The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
- Saint Augustine

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jeg spiser aldrig smagt leverpostej

It's been a while.

Although I have to privilege of being here a month before my school actually begins- the Danish Language course has slowly, but surely been killing me. Tomorrow is my final written exam and then Thursday is the oral portion. Goodie. I've been "lightweight" studying (to use a bay area term) and now taking a break to update. Here's what I have in Danish so far.

Jeg hedder Casey. Jeg 20 ar gammel. Jeg kommer fra en ille by i staten California i USA. Det hedder Pleasanton. Jeg bor pa Tietgen Kolliguim pa Amager Jeg studerer. Jeg gar pa universitetet. Hjemme i USA, studerer jeg litteratur, men her, i Danmark, studerer jeg engelsk. Jeg skal vaere her i et semester. Jeg elsker chokolade. Jeg kan ikke fordrage lakrids. Jeg spiser aldrig smagt leverpostej.

Aha! See, I am ready for the real Danish world- I can tell them I love chocolate, detest licorice, and have never tried lever postej.

The Glyptotek Museum:
Going back a bit- last Wednesday I went to the Glyptotek Museum. Founded by Carlsberg himself. Below is "The Winter Garden". Ah yes, how quaint.

Don't tell me you don't know Carlsberg!!! Not knowing him is almost as bad as not knowing who Hans Christian Anderson is here. Carlsberg had a monopoly on the brewing industry and made Copenhagen a profitable city. Just to show you how much the Danes love him, Tietgen Kolliguim was funded by his fortune and we have a fridge filled with Carlsberg beer in every hall.
I'm not joking.

The museum was originally opened to house his private collection but then built to hold masterpieces and statues on tour. It was awesome.

The best part (although I may be slightly biased) was the Ancient Egyptian Exhibit. I showed off my knowledge of hieroglyphics shamelessly and was actually able to decipher some of the tombs.
This one is a cartouche (a name plate) for Seth (or Sth- pronouced "Se-teck") God of chaos. The inscription reads from top to bottom, right to left: nn b3 R' Sth or Under the Sun of Ra, Seth.

The mummies were pretty boss as well.

and later than night...

The Metro Party:
Oh yes. That's correct. There was a party. On the metro. They set up speakers, and a DJ table on a commandeered train. People rode the train back and forth the length of the track (about 30 minutes from one end to the other) and the DJ switched at each length.

Pretty Radical. Except for the fact that there was no ventilation, an amount of people that far exceeded the safety limit and vaguely intoxicated gentlemen and ladies who had to lurch forward and backward at every stop. Good idea in theory though.

The Boots:
I decided to splurge and order Hunter rain boots (as Cosmo advised me) and they arrived last week for the rainy season in Denmark (try to guess when that is- whatever you guess, you'll always be right)
Unfortunately, when ordering, I got a little too excited that they had shoes in large sizes and purchased them nearly two sizes too big.
Sent them back for a different size but they are in aubergine (purple for those of you who are not snobs) but here's a picture of them on!

(Appreciate for a moment: #1 How far I am away from the computer when this picture was taken. # 2 How I am standing on a chair. #3 How I managed to get into this position in less than 3 seconds. #4 How I still managed to pop my knee. Not bad eh?)

The Roommates:
Are wonderful. They have been making me feel so at home. Including me in family dinners, going to amusement parks and helping me with small things around the city.

Side note- perhaps the funniest thing in the world is when people attempt to express themselves in a foreign language when under stress. Yesterday at Tivoli, an AWESOME amusement park in the heart of the city (no camera that day) Ben- in the lower right- hates roller coasters, but Tone and Astrid (lovingly) bullied him into going. Right as we were approaching the first dip- he turned to me and says "I sink... I sink... I am terrified, Casey" and then proceeded to yell the entire ride in incoherent american swear words. I have never laughed so hard in my life.

They, quite preciously, cannot understand the meaning of gluten, but are wholeheartedly trying.

