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Hygge: A Danish Phenomenon

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Hygge is a Danish word that has no literal translation and it says a lot about Danes.  The word that most closely describes Hygge is cozy; it's often used to describe when you are with friends and are having a peaceful, fun, and comforting time.  But Hygge can also be when are with family having a nice meal or something as simple as enjoying your own company.

I, personally, love the silence that you can experience in Copenhagen.  Sounds weird, right?  How can you experience silence in a city?  Danish people love to party but they also enjoy their personal solitude and space so this city, which is situated with canals and the stretch between seas, is perfect to experience the best of both. 

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On dreary days in Copenhagen it is hard to find a crowd wandering around outside.  But if you check the local coffee shops, pubs, and quaint restaurants (not McDonalds) you will find Hygge.  I guarantee it. 

Torden's Family

My Tordenskjoldsgade Family's Hygge meal at Paludan Cafe (a library-like restaurant)

On days where the weather is warm, all of Copenhagen seems to come alive and you will find this atmosphere as hyggelit as on dreary days when Danes and exchange students (we adopt this lifestyle) will huddle near a fire and enjoy meals.

This place is truly a hidden gem.  It can be windy and cold, at times it snows while other times it rains.  On these days you can walk to where the canal opens to the sea and hear the slapping of water on the boats bundled up with a coffee in hand.  But get Copenhagen on a day where the wind is only slightly blowing, where the skies are blue and the mocking birds are everywhere and you'll understand this city's beauty.  

10 Things Foreigners Should Know About Living in Copenhagen
(a compilation of things that some of us Exchange Students find hilarious and odd. enjoy!)

1. Never try to speak Danish to a Dane.  They know that you know that they know English.

2. Use of Umbrella = Automatic Tourist

3. It is common for Danes to leave their babies in their prongs (strollers) outside while the parents go inside and shop or enjoy a meal.

4. When on the escalator the right side is used to stand and wait, left means climb.

5. Do not smile, talk or play peek-a-boo with babies.  The parents do not appreciate it.

6. There is no Starbucks (OH NO!) except in the CPH airport.

7. Riding the metro while standing up is something only a Dane can truly master.

8. Silence in a supermarket is key.

9. When in the checkout line, use dividers.  Respect this unwritten rule and Danes will be happy!

10. One does not simply cross the street when the walking light is red. Bicyclists will speed up just to run you over. (It is not uncommon to see Danes waiting for the walking light to turn green at 3am when there is no car in sight)

Weekend Trip to Greece

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There is one amazing thing about Copenhagen that is hard to find elsewhere- the ability to fly places for cheap! Soooo.......This weekend (by weekend i mean Thursday through Monday) I decided to hop on a plane and fly to Athens, Greece by myself!  Now before you get shocked that a girl would be willing to travel alone to a country that is currently rioting, I must tell you that it is not as bad as it seems. Traveling alone can be daunting but as long as you have common sense, have a plan and a sense of adventure everything should be fine.  But I wouldn't recommend it if you aren't comfortable with traveling.  

So arriving at the airport in Athens is an experience! I don't recommend taking a taxi (mainly because it is expensive and during times of financial crisis things can happen) so instead I took the METRO which took about 50 minutes but it was worth it for only 8 euro.  

 View from my Hotel
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Thursday I got in later in the evening (and was tired!) so I just explored the surrounding area and got dinner which was, of course, a gyro.  Friday I was supposed to go on a tour to Cape Sounion, where the temple of Poseidon is, but it got canceled so instead I visited the sights around Athens.  
Firstly I visited the Temple of Zeus, which is remarkable HUGE!

Temple of Zeus
temple of zeus
I also went to the Odeum of Herrodes Atticus, the Theater of Dionysus and almost made it to the top to the Acropolis but apparently it closes at 2:30pm so I was forced to go back down but it was still loads of fun!

Odeum of Herrodes Atticus
Herrodes
Theater of Dionysus with Athens in the Background
theater of dionysus and athens
There are a lot of stray dogs and cats in Athens but all of them are nice.  Each stray dog has a color, color coordinated to show whether the dog is a girl or boy (and to say that they are tracked and have all their shots).  They also each have a name tag as well.  The locals and tourists feed the dogs and give them water.  The way they are adopted is if you want the dog, you take the tags off and report that the dog now has a home.  This dog below was so sweet that I gave him all my souvlaki. 
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I also had to try greek salad- Did you know authentic greek salad has no lettuce?
greek salad
Saturday I spent most of my day, and money, in the local stores and at the Athens' market near the Temple of Hephaestus but I also visited Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephaestus. 

