Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sankt Hans

On Sankt Hans day (history below), Bethany and Jared hosted a BBQ at their house as a goodbye party for our friend Brett who was moving back to the States....he's a Duke grad student and despite that, a great guy! After I rode through a passing monsoon to get there (had to stop under a bridge to keep from getting completely soaked) it turned out to be a fantastic evening!

We played a very entertaining game of Apples to Apples in Bethany and Jared's amazing backyard - complete with frog pond, raspberry bushes, and enormous snails! Have I mentioned how much I love playing games with the international crowd - games like Catch Phrase, Apples to Apples, Boggle, etc., where you have to come up with words/descriptions quickly are hilarious with non-native English speakers...despite the fact that their English is almost perfect, they miss out on all the slang and cultural-isms.
Then we all headed to the beach, but not before Austin and I got to spend some quality time with the Bajna sisters - Julia and Cecilia).

Austin and I rode our bikes and then he demonstrated how to use the tricky, yet ingenious bike rack. Since biking is so popular here, many people don't have cars because they are outrageously expensive and you don't necessarily need one, there are tons of creative bike racks all over the city. Here, you flip the holder over your handles opposed to the more common way of holding the wheel in place.

There were HUGE bonfires all up and down the beach but sadly my camera battery died - but I will borrow some pictures from friends and get them posted.

Sankt Hans In Denmark, it was an official holiday until 1770, and in accordance with the Danish tradition of celebrating a holiday on the evening before the actual day, it takes place on the evening of 23 June. It is the day where the medieval wise men and women (the doctors of that time) would gather special herbs that they needed for the rest of the year to cure people.
It has been celebrated since the times of the Vikings, by visiting healing water wells and making a large bonfire to ward away evil spirits. Today the water well tradition is gone. Bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics and songs are traditional, although bonfires are built in many other places where beaches may not be close by (i.e. on the shores of lakes and other waterways, parks, etc.). (Wikepedia)

Easter in Copenhagen

Yes, this is many months late...but I'm finally getting caught up on postings!!

Easter in Copenhagen is a big vacation time...Thursday, Friday and Monday off. I hosted a brunch for Katie (friend/coworker from DC) and Grant and Nikki Skelton my favorite Australians in Denmark! (Grant works with me). Katie brought french toast casserole, which Grant, in true Aussie fashion, nicknamed "cobblestones." I made scrambled eggs and fruit salad and Grant and Nikki brought some great cinnomon bread.

After brunch we headed to church where we enjoyed a predominantly musical sermon to celebrate.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Last night we headed to Tivoli - one of Copenhagen's most famous attractions. Tivoli is an amusement park/performing arts venue right in the heart of Copenhagen. I've already got my season pass! Every Friday there are concerts and last night was a big night because it was the 10year anniversary of the Friday night concerts.
At 8pm Alphabeat performed, followed by a 10pm main concert of 5 different Danish bands. The crazy thing is that they all sing exclusively in English - which makes sense because only 5million people speak Danish (and nearly all Danes speak perfect English), so they vastly expand their opportunities to "make it big" by singing in English. And luckily I had Julia to interpret all the talking in between sets to me...since that was still in Danish!
Alphabeat is a total "teeny bopper" band (as evidenced by the fact that we were some of the oldest in the crowd) but they are fun and crazy and have no inhibitions dancing around the stage like fools - very entertaining!

Here is my favorite Alphabeat song!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sticks 'n' Sushi

Copenhagen has lots of great sushi places. My favorite is the chain Sticks 'n' Sushi.

Not only is their Sushi great, but one of their locations is a great 20min bike ride up the coast from my place complete with english magazines to read while waiting for take out as well as a short ride up to the park to enjoy takeout with friends.

And just look at the creative packaging!


Dragor is an incredibly cute little fishing town about an hour outside of Copenhagen that we decided to explore one afternoon.

Here is Austin leading the charge through the narrow, cobblestone streets of this town.

We randomly came across a recreation park where they were hosting a bachelor party complete with human bowling, sumo suit wrestling, and boxing. We took advantage of the empty boxing ring!

Oh how I miss my "wee friends" from Northern Ireland - Julianne, Jenna, Danielle, and Jenna were studying in CPH for a semester, but headed back home at the beginning of the summer.

Monday, June 11, 2007

25 hours in DC!

