After settling in to my life in Copenhagen and FINALLY receiving all of my possessions (the last box I was missing has been sitting in the front office of DIS for a week. I only asked them about it oh, three times), I spent last weekend doing my first round of exploration.
On Saturday I visited Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, a town about an hour north of Copenhagen. Kronborg was built as a fortress to protect against attacks from Sweden, since Elsinore lies at the narrowest point of the Øresund Sound that runs between the two countries. I was so excited to see how close we were to Sweden!
These cannons (not in use…I believe) outside Kronborg are pointing right across the water to Sweden!
Kronborg is also supposed to be the setting for Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. It was easy to see why: we happened to be there on a very rainy and overcast day, so the sight of the castle rising out of the gloom was pretty menacing.
I went on the trip with a group of other DIS students, including my friend Kerry from high school! We were taken on a guided tour of the interior of the castle, which we thought was surprisingly simple for such a massive building. I guess if you’re constantly prone to attack by the Swedes, you don’t want to fill your rooms with jewels and gold leaf.
Kerry and I standing in what used to be the ballroom.
We agreed that the coolest (literally and figuratively) part of the castle was the prison cell we visited in the basement. The cell is shaped like a triangle, so disobedient prisoners would be pushed farther and farther to the point of the cell so they had less and less living space. It seemed very effective to me.
Kerry and I doing a very convincing impression of being afraid in the cell.
By the end of the tour, the massive thunderstorm had died down, so we were able to take a group picture in the courtyard of Hamlet’s castle!
Me, Kerry, and Kerry’s roommates Erica and Jessie at Kronborg!
On Sunday I went on part two of my castle excursion. A few of my friends from my kollegium and I traveled to Frederiksborg castle with DIS. Frederiksborg is in Hillerød, which is north of Copenhagen but closer than Elsinore. This castle used to be the home of the Danish Royal Family, so the interior was beautiful and what you’d expect the inside of a castle to look like.
The chapel in Frederiksborg.
The castle is now a museum, so we were introduced to many of the furnishings that dated back to the 1600s, when most of the castle was built. We saw a typical royal bed and learned that it was so small because the Danes were superstitious and didn’t want to look dead by lying down to sleep, so they all slept sitting up. I sometimes find myself doing that in class, but I can’t imagine sleeping that way every night…
The lake and gardens at Frederiksborg.
Frederiksborg is really known for its exquisite gardens behind the castle. We lucked out by visiting on a beautiful, sunny day (rare for Copenhagen!) and had some time to walk around the Baroque Garden. Or jump around in the Garden.
Obligatory jumping picture with my friends Isabel and Maggie.
Gronjords girls! My friends Isabel, Maggie and Lauren from my kollegium.
Now that classes are in full swing, hopefully I’ll still have enough time on my weekends to sightsee with new and old friends!