Helsingor

One of the most visited town for tourists visiting CPH because it’s only a 45min train ride away. A return ticket cost around 90DKK x 2 = 180 DKK. However, if you are just making a day trip, Helsingor is within the 5 zones and you can buy a unlimited ride day pass which only cost 130 DKK. (Saves you about $20 CAD)

Train travel in Denmark is very comfortable and convenient. The lovely thing is that the train stations all look very unique. This is the Helsingor Train Station. Looks like a chateau!

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Helsingborg is a small city near the port. On clear sunny days, you can see Sweden from Helsingborg. The main attraction here is Krongborg Slot.

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But the town itself is very old and shouldn’t be missed. You can expect one of those tiny cozy towns with colorful houses dotting narrow cobblestone streets.

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Among the historical buildings, this cathedral stood out. The brick work is very interesting, the patterns are bold. The garden is well kept.

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The jewel of this cathedral is the courtyard. There’s something so captivating about a perfectly squared courtyard with a single tree in the middle. For whatever reason, it felt nostalgic like I’ve seen this before. But among my travels, I don’t recall ever seeing this.

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I wandered out to the docks. The weather was fantastic before, but the clouds moved in quickly.  Created the perfect sky backdrop for this shot.

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Selfie: No pole climbing here.

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Close to the docks you will see an interesting building. It’s a community centre/ public library. You can’t miss it when you go because it is one of the more modern looking structures. I love how Danes really focus on getting light into buildings. It’s dark most of the time in Denmark, so they use larger windows and a lot of glass to maxim light from the sun.

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Hi, would you mind taking a photo for me please?

One of the woes of traveling alone, is getting a photo for yourself. Normally it’s fine, I prefer to be behind the camera. But, there are moments where I wish someone would hold the camera for me. Today was one of those days. I visited Kronborg Slot today. Having studied Hamlet so intensely in school, it was one of those moments where I really wanted a GOOD photo of me with the castle.

So, I had to pull a touristy: “Hi, would you mind taking a photo for me please?”

I normally don’t like to give my camera to someone else. Handing over my most valued possession to a complete stranger just doesn’t sit well with me. But if I have to, there are 2 broad groups of people I target.

1. Couples
I normally target couples because there would be 2 of them. If they are tourists themselves, than the likelihood of them running away with my camera is lowered.

2. Fellow Camera User (Nikon users preferred)
Then there are those fellow camera users. I usually check what camera they are using. If they are using a half frame, then I normally set it to AP for them. If they are using a full frame, I normally set it on Manual mode with all the settings I already had -assuming that most full frame user uses manual mode. I assume that because they own their own camera and probably wouldn’t need to steal mine.

I also never hand my camera to someone that looks flimsy, high maintenance people who look like they can’t lift and hold steady my 10lb gear.

Anyways, I side tracked a bit, but for a good reason. Today I wanted a photo with Kornborg Slot. The first time, I asked these 2 nice looking middle aged ladies to help me take a photo. She doesn’t look like she’s ever held a DSLR before, but that’s fine. I switched it on live view, and changed all the settings to automatic for her. So I get into the shot, and she’s fiddling with the camera. Then she looked up from the camera and asked me how to adjust the zoom. I had my wide on for her, so she should be able to get the whole castle and me in it. But she wanted to adjust the zoom, so I showed her. And this was the result:

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This is the picture I took of the castle standing at the same spot as her. I set EVERYTHING up for her, so she can get the WHOLE CASTLE, and not just half of it. Argh. Thanks anyways nice lady.

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So, disappointed, but not defeated, I walked into the castle and it looked really cool. I was standing around, trying to take selfies. Then I saw target #2. Fellow DSLR user (NIKON = BONUS). He was using at D300s, super high end pro full frame. His wife was there too. I had high hopes. I set the settings properly into manual. I got into the shot. He came forward to frame, got down onto 1 knee for a better shot. All I could think of was: “Wow, fantastic!”. He’s framing, he’s getting it from a lower angle, the towers are going to be in frame too!

