The Danish Architecture Center encourages visitors to learn through visual and physical context with the works on display, providing a learning opportunity at every step as they display the latest of brutalist and contemporary architecture that is distinguished by its hospitality and cutting edge technology. I had a great time learning and engaging with the modern and historical architecture of Denmark.
We began our art and design day by meeting a local art curator, Amalie Frederiksen, who specializes in public interventionist art. Inspired by her work, we split up to explore different art opportunities around the city. After accidentally getting on the wrong bus, my group conquered the 2A (peek the view from the bus station below) and rode it to the Copenhagen Contemporary Museum. There, we experienced 3 different exhibits, my favorite of which was a trippy immersive exhibit from James Turrell, that explored light as matter and it’s effect on space and orientation. We then finished the night with a trip to Tivoli Gardens, a magical Christmas market/theme park, where I may or may not have gone in the same ride three times. Although we mourned our last day dedicated to exploring the city we made the most of it and look forward to reuniting with the Danish high school students tomorrow!
My third day in Copenhagen was definitely the coldest. I thought I would be ready for this trip ,especially because I’m a SF native, but nothing prepared me for how cold it is. Despite this cold I still have managed to consistently get outside and see sights around the city. Today, I visited parliament and the Tivoli Gardens. Although parliament was pretty Tivoli was genuinely amazing. It is a small amusement park packed with rides and restaurants. The entire park was full of both familiar and unique rides. Christmas is in full swing in Copenhagen. With Christmas markets and decorations around every corner. I’m honestly shocked at how lively the city is at almost every hour of the day. As much as I’m looking forward to Berlin I really wish I could stay here longer.
Donning our winter coats and wrapping scarves around our necks, we ventured over to a local bakery for fresh baked pastries and coffee to fuel up for the day’s work ahead: a “Seek-n-Find” exploration activity of Copenhagen’s iconic landmarks, buildings, and districts. Splitting off into groups we made our way around the city, stopping for selfies in front of the Christiansborg Palace, popping into local thrift shops, and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the Christmas markets along the waterfront. The highlight: walking through the magical Royal Library gardens in the snow!
The highlight of my day was getting to see the Royal Danish Ballet perform A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I the production was really interesting because they combined classical ballet with neoclassical ballet during the dream-like fairy scenes. The costumes also reflected this stylistic choice. The classical ballet section was in traditional costumes and long flowing dresses while the neoclassical and more modern section was in tight white bodysuits.The music was also reflective of the classical and neoclassical sections, which was super interesting. The Royal Danish Ballet’s portrayal of the more intimate scenes was really amazing to watch because of how in tune the dancers were with their emotions and their partners.
The minute we stepped off the bus we were greeted by the crisp air and beautiful architecture. Pulling our suitcases across the cobblestone streets was challenging, but the sense of achievement we felt upon arriving at the hotel made it all worth it. Can’t wait to explore more!
Our final day in Rome! We visited the Pantheon in the morning. “After the rainfall overnight, it was cool to see how it fell into the Pantheon,” said Connor Caba, Gr 12. While in the Pantheon, originally a temple later transformed into a Christian church, students saw the tomb of Raphael. After yesterday’s visit to the Vatican and seeing his works of art, the students found it to be a powerful experience.
Following the Pantheon, we all got COVID tested. We’re very happy to announce that we’re all negative! Before dinner, we made a stop at Santa Maria in Trastevere. “The columns are taken from the Baths of Caracalla. It shows the reuse of ancient Rome in Christianity,” said Dr. David Jacobson.
While at dinner, Sofia Tobiason, Gr. 10 volunteered to dance salsa with our waiter. “Besides the food, that was the best part of dinner,” said Sofia. She received a round of applause from the restaurant customers.
The students are all excited to head home first thing in the morning tomorrow.
Are eight hours enough in Vatican City? Definitely not. Today, students viewed numerous pieces of priceless arts and artifacts throughout the 70,000+ exhibits. While many students remarked on the indescribable awe of the Sistine Chapel, they were also grateful to climb to the top of the Coppola of St. Peter’s Basilica. “It was nice to climb to the top to see the whole perspective of the building, especially what it may have looked like many years ago,” said Connor Caba, Gr. 12. In total, visitors must climb 551 steps to reach the top of the dome. Each step becomes progressively narrower as one reaches the top.
Faculty and students including Jonathan Fields and Jacob Savage, Gr. 10 and Sydney Mountain, Gr. 11 attended mass spoken in Italian at St. Peter’s Basilica. It was powerful for each to engage in an aspect so close to our school community in the most holy of places. We saw the statue of St. Francis, who we pray to during each chapel, within the walls of the basilica along with many other Saints and past Popes. Guiseppe Scala, Gr. 10 discovered old graffiti dating back to 1671 etched into the marble of some I the statues. While we don’t encourage defacing works of art, it was amazing for each of us to see ordinary peoples who left their literal mark even before the United States of America fought for its revolution.
The highlight for many today, including Guiseppe Scala, Gr. 10, was the many sculptures we saw in the Villa Borghese. While it was collectively agreed that Bernini’s works are stunning, Guiseppe said that Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix by Canova was his favorite piece saying that, “Just the bed alone is so detailed. I wanted to spend more time looking at it.” In addition to the numerous works on the walls and on podiums, visitors need to remember to look up at the gorgeous ceilings. “They’re breathtaking works of art,” said Sofia Tobiason, Gr. 10.
After lunch, we traveled to Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore (The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major). Some students took the opportunity to pray while others enjoyed the beauty within. Next was the Palazzo Massimo which houses the National Museum of Rome. We viewed several pieces from antiquity and were in awe at the many Roman frescoes. On the way to dinner, we stopped at the Circus Maximus. There, students held another foot race. Nils Wallace, Gr. 10 was the victor! Finally, after a dinner of pizza the group enjoyed a desert of gelato on the way to the hotel.