I love the weekend!
(Harry Potter, sleeping in, and a trip to Denmark.)
Friday morning: the LONG anticipated end to a three week, whirlwind initiation to the Swedish language and culture. Most of us were very nervous about our Swedish exam, which involved eight pages of grammar and a page long essay! We studied, studied, studied, and I think it paid off for most of us in the end. We celebrated with a huge party on Friday night.
Saturday also marked the arrival of a long anticipated event: the fifth Harry Potter movie! (Definitely worth our 100 kronor or $15). Saturday was also the first day in a while that we have seen some sun and temperatures over 70 degrees! A wonderful lazy day…
Today, we went to Kronborg (aka Hamlet’s Castle) in Denmark. (A brief interlude praising the public transportation here: it’s easy, cheap, and amazing. I recently bought a “Sommarkortet” summer pass which allows me to travel any distance, anywhere in Skåne, by bus or by train, for only 8 kronor or $1.25! What a deal!) So, for $1.25, I got a forty minute train ride to Helsingborg and then paid another $3.25 for a 20 minute ferry ride to Helsingør, Denmark.
Wow, what a STUNNING trip.
First of all, I have never in my life been on a ferry that HUGE. The boarding ramp was like getting on an airplane – elevated so that we could enter the ferry on what was probably equivalent to the fifth or sixth story above the water. Huge big rig trucks and cars drove up three different entrance ramps to load onto the bottom levels of the boat. And inside? Three different levels for passengers, including several restaurants and cafes, a grocery store (!), and a big viewing deck. We were all wowed.
Once we docked in Helsingør, we were truly blown away. My two friends, Melissa and Karen, and I kept looking around at the amazingly beautiful buildings, exclaiming, “ooh!” and “wow!” We also, quite a few times, couldn’t help but say, “Can you believe we’re in Denmark??” I get this feeling that in Lund we’ve been so busy getting settled in and learning Swedish that we sometimes almost forget that we are living in a foreign country. We were all struck by the beauty of Denmark – and I think it shocked us back to reality. (“Look where we are! Isn’t this amazing??”) It was a nice reminder: I do need to step back once and a while to truly appreciate the opportunities and experiences that I’ve been blessed with while studying abroad.
Anyway, the Kronborg Castle belonged to Fredrik II and is from the Renaissance. It’s most commonly known as “Hamlet’s Castle” because the castle was the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In 2000, it was also named as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It’s a major tourist attraction and we were among people of many nationalities (including Danes) who chose this beautiful Sunday to explore the castle.
For $12, we toured the King and Queens bedchambers, a beautiful ballroom, the casemates beneath the castle, and a chapel, which was the only part of the building left in tact when it was ravaged by a fire in 1629. The whole castle was VERY cool.
It was a great trip and a wonderful way to finish off the weekend.
Upcoming plans: Tomorrow, I start another three week round of Swedish classes and I’m going to reserve a Harry Potter book, and on Tuesday many of us will be attending a soccer match in Malmö. I’ll do my best to keep the blogs coming your way!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I love the weekend!