Pumpkin Soup inspired by Jamie Oliver


  • 4 cups (1 kg) pumpkin chopped or 16 oz pumpkin puree
  • Two shallots chopped
  • 1 large ginger root (about 6 tbsp) graded
  • ½ cup (4 oz) of canned coconut milk
  • 4 cups (1 L) Organic vegetable stock
  • Chili powder
  • Four chive sprouts (finely chopped, garnish top of soup)
  • 1 lime

If you use a whole pumpkin, use a sharp knife to cut the pumpkin in half longwise. Then, use a potato peeler to peal outer skin off pumpkin. After removing the skin, use a sharp knife to cut the pumpkin into cubes. Glaze the bottom of a medium sized pot with a small amount of olive oil, place 4 cups of cubed pumpkin inside along with chopped shallots, and graded ginger. Cover with a lid, sauté until soft (or until you can poke through pumpkin wedges with a fork).

Optional (wash pumpkin seeds, drizzle with olive oil/salt, roast in oven for 20-30 minutes on 375).

Add organic vegetable stock, coconut milk, and chili powder. Cover with lid, and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Use a blender or hand blender (I use an immersion blender) to blend soup to desired texture. Spoon soup into bowls, use a spoon to drizzle a dash of coconut milk, sprinkle chives and roasted pumpkin seeds on top. Slice a few lime wedges for people to squeeze into their soup as desired. ENJOY!!



Celui qui arrive trop tard trouve la plaque retournée. “He who arrives too late finds the plate turned over. “

So its the Wednesday before finals…and you don’t happen to have class…so naturally you do the only logical thing: Fly to Brussels, Belgium for 24 hours!

What can you do in 24 hours, you might ask? Well, our answer was FOOD tour! The whole works… two kinds of Belgian waffles (why pick…have BOTH, we did!), free chocolate samplings (you bet you’re sweet biscuits we ate our fair share AND more), fries (for lunch and dinner… um yup), local cheese shop owned by the CUTEST couple (ENTER just do it! hear about the story of the three generations of Catherines that ran this shop) and when they don’t have any more potatoes at the food truck…you go right on ahead and get that plate of plain raclette cheese!!!!

Our trip to Belgium was a dream!

Όταν λείπει η γάτα, χορεύουν τα ποντίκια. “When the cats away the mice dance”

And dance we most certainly did…if you and your three best friends are BIG time ABBA fanatics, then when in Greece you’re basically obligated to make a very long, very involved music video to Dancing Queen. So naturally that’s exactly what we did.

We spent Saturday wandering around the neighborhood of Plaka (home to the Acropolis aka the ancient citadel–which includes The Theatre of Dionysus **the oldest theatre in the WORLD, The Temple of Athena, & of course the Parthenon **well that is the five remaining columns–shout out to England for casually taking a column just because they could!!! ALSO…just a far warning… watch out for the mistrusting, miser of a women at the ticking booth (yes she does take her job TOO seriously and no she’s not going to believe you when you & your friends try to acquire the student discount–because logically speaking “she can’t be responsible for knowing all the schools in Europe” and your card doesn’t explicitly say “UNIVERSITY” 😦

Throughout the trip, we tried some AMMAZZINGG food (including lamb kabobs, stuffed bell peppers, and delicious omelets filled with THE BEST feta cheese!)

Our final day, we (literally) ran around the original Olympic track…which was completely surreal. And of course we got the last footage for our all too important video!

Tickety-boo~Lang may yer lum reek~An rud is annamh is iontach “The thing that’s seldom is wonderful”

Mind the gap… this week I’m catching up on the last few trips I took this semester!

London, England:

Sooooo you might think that after all the flights I’ve taken, I would possibly remember to factor in the time it takes to go through customs. Well, it turns out traveling within the Nordic countries is quite a bit shorter (an hour a half to be exact:) than traveling to the UK!

When I arrived in the city, “under the weighty influence” of my travelers backpack, I made a trip to the National Gallery (where they have a dandy baggage check). Then, it was off to the Theatre to see Les Miserables (stellar performances by Jean Valjean, Fantine, & Eponine!). After the show, I met up with Ashley Errett and her fabulous roommate Allie! We had a yummy dinner, and then made our way back to their flat (for some FUN econ studyings–ash/allie).


This morning, I ran around the city (Buckingham Palace, Westminster abbey, Harry Potter city tour–Diagon Alley/Honeydukes Sweet Shop, Churchill War Rooms—AMAZING!!!!). Then, I met up with Ash & Allie for a “traditional” British take on Thanksgiving dinner! (think a feast of green beans, the BEST Brussels sprout/pancetta, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, steak, & gravy)

Edinburgh, Scotland:

Today, I decided to take a solo day trip to Scotland! Upon arrival, I was immediately struck by the expanse of old gothic churches and castles spanning the Edinburgh skyline. And, despite the grey skies, the air was pleasantly crisp and fresh. I joined a Harry Potter tour (yes… it was my second Harry Potter tour of the trip!) which was INCREDIBLE! Our tour guide was a local masters student from the University of Edinburgh, and she threw a series of monologues/fun facts/spells at us throughout the tour. This included paying a visit to the grave yard which inspired key characters such as Tom Riddle & McGonagall (the grave of a failed poet), and the nearby orphanage/school (along with Edinburgh Castle) which inspired Hogwarts! (this school even had four halls- one green, blue, yellow, and red–that students were sorted into! coincidence….I think not!)

