I am one of the many German students studying abroad. I am one of the people who love travelling. I can't sit still, I always have to do stuff. I am curious, always chasing for stories. Stay here for a while and be part of my respaced world

Friday, December 24, 2010

Battle VIII


It's on you to decide again! First one who votes decides whích culture gets the point: In the final round, it's all about decoration! Just for the sake of fun and curiousity we'll include American culture as well.

I) American culture

Last year I spent christmas in the States. Decorations in NYC, Manhattan looked like this:

reeeeally nice. beautiful. wonderful.....

In Brooklyn, only a block away from where I lived, I found this house:

mhmmmm..... ok you like christmas. but pleaaase, sometimes less is more!

I got the chance to spent christmas with the Vendetti's :), Erica (u remember my blog entry about thanksgiving? The girl with the mugs :)). It was so awesome to spend christmas with Erica and her family, so nice of them to invite me! But I don't wanna make this entry too long. It's about decorations.

Erica with her family

The most important different between American and German decorations are the American stockings. Traditionally the American christmas takes place in the morning of the 25th december, with having presents in one's own stocking (in the picture above you can see the stockings on the oven (left corner, in the background).

Similar to Danish and German (and other lets call it "christian nations") the Vendetti also had a christmas tree in their living room. All in all, I like American style-decorations. But only if it comes in a small portions ;)

 II) Danish decoration
is pretty much the opposite of American style christmas decoration if you look at this example:
a house in Copenhagen

But not all of the Danish christmas decoration is so simple. Traditional Danish christmas decoration includes puppets/dolls:

and these (apparently) very easy-to-make paper hearts:
paper hearts in Julie's apartment
Thanks to my friend Anne, I can add two more deco-pictures of Danish christmas decorations. The Danes are known worldwide for their great, classy but innovative sense of style ("Danish design" is especially popular in the field of architecture, fashion, furniture. I think.)

Anne's ceiling. Selfmade paper stars
III) German decorations:

Germans are famous for their wooden figures. One example is the "Nussknacker" (right picture), a nice tool which is used  to open nuts (you put the nut into the hole which is covered by the beard. Another thing is the "Weihnachtspyramide" which includes wooden figures (biblic characters) on a platform, which starts to move as soon as you light the candles around it. 
Kinda innovative too, don't you think? Candle holder with entertainment value and decoration which has a use: open nuts - Germans really seem to think in a practical way...

so... give your vote. Who wins the point, the Danish (Scandinavian) christmas decoration or the German functional decoration ideas? Give your comment!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Battle VII

Danish Royals Breaking With Christmas Traditions:

As I just read in the blog “The royal correspondent” the royal family will not celebrate Christmas together this year!! Instead of spending it together, 

“Queen Margrethe and her husband, Prince Henrik, will be spending Christmas in Southern Jutland with her son, Prince Joachim and his wife Princess Marie, at their home, Shackenborg Slot. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will be spending the holidays in their newly renovated palace at Amalianborg, which is located in the heart of Copenhagen.”
“The Danish royal family PR team did not give an explanation for the change. “
Uh uh… what’s going on there?? Sorry guys, but breaking with Christmas traditions is cool if it concerns places or food (this year we will celebrate at my sis’s place) – but celebrating christmas with your family is a must (eeeeeeeeeehm an exception of course are semester abroad studies… la la)

Anyway….. For our battle this means:

Danish culture: 3 – 1 = 2
German culture: 3

Uuuuuuuu anyone excited about the outcome yet? 

The Danish royal family"Glücksborg"

 source: http://royalcorrespondent.com/2010/12/05/a-danish-royal-christmas-tradition-no-more/

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Battle VI

Christmas events:

Danish Tivoli / German Christmas Market in Esslingen / American Hershey Park ???

