The European Experience: Copenhagen

The second destination of our European experience was Copenhagen. Landing in Copenhagen was a pleasant breeze. Annika and I were greeted at the airport by the world’s friendliest passport security guard who was delighted that we were from Canada and chatted with us about the places we had to visit during our stay. The airport was beautiful. Everyone was friendly. The airport staff gladly helped us in choosing our metro passes. Machines for metro tickets are everywhere in the airport and so is currency exchange.

After we had our metro tickets and some Danish Krones, we caught the metro to Nørreport Station. Copenhagen has the easiest transportation system ever! For the metro, there is the M1 or the M2 and if you get on the wrong one its very simple to just hop off and get on the right metro (this only happened once). Also, there are signed all over the metro of stops, which is great because Danish was almost impossible for us to understand. The airport is only a 20 minute metro ride to Nørreport and you are in the heart of Copenhagen. We walked 5 minutes to our Airbnb and were overwhelmed by the number of pastry shops we saw.

We were staying in a fantastic Airbnb, which our host told us was an old embassy. It was huge! The most interesting part was the bathroom, which was also the shower. When you wanted to shower you would pull the shower curtain across the door and pull the handle on the sink tap to turn on the shower handle. Don’t forget to remove the toilet paper ;).

After a much needed nap to conquer our jet lag, we left our cozy bedroom to explore the town. We were aiming to find a pub to eat and drink at but quickly discovered that Europe is not like Canada. The streets were lined with pubs that only served alcohol. You need to go to an actual restaurant if you want food! We ended up finding an amazing Gastropub called Hot Buns.

Eating out in Copenhagen is not cheap…especially with our Canadian dollar and student salaries. We each ordered a burger, beer, shared a side of fries, and rejected the offer for side sauces. The food was great though! The menu said something along the lines of “we cook our burgers medium rare. You must leave after 2 hours.” Basically, F you, we have good burgers and we know it. It was awesome.

We wondered into a familiar setting at the Dubliner and had a beer. We quickly made some fantastic Danish friends who taught us a dice game called Mya. One of our new friends explained to us the mystery of the Danish language – you say the world as it is spelt but as if you have a piece of bread in your mouth. It’s so true!

We started off the next day with pastries and coffee. We met up with a couple of our good friends living in Sweden and played tourists. There is a lot to see in Copenhagen! Some of the highlights were:


Right by the canal, this area is lined by bright colourful buildings with restaurants. There were boats in the canal offering tours and lots of people walking and cycling around. The bikes outnumber the cars in Copenhagen for sure! It is such a walkable city with beautiful cobble stone roads.

The Little Mermaid statue:

There were some very beautiful statues in Copenhagen but the Little Mermaid was the most recommended by far. The Little Mermaid is seen as a Copenhagen icon.

Freetown Christiania:

This is a must see. Christiania is in Christianshavn and is easily accessible (like most places in Copenhagen) by Metro. It is a self-proclaimed neighbourhood that was originally a military camp now transformed by squatters and regulated by special laws. Freetown basically describes it the best. All the buildings/structures in Christiania are covered in amazing graffiti and the entire community has a calm and chilled out vibe. Probably because people freely sell and buy weed along the Green Light District, an area where you aren’t allowed to take any pictures.

Paludan Bog & Café:

A great place for food and drinks! This café really has a library feel with two stories of bookshelves. It was super cozy and had big portions for food.


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Freetown Christiania:

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Columbia Icefield: Every Geographers Dream

One of the last Banff adventures that I went on was to the Columbia Icefield in between Banff and Jasper. The drive to the Icefield is magnificent with endless views of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Aussie Aaron and I stopped on the way at Peyto Lake, which is a glacier fed lake that is in the shape of a wolf head. Not only was the lake extremely beautiful but it also blanketed me with a sense of tranquility. The quiet of being (almost) alone in nature was very calming.


We continued on to the Columbia Icefield. It was every geographers dream. There were five glacial tongues retreating through valleys and two ice caves in the distance. In the summer, Brewster Travel Canada (link below) does a bus tour where you can actually go up onto the glacier. As we were visiting in the winter, we instead hiked to the ice caves to snap some pics. I’ve included my amateur pictures below but also a couple of Aaron’s way more professional pictures. Check him out on instagram for awesome wildlife pictures (@aaronrphotography). This guy chases bears. Insane.

My pictures:

Peyto Lake



Columbia Icefield:IMG_2365







Aaron’s amazing pictures (@aza_adventures):

Peyto Lake:



Columbia Icefield:12528598_10153278326632115_871406608_o






From Camping to Comfort: Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

Annika and I went from sleeping outdoors in a two person tent to a two bedroom condo at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. We still don’t know how we lucked out seeing as other conference members we met described their rooms as having two beds basically on top of each other.


For our first day at the resort, we met up with a couple friends and then Aaron (aka our personal Aussie tour guide) and his soccer mom van (Sheila) brought us to Johnston Canyon. This is a popular hike because of the spectacular waterfalls – and icefalls in the winter. We hiked to both the upper falls and the lower falls of Johnston Canyon. The trail was so icy and steep that we skated our way back.

Johnston Canyon:

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On a fairly random and negative note, one thing I noticed in Banff is there are only two radio stations and they both are pretty terrible unless you love top 40s or the worlds worst soft rock. As soon as you reach the outskirts of the town, both radio signals are lost resulting in a mix of Justin Bieber and static. This is what Aaron listens to in Sheila (the van). Bring an audio cable for your phone, people. Just bring the audio cable.

For dinner, we went to this fantastic Mexican restaurant called Magpie & Stump. It was dimly lit, completely constructed of wood, and you could throw your peanut shells on the floor (holy fire hazard)! The enchiladas were delish. Corona was $5. Apparenly, if you stand waiting for a table for too long the servers will lower a hanging sombrero and try to land it on your head. I was sold.

We finished the night with a trip to the liquor store for cider and beer (ask for the local discount). Rock Creek is the go to cider of Alberta, for all my cider lovers out there. We played a drinking game where we watched the movie Happy Gilmour and had to drink every time a golf ball was hit or a punch was thrown. The next morning was rough and came too soon.