Week 1: Pittsburgh, PA | Copenhagen, DK
Day 1 : 20 May 2018 and 21 May 2018
My journey started the same day as Carnegie Mellon's commencement ceremony. After finishing my move-out, I said good-bye to my fellow swimming seniors who all rocked the cap and gown in their graduation ceremony, and was off to the airport. A quick flight to Chicago and a much longer flight to Copenhagen, and I had arrived. Thanks to the 6 hour time difference and the red-eye flight, the two days felt more like one. It wasn't long before I was moved into my housing for the summer and exploring the surrounding neighborhood. That night, to celebrate the crowned Prince's 50th birthday, Denmark (the crowd was large enough to feel like the whole country) was running a 10k - I was clearly no longer in the U.S. The race went right by our street and spanned from serious competitors to large crowds trotting in the free race t-shirt, to the Prince himself. Exhausted as I was, it was an exciting welcome for my first day.
Day 2: 22 May 2018
Our second day in Copenhagen started with an orientation for all of the students participating in the DIS Summer Program. Inside a historic theater, we listened to informational speeches and music by JADA, which was an interesting experience. We then split up into groups to explore some of the surrounding area before heading to our first classes (Envrionmental Philosophy for me). One of the most unique things about Copenhagen is that biking is the primary mode of transportation for residents. Businessmen, women in heels, pregnant women, puppies in baskets, kids, and everyone in between bike everywhere. Throughout the entire city, there is a bike lane with its own curb separate from both the pedestrian sidewalk and car street. My summer wouldn't truly include a Danish experience without a bike so I did as the Danish do and picked up my own bike that I will be renting for the entire summer.
Day 3: 23 May 2018
Adjusting to my first normal day, I got a traditional Danish meal (smørrebrød - I'd give it a 6/10) with a new friend and found the remnants of an extinct species.
Day 4: 24 May 2018
After just a couple days of class, we went on our first field trip. A train ride and two buses later, we arrived at Svanholm in Skibby, Denmark. Svanholm was a very interesting sustainable community. Some of the approximately 130 community members work in the community's farms, kitchen, administration, daycare, etc. while the others work outside the community. Everyone gives 82.5% of their income to the community. In return, they get housing, all meals made, and all the other benefits of being a part of the community. We got a great tour of the entire community, which was founded almost 40 years ago on donated land that included an old manor home and stables. The place has since grown and stables have been repurposed into housing and community buildings. The experience was overall extremely interesting and given Denmark's relatively progressive stance on sustainability, it was fascinating to see the extreme of these efforts in such an established and practical environment.
Day 5: 25 May 2018
Besides class, the most exciting thing that happened on our first Friday in Copenhagen was a bar crawl. It was not particularly interesting and I would not recommend the beer it came with (Tuborg) despite the fact that Tuborg seems to sponsor everything here.
Day 6: 26 May 2018
To celebrate the crowned Prince's 50th birthday, he and his family formally addressed Denmark by waving from their balcony at the Palace. We went to the Palace and waved at the Prince before heading to Rosenborg castle, which is now a museum dedicated to its past resident monarchs. After the long day, we found ourselves an American style bar/pizzeria for a good meal. For the record, the bar is called Dudes and is in fact next to a place called Chicks.
Day 7: 27 May 2018
For our first Sunday in Copenhagen, we checked off quite a bit. After some quick porridge, we headed to the Geology and Natural Science Museum before hearing to the botanical gardens just next door. Later that night we went to Christiania for a concert and interesting exploration.
The Geology and Natural Science Museum was very interestingly stylized and was relatively small but had nice exhibits on the solar system, dinosaurs, and an expansive collection of rocks, gems, and crystals.
The Palmhouse was unfortunately closed, but the grounds for the botanical gardens were flourishing with plenty to maze through. I captured pictures of a relatively small sample of my favorite plants.
Christiania (Christianshavn) is a curious borough in Copenhagen. Although it is officially under Danish rule, it is a self-proclaimed autonomous anarchist district that houses 850-1,000 residents and is particularly known for its accessible abundance of cannabis. On this night, we visited for an open air concert that attracted a larger crowd. After listening to a couple songs (completely in Danish), we decided to explore a bit. The borough is essentially a sandwich of the coastlines along a canal and as we walked a full circle around the canal, we were able to hear the concert the entire time. In general, the line between public and private is blurry in Christiania. We were able to walk through the entire borough and look at eclectic houses that are less formally owned by their residents and more so passed down and handed off by previous residents, which made for a fascinating variety of structures.