30 October 2010

Indendørs Loppemarked

Just got back from the best market I've ever been to.  Okay, maybe not the best (my friends always say I use too many superlatives), but it was nonetheless mega-fantastic.  It was just down the road on Enghavevej, in a large, naturally lit warehouse.  There were two main rooms; one with crates and pillows everywhere for everyone to sip on coffee, tea, soft drinks or beer (pictured).  The other, a whole room filled with stalls stocking cute homemade cupcakes (that my sister would've loved) and high quality second-hand clothing, accessories and electronics (and everything else under the sun) at the best prices I've seen at any market (outside of Asia).  I witnessed the most amazing Flamingo bag ever (which my friend back home Sarah Birchley would've died for, pictured), and bought a number of things including a navy blue suit for 20DKK ($4), an authentic Atlanta Olympics 1996 backpack for 30DKK ($6), some coffee table books on art and design, and two pairs of mint condition Adidas sneakers for 150DKK ($30, for both!).

As you can see, I bought a lot, so I spent most of the afternoon lounging on a crate and admiring what all my friends had bought; from mittens and records to tutu-dresses and Halloween costumes!

There are two more coming up before Christmas, so lookout for ads at your local cafe!

Laterz Alligatorz

25 October 2010

I'm so tired and uninspired to study right now.  Wishing I could turn back time a week and hang out in the Fjords of Norway again.

This time last week, KD, NC, Lau and I were still enjoying our roadtrip around Norway.  We'd caught the world-renowned train ride from Oslo to Bergen early in the morning, passing by misty creeks, snow-capped mountains, extraordinary glaciers and glistening rivers.  It was a beautiful journey lasting approximately 7 hours, and we entertained ourselves with lots of eating.

Upon arriving in Bergen, we stayed at a hostel with a stunning view of the city behind it.  Our photo-shoot (pictured) behind the hostel was definitely one of my highlights of Bergen.  There, we visited the old quayside, Bryggen, which lasted about 10 minutes.  I don't know why UNESCO have added it to its list of World Heritage Sites; it's as interesting as watching paint dry.

It was here in Bergen that we rented a car.  We had great difficulty in organising where to go as most hostels around the country had been closed due to it being low-season for tourists.  Fortunately, we found a hostel in the middle of nowhere, about 4 hours from Bergen in a town called Borlaug.  The trip there was enjoyable, with roadside stops at majestic waterfalls and large rocky hill-sides with marvelous views of nearby sites reflected in the pellucid waters below (pictured).  The hostel in Borlaug was warm, wooden, cosy and in mint condition...and it was all ours! No other tourists were there so it was like we had rented a luscious holiday home in the woods to ourselves.  To our delight, a generous buffet breakfast awaited the four of us on both mornings we stayed.

Contrary to our original plans, we decided not to drive to the most popular fjords and national parks because of time constraints and our reluctance to pay ferry fees.  So instead we visited the Jotunheim National Park.  It was a little over an hour away from Borlaug and we stopped over numerous stunning sites on the way, including a lake that had started to freeze up and a mountain that was lightly sprinkled with snow (pictured).

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the outskirts of Jotunheim we couldn't find the walking path that would lead us to the best parts of the national park, possibly because they were completely covered in snow.  We braved the freezing climate and climbed as far up a mountainside as we could for some breathtaking views of the fjords (pictured).

When we returned to Bergen for our flight to Copenhagen, we were surprised to see it was snowing heavily.  NC taught me how to make a snowman.  We made and positioned our snowman on the side of a road at the airport (pictured) so that it was greeting all the passengers who'd recently arrived in Bergen.  They would honk at us and wave back and it was a beautiful way to end my mid-semester break.

End. and Off to Bed I Go.

24 October 2010

Bob Loblaw Weekend

I've been trying to study for my imminent European and International Commercial Law final exam (this Thursday!!!) and I'm finding it suprisingly difficult to study.  Not once this semester have I had to sit at a desk for more than an hour to study (I'm a bad student), but after discovering the Black Diamond library a few days ago, studying has become a bit more 'fun' as it's such a modern, inspiring and social place.  There are great transparent glass walls which provide beautiful views of the canal, and rooms which are Oxford-esque (with those vintage green lamps!).  I'm currently procrastinating and thought I'd just write something here.

