Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Warning: LONG post

I realize I haven't posted something new in several days, so I am super sorry; however, this means you are in for a super duper long but fun post today! Get excited because a TON has happened since last week. I'll start by back tracking starting with this past Thursday and working my way to today, which is Tuesday. It would be silly to start with today and then go backwards because normal people read down a page.

My Sustainable Development class and I departed for our Western Denmark journey on Thursday. We met at Frue Plads where we boarded a bus and drove off to Svenborg. Svenborg and Ærø are other islands in Denmark; I currently live on Zealand, which is where Copenhagen is located. Denmark is made up of 306 islands but not all are sizable enough to hold substantial populations. Anywho, we stopped at Borson, a freaking delicious restaurant, for lunch, where we had too many carbs to mention, but good lord was is delicious. We had some time to spare so after lunch we walked around the main roads in the town and window shopped a bit. Though we started on Svenborg, we just stopped for lunch and hopped on the ferry to go to Aero because we were to stop back in Svenborg after our little tour of Aero. OH and the ferry ride was gorgeous, a little rough, but stunning. The coastal homes on the smaller islands we passed were adorable and there were boats docked everywhere. The ferry ride took about 45 minutes in total and there was a little cafe on board which provided me coffee to combat the rough seas. We arrived in Aero to find the cutest island I have ever seen! Granted I haven't seen many islands, but this one probably beats most others. I have decided when I'm old, I will retire here, it's seriously that cute and quaint (and quaint doesn't adequate describe many places but this is one of them, it was just so lovely.) After our stroll, we met with a representative from Aero's energy sector; we got lectured a bit and then WE GOT TO GO INSIDE A WIND TURBINE! By the way, now is the time to be jealous. We drove out to the countryside where the island has three wind turbines and he turned it off just for us to hop inside. The wind turbines on the island are funded by locals, about 500 people own each turbine, making community interest in the wind energy sector huge. The idea is to avoid the NIMBY problem and have the community embrace local renewable sources. Pretty cool, especially because that was followed up by a trip to the largest solar central heating district plant in the world. We go to walk around a field of solar panels and explore what the island was doing in terms of solar technology. After getting sufficiently cold enough, we headed to a local organic co-op. This co-op opens as a restaurant in the harvest/tourist season, but they opened just for us and provided a delicious meal of potatoes, pork chops, beet salad and curry fish and rice. So, so, so delicious, especially because the cook was an adorable, kooky Danish lady. Upon stuffing ourselves again, we left for the youth hostel. It was one of the better hostel's I'll probably encounter in Europe. We played Taboo as a group and some of the boys went out to the bars, the two local bars to find not much of a nightlife.

YUMMY lunch!

Svenborg, right near the water, where we got on the ferry.

Surprise! the ferry.

Island of Aero, freaking darling ain't it?

I was in that.

My first hostel experience.

A bit of an early morning after a long and exhausting day the day before but at least it was raining for our trip to the farm! We spent almost all of Friday parading around a local organic farm; it was more of a hobby, take care of a pasture sort of farm but the man, Nils, was darling and loved to "grow nature." After trekking around his fields, we took a break for the best soup ever! made by his wife. It hit the spot after the cold rainy weather had worn us down. Did I mention she also bakes the best bread around; however, I make the best pumpkin bread around, no one get confused. Anyway, after super delicious we went out once again to the rainy pastures. This time we took a hike on the cliffs on the edge of Nils's property with a gorgeous view of the sea. After tiring us out, Nils took us to his organic brewery. Funny a nature farmer with a brewery, with DELICIOUS beer. The microbrewery prides itself on quality local beer and was voted the best European beer or something like that. If you ever make it to the Rise Bryggeri buy their India Pale Ale and their Walnut (Valnod) beers. If you know me, I'm not a huge fan of beer but these two are hands down, no kidding, delicious drinks. We got a tasting and a little tour of the place and then set off for Svenborg to check into our hostel. We got to the hostel after another ferry trip and got the evening to fend for ourselves. I went to a beef house with two really cute girls, Kara and Diane. It was my first sit down dining experience without native Danes to look out for me. (Tip only if the service was super awesome, or else you're throwing money away, waiters get paid a normal salary in Denmark) Then, as a 23 person group mind you, we went out to a local bar and a good time.