Last Thursday, we all made the indian dish "butter chicken" with turkey because I couldn't ready the label in the supermarket.
Below is Tone, Astrid and Ben (Mariam is out of the photo) sitting down to eat.
The next night, Asger, another roommate, prepared a huge dinner for the nine of us consisting of steak, caramelized potatoes, beets and yams, strawberry vinaigrette salad and homemade maple and walnut ice cream for dessert to welcome me to the hall. 
Incase I haven't mentioned before- the Danes love their cooking. 
Every night they are in the kitchen making 3 to 4 course meals for themselves, taking their time and enjoying the recipes. 
Below is Asger slicing the meat

The Gays:
 Copenhagen, although once progressive in their gay rights activism, is actually a little behind the times. Although there is a prominent gay district and civil unions are legal, gay marriage is not yet legalized. 
They still know how to put on a good parade, especially on a sunny day.
"Don't be a drag, just be a queen"
A few Liza Minnelli's are dancing below. 

The Trip:
I am leaving on Saturday for my first "Euro-trip" A-WOOHOO!
I will be flying out of Copenhagen to Vienna, where I will stay for three nights. Then bus to Salzburg for two nights (Sound of Music tour anyone?) flying to Berlin on Thursday morning, staying there for three nights and then bussing back on Sunday before our classes start that week.

My partner is crime: a Miss Brittany Beesson.  Watch out Vienna, here we come!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Edward Sharp on Point and Bittersweet Sweden

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. As lame as it may be to see an American band in a foreign country, there was nothing remotely lame about this concert. It was awesome.

I was realizing that it had been a while since I had seen a real band, I was just used to seeing DJs (no offense to a certain someone) who, while they do perform music, are not necessarily creating their music on the spot. When you watch a live concert there is something special that the audience contributes, and I could feel that in this venue.

First of all, the lead singer, Alex Ebert's constant supply of weirdness and energy kept the crowd going, at one point he said, "I think I'd like to get a little closer" and calmly walked off stage into the crowd next to us and sat down. The entire venue sat down with him as he sang the song "Brother" campfire style. You could tell the base player on stage was shaking his head going, "Damn, Alex does it again."

Over all a wonderfully successful concert, and biking home from the venue in the rain my two friends and I couldn't stop singing "Home, yes I am home, home is where ever I'm with you..."

Then bright and early the next morning it was time for Sweden.

We took the train to Malmo, only about a 30 minute ride over the bridge, and only once we walked off did we remember we didn't have a plan. We all look at each other. "Wander?" "Yeah, wandering sounds good." So we did. Here is a picture of a charmingly deserted Swedish street:

We wandered around some quiet Sunday morning corners until we came across a church. Saint Peter's Church (built in the 1300s) that was holding 11 o'clock mass. We were allowed in, just as the choir began singing. I have never been a religious person, but for some reason standing in the back of this temple, with the candles alight, with angelic voices thundering through the arched ceilings and the cardinal seated in his throne, filled me with awe. To know that this exact same ritual has been performed for centuries every Sunday made me feel that I was a part of a beautiful tradition and history, even if it was just for a moment. By far the highlight of my weekend. We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but if you ever have the chance, Saint Peter's Church was truly jaw dropping. 

There is no way but to sound materialistic from here on out. Yes, we went shopping too!

We wandered more, through parks and malls and the harbor, and when the day was coming to a close we were all happy to take the train "home". My friend Brittany and I at a park in Malmo:

This may be one of the first times when we were out that people asked us for directions. We helped three old couples with bus passes and a darling tweed gentlemen with the "beep screen" (as he called it). When I was out for a run the other day, some woman stopped me to ask where the botanical gardens were. Although my first reaction was to say, "There are botanical gardens near here?? Where? I wanna come!" I respectfully told her I didn't know. Then I realized something: Did we look like we knew what we were doing??? Sweet!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gluten Free Gluttony

Chocolate is the answer.  Who cares what the question is.  ~Author Unknown

Holy Garbanzo beans, Batman, a chocolate cake without flour? How did she do it this time!

