a starry ascent

My dearest,

I might be repeating myself, but let me just say that Copenhagen is wonderful in spring/summer/whatever this is we’re experiencing right now. As is the case in probably every city, it is a completely transformed place. I and the other 613’288 people living in the municipality of Copenhagen have been lucky and have had more than a week of sun, with the occasional cloudy sky and a little bit of summer rain on Thursday evening, but who doesn’t love summer rain? It’s been grand. Mom and Anouk were fortunate enough to experience the loveliness when they visited me last weekend and we took full advantage of the blue skies to discover my current hometown on foot, walking more than 30 km during the two days they were here. The feat was rewarded with some of the best kanelsnegle around, very Danish (vegan) hot dogs and the odd cocktail. Actually, some of the best cocktails I have had in a long time. Anouk even asked the bartender for the recipe. Safe to say I look forward to her recreating it someday.

While the weather kept on being glorious, uni kept me quite busy this week, me and my group even worked through the holiday. We did however decide that we wouldn’t be going to school and instead met up at one of our places to work from there. Apart from us being much more efficient and the general atmosphere a lot more hyggelig than at school, we also benefited from a constant supply of freshly made coffee. And the freedom to sing (and whistle) along to classics of legends such as Aretha Franklin or Rick Astley (Has Never Gonna Give You Up been stuck in my head since? Why yes, it has indeed).

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see the pink house? yes, please!

And the splendor was carried into the weekend. Watching The Princess Bride was of course a highlight, but more on that in the next post. Other memorable moments include the two flea markets I went to, the bar Karusellen, where one can (and did) buy a beer for 25 krone, where the toilets are definitely worth visiting and where Oliver kept us all entertained with his collection of jokes, the yoga class that was both exhausting and at the same time healed my sore muscles and the fact that it is now possible to cycle around in a t-shirt and Birkenstock sandals.

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the joys of summer evenings and pizza

What about that task, though? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I didn’t dress up as an alien after all. Neither did I go to the planetarium, even though I can literally see it from my bedroom window. However, I did end up visiting something quite similar. Because, as I learned after searching google for nearby observatories, Copenhagen is in fact home to Europe’s oldest functioning astronomy observatory. Who would have thought? And as fate would have it, that same observatory is located on top of a tower I have been wanting to visit ever since my arrival three and a half months (how??) ago. As it happens, one of the most famous astronomers was born and raised in Copenhagen, the legendary Tycho Brahe (fun fact: he lost part of his nose in a duel while on a study tour through Europe and had to wear a silver-nose for the rest of his life). He did most of his work from the small island of Ven, where he had an observatory called Stjerneborg, which translates to „the castle of the stars“. Just 36 years after his death in 1601, the round tower observatory was established and the observatory at the top built in reference to the one at Stjerneborg. A few decades later, another Danish astronomer, Ole Rømer, built a planetarium at the round tower. Over the following years, different astronomers worked at the round tower, inventing and bringing instruments with them so that in 1861, the observatory had to be moved to a new location because the instruments had outgrown the tower.

However, the observatory at the top of the tower is still used today by amateur astronomers. Although I wouldn’t call myself an amateur astronomer, I love a good night sky, especially a starry one and once I read about the astronomical history of the round tower it was clear that I had to go. I didn’t get any night sky views, but I did get to see Copenhagen from above. The observatory was only partly open, so even though I couldn’t get up close to any of the constellation charts, I did get to see the badass telescope that’s there. And on my way up, I passed Rømers planetarium, which was installed in 1697 and shows the planets’ momentary position. The planetarium has been modified several times to adjust to Nicolai Coppernicus’ discoveries on the solar system and the damage caused by the 1728 Copenhagen fire, but to this day, the mechanical clockwork of its newest version is still wound up once a week. Quite impressive, no?

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Rømer’s planetarium

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Well, my lovely 26-year-old Gioia, I hope you’ve enjoyed my little excursion into the astronomical history of Copenhagen – I know I sure did.

yours,

Rahel

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