Monday, July 9, 2012

Fourth of July and a Trip to Denmark

by Georgy Petukhov and Noel Piatek

Today we celebrated the United States’ independence here in Sweden, where the fourth of July is seen as any other day. We still went to class, the shops were still open, and there were no parades. To fix this lack of excitement we all came together to have an awesome Fourth of July barbecue at the grills behind our residence halls. Noel brought potato salad and chocolate strawberries but there was a myriad of delicious dishes, such as: grilled hot dogs, veggie burgers, sausages, fruit salad, corn on the cob, watermelon, fudge, apple and blueberry pies, and ice cream. All in all we had a great time representing America and showing our patriotism abroad, sans fireworks. Later in the evening we retired to the beach and had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows.

Since Sweden is surrounded by many interesting countries, three of us (Georgy Petukhov, Nick Musso and Hejun Li) decided to go to Denmark. In order to not to miss classes they went there on the weekend: left on Saturday morning and came back in the evening on Sunday. That amount of time was enough to see most of what Copenhagen has to offer, especially if you have bikes. It would not be a lie to say that the capital of Denmark has the highest density of bicycles per square meter. There are designated lanes everywhere, and even traffic lights for bikers. It was indeed very easy to travel by bike. They were able to see a lot of places, including those that are usually not visited by tourists or even locals: a factory and a wind power station that are located in the outskirts of the city. But, of course, they have also seen well-known sites such as the famous Little Mermaid, Strøget, Nyhavn and Rosenborg Castle. The city is beautiful. Copenhagen is definitely worth a visit and would be a very nice place to live, as well. 

Back to Stockholm... Unlike any other city it is not only known for what is above the ground level – there are also many famous and beautiful subway stations that just cannot be overlooked. They share a similar awe-inspiring style, but, nevertheless, you can never confuse one with the other. They are mostly located on the blue line and today Georgy went to see some of them. The one he liked most of all is called Solna Centrum. The ceiling of this station is completely covered in red paint; however, the extreme irregularity of its surface makes an eye-pleasing pattern of shadows and light appear. He had never seen anything like that before and he bets you haven't, either!

Georgy Petukhov is a sophomore studying Computer Science Engineering and minoring in Chinese. He is from Moscow, Russia. 

Noel Piatek is a senior studying Integrative Biology with a concentration on Conservation and Ecology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is from Homer Glen, Illinois.


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