So yesterday "Jeg er laekkersulten" (I had a sweet-tooth) and wanted to bake.

I found a recipe for (stay with me here) a garbanzo bean flour-less chocolate cake, that is high in protein but completely dairy and gluten free. Stop drooling already. (If you are drooling from that description there is something wrong with your salivary glands)

But to my delightful surprise it turned out phenomenally! It was by far the cheapest, easiest and universally pleasing cake I've tried- a little dry (might add some butter next time) but then with a cream cheese frosting (or even whipped cream) it was awesome.

The recipe is here:


  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. Place the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds after the first minute, until chocolate is melted and smooth. If you have a powerful microwave, reduce the power to 50 percent.
  3. Combine the beans and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the sugar and the baking powder, and pulse to blend. Pour in the melted chocolate and blend until smooth, scraping down the corners to make sure chocolate is completely mixed. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. 

My differences:
Fun fact, in Denmark they don't sell chocolate chips. You have to buy chocolate bars and break then up. I used two bars of dark chocolate and 1 bar milk.
Also- they weight their food. Weird right? But I weighted out 96 grams of sugar all right, and eyeballed the baking powder amount and it still turned out great :)
I also found it was better when chilled in the freezer instead of hot out of the oven, like a torte. 
Also because I used garbanzo beans instead of crazy expensive gluten free flour so it came out to about 20 kroner or $4 for the entire cake. 

Gluten free college girls beware of this delicious confection. Even my danish pastry loving danish flatmates gave me the thumbs up on this one. 

As it came out of the oven, I was so excited that it baked all the way through and didn't go flat or run over the pan or get gray or develop a tumor (it's been known to happen) that I ran to go get my camera. Asger, my flatmate, asks "Is this your first cake or something?" It just goes to show you how rarely something gluten free actually turns out.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Scarfing Books

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.  ~Jorge Luis Borges

When Jorge Luis Borges thought of Paradise, he was most likely referring to the Danish Royal Library. 
The halo lighting a direct reference to Nirvana. 

To me the Danish Royal Library was the perfect example of the joyful disconnect between modern and historical architecture.
The new portion of the building, referred to as "The Black Diamond" was added in the 1970s onto the already standing brick building that held the King's book collection. The architects who won the design competition went almost completely against historical protocol. The walls are glass, opening up the library instead of keeping it enclosed and isolated like most libraries were the time. When walking though the new portion back towards the old, there is a section of the wall that goes from modern concrete to endearingly deteriorating brick, trying to bridge the gap between the old world and the new.

The juxtaposition (that's right, SAT word) of the two styles of architecture in the same building made it clear to me that Copenhagen is truly progressive, yet does not forget to appreciate its history. 

My favorite part, was the books. Below is the old catalogue room, the record of each book taken out with its respective calling cards. 
On the tour (yes, we went on a tour, I like tours as much as I like going to the dentist. I hate it, but afterward, I'm glad I went) our guide took us to the Reserves where some of the books are stored until they are checked out. This section was built in the 1800s. It smelled of old books and reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast. This would be my heaven. 

So, the title. I didn't eat a book. I made a play on words- just like I'm making a scarf. 

Like I said in my profile, I knit. I used to be mildly ashamed of it since I also like tea, scrabble, reading and going to bed early, which makes me about 90 years old. But ever since I've been commissioned to make hats, socks, sweaters, headbands and make-up bags, suddenly knitting seems like more of specialized skill that could have me exempt from things (like maybe the army?!)

Besides, look how cool knitting can make you:

Ah, my hero. 

So I set out on a knitting quest (like my friend "Gold Threads" seems to be) with a map and a few addresses to find the perfect yarn for my first Danish knitting project.

I chose a scarf pattern that was simple, warm, with a little somethin' somethin' with some super soft alpaca yarn. 

So I'm about to pop in a nice chick flick (I was thinking Scarface?) and get to it. I'll be obnoxious and add photos of it's progress as well.