I skyped with my mum a few days ago and she commented on how convoluted my blog is; my posts are not at all in a chronological order so it confuses her as to what exactly I've been doing recently.  Well, for now (sorry mum) I'm going to continue my tradition of selecting random events from the past 2 months to blog about before it becomes too late.

Below are some pictures of the Law Weekend held at Western Camp, Rødby a few weeks ago.  Probably best to some it up with a few stats:
-1500L beer
-120 x law exchange students
-2 x nights
-1 x beach
-1 x halloween party

We were randomly placed in different activity teams so it was a great opportunity to make new friends.  I was in the Orange team and I think we had the best team war cry/dance/rap and we didn't lose a single team activity.  We were surprised not to win the overall team comp, but later during the halloween-themed party, an international mentor pulled us aside and told us how great we were and presented us with a bottle of vodka which we finished in 2 minutes!

I'm having trouble selecting my favourite photos from that weekend, so I'm just including the entire shortlist instead.

21 October 2010

Os/Lo Costs/Hi

I've just returned from my marvelous mid-semester trip and I'm feeling spiritually rejuvenated but physically exhausted. The Norsome Foursome, comprising of NC, Lau, KD and myself just completed a week-long trip to Norway.

Last Thursday, after KD missed her flight to Oslo, NC and I were left with each other for a couple days in Oslo. Lau was to meet us a couple days later as she had an unavoidable class excursion.

We had been warned about how excessively expensive Norway was before our trip, so we paid Norwegian Airlines an extra €8 to bring a suitcase with us. We filled the suitcase up with plenty of food; canned tuna, Belgian sweets, mixed nuts, instant pasta, potato crisps and waffles. Think of your favourite unhealthy food - it was probably in our suitcase.

While we went to Norway with the intention of spending money frugally, we noticed within minutes of arriving in Oslo that it was just impossible. A simple meal (eg. a hot dog, or a Big Mac) in Oslo will set you back at least 80 Norwegian Krones (ie. €10 or AUD14). That is fine if you are a millionaire like Paris Hilton, but not so fine if you are a student who hates Paris Hilton, like me.

Even the hostels, which were already the most expensive I've ever had to pay, required an extra payment just for using their bedsheets. So, after checking into a hostel, NC and I decided to escape the expensive city and caught a fairy to visit Gressholmen, an islet in Oslofjord (pictured). It was a deserted island - the only structures we saw were a cafe that was closed until May 2011, an outdoor toilet and a shed. The landscapes were beautiful (but nothing compared to the fjords we saw in western Norway later in the trip) with cliffs made of several rock layers that resembled the skin of a zebra.

The next day was eventful with KD finally arriving in Oslo and Yannis and Alex (also on exchange at CPH) running into us at our hostel. We visited the Nobel Peace Center by the harbour; one of the most interesting museums I have ever been to. As some of you may know, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo each year (whilst the other Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm). I was particularly pleased to learn of the Nobel Committee's recent announcement that Liu Xiaobo would be the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. I had learnt about him and several other Chinese-imprisoned ideological and peaceful political dissidents through my human rights course at Hong Kong University. The museum was extremely high-tech and interactive (pictured) and made it fun for kids and adults alike to learn about the achievements of past recipients. The nomination process for the award is quite complex, secretive, and at times controversial. In fact, Adolf Hitler was once nominated for the award (although this was later retracted), and winners such as Lê Ðức Thọ have declined to accept the award on political grounds.

Another notable site we visited in Oslo was the Opera House (pictured); one of the great modern architectural triumphs (at least, I think it should be considered one!).

 We also visited the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art which was home to a very interesting and fun exhibition by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto. Here, I felt like a child again playing with my pals in a big ball pit and a number of other unusual enclosures (pictured).

Next stop // Next blog // Bergen and the west coast fjords of Norway!

12 October 2010

Fredericksburg Castle

A couple weeks ago, we again took advantage of the free S-trains and went to the end of the line to Hillerød to visit Fredericksburg Castle.  The highlight was definitely our afternoon of gambling and frolicking in the glorious gardens behind the castle.


10 October 2010


Yo! I'm totally in the bestest mood today!

I've been stealing my neighbour's wireless internet since I've lived here, so the connection's consistently weak or failing, which makes it nearly impossible for me to skype with anyone. But last night I skyped with my best friend from America (the time difference is terrible) which made my day. She's coming to visit me in a couple weeks and we're heading to Amsterdam together to meet some friends.

