Short vacation: eat,(pray),travel

Exams can be stressful, and after studying intensively, for me, as for a student, the feeling of relief after exams is the best feeling. So, after the Advanced Fire Dynamics exam, we decided to treat ourselves with a good food and visited Africa Daily Market which was recommended by our friends who visited that place before. It incorporates a small restaurant with traditional African food and shop where you can find various African style souvenirs and even clothing. The food was really delicious, the best I have eaten recently, as it is more homemade food rather than restaurant food. We enjoyed not only the food, but also friendly and warm atmosphere, so I highly recommended this place to everyone in Lund. You can see our happy well fed faces from the photos below. I hope that we will have same expression after the grades will be released…

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Africa Daily Market and African Food

Since we had no class next day, we decided to go to Copenhagen for a day trip, as we had not visited it yet. It is very easy to go there since there is a direct train from Lund. Because it is not very big, we just wandered around and visited the main attractions. As in many historic cities, in Copenhagen you can find imposing palaces and churches such as The Marble church standing next to modern buildings such as Copenhagen Opera House.

Copenhagen is also a green city with a number of parks and gardens, and the garden of Rosenborg Castle, which is also known as King’s Garden, is the oldest and most visited among tourists. Since spring has just come, flowers are just starting to bloom, so we agreed to come back later to fully enjoy the beauty of the garden.

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Nyhavn

I want to mention that we had a little adventure while visiting the Rosenborg Castle. If you have been there, you may know that, since Danish Crown Jewels are displayed in the castle, it is guarded by armed soldiers. After walking around the castle for a while we wanted to see Nyhavn with its famous colourful houses, and we were just heading to the exit when suddenly the guards started to run and shout. The entrances and exits were closed, and we were gathered in one place, while people inside the castle were not allowed to go out. Nobody explained anything, and we just stood outside. In the beginning, we thought that it is some kind of training, but when I heard the sounds of people shouting from the streets, I got scared. But, luckily, the girls standing next to us told that they saw hockey fans on the streets before, and that it must be them cheering outside. After about 20 minutes, we were finally released. The sigh of relief passed over the crowd as we started to move, but still nobody explained the reason why all of this had happened. We were curious, so we asked people who were stuck in the castle, and they told us that someone just touched the glass and alarm went off. Curtains fall…

So, I want to advise all not to touch the things that are not allowed to in the Rosenborg Castle or any other place guarded with armed soldiers. On the other hand, because of that person I have a story to share with you in my blog. Everything happens for a reason…

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Rosenborg Castle

So, after studying hard for the exam, we had our short ‘vacation’, and now we are ready to start the second half of the semester with a new course of Human Behaviour in Fires which seems to be very interesting and useful for our future career as a Fire Protection Engineer.

Cruising around Lund

In these cold and mostly foggy or cloudy winter days, having a sunny day is a real luxury, so when you do, you should make it worth! Luckily, Melchior and Arjan have big cars, so whenever we have free time and good weather, we automatically meet up in the car and leave for exploring Skåne (Scania – the southernmost Swedish County where Lund is located). Analyzing the map of Skåne, we figured out that the seaside is quite near, and that there are a lot of nice places that are worth visiting, not far away from Lund.

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So, this is us, the Lomma trip crew from every corner of the Earth:

Habib from Indonesia, Arjan from Belgium, Ming-Cian from Taiwan, Juan from Colombia, Zakaria from Oman, Sergio from Costa Rica and myself from Serbia.

So, a few weeks ago, the sun gladdened us, and we decided to head on just 11km west of Lund, to the town of Lomma, famous for having a really nice beach. Although, it was one of the coldest days ever since we arrived to Sweden, the clear sky, the sea and a beautiful view just made us forget about cold. First thing we all got impressed by was an amazing view of Turning torso in Malmo, as well as the Øresund bridge.

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During the long walk along the beach, we noticed several nice barbecue spots, a beach volleyball court and a kite surfing club, therefore we concluded that this will definitely be a place we will return to as soon as the weather gets better!

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As soon as we had a next free day, we decided to go check the next interesting town. It was time to finally discover Ystad!  Just an hour drive south from Lund, and you will find yourself in this lovely port-town. Being one of the best preserved medieval towns in the province of Skåne, this town just pervades you with its beautiful architecture. Lots of small alleys full of wonderful colorful houses stretching all the way to the shore make walking around Ystad really special.