A closing quote about knitting:
Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence.  Of course, superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage.  ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bikes, Braids and Bratwursts

The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.  ~Christopher Morley

Perhaps Christopher Morley is correct. If that were the case, I'd have some competition in Copenhagen in the writing game. After the hassle of looking for DAYS walking around aimlessly for HOURS and MILES to go from one overpriced bike store to another, my two friends and I wandered into a small bike store off the main drag of Norrebrogade- the second hand area of town. 

The store couldn't have been bigger than twenty square feet. Upon entering it I was sure it existed only in Harry Potter world- it was too perfect to be walked by so often- it had to somehow have been hidden to the untrained eye.
Also, disclaimer: I know nothing about bikes
I know they should have a chain and a break and that's about it. I was fully prepared to get ripped off. 
A kind Iranian man and his son help us. "This one just came in, it's about your size." I was skeptical because it was the lowest price in the store. I think the canary yellow sent some people in flight. But I took it out for a spin just to see. It was perfect. Road wheels, good breaks, seat adjusted to my height, three gears, a place in the back for my bags and a bell. I was used to American bikes from Costco whose tires stayed full for half a mile and whose gears caught with each revolve. Europeans know bikes.
I bought a heavy duty lock, front and back lights and a bike all for 850 DKK or about $170. Not too bad.
The ride back was pretty "poetical" if you will (Morley was on to something- this could also be that bikes are the only form of transportation those in literature can afford)

After the literary and physical stimulation I locked up my new prize in the bike room of my building just as the fat drops started to hit the pavement. A thunderstorm brewed. Up in my room, my housemates helped me create what I like to call "The Danish 'Do"- two braids on either side of the head with the ends gathered and pinned at the top. I could be mistaken for a Dane yet! (Either that or Princess Leia- there certainly are enough "Hans'" here- or even Zuzu from It's a Wonderful Life -compare for yourself below)

Lastly, I went to Stella Polaris yesterday afternoon. Stella Polaris is a free outdoor electronic music festival that is considered the "Chillest" Danish festival.
In the queen's park just off one of the main Metro stop a good 2000 people were lounging on bean bag cushions set up around the park, eating their picnics, drinking beer and listening to DJs. The headliner was "Moby" an electronic producer/ artist. He opted for a more relaxed line up for the out door setting but still put on a pretty good show. 

At the concert with puffy white clouds. Who'd think those sweet little clouds will turn black and shoot lightening by the next afternoon?

Time for noting a Danish cultural phenomenon: Public Drinking
In America this means bad news. Always. But that seems to be one of the strange things about Denmark- things just tend to "work out"

There is a level of trust that comes from the government when dealing with the people. They'll let you drink in public if you're smart about it. And they are. The entire day I didn't run into one drunken mess (although the wine and beer was plentiful) because people didn't see the need.

This same principle manifests in many other ways. People play by the rules here, whereas in America, it feels like we are always trying to get away with something. For example, the other day I was at a coffee shop and I went to put sugar and creamer in the drink. I saw they had my favorite creamer and (being a cheap American and a college student) I went "Score!" and went to grab five more to put in my purse. Then I stopped. No one else does that here. Suddenly I had a moral dilemma. Do I deplete this coffee shop's creamer supply or grow a pair and go buy my own? This had never been a question before in Santa Cruz, where some bum is trying to make hot chocolate out of his free hot water and chocolate spice next to you. He's mooching so why can't I?
The same goes for almost everything. Danes don't cut in line. They don't jay-walk. Ever. If someone is jay-walking they are a foreigner. Even in a deserted street, you wait for the green walking man. It's that serious. 
My friend and I were talking about the differences in government policies here, and we discovered this golden rule

"In Denmark it's all about maximum pleasure, in American, it's minimum pain" 

The Danes are provided with everything to be comfortable but very few things to rise above to the top. Where as in America, they only help you to minimize you're discomfort- meaning you have to be in pain to begin with. Which is better?

Anyways, drinking in public is legal. 