And here’s the shot:

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He framed it, but heck! WHY IS THE TOILET SIGN THERE! IT COVERED THE TOWER!! I was so upset. I didn’t want to ask him to do it again because I felt bad. And this was the shot he could have taken…

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Anyways, I gave up and did a selfie.

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Rain on my holiday. It’s fine with me.

Needless to describe how rainy the weather is in CPH. The wind was gusting up to 28km/hr. I road a bike I borrowed from Heidi for the first time, and boy was is scary. The wind was so strong, especially when it was blowing from sideways. I thought I was going to fall over on my bike. Either way, despite the rainy weather, I got up fairly early and left the apartment at 10am. I made my way to Torvehallerne again for breakfast.

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I decided to start with fresh juice. This time, I tried the carrot and ginger one. It was tasty, but I think tomorrow I will have the avocado one again. ūüôā I ordered a large this time, and it cost 60DKK (that’s a bit more than $10 CAD)

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I walked pass the smorrebord place again, and decided to pass for now because I will be having some with Heidi & Co. this weekend.

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I headed over to the other building for some fresh pastry. I ordered a croissant to see how it was compared to the ones in Paris.

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And the verdict was… very tasty. Comparable to the ones in Paris. The croissant was very crispy on the outside, and soft and slightly chewy on the inside. I can taste the butter flavour more in this croissant than the other ones. But I wouldn’t say that it’s more oily or anything a regular croissant.

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Being satisfied for now, I headed for the Stork Fountain. It’s an old street that’s pedestrian only, filled with all your brand name shops.

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I went right to Illums Bolighus. It is one of the largest design shop for home and furnishings, carrying works from major danish designers. Here are a few snaps of goodies I found.

Beautiful 3 piece mirror. I’ll take the sofa too.

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And what do you think of this Carl Hansen & Son piece called the Shell Chair.  Only 5k CAD. They deliver worldwide by the way!

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As for me, I would not be able to afford anything in this shop. Maybe these miniature ones.

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It was raining pretty hard and the wind was gusting like crazy when I was ready to leave. So I went inside another shopping mall, and browsed around. This one looked like the one in Paris.

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When the rain died down, I headed for nyhavn, got lost and ended up in Christianshavn.

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Coffee break from the cold weather. I have to say, good coffee is hard to come by in CPH. I’ve only had good coffee at The Coffee Collective. I’ve tried 3 different shops, and I’ve been disappointed 3 times. My latte taste worst than the ones from McDonald’s back home. It’s so watery, can’t taste the coffee, and the milk taste like water too.

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Anyways, I walked along the canal, to check out these new buildings. They were once old industrial building. Efforts were made to turn them into new office buildings. So here it goes, my first shot at architecture photography.

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Getting Lost

Whenever I visit a new city, I always make a point to get lost.  Instructions on how to get completely lost:
1. Throw away map.
2. Take off your watch or leave it at home.
3. When in doubt of directions. Just keep walking.

I watched how cyclists navigate through traffic.¬† Observing their hand signals, and how they go about crossing intersections.¬† I’ll be borrowing a bike from Heidi soon.

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Hands down to Danish brick work. It’s amazing. Interesting patterns combined with intricate work.

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And of course, dainty small shops line the streets.

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I stopped by a bakery that had their own stone oven. Heidi mentioned that they were famous for their bread. So I decided to have a prosciutto and cheese sandwich. The bread was made of various grains, nice and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. The bakery was cozy, with a nice sitting area.

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After 4 hours of wandering, I ended up back in front of the apartment I’m staying in. Not too shabby for a first day of feeling out the city.

