Monday, June 18, 2018

Day 14 - Train to Copenhagen (JR)

     Greetings from Denmark! Two weeks and 233, 832 steps in; I have reached my third Scandinavian country! Today, we got up early to catch our five hour train from Stockholm to Copenhagen. We arrived at our hostel at 2 pm. The girls and I went out to find something to eat, went to the grocery store, and then took a nap after getting back. It is now 8:20 pm, and I am still tired. However, I need to finish this blog post and catch up on the others so the rest of the week will run smoothly.

6:00 am My first alarm went off but I was up off and on all night because I was concentrated on not getting downstairs late to leave for the train. 

6:30 am I got up, took a shower, and got dressed.

7:11 am Chloe and I left the room to head downstairs. 

7:30 am The group left the hostel and arrived at the train station at 7:45 am. We were given fifteen minutes to go find something to eat if someone did not eat at the hostel.

 8 am We went to our train platform/gate and the train arrived at 8:10 am and pulled off at 8:17 am.
Copenhagen Station

     I got on the train and realized that my seat was backwards but I did not think it would be a big deal. I had a good amount of leg room and I was pretty comfortable until the train started moving, lol. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, I began to feel sick riding against the direction of the train. I tried to fall asleep, but I could not. I sat in my seat for about forty-five more minutes and then I turned face forward in my seat to see if it would help.

     Dr. White was sitting next to me and was uncomfortable as well and told me that the Bistro car was more comfortable to ride in because he left earlier in the ride to find a forward facing seat. Two more stops after that, I moved to the Bistro car while the train was not in motion. I stayed in the Bistro car for about an hour and forty-five minutes to the Malmo Station. I bought some chips and salsa. Although that was not our initial station, our train was having technical difficulties so we had to change trains at that station.

     When we arrived at the Malmo Station and got to our train platform, it seemed as if the whole station was getting on the train to Copenhagen. When we got on the train, there were only a couple of seats available. I sat down at the closest seat to where I am standing to get out of the way and make more room for those who are still boarding. After everyone boarded the train which was filled to capacity, (we were packed in there like sardines) there was about a two minute delay before the train started moving. I quickly realized that I was sitting backwards AGAIN. *face palm emoji* 

     We had four or five stops until we reached Copenhagen but the ride was about thirty-five minutes. I was more preoccupied this time because I was thinking about how I managed to end up sitting backwards again. I was hungry and ready to take a nap. We reached the Copenhagen station and walked fifteen minutes to our hostel. We got our room cards and had a twenty minute break before orientation in the lobby.

     After the orientation, the girls and I went to go find something to eat. We ended up going to a inexpensive restaurant and I ordered pizza. I told myself that in Denmark, I would not order burgers or fries. Although, Chloe gave me a couple of hers -- I did not order them. That is what is important but, I will see how that goes, lol, with every other restaurant on the street being a burger place. In Germany, I will see if I can go without ordering pizza.

     Anyways, we went to a grocery store after our meal to see what snacks were offered. We came back to the hostel and all of us fell asleep. We woke up around 8:00 pm. We decided to get out of the room for a bit and explore the hostel. We ended up going to the basement and playing ping pong and then we played Kala upstairs in the bar area. Ev and I went to 7-Eleven after the game to find a snack since we did not get anything from the grocery store. I got a water and a small chicken taquito.

     We got back to the hostel and I took a shower and started back on my blog. It is currently 2:37am and I done, but I will add the pictures tomorrow so that I can try to go to sleep now that I finished with the writing portion. Good Night!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Day 11 - The Royal Palace (JR)

On Friday, the group spent a day at the Royal Palace. We explored the different attractions at the palace including the Royal Treasury and the Royal Apartments. After the girls and I  left the palace, we walked back towards the hostel and stopped at the mall. Chloe and I tried Max, a Swedish fast food chain for dinner. 

Vanilla Brownie Muffin
     On Friday, I had my alarm set for 7am but I pressed snooze and woke up later than I wanted to. I ended up leaving at 8:30am for my interview. The tram station was about a ten minute walk and then I had to wait a couple of minutes for my tram to arrive. When I got off at my station, I started walking towards the organization I was visiting, but the walk was about ten minutes and I was going to get there with about ten minutes to interview. I reached out to the director and let her know that I was running late, and then I reached back out to let her know that I was not going to make it. She told me that we could reschedule and do it over Skype next week.

     I  got back on the tram to head back to the hostel to meet the group to head to the palace for our 10:30am tour. I got off at the station closest to the hostel, grabbed a muffin at 7-Eleven, and realized that I needed to get back on the tram because I did not want to walk for forty minutes total to the hostel and then to the palace.  I got back on the tram, and walked six minutes to the palace. Dr. V was already there and the group arrived ten minutes later. 