Last week I went to the Tivoli in Kopenhagen, today I went to the christmas market in Esslingen, my absolute favourite of all christmas markets! Last year around christmas time I went to the christmas-decorated amusement park "Hershey Park" (Hershey is a popular American chocolate brand as well as the name of the town). Which of the three places I went to is the most christmas-y one? - Read and figure it out!!! (sorry about this format-confusion.. I hope ur tolerant enough to read it anyway ;))

a) Tivoli, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world
b) The Esslinger Weihnachtsmarkt (christmas market)
c) Hershey's chocolate world
Opened its doors in the year 1843
It is open for the public
amusement park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA (next to the chocolate factory Hershey)
It costs a 100 DKK entrance fee (about 13€). Rides NOT included 
It has a theme: the middle ages!
Vendors are dressed in middle-ages style clothing and speak in old German
entrance fee: I don't remember how much it was.
But most rides are included in the entrance fee.

II) Attractions / Entertainment

A lady carving ice figures out of ice blocks. Kinda cool.
A wooden ferris wheel (kids only)
+ -
All kinds of roller coasters (similar to Tivoli) and a christmas light show

There’s a game where you can win chocolate

while I was there, I saw a fire-eater, a baking class for kids and a band with bagpipes





Danish culture: 3

German culture: 3

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Battle V

I know, i know, this needed a long time... but there was so much else going on! And xmas is still on! ;)
Here comes round V:

Marcipan figures:

Apart from making cookies, Danes like making marzipan figures during christmas time. Holger, who knows about my passion for sweets and baking asked his dad, a former baker, to teach me how to make konfekt and marzipan figures with us. In Germany we buy marzipan figures in the form of pigs for new years. But making marzipan figures myself? I had never tried it. I loved it. I can't wait to do it again - respaced girl found a "new personal" christmas tradition!!

what you need for making marzipan figures & konfekt:

in my case: A funny, Danish baker

chocolate (white and dark)
food colouring for the marzipan

This is marzipan filling for cake, we used it for the filling of konfekt. Apart from that you need regular marzipan, which is mixed with one egg white and powdered sugar.

another possible filling for konfekt, Holger's favourite: Nougat
making konfekt

mhm.. can you imagine who had the idea for the pink-theme?

Knut (Holger's dad) making roses
guess which of the two I made (Hint: I made a dog, Knut made a cat!)

Danish culture: 3
German culture: 2

Chaos in Copenhagen, Day 2

The second day in Copenhagen was one of the days which makes you doubt if making plans makes sense at all... such as it was the case with this plan :
19th december: CPH --> Munich, Munich--> STR --> Home (2pm?) --> 10:30pm zwölfzehn (clubbing with friends)
here's what actually happened....
After breakfast Lena brought my whacky suitcase and me to the subway going to the airport.
When the self-check-in machine, said that due to the changed "flight information" I should contact the service personal, I was starting to get worried (the long wating lines had not caught my interest yet).

Then I saw the information on the airport display: The flight to Munich was cancelled.

so.. quick and short: After waiting 4 hours in line it finally was my turn in the "rebooking line":
"How do you feel about Paris and Air France?" - (mhmmm.just yesterday Lena told me that she loved Paris. But now? no... I wanna go HOME to non-glamourous and non-french Stuttgart. Much more attracting!)
"-Mhmm. Would it also be possible to get the next flight to Frankfurt, I could take the train from there, it's only 1 hour from Stuttgart? (thanx to the 4 hours in line and my sister who was doing research at home and was in contact with me via text, I was well prepared for this bargain).  Would Lufthansa pay for the ticket?"
"I don't know, you have to ask Lufthansa about that."  - "Sooo how's the weather in Paris?"...
It turned out to be bad. Finally, I decided to take the ticket to Frankfurt. Later I heard Paris was stuck in snow.

