Work wrapped up for the week Friday afternoon after a very successful first few days of training in Roskilde. My class was an absolutely phenomenal group of people to work with, and I'm excited about the prospect of working with them more over the next couple of weeks, both in Denmark, and back in Wisconsin when they come for additional training.
Our group enjoyed a few more delicious meals in downtown Copenhagen, and we spent a little time roaming the city Wednesday and Thursday night. If you ever make it to Copenhagen, an obvious place you have to visit is The Little Mermaid statue, an actual statue in the harbor of mermaid who inspired the Disney hit. Few people know that the actual story of The Little Mermaid is based on a Danish play by the same name written by Hans Christian Andersen. Before you actually go to the status, you should know that it is far less impressive than you may imagine. You may be picturing this great big statue, but rather it is a very small, unimpressive sculpture sitting very close to shore. Still a must see, but I just felt I needed to warn you ahead of time.
After visiting the statue, we made our way back into the downtown area and stumbled across the Queen's winter residence, Amalienborg. This grand, circular, palace was the first bit of real Danish royal history we'd witnessed since being in Copenhagen, and it was quite a site. There are not places in the U.S. quite like most European palaces, and this one certainly topped the charts of impressive (so far, at least, for me). In addition to the historical buildings of Copenhagen, we also enjoyed picturesque views of the harbor backdropped by old churches and parks along the banks.
While downtown, we continued our trends, as mentioned before, of delicious meals, and ultimately ended up one night at a restaurant on the banks of the Nyhavn (pronounce like New Haven, but with a very thick Danish accent. Literally translated to New Harbor), the very famous street along the similarly name canal, Denmark known for its colorful houses and cafes. We ate at Nyhavn 17, a wonderful outdoor cafe where we enjoyed fine Danish cuisine and enjoyed the setting May sun across the canal from the apartment building where Hans Christian Andersen wrote many of his plays, include The Little Mermaid.
By the end of the day, Friday, following a challenging, but rewarding, two days of training, I was ready for a break. As soon as training was finished on Friday, I headed to the Copenhagen airport on my way to Munich. The flight was simple, and we were served wine, which is not a luxury I'm used to in the U.S. unless sitting first class (which I've never done).
Upon arrival in Munich, Karol, my German sister, picked me up at the airport and we drove back to the city for an amazing German dinner of schnitzel and wine. We were both quite tired from a long week of work, so after finishing dinner around 11:30, we headed back to her apartment. Once there, I was able to meet her boyfriend, Dennis, whom my parents had met once before on a previous trip to Germany. It had been nearly four years since I last saw Karol, so we spent several hours just catching up before falling asleep on the floor.
awoke on Saturday feeling rested and excited to see the city. I'd heard really great things about Munich, and was looking forward to getting a walking tour of the city. We spent the day just walking around the city for literally 10 hours. I now know why Europeans are in such better shape than Americans, and it's not just because they simply eat less fast food.
The city of Munich was absolutely stunning, from its giant, gothic cathedrals to its beautiful landscape amidst the hustle of a booming population. We spent our time just wandering in and out of old buildings and roaming through the giant park located in the center of the city. Munich is a particularly interesting city for its historical importance in both World Wars. Much of the city was damaged during 71 separate air raids during WWII, and so though it is an old city, the architecture, for the most part, is very modern. It still has many of its historical buildings, but several were lost.
After a great day out in the city, we spent the evening out with Karol and Dennis' friends at another classic German dinner. Following more schnitzel and beer, we went out clubbing and then home, as all of us, once again, were pretty exhausted after a long day of walking.
Today we awoke and grabbed a quick breakfast before I headed to the airport to start my trek back to Copenhagen. It was a really great opportunity to spend the weekend in Munich, and I'm so glad to have gotten to spend time with Karol there. She is originally from Hamburg, which I've visited before, but she has only lived in Munich a short while, and it was nice to see her new home. I'll definitely have to return to Munich someday for its revered Oktoberfest festival.
I'll have three more days of training in Roskilde this week before heading to Amsterdam and the Netherlands for another week. I'm looking forward to finishing up work and getting a little Euro vacation under my belt with a good friend from back home. Until then, I'll be enjoying the remainder of my time in Denmark.