Best soup and bread, ever.

The cliffs, gorgeous but cold.

WOHOO! Our trip to the ecovillage! We left our hotel-like hostel (with our own bathroom and shower door!!!!) to a local 30 adult, 33 children sustainable community. It is based on permaculture ideas rooted in the States. They build their own houses, grow their own livestock, have natural refrigerators, and in a couple of cases compost their own poop (yucky.) However, it was a really refreshing trip, I expected they to be weirdo hippies with a hidden agenda, but no, they're just nice people that really love and respect the environment, that happen to paint their walls with creme fraiche. After a pretty extensive tour of the place, we went to the local inn for a traditional Danish meal. Of course we did everything out of order, but we tried to have a traditional meal. We made it back to Copenhagen after a scenic trip over the bridge back to Zealand. I was exhausted and had a quiet night with the hostfam and Nikoline, the hostsis who goes to Grad school in Berlin. She was back for a family baptism and gave we a bunch of tips and places to go while here. I'm looking forward to all the restaurants she highly rated.
Old traditional straw roofing.

Most welcoming couple ever!

New momma.

Housing construction, they are using mussel shells as their floor insulation. Crazy? The house was so warm without being heated, I kind of want one. (Oh and they're super Santa Fe-like on the inside when they're done.)

A manhole cover as a stove top, talk about recycling.
I woke up rather late on Sunday after an uneventful night, but had some relaxing time to myself. I returned to the Danish coast after breakfast and some Teen Mom and was disappointed that the weather didn't decided to clear up for my return. I had a mountain of work to do after the trip so that's pretty much it for Sunday.

Back to school, after the 5 day break from school pulling myself out of bed was difficult. So of course I woke up when I was supposed to be walking out the door. It took a miracle for me to get to school on time but I did it. School was school, then I met some girls at the Studenterhuset for a yummy panini and some "homework" aka we were talking about potentially seeing Mike Posner at Vega in March. I want to see Miike Snow the next night, but I have a test and well I might be too good of a student to indulge in a late night before an exam. After that, I FINALLY got to meet Natalya for a tutoring session at the Copenhagen International School. She is a nice girl from the States, who just moved to Denmark from Sweden and well doesn't like math very much. And she plays hockey so she's instantly cool, at least in my book. Some more hanging with the hostfam, putting off homework and so forth. BUT (everyone note) I did eat mushrooms at dinner and they weren't too bad, but there were too many of them.

Not too much fun to report here; a night of horrendous wind left me exhausted all day and it took me an hour to get to school in the morning. Oh and the sign for the reality place on the corner was swinging when I left for school, it is metal and was swinging, fun and safe stuff!

Wednesday, I know finally today, I'm sorry:
I had my first Wednesday field trip; I usually have a relaxing morning to myself but I had a class meeting with the Danish Government Org. that deals with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR.) I don't know if I'm a huge fan of this class, so I'll let you know when I figure that out. After a decently long meeting, I met with Taylor and Katie for lunch at Chillimili, a local healthyish food chain, a kind of Chipotle/Noodles type, except not burritos. The food was soo good and I may not eat dinner because I was so full, but Peter's cooking so... Anyway after lunch we met a couple of other girls for a trip to the Roundtower. It consists of a library, conservatory, and a church. And there is a fabulous view if you walk up it to the top, you can see all of Copenhagen, and it is a great view. I'm currently holding off on my readings and Teen Mom to update you, so I hope you were able to make it all the way to the end
View from the outside.

The king was lazy and wanted to ride his horse to the top, so they're aren't any stairs.

View from the top.

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