Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Program Study Tour: Denmark and Sweden!

Little wisdom from my host parents today: "There's a saying in Denmark that if you can eat, you're not sick." I guess that's true for me since even though my nose feels like a water balloon (not a good image?), I was still able to eat and get a long run in today.

So anyways (after that awkward introduction)... here's Part 2 of my study tour week:

I got back from my study tour to Hamburg around 9pm on Sunday, and then I had to get back up at 6am for my Justice and Human Rights short study tour around Denmark, yay!

First stop: Danish Navy Military Police Headquarters

This place was so cool...we met with Senior Chief Petty Officer Klaus Lund who explained to us Denmark's NATO mission in the Gulf of Aden to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia. And before the image even pops into your head, these aren't Johnny Depp pirates...these guys have AK-47s and RPGs (Rocket Propellor Grenades)...not so comical, eh? A couple of highlights to the trip were:

1. Got to hold both Danish military police weapons and confiscated pirate weapons

(and try on gear)

2. Take a tour of the newest ship in the Naval fleet being sent to the Gulf in October
(it looks like a giant toy boat)

After the tour, I was so amped up on patriotism and fighting the bad guys and secretly wishing I was in the Navy so I could wear the really cool berets (and spend months on a boat with attractive Danish soldiers), but our next visit reignited the girl in me: Egeskov Castle

Can you say fairy tale princess?

This castle is on the island of Funen (Denmark's second biggest island and the home to HC Anderson!). The family who lived here for hundreds of years still owns the property, but it is now used as a museum. Here are some pictures of the castle, its gardens, and a few surprises:

 Pretty gazebo in the gardens

 Sooo many flowers

 Just some peacocks wandering around...casual

 This picture doesn't do the dollhouse justice, but a hundred years ago, the Duke who owned this castle had a dollhouse built for his daughter's fairy queen friend. The house, or mini-mansion has every room you could think of: a ballroom, dining room, a chapel, a toy room, a music room, etc. And every room is fully decorated with handcrafted furnishings for the fairy family. It took twenty years, and you can see why. Absolutely no detail was spared.

 This is exactly what you're thinking: a creepy doll that's haunted in the attic. Legend says that if anyone were to move this doll, it would come to life and murder you on your birthday...just kidding, but seriously if you move the doll the castle will fall into the moat on Christmas Day. I still think the evil, possessed doll story is better.

 A maze that I totally thought I would ace and definitely failed. We gave up halfway through and got ice cream...

And then we found a high-rope bridge maze thingy!! This was the coolest part of the castle by far.

We ended the day in Aarhus, Denmark at our hostel, and with the night on our own, some friends and I decided to explore the city and the Aarhus Music Festival that was going on the week we were there! 

 I love these walls! There are a bunch of lines and people write, "Before I die I want to ___"

Blues Brothers, anyone?

Day 2 of the trip began with a visit to the Danish Navy Fleet Headquarters. We learned more about piracy and Naval operations. I'm basically an expert now. After a long morning of talks, it was time to relax...or kind of. I had never been kayaking before, so when my partner decided to jump out of the kayak into the water, three different times, I was definitely not prepared. Needless to say, I was soaked. I needed some warming up, and that's what bowling was for!! Following dinner we all went bowling at our hostel (professors included). I love bowling. My friends and I go all the time back home...and I get really into really. My professors, Ulrik and Nicolai, and I had a contest to see who could get three strikes first. Ulrik however was booted from the competition because he's a strike-machine and it wasn't fair to the two of us... so technically I won :)

Moral of the story: When you play a game with your Danish professors and win, they will buy you a beer (or in my case, I wanted ice cream)

Day 3 of the trip started with a guided walking tour on the beach of Ringkobing of Hitler's Atlanic Wall. During WWII the Nazis built concrete and steel bunkers all along the Atlantic coast of Europe, and because of hardcore German engineering, they still exist today. I have never seen anything like this...

 The dunes of Western Denmark

 Looking over at the North Sea!

 One of the bunkers

 So apocalyptic...shifted in the sand over 70 years

Plus I saw one of the prettiest and BIGGEST German Shepherds ever...I need one.

Our second trip of the day was to the Jelling Stones! The Jelling Stones date back over 1000 years ago, during the Viking Age. King Gorm the Old (the first king of Denmark) and his son, Harold Bluetooth (yes, same as Bluetooth technology), are honored with naming the kingdom of Denmark and Christianizing the nation.

 The actual stone with ancient rune carvings that has a picture of Jesus on it

 The actual stone King Gorm had inscribed for his wife that has the first mention of the word "Denmark"

One of the ancient mounds Harold Bluetooth built...totes rolled down it

So that concluded my adventure around Denmark, but the week wasn't over yet! On Thursday we went to Lund, Sweden to visit the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and afterwards we got to explore this little college town.

 Beautiful Lund Cathedral...later I found out was built by slaves (downer)

Amazing astronomy/astrology clock inside the cathedral

And finally FRIDAY!! We went to the Danish Resistance Museum that explains all about the Nazi occupation of Denmark in WWII. It was a small museum, but we learned a lot about how Denmark was the only country in western Europe to save the majority of its Jewish population (around 90%).

I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to see so much of Denmark because of this study tour...otherwise I probably would have never even thought to visit Jutland and see the North Sea. The Danish countryside is gorgeous, even in its flatness.

Glad I got this shot while riding in the bus, playing hearts, and watching Black Hawk Down...

Now that this extremely long post is out of the way, I'm ready to get back into the regular swing of things and make smaller posts :) And least until my next adventure...

Hej hej,


  1. i love your long post! keep detailing them Emily!

  2. Wow! This such a great program study tour.. I wish to study in sweden in the future!

  3. it's amazing how this program will help many people.

    sociology degree


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