Also, I'm heading to the Fjords next week for the mid-semester break with the Awesome Foursome; a group of us who met here. It's been a bit stressful organising it because, as expected, everything in Norway is as expensive as Al Gore's electricity bills. Also, it seems that all the hostels in Oslo are completely booked out so we have nowhere to live (sad face), so please help us if you know of anyone there!

Today I went on a day trip to Møns Klint; one of the natural wonders of Denmark. It is a set of chalk cliffs along the southern coast (pictured), about two hours' drive from Copenhagen. As I walked on the pebbles along the water with my Kiwi friend, we couldn't help but comment on how unimpressive it was compared to the coastal landscapes down under, but for Scandinavia, it was impressive.

The next stop was in Liselund, where we spent some time at a park, appropriately named Romantic Park. I'd just been to a similar park (the gardens behind Fredericksburg Castle) last week, so I decided to climb through a fence on the outskirts of the park to the coast (pictured). It was beautiful. I felt so isolated; we were accompanied by a lone fisherman battling against the waves (pictured).

After that we headed to Elmelunde Church. It is apparently a very typical Danish Church. If I was a kid again armed with a handful of crayons and toys, this is how I would've designed my church (pictured).

Our final destination was Jaettestue; a set of graves from the stone age. We had to climb through a small tunnel and crawl around this igloo-like stone structure (pictured). A strange experience but definitely worth going because it's not everyday you see something odd like that.


09 October 2010

Long Overdue

Wow! Time flies here! I've been in Copenhagen for about 6 weeks now and I can't believe I've only managed to write a couple lines about my time here so far.

There is too much to write in one post, so I might just start with something boring (but I find it interesting because it's so different to back home!): classes at the University of Copenhagen.

I enrolled in an intensive course here (European and International Commercial Law) that commenced before orientation week and before I even moved into my apartment.  It definitely deserves its title as an 'intensive' course; it was taught six hours a week, and required plenty of readings and preparation before class.  However, it's over for now fortunately, so I'll only have two more courses for the remainder of semester!

The law campus is very different to the one back home.  It's not so much a campus, but rather, a set of buildings scattered around the centre of the city.  For instance, the main hangout for law students, the Jurahuset (which houses a canteen, computer rooms and library), is located in a trendy street filled with vintage clothing stores, coffee shops, bars, pizzerias and S&M shops out of all things! A short cycle from the Jurahuset is the Metro Annex, where most of the law students have their classes. Everyday there are musicians playing outside (pictured) which makes it a wonderful place to study.

The timetables work on an academic quarter schedule, so classes begin at quarter past the hour, and end on the hour.  This is great for me because it means I'm never too late for class!  But it also allows us plenty of time to cycle to our next class.

I'm currently living in Vesterbro, about 15 minutes away from town by bike.  The particular area I'm living in is filled with an eclectic and odd mix of people, but it comes as no surprise considering it's a council-owned set of apartment blocks.  As I leave for class each morning, I am always greeted by an old cheerful Danish man who is (somehow) drunk by the time I leave for class (9.30am).  There are quite a few interesting characters like that but I enjoy it.  There are about 70 exchange students living in this particular set of apartment blocks, each living in a 2 bedroom apartment, so it's got the perfect mix of privacy and social balance.  I have met some older, retired Danes living around the area and they seem pleased that there are now young, vibrant and generally open-minded students to talk to in the area.  The owner of the pub on our street seems pretty pleased too as we're giving him some good business!  On our first visit there, he gave us bottles of Jagermeister and Fisk for free!

Unfortunately I don't get my own bedroom, but rather, a lounge room (pictured) which I have converted into a bedroom (by using string and curtains).  My housemate gets 'the good room'; the one with the door.  All the exchange students in this area are in the same situation, where one housemate gets a proper bedroom and the other is stuck with the lounge room.  It results in some interesting dynamics and issues; for instance, my housemate has to walk through my room in order to reach the bathroom and kitchen.  We also have no common area or dining area to hang out or lounge about, so this creates problems at times too.  But, it's all part and parcel of the exchange experience and everyone seems to be trying to make the best of it.

The best part about living in these apartments is that there's always a dinner party to attend (pictured) or just someone around the corner to catch up with if you get bored.

Speaking of getting bored, I think I'm getting bored of writing this!  Time to get outta here yo!