Tag Archives: DIS

Toilet Seat Mummies

16 Oct

In the States, or anywhere in the world for that matter, I am guilty of creating toilet seat mummies.  I am grossed out by toilet seats and will not sit down on the them without them being covered with toilet paper first.  Not very environmentally friendly, but my delicate skin thanks me for it!

But as I have been traveling around Europe (and recently, Asia!), I have discovered a great invention!  Toilet seat sanitizer!

Nearly all the bathrooms at DIS where I study have it!

Even my hotel in Istanbul had it!

So simple!

Not only does it save time and nixes the problem of placing toilet paper on the seat only to often have it fall off immediately, but it also saves toilet paper.  Good for the environment, good for the bank account of whoever supplies the toilets.

I really think the idea could catch on in the States.  At the University of Richmond, I would love to see toilet seat sanitizer implemented.  You would have to refill the toilet paper in the stalls less often and could add another check under the green initiative column.  If Turkey can do it, so can you!


Castle Number 3: Egeskov Slot

30 Sep

Still on Funen, I visited my third castle of my travels this fall.  We visited Egeskov Slot, a 14th century castle.  The name means “oak forest” because supposedly it took a whole forest of oak trees to build the foundation.  It is located in the middle of a small lake and the only way to access it back in the old days was by drawbridge.  The castle is the best preserved Renaissance water castle in Europe.  The gardens surrounding it are absolutely gorgeous!

The Danes seem to really love to hunt

This was one of a TON of rooms of a dollhouse that was built for a daughter of someone living here at one point.  The entire house was intricate, and actually, was built for fairies, not dolls.  I wish I were a fairy and lived there.

These little guys just sauntered around the corner to surprise me!

Castle Number 2: Valdemars Slot

29 Sep

So I swear I have not disappeared in Copenhagen.  I had to be reminded why I came here: to study.  I had my first exam and first long paper due today, so I have been a bit busy.

But 2 weekends ago, I went on a weekend trip with DIS to the island of Funen to explore the life of Hans Christian Andersen.  This trip included visits to two castles, mainly the reason why I wanted to go on the trip.  The first of the two castles we visited was Valdemars Slot, located in Svendborg.

The castle was originally built by Christian IV for his son Valdemar, but was given to an admiral of the Danish navy after a victory and has been kept in the family ever since.  The woman who currently live there now utilizes it as her winter home, but has it open during the summer months for visitors.  I love that someone actually lives there because it is furnished and not empty, as many castles are!

Gorgeous current owner of the home, Caroline Nielsdatter
Interesting side note- her father’s name was Niels, thus her surname Nielsdatter

Valdemars Slot
Not the most impressive exterior, but the interior is gorgeous and the grounds are pretty

Castle grounds

Gorgeous land

As I mentioned before, the interior of the castle is actually decorated.  It is filled with historical antiques and objects from the time of the admiral and quite a gorgeous sight to see!  One of my favorite parts of the castle is one of the guest rooms that has a balcony overlooking the chapel.

Apparently you can rent it out, as well as the rest of the estate, for weddings!

Hand-blown glass chandelier

Awesome beds!
When Caroline has guests, they actually get to stay in the decorated rooms.
The beds are so short because in the time of the admiral, everyone spent so much time doing their hair that they slept sitting up so they wouldn’t ruin it.

Interesting story: the castle had this painting in its possession.  Later on, one of the subsequent owners of the castle was in a market in France where he saw this painting below.  It is a painting of the artist painting the painting above!

One of my goals in life: to have an amazing library full of old books!

Getting Sick in Denmark

25 Sep

On Wednesday, I went to the doctor’s because I was feeling ill AGAIN. I was interested to see how the Danish health care system works, being a welfare state and all.