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The shore has a nice sidewalk and a huge pier, from which you get to see the incoming and outgoing ferries sailing to Danish island of Bornholm and Polish city of Świnoujście. Ystad is also famous for having the tiniest museum in Sweden, only a few m2, dedicated to Hasseåtage – famous Swedish comedian duo consisting of Hans Alfredson and Tage Danielsson. And last but not least, it is famous for the fictional detective Kurt Wallander whose stories, by Henning Mankell, were set primarily in Ystad and nearby communities.

Both Skåne and Sweden have so much more to offer, and we will try to use every possible opportunity to explore the most of it!

 

A day by the Alpes

Last weekend, Andres, Philip and myself went to visit the land of watches, chocolate (after Belgium) and cheese; the four languages speaking country, Switzerland!

Saying going to Switzerland usually means spending so much money, not only because of the flight ticket but also because of the fact that transportation and accommodation are expensive over there. As students, we usually have a smart way to do our trips. We booked a one day trip with one of a student trips group they usually organize budget trips from Belgium to all over Europe. Our trip to Switzerland was organized in the following way:

  • First, we took the bus on Friday night from Brussels airport around 10 pm.
  • Spending the whole night on the bus and then arriving at our first destination on Saturday morning around 7:00 am.
  • Enjoying the day in Switzerland and taking the bus again Saturday night at 11 pm to go back to Brussels.
  • Arrived on Sunday morning at 9:00 am at Brussels airport.

Based on this plan we skipped two nights of accommodation just by sleeping on the bus (it is not like a five stars hotel but it will be extremely comfortable after a long one-day trip). Also, we skipped the flight ticket price by taking the long bus drive and the transportation budget was also vanished because we have our bus with a great program.

Our first destination was the majestic water falls Rhin-falls, Rhin falls is located next to the small town of Schaffhausen in North Switzerland. These water falls were created more than 14000 years ago during the last ice age and are considered as the largest plain waterfalls in Europe.

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The next destination was the beautiful city of Lucerne; Lucerne is located in the central part of Switzerland in the German speaking portion. Lucerne got its beauty and tourism attraction from being located on the sparkle lake of Lucerne with a beautiful view of the Alpes.

We were lucky enough to have our trip in a sunny and warm day, the view of the Alpes with the sun and the lake was an unforgettable experience. We were also extremely lucky to be able to attend the famous carnival “Fasnacht”, Fasnacht comes originally from Basel city and it usually takes place between February and March. Fasnacht in Lucerne starts with the dirty Thursday and ends on the Ash day.  To celebrate the Fasnacht the local people of Lucene will be wearing a variety of costumes and masks, participants should be fully concealed during the celebration, it is kind of against the protocol to remove anyone’s mask to know his identity.  The masks usually are representing some well-known characters e.g. politicians, musicians, animals or comic characters.

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Our third destination was Zurich; from the first moment when we arrived to Zurich we noticed the Swiss public taste and standards which can clearly appear in all the small details around the city of Zurich. First of all we decided to take a boat trip in the lake Zurich, which is located in the southeast of Zurich. With the sunny weather and the fresh cold wind that comes from the Alpes nothing could be better to relax than just sitting with a drink and enjoy the view.

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After that, we had a walking tour around the city, enjoying the old town and some Swiss chocolates.

Later we had dinner, bought some magnets as souvenirs and get back to our bus around 11 pm. We spent the night in the bus on our way back to Belgium; after enjoying the sunrise in the countryside during the return trip we arrived to Brussels airport at 9 am and took the train back to Ghent with our unforgettable Swiss memories.

“A year with thirteen months”

As I have mentioned before, this year is 350th anniversary of Lund University, and a number of activities have been organized  starting from December 2016 till January 2018 to celebrate this important jubilee. Thus, according to the event programme, it is “a year with thirteen months”. Some events are part of the scientific theme weeks, and some are associated with culture weeks.

This week, for instance, was a Science Week, and it was launched with the discussion if “the world is becoming a better place”. The panel consisting of the professors from different departments of Lund University tried to answer this question by concentrating on global issues including democracy, energy crisis, gender inequality, poverty and risks.