     The tour of the Royal Apartments lasted an hour and then we walked around to see the rooms that the tour guide did not talk about during the tour. After the apartments, everyone split up because our tickets included three other attractions. The girls and I walked around the Royal Apartments for about thirty more minutes before heading to the Royal Treasury. 

     After finishing up everything we wanted to see, we headed back towards the hostel and stopped at the mall for smoothies. We walked around and Chloe and I found cookies and cream milkshakes. *face palm emoji* We sat down to rest before heading back to the hostel. Later on that night, Chloe and I went out to try Max since we had Hesburger in Finland. It was okay, but I preferred Hesburger.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Day 10- Startups and Maps (JR)

    I have been finishing my days pretty late over the past few days and I have been too tired to write my blogs. It is now Sunday, and I am going to catch up as much as I can today. On Thursday, I visited two startup organizations, went to the Changing of the Guard Ceremony,  had a mini photoshoot in Old Town, went souvenir shopping, and ended the day at a tapas bar with Chloe and MaryEllen. Speaking of bars, after taking my nap on Wednesday, the group went to an Ice Bar, which was really awesome! If you are wondering, I do not drink. :) When we got back, I ordered a sandwich from the cafe downstairs and the group played cards.

Mr. Simon

      I arrived at my first interview at 11:30am. I had about a thirty minute walk from my hostel. I met with Mr. Simon who is one of the cofounders of Sustainergies. He and his colleagues work out of one of the biggest innovative hubs and co-working spaces in Europe for impact entrepreneurs. The space had multiple levels, greenery everywhere, different styles of tables and chairs, a kitchen, a cafe in the lobby, big conference rooms, and more.

     After my meeting, I walked back towards the hostel and met up with the group as they were leaving to head to the palace. The Changing of Guard Ceremony lasted about thirty-five to forty minutes. It was really amazing to see the different aspects of the ceremony after learning about their monarchy during our Old Town tour. The Royal Band gave some HBCU bands a run for their money, they were doing different formations while riding horses. (lol) It was a really cool experience. 
Changing of Guards Ceremony

Inside of a souvenir shop
     After the ceremony, the group slit up. The girls decided to find something to eat and then go find places to take some pictures. We took some pictures first and then happened upon an alley of souvenir shops, at that moment lunch was put on hold. 

     We spent about an hour finding nice gifts. After the shopping, we took an ice cream break. I went to 7-Eleven because the gelato shops in Old Town had very fancy flavors and I am a cookies and cream type of girl. MaryEllen went to a ice cream place that made fresh waffle cones and the lady gave me a free sample. I put it in my cup to dress up my basic vanilla soft serve. 

      We took a few more pictures and headed back towards the hostel to find food. Ev tried this kabob place a day before and wanted it again so that is where we stopped for lunch. I ordered a chicken pita and fries. It was really good; I loved their sauces. We got back to the hostel and I rested for about fifteen minutes before having a meeting with Dr. V about my evening interview. 

     I had to ride the tram to this one and their system was more complicated than Helsinki. He gave me a paper map and showed me how their tram system worked.  I left at 5:25 pm to head to the tram station. It was not super difficult but I had to pay attention. After getting off at the right stop, I had Apple maps pulled up with the directions, but they kept changing.  I pulled up Google Maps and was able to go in the right direction because the university was huge. ( I had a map party.)

  Embarrassing story alert: The street where this organization was located went on forever and ever. After walking for some time, I thought I had reached the building where my interview was supposed to be. Well, I knocked a couple of times on the door and did not hear anything. I remembered in my messages that Mr. Erik told me to knock on the door. I stepped back and pulled out my paper map to see where I was in relation the tram station because I knew it was a straight shot once I got on the right street. I thought I remembered the building number, and I had the map pulled up on my phone so I was going off of memory. 

     Anyways, I did not see a police officer turn the corner and he asked me what building I was looking for and asked did I know this was a university campus. I answered yes and told him I did not know the name of the building, but I did have the organization's name. I pulled up my messages to show him and he was like the message says fifty-three and I looked up and I was at building thirty-five. We both started laughing and I said thank you and I kept walking further up the street to the correct building. (I can see my mom shaking her head right now. )
Mr. Erik

Tech Room
     I rang the door bell and a man came to open it for me. The man was also apart of the organization so he took me to Mr. Erik and my interview went well. The organization, Stockholm Makerspace,  is a place where artists can go to work on different projects. It was awesome how many different rooms they had for different types of art including a welding shop, a wood shop, a sewing room, a tech room with three 3D printers and a laser cutter. They even had a bio lab and a man was in their growing bacteria. Stockholm Makerspace was also in an incubation center which housed forty-five other startup companies. 