To begin with, I have not received my CPR card and number yet (sort of like a social security number), which basically registers me as a resident in Denmark.  That number also comes along with the doctor I am supposed to see if I get sick.  However, because I do not have my card yet, I had to schedule an appointment with a DIS-recommended physician.  The trick is, you must call between 8 and 9 in the morning to make an appointment.  I called all three doctors that DIS provided, and all of the numbers went through to an automated message in Danish, of which all I could understand was the number 8 on one of them and pressing it did NOT get me a live person.  So I had DIS make me an appointment.

The office is literally on the same street as the Market Halls at Israels Plads, so not too difficult to find.  When I entered the building that my doctor’s office was supposed to be in, I was a little confused.  The hall into which I entered was grandiose and beautiful, something out of the 19th century, yet with the dim lighting courtesy of only a few windows, it was a little eerie.

The eerie lobby

Pretty staircase

Entrance to doctor’s office

The waiting area was normal enough.  But I was so delighted that my appointment was at 1:00 and I was called in by my doctor at 1:02.  What a difference from home!  I had heard so many negatives about universal health care and that it takes forever to be seen.  But I called the day before and got an appointment and she was almost precisely on time for it!  So much better than waiting 30 minutes to an hour to be seen in the States.

When I walked into her office, there wasn’t the medical sterile environment one finds at the doctors offices at home.  She met with me outside her exam room at her desk.  Her wall had a floor to ceiling painting full of colors and glitter.  Next to her desk was an old wooden rocking horse.  She was not wearing a lab coat, bur rather she had on a white button down, jeans, and a pair of Converse (the Danes love their Converse!).  It was such a relaxed environment.  She took a look at my throat and told me I would be better in a couple days and that it was just a common cold.

When I paid I had to pay with cash.  300kr was the cost of my visit, equating to $60.  However, because health care is free once I get my card, DIS reimburses me!  Obama Care may be just what we need…

No I did not get a free Strawberry tart from the doctor’s
But I did grab it afterwards at Market Halls to cheer me up 🙂

FLASH FORWARD to a few days after I had originally written this post.  I am 5 times sicker than I was on Wednesday.  Thanks, but I did NOT get better in a couple days it is NOT just a common cold.  I likely have a sinus infection.  So back to the doctor’s I will go this week…. I currently am living off of chamomile tea, ZYX lozenges (they are like cough drops, but with intense medication in them), and 12 hours of rest a day.

House of Gold: Geeky Medieval Fighting Games

8 Sep

Two Sundays ago, Avery, Kali, and I went on a trip with DIS to Esrum Abbey.  We got to tour the abbey, of which only a small portion remains due to Christian the 4th tearing most of it down to use the bricks to build part of Frederiksborg Slot.

Esrum Abbey

Avery, myself, and Kali

The tour however was the least memorable part of the day.  Not because it was uninteresting, but because we got to partake in medieval games!  We were split into teams and mine consisted of me, Avery, Kali, a girl named Michelle, and Burke, one of the DIS leaders for the trip.  We were given wooden shields and banners with the task of designing and painting them to represent our clan.  We titled ourselves House of Gold and our banner cry was “abutton gold.”

Clan House of Gold

We then participated in the medieval games to win points for our team.  We got to launch a pumpkin with a trebuchet, which is apparently illegal in the United States.  We got to throw spears at a hay man and surprisingly I managed to knock it over, although not actually spear it.  We also got to do archery!  My strength was very good, however my aim was a bit off and I kept missing the target by inches (we only got three tries).  I would love to take lessons when I get home for fun.  We sword fought (with foam swords but of course) and he did not go easy on us!  A few people ended up in the mud!  We rode a wooden horse whilst the rest of the team pushed and ran behind and then struck a wooden knight to see how many times we could get him to spin.  Lastly, we wore chainmail while trying to climb backwards up the ladder.  I could not even advance one wrung considering the chainmail was at least half my weight!  Confession: The entirety of this time, I may or may not have pretended that I was living in Westeros in the golden days under King Robert Baratheon….


