Despite what my last two posts might suggest, I have not been off gallivanting around Europe this whole time. I have been living a relatively normal day-to-day life, going to class and procrastinating on readings. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t also been adventuring (seriously I feel like every trip to the grocery store is an adventure), because I have. I’ve just been focusing on smaller things and taking sweet day trips.
The final destination of many of these trips has been some sort of a museum. In a past life I was an anthropology major, hoping to work in a museum when I grew up. Unfortunately, that never happened and now I’m in law school so I guess I’m going to be a lawyer. Even still, I love a museum and although I’m particularly interested in archaeology and boats, I’m happy wandering around any such institution. Join me now for a retelling of a few of my museum day trips. All three are located within a relatively easy travelling distance from Copenhagen and come highly recommended by me because of course my opinion is of the utmost importance.
Design Museum Danmark
My first day trip was an easy day at the Design Museum Danmark. The Design Museum is located in central Copenhagen so it’s a quick trip from my dorm by bike or Metro. I wanted to stay a little low-key for my first day trip because I would be joined by a very new friend. I had only met her once, at an exchange student dinner. Although we hit it off, I had really only spent a couple of hours with her and I wasn’t sure how we would fit together. Thus, a museum located in Copenhagen itself was ideal as it offered a quick escape in the off chance that my first impression of her was wrong.
I am so thrilled and happy to report that my first impression was correct. We ended up having compatible personalities and so much in common. She has become one of my closest friends here and has accompanied me on all of my day trips thus far. I am so lucky that I found her.
And now, with all of that sentimental nonsense out of the way, I can talk all about our adventure at the Design Museum. This was on the top of my list for two major reasons. First, I am low-key obsessed with Scandinavian design. Second, and perhaps most importantly, admission is free with a student id. If I know anything about myself it’s that I love a free offer so of course I was excited to give the museum a visit.
My expectations were by far exceeded. The museum was well laid out and super interesting. Plus, it was filled with all sorts of weird looking furniture and everyday items: truly my favorite thing. I especially loved the fashion section as it was fun to daydream about what I would wear in my everyday life if I had unlimited funds, or at least a real income. I definitely recommend a visit.
I also really liked spending time with my new friend. Her name is also Katie and coincidentally she is also from Florida. Clearly there must have been some cosmic forces bringing us together because we hit it off right away.
After traipsing around the museum we ended up taking a little stroll, accidentally walking through the grounds of Amalienborg palace on our way to a nice chair overlooking the harbor. We chatted waterside until we got too cold.
Surprisingly, we still had not gotten sick of each other so we decided to do another indoor activity and perhaps find a restroom along the way. Magasin du Nord (think Danish Harrods, but not really) was close by so we headed in to admire designer clothes that neither one of us could afford.
All in all, our short excursion to the Design Museum turned into a daylong epic adventure that was a perfect start to a beautiful friendship.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (the other Louisiana)
The next #TeamKatie outing took us slightly outside of Copenhagen proper to the town of Humlebæk and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Now, I should preface this section by admitting that I am not the most cultured person when it comes to art and I end up spending most of my museum visits making fun of the paintings. Still, I had wanted to visit the Louisiana because they have a Kusama Installation called Gleaming Lights of the Souls that looked incredible. Plus, their special exhibition was moon themed which seemed pretty cool as well.
I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my visit to the museum. The moon exhibit was incredibly curated and I saw so much art that I actually really appreciated. For example, at the entrance to the gallery sat a player piano. It was programed to play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” with a twist: it played the notes after they had been bounced off the surface of the moon so not all of them made the complete journey through space. The result was appropriately eerie and atmospheric. Further within the gallery, I encountered a piece by Gertrude Abercrombie that really spoke to me. I had never heard of her as an artist before, but I am so glad I got a glimpse at one of her paintings. It completely captured my imagination and I definitely think that I have a new favorite artist.
The Kusama installation was a part of the moon exhibit and it certainly did not disappoint. It was completely immersive and surreal and entirely worth the hype. Honestly, the trip to Louisiana is worth it for the installation alone. Everything else is just gravy.
After spending so much time in the moon exhibit, Other Katie and I set out to look at the rest of the museum. While the other artworks didn’t quite speak to us as much as the moon exhibit did, we still made our own fun traipsing from room to room. Besides the fun of looking at/making fun of weird modern art, the Louisiana building and grounds themselves proved to be worthwhile on their own. The museum is perched on a cliff (or what this Floridian is going to call a cliff because she certainly doesn’t know any better) above the sea, offering picturesque views and a nice little hike. There is also a nice lake and trees and nature.
