Rachel and I have been planning this week together since we first found out that we’d both be abroad this semester. Her program gives her a month to travel in the middle, while my travels are more spread out throughout the semester. And, although I technically had a day of school on Monday, only one of my five classes met! I got so lucky.
Thursday night, I met Rachel at Norreport and brought her back to my apartment. We had a delicious dinner at Restaurant Sult, which is right next to the Round Tower. It was my first time there; checking another spot off my bucket list. Then, we went to sleep early to prepare for our weekend in Berlin, Germany. It was the most historic and emotionally-heavy trip I have taken the entire semester. As is noted by the title, it also happened to be FREEZING in Berlin, and it even started snowing for a while. It was my first time bringing my warm winter jacket for a weekend trip since Prague way back in the beginning! I definitely needed it, as well as a scarf, hat, gloves, and layers. At least I was prepared. It is frustrating that next weekend it will be 70 degrees and sunny there.
Anyway, we woke up at 5a.m. for a very early flight, and though we were exhausted, this meant we got to have a packed first day. We got omelets at the airport for breakfast, and the flight was easy and smooth. We arrived at our hostel by 9:15 in the morning, and although we wanted to leave our backpacks locked in the front room, they only accepted coins as payment. Luckily, we had packed lightly, so we ended up carrying around our backpacks for most of the day. If I had brought my computer, this definitely would have been a game-changer.
We decided to go to the Anne Frank museum first, which opened at 10. Realizing the Berlin synagogue was across the street from our hostel, we took our time as we passed it and got coffee on the way. The museum was very child-friendly and not all that big, but I thought the best part was remembering all the scenes I had performed as Margot, Anne’s older sister, in the high school play. It was interesting (and sad, of course), to read about these people’s lives for real. The Frank family had moved from Berlin to Amsterdam, where the real “Anne Frank House” exists, but I’m not going to get there this semester.
Afterward, we went next door to the Otto Weidt museum. I knew less about him than I had known about Anne Frank, so I learned that he employed blind and deaf Jews in his shop, offering them work and a hiding spot from the Nazis. The shops that they worked in are actually preserved today. Our next stop was the Berlin Wall exhibit, where there are parts of the remaining walk that divided East and West Berlin, as well as a museum that explains the history of the Cold War and the separation of fascist and communist ideologies.
The next plan was to meet Chloe (from high school) and her friend for lunch, who happens to be one of Cara’s best friends from home! So many connections. They were finishing a walking tour while Rachel and I still had some time to kill, so we went back to the main area and rested for a bit. The backpacks were getting tiring. Then, we walked to the cutest lunch place EVER (the ambiance was actually amazing) called The House of Small Wonder. It was so much fun to catch up with Chloe, get to know Sami (because Cara talks about her all the time), and be there while Rachel and Chloe got to know each other as well. The food was delicious, and we each got variations of eggs, potatoes, and salad.
We all walked together to the Memorial of Murdered Jews, which turned out to be way longer and heavier than I expected. Chloe told us that the tour guide had an interesting viewpoint on the memorial: the long columns and rows are meant to be experienced by oneself to feel alone, as that’s how many Jews felt at the time of the Holocaust. The exhibit inside required a half hour of waiting, plus a line at security. The museum itself reminded me of the basement of the Budapest synagogue in that it was a lot of reading about what had happened. The next room was full of postcards, letters to loved ones and personal stories of real people getting separated from their families. It was a lot to absorb, and I think what made it even more difficult was knowing that I’d be at a concentration camp the next day, which was the ultimate Holocaust testimomy (more on this later). We spent two hours reading everything on the walls.
On the way out, we saw the sight of Hitler’s old bunker, which is now merely a parking lot. It was only discovered in 2007 that Berlin is where he committed suicide.
We were extremely sick of carrying the backpacks at this point, so we decided to check in to the hostel, then meeting Chloe and Sami nearby for a quick smoothie and pastry snack. The four of us headed to East Side Gallery, the last sight-seeing event of the day. There are murals along the walls that stretch both ways for several yards, which is a cool exhibit to see. When it got too cold to stand outside any longer, we went to dinner at Hummus and Friends, which is a restaurant Adina and Goldie had recommended to me from their weekend in Berlin last month. We ate hummus in various flavors, such as pesto and even chocolate! We also dipped charred cauliflour, which was so yummy. Rachel and I went to sleep pretty early, as we hadn’t napped since waking up at 5, and we had an extremely long day ahead of us.
I’m going to write about Sachsenhausen concentration camp in another post, as I think it deserves its own. So, I’ll skip that part for now. On the way to our meeting spot in the morning, Rachel and I ate in the hostel for breakfast and found the Hackscher market, which consisted of a bunch of vendors to get street food.
When we returned to the city, we went straight to an early dinner at David and Dean, a place we had passed the day before with large soups, salads, and rice bowls. We reflected on our day together before going back to rest at the hostel, each taking our time to have our private reflections as well.
After gathering our strength, we went out for a delicious dessert at a cafe next to the hostel, where I had to ask the waiter three times if the apple tart was gluten-free because it was just that good. We also ordered drinks there and chatted, and then we headed back to the hostel. We had another 5a.m. wake up ahead of us.
Sunday was a very full day in Copenhagen. Although it was sunny, we are now back to the low-40’s temperatures we had months ago! I’m getting sick of the winter and bundling up, but it should warm up next week hopefully. Still, we were able to do so much—and so many new things for me! It’s amazing that I can still be doing new activities with my visitors; it certainly makes being a tour guide a lot more interesting. After showering and changing from our plane clothes, we went for brunch at a Paludan. Rachel said it was the best brunch she’s ever had in her life! Wow. We walked to Rosenborg Palace, and in addition to walking around the gardens, we got tickets to see the inside as well. It was beautiful and very different from the inside of the Christiansborg Palace. There were more delicate objects and porcelain dishes in one.