Sunday was my tour to Delphi and it is a tour I recommend.  It's located about 2 hours outside Athens and the drive there is beautiful.  Once there, the site of Delphi is located on a mountain side and is a trek but worth it.  The Temple of Apollo is one of the main sites at Delphi, this temple also housed the Oracle of Delphi (a seer who would tell people the answers to their questions).  

Site from Delphi
view from Delphi
Temple of Apollo
temple of apollo
The sights in Athens and Delphi are truly breathtaking.  I saved one of my favorite sights for last.
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This is a trip I recommend to anyone!  I hope to go back before I finish my semester in Copenhagen and tour the islands. I'll update you about my adventures in Copenhagen soon!
Till next time!

Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth

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Greetings from the happiest place on Earth- Copenhagen (or KØBENHAVN as the Danes say)!  I have to say firstly when they advise you to pack lightly- DO IT! I drug 2 suitcases and 1 carry-on onto the Metro, down cobblestone streets and up 2 flights of stairs.  Needless to say I got my daily workout that day.  Aside from that and the lack of internet it was wonderful! 

 view of copenhagen

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It is beautiful here, COLD but beautiful and the people here are, in my opinion, the friendliest.  I live in the heart of the city (about 5 streets over from the canal and a few minutes' walk from the Strøget, a famous shopping street in Copenhagen). 

 canal at night

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famous fountain on Strøget
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Everybody bikes here!!!  If they don't bike (me!) they walk, take the metro or one of the various buses they have here.

 

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Did I mention there are a lot of statues here?  A LOT and often times if you ask a Dane what the statue is for (especially the ones that are not of famous people) they will have no idea what it stands for or, in some cases, that the statue was even there in the first place.

 Underwater Statue 'The Merman and his Seven Sons"

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Classes start tomorrow so until next time!

Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth

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Greetings from the happiest place on Earth- Copenhagen (or KØBENHAVN as the Danes say)!  I have to say firstly when they advise you to pack lightly- DO IT! I drug 2 suitcases and 1 carry-on onto the Metro, down cobblestone streets and up 2 flights of stairs.  Needless to say I got my daily workout that day.  Aside from that and the lack of internet it was wonderful! 

 View of Copenhagen

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It is beautiful here, COLD but beautiful and the people here are, in my opinion, the friendliest.  I live in the heart of the city (about 5 streets over from the canal and a few minutes' walk from the Strøget, a famous shopping street in Copenhagen). 

  the canal at night

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a fountain on Strøget that high school graduates celebrate at

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Everybody bikes here!!!  If they don't bike (me!) they walk, take the metro or one of the various buses they have here.

a row of bikes at CBS

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Did I mention there are a lot of statues here?  A LOT and often times if you ask a Dane what the statue is for (especially the ones that are not of famous people) they will have no idea what it stands for or, in some cases, that the statue was even there in the first place.

 

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 The statue below is underwater and often overlooked. This is called the Merman and his 7 sons and the story behind this statue is a sad one (Agnete and the Merman):

'Agnete was a young peasant girl who was walking by the shore as a merman emerged from the waves and offered her his hand. Agnete fell in love with him immediately and went to the bottom of the sea with him, where she gave birth to his seven sons. After eight years, however, as she was sitting by the crib of her youngest son, Agnete heard the sound of churchbells ringing from her old village, and she felt homesick. She got permission from the merman to go to church, on the one condition that she would come back to him after mass. But of course, once on land again, Agnete found that she missed the church and her family too much, and she wouldn't return.'

And so the merman and his sons face the land, reaching out and waiting for their loved one to return

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Well, classes start the 31st so I still have some time to explore before classes begin and the studying commences so until then!

My Prologue to a New Chapter

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It's already DECEMBER and little over a month from now, I will be setting off to Copenhagen with 2 luggage bags in hand (i have set a limit!)! I have to admit I am a tad nervous. Okay, so maybe I'm very nervous but I'm also really excited! This will be the first time I am leaving the country by myself, and, frankly- I cannot WAIT! 
So, I've gotten ahead of myself.  My name is Amber.  I am currently a Junior at Penn State and I am majoring in Marketing.  I have an obsession with scarves and I tend to read A LOT.  
 
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This is my dad and I (we look a like).

So while I am studying in the place where the Little Mermaid is born, I will also be visiting castles and clubs, riding trains where i will be re-reading Harry Potter (who has not dreamed of reading Harry Potter on the Euro-rail?!), visiting countries and exploring cities.  Adventures I fully intend to share with you all! 
But first I have to survive finals and say my goodbye to these guys-

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It will not be easy but I am ready to start a new chapter, a chapter I cannot wait to share with you.

Until next time! 

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