Goodbye, Sweden!

It has been an amazing 6 months. Yes, it went faster than we expected. Sweden is such a beautiful country with a rich and exciting history. This experience has solidified many of my UCSD lessons and given me a taste of what it’s like to be far away from home for a relatively long period of time. Thank you readers for following along! 😀 We are so excited to go home; but we will definitely keep Sweden in our hearts.

I want to extend a heartfelt and special thanks to the Gilman Scholarship Program and the Swedish Women’s Educational Association for their generous support. If there are any undergraduate readers out there, I strongly recommend studying abroad in Sweden! If you do, visit the links above and visit your campus study abroad office to apply for those scholarships. Sweden has so much to offer everyone. As you’ve read on this blog, there is a tremendous amount of archaeological sites and museums to visit. Lund University also offers unique opportunities to students from various fields. A couple of my fellow exchange students each had the opportunity to work full-time in labs for course credit! I believe one was working in Chemistry and the other in Neurology. Consider studying abroad in Sweden. You won’t regret it! 🙂 Even for those who are not in college, spend a week or two in Lund! You can travel the Skåne region and across to southern Denmark with ease. The public transportation system here is fantastic and allows the travelers to get the most out of their visits.

Thank you, Sweden, for an enriching learning experience! 🙂

your friendly neighborhood archaeologist ♥

New Year Celebration in Malmö

We didn’t plan to do anything for New Years except stay up in our apartment watching movies. It turns out we were treated to to quite a show anyway. Let me back up. Fireworks are legal in Sweden (unlike in Southern California). Starting the day after Christmas, we were treated to a constant barrage of the whistle and pop of small firecrackers and bottle rockets every few minutes, 24 hours a day. At first I thought maybe it was a Christmas tradition and it would die down. But the frequency of the bangs only increased as the days went on. As we got closer to New Years Eve I realized that the Swedes probably had a stash of fire crackers saved up for New Year. But why were they wasting them? They were going to run out. At 11:59pm Dec 31st, I thought we were going to be treated to the whiz bang little bottle rockets and people hitting pots and pans together like in California. HA! Did I ever underestimate them! At around 10 minutes to midnight, I began to hear louder bangs and much more frequently. So I grabbed my camera phone and when to the window to see this.

(Sorry for filming it sideways. You may want to watch it in full screen mode.)

As you can see, Swedes apparently stockpile a huge number of full-sized fireworks for New Years. I’ve never seen such an amazing display, and that includes the time I spent 4th of July on the deck of an aircraft carrier. During the first few minutes of the video you can see people launching full sized fireworks from the lawn literally just outside our window. That is, until they had 3 ground explosions in a row and decided to call it a night. At about 7:50, the display really picks up. And then a few minutes later, someone launches 3 red signal flares. It felt like being in a warzone. It was quite an impressive display.

Happy New Years!

God jul och gott nytt år!

That’s Swedish for “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”

Museums, Mikkeller, and a Christmas market!

Greetings, everyone! Erin, here. 🙂

Mike and I had one of the best days here, so far! We spent 13 hours exploring a different part of Copenhagen, browsing museums, having great conversation in a local craft brew pub, and wandering the colorful grounds of Tivoli (an amusement park done up for Christmas)! [Mike Edit: My feet are telling me it was actually 13 days, not 13 hours.] We began our day at the National Museum of Denmark. We both fell in love with every object! We were especially struck by the Gundestrup cauldron, a ritual cauldron made by the Celts of central Europe. It dates back to around the La Tène culture period, one of Mike’s favorites! [Mike Edit: The La Tene culture was an early celtic culture from Switzerland.] Below is a picture of this beautiful cauldron and others taken at the National Museum of Denmark.

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After we visited the National Museum of Denmark, we wandered around Copenhagen after lunch before meeting my teacher at the Glyptoteket. This museum houses TONS of classical sculptures from Rome, Greece, and France. There was also a temporary Polynesian exhibit. Mike was like a kid in a candy store. Everyone split up from the teacher (after we met with her at the entrance so she could so very kindly grant us free admission 🙂 ), but I had my own teacher with me the entire way! We spent hours browsing around as Mike would see a classical sculpture and tell me exactly who is being portrayed, what is being symbolized, and the mythology behind them. (I need to take this man to Rome, he would be absolutely hypnotized!) Below are a few pictures from Glyptoteket. The first one on the left is one he just quickly glanced at before explaining that it was the muse of tragedy and associated with theatre. Notice her weapon and her holding the “head” as if she had cut it off, and also the “head” being a mask for theatre. [Mike Edit: It doesn’t say that on the plaque, it’s just a guess on my part so take it with a grain of salt. But it seems obvious that the severed head/mask is a visual pun. She’s the muse of tragedy, thus the severed head. But she’s also a muse of theatre so the severed head is a mask.]
I have no background in classical archaeology. Mike was the perfect guide! 🙂


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After our visit to Glyptoteket, we walked to Mikkeller Bar, a local pub specializing in craft brews. Beer geeks everywhere know it! Mike was super excited to be able to drink Mikkeller beers he can’t get in San Diego (without importing it.) It’s a very small place with friendly locals. Who did Mike happen to meet at the bar? A guy who lives in our same complex in Malmö (but different building)! They both enjoyed their fancy beers and talked for a couple hours. 🙂 This was the exact experience we were hoping for when we planned to visit Mikkeller. [Mike Edit: I’ve always wanted to visit that place because they’re known for their amazing craft brews. I never thought I’d be able to until a year or two ago when we decided we were coming to Sweden. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since.]