We decided to stop at my apartment for more layers of warmth, and it was on the way to the bus station anyway. We took the bus to Superkilen, which is a park with curvy lines all over the ground. It also has interesting swing sets and climbing bars. Then, we went to see Banana Park, which has lots of walls with cool graffiti. These were two more things on my Copenhagen list.
We stopped for a snack at the Glass Market before heading back to my apartment to regroup after the long afternoon in the cold. I got froyo from Banana, a stand that has recently opened for Spring, while Rachel had gelato from my favorite place inside upon my recommendation, which she really enjoyed.
Adina came with Rachel and me to Reffen for an early dinner. Reffen is one of the “paper towns” on a nearby small island (technically part of Copenhagen). It recently opened for the season, so we had been wanting to try it. Goldie was supposed to come also, but there was a protest in her neighborhood and she had gotten an alert to stay inside, unfortunately. I’ll definitely go back with her at another point, as we all loved the food. There were easily 30 different stands I could have tried. My favorite was the polenta french fries.
Sunday evening wasn’t too eventful, as Rachel and I both had some planning to do for our weekend trips. Adina and I were able to connect via email with our Passover Seder host in London, though, so that was exciting. We are looking forward to sharing this experience together, and our host family sounds excited, too!
Monday was a really nice day, and we did significantly less walking, which was a nice break before a lot of sightseeing days that lie ahead. First, we had breakfast at 42 Raw, where we both had acai bowls. Then, we walked to the DIS buildings after stopping at the book store, and we prepared for our first senior year course pre-enrollment—scheduled to start at 7a.m. ny time, which is 1p.m. here. We ended up bumping into another Cornell student who is in DIS, so the three of us sat together while we pre-enrolled. I am happy to report that I succeeded in getting all the classes I wanted! I enrolled in many more credits than I plan on taking, so now I just get to see which classes I like best, and then I can drop one or two classes from there.
From there, I headed to my one class of the day at 1:35. It was fairly uneventful, although I noticed that the attendance was way lower than usual, as many people decided to skip classes together today. After the class, I walked to Paludan, where Rachel had gone ahead to order us lunch (she liked it so much she wanted to go back!). Then, we dropped our backpacks in my room before heading on a walk to the trampolines and Nyhavn canal. The weather was similar to the day before, except the sun felt warmer, and it was actually pleasant to be outside. We enjoyed some ice cream in the sun. Next, we went to Illum Rooftop, a very pleasant day for that lookout. We got drinks and talked for a while, and although the initial plan was to meet Goldie at dinner somewhere else in Copenhagen, we asked her if she’d want to meet us on the rooftop instead. That ended up being such a good call, as the waitress moved us to a table directly overlooking the street below. The dinner food was really good, and we all had a fun time. Rachel and I went back to my apartment for a bit, and I was able to book my tickets on her Las Vegas flight for the end of August (her 21st birthday party with our friends from school). I’m super excited about that trip. Finally, we went to Vinbar, which is around the corner, and we walked around the area a little more.
We had a final packed day here today. First, we picked up breakfast at Joe and the Juice, and we continued on a long walk around Kastalet (it was beautiful weather!) and the famous Little Mermaid. Then, we stopped at the hammocks I had discovered with Emma a few weeks ago, and we walked back toward Amalienborg Palace to be there for the Changing of the Guard ceremony at 12. We were standing there at 11:30, but we, unfortunately, ended up squashed between some tall people around us. I thought there was going to be some sort of musical ceremony, but the guards just walked around and marched for a few seconds. They otherwise stood there in what appeared to be an intense staring contest. But, I was happy that I continued my goal of trying something new each Tuesday. 🙂
I had planned to take Rachel to Mad and Kaffe after that, and I had been hyping it up a lot. I feel really bad because we arrived there at 12:45 to learn that they stopped serving the brunch menu at 12:30, and there really were not many gluten-free options on the lunch menu. Of course, Rachel was great about it, and we ended up going to Matcha Bar instead, where we had an insanely good meal. I’m almost happy it worked out that way. Between the two of us, we got two waffles, this blackberry yogurt bowl, and an avocado flatbread. We were so hungry, and we finished all of it!
Our last activity for the afternoon was a daytime trip to Tivoli, where we went on the Star Flyer ride (I had been already with Josh, but it was totally different during the day), and walked around for a while. We even sat on the lounge chairs on the grass, soaking up the sun in our winter coats. Even though it’s been cold this week, we overall got lucky with the weather in that it never rained.
Now, we are home getting ready to fly to London VERY early tomorrow morning. We have a 4 a.m. wake-up…oh boy. We will go with Adina later to the Glass Market for a final dinner in Copenhagen, where Rachel wants to try the Grød.
I’ll be in London from tomorrow morning to late Sunday night with Adina the whole time, and tomorrow we will meet up with Emma for the trip! I will also see Andrew Young and Hannah Kahn this week. I’m really looking forward to everything we have planned.
After that, my plan is to stay in Copenhagen for the last few weeks of my time abroad. I’m getting pretty sentimental about leaving, especially having a visitor here who keeps commenting on how amazing it is. 🙂 I am so incredibly lucky to live here, and I am going to be sad to leave. I still have some time, though, and plenty of things on my bucket list.
P.S. The concentration camp-post is still in the works…