Friday, 29 March 2013

The Physical Impossibility of a Non-Pretentious Damien Hirst Piece.

N.B: 10/10 if you understand the blogpost title! If not, do some basic Wikipeadia-ing of Damien Hirst and you'll soon be sorted. These titles are becoming more and more cryptic/obnoxious as my blog progresses. Oops.

Anyway, Esther Walker - wife of the esteemed Giles Coren and keen food-blogger - once wrote an article for The Times giving her advice on blogging, with the first of many tips that I didn't agree with, being 'Never Apologise For Not Blogging' followed by 'Blog Consistently or No-One Will Read Your Blog Ever' or something along those lines. Well Ms Walker, I am sorry that I have neither been consistent and am about to be rather apologetic for the former.

While my blogging in America and my follow-up of India were both frequent and interesting, my posts have during this last leg of my gap year have been neither, and for that I apologise! This trip is running away with me, and I am already two weeks from coming home. I know; 22,360 miles, 37 plane hours, 15 art galleries, 8 months, and numerous existential-crises later, I am just 15 days from being home for a sustained amount of time.

The commitment-phobe in me is screaming loudly and frantically searching Easyjet's website for a holiday anywhere.

Though, truth be told, I am looking forward to home-based adventures, and to getting a Real Job in order to earn some money before moving up North at the end of September. As I type this, I am skimming through both my photos and blogposts from this year and wondering how I ended up here, and how, if you'd said to be this time last year that I would wind up living on my own in South-West Berlin to round off nearly 8 months of travelling, I would have made you take a drug-test and walk in a straight line, for fear of you being rather, well, let's just say 'no with it' and be done with my point.

In NY Carlsberg Glyptotek which I would also recommend!

I had a fantastic last week in Roskilde, and the inner art-fan-girl in me had a phenomenal last few days in Denmark as I explored the NY Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum/Gallery, the Arken Gallery, and Louisiana, all on the Zealand island. Last year, I really started to enjoy art, much more than I had previously, and I discovered my love for Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Judy Chicago, Louise Bourgeios, just to name a few. I have tried to encorporate as much art into my travels as I can, and often I've wandered haplessly into an exhibition hall without even realising it.

I hadn't heard of the 'Arken Gallery' until Hanne and Mogens (the very kind, very lovely, very Danish friends whom I stayed with - a shout out to you both, thank you!) mentioned it over dinner last Tuesday, and mentioned in passing that there lies, in said gallery, the biggest collection of Damien Hirst in Northern Europe, due to a recent donation. A tear or two may have been shed at the suggestion that we go later in the week, and I was so utterly impressed with the collection. Having been to, and fallen in love with, his retrospective at the Tate Modern last Spring (almost a year to the date) I was really lucky to see his work again, including some pieces that I'd never heard of.

While it is a bit in the middle of nowhere, I would absolutely recommend this gallery! The other collections (including the current exhibition on Carl Henning-Persden and their permanent exhibitions featuring Grayson Perry  amongst others) are brilliant too, and entrance costs just 95DK (£10). I may have taken a few sneaky photos but shhh, let's not tell the gallery(ies).

Just a little bit excited about the Grayson Perry tapestry..
My formaldehyde friends - 'Love's Paradox (Surrender or Autonomy, Seperateness as a Precondition for Connection)'

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

"There's [Nothing] Rotten in the State of Denmark"

I just wanted to quickly add photos of our (mine and Lucy's!) time in Roskilde as I wanted to give this town its dues, even if three of our days together were spent indoors watching the snow, cooking, eating ice cream, and watching SATC in bed. It's a beautiful town with a fabulous Cathedral and Viking Museum, and all the crazy amenities a town could want - with brilliant transport links to Copenhagen and thus to the rest of Denmark and to Sweden too. I needed this week to really relax as I found myself 'coming down' after the high of my crazy gap year and Lucy was the best ever person to hang out with in this if-a-little-too-cold-and-snowy haven. Photos below are pretty self explanatory.

It did clear up after a while, promise!
Lucy graces my blog wearing her FABULOUS Sarah Lund style jumper whilst writing her name in runes.

The frozen fjord (which melted before I left) was one of my favourite places to walk by - very serene.

Excitable undergrad puppy enjoying the snow.
Before we sat by and then discovered (in that order) a very dead, very fat seagull.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Copenhagen/It's A Cure All Too.

So, my third and final gap year trip has commenced and I have found myself in Denmark - on the Zealand island, in Roskilde, to be precise. I am just a half hour train journey from Copenhagen and am learning to call the snow, the gorgeous people, and the near-death experiences with bikes home.

Copenhagen is the threes Cs: clean, character-full, and classy. All over. It’s exactly what the postcards suggest; a biking, foody, time-captured city with the most beautiful buildings and people to match. Lucy (full time Theology student at Leeds, part-time writer at Diva and my partner in crime) is visting from home for a week while we house-sit in Roskilde, and together we’ve been losing ourselves – quite literally – in Denmark’s capital city.

Blog, meet Lucy. Lucy, meet the internet.

Copenhagen has much to offer tourists, including a fabulous aray of museums and art galleries, shops, and lots of sight-seeing themed around 'The Killing' and Sarah Lund's fabulous jumpers. It is cold at the moment, and the cold season can last up to mid-May, so while Springtime is more the low season for tourists thus making it more attractive, wrap up warm and don the hat, gloves and scarf combo.

Already we have spent hours just walking around the city and looking at the architecture, while diving intermittently into coffee shops and bars to warm ourselves up, and this is most certainly a 'Look Up' kind of place. For the most aesthetically pleasing, you may want to head over to Nyhavn (translates as 'new harbour' - the Danes are very blatant) for the most colourful houses. The canal is lined with both restaurants and boat trips, both of which were heaving despite the sub zero temperatures. 

When in Copenhagen, do make sure to visit Rundtaaran, the city's answer to the Eiffel Tower, which gives you a bird eye's view of the skyline and across to Sweden for a mere 25kr. Furthermore, don't waste your energy walking to the Little Mermaid. I know, I know, and for this I am sorry, but do go for a drink in Norrebro or into Christiania for an alternative afternoon and skip this attraction - I think the bus loads of disappointed tourists we saw would agree. Do visit Christianborg Slot, and wander into Ameliaborg (the Queen's winter residence) to watch the changing of the guards. And finally, do take a free visit into Fredrik's Church for a bit of Theology-themed-sight-seeing.

Fredrik's Church - free viewing inside.
Lucy fangirling over the government building that 'FEATURED IN THE KILLING!' (that was me imitating Lucy's screeching..)

We took Copenhagen by storm, using the trains from Roskilde to get into the city. I have been very shocked  at the price of living here, and while Scandinavia is one of my favourite places (gay equality! Female prime minister! A minimum wage nearly triple the UK's! I could go on!) the cost of a coffee may set you back over £5 and the train fare was no mean feat either. I would definitely take that into account because, while Denmark has been a lot of fun, the cost is not wonderful for students on a budget. I'm not surprised that these cities are omitted on the interrailing trail...but overall, Copenhagen's attractions, pastries, and open-faced sandwiches get a big thumbs up from us. But a thumbs down from our wallets.

Horsing around in Churchill Parken.

Sorry Mermaid, but you get a big thumbs down from us.