     After my interview, I got back on the tram and went back to the hostel. After some chill time, MaryEllen, Chloe, and I went out for a snack but everything was pretty much closed. We found a tapas bar and I had a quesadilla and shared fries with Chloe. I came back to the hostel, took a shower, attempted to start this blog, and fell asleep. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Day 9 - Vasamuseet (JR)

      Good Evening, it is currently 5:58pm! Yes, you read that correctly 5:58pm which means that I am writing my blog super early today. Today, I had my first interview in Stockholm and then the group explored the island of  Djurgarden where the Vasa war ship resides inside of the Vasamuseet. It is the most popular tourist attraction in all of Scandinavia.

Vasa Ship

5:31 am I woke up and realized what time it was and quickly went back to sleep. 

7:30 am I got up to get ready for breakfast. The girls and I decided to go at 8:15. I had two rolls and a piece of ham. 

9:12 am I came back to the room and went back to sleep because I had some time before my interview. 

11:45 am I got up to get ready for my interview at 1pm. I always meet my instructor thirty minutes before leaving to go over directions to my location.

12:45 pm  Chloe and I left the hostel to head to the hospital for my interview. I met with a nurse and the coordinator of the PAM, Psychiatric Acute Mobility ambulance. This ambulance is one of the first of its kind in the world as it is strictly for mental illness crises and debuted in 2015. I talked to Nurse Karlsson for about twenty minutes and headed back towards the hostel to meet the group to walk to the museum. Walking back, I stopped at the gas station and got a calzone. 

Nurse Karlsson

2:00 pm
We left the hostel and headed towards the museum. The walk took about forty-five minutes.

3:00 pm I went on a guided walking tour that lasted twenty-five minutes. After the tour, Chloe and I just walked around each floor to learn more about the ship. I learned that ninety-eight percent of the boat is original and it only sailed for about thirty minutes before sinking. It took 333
years for it to be saved. We walked around the museum for about two hours and got ice cream after leaving. It took about thirty-five minutes to walk back to the hostel. Now, I am really tired and will probably go get something to eat from the cafe downstairs in a little while after I take a nap.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Day 8 - Old Town (JR)

       Greetings from Sweden, it is currently 1:08 and I am not trying to maintain my Helsinki routine. Hopefully, I will be blogging earlier after tonight. Today, we ended our journey on Mariella and arrived in Stockholm! We took a bus to the hostel and then toured the big city. I must say I love the weather here and I can tell it will be much warmer than in Helsinki. 


     If you read the previous blog, you know that my morning was spent on the boat getting to Stockholm. I woke an hour early to get to a group meeting but my phone was still on Helsinki time, and I had two and a half hours left until we got to Stockholm. Getting off at the Stockholm port was very chaotic, there were people, luggage, and kids everywhere. It looked as if someone had a million dollars at the gate and everyone was trying to get to it first. 

     Upon arrival at the port, we boarded a bus. It took thirty minutes to get to the city bus station and the walk to our hostel was ten minutes. The hostel is very modern and artsy. The lobby is super cool and has a cafe and plenty of chairs and tables and is connected to a tattoo parlor and bar.  The rooms are bigger than the cabin last night so everyone is happy, lol. On a serious note, the rooms are very spacious and we have two bunk beds and a bathroom with a shower. 

     Check- in was at 3pm but we arrived around noon. After putting our belongings in the group luggage room, everyone received their per diem for the week and walked around to find some lunch. Chloe and I ended up going to an Italian restaurant which they seem to have a lot of them around town. We shared a pizza and headed back to the hostel to meet our group to head to our walking tours at 1pm. The boys took the city tour and the girls took the Old Town tour. 
Da Penne Due

     During the tour, we learned background history about Sweden and how Stockholm came to be the capital. Old Town had very beautiful buildings. We visited many cool landmarks, churches, squares, and more. We also learned about the nobility in Stockholm. We went to the Royal Palace and saw the Parliament building, and the prime minister of Sweden's place of residence. The tour lasted two hours and ended at the Stockholm harbor. 

     The tour guide was very interactive and knowledgeable about Stockholm's history and gave us the tour in miniature stories so that we could remember the history and monuments. The most memorable statue for me was "Iron Boy", he is the smallest statue in Stockholm. He is very important to the locals and  visitors because if you rub his head, it is known that many people become fertile after touching him. Because he is known to symbolize good luck, many people leave coins so that they are not just taking but also giving back to the statue. In the winter time, locals knit scares and a hat for Iron Boy. I took my picture and quickly walked away, I do not want that kind of luck right now!