The weather was so nice during our visit that Katie and I spent much time exploring the outside wilderness of the Louisiana. As we were doing so, we happened upon a tall slide built into the hill. Of course, this looked like the most fun thing possible and I wanted nothing more than to sit on it and ride to the bottom. Now, I am very familiar with the downhill fun slides you might encounter at a fair. You know the ones: too many rickety steps up for a short zip down a rolling hill aided by a burlap sack. Well, there are no potato sacks just lying around the Danish wilds but I was determined to put something in between me and the slide. After all, I am a lady and was wearing a dress. Also, I wanted to go fast because that’s infinitely more fun. So I just sat down on my cardigan and readied to make the descent. Almost as soon as I started moving I knew I had made a grave mistake. My cardigan was way too good at reducing friction and I started hurtling towards the earth faster than the human body should go without some sort of safety gear. I probably only slid for about ten seconds but it felt like an eternity. I was acutely aware of the danger, of my imminent impact, and of just how helpless I was to change my fate. It was almost an out of body experience. Maybe ten seconds later it all came crashing down. I had reached the end of the slide. Instead of landing gracefully on my feet I was launched through the air only to land on my face in a mud pit. Not my proudest or most graceful moment. Luckily, aside from bruised knees and ego I suffered no major injuries.
I think that the Saga of the Death Slide is a good place to end this section, as nothing else that we encountered at the Louisiana could top it. All in all, I really did have a ton of fun at the museum and I am so glad we went. It was an easy afternoon trip from Copenhagen (minus some train drama) and it comes highly recommended by yours truly.
The IKEA Museum
The IKEA Museum is located in the former home of the first ever Ikea store, Älmhult, Sweden. I absolutely love IKEA: flat packed furniture is basically a home décor Lego set and it just really appeals to me. Seriously, few things bring me greater joy than wandering the Scandinavian labyrinth, dreaming about owning a couch with an outlandish print. Needless to say, a pilgrimage to the place where it all began was high on my priority list.
This was the most ambitious day trip, as it involved a lengthy cross-border (cross sea?) train ride and would end up being my first and only trip to Sweden. As is tradition, the other Katie accompanied me and, once again, we had a grand old time.
The IKEA Museum truly is a magical place. It covers the history of IKEA as a company and includes some covet worthy interior design examples. The museum itself is kind of small, crammed into the shell of the first-ever IKEA store, but what it lacks in size it more than made up for in content. Two particular areas of the museum stood out to me. First, the basement was dedicated entirely to “IKEA Hacks” where people throw out the diagrams and build something completely new from their flat pack furniture. This was inspiring to me and made me want to build weird furniture abominations, but I think that’s a topic for a different blog.
Second, and perhaps my most favorite thing ever, is that the museum had an area set up that was an exact replica of this season’s IKEA catalogue. Katie and I had way too much fun posing for several cover shoots, three of which I will share with you here. You’re welcome.
Besides the exhibits themselves, we also made use of the IKEA Museum’s restaurant. Naturally, we had to get Swedish meatballs because no visit to IKEA is complete without them. The meatballs that we had at the museum were definitely the swankiest, most high-end IKEA meatballs imaginable. Truly works of art in ball form.
After being sufficiently inspired at the museum, Katie and I took a leisurely stroll to the actual IKEA stores in Älmhult. Not only is there a traditional store, but there is also (what I believe to be) the only IKEA outlet in existence. Naturally, we had to check both of these out in order to have the complete experience. All I can say is that I wish I lived in Scandinavia. At the outlet I fell in love with the perfect turquoise Lack side table. It was under $10 and it would have perfectly complimented the purple couch that I already own. Alas, there was no feasible way for me to bring the table home with me and we left the outlet empty handed. I still have dreams about that table and I wish things could have worked out differently.
After the outlet, we headed into IKEA classic. Other Katie wanted fairy lights to jazz up her dorm room and we figured this was as good a place as any to find them. Plus, do you really need an excuse to wander around an IKEA? Of course, before shopping, we stopped at the café as is tradition. This time, we split a princess cake which was way better than the ones that you get in the American IKEA stores. Wandering around the store was pretty great, although very similar to the IKEAs we know and love stateside. I was impressed by their garden section as that’s something that I have never seen in the US but would honestly love to. Katie did end up buying her lights and we had a successful trip to the stores.
All in all, it’s kind of wild that we were able to take a day trip to Sweden nearly on a whim. Visiting the IKEA Museum was a dream come true, and was only one of many day trips I enjoyed while abroad. While my blog posting has been erratic at best, I’m aiming to be writing more consistently now that I’m not distracted by travel and exams and holidays. Thanks for sticking with me!