In between, we enjoyed a magnificent choral performance by the Palaestra Vocal Ensemble whose beautiful voices filled the grand Universithusets aula. Interestingly, all performed songs were related to the discussion theme. Especially, I got goosebumps when the choir sang a small sentence-“When I close my eyes, I dream of peace”-spoken by an eleven years old Crotian boy during the Yugoslav war. It was sung in 12 different languages by different choral groups, and I was excited when I heard it in Russian.

The discussion was concluded that even though it can be said that the world is becoming a better place by considering the advancement of science and technology, there are many social, political, and environmental problems that need to be resolved. The evening ended with a small reception where we enjoyed the chocolate with the university logo.

This Science week was not the last one, as three more Science Weeks will be held with the focus on the digitalisation, neuroscience, and education with the following topics: The Digital Society, The Amazing Brain, and The University of the Future. We can also enjoy the activities which are part of the upcoming Global Week and Sustainability Week. Thus, it can be seen that the university offers an extensive programme of activities and events. So, check them out and take part in celebrating the jubille of one of the most prestigious universities in Northern Europe.

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Do you want to see the northern lights?

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Everything started when a text message reached my phone saying: “Hey, do you want to see the northern lights?” in that moment countless possibilities came into my mind, thoughts like: what if I have classes? What if I have assignments to submit? What about the fire dynamics exam that is so close to the travel date? However, life has a way of putting everything in order if you only have patience and bit of organization skills.

The travel plan was amazing, it included dog sledging, a snowmobile tour, sauna, a visit to the ice hotel, ice fishing and of course, staring at the sky looking for the northern lights while staying in a cozy cabin in Kiruna (that by the way, its -20 degrees there). It sounded too good to be true and too good to be missed.

Julia and I (first year students) started to prepare ourselves for the trip 3 weeks before the flight. Luckily for us, we could finish all the assignments on time and also agreed with one professor on the possibility to rescheduled our seminar for Thursday as our trip started on early Friday. Needless to say, we had to do a lot of sacrifices before traveling, but it was totally worth it.

Friday started early for all of us, getting to the tDSC_8009rain station around 5:45AM to be in the airport before 7:00AM is much harder to do than it sounds, but we were so excited that at 2PM we would be surrounded by snow, that we did it with a smile on our faces and coffee. When we arrived at Kiruna, the first thing we noticed was how small the airport is, it only takes a maximum of 4 flights a day in high season! The second thing we noticed was that everything was white! Snow was everywhere! If you remember my love for snow from the previous blogs, can you imagine how happy I was?

 

The weekend was lovely, we got to see the northern lights 3 nights in a row! On Saturday, we did the dog sledge tour and we got to meet all the dogs and their owners. Some people think that this dogs suffer when they carry weight, however you cannot imagine how happy this dogs are when they’re running! If you use the brake, they start to pull hard while barking until you release the brake again. They love it! Another remarkable thing is how much the owners care for them, they know each dog by their name and they even explain you the personality of the dogs when you’re playing with them.

On Sunday, the group was divided in two: half of us went to the ice hotel driving a snowmobile, the others went to do the Nordic hike trying to find reindeers. We all had a great time and by the time of dinner we could share different stories of the day. On Monday morning, it was time to prepare ourselves to say “good bye” to Kiruna, but first we went to the frozen lake to try to catch a fish. Drilling the hole through the ice was the hardest thing to do and the slowest, but setting all the gears and sunbathing at -20 degrees was a good experience.

This was a weekend to be remember for the rest of our lives and the only thing remaining to say is: “Thank you God for friends and good times”

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Nations

One thing University of Lund is quite famous for, and together with other Swedish and Finish Universities probably unique in the World, are the well-known student Nations.

The story dates back to the 17th century when universities were large metropolitan centers with students from many different domestic and foreign regions. Students who were born within the same region usually spoke the same language, expected to be ruled by their own familiar laws, and therefore joined together to form the Nations. Logically, Nations in Lund are named after provinces and areas in southern Sweden. It is 349 years since the first Nation was founded and much has changed but the Nations’ original purpose remains: to provide students with a good and congenial atmosphere while they live and study in Lund.

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Emblem of one of the oldest Nations in Lund

Since student Nations are definitely the best way to meet new people, me and my friends have obviously joined one the first week we arrived here. Luckily, the decision about which to join wasn’t hard because joining one Nation gives you entrance to all the other Nations’ events.