I had to go to NJ for a business trip for a couple days in April. Unfortunately it wasn't the best timing for me to take some extra time off, so I only had 25hr to enjoy in DC before heading up to Giralda Farms.

The agenda for the trip...
  • Arrived at Dulles at 3pm on Saturday
  • Stephanie picked me up and we raced to London Bob in Alexandia for my haircut - thank's Stephen!
  • Stacey picked me up in Old Town and we headed to Cactus Cantina to meet Kara, Chris, Sheila, Jeff, Megan, Brad, Emily, and Connie for Mexican!!
  • Then back to Kara's for deserts!
  • Sunday morning Kara and I met up with Stacey and James for church at McLean.
  • After chuch Kara and I headed to Amie and Alex's to meet Sophie...who had just turned 5 days old - so precious.
  • We then met up with Stacey, Jeff, and Aaron at Jettie's for lunch...and then off to Union Station to make my 4pm train.

What a fantastic day...great to see everyone!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2nd Visitor to Copenhagen!!

My first guest to Copenhagen was Candace Krieger, an AU student who was studying in Rome for the semester. Poor Candace left the Italian sunshine to come to Denmark in February...just after a large snowstorm (uncommon for CPH). So we spent our days attempting to sight see...attempting unsuccessfully in the sleet and slush. Not the most conducive atmosphere for taking pictures! But it was great to see Candace!!!

My second visitor to Copenhagen was Aaron Patterson, a friend from DC who decided he needed a break from the beltway. After a quick stopover in Iceland, he headed to Copenhagen for 5 days at the end of March.

After a short detour through the city, Aaron met me at work "christened" the apartment with my first dinner party.
(I had a tough time staying still for the picture!)

We spent most of our time in Copenhagen riding all over on our bikes....and taking a lot of pictures. There are too many to put on the blog but let me know if you want the link to snapfish.

Aaron checked out the Little Mermaid!

We hung out at Nyhavn and enjoyed the gorgeous weather, went on a canal tour, rode through Christiania - the hippie village/social experiment

Nikki was gracious enough to invite us over for a delicious "spag bowl" dinner as the Aussies call it (spaghetti dinner).

We took a day trip up to Helsingnør to explore the cute seaside town. Helsingør famous for being the home of Kronberg Castle...the setting for Shakespeare's famous Hamlet and origin of the famous line "there's something rotten in the state of Denmark"). A highlight of the trip was relaxing on the beach in front of the castle for a picnic lunch.

Afterwards we took the ferry over to Helsingborg, Sweeden...only about a 20min trip. After an hour wandering around we decided that Helsignør was way more exciting and made the international trip back!

Aaron's last day involved more touring of Copenhagen and luckily we had great weather. We climbed the Round Tower and enjoyed the panoramic view of the city from the top. Afterwards we headed over to Rosenborgslot...the former Royal Palace which is now a beautiful park in the middle of the meet up with some friends for Frisbee....and of course take more pictures!

Monday, June 4, 2007

My Danish "Car"

No...I didn't get an actual car, but after months of splitting time between a mountain bike (thank you Jeff!) and a beach cruiser borrowed from some coworkers, I have finally gotten myself a "proper Danish bike." More people have bikes than cars here (or at least it seems like it), bikes have their own lanes on most roads and their own mini-traffic signals. I'm getting pretty good on the bike, but still get a little nervous during rush hour when there are bikes everywhere!

What are the features of a proper Danish bike?

1. Basket to tote around purses, shopping bags, etc.

2. Fenders so you don't end up with a water all down your back

3. Leather seat that doesn't absorb water (kind of embarrassing to arrive somewhere with a wet butt due to your bike seat)

4. Lights - sure there are ones that clip on, but then you have to constantly remember to bring them along...much easier if you have ones that are installed on your bike and light up due to the wheels going round.

5. Lock - again, any lock will do, however it is much less hassle to have one that is installed on the bike. Plus, that way if the bike is stolen, you get your money back - buying the lock is a form of insurance.

6. No horizontal bar connecting the handlebars to the seat - this makes it easy to ride in a skirt.

Now the mountain bike had been put in storage in my courtyard and beach cruiser has been returned to my coworkers...but both are ready to make reappearances when guests arrive!