Dublin, Ireland:

As a Notre Damer, it seemed only fitting that I visit the land of the Irish! And it just so happened that my best friend Margo (fellow ND, fisher regatta boat racing champion) is studying abroad this semester at Trinity College Dublin! After dropping off my backpack, she introduced me to the famous 99s (soft serve ice cream with a Cadbury flake!!) from the local fast food restaurant! The following morning we met up with a few other ND friends for  tea and raspberry scones with yummy clotted cream. Then, our group went shopping for our friendsgiving dinner (pan fried chicken with roasted vegetables and mash potatoes!). We also visited the Book of Kells (9th century transcription of the New Testament Gospels located in Trinity College library). That night we met at the Notre Dame house to watch the final football game of the regular season! This included snacking on homemade cookies & brownies as we waiting for the game to begin–1 AM Dublin Time! The next morning we ate a classic Irish breakfast with delicious hot chocolate & I made my way back to the motherland-Denmark!

Leggja Höfuðið í Bleyti. “Lay your head on the water”

peaceful. In one word that’s how I would describe our whirl wind of a weekend to Reykjavik, Iceland. Waking up Saturday morning, our eyes were met with skies swirled in bright orange, magenta, and salmon pink. Our gal group (Kira, Ashley, and Stephanie) hopped on a tour bus to see the Golden Circle! First stop: Thingvellir (the founding place of the Icelandic Commonwealth) ALSO location of the North Atlantic Divergent Ridge AKA the place where you can be in two continents at one time by standing on the plate tectonic that separates the American and European continents!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next stop: Strokkur the famous Geysir which erupts as high as 20 m every 20 minutes!

Third stop: View of Gulfoss, icelands land of 30,000 waterfalls! And scrumptious lunch of warm Kjötsupa soup (traditional Icelandic lamb soup)!


4th Stop: Kerið (the giant volcanic crater)

5th Stop: The North Atlantic Ocean black sand beach

Final stop: The Blue Lagoon!!!


Come il cacio sui maccheroni. “Like cheese on macaroni” PART 2

Day 5: Florence

“Treat yoself…clothes! Treat yoself…fragrances! Treat yoself…massages! Treat yoself…fine leather goods!” Yup, that pretty much sums up our trip to Florence (or all of Italy for that matter!)

Erin and I spent the morning culturing ourselves with trips to both the Academy museum (think Michelangelo’s David!!! and Lorenzo Bartilini “the sculpture”–aka the man from Letters to Juliet) and the Ufizi (think works from the big four Renaissance artists–Da Vinci, Michelangelo,  Donatello, Raphael)! Then, we proceeded to consume THE WORLD’S BEST sandwich!!!! This sandwich was from the magical restaurant of Osteria All’antico vinaio! At the suggestion of the shop owner, I ran down the street to purchase a loaf of gluten-free ciabatta bread, and then Erin and I ordered La Summer (round ball of mozzarella smashed on top of fresh bread accompanied by paper thin sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and a blanket of freshly cut prosciutto ham)! It safe to say both of us had tears in our eyes before, during, and after this life changing experience. To top off our amazing day, we met up with my fabulous friend, Ashley Errett and her partner in crime, Allie! This marvelous crew had a grand old time at dinner and then made their way back to crash at the B&B (well almost… I felt the need to run around the room to collect 200 more steps so that I could log 40,000 –17.5 miles– for the day!)

Day 6: Florence! All Saints Day!

Sooooo If you were wondering….today was the day the fine leather goods came in! But first, Ash, Allie, Erin, and I attended mass at the Duomo! (Big green and white cathedral in the center of town!) Then, our fearless friends made there way right on back to the WORLD’S BEST sandwich shop! Erin decided to depart from the mother ship by ordering a Dante (truffle cheese melted over spiced ham), while I remained faithful to the tried and true–La Summer! Following this, it was off to the races! We wondered around shop, by shop, by shop…eyes open for the perfect Italian leather jackets! With my particularly selective (expensive) taste, lets just say this was quite the process! At last, Erin and I found our dreamy butter leather jackets NOT without the help from our supportive fashion forward mentors Ashley and Allie! We then walked up the giant hill by the canal to see stunning city views! That night we had THE riches, cheesest dinner in all of Florence! Picture yourself leisurely dipping freshly made gluten free bread in a rich fondue like mixture of four Italian cheeses…what more could anyone want? Finally, we topped off our magical day with salted Carmel gelato at Grom!

