Week Five

Hej!!! Back with another post-factum blog update.

This week includes:

Day 32: Cycling through Djurgården | Day 33: Absolutely Nothing | Day 34: Medical Ethics & Modern Art | Day 35: Almost-Humans and Rainbows | Day 36: Copenhagen pt. 1 | Day 37: Copenhagen pt. 2 | Day 38: Copenhagen pt. 3

Day 32: Cycling through Djurgården

September 19

Monday was a normal day of classes until the evening’s main event: biking through Djurgården with the Outdoor LLC! We donned our rain and wind gear — ideal conditions for biking — and headed to DIS to meet up with our wonderful coordinator, Cat, who had brought their stock of hats and gloves for those of us in need. We departed to the closest Stockholm eBikes stand which works on a first-come-first-serve basis, so 5/8 of us got a bike at that location. Three of us brave volunteers took a light jog to the next closest stand about half a mile away. There were lots of other joggers out and about, and it was funny to feel like we were ~one of them~ until my shoe comically came untied (rookie mistake.)

I quickly learned that riding a bike one-handed on a bumpy path while simultaneously trying to take pictures is hard, but I think the pictures, albeit blurry, were worth the trouble. Through Djurgården we stayed on a jogging/walking trail which turned into lots of trees, and we stopped at a really beautiful pet cemetery as well as a gazebo which looked out onto Södermalm and Gamla Stan across the water. As for the bikes, there were a couple of falls and close calls due to the terrain, but otherwise it was a beautiful ride.

The bikes were electric, meaning they gave you a bit of a boost each time you pedal so you don’t expend as much energy and are able enjoy a nice, leisurely ride. This ultimately was not the case as my bike ran out of charge, so I had to manually pedal the heavy bike for half of the trip 😅 It was actually grueling, but I’ve probably never had a better quads and glutes workout 😈 After the trip, a few of us enjoyed some well-deserved MAX Burgers for dinner.

Day 33: Absolutely Nothing

September 20

On Tuesday, other than classes, absolutely nothing happened — I did some homework and had a chill night in watching TV and FaceTiming a friend from home!

Day 34: Medical Ethics & Modern Art

September 21

Wednesday, as usual, we had Field Studies! For the first part of the day, my Medical Ethics class met up at Karolinska University Hospital to hear from a genetic counselor at their clinic. It was incredibly interesting to have to think about informing patients of genetic issues with themselves or even their fetus, and how to convey that information framed in a way specific to that patient’s background and current situation — all without giving your opinion! It’s a really tough situation to be in, and the examples of real patient interactions made me so appreciative of doctors who have good people skills.

The second Field Study was with Nordic Contemporary Art where we went to Konstnärshuset or “The Artist’s House” which is an art gallery with a few exhibitions. One was a wholesome video installation called “The Day Before” by Nisrine Boukhari which showed a feed of people working and shopping in cramped market stalls in Damascus, Syria before the outbreak of the war. Another video installation was “30 Questions with Maria Mahfooz” by Maria Mahfooz (spin-off of Vogue’s 73 Questions with…) where she answers the usual trivial questions but dips into a dark societal commentary with questions like how she imagines she will one day die to which she bluntly replies, “hate crime.” Upstairs there was another exhibit called I am Looking for a Garden” by Shahrzad Nikzad with beautiful, floral, and textured paintings and other pieces.

Afterwards, we took a beautiful walk to Moderna Museet, a huge modern art museum with pieces by Picasso, Dalí, Matisse, and much more, that I highly recommend visiting. I took a lot of pictures so I’ll let them speak for themselves below. 🙂

Day 35: Almost-Humans and Rainbows

September 22

On Thursday my Nordic Contemporary Art class got to see more art exhibits, one of which being “Big Hole” by Tobias Bradford at Saskia Neuman Gallery. This exhibit was so weird I loved it so much. The artist made sculptures of dismembered body parts (using his own body as reference) with some really simple motors so they were moving — unfortunately I cannot include videos on this blog 😦 He had one shaving its leg, one playing the accordion, and one even clicking through a powerpoint presentation of stuff he just found funny — we could sit in the blue chairs among his sculptures and watch the presentation. It was actually really eerie after a while, so I walked out perhaps a little too quickly. Any lingering fears abated at the next art gallery, Andréhn-Schiptjenko, which was exhibiting Julio Le Parc’s mesmerizing rainbow art. Once again, see pics below! That evening we explored Stockholm Olympic Stadium a little too deeply and somehow got into some ~back rooms~ so we got out of there and got sushi in Gamla Stan.

