It’s been over 6 weeks ago now that I posted something on this blog. I didn’t post anything because I have been away for over a month on a trip to Oslo, Roskilde, Copenhagen and The Netherlands (home) and I have been busy with my new volunteering jobs, learning Norwegian and sending out job applications. Because this blog is called Stories of Trondheim, it first didn’t seem right to blog about my adventures abroad or even mention it. But I have decided to make an extensive post about my trip anyway for 3 reasons:
- I felt I needed to explain the absence of my posts;
- It’s interesting to compare other cities to Trondheim to find out what makes Trondheim so unique;
- I think it’s a story worth telling and I took some nice pictures I want to show.
Why I went away for over a month
Going away for all of December and the beginning of January and missing all the (pre-) Christmas fun in Trondheim wasn’t my idea at first. My girlfriend had to follow PhD courses in Oslo and Roskilde and I decided to go with her and keep her company before we would split up for Christmas. She was spending it in India with family (while also doing some PhD-research there) and I was spending my Christmas, New Years and birthday in Holland with my friends and family.
I will now do a little show and tell of my ‘Christmas vacation’ in Oslo, Copenhagen and Roskilde.
Oslo has the vibe of a city that I missed a bit in Trondheim. I really had a lot of fun just walking around the city. For me it felt this was a city meant for rich people; everything looked shiny and new. It also felt really cozy because of the Christmas decorations that were everywhere. Oslo has now entered my Top 3 list of favorite cities in the world.
My adventure in Oslo in pictures
It was the very first night I went out to discover the city and after I saw this vista, a broad smile crept up on my face. The awesome Christmas decorations seemed to validate my decision to accompany my girlfriend on this trip and tell me that it was worth every penny.
I was not feeling well and stayed in the hotel for almost two days straight. The next day I felt a lot better and decided to get out of the rut and go for a small run. The thing was, I was so stunned by the views in the city that I had to stop every few minutes to take a picture. Like the boat on the last picture; I felt I was also ‘setting sail’ again. The next few days I felt much better and began to explore the city.
One day I decided to visit Frogner Park. It was one of the recommendations of a friend in Holland who says Oslo is her second home. I remember this day well..it was on this very snowy, cold day that the Avengers: Endgame trailer finally came out and I almost sacrificed my right hand to see it immediately.
I went to the park by subway and I noticed way too late that I missed my stop. So I got out (six stops later) and ended up in the middle of nowhere. I had to wait more than half an hour outside in the biting cold while the snow was falling down fast. It was then that I saw on my phone that the Avengers trailer finally was released. So I took of my glove and while the cold was biting into my hand and the snow was falling hard on the screen of my phone, I watched the trailer. How much of a Marvel fan boy am I right?
Looking back it may not have been worth it, since the trailer didn’t give us much information and it took a long time to get some feeling back in my hand. It was worth finding my to Frogner Park though; the park is really beautiful! I loved the bridge and all the weird sculptures of people (from the artist Gustav Vigeland) in different positions.
I took this picture while walking there with my girlfriend. It was a romantic view and I like the fact that the anchors seem out to spell the letters LOL. Together with the other pictures, it shows how much charm Oslo has.
We were walking with a friend who agreed to be our guide on our last day in Oslo. I was amazed to find out that Oslo has a river crossing the city and it even gets a little rough sometimes with a small waterfall as you can see on the last picture. After walking for hours, we went out to eat at an Indian restaurant where the spicy food warmed us tremendously. I went a bit cold again when the check came though. Eating out in Oslo is so expensive that I would not recommend doing it more than once or twice on a city trip.
Roskilde is a very small town (with a population of around 50.000) and is located about 30km from Copenhagen. It was a half hour from Copenhagen Central Station, not to be confused with Copenhagen Airport, which lies a bit farther. It’s famous for it’s rock festival each year, but unfortunately for me that only happens at the end of June/beginning of July. The city is also popular among shoppers, although I don’t really know why. It had nice shops and broad streets, but it didn’t feel that special to me. At least not as special as the beautiful sceneries of the nature surrounding the city.
Roskilde is, like Trondheim, a beautiful city surrounded by nature and water. They say that a lot of Danish speak English very well, just like Norwegians, but in Roskilde I didn’t get that impression at all. It felt more like a village in that respect. The bus drivers for instance seemed to have no understanding of basic English and the same hold true for some locals I met. The bus- and train schedule were also not that clear. This led me to taking the wrong bus and spending more than an hour trying to find my way home. I also almost missed my train to Copenhagen, even though I was at the station over half an hour before the train was scheduled to depart. So my tips for Roskilde: learn to speak some basic Danish beforehand and leave way on time if you need to go somewhere with public transport. Better yet: rent a bike!
My adventure in Roskilde in pictures (1)
Let me begin by adding this picture of the biography of Michelle Obama. I know it doesn’t say anything about Roskilde, but bear with me because it says a lot about my trip to Roskilde as well as Copenhagen. I knew my girlfriend would really, really want this book for Christmas, so I decided to get this book as a present for her at the Copenhagen airport. We decided to do our Christmas shopping there and give each other the gifts at our hotel on one of our last days in Roskilde. I got a bit lost at the airport and was hurrying to find nice gifts and shops that could wrap my presents. I was in such a hurry, that I even paid in Norwegian Kroners without realizing we were in a country with a different currency. Man I felt so stupid, haha.
