~ Abby Kristine Tisdale
2008 FNS May Seminar
The awaited day is finally here!
After all of the planning, preparation, and packing, we are finally headed to Europe! I
don’t think it will actually hit me until we get there.
Because I have never traveled internationally, I have no idea what to
expect. When I travel with my
family, our destination is always known – we know where we are going, what we
are doing, who we will see and where we will be staying.
However, this trip is definitely not the same!
Although we have a general itinerary, I am sure that there will be many
spur-of-the-moment plans as well!
There are many words to describe how I am feeling…excited, nervous, anxious,
happy, blessed – just to name a few!
I know that I have many family members and friends that would give
anything to be able to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip like this.
Therefore, I plan to take advantage of every great experience and
opportunity that comes to me in the next few weeks.
It is a huge change for me to travel without my family and I think that
it will be a great experience for me to gain a bit of independence, as well as
prove to myself that I can be spontaneous!
I am sure it will be quite a culture shock, since I am going from the
“majority” to the “minority.” It is
a somewhat unsettling, yet very exciting feeling.
I plan to be open to new people, new experiences, new foods, new cultures
– everything. I want to learn about
each country’s history firsthand, as well as experience all of the local
favorites! This may be my only
chance and I don’t want to look back with any regrets.
When I return home, I want to be able to truly call myself a
Day 1 ~ May 7th, 2008
Our first plane ride from Minneapolis to Iceland was only
about five hours – nothing like I was expecting!
I was very impressed with the Icelandair flight; the flight attendants
were very helpful to everyone. I
loved their cute hats that they wear!
From what we saw in the airport window, Iceland
is a very flat and desolate country – even after takeoff, we still didn’t see
any buildings or anything for that matter!
However, I shouldn’t judge because all of the people were very nice and
seemed to be just like us. Our
second flight from Iceland to London was only about
three hours and from there I started to get very excited! It finally hit me that
I was going to land in
Europe – the place that
I’ve only seen on TV and in the movies.
With all of the time changes, we arrived in the United Kingdom around 11 a.m.
We then got loaded onto a bus and headed straight to
It was a great day, however a bit long due to the fact that most of us
were going off of only a few hours of sleep!
It almost took my breath away when I first saw it!
This was probably because I’ve never seen anything so huge and grand
was filled with beautiful statues, historical paintings and amazing architecture
– both inside and out. In the
courtyard were beautiful, open lawns, gorgeous flower gardens and one of the
first tennis courts ever! Also,
here is one of the oldest grape vines in Europe;
however, we were too early to see any grapes.
(Fun Fact: the vine used to
produce nearly 2,000 pounds of grapes each year!
It is down to around 600 pounds in recent years).
I also enjoyed the numerous displays of shepherd’s pies and animal
carcasses throughout the Tudor kitchens, which were built to hold up to 300
people! Back in this time, the more
meat that one had meant the wealthier one was.
I also noticed the huge pots
of soup and realized that this might have been the cause of unknown food borne
illnesses. There were also little
refrigeration or sanitation practices used.
was built for King Henry VIII (the King of England) and was the place that he
called home (lucky duck)!
It was initially built to compete with the Versailles Palace
The Court project was headed by a man named Thomas Woolsey, King Henry’s
“go-to” man. When the King wanted a
divorce from his first wife, he had Woolsey go to the Pope for approval.
However, the Pope denied him the divorce.
As a result, the King took
from Woolsey and imprisoned him for his failure, later dying in captivity.
After leaving Hampton Court,
our group took the two-hour bus ride to Stratford-upon-Avon,
where we stayed at a nice bed-and-breakfast. (Fun Fact:
Our bed-and-breakfast is owned and run by a man (and his wife) who is the
Chairman of Stratford-upon Avon, which is similar
to a Senator in the U.S.!
He is head over all of Stratford, as well as over 4 other mayors in
surrounding cities. Proof:
We got to try on his nearly $1,000,000 (400,000 pounds) gold-chained
Once arriving in Stratford, we were a little disappointed to discover that many
restaurants stop serving food around 5p.m. (what’s up with that!?)
We finally stumbled upon a little restaurant that was still serving food
at 6:30p.m. – We lucked out, or else it would’ve been McDonald’s!
What a wonderful
first day in Europe!
Day 2 ~ May 8th, 2008
This morning we got up early so that we could eat breakfast downstairs.
It was very tasty and we had many options.
I went with 2 pieces of toast with eggs and a bowl of cereal!
Today, we went to see Shakespeare’s properties.
His properties include Anne
Hathaway’s cottage (which was his wife’s house while growing up),
Mary Arden’s house (William’s
grandmother’s house), the New
Place (the house which was torn down by the
clergymen), Nash’s House (Elizabeth’s house – who
was Shakespeare’s granddaughter and Suzanna’s daughter) and
Hall’s Croft (Suzanna, Shakespeare’s
daughter’s house, with her husband John Hall).
I really enjoyed the guided tours; the guides knew so much about all of
the history of Shakespeare’s properties, as well as about Shakespeare himself
and about the city of
I learned a lot about Shakespeare’s family and his properties.
Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway had three children but only two
survived (Hamlet died at 11 years of age).
Their daughters were Suzanna and Judith.
Suzanna married a doctor named John Hall, who was living in
at the time. Hall’s Croft, the
couple’s house, was very large and beautiful.
Hall was able to practice medicine here.
New Place/Nash’s Place, where Suzanne and John’s daughter Elizabeth
lived, was sold to a clergy man who left only a portion of the house standing.
He apparently was not the most well-liked man in
Stratford, and he refused to pay taxes or else said that
he would destroy the house.
Unfortunately, he ended up destroying the house a year later.
Instead, there are beautiful gardens which mark the site of this estate
today. It was very interesting to
see Mary Arden’s house, because it is still a farm in progress with numerous
farm animals. We saw sheep, pigs,
geese and many birds to say the least.
We also saw people dressed in period costumes, performing daily tasks
that would have occurred in Shakespeare’s time.
I also learned many interesting tidbits from our tour guides.
I learned that women shaved their hair in the front of their heads,
because it showed wealth and status and also followed the Queen’s style (who was
given nearly $900,000 pounds for her fashion and dress!)
Putting this into perspective, a School Master’s wage was around $20
pounds/year (which was one of the highest-paying jobs of this time).
I also learned about a few famous idioms – “Bed and Board” came about because if
one didn’t like their guest or if they were being drunk and obnoxious, the host
would make up a bed on a “board” or a table with two legs.
“Board game” came from playing a game on the board (which was used as the
bed in “bed and board”).
My favorite house was Anne Hathaway’s cottage; I felt that I learned the most
here and found it very interesting that Hathaway’s mother (when Anne was all
grown-up and married off to Shakespeare) would cut off pieces of her kitchen
bench and sell them to people who believed her stories of famous people who sat
there at one time! Here I also
learned about trenchers, which were wooden plates used mostly by the poor.
I also learned of the huge gap between class systems (males and females);
once a couple was married, the man would take the higher position in the
relationship and the woman would take on the role of cooking, cleaning and
caring for the children and small animals.
I really enjoyed touring the Shakespeare properties and learned so much about
Shakespeare himself and about the Shakespearean period.
Today was also the first time we got to ride on a double-decker bus!
Sitting on the top gave us a
beautiful view of the city!
Day 3 ~ May 9th, 2008
Today was our last morning in Stratford
at the ‘Craig Cleeve’s Bed and Breakfast.’
We headed to Warwick Castle, which is one of Britain’s greatest well-preserved,
medieval castles. It was built
during the 1300’s, to overlook the beautiful Avon River.
One of the castle’s most famous residents was the ‘Earl of Warwick,’ from
the 15th century. He was
also known as the “Kingmaker,” and we got to view an exhibit which portrayed the
War of Roses – very neat! The
castle is comprised of numerous 18th century-furnished state and bed rooms, many
of which contain wax figures depicting style as well as everyday activities of
what life might have been like during this time.
Little did we know we were going to see Queen Elizabeth II there!
(Unfortunately, she was only a wax figurine… that cost money to even stand near!
What a bummer!) We also
viewed the eerie dungeon, which was set up with a few contraptions that were
used to torture prisoners of that time… it was all so real and very creepy!
In the afternoon, along the riverbank was a Catapult, or Trebuchet show.
We actually got to see a group of people launch a massive stone into the
air, using the trebuchet. It was
very neat to see how much work went into using it, especially during that time
We then went back into the castle to see the state rooms and the Great Hall.
The displays of weapons and knights on horses were
amazing – I don’t think I’ve ever
seen that many guns and rifles in one room before!