So Danish

After much tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep last night at 3am.¬† When I woke up it was already 12 noon.¬† I must have been super exhausted.¬† Realizing that I already lost the morning, I headed out for Torvehallerne.¬† It’s one of the biggest markets in Copenhagen featuring the best meat cuts, fresh fish, and small food stalls for people to eat in at the bars or take out.¬† The market looks very posh and so Danish.¬† The whole building is class to allow for ample amount of sunlight in and allows those outside to see all the happenings inside the market.

 

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There’s definitely something for everyone.¬† Cheese shop…

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Bottled juice goodness…

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Danish baked goodies filled the air, tempting all by-passers.

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An abundance of fresh vegetables. Perfectly arranged, grown in a nice shape. The Danes approve.

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Here, I also had my first Mikkeller beer. And let me tell you, it’s so good!! SO GOOD! They were recently featured in the NY Times.¬† I’m not a big beer drinker, but boy did the beer go down easily with a smoked salmon asparagus smorrebord.¬† I’m going to make sure I have a few more pints of Mikkeller before I go home.

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And if only I had more room in my tummy..

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I also tried an avocado, citrus, ginger juice from the juice bar. Their tag line? Look good naked! (So Danish) Great message, hits home, sticks with you. Bravo once again to the Danes.

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..and as for my juice? Delicious!! You can barely taste the avocado, but the consistency is there. You can taste the ginger, and citrus.

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And as always, there is a focus on relaxing, comfort and enjoying life. Like these girls..

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And this couple, stealing a kiss behind the lemon tree.

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Pretending I’m Still There

This winter has been more harsh than usual in Toronto. ¬†With Polar Vortex and¬†temperatures¬†dropping below 30 degrees it’s hard not to look back at all the warm places I’ve been and pretend that I was still there.

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Photo: Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

Last year summer, I went to Hawaii with J. ¬†It was literally a random throw a dart on the map and that’s where we are going kind of trip. ¬†I never knew what the big deal with Hawaii was. ¬†Beaches, sunshine, ocean.. no big deal I thought. ¬†We stayed stayed on Waikiki Beach which was nice but still nothing too special. ¬†It’s almost like Miami.

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Photo: Cliff, Hawaii

We chilled on Waikiki beach for a few days and decided to rent a car to drive around the island. ¬†It was then that I realized, how beautiful Ohau was. ¬†Cliffs and the smaller beaches was just so breath taking. ¬†Visiting the pineapple plantation and learning that pineapples don’t grow on trees. ¬†Then going to¬†Hanamana Bay to snorkel and look for sea turtles with hopes of catching a glimpse of Nemo.

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Photo: Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

Standing Tall

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Photo: Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey

I’ve always considered myself to be very lucky. ¬†Through traveling and various lucky encounters I had the opportunity to meet a lot of really amazing people in my life.

Today, for whatever reason I thought about my encounters with Spencer West. ¬†I was really lucky to have met him through Alex, a friend from SGI. ¬†The first time I met him was through SGI¬†meetings, then I saw him again when I volunteered for We Day. ¬†I also have a few friends that work for Free the Children so I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of Spencer’s book, ” Standing Tall: My Journey”. ¬†In the book he wrote, “Stand tall Stella”. It was so encouraging and inspiring.

Spencer’s story is amazing if you have not heard of him yet. Reading his story made me realize that the a lot of the limitations in our lives are the ones we place ourselves. We must overcome our own weakness and fears if we want to take on the bigger challenge of helping others become happy.

Along the same lines, when I took this picture I marveled at all tall and straight the trees are. It made me think of this quote from Nichiren Daishonin:

A blue fly, if it clings to the tail of a thoroughbred horse, can travel ten thousand miles, and the green ivy that twines around the tall pine can grow to a thousand feet.

This quote talks about the importance of having a correct life philosophy.  Something that will withstand the test of time, and a philosophy that is for the people.  I find this is true if you have true friends in life.  Friends and mentors that can become your tree, people that can help you surpass your limit.

Friends that can help you stand tall.
So that you can stand tall for others.