That wasn’t the only stupid thing I did though; when we got to our hotel, I found out that I took the Danish version of the book instead of the English version! So now I had to somehow trade my Danish book for the English version somewhere, but this might be tough because I got the book at WH Smith, a book story they only have at the airport at Copenhagen! 😨
So I set out to do a mission impossible; find bookshops that had the English version AND were willing to trade it for an English version from a different shop.
The next day was a nice day so I decided to walk to Roskilde central. My hopes weren’t that high when I discovered Roskilde only has two bookshops, but my spirits truly sank to the bottom when the bookstore employee told me they didn’t have an English version and the other bookstore in town probably didn’t have one either.
Still I gave it a shot and walked for another half an hour in the numbing cold to get to the other bookstore at a ‘nearby’ shopping center. They of course also didn’t have it… so I felt my goose was cooked. The only thing that got me through the day was a hot steaming cup of white chocolate. It was then that I took the picture of a statue hanging upside down. It seemed to express how I felt at that moment.
I was already enjoying the thought of spending a day on my own in Copenhagen, but now my decision was made. The next day I would go to Copenhagen; to go sightseeing and to get my hands on that infernal book!
Copenhagen is of course the capital of Denmark and the largest city in this country. The most famous icon of Copenhagen is of course the little mermaid statue. I had to go see this ‘attraction’ at least and take my time shopping for Christmas presents.
Tip: it’s better to take the normal DSB train at the airport and spend less than 5 minutes extra in the train than to take the express train that will cost you a lot more money.
My adventure in Copenhagen in pictures
I look pretty happy in this picture because I WAS! A few minutes before this picture was taken I found a bookstore (Politikens Boghal) in which they not only had the English version, but also were more than fine to trade it for my Danish version! I even got some money back from them because the Danish version was more expensive! A big thanks to the saleswoman of Politikens Boghal!
Now my day was open to roam around the city and shop for something that would wow my girlfriend. Because she knew I was going to buy the book, I had to buy some other gifts to surprise her. But first it was time for some sightseeing.
I really loved the cozy Christmassy atmosphere in the town. I especially loved all the stands that were all around the city. One stand reminded me of home and somehow I thought that maybe the guys standing there selling Dutch cookies, actually could be Dutch. They were not. They turned out to be Italian, but one guy actually said he lived in Holland and he even spoke a little Dutch. They really wanted me to try a piece of cookie, but I was reluctant: when I would taste it, it would be hard to back out buying a whole pack of cookies. Luckily for me, maybe not so lucky for them, a guy showed up and asked them for their work licenses. That was my cue to back out gently and continue on my way.
After almost 40 minutes of walking, I finally found the mermaid. I already knew she would be small, but still it’s weird that such a small statue on a rock with a pretty uninteresting background, could lure busses of people to this spot each and every day.
To be honest I liked this angel statue that stands a little further better, with all the nice carvings on the stone she is standing on. The statue is called Søfasrtmonumented (Shipping Monument) in remembrance of the fallen sailors in The First World War.
Now I was planning to see the Kastellet, a well-preserved fortress close to the little mermaid. On my way there I heard a few girls speaking Dutch and that brought a new smile to my face. We Dutchies are truly everywhere. It was some time ago since I spoke Dutch so I struck up a conversation with three Dutch girls who were also on their way to the Kastellet.
When I walked here in this wide open clearing I really didn’t feel like I was walking in the biggest city of Denmark. This was the last picture I took in Copenhagen because the battery of my phone was empty. After I visited the Kastellet it suddenly started to go dark real fast and it really became cold. I decided to go shopping at the center and warm myself up in Magasin; one of the biggest department stores in Copenhagen. Here I did the rest of my Christmass shopping.
My adventure in Roskilde in pictures (2)
After I came back to our hotel in Roskilde, we were planning to exchange our Christmas presents. We didn’t have any Christmas decorations though, so I borrowed some from the hotel lobby. We succeeded to make it feel a bit like Christmas, even though Christmas was still over a week away. My girlfriend loved all the presents and she especially loved the Michelle Obama book and was happy she could take it with her to India. Mission accomplished!
After my busy day sightseeing and shopping in Copenhagen, I decided to rent a bike and discover Roskilde a bit. I first went to discover a bit of nature before biking to the center.
I discovered some very beautiful and charming scenery. I found out that my damned bike had a crappy back wheel though which seemed to keep on braking by itself, so I had to do put a lot of extra energy in my biking.
After I biked to the city center, I decided to go to the harbor and discover the Viking Ship museum. I learned a bit about different kinds of wood and which ones are the strongest and best to use when building a ship.
Maybe a bit morbid to end this post like this, but at the centre of Roskilde I discovered a very cool, natural looking grave. I guess I would want a grave like this when I die, but I don’t want to think about this yet. I still have a lot of these adventures to go… ☺