Once again Denmark has been named the happiest nation in the world… guess I studied abroad in the right place! A few things that I have gotten to do in Denmark that are truley remarkable include seeing the Little Mermaid sculpture on her 100th birthday:
And enjoying a Danish tradition of jumping into the 17 degree Celsius harbor water. Glad I took advantage of that because the harbor is already closed because of danger to health when it is too cold outside.
A lot has happened here for me since I last blogged, so I have a lot of filling you in to do. For starters, I have gone twice to Sweden through study tours provided by my program. The first trip was to Jonstrop, Sweden. First impressions were that it is similar to Denmark in many ways, but very different from Copenhagen. Jonstrop was more of a small rural town. I had the opportunity to canoe on the Ronne, which was really incredible. I love to canoe, and I do it all the time when I am back home. Here there were more plants lining the waters edge, and unlike Tennessee, I saw no mountains. It was very flat.
Everything was so green and clean. It was incredible to watch the landscape while canoeing change from rural, to neighborhood, and finally to park. After canoeing my group went on a hike at Nimis. Nimis is a driftwood structure on the Kullaberg Peninsula started by Lars Vilks 27 years ago. The Kullaberg Peninsula is part of a preserved area in Sweden. I have never seen anything like the sculpture. We were able to climb up inside driftwood tunnels high up into the air and then back down to the coast of the Baltic Sea. I would never have heard of this part of Sweden without enrolling in the optional study tour, so I am so glad that I did it.
My final adventure on this study tour was repelling of the side of a cliff on the Kullaberg Peninsula. Just a little information about me I’m pretty afraid of heights. Not terrified, but I avoid them. Anyway I conquered the big and the small cliff at Kullaberg, so that was an incredible experience. To be honest it was really scary going down the big cliff. I kept thinking I was at the bottom and then I looked down (bad bad idea) and I was no where near. I don’t have very epic pictures of the big cliff because it was too dangerous for someone to lean over and take a picture so these are from on the small cliff. Just imagine triple that or so!
So my second trip to Sweden was less adventurous and more academic. But not less exciting! The highlights were learning about Swedish renewable energy. In Sweden, the company Sysav that is responsible for most of the trash in Sweden only puts 2% of their trash in landfills. The rest is either incinerated and then used for electricity in homes or it is burned for biogas to fuel public transportation. Sysav is a hybrid company as it was explained to us. It is partially an independent company, but also partially run by the state. Just a few interesting tidbits from my study tour that I thought were worth sharing. Looking forward to this weekend to be spent in Amsterdam! Cannot wait to let you know all about my time there.