After we left the pub, we walked to Tivoli, a small amusement park fully decorated for Christmas! Beautiful, colorful lights everywhere! By that time, we were all giddy from such a good day and just browsed around taking a couple pictures before going home. It turns out the gifts were too expensive, so we’ll end up doing our Christmas shopping in Malmö markets. 🙂 Below are a couple pictures from Tivoli.


All in all, it was a fantastic day! My kind teacher was generous enough to extend the school discounts (free trip, free admission) to Mike. So, on top of all that fun, we saved money! Thank you to my teacher and thank you to Denmark for a great day. 🙂


Antiquarian Book Fair in Copenhagen

Hello, all! Erin, here. ❤

We hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday. It was nice and calm for us. We will be having our dinner with other exchange students tomorrow. As for today, we visited Copenhagen to see one of the largest antiquarian book fairs with international sellers, book binders, and conservators. It was fantastic! So many gorgeous books from different countries dating back to several centuries ago…Mike and I were hypnotized and we kept envisioning our library we want to put together! There’s something about a book on science or religion from centuries ago…it’s similar to the affects that archaeological sites and artifacts have on me. I go into this trance and I feel an indescribable connection to the past creators and users. It’s nerdy, I know. Everyone gets their kicks in their own ways! 🙂

Here are a few of the pictures from the fair.

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The fair was held at Rundetårn (The Round Tower), which is a combined church, library and observatory built in 1642. We climbed all the way to the top to find a breathtaking view of Copenhagen and a freezing wind that has a mind of its own…an abusive one, at that. We soaked in the stunning views of the city and went back inside before my body temperature dropped to a painful low.

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Copenhagen was great! We plan on going back a couple more times before we leave. We miss you all! ❤ 🙂

50 days left!

We’re returning home in 50 days! Erin has less than a month left of classes but we have the apartment for a few more weeks. A couple events we’re still looking forward to are the Thanksgiving dinner and the antique book fair this weekend. We’ve just been doing our normal daily routine lately, nothing special enough to take pictures of. But this weekend we’ll be sure to put some fresh photos up on the blog.

Museums and Halloween!

Hello everyone! Erin, here. I recently had the opportunity to take a couple tours of museums in Lund. A couple of my professors took us through the exhibits and brought everything back to life! Here are some pictures.

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The visits taught me not only about Scandinavian Stone Age and Iron Age practices, but also about the organization and presentation of these artifacts. I was surprised to find that both professors were quite critical about the exhibits. The exhibits lacked cohesiveness. The presentation was kind of spread out all over the place. There was no chronological order. They also imposed modern day beliefs about cult practices by the way they created the dark tone…by the way they set the ominous mood. An objective mindset, crucial to the field of archaeology, was missing. What’s funny is that I would’ve never realized this if it weren’t for my professors. So much for all the “critical thinking” I’ve been trained to practice! I suppose I’ve just made a bad habit of visiting museums and accepting everything they have to offer in the way they choose to offer it. If we were dealing with art museums, then that perspective would be ok; but archaeology is about striving to be objective while we understand and accurately teach about past cultures. These visits have definitely benefited me! 🙂

Happy Halloween! We visited a Halloween party…complete with ghosts, ghouls, music, and food! …MEXICAN food, I might add! The enchiladas were pretty good…strangely combined with white rice, but still good. 🙂 We had quite an adventure after we left! Lund, in all its historical glory, is hypnotizing at night. It makes me uncomfortable to use this comparison for some reason, but it felt like we walked right into a movie! A Sherlock Holmes movie! The castle towers, massive canopy trees, and autumn leaves on the ground were transformed in the thick fog that glowed in the orange streetlights. Walking away from the street into the trees was something I would have loved to capture on video. Mike tried, but the camera couldn’t capture the light. All you would see is what looks like a forest of trees, dirt ground covered with fallen leaves, and scattered glowing light throughout the area. We walked to the cathedral and looked up to see the top of the tower fade into the fog. Words fail to describe the enchanting environment. What a strikingly beautiful environment and perfect for Halloween! 🙂 As far as the adventure goes, we basically got lost trying to find a rescheduled transport back to Malmö (because the trains were not operating) and met a couple awesome Swedish guys. We were all roaming around Lund together and having conversation before we found (to our surprise) the luxury charter bus that would take us back to Malmö! It was a great night.

We miss and love you all!