Day 7: Venice

Swimming through the flooded streets… or so that’s what we witnessed “first hand” via Alice Bruemmer’s Snapchat story. Three days later, and Erin and I were met with relatively dry streets! After getting lost (literally) in Venice’s vast array of windy, mazy streets, we came upon some delicious fried sea food cones! Then, we walked to St. Marcos **pigeon central**square for a quick tour of the Doge’s “small” private chapel. This place was much different than any chapel I’ve ever visited (think the MOST expansive mosaic filled ceilings, gold bejeweled alter pieces, and stunning arches). Following this, we payed a trip to Erin’s family’s favorite artist so that Erin could purchase one of his incredible masquerade paintings! Then, we had an amazing dinner of gluten free pesto pasta (Haley) and freshly made, endless layered lasagna (Erin). Somehow we managed to consume our 7th gelato! (Carmel peanut butter and pistachio cherry)

Day 8: Islands of Morano and Burano

We arose bright and early and took a boat from Venice to the Morano (the glass making island) and Burano (the lace making island). Murano was adorable, but quite crowded! Here we made a few Christmas purchases, stumbled into a private glass blowing tour, and had a delicious sandwich picnic on a dock over looking the canal! Then, we made our way to Burano (our favorite!) were we wondering around the colorful houses and enjoyed the quiet charm of this less tourist central place! Our day concluded with a trip back to Venice for a charming dinner at Pane Vino San Daniele! It was here were we consumed THE most amazing gnocchi known to man! These homemade gnocchi were tucked away in a cosy personal pot, snuggled up in a rich, creamy cheese sauce!!!! Finally, Erin and I enjoyed our last gelato: mascarpone apples and cinnamon (Dad you need to make this!)

Day 9: Milano

As a final hurrah to our fabulous adventures in Italy, Erin and I decided to fly out of Milan! Our flight was scheduled just perfectly so that we could explore a bit of the city anddddd the cheese. Erin and I window shopped through the Gold Triangle (Chanel, Gucci, Chloe, Burberry… and so on). No stores were entered, however, it was extremely enjoyable observing the exotic array of fashion forward clothing and accessories! After this, we decided to have a “last supper” of sorts to celebrate the end of our journey! WHAT an ammmmmazzzzinggg idea this was! As if by divine providence, I found an Italian restaurant recommendation on trip advisor. We entered the crowded restaurant and my eyes fell on the cheese wheel decorations….and that’s when I knew this was no ordinary restaurant. Menus in hand, I spotted the cheese platters. One look at the Gran potato Reale ***famiy size cheese platter*** and I was sold. (burrata, mozzarella, pecorino, parmigiano, caciotta e gorgonzola con miele, noci, gelatina di lambrusco e cremates al balsamico) TRANSLATION the biggest ball of mozzarella known to man, surrounded by three decadent balls of burrata, pecorino with a side of red wine jelly, parmigiana, aged gorgonzola with a side of sweet honey, and goat cheese with a side of balsamic vinegar reduction. WHAT MORE DOES LIFE HAVE TO OFFER???? I don’t believe that I can ever top this amazing cheese filled time in Italy

Come il cacio sui maccheroni. “Like cheese on macaroni” PART 1

Italy was a dream…that is once we finally made it there! Picture this: it’s a Friday night at the end of October, the trip (cheese) of your dreams awaits you in a matter of hours, excitement takes hold as you hop on the M1 metro line. Two stops in and your excitement turns to panic as you realize you’re on the wrong line! Time is ticking and you can almost taste the fresh mozzarella escaping from your grasp. Changing lines, you run through the airport only to find that your flight is delayed a half hour. You and your friend Erin board the flight and wait for take off….two hours later an announcement comes over the loud speakers from your “friends” from Ryan air “Sorry for the small delay! The weather appears to be fine. It was a false alarm.” Translation…with discount airlines: you get what you pay for! 2 AM you make your way toward the taxi’s. Its late and you’re in no mood to pay 60 E or wait for a cheaper option to come along. So naturally, when a man short Italian man approaches you to offer a ride share opportunity, you take the leap! Turns out, when you thought you’d be sharing the van with six other travels, two more people are packed in. Thank goodness, your B&B is close! It’s almost 3 AM and this point all that is running through your mind is SLEEP. As you approach the entrance to the B&B, an Italian man tries to say something to you. You exclaim “Not today Sir!” …moments later you realize that this Italian man is your B&B host, who has been waiting up all night for you to let you in! (Yikes!)

