Easter Break Series [Part 1]: A Fairytale in a Modern City


Nyhavn in Copenhagen

Before I publish a string of posts for you all who have probably by now stopped reading this blog, I’d like to apologize for keeping everyone hanging! Two weeks of Easter Break (last two weeks of April), then a friend visited for a weekend and almost immediately thereafter the big bomb: my surprise visit back to America for my lil’ sis’s graduation. The most surprising thing was not me surviving the fun, yet grueling schedule, but the fact that my Mom and I managed not to ruin the surprise. That surprise had been in-the-making since mid-February. I kid you not. My Mom and I are probably the worst secret keepers in our household and Jamie is by far the most perceptive person in said household. Senior year just really put her off her game of her usual perceptiveness. Ah…the power of stress.

Square in front of the City Hall (Building on right)

I absolutely loved Copenhagen (a very typical American response, sorry). If you took a fairytale and somehow smashed it into a modern, bustling city, you’d end up with Copenhagen as the result of that lovely recipe. The architecture was unique and beautiful. Even though the buildings were obviously from a different time period, the city gracefully grew with these beautiful structures. Most European cities tend to have a powerful mixture of old with the new, but oftentimes the old is separated from the new. For example: German cities typically have an “old downtown” area (aka the historic part of the city) completely separated from the “new downtown” area. This isn’t because the Germans love a split city. It’s particularly difficult to figure out space availability and not to mention: would you want skyscrapers hiding your beautiful, centuries-old church?

Another beautiful feature of the city is that it’s a port city.  I can’t quite explain why certain architecture feels like a port town or city, but it just does for me. I think it also reminds me of home because the motif of water, the ocean, life by the sea, etc. takes me back to the Pacific Northwest. The older I get, the more I realize that I have a growing sensitivity of location and the atmosphere it projects. It’s like how I can’t explain why Berlin doesn’t feel like home to me. I tend to offer the size of the city as a cheap answer but in reality, I honestly don’t understand why I can’t become more attached to this city. I have my moments but inevitably, it’s not home.

I went on this trip with fellow Fulbrighters, K & K. I shan’t differentiate them in this post because well…you won’t know who they are anyway 🙂 I shared a moment with one K as we toured the Nationalmuseet in Copenhagen. The museum displays artifacts of Danish cultural history. The one section that made me  happiest (K felt the same way too) was this one:

A Knight in Shining Armour!

The Middle Ages and Renaissance! They had at least two rooms filled with displays of the weaponry from that time period. K and I spent a considerable amount of time bedazzled by the bows & arrows, swords, shields, helmets, etc. by drooling over the displays. I know…I’m like a 12-year-old boy.

I spent 7 minutes staring at this.

Other things that stood out and things I really enjoyed: the Danes all speak English (I already knew this beforehand) but it was surprising to see that almost every channel’s main language was English (movies, shows, etc.), the churches were more epic on the scale of Norse mythology than Christianity, I’d love to live here for a little bit in the future, it was ridiculously expensive (that was expected too and very typical of the Scandinavian countries), the palaces were gorgeous, there were a lot of green spaces within the city and I’m much too obsessed with Western European monarchies. I spent three hours after I was back in Berlin just reading up about the royal family because I ate up every single detail we stumbled upon while in Copenhagen. Also: I would not like to wear a heavy crown with so many jewels on it. Those things look heavy.

This entry was posted in Jill Nguyen '10, Fulbright to Germany and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.