Greetings from Copenhagen!! Currently sitting in quaint coffeeshop with my cappuccino in hand and ready to share (almost) everything about my experiences so far. Buckle up y’all, I have many tales to share.
Saturday, August 18, I departed from Miami on my way to Vienna, Austria where I spent nine days with my cousins and their family. After landing in Vienna, we drove an hour and a half to Oberschützen, which is directly between Vienna and Graz, near the Hungarian border. It was truly an experience of a life time living with locals especially because most of this part of my family only speaks Austrian-German. At first I was extremely apprehensive about a potential language barrier, but immediately the thought faded the more we used Google Translate and my cousin, Katrin, as the medium for conversation. I felt right at home on the first night when we had a delicious barbecue with a stunning view of the sun setting behind the “baby” mountains. “Baby” because APPARENTLY these are half the size of the “real” mountains in northern Austria. This was a little unsettling for the girl from Florida where nearly everything is flat and swampy.
The second and last day of my trip to Austria were my absolute favorites. On the second day we drove a couple hours towards a town in the valleys of the mountains, Kapfenberg, which is part of Styria. We went hiking up the mountain to a little mountain hut, which happens to be operated by one of my distant relatives. Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted with Austrian-German folk music sung by locals, a glass of Cider, and herds of cattle casually roaming the land. I have never experienced such an environment like this.
After some exploring and quality conversations we were greeted with some traditional Austrias dishes and desserts…. I wish I could tell you their names, but I must say that “mouthwatering” is an understatement to how yummy the food was. We were served pork loin and I ate the yummy cheese dumplings in broth. The desserts had custard filled pastries and horns served with jam and cream. Everything was fresh and house made, which I LOVE!
To end the day trip we visited ANOTHER distant relative’s home where we were greeted with the most beautiful view in all of Styria, right from the balcony. I was SWOONING.
Fast forward to the final day of the trip where we crossed over the border to Hungary to eat some yummy desserts and drive through rural land. Something that was really shocking about the little bit of Hungary that I experienced was how ridiculously cheap everything was. For five homemade desserts, three cappuccinos, and a glass of juice we only paid $20 USD… INSANE. The rest of the day we spent back over in Austria, near the border, visiting many different vineyards in the region. This was so unique and tons of fun because in Southern Burgenland the Uhudler wine is made. The whole area surrounding the vineyards is made up of mini cellars along the streets, some dating back to the early 1800s and they were still standing strong.
We would even walk through the vineyards and taste the Uhudler grape, which had the perfect balance of sweet and sour tastes. Also, we came across TONS of chestnut trees.. I’ve never seen them before!!
It was a very bittersweet end to a great trip in Austria. I cannot wait to return and visit my family again. I 10/10 recommend visiting the more rural regions of Austria, between Vienna and Graz.
Once I arrived to Copenhagen, it took 45 minutes of train and bus travel (with two 50 lb pieces of luggage and a 30 lb rucksack) to get to Lyngby, which is where the Technical University of Denmark is located. Why didn’t I take a taxi, you ask? Well first off, Uber doesn’t exist here and a taxi would have been 100 Euros.. Luckily my friend from UF, Jordan, came to the airport to help me!! 🙂
Lyngby is a more affluent suburb of Copenhagen and I do feel 100% more safe here than back at school in Gainesville. This past week was Exchange Week for all international students, which I am so happy I attended because I conversed and networked with so many quality people and really pushed myself out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. All students were placed into “buddy groups” which is composed of 10+ exchange students and one buddy (DTU student). My buddy group was comprised of people from Spain, Belgium, Lithuania, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Germany, India, and the States! There was so much diversity in our group and I really appreciate it. Honestly, I think the diversity is exactly what made the experience so much more special for all of us. I already have plans to travel with my buddy group, it has only been one week!
Thursday was when I first got to see Copenhagen, which we all went as a group to visit. The only downfall of this day is that we were walking miles and miles through the rain, it is very important to come prepared. I have yet to see a sunny day in Copenhagen, but I really don’t think this took away from the beauty of the city. Considering I was in good company, I feel like it was that much more fun and enjoyable. On my return back home to Lyngby, I got on the wrong train and ended up going to Sweden… it took me two hours to get home. All for the memories though, am I right??
Friday evening DTU hosted a gala dinner for all the exchange students, which was SO much fun. I really love that this school not only encourages students to have an enjoyable life, but really makes opportunities available for that. It is not by chance that DTU is a leading school in Northern Europe for science, technology, and engineering, which they also hold the title of having the happiest students. Balance is so important and I feel like I really lacked that back home in Gainesville because I practically lived in the library, day and night. I am glad that I will really get a taste of what true “work life balance” is here, a concept that is merely understood or practiced back home in the states. Friday night it was really cool branching out and hanging out with the other UF students’ and their buddy groups. I had a quality time and it made me even more excited for what else is to come the rest of this semester. See you next week for more adventures and updates on life at DTU and in Copenhagen!!