The castle is also comprised of many soaring towers, of which include Caesar’s
Tower and Guy’s Tower. Many of us
went to the top of each tower, which entailed numerous flights of spiral
staircases! Each of the towers had
a certain darkness and spooky, dungeon-like feel to it since not much light was
able to creep in! We also saw
peacocks at the top of the towers and how they got there we were never able to
figure out. They made the weirdest
calling noise that sounded similar to a screaming kid.
I have to say it wasn’t the best-sounding noise.
Overall, we definitely got a much-needed workout today!
And the day didn’t stop there…
Once we left Warwick, we headed on a bus to London.
Let me note that this bus ride would normally take 2 hours; however, it
took a lot longer since we happened to be heading in the direction that a
traffic jam had occurred! Let’s
just say that our time was doubled and it took nearly 4 hours to reach
were pretty much crawling there and probably would’ve gotten there faster if we
would have walked. After going
about 5-10 mph for awhile, our bus overheated and so we had to pull over and
shut off for awhile. I’ve never
seen such bad road rage in my life!
No one wanted to let us back in and a man even stormed out of his vehicle to
take a picture of the busses’ license plate…I wonder what good that was going to
We heard that the traffic jam was caused by a car fire, which ended up slowing
the entire highway in the direction
that we were headed. After one-lane
traffic, long gas station bathroom lines and angry people, we finally made it to London a little later then
planned. However, we were still
able to head to the Hard Rock Café that night for a late-night treat!
We shopped around in the Hard Rock store for some souvenirs, which also
contained a secret “vault” in the basement. It
contains Madonna’s famous pointy corset, electric guitars from the Red Hot Chili
Peppers, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix – just to name a few!
The vault also contained some of the Beatle’s
original song lyrics!
It was very neat and unexpected to see so many famous memorabilia!
(Unfortunately, I will have to get those pictures from somebody due to
Day 4 ~ May 10th, 2008
Today, we started off our morning by heading to the well-known Borough’s Market,
which is one of London’s
oldest markets. The market has
roots stemming from medieval times and has been in the same place since!
I was blown away by the variety of foods – not only fruits and
vegetables, but also meats, seafood, wine, chocolate… anything you can think of
I am certain it was there! I have
never been to anything that could even compare to Borough’s Market.
The array of foods,
fresh scents, the
open air… you can’t even compare to
our chilly, congested grocery stores.
I noticed a few differences in shopping patterns and lifestyles of the English
just by visiting the market. I
noticed that people didn’t seem to be in a hurry and were enjoying the different
varieties and choices that they had.
There were also a lot of organic food choices.
Also, people seemed to be in a good mood and were having a good morning.
The atmosphere was very welcoming, peaceful and clean!
What a great experience overall!
We then headed to the Old Operating Theatre and Herbal Garret, which were both
located in the top of the St.
At first, we couldn’t find the building due to construction projects that
surrounded the block. Once we
located the building, we went inside and up a spiral staircase to the attic,
where both of the rooms were. We
first looked around the Herbal Garret, or herb pharmacy, where we viewed
numerous displays of old herbal remedies and interesting medical devices.
Also, we saw a few displays of different medical instruments and
procedures that came about before the modern age of science.
We learned prior to our trip that it was here that Florence Nightingale
worked for some time, before moving to a hospital.
We then toured the Old
Museum, which is one of
the oldest operating theatres in the country.
We viewed the actual operating table that was used for surgeries and
amputations on mostly poor citizens, who weren’t able to afford having surgery
at an expensive hospital. To make
their surgery even cheaper, sometimes an audience of medical students and
curious observers were allowed to observe in this horseshoe-shaped, “classroom”
style stadium. We also got to view
old black-and-white pictures of actual surgeries being performed; most patients
went without any anesthetics since it was still a new area being studied – ouch!
One such picture, that I was able to relate to, was of a man getting an
ingrown toenail removed…without anesthetics!
Now, I did have four ingrown toenails at once, but to have the (minor)
surgery without any numbness, I don’t think I would have survived!
After looking around, we went back to the Herbal Garret, where we received a
lecture from a Curator, a lady who studies herbal medicines, pill-making and the
process of healing with the use of herbs.
She showed us some neat “concoctions” and we got to smell a few different
types of herbs and oils. It was a
very interesting lecture and I learned a great deal about all the different
types of herbs and the part that they play in the healing process!
What an interesting field to study
then headed back to Borough’s Market and scoped out the lunch menus.
Yes, they even have ready-to-eat cold and hot sandwich stands!
After lunch, we walked over to the Tower
of London, where we got to cross the Thames River
on “The” London Bridge!
What a beautiful sight to see.
of London is made up of
numerous different towers, a museum, a Church, as well as the Crown Jewels.
With houses inside the walls, it is more or less a small town in itself,
which dates back to Henry VIII. The
houses served an important purpose – when the gates of the tower would close
every night at midnight, the royal family always wanted a doctor and chaplain on
call for any family emergencies.
The Tower of London
was the official residence of the Royal Family for nearly 500 years and is
famous for many reasons. It was
here that Henry VIII had two (out of his six) wives beheaded – the very famous,
Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.
Also, prisoners were kept inside the Tower’s walls before their fate was chosen
– the latest prisoner being one of Hitler’s “leading men” during World War II.
It was extremely helpful to follow a tour guide, because they provided a lot of
information that I wouldn’t have known had some of us gone off on our own.
Interestingly enough, the tour guides were
Beefeaters, men (or women) who stand
guard on duty outside each of the towers.
Our tour guide said that he is a descendant from a long line of
Beefeaters in his family. He shared
all of the important historic information, as well as letting us in on tails of
imprisonment, executions and what a great honor it is to be a Beefeater and all
of the great benefits that go along with it.
(His daughter was going to be married on one of the royal lots in the
months to come!)
My favorite thing at the Tower
of London was definitely
seeing the Crown Jewels. It was
amazing to see the diamonds and all of the choices that Queen Elizabeth II has
to choose from for special events.
My favorite piece was the royal scepter, which was made of a white diamond that
could fill my entire palm! I also
liked hearing about each of the different towers and their background – what
went on inside each, who was imprisoned or executed there and other fascinating
tales. Overall, it was a hot, sunny
and wonderful day! Hannah, Sam and
I then headed back to our hotel…and mastered the metro for the first time by
ourselves! What an empowering
Day 5 ~ May 11th, 2008
Today began as a beautiful morning, with a high in the 70s.
We started off our Sunday by visiting the St. Paul’s Cathedral,
catching a little bit of the church service.
It was very interesting and nothing like I’m used to (since it was a
Catholic service). Seeing a
beautiful, grand cathedral you would think it was full to the max, however,
there were only a handful of people that attended the service.
(or Europe for that matter) we learned in our
Pre-May Seminar class that church is not attended by many.
Religion still plays a role in people’s lives, however, people do not
attend church on a regular basis and that was something I noticed.
Surprisingly, we were all able to go up to the altar and receive
Communion, which was something I was secretly hoping to do!
How cool is it that I can say I received Communion in such a beautiful
church…where Princess Diana was married!
After the service, we were able to look around the church and gaze up at
the magnificent ceilings and notice all of the amazing architecture, which was
designed by architect Christopher Wren (between 1675 and 1710).
Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the cathedral, but I will
always remember its beauty. After,
we posed for a group picture with the cathedral in the background.
We were surprised to run into a bride and groom taking their wedding
pictures in front of the church (on a Sunday?)
In the afternoon, we visited the Science Museum and the V & A Museum
(some also had free time to visit the Natural History Museum).
I really enjoyed wandering the Science Museum; it provided us with a great
insight of the history of medicine throughout the past, present as well as
future. We learned a little about
ancient medicinal herbs, how the Chinese performed eye surgery on cataracts
nearly 2,000 years ago, and also got to see George Washington’s set of wooden
teeth! I also enjoyed seeing the
ancient Egyptian mummies – I have always been interested in the mummification
process! We also got to see
exhibits relating to psychology, veterinary medicine and flight/air travel.
After viewing the exhibits that we wanted to see, a few of us headed over
to the V & A
This museum is home to many historical costume collections, coming from famous
designers such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
The museum was split up into different sections for different cultures
and provided numerous other collections of art work (photographs, glass,
sculptures). Although I am not a
fashion designer, I could definitely tell you that every piece I saw was an
individual work of art! Although my
group didn’t have time to get to the Natural History Museum, others said that it
provided interesting exhibits of dinosaurs, mammals and a look into ecology – I
would have definitely found it interesting.
After finishing up on Exhibition
Road, we traveled through Hyde Park (a beautiful and
people-filled park on a sunny afternoon!) to
This was one of the places that I was most looking forward to visiting.