Casual spear throwing

Channeling Robin Hood

I think I need a little more practice from my dancing teacher

Close enough to jousting, right?

We then had  an abbey ale tasting and all of the ale was produced at the abbey!  Typically when I think of monks, I do not think of brewmasters.  Nor did I expect to hear from our tour guide that when the monks felt sexual urges that they used the hemlock in the garden to rub on their nether regions so that they would get very ill and be less likely to feel an urge again… Quite awkward to hear from a medieval dressed tour guide.


Our tour guide…

Castle Number One: Kronborg Slot

7 Sep

This past Saturday, I took a trip with DIS to Elsinore to see Kronborg Slot.  One thing I am sure of, I am very pleased that I brought an umbrella.  The moment we got there it started to pour!

I did however make some new friends!  As soon as we got there, a few of us desperately had to use the bathroom.  By the time we got back to the buses, everyone had already been set free to explore Elsinore for a while before our tours of the castle.  We explored the town a little bit.  It was so adorable and I wish it had not been so rainy, as we ended up seeking refuge in a café to wait out the downpour.  Interesting side note: I had packed my own lunch to avoid a pricey lunch, but everyone ordered tap water so I got a glass too.  It was 6kr.  For tap water.  $1.20 for tap water.  Not cool Denmark.

Ost, so much ost! I should have bought some parmesan..

We headed over to the castle after some questionable directions from some Danish teens that are going to grow up to be lookers one day.  The Danish population is just so good looking.  The women are beautiful, long-legged, and thin.  Then men are of viking stature (credit to Luke over in Afghanistan for describing them as such about the Danes on his base).

The castle provided us some relief from the wet weather, however I was not impressed as I thought I would be.  From what I gathered the castle was burnt down at some point and thus much of the original glamour is gone.  However, all was made better once I entered the chapel, a part the fire from the Swedes did not touch.  It was full of rich colors and wooden carvings.  That would have made church much for fun to attend when I was a kiddo.  Except that it would have distract me from the sermons as I am sure it did the royal children..

Kronborg Slot

C4 for Christian the 4th

The Ballroom

Kids’ Playroom

Denmark in the foreground, Sweden across the water

Jessie and I in the chapel

Then there was the dungeon/hide out during Swedish invasions.  It was so authentic, with the floor unfinished and graveled.  The walls were moist and the air was muggy.  There was hardly any light to see by, save for a few fake candles in dark corners.  At one point I stopped following our tour guide and got a bit lost only to bump into a fake man!  Needless to say, I ran to find our tour guide and she gave me a big hug (she was SUCH a sweetheart and said I remind her of her daughter who also like to curiously wander off).

In the dungeon!

Fam Fam

4 Sep

On Monday, I finally got to meet my visiting family.  I had already met Robin, their son who is an SRA for one of the DIS residence halls in Copenhagen when I was hanging out there before going out Friday night.

Linda picked me up from the train station and took me back to their home in Hvidovre.  I got to meet Mollie their dog, as well as Lulle and Liann.  Their home was wonderful and had a lovely garden in the back.

adorable eggs in their house!

so cute! 🙂

They prepared me a traditional Danish Christmas dinner, including flæskesteg (roasted pork with cracklings), brunede kartofler (brown potatoes with some type of caramel-like thin coating to them), regular potatoes, gravy, and rødkål (red pickled cabbage).  It was so comforting to finally have a home cooked meal!  For dessert, Liann popped in the oven some æbleskiver, a Danish type of pancake in a sphere shape, and we dipped them in raspberry jam and powdered sugar.


Brunede kartofler

Traditional Danish Christmas dinner


Linda taught me a few Danish words for items around the house like plate, fork, knife, spoon, blanket, etc.  It was fun to practice with her.

My next planned visit to them is on my 21st birthday, September 12th.  Linda told me to meet her at the train station again and the rest of the day and night from there is all a surprise! I cannot wait to see them again and I cannot wait to see what they have in store.