Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Learning Danish is easy....

... ;-) hummm at least it is most of the times pretty cheap!

Learning Danish is highly recommended when you settle here permanently, it is even mandatory for non european citizens who want residency permits. So as a foreigner, you usually discover pretty quickly after your arrival the joys of a Dansk Sprogskole (danish language school). The largest municipalities have their own language school for adults, more or less rich and equiped depending on the municipality budget.

The Nordsjælland school where I have done my study is apparently in the "rich" category. Education 100% free (well I wasn't asked to pay anything yet), e-learning classes, small groups courses on evenings or on Saturdays, teacher available by mail to correct your exercises in between classes, language lab in a computer room, books provided, CD-ROMs, dictionaries ... is luxury!
Add to this that they give you notebooks the first day of school, and that you can request the loan of laptops and printers to take home, I finally understood why we pay so many taxes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer time= party time!

June marks the starts of the "crazy period" in Denmark. As early as 8pm you can hear noises in the streets (horns, songs, ...) It is finally Graduation day!! Students in third grade (at least I think) have received the papers authorizing them to enroll for college. Usually there is an official morning ceremony.

From 11 am, another kind of music took over, when students get straight out from the ceremony at their school. Highly decorated chariots are waiting to attack the city. This festival is really very organized, each class having its own vehicule (which apparently they book sometimes one year in advance just to be sure to have one on the big day).

Then they visit with each student's parents one after the other, the tradition being that each one offer to drink (and eat) to the students. You may imagine that they do not wait the stops to drink a little beer ...! The vehicules are indeed fully loaded!
During a dozen hours they tour the city and sing, hopefully the driver is a responsible and sober pro. Each student wears a traditional cap, each color representing their discipline and have also an insignia corresponding to their religion (at least that's what we have heard).

Of course let's not forget the beers to keep going between stops!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sankt Hans

Hide witches!

Here we celebrate tonight St. John (Sankt Hans), and we can say that the tradition is respected pretty seriously in Denmark. Each town, village or district of Copenhagen has its own Sankt Hans fire.
Example here in Hillerød last year: despite some rain during the day and especially the crazy wind, the festival was in full swing. Music, beer, sausages and of course the wood pile, installed on the castle lake. We even got to see some (small) fireworks.

For centuries, summer has been celebrated this way in Denmark and it is believed that this day of the year is really rich in "natural energy".
I pass on the details of the early pagan rituals 8-)
For around a hundred years, they just burn a doll witch on the fire. Today the newspapers were full of stories of nowadays witches (a hobby like any other) who welcome the magical aspect of the evening while protesting that they should stop burn this kind of doll.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stop on the island

The interior of the Copenhagen Island hotel is also worth a visit.
First, the lobby (in the "tower") has really interesting volumes. It actually contains only a panoramic elevator and access gateways to the floors. The blue panels give a warm underwater feel. Of course as we are in Denmark, you can enjoy design armchairs to get a well deserved rest :-)

Under the glass roof which was visible from behind the building, you can find a restaurant and a bar. Again everything is very "neo-Scandinavian": metal, dark wood and shades of beige.

The rooms have of course all you could need, including a desisgn chair ... Fortunately, the decoration is a little more colorful, which makes the atmosphere warmer. The advantage of living on an island is that there is waterview from all sides ... In particular views of the harbor, the bathing facility at the foot of the hotel and the modern buildings that dot the neighborhood.

This post is part of the Islands Brygge Architecture walk.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Copenhagen Island Hotel

On the other side of the bridge, close to Fisketorvet, you can find the Copenhagen Island Hotel.

Viewed from behind, the building has strong looking vertical lines, whose monotony is broken by small balconies placed irregularly. Another hallmark is the restaurant glass roof (on the left of the picture).

Viewed from the front, you recognize the building thanks to its partially glassed square tower, topped by a black "hat". If this reminds you the Paustian shope, this is no coincidence: both buildings were designed by the same firm: Utzon.

Once you have walk around the building, you better understand the name. In fact the hotel is located on an artificial island. Access is therefore by bridge.

This post is part of the Islands Brygge Architecture walk.
Last stop : Inside Copenhagen Island

Monday, June 14, 2010

View from the bridge

From the middle of the bridge, you can appreciate how much things have changed around here.
Before (in fact, it's nowadays and a little more south, but it gives you an idea of the look): an industrial area

After: a lot of modern residential buildings (some office buildings too, especially on the other side) with a neo-nordic architecture (I don't know if it exists but I just thought it sounded great ;-)

After this little break, let's cross the bridge and walk past Fisketorvet (a not so interesting building) to end this walk in front of the Copenhagen Island hostel.

This post is part of the Islands Brygge Architecture walk.
Next stop : Copenhagen Island

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