Exploring Zealand

Thomas and I decided to take a quick trip to that other part of Denmark to do some exploring before we became a two income household. (Yes, I got a job! More about that later.) Our main destinations were the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Kronborg Castle, both of which are less than an hour north of Copenhagen by train. Thomas took Friday off from work and we rode the train from Aarhus to Copenhagen. After spending Friday night there, we took the train north to the town of Humlebæk (yeah, I can’t pronounce it either), where the Louisiana Museum is located on the shores of the Øresund (in English, The Sound). I don’t claim to understand or like modern art, so if you would like a review of the art at the museum, ask Thomas. I did really enjoy the sculpture garden and architecture of the museum.

HTLaMus LaMus1 LaMus2 LaMus3

Here is the wishing tree from the Yoko Ono exhibit:

LaMusWishTree

LaMus4

The museum also had a great cafe where we ate the most traditional Danish lunch I’ve ever had. It featured the typical things, like various cold salads involving cabbage, some new potatoes, a small amount of beef, and a cream soup. After refueling, we took the train a little further north to Helsingør.

helsign

We spent Saturday night at a cute little hotel in Helsingør. We had a very nice dinner in the cozy restaurant downstairs and then listened to people scream outside our hotel window until 4am. Yay. Helsingør is in a pretty strategic location. Super close to Sweden, which is just across the sound. So, back in the day, the Danish kings charged anyone entering or leaving the Baltic Sea through the sound and started raking in the cash. Today the city is strategic for another reason. I hear alcohol is very expensive in Sweden and since Helsingør is just a 20 minute ferry ride away from Sweden, you can guess where the Swedes might go when they get thirsty.

On Sunday morning, we toured the castle/fortress built to enforce the “sound dues,” as they were called. The abridged history of Kronborg:

-Built in 1420’s as crappy fortress to collect cash from ships

TCastle

-Late 1500’s, Frederick II upgraded the fortress, largest ballroom in Northern Europe was added. Great for a giant fredagsbar.

ballroom

-1629, some guys accidentally burned down the castle, except for the chapel, hate when that happens.

The Chapel.

The Chapel.

-1631, King Christian IV (or C4 as he liked to be called) dumped a whole lotta money into the property to restore it to its former glory, but this time Baroque style.

-In 1658, during one of the Danish-Swedish conflicts, the Swedes invaded and stole a whole bunch of stuff from the castle. Bye-bye cool fountain.

No fountain.

No fountain.

-Improved defense of the fortress. Thanks, Swedes!

My phone thought we were in Sweden for awhile.

My phone thought we were in Sweden for awhile.

-1740’s until 1900ish = prison. Not so exciting.

There are two other pretty cool things about Kronborg. The castle is the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which he calls Elsinore. Additionally, there is a pretty cool cat sleeping in the basement.

This is Holger.

This is Holger.

Holger will sleep in the basement of the castle until the realm is in trouble. At which point he will wake up and…….something. I liked Holger. Thomas wants to name our first dog Holger.

After this adventure, we took the train back to Copenhagen and had just enough time to rest up before a trip to Manfred and Vin, one of the restaurants we really like in CPH and that is actually open on Sundays.  A great way to end a wonderful weekend!

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Why haven’t I been posting much?

So this is just a quick update. I realized I haven’t posted much on the blog recently. Luckily, Heather is planning some really nice posts about Aarhus Festuge, where we attended some cool events and she volunteered, and about the challenges of being an expat in Denmark. So, look forward to those soon.

But, the reason I haven’t been posting much is because it’s been a really hectic time of year. Labor Day weekend is the traditional date for the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, in addition to being the start of the academic year, so the last several weeks have meant a combination of trans-Atlantic travel, course prep, conference prep, and recovery from all of that.

APSA was in Chicago this year, which was disappointing because it was in a familiar hotel in a familiar city, but the upshot was that I got to see a lot of Northwestern friends and plenty of other friends and colleagues who I only see once or twice a year. Prepping for a conference and following up with everyone about research ideas, papers, and so forth meant I lost a couple of weeks at the end of August and beginning of September. Luckily, its the last international conference I need to travel to until April, when I’ll be back in Chicago for the Midwest Political Science Association meeting. (Just to reassure you that I don’t just visit Chicago all the time, my two other conference for next year are in Rome and Washington, DC.)

Since APSA, I’m starting to get back into the swing of things at work, which is important because I started teaching my first independent course last week. The class, entitled “Does Public Opinion Matter?” is a master seminar for students here at Aarhus that tries to combine political philosophy, the psychology of opinion formation, and empirical studies of opinion-policy congruence. I have 20 students who will hopefully learn something, which is my goal for the class. Simultaneously, I’m taking a teacher training course provided by the university that required me to visit the small town of Ebeltoft, east of Aarhus for three days prior to APSA and that involves a bunch of ongoing work throughout this semester. Ebeltoft was a beautiful town that I’d like to visit again in order to see more than the inside of a hotel conference room. Arguably the whole teacher training program will make me a better teacher. We’ll have to see about that. At this point, it has just made me tired.

So, this post is basically just an excuse for not keeping the blog updated, but as I said, Heather will have some actually interesting news to post about soon.