Arrived this afternoon! I haven’t explored much yet but the city and surrounding countryside is beautiful. The yellow building in the photos is the hostel I am staying at.
Safely arrived late last night after a 12 hour train ride from Odense. We are scheduled to do a bike tour of the city today but the rain may complicate things. More to come soon!
I have safely arrived in the self-proclaimed biking capital of Denmark, Odense! The city is also the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson. We had to fight the rain in Copenhagen this morning to get from the hostel to the train station. Everyone was soaked by the time we got to the station but luckily the train ride only took an hour and a half. Our accomodations here in Odense are the nicest we will have the entire trip. It is 3-star hotel which means only 2 people to a room and nice bathrooms! The hotel is a 5 minute walk from the train station and looks out on a beautiful park. The downtown area is right down the street. After unloading our stuff, Jeff led a walking tour of the city. We finished at a rundown and mostly abandoned harbor which was built in the late 1800s to ship grains harvested from farms surrounding the city. The city has been redeveloping the area for years so some apartment buildings have sprouted up but it is still very much a work in progress. There, we split into groups of 4 and explored the area. Tonight, each team will work on a design charrette of a potential redevelopment plan to be presented tomorrow. After presentations, the whole class is renting bikes to explore the cities extensive bicycle network.
I haven’t had the chance to play tennis in Malmö and Copenhagen. That’s not to say courts don’t exist in Scandanavia. In Malmö, I staked out the courts my second day in the city and met Connie, a teaching pro at the local club. He offered to hit with me on Friday afternoon but it rained almost all day. We left for Copenhagen early the next morning. Here in Copenhagen, I found four complexes with at least 6 courts each within a 15 minute bike ride of the hostel. I finally had some free time this afternoon but it has been raining most of day, soaking the courts. We leave for Odense tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll have better luck there!
In Stockholm, our homebase for the class was at the The Royal Institute for Art. The Institute was kind enough to give us access to a classroom for the whole week we were in Stockholm. We would have lectures in the classroom every morning from 9am-12pm, followed by tours and presentations around the city in the afternoon. The Institute is located on an island directly across the harbor from Old Town Stockholm.
Day 2 in Copenhagen and thankfully Jeff has given us the day off. This past week we made the move from Stockholm to Malmo and now Copenhagen. Traveling with such a large group can be really stressful but as long as everyone is a little flexible, things usually turn out alright. We haven’t had any major complications yet. I am writing this from the banks of Emil Holms Canal which runs through Copenhagen University’s Humanities campus but posting it one day later because the internet at the hostel has been spotty to say the least.
I’ve known I wanted to visit Sweden’s archipelago islands the moment I read about them in my Lonely Planet guidebook. Archipelago islands literally mean “a chain or cluster of islands.” The Stockholm Archipelago is one of the largest in the Baltic Sea, consisting of 30,000 islands. After four days of deliberations, a group of us decided on the island of Nåttarö, one of the southernmost islands. Nåttarö is located a 1 hour train ride and 30 minute ferry ride from Stockholm. Nine of us departed from the hostel bright and early at 645am on Saturday morning (1 week ago) to walk to the train station. After a smooth ride south out of the city, we transferred to a ferry in the coastal town of Nynäshamn to get to the island. As the ferry pulled up to the pier on Nåttarö, it was hard to know that the island was inhabited at all. There were only a few red shack-like buildings along the shoreline.
I have finally played on red clay! Here is the story: I caught bits and pieces of Wimbledon my first five days in Stockholm. The boat (hostel) the class calls home has a lounge on the upper deck with a TV that has been showing the matches. Since Stockholm is one hour ahead of London, there is almost always a match on when I get back from class for the day. On Friday evening, I was watching the final set of the Nadal-Murray semifinal when I met Joachim Hammarström. He was searching for a few of my classmates he had met two nights earlier at nearby bar. The guys he was looking for weren’t around so he hung around to watch the end of the match. We got to chatting and he happens to be a tennis player and lives right here in Stockholm, a 10 minute walk from the hostel. We went out for a few beers that night and made plans to play a match on Sunday. Joachim booked two hours on a clay court at Hellasgården, a recreation area just a 15 minute bus ride southeast of the city.