With the help of audio guides, we were able to walk through part of the
palace and see the gorgeous collections of the English court dress and also view
the palace’s beautiful State Apartments.
The dresses were beautiful and
it was very neat to see the process of getting ready for a royal event!
I learned that William III and Mary II were the first to live in
Palace, in 1689.
It was very neat to know that royalty still lives in the palace’s
apartments – most famously known for being the late Princess Diana’s home.
We were very lucky to see a collection of her gorgeous dresses,
throughout her life and role as a princess.
We also walked through the palace of the Royal Ceremonial Dress
Collection, where a variety of state and special dresses, shoes and hats were on
display, worn by the Royal Family.
After our tour, we headed to the Orangery where we had the opportunity to
experience High Tea! We discovered
that the Orangery was built for Queen Anne during the 1700s.
The building was beautiful – tall ceilings, very white with a warm,
summery breeze. We were served a
number of different “courses.” We
got to order a cup of tea, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches (Mmm!), a raisin
scone and a piece of lemon cake.
What a delicious afternoon snack to break up the day.
The last adventure of the day took us to
Abbey Road, the place we had all been hoping to find.
After a long walk, a few stops for directions and a break for pictures
along the way, we finally found it.
We even did “the walk” across the road, while stopping traffic completely! (They
just honked, smiled and waved to us!)
We even got to sign our name and write a little message on the
wall – what an adventure! That was
definitely one of my favorite days so far.
Day 6 ~ May 12th, 2008
Today began as yet another beautiful morning!
We have been extremely lucky for all of this warm weather that has
greeted us…too bad most of us didn’t bring more then one pair of shorts.
Our first activity of the day was visiting
Sustain, which is the alliance for
better food and farming in London.
We met with Jeanette Longfield, a co-coordinator for the group.
She spoke with us about what she does for Sustain, what the organization
is about and the views that London has on genetic engineering.
The organization itself has over 90 organizations within, which are all
non-profit. Each of the groups
focuses on different areas, ranging from information exchange, food standards, a
children’s food campaign – they try to cover the
entire food chain.
Longfield oversees numerous projects within the organization and one of
her current projects was working on their tap water project.
It is proven that tap water is cheaper, less polluting to the air and
also has proven health benefits.
She played an important role in passing a law for restaurants to serve tap water
(no bottles), if it has been proven safe to drink.
She strongly believes in this goal and was drinking tap water from her
faucet at home to prove it!
She also discussed the English views of genetic engineering.
We learned that they are very leery of it, due to the breakout of
diseases, such as Mad Cow and Foot-and-Mouth disease.
Also, the government did not tell the people everything that they were
feeding the animals and so people got worse and not healthier (and therefore
people also got sick). Therefore,
it is very hard for the people of England to trust the government when
it comes to important issues such as genetic engineering, since they have no
reason to believe that this technological advancement will benefit them in any
I believe that the English have reason not to trust genetic engineering.
They were, in a way, betrayed by their government and therefore are
finding it hard to trust again.
Until they are proven wrong and genetic engineering is found more useful then
harmful, it will be quite hard to switch views.
State’s view, however, is quite
opposite then that of England’s.
We genetically modify many foods and according to
London, our food is called “Franken food!”
I think the U.S.
feels that in order to get a good crop overall, genetically modifying food is
quite beneficial. Although more
pesticides are being used, we get back a more abundant and larger crop.
Vegetables and fruits are known to be the two main modified food groups.
Overall, we feel that there are more benefits than not.
In the afternoon, we headed to London’s Ethnic
districts where we met up with Jenny Linford, food writer and author of ‘Food
(1994). Her tour provides a neat
insight into London’s multicultural food shops in
the heart of England’s
capital. Her tour mainly focuses on Soho food shops, such as Chinese supermarkets with many
exotic ingredients, to Italian delicatessens and delightful coffee shops.
We started our Gastro-Soho tour in front of Neal’s Yard Dairy, a pioneering
cheese mongers that offers a wonderfully chosen selection of British and Irish
farmhouse cheeses that are both traditional and modern.
Here, we got to taste test a few soft and hard cheeses.
(Besides the somewhat unpleasant smells, it was quite the experience!)
We then headed to Chinatown
to take a look in a few supermarkets and bakeries.
The Loon Fung Supermarket is a busy Chinese emporium, near the center of
Chinatown. It was
complete with a butcher’s counter and cookware section.
The New Loon Moon Supermarket was a bit smaller, where we found the
shelves fully stocked with an extensive selection of fresh Thai ingredients,
such as pea aubergines, galangal and Thai basil.
We also got to taste test a few foods including a Chinese doughnut and
red bean paste in bread at the Far East Bakery (what a delightful treat!)
Our next stop was at I Camisa, a popular Italian deli with the owner always
close by for questions or comments!
Its popular items include excellent Parmesan,
ham and salsicce (Italian sausage).
Also, there were many choices of fresh pasta worth sampling, including
papperdelle and the parma
ham tortellini. This was definitely
my favorite stop so far. We then
headed to the Lina Stores, a large Italian deli that was established nearly 50
years ago and still retains its gentle pace reminiscent of a more leisurely era.
It has a wide selection of basics but is noted for its excellent fresh
pasta, which is made on the premises.
Then we arrived at Algerian Coffee Stores, which was founded in 1887 by
an Algerian business man by the name of Mr. Hassan.
This coffee store is a Soho landmark that offers over 100 teas and 50 coffees.
Its specialties include Lebanese coffee, flavored with cardamom and
aromatic Arabic tea, as well as stylish nibbles of chocolate-dipped figs!
Our final stop was the Maison Bertaux, a respected patisserie which dates back
to the last century. It is a
much-loved Soho institution in the French community and regulars
return for its luscious almond croissants and savory cheese tartlets. Mmm!
Overall, it was a fascinating tour and I am very thankful to have seen so
much history and tradition of many different countries, all within walking
distance of each other!
After the tour, a few went to check out the Harrods’s Department store, while
some of us went shopping for specific items (sandals for Sam!)
We heard from those that went that Harrods’s is a huge department store
that houses just about anything, ranging from a huge food market to apparel and
even a pet store. Apparently this is
where the rich and famous shop, so I wouldn’t have fit in very well.
We spent our evening by going back to the Cambridge Theatre, where we saw the
was originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse in 1975.
I have never seen the movie before, but the play was
amazing – the pretty costumes, the
fun music, the fancy sets… everything was so great and it is definitely now one
of my favorite plays! The Cambridge
Theatre was built during the mini theatre-building boom of the 1930s, and now
has performances such as the Phantom of
the Opera, Gone with the Wind, the Sound of Music, and many more famous
plays-gone-movies! The play’s style
was perfected by Fosse from his own life experiences and he poured everything he
had into Chicago.
The dancing and choreography was remarkable and I’m so glad we picked
this play to see.
What a great night to end a great day – back to our hotel and into bed we go!
Day 7 ~ May 13th, 2008
Today started off as a beautiful, yet breezy morning that we were all thankful
for! Our day began at the Institute of Child Health, just down the street from
our hotel which was great for those of us wearing heels!
Although I definitely love seeing the tourist sights, it was great to be
able to learn and discuss a field that I am very interested in.
We had 3 speakers, all who work within the Institute.
Carol Williams, a community-based public health nutritionist, works
mainly with consulting groups of HIV mothers and teaches them about
breastfeeding options. She also
teaches a 7-week course on breastfeeding at the Institute and teaches a couple
classes at Westminster.
Naomi Seville works within the Institute as well, however she also
travels internationally to visit with families in Nepal
while investigating and learning about their food security issues.
The last speaker was Andrew Seal who researches different food strategies
for malnourished people in Kenya.
When our meeting was over, for those interested we were invited to stay
and hear a power point presentation by Karen Edmond, who was presenting her
research study from Ghana.
She proposed whether early introduction of breastfeeding could reduce
neonatal mortality in developing countries.
She provided her evidence with an experiment that she designed and
displayed her results very clearly.
I learned a lot about the underprivileged and the struggles that they go through
to raise a healthy family.
We then headed to the British
Museum, which was also
within walking distance of our hotel.
My favorites included the Rosetta stone and the Elgin Marbles (from the
Greek Parthenon). The Rosetta stone
was one of the first clues in unlocking the hieroglyphic Egyptian writings.
There were also many interesting displays of mummies, which I have always
been extremely fascinated with.
Another very interesting display filled an entire large, open room.
It was called “Cradle to Grave.”
The display tracks a male and female, from birth to death (if they’ve
died) and how many pills they will have taken throughout their entire lifetime.
They were both around 15 feet long – the man died from a stroke and his
pills ran out, however, the woman still had some to unroll.