Iron Boy
Thinnest alley in Stockholm

     After the tour, we went back to the hostel to check-in to our rooms. We had two hours before our Stockholm orientation. I think all of us fell asleep for a little bit.  After the orientation, the girls and I went out to grab some dinner. We went to another Italian restaurant and I ordered a chicken rigatoni pasta. It was pretty good. We walked back to the hostel after dinner and just relaxed in the room. Ev, MaryEllen and I went down to the sports and games night a couple of hours ago, but when we got down there, it had calmed down.  We just sat and talked for a while and then came back to the room. I took a shower and finished proofing my other blog. Now, I am headed to bed. Good Night!


Monday, June 11, 2018

Day 7 - Mariella (JR)

     There's going to be a two- in- one special today because I did not put this blog up yesterday. Good Morning, it is 8:00am. The girls and I woke up an hour early because our phones did not change time zones. We had a meeting at 8:30am but we actually came down at 7:30am. Anyways, now we are up and ready and have two and half more hours before we reach Stockholm. 

      *This is what I typed last night* It is currently 11:47 pm and I sitting next to the window on the seventh floor watching the waves and the sunset. Today, I washed clothes, packed, conducted my last interview, visited my last attractions, and boarded Mariella. We are headed to Stockholm and the cruise is fourteen hours long. All four girls are in one cabin and it is very tight but we will make it through the night. 

9:00am I met with Dr. V to go over directions to my last organization visit. After the meeting, I went to put my clothes in the dryer. I went back to my room to finish packing everything else. 

10:40 am My clothes were finally dry and I packed them up. 

 11:15 am We checked out and put our luggage in the luggage room. I left soon after to walk to the Sibelius monument with Chloe which was about a fifteen minute walk. We took some pictures and headed back quickly because I had to be at the hostel at 12:10 to get a metro card from Dr. V and get on the tram to make it to my last visit on time. It took thirty minutes to get to Save the Children Finland. I met with Mr. Max Holm and our meeting lasted an hour. It was very insightful and fun learning about the organization as a whole but even more interesting getting an international perspective as he worked in the communications department for the international side.

      After leaving Save the Children, Chloe and I rode the train to the Kamppi stop so that I could see the Kamppi Chapel.  After seeing the church, we walked to Ldli to get some snacks for the boat since we heard that it would be pretty expensive to eat on the boat. We walked back the hostel and met up with everyone else to leave for the Helsinki Port. We rode two trams and it probably took thirty minutes to arrive at the port. 

Inside Kamppi Chapel
Kamppi Chapel
     When we arrived, Dr. V checked us in and gave us our room cards. After receiving our cards, the girls realized that we were all in the same cabin. Nonetheless, we went through passport control and boarded the boat. We went to our cabin, put our stuff down, and went to explore what was on the boat. We walked around to a couple of levels and saw the restaurants, shops, and the club. Most of the places were closed and were opening once the boat left the port. 

     We went to the sky deck and took pictures up there. Since we had not left yet, we were able to see a great view of the city and the sea side of Helsinki. We stayed on the deck for about five minutes. We went back down to the sixth floor to sit at the cafe tables. Fifteen minutes later, I went back to the room to eat my chips and calzone from Ldli. 

The Girls Cabin

Helsinki Views from Sky Deck

Helsinki Views from Sky Deck

     After about an hour, we were trying to figure out what we were going to do while on the ship. Chloe, Ev, and I  saw the end of the magic show. When we all met back up, Ev told us about the spa right down the hall from our room and asked if anyone wanted to go. It was only eight Euros for  two hours which was a great deal. I went because there was really nothing else to do. We switched between the sauna and the jacuzzi. The sauna was a better experience than the sauna in Helsinki because it had levels and the second level was not as hot as the third level. 

Cruise Magic Show

     After we went back to the room and changed, we went upstairs to find something to eat. We ended up going to the least expensive restaurant on the boat as it was closing  in forty-five minutes and all that was going to be open was the coffee shop and bars. While at the restaurant, Chloe and MaryEllen saw us and came to sit with us. I ordered a burger medium well, but the waitress did not speak English very much. She said we have medium, medium plus, and well done. I assumed the medium plus was medium well, however; when my burger came it looked rare. I sent it back and received another one and newly cooked fries. 

Ocean Grille

     After dinner, the girls and I went down to the room; I took a shower. After the shower, we came back up to get some air and wifi. We stayed upstairs about an hour. I started on my blog but I only got to my introduction before getting tired. I was drained from the sauna and  watching the waves made me sleepy as well. We went back the room, arranged the room where everyone could somewhat get around and then went to sleep. I am glad that I was tired because otherwise, I would have been bored out of my mind. I got on the top bunk, set my alarm and fell asleep.