Rome: The Eternal City

Day 1: Erin and I woke up with excitement for the day (cheese) to come! We made our way to St. Peter’s square to meet up with Morgan (Erin’s friend from ND) and to purchase some Roma passes (ie. museum entrance + transportation)! Low and behold, my poor card got rejected from the Roma pass agency and the three nearest EuroExchange ATM machines. After a few valiant failed attempts, paypal began to look like a great option. With card troubles behind us, our world travelers made their way to the Roman Forum (think ancient ruins, 7C BC temple of the Vestal Virgins, arch of Titus, roman baths, stunning city views) and then to the colosseum (think 50,000 to 80,000 person amphitheater, gladiators, ship racing–yes! it was possible to flood the colosseum with water). 2 PM, three (very) hungry girls had there first taste of true Italian pasta!!! Carbonara…fresh pasta swirled in a rich Pecorino Romano cheese, warm eggs, and crispy pancetta! In a daze, we made our way through the Trevi fountain to the Spanish steps. Swarms of people appeared to have the same bright idea! To escape the crowds, we had our first magical gelato experience of the trip –Double dark chocolate chunk! Wondering through town, we met up with Kayla (another ND gal) and visited a series of roman churches. The day came to a close with my joyous consumption of a scrumptious quarto formaggio pizza!!! (Dar Poeta) ***This pizza place was so amazing that the restaurant required a bouncer who would call names off of the list, followed by “one, two, three, ciao!”

Day 2: Mass with Papa Fransisco!!!

Our excitement was contagious as we made our way into St. Peter’s Basilica for mass with Papa Francisco! The service was beautiful with angelic singing from the Italian boys choir, diverse languages spoken by the eclectic assembly of cardinals, stunning gold inlayed ceilings, and a very close encounter with Pope Francis! During mass, we met a friendly group of sisters who passionately described their devotion to St. Therese. Overall, it was an unforgettable experience. Then, came the RAIN! Buckets and buckets! Our fearless crew ran through the streets and into the Vatican museums. Laughing, we ran in the museum with our soaked shoes, squeaking and swishing. Highlights included an exhibit on papal vestments and early christian crosses and the Sistine Chapel! We celebrated with gelato at Giolitti gelato (salty Carmel and rich dark chocolate!) and dinner at Restaurant Abruzzi, S.S. Apostol (where I preceded to create my own cheesy house pasta–mushrooms, peas, olive oil, and chunks of fresh mozzarella)!

Day 3:  More Roma

I arose bright and early to make my way to a small, family own Negozio di formaggi (cheese shop) that specializes in fresh ricotta (which sells out before noon every day!). At the shop, I eagerly engaged in friendly conversation with the cheese owner who recommended Parmigiano-Reggiano along with a generous helping of freshly made ricotta! What a time to be alive!!!! Before meeting up with Erin and Morgan, I wondered through Santa Maria sopra Minerva and saw the Christos by Michelangelo! On our way  to the Pantheon, our group made a necessary stop at Giolitti for some rich Nutella and raspberry gelato! Then, Erin lived her dream of seeing rain flow through the oculus of the Pantheon! (imagine me with cheese, enter Erin and her oculus rain)!! Post rain shower, coins were tossed in the Trevi fountain, and our group stopped for a scrumptious lunch at Spaghetti L’archetto pizzeria (Cacao e Peppe–CHEESE and Pepper!!! i.e. my FAVORITE pasta in Rome!) After lunch, we window shopped, and then ducked into ST. Ignatius’ church to see the special 6:40 PM daily unveiling of St. Ignatius statue! Our day concluded with a trip to the Notre Dame Roma Villa! (HUGE, gothic architecture, Italian castle-esque) At the villa, I enjoyed a surprise visit with Abbigail (a close friend of Alice and Margo from PW!) ONNNNN to Selerno!!!

Day 4: Amalfi Coast

Last night, we stayed at the MOST adorable B&B I’ve ever seen! Think cute color coordinated tables that match each room and freshly delivered gluten free treats! Happy campers, Erin, Morgan, and I rode the bus to the Amalfi coast! Stunning ocean views to the the left, adorable coastal villages to our right, winding mountainous terrain up ahead. When we landed in the town of Amalfi, our group wondered up the streets to a lemon orchard and a handmade paper shop. On the way back down, we enjoyed refreshing lemon sorbet as we popped inside local artisan shops. THEN came the highlight! Down one of the streets, I spotted a tour group outside a shop called La tramontina. This group was sampling fresh mozzarella balls dipped in mozzarella cream. With an approving look from Erin, I “blending” into the crowd to sample the creamiest, most heavenly ball of mozzarella cheese bathed in the worlds richest mozzarella cream. After this magical experience, our group lunched at a local fish restaurant where I enjoyed octopus (salted in lemon and butter), blue fish (local tuna), and anchovies! The day concluded with a (unintentional) dip (we were soaked) from the Tyrrhenian Sea! Stay tuned for part 2 of our Italian adventure!

‘Så er den ged barberet.’ Now that the goat has been shaved

Speaking of goats… a long time ago, in a land far away lived a Polish chief named Pete. Fall was approaching, and it was Pete’s job to prepare venison for the annual celebration in honor of the mayor of Poznan, Poland. Unfortunately, luck was against poor Pete, and his meat fell into the fire. Feeling the heat, Pete ran to the local meadow and tried to abduct two unsuspecting goats. These goats made a run for it… all the way up to the top of the Town Hall. At the top, the goats began butting heads which alerted the villagers that the building was on fire. From this day forward, the butting goats were celebrated as heroes. Symbols of national pride. Statues were erected in their honor! In Poznan, every day at 12 o’clock, two iron billy goats come out from the top of the Town Hall to butt heads! This was one of the many glorious things we witnessed throughout our study tour week through Poznan, Berlin, and Prague!


