo long ago

http://www.khm.uio.no/besok-oss/vikingskipshuset/  Website with more information on the Viking ships in the museum. 🙂

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^^ One of the Kon Tiki boats at the museum

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^^ Outside by the Kon Tiki muesum.

After spending an hour or so at the fortress, we went back to the hotel and relaxed for a while after sooo much walking. We ate dinner at this restaurant down the block from the hotel called ‘Gamle Raadhus Restaurant.’ It’s inside the original town hall building of Oslo. I shared a meal of scallops (my favorite) and arctic char & seafood risotto. I’m normally not a ‘fillet’ fish person (not sure how to describe that) hahah, I like crustacean type fish. 😉 But I did really like arctic char, so maybe I will start to like that kind of fish. For dessert, I had probably the best crème brûlée I’ve ever had. Oh my god, it was so good! 🙂

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Sunday morning around 7:00am we left the hotel. I ended up staying at their hotel Saturday night because I didn’t want to go back to my place after dinner when it was dark and it takes like 40 minutes to get back there. I walked, while they took a taxi to the Oslo S Central Train station. I said goodbye to them and they went to find their train to go to Bergen for a couple days and then I went to the subway to go back to my residence.

The hotel had given my aunts and uncles 4 tickets to Taste of Oslo, but they never got around to using them. So I took them and went with my friends Sara and Simon, and his friend Niko. I had no idea what the Taste of Oslo would be, but hoped for free food. It turned out to be kind of lame, but we got a few free little samples and a free drink!

This week I have class of course and then Friday I am flying to Stockholm for the weekend with my aunt and uncle. 😀 I’m excited to finally start traveling while I’m here.