What an incredible and interesting sight to see.
Later on in the day, we took a walking tour to Westminster,
where we saw Buckingham
However, the Queen was not at home.
We were able to tell because the British flag was not flying.
We learned that she was at her summer home,
The traditional guards (in their red suits) were not present either and
so I was a little disappointed. We
then walked past Westminster Abbey, where every king (but one) has been crowned
since the 1000s! It was a very
pretty building. Close by is Big
Ben, the famous big clock tower.
That was something I was looking forward to seeing.
We also walked past the Parliament building, which is a beautifully
designed building, as well as the Millennium Wheel (a
huge Ferris wheel that lights up
after dark). Those of us who wanted
to stay until dark grabbed a bite to eat a little ways down the road and headed
back to see Big Ben all lit up, as well as the Ferris Wheel and the Parliament
building. It was one of the
prettiest sights I’ve seen so far!
I have a million pictures to prove it.
After we finally made it back to the hotel, it’s time for bed!
It was another memorable day in the books.
Day 8 ~ May 14th, 2008
Although hot showers were unavailable this morning, we were happy to have yet
another nice and breezy day! A few
extra layers are always okay by me.
We started off the day by heading on a tour bus trip to the ancient city of Bath.
Our friendly bus driver gave us a mini-tour before heading to our
destination, which was very nice of him to do.
Here we got to see the famous “Crescent” building.
We first stopped at the Fashion Museum, where we were able to view
displays of historic 18th century and up-to-date fashion collections
at this world-famous museum. We
were excited to find out that we could try on corsets, hats and hoop-skirts
dating back to the 1800s! We also
got to see beautiful collections from the Gregorian, Victorian and Regency eras.
Fashion designers, such as Yves Saint-Laurent, Sarah Dallas, John Bates
and Janice Wainwright all had collections on display, ranging from daily
ready-to-wear and evening attire.
What a transformation we have had from the wool bathing suit, back in the 1800s!
After the museum, we walked down through the city and toured the Roman Baths.
Here is where the stone remains of one of the finest religious spas of
the ancient Roman era. There were
also ruins of the temple
of Minerva, who was
goddess of the thermal spring. The
bath house, where local residents and pilgrims bathed nearly 2,000 years ago has
been very well-preserved. I learned
that more then 1 million liters of naturally hot water has bubbled up from the
deep underground for many centuries, which has been claimed to bring good health
and vitality for all of those who bathed in it.
Unfortunately, there were signs up saying that the water is untreated and
not to touch it – no good health or vitality for us.
We found lunch at a very reasonable local sandwich shop that served baguette and
Panini sandwiches – very delicious (mine was gone in 2 minutes!)
Overall, the city of Bath was very beautiful, welcoming and to my
understanding, filled with the wealthy who wanted to forego the big city life.
What a great place! We then
headed to Stonehenge, which many of us were
very excited to see. It is one of
Britain’s greatest ancient temples which date
from around 3000 to 1600 BC. It has
been thought to have been brought from
Wales, down the Avon
The large rocks were probably put in place by a series of pivoting and pulling
upright with ropes and into a hole, which stopped the stone from slipping
backwards. What is there today is
half of the original amount of stones.
This is because many stones were broken down to fix houses and plumbing
and then many would take sections of rocks to keep.
is defined by a ditch and a bank.
Its main entrance is aligned to face the midsummer sunrise, and the midwinter
sunset in the opposite direction.
The landscape around this area contains many prehistoric monuments, such as
burial mounds and several henges that are similar to
Stonehenge. No wonder
this historic site is one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
On our bus trip back, we received another mini-tour through London’s “main drags.”
Our bus driver pointed out the film spot for the movie,
Mary Poppins, as well as Princess
Diana’s favorite shopping and dining spots!
What a great day, now it’s off to bed to rest up for our trip to
Reflection of London ~
I really enjoyed London
and all that it has to offer. I was
most looking forward to
and all of the famous sites, tours and royal palaces I knew we would be seeing.
I learned so much about England and its
royal family, both past and present.
I was able to notice a difference with the social classes while walking
along the streets and shopping in the stores.
But this is not just London,
it is everywhere. I felt like London was very comparable to the U.S., in that
most people were able to speak if not a little then quite a bit of English and
most everyone seemed to be quite friendly to us Americans.
I learned a few fun terms that are popular here, such as the “lift” (the
elevator) and “mind the gap” (the gap between the metro and the sidewalk).
I got to see London’s popular social
life in the pubs around noon and for dinner.
Let’s just say people seem to be happy and always having a great time!
Overall, it was a great experience and I would love to go back and see it
all over again!
Day 9 ~ May 15th, 2008
Today we were finally able to sleep in, until 10 a.m.
Since it was our last morning in
London, a few of us planned to finish up some last-minute
shopping for souvenirs around the corner from our hotel.
We then picked up lunch at Subway, paying almost double we would at home
(but that’s okay, we knew we’d get a good lunch anyway!)
We then headed to Russell
Square for our last metro ride in London.
After dragging our entire luggage through security, we finally hopped
onto the Chunnel, which took about 2.5 hours to get to Paris.
The Chunnel is known for being underground under the water for part of
the distance. It was very exciting!
However, the ride was somewhat uncomfortable due to the buildup of
pressure in my ears from the speed of the car.
Kelsey and I were lucky enough to sit next to a nice couple who kept us
As we were on our way, I was feeling a bit nervous and uneasy, not knowing what
to expect. All I know is from what
Hannah has told me, and that didn’t make me feel much better!
However, I will keep an open mind and friendly attitude so I don’t give
anybody the wrong impression of us Americans
Once we arrived, I felt a little (or a lot) overwhelmed, but we safely
made it to our hotel, on the not-so-nice side of Paris.
We were confronted once in front of our hotel and although it was a scary
experience, it was a good learning experience to know that a couple of us girls
could get out of anything! Or so we
think… He must have thought we had
“dumb Americans” written on our forehead – but not us!
For supper that night we found a little pizza diner just down the street from
our hotel and ate with the rest of the girls.
Our hotel room was very comfortable with a large bathroom, a slight step
up from the Celtic in London.
A good day but glad to be settled in for the night
Day 10 ~ May 16th, 2008
The sun was shining on our first full day in
began our morning by learning how to use the metro system, which little did we
know we would be relying on it…a lot!
Luckily, it was nice out because we also had a lot of walking to do.
We first went to the Musee d’ Orsay, which is a huge museum filled with
famous sculptures, paintings and furniture from 1848-1914.
We first went up to the top floor – it was quite the walk.
It was amazing to see Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet’s paintings up
close. I recognized the “Bedroom,”
“Whistler’s Mother,” Monet’s “Nude Olympia,” and “Poppies,” to name a few.
It was great seeing all of the originals and I can definitely say they
look much prettier in person, rather then my 6th grade art projects I
tried so hard to resemble!
The museum, which was once a railway station, was renovated and opened in 1986.
It is most famous for the Impressionist collection, in which artists
focus on everyday objects and people.
What makes this type of art special is the artist’s use of light and the
way that it’s portrayed. I
definitely can’t call myself an artist, but I knew I was seeing beautiful works
After finishing up at the Musee d’ Orsay, many of us fished out the crepe stands
we have heard so much about. Let me
tell you, we heard right…they were de-licious!
After the midmorning snack break, we headed to the Galleries Lafayette,
which is an upscale department store known to draw the rich worldwide.
Every well-known designer, from Chanel to Louis Vuitton, had huge
department stores full of eager people with money burning a hole through their
pants pockets! Unfortunately, I
wasn’t one of those lucky people and just had the honor of looking at everything
I knew I would never be able to afford.
Our main purpose for visiting Galleries Lafayette was to attend a French fashion
show, to see French style firsthand.
We had great seats, the models were beautiful, friendly and upbeat, and I
learned all about the French’s sense of unique style (a black wedding dress, to
name a few of the wacky styles). I
also noticed that the models were a
normal size, not too skinny but not too wide.
They were all very confident and kept good eye contact with the audience,
which I thought made the show great!
Overall, I was able to see firsthand why
is called “the Fashion Capital of the World.”
After Galleries Lafayette, a few of us came back to the hotel for a short nap,
hoping that the rain would pass. We
then headed to Montmartre via more walking and
metro stops. Montmartre is one of Paris’s last remaining
villages and is known for its gardens, old houses, steep streets, windmills and
artists known for painting portraits of the view and eager tourists.
I loved looking around inside all of the little shops and bought a lot of
my souvenirs here. Hannah, Sam and
I took the lift up to the Sacre Coer (instead of walking, call us lazy!)