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Esplanaden: The office that I work in is refered to as "Esplanaden"....not a very unique name as that is the name of the street it is on! It is in an excellent location - right on the water, across from the Opera House, 5 min from the Little Mermaid and 5 min from Nyhavn. There is underground parking for our bikes (though I just park across the street), a dry cleaner, a gym, and a canteen. The canteen serves breakfast and lunch daily. We also get daily baskets of fruit delivered to our departments which is great...though there is always a fight for the bananas!

What do I do? I work in the Centre Sales and Planning group. Copenhagen in the HQ for Mærsk, which has Area headquarters in 16 different Areas around the world (i.e. North America, South America, Central Europe, Greater China, etc). The Centre functions do a lot of the planning/strategy and then the Areas do the implementing. I am the implementation manager of a project called FORESIGHT which is a global forecasting platform. Previously, we had no uniform forecasting process or system for Sales to indicate how much of our ship's space was going to be in demand for the coming months. My job involves working with our technical team in London to ensure the system meets the business requirements, working the the Area inmplementation managers to ensure their roll out plans are going smoothly and assist them with any issues they have, make process guidelines, and work with other departments to make sure FORESIGHT data is incorporated into the end to end process of getting cargo from point A to point B. I started right before we went live, and now we're right in the middle of the first phase, so things have been hectic to say the least! While it is quite stressful at times, I do like it and I am learning a lot.


Saturday was a big day for Scandinavian soccer. Denmark played Sweden in a qualifying round for the National Cup. The game was at the stadium in Fælledparken (Parken) which is a few minutes from my house. Outside the stadium they had set up a huge screen and thousands of Danes and Swedes (they had "invaded" the city) gathered to watch the game. This was one of those occasions where I wish I had my camera to capture the crowd, the costumes, and the insanity that ensues when teams score (beer flying everywhere, firecrackers shooting off, smoke bombs, etc)

Sweden was the favorite and scored 3 goals in the first 25min. Denmark slowly made their way back into the game and tied it late in the 2nd half. I was told repeatedly that this almost never happens by the Norwegian friends I was watching the game with...who were graciously explaining things to the other Americans and myself. With one minute left Denmark received a red card and some drunk Danish fan ran out into the field and swung at the ref (he missed). The players got him away and over to security. Then, instead of carrying on with the game, the refs ran off the field and said the game was over, Denmark's goals were taken away, and Sweden won 3-0.
What?! So all the players get punished for one stupid guy? This hardly seems legit. It's interesting though...the paper's are all supporting the refs and blaming the fan. Of course the fan should be the one to bear the blame, however I think it this would have happened in the States, there would have been a lot of commentary on the ref's decision to call the game..and not end it in a tie.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

My Apartment

After a little over a month of living in corporate housing, I moved into my apartment. My container arrived early in the morning and the movers arrived shortly. They certainly earned their money carrying all my stuff up to the 5th (top) floor of my 100yr old building without an elevator. I was unpacking as quickly as I could so they could take the empty boxes down with them...however I was not quick enough and as you can see, unpacking generates a lot of extra paper!

I've finally gotten pretty close to moved in. Still have to hang my pictures and curtains. The bedroom curtains are starting to be an issue because the days are getting so long here - so I'm sure I'll get myself in gear soon!

This is the courtyard of my building. There is a "back door" in my kitchen (complete with an antique looking key) that leads down this insanely narrow winding staircase into the courtyard. i go down these steps to take the trash down to the bins and sometimes to hang my sheets on the communal clotheslines.

Below are some pictures of my apartment. The bathroom and kitchen have heated floors..quite nice in the winter!

Finally getting my blog started!

Well, I've been in Copenhagen almost 4 months and I'm finally getting around to posting to my blog. I think I should get "extra credit" because everything on the blogger page is in Danish so it gives me an added challenge. (I guess that's just another reason why I need to start my Danish lessons!)

I arrived in Copenhagen at the beginning of February and moved into Charlottehaven, quite possibly the best temporary housing around. I lived across the hall from Grant and Nikki Skelton - two fantastic Aussies, one of whom I work with (Grant) - and next door to Katie Praske - a coworker and friend from DC. It was wonderful having such fun neighbors. Another added perk was the Charlottehaven gym....which I have since joined now that I am living in the area.

Here are a few pictures of my room.

I've got 4 months of life to catch up on I better get started!