Snow, Beer Tasting, and Seeing the Sights!

8 Feb

So on Sunday, all of us in the Clausen household awoke to a blanket of about 4 inches of snow on the ground:

        

However, this did not deter Taylor and I from meeting up and venturing into the city. The following pictures are from a portion of our “History of Copenhagen” class assignment. We basically have to visit 15 historically and architecturally important places around the city, take some pictures and answer some questions. It is a great way to not only see a lot of the city but also learn about everything we are seeing. The class focuses on the structure history of the city – so how the physical city of Copenhagen came to be over time.

            

The view is from the top of the Round Tower, an observatory built onto Trinity Church by King Christian the IV between 1637 and 1656. The observatory was built for the University of Copenhagen, and the tower also provided access to the university library in the church loft from 1653 until a fire destroyed it in 1728 (it seems like everything in Copenhagen was destroyed at one point or another by a fire – literally because it was so cold all the time, people overdid the keeping warm thing). There is a 660 foot winding, arched access ramp which leads to the very top and which Russian Czar Peter the Great rode up in 1716. Also, it should be noted that this was only one of the many buildings that Christian IV built in Copenhagen – he was a real mover and shaker and is arguably the most important figure in Copenhagen’s history – but more on that in another post.

Next I must talk a bit about the Beer Tasting I attended Monday night. About 30 fellow American study abroad students and I made our way to Norrebro Bryghus (Norrebro Brewery) in the northern part of the city. It is a microbrewery and a restaurant. Our guide for the evening, Soren Wagner, works at the Brewery and used to work for our program, DIS. He claims to have tried over 18,000 different kinds of beer during his travels around the globe. He gave us an hour presentation with a little bit of beer history (Mesopotamian recipes for beer predate recipes for bread by about 1000 years) the differences between types of beers (most standard beers are lagers – specialty beers are ales) different ingredients (mostly barley grain, but some other grains that make up different malts and different flavors) the brewing process (much more exact and sanitary than it was during the Middle Ages) and how Americans settle for absolutely terrible beer (except for the rash of IPAs popping up recently). We all tried 4 different beers the Brewery makes, and topped it off with some leftover Christmas Ale – a Copenhagen tradition and favorite. Sorem finished by recommending a website for finding different pubs, microbreweries, etc. all around the world, which should be helpful while in Europe: http://www.ratebeer.com/ . Here are the pics:

            

Here are some more pictures from our assignment, only from Monday:

Most of them are from either inside City Hall or outside of City Hall in the Town Square (where the Handball Celebration had been). Inside City Hall Taylor and I met one of the security guards – his name was Wojciech (pronounced like “voy-tech”) and he was from Poland. While growing up, Wojciech’s father fought the Germans during World War II and tried to work against Russian/communist occupation after the war but found it very difficult. Wojciech said everyone was opposed to communist rule, and that Poles were very used to opposing foreign rulers since they have basically been occupied in one way or another for the last 200 years. Coming from this family tradition of resistance, Wojciech joined the Solidarity Movement during the 1980s, but was forced to leave the country because of his political convictions and the risk for his wife and three daughters. They fled to Denmark 4 years before the communist regime in Poland fell, and he said they might have decided to stay if they had known the end was so close. He said his three daughters all speak excellent Danish, Polish and English and have bright futures, but he and his wife have struggled to learn the difficult Danish language as adults (they immigrated when he was 32). While Wojciech had worked with sculptures in Poland in some capacity, he and his wife are both security guards at Copenhagen City Hall now. Wojciech’s story really highlighted the difficulties that immigrants – even those from European nations – experience while trying to integrate into the tight-knit Danish society. It was also incredible to meet a member of the Solidarity Movement. Wojciech gave me some suggestions for places to visit in Poland (Krakow, Gdansk and a city in the west that is largely German – but not Warsaw – it’s the “Manhatten of Poland” and not really worth visiting) and made me more eager than before to travel to the country.

The pictures of the plain looking church will the pillars in the front are of the Copenhagen Cathedral or the Church of Our Lady. The inside was very white and plain, lacking ornateness (typical of a Protestant church) with a big statue of Triumphant Christ at the alter (as opposed to Crucified Christ). Next are some pictures of a row of red “firehouses” called that because they survived the fire of 1795 and denoted by their similar roof-top designs (gables). The square where they were taken in is considered Copenhagen’s most beautiful square, called Greyfriars’ Square. This is where the Franciscan Friars, or Greyfriars (based on their grey cloaks) had a Monastery before it was torn down after the Reformation in 1536. Last, there are pictures of the Church of the Holy Spirit, built in 1295 in the Baltic Brick Gothic style (one of Copenhagen’s few remaining Gothic-style buildings). This church was Copenhagen’s first hospital (where sisters and brethern of religious societies cared for primarily the dying rather than curing the sick). The church survived many fires, additions, demolitions, and reconstructions over the centuries. Out front of the church was a marker which read: “Tomb of the Unknown Concentration Camp Prisoner.”

Well that’s about it for now – off to Jutland (the large peninsula of Denmark that is connected to Germany) this weekend for a class trip. We’re going to several very neat places and events, and my next post will have plenty of pictures and information about the trip. Hope everyone is doing well and made it through this long post!

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One Response to “Snow, Beer Tasting, and Seeing the Sights!”

  1. Nancy Macias February 10, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Hi Nathan, Your blog is very interesting, especially with the pictures. I’m so happy to hear you have great host parents, like your classes, are so enthusiastic about more traveling. Can’t wait to hear and see more of this interesting country and culture. We are fine. Wearing shorts and having the doors open as it is like spring. La Ninya they call it. Love, Grandma

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