This is a large Catholic Basilica which is located on Paris’s tallest hill – the view was fantastic!
This was our first real view
of Paris and I will never forget it.
We were able to walk around inside the church; I was so amazed with the
architecture. We sat for awhile in
the pews, discussing the picture of Jesus ahead of us and the others in it.
It was a magnificent church with so much detail and color.
Once the sky cleared, it was such a beautiful night…so beautiful that we
happened to be five minutes late to meet the group and had to manage finding our
way back, for the first time in Paris…alone!
We did make it!
Day 11 ~ May 17th, 2008
Today was another early morning, with breakfast and then off to the open air
market at Saxe on Place de Breteuil.
Although it took us quite a while to find it, we got there in time to
spend about an hour there. However,
I didn’t think this market compared at all to Borough’s Market.
I was hoping to get a few gifts by bargaining with the locals, but I must
not be a good bargainer or their prices were still too high for me!
There were many repetitive stands, featuring a ton fish, fruits and
vegetables. There were many odd items we
saw, such as cow brains, cow tongue, octopus and hanging pigs (dead of course)!
It was a bit disturbing, but very neat to see.
I noticed the huge variety of olives that were on sale.
I did not know there were that many kinds.
Apparently there was not as much jewelry as before, which was what I was
looking forward to. It was a good experience, but I’d prefer Borough’s Market
We then headed to the Rodin
Museum, famous for
Augustine Rodin’s sculptures of “The Thinker,” “The Gates of Hell,” and my
all-time favorite “The Kiss.” The
museum inside was rather small, but the majority of his sculptures are outside,
featured throughout the beautiful flowers and gardens.
It was quite amazing to think that one man designed all of these
sculptures – he must have been very talented and patient!
After the Rodin
Museum, we went to Le Bon Marche,
another huge department store in Paris.
Le Bon Marche
is actually the world’s first department store, which opened in 1848.
In our May Seminar class, we accessed the website and learned a great
deal about the family behind it and what it has been used for over all the
years. It was surprisingly designed
by Eiffel, who also designed the famous Eiffel Tower.
It was very big, with a similar appeal to the rich as the Galleries
Lafayette. There was a lot that
caught my eye with all of the great marketing tactics; however, it only caught
my eye and not my wallet.
After the museum, we went to see the
beautiful St. Chapelle church, or “Holy Chapel.”
It was built during 1242-1248 under Louis IX command, to be a resting
place of many relics of Christ. He
purchased the relics which include the ‘Crown of Thorns’ and a part of the Holy
Cross from the Emperors of Constantinople.
The chapel is most known for its gorgeous stained glass windows that
surround the upper portions of the chapel.
If you can imagine, there are 15 stained glass windows that depict all
1,113 scenes from the Bible! The
windows pick up the sunlight and create a beautiful glow while standing inside.
I was curious as to why there were airport security-type machines outside
the entrance, but once I went inside I knew exactly why!
I don’t think I have ever seen anything so breathtaking before.
Next, we went to the Notre Dame, famously known as the Hunchback Quasimodo’s
home. Construction of this
beautiful gothic cathedral began in 1163 and wasn’t finished until later in
1345. Inside the cathedral were
many more beautifully stained glass windows, portraits and confessionals which
surrounded the outer walls of the cathedral.
I noticed the confessionals were in active use with a priest, even though
there were many people viewing the inside of the cathedral.
I loved the beautiful chandelier; however, it was brought down from the
ceiling for refurbishment. We also
got to light a candle and say a prayer; it was a very peaceful feeling.
While walking around the outside, we got to see the well-known flying
buttresses and carefully designed gargoyles which were decorated all around the
outside of the building’s top. We
also got to see bagpipers playing in the front entrance!
What a long yet exciting day… it was nice to end the night early!
Day 12 ~ May 18th, 2008
Today we were scheduled to visit
Versailles, one of the most prestigious of the world’s
heritage sites and most accomplished achievement of 17th century
French art. Some of Versailles’s
highlights include the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments, Chapel and 17th
Century Galleries, Dauphin’s Apartments (heir to the throne), and
Marie-Antoinette’s Estate, to name a few!
was built under King Louis XIV and started off as his father’s hunting lodge.
He then added to it so that he and his wife, Marie-Antoinette, could
enjoy life away from the city chaos.
He added so much that the Chateau, or main building, took up nearly 6
city blocks and he invited 20,000 nobles and servants to come live there with
him! It was here in the “Galeries
des Glaces” or “Hall of Mirrors” that the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end
was built to compete with the
and I personally think it doesn’t even compare, in size or attractiveness (on
both the inside and out)! There
were many things that made my favorites list, including the bed in which 19
heirs to the throne were born, Marie-Antoinette’s “Playhouse,” which is a lot
filled with beautiful gardens, a guard’s house and numerous little
playhouse-looking houses, the beautiful gardens and lawns stretching for miles
(literally!) and the State Apartments.
Unless you’ve visited the
grounds, it is quite hard to define the area that is covered by all of these
We were all hungry by early afternoon and decided to eat at the first place we
ran into (we had to walk a long distance to even find ice cream!)
We found the Versailles restaurant near the main gardens
and decided that a pizza and water sounded good to most of us.
After a long morning filled with never-ending lines, we were happy to
have seen the beautiful, city-like Versailles.
What a great experience!
A few of us headed to the Arc d’ Triumph on the Champs Elysees (Paris’s famous shopping drag).
This is a monument that was built to dominate
indulge the Emperor’s liking for Ancient Rome.
Napoleon wanted the arch to be on the site of the Bastille to the east of
Paris, the side from which his armies would return from war.
Architects Raymond and Chalgrin took their inspiration from the Arch of
Titus, in Rome.
It was gorgeous, just like in
the movies. It was amazing to know
that we were in the heart of Paris!
The Arc d’ Triumph was in the center of the main drag and there was a lot
of traffic; we were thankful for the underground connection to get there or
would’ve waited for traffic for hours.
The architecture was beautiful, just like everything else we’ve seen.
It had great detail and I was very excited to climb all of the steps up
to the top. The climb was
definitely worth the breathtaking view… I just couldn’t get enough!
Day 13 ~ May 19th, 2008
We started off the morning by going to the Louvre, which is filled with
Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, Islamic and Roman artworks.
It is a massive building with great architectural designs and has
since the 12th century.
Louis XVI lived here, in the Tuileries palace, up until 1793 when the museum’s
collections gradually began to take over the entire Louvre.
The museum was filled with amazing pieces of art and I recognized quite a few of
them. We saw Michelangelo’s “Four
Slaves” and the “Winged Victory,” dating from the 3rd century B.C.,
to commemorate the win of the Greeks over the Turks.
I was most excited to see the Mona Lisa and I can tell you that she is
much smaller then what I was expecting, but very beautiful never-the-less.
I also saw the “Raft of Medusa,” which commemorates the French merchant
ship that sank, with sailors left on the raft to parish.
The “Feast of Cana,” also popular, depicts many biblical characters
feasting. Another favorite was
“Liberty Leading the People,” which depicts a French revolution that overthrew
their own government. It was a very
moving piece of art. We also got to
see the “Venus De Milo,” as well as many by the famous Da Vinci, including “John
the Baptist” and “Virgin on the Rocks.”
A few of my other favorites included the Egyptian art section, with a
sphinx statue and many mummies.
We then headed to Napoleon’s apartments, which was definitely one of my favorite
things in Paris
so far. The space was enormous,
filled with furniture and decorations portraying King Louis XVI time.
In one of the rooms, there was a huge dining table with about 30-40 place
settings! It is hard to imagine
without seeing it firsthand. The
apartments were very elegant and showed where the royalty had lived.
After finishing up inside the museum, a few of us went outside to the back where
we took pictures near the waterfall and the smaller glass triangle.
A few others went to the Rue de Rivolie, a famous shopping street, others
back to Montmartre
to buy paintings, some to the Musee d’ Orangery to see Monet’s ‘Waterlillies’
and others to the Centre Pompidou, a famous modern art museum.
Hannah, Sam and I headed to the Champs Elysee, a famous shopping avenue,
in downtown Paris.
My first mission was to find a new memory card that worked.
accomplished! We then strolled down
the street and window shopped for a good chunk of the afternoon.
What a great experience and a very pretty view of the Arc d’ Triumph.
That night, we headed to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school at about 5:30 p.m.
Le Cordon Bleu was founded in Paris in 1895 and today it has 30 schools in 15 different
countries (including the U.S.)
with approximately 20,000 students of more than 70 nationalities.
The expression “cordon bleu” originates from the blue ribbon which held
the cross of the knights of the Order of the Holy Spirit, instituted in 1578 by
Henri III, king of France.