A few hours later, when I was waiting for the boarding to start (it was already 10min past the boarding time and no personal was in sight) - one of the other frustrated people waiting suddenly pronounced
"The flight is cancelled"
The lady was holding her iphone in hand. 7 minutes later we got the information from the airport. We would get vouchers for a free stay at a SAS hotel and a cab. Kathrin, a girl from munich who I got to know while I was waiting 4 hours in line, started wondering about renting a car. I asked 2 girls who I heard speaking German on the phone if they were interested in sharing a car. But we refused this idea very soon after we heard about the bad situation on the streets. We received our luggage back and were asked to stand in line again if we wanted to get a rebooking (yeah, why not?). I would have had waited another 4 hours if I hadn't asked the lady who was only handing out the vouchers if she would recommend me to get a rebooking for a flight to Frankfurt or Stuttgart. Almost whispering she said:
 "I can just quickly book you on the flight to Stuttgart tomorrow at 3.20pm"
I was in heaven. It was 9pm when me and Kathrin left the airport. The other two girls went another way: 23-year old Christine studied in Copenhagen and went back to her dorm, planning to take the train the next day. She was pissed because she would only spent a few days with her parents in Frankfurt, because she had also booked a flight to the US where she would visit her boyfriend.
Kathrin (no 2) stayed at the airport, where they tried to locate her lost suitcase.

The hotel was great. Radisson, nice. Dinner and breakfast inclusive. Me and Kathrin (A master-degree- student interning in Copenhagen) had dinner together, later Kathrin no. 2 joined us - without having any luggage. Kathrin no. 2 came from Stockholm, where she had worked for 6 years for a company which designed CD covers (e.g. the one from the Rolling stones!). 3 respaced girls from Germany (Munich, Paderborn, Stuttgart) having dinner together. It would have been so much nicer if we would not have been awefully tired.

The two of them left early in the morning. Kathrin, the MA. student from Munich was lucky, she texted me that she arrived safely. I woke up at 4.30am and spent the next 8,5 hours with using the free wireless, taking a bath (first time after 4 months!!), having breakfast (awesome) and doing a quick stroll through the nearby shopping mall.

The room before respaced girl spent a night there...

The next morning
The 1,5h of waiting in line felt like 20min. I looked instantly at the airport display in order to check if Stuttgart was cancelled. While I was waiting in line I saw Kathrin no 2. waiting in the rebooking line. Her flight to Frankfurt had been cancelled. Her luggage had not been found yet. She wanted to go home. I hope she has got there by now.

I reached Stuttgart 24 hours later than planned. Hearing the news in the radio of the thousands of people who are still stuck at the airports I feel so grateful, happy and relieved to be here.. At least I can say I am a real traveller now!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Illuminative Moment in Copenhagen, Day 1

ok.. so it didn't work out how I had planned it ;) Let's recap:
"Plan for 18th:
get up at 5.30 am - Check!
take the train at 7:30am to copenhagen - Check!
see the little mermaid which returned from Singapoore - Check!
going to the xmas market at Tivoli - Check!
spend the night at Lena's place - Check

The Danish Statue of Liberty

The day was wonderful! I arrived in Copenhagen, went to Christiansborg to see the royal horses and the museum about the royal calvary - found some horse shit and found out that the museum was closed in december, walked into the Danish parliament by accident, asking the reception lady who refused to let me enter the building,

"excuse me, but what is this here? I'm looking for the royal horses. Do you know where I can find them?"
no, unfortunately she didn't."

The royal horse track

Mhm... what building could this be?

I had lots of fun! I was so lucky and saw the change of the guard in front of Amalienborg, they hissed the flag, which means that the queen was home. I went a small museum about the "Glücksborg" (the Danish royal family) and met up with Lena. Lena studies in Copenhagen, I got to know her in Miami. She's the cutest :)

It was so great to stay at her place, she slept on a tiny little air matress while I was enjoying her comfortable, big bed (she insisted on it!! i felt horrible). Spending the day with her made me realize that this survey which claimed Denmark to be the happiest nation (among 97 nations) was probably pretty close to the truth.

Danes are happy with what they have and enjoy life. They are modest and smile - a lot. What surprises me still is that Danes are happy with their lifes, even when they know about all the possibilities they have! (Denmark is on 3rd place in the educational index worldwide - Finnland and Australia are doing a bit better).

I decided to improve "my sense of happyness" , becoming less critical, cynical and bitter and try to look at the things in a more positive light. This illuminative moment helped me to get through the next day....

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