Day 36: Copenhagen pt. 1

September 23

After my afternoon lab on Friday, my friends and I headed to Stockholm Arlanda Airport on our first weekend trip to Copenhagen! We splurged a little on an Airbnb kinda outside the city but were able to get metro passes for easy transportation. After dropping off our stuff (a.k.a. a singular backpack), we headed out for dinner and to look around the city! We first tried to go to a pizza place, but after we sat down, we were told that it would take 40 minutes to make the “pizza” which, looking around at the other tables, literally looked like a large tortilla chip with leaves on it. Starving and disbelieving, we left 🙂 After some funny/interesting street interactions, we finally found a burger place (Vesterbros Original Burger Restaurant), shared an Oreo milkshake and curly fries, and devoured a burger which was like, half a foot tall. After dinner we were walking around and came across DIS Copenhagen’s location (hey guys haha) which was cool. The rest of the night we checked out different places and areas in Copenhagen!

Day 37: Copenhagen pt. 2

September 24

Saturday’s breakfast at Joe & The Juice was a really bland acai bowl with like, 2 morsels of granola and nuts on the top, all of which was actually in a cup because they ran out of bowls. I usually try to include pictures of any food I have here, but this was not worthwhile 🙂 Enough complaining though because we headed out to the Copenhagen Contemporary art museum which was having a Science and Contemporary art exhibit. This place was so cool — it was located in an old welding hall so it was spacious and had lots of interactive pieces. We could build with big Lego pieces and draw with oil pastels while sitting in front of a window with a view of Copenhagen. Pics below can paint a better picture of the place!

One of the best parts of the trip had to be going just next door from the museum to the Copenhagen street food market, Reffen, which boasted an overwhelming number of options for food. I wish I was a cow with four stomachs so that I could try everything. Eventually, I ended up getting the best kebab I’ve ever had at Gosht, street tacos at Tacos Pastor, and a Nutella & strawberry crépe at Crêpes a la cart. It was such a cool environment for people-watching and awesome storage container art, not to mention seeing people bungee jump from a crane just across the water!

Later we stopped by a grocery store to look around and find some water, but, I kid you not, it looked like it was ransacked for an upcoming apocalypse. The store was in an incredibly crowded mall which felt weird compared to the dying and desolate malls where I’m from in the U.S. We had to go to a McDonald’s (still fancy in Copenhagen, too) and I was a little taken aback by the small preteen working the cash register. Anyway, we chugged McDonald’s water, then rented a little boat to take through the canals! It was actually surprisingly easy — we walked up to the stand, gave a driver’s license, got instructions on how to drive, and paid, all in about 5 minutes. Check out the pictures below to see our excursion 🙂 For dinner we went to Ristorante Italiano which was really busy on a Saturday night, but we luckily got a cute little table outside with blankets and promptly devoured some pasta.

Day 38: Copenhagen pt. 3

September 25

The next morning on Sunday we found a cute cafe in the neighborhood called Mad & Kaffe which was basically delicious brunch tapas that I highly recommend. Today’s main event was Tivoli Gardens which is the third-oldest operating amusement park in the world with roller coasters, games, gardens, and concerts! We rode a few rides, ate a lot of food, and enjoyed the peaceful fun. It was such a cool park and well worth the time and money if you’re looking for somewhere to spend the day in Copenhagen. Compared to a Disney park, this place was paradise: shorter lines, cleaner, and fewer screaming children. We ended the visit walking through their haunted house where actors scared the living daylights out of our train of (presumably Danish) strangers holding onto our shoulders. My fear coping mechanism was uncontrollable laughing and making conversation with the actors — they never replied though 😦

Before heading to the airport, we made a stop at the iconic Church of Our Saviour with its ~serpentine spire~ and, let me tell you, climbing this thing was a workout. Most of the wooden stairs were inside, but then you get to the literal ladders near the top of the tower because it was so narrow. You emerge outside to the most itty-bitty (and may I say slippery) stairs I have ever seen on the side of a tower that go up to nowhere. As we were making our way down, we passed a couple of German guys clinging to the side of the wall and gave them some empathetic words of encouragement. We also passed a couple that was going up, and the woman was holding her newborn baby — I was so impressed but slightly concerned for their mobility.

After the trip, I couldn’t help but compare Copenhagen to Stockholm. My general impressions are that Stockholm is a very clean-cut “big city,” whereas Copenhagen is kind of a gritty town with more chaos — we were almost flattened by reckless bikes and/or cars a few too many times. Both cities are beautiful in their own way, but I’m a bit biased towards Stockholm and was glad to get back! ❤

Thanks for reading! Be back soon with another update 🙂

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