The school was all the way across Paris
from our hotel, but well worth the metro ride.
We were seated in a smaller classroom-type setting with mirrors about the
kitchen area, for the cooking students’ benefit I’m sure.
We were introduced to our chef, Chef Philippe Clergue, who has been an
instructor at the school for nearly 2 years.
Before that, he owned a restaurant with his wife in
Dijon, Burgundy for close to 17 years!
He was a wonderful instructor to say the least, however spoke very little
English, which is why we had a translator the entire time.
He said that he loves cooking and teaching classic French cuisine.
Our menu for the night was American farmer’s cheese with herbs, white
asparagus with truffle oil, a Sirloin steak sautéed with Provencal vegetables
and capers, and a puff pastry apple tart, caramel and Guerande sea salt ice
cream for dessert. It was a
remarkable meal! Not only did we
get to eat it, we got to see step-by-step how it was made and what all goes into
preparing a gourmet meal like this one.
While preparing and cooking the food, our chef gave us a history of the
foods he was using and how to properly cook and store them.
He definitely knows what he’s talking about.
It was yet another great experience with a different culture then what
I’m used to. I will have to try out
the recipes when I get home! After
a satisfying meal and a purchase of my own official Le Cordon Bleu pasta
cookbook, I’m ready for a good night’s rest!
Day 14 ~ May 20th, 2008
We started off the morning with cool, sunny weather.
At 9 am, we headed to the Cochin Hospital
for a lecture and presentation with Anne-Marie Favreau and Therese Liberte, both
dietitians in Paris.
Favreau is the Senior Dietitian at Cochin
with 21 other dietitians under her.
Libert is a consultant and a Sports Dietitian, who now has her own private
practice. She works with
professional athletes, such as tennis players and is also the dietitian for the
French National Junior Rugby team!
Favreau provided us with a powerpoint led discussion on the French healthcare
system. French healthcare is free
for all citizens; however, one cannot switch doctors once they have chosen
unless they want to pay a fee. The
French also receive free prescriptions for all general diseases; however, they
will receive a generic brand over a popular brand unless they pay a fee also.
A person’s eyeglasses and dental fees are also covered under the
healthcare system – how nice does that sound?
After finishing up at Cochin
hospital, some of the group went back to the hotel while others went to do a
little shopping near the Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum (that was closed
on the day we decided to go unfortunately).
At 2 pm, we headed to the
which stands for Maternal and Young Child Protection.
While here, we met with Dr. Martine Chochon and a few of her colleagues
who discussed the French view of health and child care.
We learned about the PMI’s goals, including how they promote health for
families as well as protecting mothers and children.
She said that being that Paris has so many people coming from all
different backgrounds, they work mostly with mothers (and their families) who
are in not-so-good situations. For
us, it was apparent of the huge language gap – all four ladies, either a nurse
or a pediatrician, were helping each other to translate their thoughts into
English! I found visiting the PMI
center and talking to these ladies very informational and neat to see how Paris
deals with these issues that I am especially interested in.
Once we finished up with the lecture, they took us to a medical center
(similar to a public health clinic), where nurses perform child medical
checkups, preventative healthcare, food sanitation and contraceptive
information, etc. We then headed to
a daycare center, to learn about how they compare to ours in the U.S.
I was very surprised to find that all of the daycare workers have to have
a college degree because they feel that educating children at such a young age
is very critical in a child’s development.
It was so great to see such an emphasis on a child’s learning starting so
Overall, I really enjoyed the day and although we weren’t seeing all the tourist
spots today, I learned a great deal about their medical system and how important
maternal and child health is to the French which is something that I am very
We topped off the night by headed to the Eiffel Tower!
I was definitely looking forward to this and besides the extremely long lines
and tight, claustrophobic elevator rides I handled my fear very well.
Once we finally got back to the ground, a few of us headed for a “secret”
destination with Hannah who has been here before.
We went across the street and over to a bridge where we could get at eye
level with the beautifully-lit tower.
Let’s just say I took way too many pictures and videos.
It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!
What a great way to end my night.
Day 15 ~ May 21st, 2008
Today we were planning to attend Sodexho, a world-wide food company with offices
all around the world. However, that
fell through so we ended up having most of a free day.
It was nice to sleep in on the last day and we headed to the Champs
Elysee for a little more shopping!
I ended up going back to “We,” a classy women’s store and bought a cute top I
had been eyeing a few days before
We then window shopped for awhile longer before heading to the Musee d’
Orangery to see Monet’s “Les Nymphies” or “Waterlillies.”
His paintings filled nearly two entire circular rooms!
It was a quick stop for us, but definitely well worth it!
We then headed back to the hotel in order to have time to get ready for our
group dinner at Sargeant Recruiters.
We enjoyed a seven course French dinner, which was
We first were given two huge baskets filled with fresh vegetables and
meats (salami, pepperoni, etc) and it was great to get some real food in our
stomachs. Next, out came the bread
baskets with many loaves of fresh bread. We then ordered from a menu for our
entrée, I decided on salmon while others ordered smoked beef, chicken or duck.
After the main meal, we got a huge basket of different cheeses, many of
which I was afraid to try (bleu cheese, goat and camembert).
I was proud of those who were able to try every kind, but I didn’t think
my stomach would hold up very well so I passed.
Our final course was dessert.
I went with a caramel crème brulee, which was not as good as I was
hoping. Others chose an apple tart,
ice cream or chocolate mousse.
After dessert, we were all pretty full and ready to call it a night!
What a great last day in Paris
and a wonderful trip thus far! It’s
off to Denmark…
Reflection of Paris ~
definitely surpassed my expectations, both good and bad.
I didn’t know exactly what the city would be like and how people would
react to us blonde hair, blue eyed girls.
However, I learned so much about a different culture and how much respect
counts while visiting other countries.
Although it wasn’t the friendliest city, for the most part there were
still many nice people willing to give directions or assistance when we needed
it. I loved seeing all of the
historical sites which provided a rich history of the city and enjoyed taking in
every second of it. What I did not
like about Paris was that almost
everyone smokes and I could never handle being around smoke that much – I think
this was where I started to get sick!
However, the French believe that the choice is one’s own and therefore I
wasn’t going to try to stop them.
Overall, I enjoyed our visit to Paris
and was glad we got to see a majority of the popular historical sites!
Day 16 ~ May 22nd, 2008
Today was a very early morning – we were at the train station by 7:50 am.
It was quite a long day, switching trains every couple of hours.
It was unfortunate that on our 3rd train ride we happened to
be seated in the hottest car, with a broken air conditioner and a temperature of
at least 85 degrees. It was a nice
break to get out on the ferry for awhile and enjoy the view when we were passing
over the water. For the most part,
it was a relaxing train ride and great to see the countryside of Germany; it was
all very pretty. I also loved
seeing the water and always feel more at home.
We arrived in Copenhagen around 10 pm and it was a nice, quiet change
from olthe booming nightlife of Paris.
Copenhagen seems to be a
peaceful, quaint city with nice people.
The Saga Hotel, which we were staying at, was on a not-so-nice side of
town again and we were a bit disappointed with the 3 bathrooms-to-a whole floor,
but we managed to get some rest after a long travel day.
Day 17 ~ May 23rd, 2008
Today we woke up in time to get a true Danish breakfast, filled with fresh rolls
and Danish pastries. We then walked
to the Lutheran Church of our Lady, a famous church known for its lifelike
statues of the 12 apostles surrounding the church.
It was a very beautiful church and fun to see.
We then went to the Royal Copenhagen, which is a museum and store that
displays the remarkable journey of the production of porcelain in
It was fun to see the blue-fluted and Flora Danika patterned porcelain
that I have heard so much about.
Our tour guide happened to be one of the painters at the Royal Copenhagen and so
we got to watch her paint over a glazed porcelain plate as well as try it out
our self. She discussed how the
plates are made – the paint is a powder that is mixed with an oil and then the
Flora Danika pattern is painted over the glazed porcelain and the blue-fluted
pattern is then painted underneath (before it is glazed).
The Flora Danika resembles the many flowers of
Each of the plates made are done by free-hand and the Triple Crown on the
back of each piece of artwork proves that it was done by a “real” artist.
The blue-fluted pattern is attributed to the masterpieces from early Japan and is used to illustrate the
18th century Golden Age.
I would say that all of the pieces were over my price range but were very pretty
to look at. The most expensive
piece is the “Princess and the Pea” sculpture – it definitely looked expensive
with all of the amazing detail hand drawn.
