Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Scandinavian Adventure

This weekend we took a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark to visit some friends that are studying at DIS there for the semester.  It was such a fun weekend--visiting friends, seeing the city, checking out some cool Scandinavian design, and seeing what their school is like.  We arrived on Thursday afternoon and took a mini tour of the city while enjoying some delicious gelato.  There were a lot of interesting historical buildings mixed in with new, modern architecture throughout the city.  On our tour we went down to the Copenhagen harbour to see the Little Mermaid statue, which was made in honor of Hans Christian Andersens's fairytale, The Little Mermaid
On Friday we visited the Danish Design Center, which had several exhibitions on current Danish Design.  The first one we saw was for the Danish design company, Muuto, which designs many innovative new products.  We saw some awesome product design, and I loved the exhibit and the graphics that they used to display all of the designs.  
Another exhibit at the DDC was called the FLOWmarket, a "supermarket selling consumer awareness."  The whole exhibit was filled with empty containers with different "products" on them, such as "stress killers," "addiction liberators," "consumption moderators," "pollution dissolvers," and "renewable energy."  Designer Mads Hagstrom is the director of the project, and he wants to change the way consumers buy, the way designers design, and the way we all live to make the world more sustainable and healthy for everyone.  I really liked this exhibit, and while the ideas were not necessarily new, they were presented in such a way that had a strong impact and was quite inspirational.  
On Saturday we went on a study tour with the DIS students to an open air museum that had over 70 examples of vernacular Danish and Swedish architecture dating back to the 1700's.  The buildings were removed from their original sites and transported to this museum, and when the visitors walk through the museum, they can see the progression of the architecture from long ago up until the early 1900's.  It was fun to learn more about Danish design and get to experience the way the DIS students are learning in comparison to CVUT in Prague.  
On Sunday, we went to LEGO LAND!  Since Legos were invented in Denmark, it was only fitting that we should visit the theme park dedicated to all things Legos.  There were so many cool Lego sculptures all over the park!  Near the entrance there was an entire Lego village, with scale replicas of Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and many other cities.  It was pretty incredible, and if you see photos, you almost can't tell that the cities are actually Legos and not real.  There were also several replicas of monuments from the US such as Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty.  And, because Lego Land is a theme park, we got to ride lots of fun rides!  They were mostly for small kids, but there were a few cool ones for bigger kids.  The coolest ride there was called Power Builder--in it, you get a card with a smart chip in it, and you go to a computer screen, enter your height, the level of intensity you want, and what moves you want to do.  Then, you and one other person sit in a little seat which is at the end of a robot arm.  When the platform moves out from under your feet, you are like a piece of equipment on an assembly line, and the robot arm picks you up and spins you in all different directions--up, down, sideways, upside down, and backwards!  I thought it was such a cool idea for a ride--that you get to interact and choose your experience.  The whole thing took place in a big, dark room with a few neon lights and techno music playing, so it really set the mood for the ride.  We ended the day at Lego Land in the shop, which had a section that was like a candy store!  There were bins after bins of loose Legos--all different colors, shapes, and sizes (as well as little pieces like the Lego people heads, trees, animals, etc.) that you loaded into a bag like bulk candy and paid by weight.  All in all Lego Land was awesome, and I even heard rumors that they might be building one in Lee's Summit...
On Monday, we took a little day trip to Sweden because it was just so close--only 45 minutes away.  We visited the city of Malmo (pronounced Malmu).  It was a cute little city, and we were able to see all of the main attractions in the city in a couple hours.  The main sight to see there is the tallest building in Sweden: the Turning Torso by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.  The building was pretty cool and looked different from every angle.  It consists of nine cubes with a total of 54 stories and a 90-degree twist from top to bottom.  Behind the Turning Torso there was a fun little park and playground next to the Western Harbour as well as a series of modern apartment buildings that were built for the European housing expo.  Malmo also had a lot of cute little shops and outdoor cafes, so there were tons of people out just shopping and sipping coffee all afternoon.

I really had an awesome time in Denmark, and it was good to see familiar faces from home and just get to spend some time with them.  I am happy to be back in Prague now for a few days.  Traveling can get so exhausting!  

I have finally gotten all of my pictures up to date, so click to see pictures from last weekend's trip to Geneva, Interlaken, and Zurich, Switzerland, as well as this week's photos from Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden.  The photos of Copenhagen are in a new Picasa web albut because I ran out of room on the first one, so just use the link here and you should find them.  I'll be putting all my future pictures in the album if you have it bookmarked.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

hotel in prague said...

It looks you had a great time in Denmark...Wish I could go there too..