Picture a series of slanted cobble stone streets merging into a quaint city square. Up one street lies the old ruins of the city wall, up another is a tiny chocolate shop called Cacao. Each corner of the square is marked with an ancient fountain of Apollo, Neptune, or Mars.


In this city, we visited the gynecological surgical unit and saw a C-section!!! We learned about the steps of the surgery, and we even got to hold the placenta! Most of all, it was incredible to see the birth of a baby! Interestingly, we learned that c-sections are extremely common in Poland (close to 40%!!!). After digging a bit deeper, the resident surgeon explained that in Poland there is a shortage of anesthesiologists. Thus, women fear that they will not receive the adequate pain management during their pregnancy unless they opt for surgery. This astounded our group, and inspired my friend Katie and I to explore this topic more in our research project for the class! The second day we got to visit the pediatric gastroenterology unit. Here we saw some problems with the Polish system. Four to five children were smushed into one room. Mothers sleeping on the floors of the rooms in order to stay overnight with their children. The doctor we met noted that doctors in Poland do not receive money or prestige, and thus, many flee the country for Germany.

Me casually holding the placenta!!

That night we had a fun Polish meal at Brovaria (roasted cod, beer tasting, and ice cream!), the following day we made traditional Polish pierogis (filled with meat, cheese, and dates), and to top it off Ashley, Kira, Alexis, and I stopped at Cacao chocolate cafe! Here we ate rich dark chocolate lava cake, melted chocolate coco with warm raspberries, and lots and lost of homemade whipped cream!!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Berlin, Birkenstocks, Bike Tours, Babies and coco Beans! The were few dry eyes upon leaving the beautiful city of Berlin, Germany. From the moment we set foot on its historical grounds, everyone fell madly in love. Berlin is the perfect paradox: everything modern and everything old at the same time. Historic libraries, churches, and parliament buildings interspersed between sky scrapper office buildings. One of the many highlights of the trip was going on the fat bike tour around the city! Our enthusiastic British tour guide explained Germany’s role in WW2 through a map he drew with with a piece of chalk. This story made history come alive before our eyes as we walked across Check point Charlie (the dividing line between East and West Berlin). Following this, our group explored the East Side open-air gallery of art on a section of the remaining Berlin wall. It was stunning to stand and stair at artists creative messages to the world regarding the evils of the war.

The following day, our group shadowed a few doctors at the Neonatal unit in Berlin! No surprise…it was AMAAAZZING! What’s not to love about babies? This visit set the tone for the day which involved a very necessary trip to make our own chocolate at Ritters sport (think dark chocolate, caramel candied almonds, hazelnuts, and raspberry bits!!), followed by a girls shopping spree at the Birkenstock shop. Then, just when no one could imagine the day could get any more magical, we wandered into a michelin star German restaurant (think traditional German Sauerbraten–tender beef with a dark gravy, shredded beats, and a glass of red wine)! What more does life have to offer???

The final day in Berlin, our group had a scrumptious breakfast (think lots and lots of cheese!) and had our last group presentations about our research project ideas. Then, we made our way to the TV tower for lunch! The views of the city from the top of this tower were unparalleled. The sphere restaurant left nothing to be desired with a rotating floor that allowed us to see all angles of the city while we enjoyed our delicious meal. After this, it was time for some people to head to the airport to catch a flight back to Copenhagen. Some of my class (me included) planned to catch a bus to Prague instead of heading back to Copenhagen for the weekend. It was at that moment that our fearless group of 10 students made our first mistake. Our love for Berlin clouded our vision. Before long, we had decided to stay an extra two hours in the city rather than head to the airport to catch our bus. At the time, the choice seemed more than reasonable. If we left at 3:30 we should have plenty of time to make it to our 4:55 bus! Right?

Flash forward two hours…picture everyone running. It’s now 3:20. We’re on our way back to the hotel to gab our luggage before catching our bus to Prague. Naturally, the public transport has decided to quit on us.

3:31 pm: in runs 10 stressed students….everyone races to grab their bags from the storage room. All plans out the window, the first person to pull up their google maps shouts directions. Everyone jumps on the first possible train. Then, the chaos ensues.

