Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to go on my first cruise... to Oslo, Norway! Apparently there's been a tradition for quite some time now - where my dorm, Tåsingegade, goes on this cruise as a group over the weekend. At first I was not sure about going, but the price and timing was just right. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
We set off around 5 PM on Friday. Customs was super easy to get through - ever since the European Union passed the law about traveling between Schengen zones, passports and visas aren't really necessary. We settled into our teeny (yet cozy!) cabin and headed up to the deck to enjoy the view. It's been a while since i've experienced the ocean, and I have to say that the breeze felt so nice on my face. I can still feel it if I close my eyes and visualize the sun set.
The cruise schedule worked so that we would arrive in Oslo around 9 AM the next day, so we enjoyed the ship's live band and had the chance to get to know each other a little more. My dorm is the biggest DIS residential community, with 111 students living on two floors. It's a bit hard to get to know everyone, so it was nice to have this chance to meet new people on this special cruise experience.
The next morning, we were woken up via the voice of a woman speaking Danish through an intercom. I didn't understand anything (I'm taking Danish this semester... still learning!) except for "Velkommen til Norge!" We hurriedly got ready and proceeded to the customs area into Oslo.
It was my first time in Oslo, let alone Norway, and I have to say that I was blown away. We were blessed with incredibly sunny weather! Oslo is beautiful in that it is a city that truly embraces it's position in relation to the water. The city consists of a harbor and is very industrial-chic. Although there is an industrial vibe, the further we went into the city, we realized that there was still a hint of traditional architecture - it still had castles and such. One of the most interesting things we saw was the Oslo Opera House.
The construction replicates an iceberg somewhat - The building is very flat and the front of the Opera House is entirely made of windows - so the reflection from the sun and ocean gave the building an icy blue color. There was an art piece floating in the water right beside the Opera House in the Oslo Harbor; It's titled "She Lies" and it's by Monica Bonvicini. The piece resembled an iceberg, and we sat at the edge of the Opera House for quite some time, simply appreciating the weather and sculpture. We quickly deduced that we would get to see the most if we participated in a "mini cruise" - it would take us around the Norwegian Fjords as well as take us around the city. The view from our boat was absolutely amazing. I can't really explain it, but I felt so at peace and the sound of the ocean and wind... It's a big change from the bustling movements and sounds of Philadelphia, Los Angeles or Seoul.
The trip back to Copenhagen was bittersweet - I wish I had more time to see more of Norway. Oslo had a very easy-going vibe to it. If I ever have the chance, I'd like to see more of the famos Fjords as well as visit the inland areas as well.
This study abroad experience is so incredible. As an international student and third culture kid, I have always appreciated traveling and learning about new places and cultures. Copenhagen has been a wonderful so far, and I am constantly trying to absorb as much as I can about Danish culture and lifestyle. I have always had this fantasy about Europe - It's been so foreign and almost magical to me. Traveling to Oslo this past weekend marks the beginning of my travels around Europe - this Friday I will be traveling to Barcelona, Spain and next weekend, I am off to Munich, Germany to experience Oktoberfest with my incredible friend from Seoul/high school (who know goes to school in Munich). I want to remember every single moment of these four months I have here in Copenhagen/Europe... I feel so anxious and worry that time will fly by - which it already has! I wish I could just attach a camera to my head so it could just continuously capture every moment, haha!
Until Next Time!