Easter was awesome.
After I got back from London, I spent a few days relaxing – and attempting to do homework but failing – before my friend Mel came to visit from France. She’s a student at UND and is currently abroad in Aix-en-Provence. I showed her around Moss on Friday.
On Saturday, we boarded the train bright and early and headed toward Gothenburg, Sweden. We were fortunate enough to be staying with a friend of mine named Matilda. She was an exchange student in the US for a year and went to my high school in Kearney. It was so cool being able to see someone from my hometown, that knew all the same people I did and I could talk to about this and that happening at home.
When we got into the station, Matilda met us at the platform. We dropped our bags off in the car and she showed us around the city. She said us she had to look things up to be prepared, and that it felt odd to be a tourist in her hometown. Gothenburg is a neat place with a lot of history.
We went to a neighborhood called Haga for lunch and ate at the well-known Cafe Husaren with GIANT CINNAMON ROLLS. I REPEAT GIANT CINNAMON ROLLS. I don’t even like cinnamon rolls that much, but seeing as they were larger than my head, I had to eat them. And it was worth it. They put sugar on top rather than frosting, which I thought was different but good.
Afterward we headed for Matilda’s house, where we met her parents and younger sister Hanna, who is doing an exchange year in Michigan starting in August. She’s really excited about it and we were trying to give her some advice on things, but we don’t know much about Michigan (lol sorry Hanna). Since it was the day before Easter, Matilda and her family were having an Easter dinner with some of their relatives. She invited us along, and we couldn’t say no to an opportunity like that. It turned out to be probably the best evening of my study abroad experience. The food was great – Swedish meatballs with jam, lamb, delicious potatoes, and two kinds of cake, plus Easter candy – and Matilda’s family was extremely kind. They made an effort to speak English the entire evening, from Matilda’s cousins to her grandmother, just so we would feel included. I don’t think I’ve felt so welcomed in all my time here in Europe, so thank you Matilda! I felt very blessed to have such a great friend to travel with and such a welcoming family to visit.
That evening, after we stuffed ourselves with great food, we sat down to talk. Matilda’s mom was asking Mel and I where we have traveled to, and I mentioned that I hadn’t been able to make it down to Denmark. She then proceeded to tell us we could take the car and drive down the next day. Copenhagen was only three hours away. We were all stunned. Matilda wasn’t sure if her mom was joking or not, but once we realized she was serious, we were ecstatic. Hanna, Matilda’s younger sister, hadn’t been to Copenhagen before either, so this was going to be a new experience for all of us.
We learned some Swedish while staying with Matilda. It was fun to compare it with Norwegian. In Norway we say “hei hei” but the Swedes say “hai hai.” That was hard to switch to. I also kept wanting to say “ha det” when I left stores, but they say something else I can’t remember. “Thank you” is basically the same though – “takk” and “tack.” It was cool to see that I could understand most Swedish signs though. Norwegians and Swedes are able to communicate with each other because their languages are so similar, and I picked up on that a bit.
We got up early the next morning for the land of some of my ancestors – Denmark! It was a fun car ride with music and conversation. As we drove along the coast, we could see Denmark on the other side of the water. That was kind of weird. We got to the bridge that connected the two countries and had to stop. Apparently the bridge was icy because of a cold spell and they wanted to make sure it was safe for drivers. We thought we might have to wait for a few hours, but we only waited for 45 minutes.
There were a lot of churches on the skyline as we drove into the city. Once we figured out parking, which was free because it was Sunday and a holiday, we walked toward Nyhavn, the iconic street with the canal through it. I loved walking down that street! We got a lot of great pictures and had lunch in one of the restaurants, looking out at the water and fun-colored buildings. It was a cold day, but that didn’t stop us from walking to see the Little Mermaid statue, walking through a fortress, or from getting ice cream before heading home. I got a scoop of ice cream on a waffle. Those are like my two favorite things in the world and together they make a delicious combo.
On the 17th, Matilda showed us around her home. We hiked up a little hill that had a great view of the waterways near her house, and we even walked down by boats that had been pulled out of the water for work on their hulls. After that, Matilda drove us into the city and we said goodbye. It was wonderful being able to see her and I am forever grateful for the amazing holiday we got to spent together.
Mel and I wandered around town while we waited for our train that evening. We had Swedish fika at the same cafe, this time sharing a giant cinnamon roll. We did some shopping too, and I bought a jean skirt. I’m on a roll with all the jean stuff. The train ride home was gorgeous and I don’t think I’ll ever get over the Swedish-Norwegian landscape. The train zipped past giant bodies of water, nestled into the tree-covered hills.
We made it home and relaxed. Mel was staying with me until the next weekend. Within the week she was here, I managed to slice my thumb open, have a lunch talk about UND with the Norwegians that are going there next year (I’m so excited!), celebrate Tess’s birthday, go to Oslo with Mel, Katie, and her friend Katlyn who was visiting, and have prom! It was a busy week, but well worth it.
Thanks for reading! The semester is coming to a close, so I don’t have many trips left. I’ll keep you all posted! I’ve been watching tons of videos on things to do in Iceland and I cannot wait to set food on that island.