“Wait a second someone shouts, my directions say if we take this route we will arrive at the bus pick up spot at 4:57!” A loud chorus of “whats,” fill the train car. This is followed by a suggestion to hop off the metro and try to Uber to the airport. In seconds, three Ubers are ordered and the group splits. I grab the first Uber with Will, Camillo, and Lauren. In excited tones we tell our driver to hurry! Throughout the ride, I contact the bus company to alert them of our status and ask about other possible buses our group can catch. Meanwhile, the other two groups are 10 minutes behind us. I begin counseling the girls on the other end of the phone. We decide that our group will go ahead and take the bus even if the other two groups miss it. That way our group can pick up the keys for the air bnb. Amazingly, our group arrives at the airport with 15 minutes to spare!!! We grab our bags as we sing our driver a litany of praises! Then, we begin to fumble to find the bus. 15 minutes later and the bus is still no where to be seen. I receive a call from the other groups asking where we are. They say they’re at the bus and about to leave. In a state of utter confusion, we ask for their location. Turns out were at the wrong airport! Defeated, I laugh and pull out my Ritter sport chocolate to share with the group. The boys begin to look up other buses. Meanwhile, Lauren is beyond upset. When at last we reach the new bus, Lauren and I go to take our seats. What a time!

Prague: Land of a bazillion spires! Yummy food (cinnamon chocolate covered almonds, goulash, rabbit, trdelniks–cinnamon sugar swirly cone with whipped cream, and fried mozzarella); took a tour of Old Town, walked across the Charles Bridge, visited Bob Dylan’s art wall, and saw the Prague Castle + St. Vitus Cathedral!



Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei. “Everything has an end. Only a sausage has two”

Crime or no crime… I happen to be a quarter german, and yet last weekend was the first time I’ve ever eaten real bratwurst and sauerkraut! OUTRAGEOUS! I know. But hey, can you think of a better way experience to this special dish then its place of origin?

So what was I doing in Germany anyways? Well, a couple months back my sister and I had a small disagreement. She mentioned that she was coming to visit me in Europe in the fall, and so naturally she proposed the idea of attending Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany! I leapt at the suggestion; however, the caveat was that I had to acquire a dirdle for the event (for those of you who don’t know, dirdles are authentic German dresses that many of the women wear to celebrate Oktoberfest). I’m all about a good cultural experience, and so I happily agreed to rent one upon arrival…this answer was not well received. Before I knew it, anytime Ocktoberfest was mentioned, Chloe “graciously” described how excited she was to buy our dirdles and that this would be the gift that kept on giving for many Christmases and birthdays to come. Thus, it came as no surprise that when I met Chloe last Friday night, she came well prepared (purchased dirdle in hand).

Saturday came quickly, Chloe and I rose and made our way to the Glockishpeal for a scrumptious breakfast! When we arrived, we were lucky enough to snap up the last widow facing table over looking the town square and magnificent Glockishpeal (the town hall of Munich). After a delicious meal of eggs and bacon, we hopped into our very own dirdles and made our way to the festivities.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Close your eyes and imagine the biggest state fair you’ve ever seen. Colors everywhere, smells of buttery popcorn and giant crispy pretzels fill the air. Now add the tower of Babble’s bazillion languages, a sea of dirdles, lederhosen (german suspenders and trousers for the men), heart shaped gingerbread necklaces, and a healthy smattering of jolly folk cheering “Ein Prosit,” and voila… you have Oktoberfest!

Before long, Chloe and I made friends with a table of good natured Norwegians. With our steins in hand, we happily sang along to the wide variety of tunes (feat. “We are the Champions” and “Ein Prosit”) played by the live band in the center of the beer garden. Our day concluded with a life altering supper of pork tips sautéed in a creme sauce with buttery mushrooms and potatoes. Chloe and I also Munch(in)ed on a classic german apple strudel with three kinds of cream (liquid, whipped, and iced)..

Sunday rolled around, and we made our way to a cosy german cafe for omelets and suculent sweet potatoes! Tummies happily filled, we made a second trip to Oktoberfest! The remainder of the day we spent frolicking around the lark state park (this included watching the canal surfers and betting whether the man with the life sized kite would be airlifted). Before heading to the airport, we made a mandatory pitstop for a very necessary cheese platter and some more apple strudel. What a weekend!

Monday, Chloe came with me to all my classes (for better or for worse)! This week just happened to be the week that all my courses discussed depression… from brain imaging to psychology of brain injuries to medical practices. Three in a row. Let’s just say by the end of Tuesday Chloe was already picking and choosing which coffee shops she wanted to conveniently visit while I was in class:) On a bright note, Chloe and I had quite the time cooking up homemade tomato sauce with warm shrimp and pasta! The juries out… I missed my sister! Cooking for two is so much more fun!

Tuesday: 30 minutes… doesn’t seem very significant. Well, its nothing, unless you happen to be pre-med, and it’s your job to overreact. Therefore, when my medical methods class found out that our first midterm would last a total of 30 minutes, all HE (double hockey sticks) broke loose. I regrouped, reassessed, and then decided to enjoy the day! Chloe and I headed to the Glyptotek museum (this is home to a large assortment of sculptures including “the kiss” by Rodan). It is also home to one of the largest NOSE collections around; yes, you heard me correctly. They happen to have a wall of noses! The green house court yard was especially cosy, so I will definitely be returning for hot coco when it gets cold. The afternoon came and went. In order to celebrate the end of our test, my three closest friends from the program (Kira, Alexis, and Ashley) along with my sister and I went to my favorite restaurant in all of Copenhagen, La Banchina. Picture the most adorable, candle lit cottage resting along the banks of the canal. Trendy music playing, a chief dreaming up a new menu for the day, the smell of roasted vegetables and fresh bread fill the air. This place is the embodiment of hygge!

