A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Tired of extended deadlines from my exam week, I randomly skipped my class on several weeks ago and escaped. After a weekend sight-seeing, I came back with 100% energy and happiness and continued my normal school life (as if I did not skip class to travel abroad lol). I enjoyed myself to the utmost. Meeting and talking with interesting people, exploring local culture, and checking out the country of fairy tales, I realized that life is not all about passing exams and trying to get good grades. (Plus, my dream came true before my 20th birthday: I have already been to 10 foreign countries!!) There are so many things waiting ahead for us to discover, so why not take a break from time to time?
Schiphol was already getting Christmassy at the beginning of November. I really love the decorations! Since I had a very important presentation the week after, I brought my readings and notes with me. I’m not really that much of a bad student, right? 😉
It was already dark when I arrived at the hostel. The tenants were mainly young people; I met many interesting people; for example, office lady from China (yaaay) who works in the Middle East, artist from Brazil who studies in London, musician from Uruguay who works in Berlin, and even someone from Libya! Never had I thought in my life that I would one day talk to someone from Libya.
It was not very difficult to walk from my hostel to the National Art Gallery. Ahh no, let’s do the Danish way: Statens Museum for Kunst.
This is such an awesome museum! At first I had doubts about it, because since I visited the Modern Art Museum in Frankfurt, Beijing, Shanghai, and Stockholm, I kind of set this tradition for myself that I need to visit the local modern art museum(s) wherever I go. However, the two modern art museums in Copenhagen are waaaaaay tooooooo faaaaaaaar from the city center. I only had one day for sight seeing so I gave it up. But I have to say I was in love with the national art gallery! I saw many famous paintings and sculptures, dating back to the 13th Century. I admit I am very poorly informed about art and I only know famous painters, but I was super duper excited seeing Pablo Picasso’s artwork and Rembrandt van Rijn’s portraits! And and and and the museum provides a room for visitors to sketch! The outstandings artworks were even made into publications.
My friend who visited Copenhagen before told me that it only takes around 10 minutes to get to the statue of Den Lille Havfrue (the little mermaid) from the city center. However, I overestimated my sense of directions and also how not athletic I was. It took me two hours, and I was basically screaming of excitement when I finally smelled the sea. Trust me, this sea, is much better than the one in The Hague. (Het spijt me, Nederland.)
What attracted me was not the Little Mermaid, I did not even see it at the beginning. The port was really beautiful. The water was super clean and clear. O Mother Nature!
And then, I slowly walked to the Design Museum of Denmark. Yes! Modern art again! My last destination in Copenhagen was the Round Tower. I asked a passer-by on the street (I know it’s creepy but); she highly recommended the Round Tower, because it would be fun to climb up the tower and have an “overview” of Copenhagen. It was a good exercise and much fun to climb up the tower which had no staircases but slopes. Standing on the top the tower and looking over Copenhagen in the evening, I felt as if I was dreaming a romantic dream. It was breathtaking (I mean both the climb and the view). When I got back to the hostel and started having my 7-11 dinner, I! MET! SOMEONE! FROM! MY! COLLEGE! We were both really surprised that we could coincidentally meet in another country, without even knowing each other’s weekend plans beforehand. This totally makes my trip more fabulous!
Although I only spent a weekend there in Copenhagen, I already fell in love with the land of fairy tales. Well, don’t blame me, I’m always easily in love with a foreign city or country 🙂
Just a short tip before I make an end for this blog post: a Copenhagen card is a nice deal if you plan to take the public transport frequently and visit a lot of museums. Back to homework, ciao for now!
—-by Xueyan Xing, coming all the way from China, studying at Leiden University College The Hague