In Lund, in total there are 13 Nations, and each Nation has its own particular atmosphere and is popular for various events and offers. Apart from the parties and pub nights, there is one special event organized by all the Nations, and it is definitely something remarkable – the so called ‘’Sittning’’. It’s basically a 3-course dinner with lots of interesting details. First of all, people are randomly mixed when arriving to the dining tables, so they are ‘’forced’’ to mingle, and after each course, you should change your seat, so you mingle even more and meet some new people! Then, a vital part of a sittning is singing. The guests are usually given a booklet with songs that will be sung during the sittning. Apart from the typical Swedish schlager music, there are songs in English and many other languages so singing the known ones and learning the new ones while enjoying some delicious food can really be a lot of fun!

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Sweden is ‘’notorious’’ for being one of the countries with the biggest liquor prices in the World. Luckily, Nations offer liquor at reasonable prices, and it is possible for one simple reason: the student’s working in Nations are actually doing everything on voluntary basis. After spending a semester in Gent, and having 3 fellows from Belgium, we easily picked Hallands Nation as our favorite, since they offer some of the best Belgian beers at their pub.

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Yes, they even have the famous ‘’Kwak’’ and serve it from the original cups!

Other Nation that also stole my attention, and that I gladly visit is the ‘’Smålands Nation’’. Apart from being the ‘’alternative’’ Nation that is the only one politically active, it also organizes awesome Jazz sessions and Karaoke nights. And, although I adore meat, their cuisine made me start loving Vegan food!

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Apart from the aforementioned things, all of the Nations offer a very wide range of activities and services, including lunches, brunches, pubs, housing opportunities, orchestras, sports, night clubs, formal balls and traditional festivities, among many other things.

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”Glow in the dark”

Although someone could think that such a small city as Lund would not be very dynamic, the number of almost 50’000 students, led by the Nations make Lund an exceptional and unique student’s city.

Kulturen Lund or one day before a ‘viking’ virus attack

It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog, and the reason for this was catching the flu or a ‘viking’ virus. We gave it such a name because it started unexpectedly and knocked us out completely. So, as I missed the opportunity to talk about the Fire Day, which was the main event in the past couple of weeks, there is not much I can write about, unless you want to know about all the ‘perks’ of being sick. However, luckily, one day before the ‘viking’ virus attack, I went to Kulturen which is a museum in Lund, consisting both conventional  and an open air museums.

With over 30 buildings, Kulturen is considered as one of the biggest open air museums in Sweden. Some of the buildings were brought to Kulturen from different places, while the others stand on their original sites. The complex includes both urban and rural buildings from the Medieval period to the twentieth century. Although some of the old buildings were reconstructed, they give authentic feel. Personally, I was really impressed how Bosebo wooden church from 1652 is amazingly preserved.

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Bosebo church

Another building that I found interesting was two floor Thomanderska huset with its elegantly decorated rooms with wooden furniture and a personal library. It was built in 1814, and Johan Henrik Thomander, a professor and member of parliament, lived there with his family. His daughter bought the house and gave her childhood home to the museum.The various rooms were restored as she remembered them, partly with her own furniture.It can be seen from the photo below that the facade color of Thomanderska huset differs from the surronding buildings. It was painted by using carbon black, a pigment widely used in 19th century.

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Thomanderska huset

Another interesting building in the open museum is Locus Peccatorum on the corner of Adelgatan and St. Anne Street, which served as a student barrack during the XVIII-XIX centuries. Locus Peccatorum means “Sin house” in Latin, and there is a story behind this name: in 1829, the son of the university dean killed fellow student in a fight and was sentenced to death. From that time, the building has such a mysterious name.

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Locus Peccatorum,”Sin house”

In the center of Kulturen, there is a large building, Herrehuset, with Baroque facade, pond and garden. In the past, it was used for residential purposes, but now it hosts a ceramic collection which is among the largest in the Nordic region. There are many other buildings that contain various collections including glass,silver and textiles.

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Herrehuset

So, I am glad that I was able to visit such an interesting place before being knocked out by the flu. Wishing a fast recovery for fellow sick IMFSE students in Lund, and hoping that as spring has officially started a ‘viking’ virus will not attack us again.