Wednesday: Up and Adam, Chloe and I rose and got an early start. We arrived in Helsinger, (Denmarks second largest city) and made our way to Kronborg Castle (Think Hamlet)! It was quite the blustery day! It was fascinating to hear about King Frederick and his wife Sofie, Denmark’s old reign over Sweeden and Norway,  and the toll Denmark used to take from sailors traveling the Baltic Sea. I most enjoyed the catacomb’s with Holger the sleeping giant (legend says he will arise in times of stress and come to Denmark’s aid). Chloe also found her very own hobbit hole! Lunch was yummy hamburgers and crispy fries! Then, we went to my favorite castle in Denmark, Rosenborg! There we saw the various vibrant rooms and of course… the crown jewels. Finally, our day concluded with a Harry Potter 2 movie watch with my Kollegium (we are marathoning all of the Harry Potters over the next few Wednesdays).

Thursday: Today, we completed a food neighborhood project in Norrobro. Then, Chloe went shopping and I finished up with classes. Then, Chloe and I went over to my host family’s house for a traditional danish dinner. My host dad even made homemade gluten free bread cups for the chicken, asparagus filling. We ate a strawberry jelly with cream for dessert, and we had a licorice taste test! The salty, strongest version tasted like medicine, I did enjoy the sweet version.

Friday: There’s only so much self control one person can maintain when that person must walk past the cinnamon, super, warm butter smell on the way to class every morning. Thus, today Chloe took one for the team and sampled this bakery’s Canalsnail. After class, we went to the Glassmarket for some scrumptious open faced meatball sandwiches (Smorrbrod). On our way back, we stopped at the spiral tower (Our Savior’s Church) to take in a panoramic view of Copenhagen. This was followed by an official troll hunt in which we found both Sleeping, Louis and Hilltop Trine! To top it all off, we had traditional Danish porridge while watching the sun set over the canal. We also managed to have time for a fabulous Hallmark movie and some very needed chocolate covered marshmallows.

Saturday: We had a breakfast fit for a queen! Five different mini dishes! Eggs, bacon, yogurt, avocado with humus, and mild cheddar cheese with fig jam! Then, for some daily culture, Chloe and I paid a visit to the Copenhagen Art museum. After this, we went on a shopping marathon around Copenhagen (the highlight was our trip to the Royal Danish china collection!) We finished the day with mildly painful back aches, which were well worth the treasures we found! The night came to a close with Chloe and I sipping raspberry tea with our new matching mugs while Chloe achieved most impressive packing feat known to man! This was a week unlike any I’ve ever had! A SPECIAL, BIG THANKS TO CHLOE FOR VISITING!!!! Your message of treat your self will live on!

Hyppe kartofler. “Earth up potatoes”

Digging. That’s what I did all this last week. Digging up background on the Danish Medical System, digging for new food favorites, and digging for treasure in the form of wooden trolls!

My excavation for new experiences began with our core class trip to the Gorilla Park in Helligkildevej (Central Denmark). This trip included a 45 minute training session on clipping/unclipping our two circuit belay cables, techniques in proper zip lining, and a run down on the 7 different courses! After this, my friends and I made a break for the courses! *Naturally, when you have a small fear of heights, you should start with the highest level offered for “first timers” (3)… because if you’re going to be unconformable, you might as well get fabulous forest views while you’re at it. Kira and I worked our way through spinning wooden hanging blocks, miles of elevated monkey bars, cliffs of climbing walls, and a healthy assortment of zip lines. It was quite enjoyable channeling my inner Jedi, as I raced through the air on my imaginary speeder. The “super 6” of us were able to finish level seven (which included the swinging Tarzan rope leap and the Indiana Jones bike ride across a rickety elevated bridge:)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our group then set off to meet with a couple of experts at Regionshospitalet in Herning. It didn’t take long before every student in the room discovered the danish medical doctor treasure chest. FREE SCHOOL. WORK LIFE BALANCE. and TIME OFF. In the land of student loans, these young doctors held everyone’s attention when they mentioned that danish citizens don’t pay for school. However ****disclaimer**** they do pay for the government to take up to 70% of their salary in taxes. But for many young listeners, this fact was just another detail. Then came the nugget about work life balance. Apparently, this concept is not simply a figment of everyone’s imagination. The Danish government only allows Doctors to work for 37 hours each week. Yes, you heard me correctly. 3:15 pm rolls around and they’re off for the day. What would anyone do with all this free time? Well, let’s just say, these people have time for hobbies. To top it all off, these folks must partake in 6 weeks off of paid leave each year (what a tragic life they must lead). Our visit concluded with an interesting chat about a patient’s pathway through the healthcare system with an emphasis on care given by the General Practitioner (more on that later).