Therefore I thought it only fitting to experience Stella Polaris the way that the locals do, with a piping hot Bratwurst and a mojito. It was a great Sunday.

(A side apology to my parent- I am both drinking alcohol AND eating red meat- I believe it's time to tell you, Monk-hood is not in my future)

And ANY time a Bratwurst is mentioned... I had to link the clip- go to 30 seconds in

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Packing light is not all that it's cracked up to be. Kind of like "Light" whipped cream. When it comes down to it, you really just should have gone with gluttony.

I didn't pack any of my comfort things. I was hair-drying myself dry out of the shower. Seriously.

So today I went to the equivalent of a Walmart in Denmark for some items and a beautiful kind of Pottery Barn to look around. Got myself the essentials plus some other things that can only improve my happiness (such as chocolate and a seriously Scandinavian looking dress) here is a myspace picture with my newly decorated bed, the essential towels and the new ensemble.
Although I am throughly disappointed in myself for not going to IKEA, I think this will do. (By the way, it took me about thirty shots before I could get all three things in the photo...I highly suggest doing a solo photoshoot- it makes you feel super cool. Please note the sarcasm)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Four Grocery Stores and Sunshine

To truly understand fine European cuisine you must experience the bliss of an outdoor cafe basking in the warm glow of the northern sun. I wouldn't know since I'm a college student. But today I made a mission of seeing which grocery store I like best/ had the best options to prepare a meal in the sunshine and try to recreate the moment.

Netto- so very close to my house and inexpensive. Fairly well stocked and clean but still sparse, about the size of a large gas station

Superbrugsen- very scattered but more items. Interesting to note that in Europe the shelves are mostly bare expect for about two things of each item. Surprisingly had gluten free pasta and cookies! Finally! (no testament to how they taste however)

Fatka- this is when I truly began to appreciate American grocery stores. This place looked like Walmarts backstock.

Coop- Expensive healthy foods but by far the best atmosphere, music and most clean. Freaking delicious chocolate covered brazil nuts. I feel a new addiction brewing.

By far my favorite snack of the day and made me feel particularly European was my first purchase of "Cocio" chocolate milk in a glass jar. It may have been a drink for little kids but after wandering around to get my id card for two hours this little chilled pick me up did the trick (behind it is Copenhagen City Hall)
As mentioned before I went to pick up my ID card at the international office at University of Copenhagen and it was so rad! Proof

This library got me so literarily inspired (although I wasn't allowed in- it felt like library of congress) that I went to a book store and picked up some light reading. Ya know... Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, (Which is friggin' boss by the way. Dagny Taggart gets shit done and "Who is John Galt?") The guy at the bookstore laughed at me at the length. I politely replied "Yah, just finished War and Peace, I'm on a roll."

And finally, as for the spoiler alert in the title it WAS BEAUTIFUL AND SUNNY today (for 16 hours)
and I came home to this ... 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Design Porn's Full Scale Fantasy: Tietgen Kollegiet

I know for a fact that were I live would make every person in Haley’s architecture or design class drool, even the hipsters.

Tietgen Kollegiet, built it 2007 is the most modern, innovate, eco friendly and (watch out this is going to be a technical term) FRIGGIN’ AWESOME place I have ever seen.
I thought places like this only existed in The Selby (it’s some obscure website- you’ve probably never heard of it... but just to spite the hipsters it's linked here)
Every space in my room is utilized to its full potential: Storage space with proper ventilation from floor to ceiling: A toilet that has two different flush levels for… various things: purple curtains, bulletin boards AND a complementary helmet for when I get a bike.

The common space looks like a spread out of design porn mixed with pottery barn, cozy yet functional. Everything has it’s purpose- the sub-zero stainless steel fridges, the recycling, the mixing bowls, lights that turn off automatically every hour so they don’t get left on and elevator that “senses” your key card. (Never again will I make a dumb blonde joke)

A fun difference while grocery shopping: they make you pay 3DKK or about 75 cents every time you need a grocery bag, therefore everyone brings their own!