We then went to lunch at the Royal Café next door to try out their popular
“Smushies,” which is a unique combination of sushi and a traditional Danish
sandwich. We chose from a menu of
vegetable, smoked salmon, beef and potato, smoked herring, crawfish and a few
others. It was a very interesting
but well-liked lunch. My favorite
was the beef and potato smushie.
The restaurant had a unique taste of Danish style.
After lunch, we headed to the Inspiration House, an eco-friendly house created
by a famous Danish lady who also owns a children’s theatre next door.
(One of the three ladies happened to be from Minnesota but married to a Danish man and living in Copenhagen!)
It was neat to see how the house actually works; there was a compost
toilet which has a huge whole in the center so everything collects into a whole
in the ground. We also saw how you
can use water over again from washing clothes and repurify it for a second use.
The house uses solar panels for energy and in the winter they use a clay
stove for heating; the stove can reach up to 900 degrees!
Overall, it was a very unique house and a great place for kids as well as
adults to learn how to become eco-friendly.
It was evident that the Danes take great pride in living an eco-friendly
lifestyle and are always looking for new advancements in the right direction.
After the Inspiration House, we had free-time and a few of us stumbled upon a
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not” museum and felt that it was worth our time and
money. We paid $30 American dollars
to see this and 2 other museums. We
spent hours here having a great time and learned a lot.
We saw very interesting exhibits and I was very impressed.
However, supper at McDonald’s was not worth my money, especially for $10
but I had to eat something!
What a great first day in
Denmark, my new favorite country!
Day 18 ~ May 24th, 2008
Today was yet another fun-filled day exploring the city of Copenhagen.
We began our day by walking by the Round Tower,
which was built in 1637 upon the request of King Christian IV.
Our next stop was the Rosenborg Palace,
which was also built by King Christian IV.
The palace has a unique Renaissance style and was built as his summer
residence. There were no pictures
allowed because it was a special day – 300 years of the use of guards and so
they were dressed in their ceremonial uniforms.
We first toured the Treasury, where we got to see the Crown Jewels and royal
rooms – they were all so pretty!
There were so many beautiful diamonds and gold on display.
We also got to look in a few royal rooms, where there were beautiful
sculptures and murals on the ceilings.
Outside the palace were military and their machinery on display as well.
We then headed to Amalienborg Palace where the guards would soon arrive
for “Changing of the Guards” ceremony.
Here is where the royal family lives but no one was there because the
Queen’s youngest son was getting married today in another town close by!
Danish’s royalty has a lineage older then all other countries and is much
royalty. The royal palace was not
as “glamorous” as England’s,
with smaller rooms and the use of ivory, silks and wood.
It was still very unique and pretty to see.
It was extremely different because we were able to stand right up close and see,
changing of the guards’ ceremony.
We were fortunate to meet one of the guard’s mothers standing near to us and she
informed us that the members of the guard are between 19-22 years of age.
She also said that the guards stand outside for two hours and are inside
for four. The cycle is repeated for
24 hours until the next changing of the guards’ ceremony at noon the next day.
How exciting and what an honor to be chosen as a guard for the royal
family! She also shared where each
of the royal family members live throughout the different sections of the
After the ceremony finished up and the guards headed back to
Palace, we walked to the Marble
Church, where the Queen worships.
It opened in 1894 and the dome of the church was inspired by
Michelangelo’s dome for St. Peter’s in
Rome. It is
one of the largest domes in the world.
The church was filled with beautiful marble walls and flooring and we got
a group picture in front of the gorgeous altar.
Hannah, Sam and I then headed to find our 2nd museum – the Guinness
Book of World Records museum. It
was filled with so many records and the popular book has the most copies ever
sold, excluding the Bible. It was a
great experience to see and try out different world records, to see if we could
break them (not)! We then headed to
the last museum – the Mystical Minds museum.
It was a shorter museum filled with scary and eerie exhibits (electric
chair and scary closets). We did
get freaked out a couple of times.
We then headed to shop along Stroget, which is the main shopping road.
We ate dinner at a cute Italian restaurant, the first one in Denmark.
We had a great pizza, cute Italian waiters and free fruit.
Nothing topped our supper off like a cup of gelato
The night was not finished…my credit card was mistakenly eaten by an ATM
machine. Luckily, I was using my
debit card on the trip and only had it for a backup.
Nothing explains my luck better then that!
Overall, it was a great, relaxing day in Copenhagen.
Day 19 ~ May 25th, 2008
Today was our last morning in
A few from our group went to church at Church of Our Lady.
This church, known as Copenhagen’s Cathedral since 1924, has been a
popular place of worship since the 13th century when Bishop Absalon
had it built. The girls that went
said that it was a traditional Lutheran church service spoken in Danish.
We first walked to see the Little Mermaid statue, which was a stone monument on
the edge of the Baltic Sea.
The story is that a young mermaid fell in love with a prince, who lived
on land, and came up to the water’s edge to search for her love.
She sits on a rock near the land, reminiscing over her lost childhood as
a mermaid in the sea. This statue
is one of the most popular tourist attractions in
still today. It came from the
founder of Carlsberg beer, Carl Jacobsen, who attended the “The Little Mermaid”
ballet based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.
The bronze statue was unveiled at Langelinie, on August 23rd
1913 as a donation given by Brewer Jacobsen to the city of Copenhagen.
It is a beautiful statue with a gorgeous view behind it.
Not far from the statue is the
of Danish Resistance,
which is something I have always been interested in.
The museum describes the occupation of Denmark in
1940-1945 with the main emphasis on the emergence and development of the
resistance movement. The
exhibitions show the resistance work, with the illegal printing of newspapers
and secret radio communication with
to the sabotage of factories and railways.
There were many objects on display that were typical of this period to
help tell the story of the occupation, such as authentic photos, weapons, ID
cards, uniforms and video screens of former members of the Resistance who talked
about their experiences. It was
very touching and emotional to read letters written to family members by men
just prior to their executions. I
followed along with the guided tour and it was very interesting to hear even
more about the resistance and
Denmark’s role during the Holocaust.
I really enjoyed the museum and the tour.
After the Resistance museum, most of us walked to the Botanical Gardens (where
we found poisonous plants and flowers from the Bible!)
It was very large and had many levels to it.
I enjoyed walking along the water and paths through the gardens, taking
pictures of the beautiful flowers.
We then walked to Nyham to see the waterway, where gorgeous yachts sit in the
harbor! We stopped at a hotdog
stand for supper and sat near the water, it was a nice and relaxing night!
Off to Stockholm, Sweden tomorrow!
Reflection of Denmark ~
I really enjoyed Denmark
and have to say that it is a fascinating country with great people, beautiful,
historical landmarks, gorgeous scenery and a certain presence that makes me want
to go back again! In Denmark, there
are bicycles literally everywhere – alongside roads, next to buildings…they are
everywhere! The Danes really seem
to take pride in exercising and so many people were riding bikes over driving
cars. Denmark seems to be a country that
takes their health seriously and the initiative to stay active and healthy…I
give props to their government for recognizing how important health and exercise
is. The air was much cleaner then
and I noticed a lot less smoking.
My favorite experience in
was the free time that we had to wander and explore the city.
It was just the right amount of time to go off on our own and see what
has to offer tourists and the locals.
Although it was a bit frustrating at the time, I’d have to say the most
humorous experience was getting my credit card eaten by the ATM machine!
It was definitely a good thing that I only had it for backup!
What a great city with great people and experiences.
Day 20 ~ May 26th, 2008
Today we said goodbye to Copenhagen and left for Stockholm,
It was quite the ride to Stockholm, going over some pretty narrow
bridges and large bodies of water!J
What an experience!
When we reached Stockholm,
it took us a while to figure out the direction we needed to be going.
Being the navigator, I used my instincts and got us going in the right
direction (just kidding, I probably wasn’t much help!)
We finally found the Queen’s Hotel, which was on the main shopping drag.
Once we found our hotel and got settled in our rooms, we all went our
separate ways and headed out to venture the streets of
and grab a bite to eat. It was
quite a long day but I’m glad to be in
Day 21 ~ May 27th, 2008
This morning came a bit too early for all of us, with the sun rising at about 4
a.m.! For those of us who ignored
it, we got a couple more hours of sleep before we got up and headed down to
breakfast. The weather, once again,
was beautiful and sunny. It was off
to the Nordic
The walk to get here was quite long, but very beautiful.
We walked along the edge of the Baltic Sea where we passed many beautiful
yachts, personal boats and ships for charter that were sitting in the harbor.
We first stopped at the Nordic
Museum, which shows
Swedish life, history and traditions through the past 500 years.
There were displays of peasant costumes through the 90s, Swedish interior
decorations, folk art, displays of the Sami Lapp culture and even a display of
shoes throughout the years – some were very interesting, especially the winter
shoes and types of heels women wore back then.