Buffet Dinner: More cultural Digging! (Crocodile and Zebra pate to be specific:)

The morning rolled around, and it was off to the very famous ARoS Art Museum (in the second largest Danish city–Aarhus)! Abstract art galore! Starting with the Rainbow room (circular donut shaped room with colorful filtered city views), we worked our way through the brilliant madness that is modern art.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP: Lunch at the Aarhus food markets

Have you ever eaten a meal that made you want to be hungry all over again just so you can consume another one? Well then you can relate on a minute level to what I went through when I had the light changing encounter with UGOOD in the street markets of Aarhus. Sofia and Mia (our resident medical students) lead us to the promise land of foods. The experience was overwhelming…mouth watering avocado, bacon burgers with crispy fries, rich tomato basil dressed pasta with warm garlic bread, stacks of juicy ribs rubbed with seasoned sauce….frozen in place or wondering in circles everyone was at a loss for what to eat. My indecisive nature had me working up a stepping storm, making loops around the market.  However, my love for rich, crispy sweet potatoes fries ultimately paved the way. Free samples of this tasty treat had me parked outside of UGOOD (the life changing Ethiopian food truck). My condolences to those who sat next to me at lunch–for all they heard for the remainder of the meal was me singing the praises of this succulent dish. Layers upon layers of flavor: chili lime infused cabbage, crispy sweet potato fries seasoned with hints of fresh garlic, tender grilled chicken marinated with a pineapple glaze, accompanied by thick “California like” avocado slices, and topped fresh parsley. (What more does life have to offer???) This dish had me digging for answers…some day perhaps I will recreate it (or move to Aarhus to learn the secrets behind UGOOD’s greatness).

Our day concluded with a trip to a local General Practitioner in the city of Raders. During our meeting, we learned about the all powerful “gatekeeper” of Danish medicine….the General Practitioner (GP). This one stop shop treats patients of every age for almost every problem (Minor surgeries, gynecological exams, psychological advising, you name it they do it). So lets just say your thinking about heading over to the ER to check something out….think again! Don’t stop at GO or collect $100 dollars. You must head straight to your GP (all citizens have one) for a referral to the ER –also, this only occurs 10% of the time, so odds aren’t exactly in your favor. But what can I say is this system sure knows how to cut down on medical costs.

Class Dinner at De Rada for some danish pork chops and blueberry sauce, followed by the tasty danish dessert, Flødeboller (dark chocolate covered marshmallows with coconut shavings)!

At breakfast the next morning, I was graced with the opportunity to try two new danish cheeses! A sweet pineapple cheese and a creamed cheese with chives!

The second part of our day was spent at the Surgical Unit of the Regionshospitalet in Randers. During this visit, we learned about the benefits of working at a regional hospital (more opportunity for young residents to work on surgical skills) vs. a teaching hospital (greater variety of cases, but less surgical autonomy). AND we learned how to complete surgical suturing (single and running stitch) using the real surgical tools! This was one of the best parts of the trip! (All I could think was… It was a great day to save lives:)


Thursday we visited the Anatomical Laboratory at Copenhagen school of medicine! We walked around attempting to identify structures along side current Danish medical students!

Friday, included ER training from our favorite Doctor/teacher Casper! It reminded me of our work with the SIM man at JSerra (shout out to Mrs. Cap!:) When in doubt, we learned to remember ABCDE (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, and Exposure). After this week, it’s safe to say that we could potentially save some endangered (bananas’) lives!

I finished out the week with some cultural digging around and outside the city of Copenhagen! With my friend Brian (from ND) visiting, we went to The Church of Our Savior (the giant Spiral tower with a bazillion steps) and then to The Greenlandic Bridge Street Kitchen across the Inderhavsbroen (bridge) from Nyhavn. This little hub of tasty food trucks is influenced by the famous Danish restaurant NOMA (four time pick for number one restaurant in the world!) We chose to try the popular “new nordic” food truck “Grød’s porridge.” Denmark is known for its breakfast and dessert porridge, but this food truck has introduced a savory Thai inspired rice porridge (peanuts, chicken, spring onion, ginger, sesame oil, and coriander). Very delicious!

The week concluded with our Saturday morning troll hunt! We (Kira, Alexis, Brian, and I) fueled up at Far’s Dreng (Danish for Dad’s son) a cute local breakfast place in Nørroport, and then we made our way to Ishøj to find “Oscar under the Bridge” (Troll number 3)!

With only the Train station (Ishøj) and a small land mark (Arken beach), our fearless crew set off in search of the troll! The trip included stunning views of the Baltic Sea, the occasional showers of rain, and of course myriad pictures! At last, we laid eyes on Oscar! It was quite the exiting moment!

Looking forward to putting all this good digging to use for Chloe’s visit to Copenhagen in two weeks!!!