In the center of the museum is a large statue of Gustav Vasa, the 16th
century warrior who established the Swedish state and became King Gustav I.
He could be seen from every floor level in the building!
The statue was completed by Carl Milles in 1925 and the story goes that
the statue’s forehead contains a piece of oak from a tree that was planted by
After the Nordic
Museum, we headed to the
Museum which displays a 17th
century, 230 foot-long ship that sunk after two years of being built.
The Vasa ship was built for King Gustav Adolphus III, in order to show
his power during the Baltic Wars.
The ship was forgotten and recovered in 1961, now having been fully restored and
rigged to its original beauty. The
ship is very decorative with statues and carvings all along the outside.
Some of the statues were carved in hopes of scaring away the enemy at
sea. The ship’s unique features
were very well-preserved in the muddy waters of the Baltic
for over 330 years and also on exhibition are some of the nearly 12,000
artifacts that were recovered! (FUN
FACT: The MN College, Gustavus Adolphus, is named after the Swedish King!)
We then headed to Skansen, which was founded by Artur Hazelius in 1891.
It is nearly 75 acres of parkland filled with smaller parks, gardens,
animals, crafts, souvenirs and special events throughout the year (Sweden’s
National Day, folk-dance displays, etc).
Also on exhibit are blacksmith shops, a church, manor houses and
windmills, all with working people, dressed authentically and performing
everyday tasks that had to be done back in the 18th and 19th
centuries. Our day was spent
roaming around looking at the animals in the zoo, visiting old farmsteads and
houses that were brought here from all over Sweden (Wayne’s family has a
farmhouse here!), and watching the glassblowers make beautiful pieces of
kitchenware and vases, etc. We were
told that three generations have blown glass at Skansen.
They use molten glass, which is turned into beautiful objects using
traditional tools from years ago.
It was a great experience to watch and I wish I could have afforded to buy
myself something in the gift shop.
We even stopped in the town’s bakery and bought a fresh, homemade roll.
Skansen is pretty much a miniature Sweden
and it was great to see so much rich history and tradition, all in one
A few of us then headed back to our hotel street and went shopping for awhile
before finding supper and calling it a night!
It was another great day in Sweden.
Day 22 ~ May 28th, 2008
Today began early with the group leaving the hotel around 7:45 a.m. to catch the
8:15 train to Karolinska
While here, we met with a few ladies who work at the hospital, as either
a nurse or dietitian. They
discussed Sweden’s healthcare system,
nutritional guidelines at the hospital and the nutrition department.
Sweden’s healthcare system is
financed by taxes (about 97% of GDP) and is about 11% of a resident’s income.
Since taxes finance the healthcare system, there are limitations as to
what a person can and can’t choose themselves (generic medicine or a popular
brand, doctor preference, etc) if they don’t want to pay a high cost.
However, a patient will be in contact with a health center in the same
day, within 7 days to see a physician and no more then 90 days to see a
The hospital has 60 dietitians, focusing on dietary counseling in an inpatient
or outpatient setting, nutrition treatment (oral, supplemental, TPN, etc),
education and mentorship for student dietitians and research of all different
projects. The hospital has 3 basic
diets, special diets and 3 energy levels.
There are 3 main meals and 3 snacks per day.
A dietitian’s key factors when interacting with a patient include
educating, having a positive attitude and implementing a simple nutritional
The Karolinska food service department has three kitchens, providing 5,000 meals
a day to patients and staff members.
The food service uses a cook serve - cook chill production system and
meals on trays - bulk food distribution system.
(This type of system is quite different then MeritCare’s, where hosts
bring patient’s trays to rooms individually!)
The cost of each meal is around $10.80 USD, which is quite similar to a
meal on the Concordia campus. We
then went downstairs to get a tour of the kitchen, where we put on lab coats,
hair nets and white booties over our shoes.
It was very interesting to me to see how the staff works and who does
what. Karolinska’s kitchen is a lot
different then the kitchen at MeritCare.
Although there was a tray line, each worker had one item that they put on
the trays and the trays were put onto a cart that went up mechanically.
One similarity that I noticed was that the Dietitian talked about a lot
of waste. In a hospital, being
absolutely sure if something is safe is much better then finding out the hard
way. In the end, there happens to
be a lot of waste, but that is ultimately better then being unsure.
It was such a great experience touring the hospital and I’m very thankful
for the opportunity.
Once we left Karolinska, a few of us went to finish up our souvenir shopping in
Gamla Stan, or the old city. There
were many decent souvenir shops and we hit them all up!
We also took a break and sat near the City Hall and relaxed by the water.
We then went to dinner at a reasonable little restaurant, sat outside and
enjoyed the beautiful weather and ate a traditional Swedish meal – Swedish meat
balls! It was a relaxing evening,
while catching some rays!
Day 23 ~ May 29th, 2008
Today was our last day in Stockholm
and we used it as a free day to walk around, finish up shopping, see a few more
sights and try out tasty foods before we left.
In the morning, we went to see the changing of the guards.
Apparently it was a special day, because the ceremony lasted for over an
hour, with extravagant music by soldiers riding on horseback!
We found out last night that there is a conference to discuss the Iraqi
war with important people, such as Condoleeza Rice, the U.N. President and other
leaders from around the world. The
police officer that we talked to told us that it may not seem like a big deal,
but it is one of the biggest events
has had since the last 15 or 20 years!
(They are a neutral and very boring country he added.
With protesters present, there were a ton of police and secret service
everywhere…just in case something went wrong.
I found it to be very exciting!
Later on, a few of us went to see the City Hall again and enjoy the beautiful
view in front of the water. We also
stopped at the first church in
Sweden, which is very well-preserved and
beautiful. We roamed around the
rest of the day, ending our evening with a walk up to a cute ice cream shop with
Wayne’s cousin, who we got to meet.
She took us the long way to see all the beautiful scenery and views,
looking out into the Baltic Sea.
She pointed out a massive ship (looked similar to the Titanic’s size) that she
told us was a “party boat for singles, going between countries!”
How exciting would that be!
Overall, it was a great night and I enjoyed spending it in the beautiful weather
and so close to the water. Our trip
back home comes tomorrow…
Reflection of Sweden ~
I really enjoyed Stockholm
and it is now at the top of my “Favorite Countries” list.
It is quite similar to Denmark in that
it is a healthy country, with a lot of walking and biking.
While touring Karolinska
Hospital, we learned that Sweden deals with the same health issues as the U.S. – cancer,
(childhood) diabetes, obesity, etc and are trying similar techniques, such as
educating early on in life and emphasizing early exercise in children.
I felt like it was a very clean city.
I loved having a lot of free time here as well, because then we were able
to explore on our own and find places and sites that weren’t on our agenda.
I absolutely loved relaxing by the Baltic Sea, I felt so close to home
(my second home in FloridaJ).
I felt very safe here and loved the friendly people and beautiful views.
I would love to come back someday…this is my kind of place.
Day 24 ~ May 30th, 2008
Today we headed home…finally! I am so grateful for all of the wonderful memories
that I have made and will always carry them with me, but I am excited to get
back home and enjoy the summer (excluding work)!
Our plane left from the Stockholm airport
around 2:10 pm, and we surprisingly landed in Minneapolis a little before 6 pm - how does
It was a very long day and I was so excited to see my family and friends again!
Reflection of the trip ~
Words cannot describe how lucky I feel to have gone on this amazing trip.
The memories we made will last a lifetime, along with the pictures (17
CDs with 99 pictures on each, to be exact!)
Looking back while finishing my journal, I am grateful that we were able
to fit everything in plus everything that was unplanned.
I feel so much more open to different cultures and types of people,
having seen so much in such a short amount of time.
I am happy to know that I am going into a field that will only continue to grow
and that affects every individual, worldwide and I have gotten to see this
firsthand! With all the
advancements and knowledge in the area of food and nutrition all over the world,
it’s exciting to know that I will someday make a difference in people’s lives.
I feel that this trip will only benefit me and I hope to retain
everything I have learned and pass it on as well.
I am grateful for not only being a tourist, but learning a great deal
about how important the role of nutrition is in countries all around the world.
It is great to know that the
is not the only country coming up with great ideas on how to improve a person’s
nutritional status and ways to protect the environment as well.
After seeing firsthand and learning about each country’s nutritional
goals, I have learned that the U.S. has a ways
to go and has some catching up to do with all the great, yet simple tasks to
promote a healthy lifestyle. I
loved every minute of the trip and feel that I couldn’t have learned everything
that I did out of a textbook – what a wonderful experience that I will forever
Abby Kristine Tisdale