Today was an another outstanding day that included a wonderful class and many, many physical activities. Following breakfast and showering, we were off to a great class called the World of Today taught by Henning and Gitte. We discussed many important current news events around the world, US and an unfortunate news item from Denmark (a football loss to Armenia). We began the focus on the rioting in Turkey, which discussed political matters and geography. To the beach!! We were guided down to the fjord in Skive to play games in the forest and the beach area. After an exhilarating game of human Stratego, we broke into small groups to play soccer, disc golf, batang, a Danish game similar to baseball and some interesting Viking games. A much needed rest and fantastic cookout came next. Henning and his associates prepared an awesome barbecue that included very large hot dogs, ribs and other traditional Danish fare. What a feast!! Next to Kayaking in the fjord, which was led by Henning and Jesper. The boys all took to it really well, even though there were a few spills in the cold water, everyone had a blast! What a GREAT ending to our European journey of 2013!!!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Today began with more Chef Larry omelets consisting of bacon and fresh vegetables! Then it was off to to a few job sites in Skive. First was a fantastic complex with a GIANT pool, water slide, wave pool, full fitness center, movie theaters, a handball court (full size gym) and several concert halls. We were able to swim for a bit after receiving some instructions from Hilltop student Christian. After swimming, we went on a guided tour with Christian, Kirsten and Jimmy. Tomas even got to play the piano in one of the concert halls and wowed everyone! Next was a ride to see Simon on a farm estate to see him as a forest worker trainee. What an incredibly beautiful place that we were able to tour. Some of the buildings on the expansive property were hundreds of years old. We enjoyed both settings so much, we had to call the school to have them save us lunch due to being late. After a filling lunch, we had two options for afternoon classes. Ryan, David and Larry chose to watch a few Hilltop students do presentations in an English class; while Hunter, Tomas and me participated in a very strenuous but relaxing Yoga class. After the school day ended, there was more laundry to do and we had a delicious chicken cordon-bleu and roasted potato dinner. After cleaning up, it was time for the boys to enjoy some activities with the Hilltop students. Hunter and Tomas went on a nice walk on the beautiful grounds while Ryan watched a "football" game with some staff and students. David chose to use the computers in the gaming room. Later in the evening as we were gathering for bed, Simon came down the hall with a fantastic cake he had made that was enjoyed by all with some leftover for breakfast coffee time. Another incredible day here at Hilltop!!!
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Today was another very interesting but different day. There were no off-campus trips planned and we were scheduled to join in some classes with the students here at Hilltop. Our day started by meeting a few new students and introductions back and forth in Charlotte's English lesson. Her students had created a role-playing game and a cool card game named "Mafia" that were enjoyed by all. We also divided up into small groups to communicate and play Foosball, Billiards and Air Hockey. The boys noted how much they enjoyed the computability factor of the classroom. Next, we participated in a group session, directed by Jan, where we discussed several clinical topics while enjoying coffee, tea and hot chocolate. It was quite nice to see the boys open up a bit and share some positives about their experiences in Europe and challenging factors as well. According to our boys, compared to the clinical groups at Chamberlain, it was a very different format with less structure but also more structure that allowed for feedback from the Danish peers as well as the Americans. I believe we learned a lot about ourselves in that session. After another wonderful Hilltop lunch buffet, it was off to Danish language class. The teachers, Charlotte and Lone, had certainly worked hard with their students prior to our arrival to be able to discuss the nuances in the Danish language and the comparisons to English. After attempting to speak some words, it is very apparent why Danish is one of the most difficult languages in the World. After learning some rudimentary skills, we went off in small groups to work on common phrases. As the school day came to a close, the American boys were escorted to downtown Skive by Paw to do some of the normal teenage stuff like getting sodas and candy bars while just hanging out and talking. When they all returned it was time to cleanup and get ready for a fish dinner served with homemade bread, boiled potatoes and authentic Danish gravy. The boys then went off to one of the common areas to watch a movie on Netflix. Just about curfew time, Hunter and Tomas were hungry and decided to make some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches while David and I chose to have bacon wrapped chocolate. Larry ate the remnants of a pulled pork sandwich and Ryan opted for cookies and bed.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Good morning everyone! Today it is off to the city of Aarhus and the Aros Art Museum which was created in 1859 and is the largest art collection in Denmark outside of Copenhagen. One of the most exciting pieces is a sculpture by Australian Ron Muecks called "Boy". He stands some 15 feet high and weighs 1110 pounds! He is more real than you can imagine down to each minuscule detail. The boys were quite enthralled with it as well as Larry and myself. The other favorite was the Rainbow Room which is called a "floating" piece of art that is 10 stories high and overlooks the entire city. Next it was off to "Old Town", which is an open air museum of Danish buildings that were erected between 1550 and 1900 and are currently decorated in historical style with townsfolk dressed in period style outfits. It was quite interesting to see and had the feel of Plimouth Plantation. After all the museums, it was time to get some ice cream and a great walk in the gorgeous Aarhus harbor that had many beautiful wooden boats and a modern marina. The boys enjoyed walking on the jetty out to the small lighthouse at the harbor's entrance. While returning it was decided that we would stop and get some sandwiches for dinner at a new shop called Cow & Chicken. All of the Americans had pulled pork and the Danes tried it as well on some of their more typical rugbrod (traditional rye). The night needed to be an early one as we were all participating in Hilltop classes and groups.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Today was another fantastic day!! After some delicious omelets from Larry (watch out Emeril); the boys were full and ready to head of to the world renowned Legoland. After a great ride with Merri, she took us into the park and showed us all of the incredible sights. The boys were psyched to ride the roller coasters and see the marvelous cities built with millions of movable Lego pieces. The weather was a bit chilly and cloudy early on and in the afternoon it turned out to be a great summer day. After going through about half of the park, we then went to an all you can eat pasta, pizza and salad buffet. Next it was on to more rides and sightseeing in the park before some shopping. We departed the park about 4 pm and took a scenic ride back to Hilltop. Later on in the evening, Merri and the boys joined us for Bacon Cheeseburgers and fries that all enjoyed very much. The boys then went to gather some laundry and play pool, Foosball and use the computers. Many tired young men tonight. A good rest and 7 am wake up to go on another adventure with Andreas.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Today was another great day loaded with interesting and fun activities. We were up early to eat a good breakfast and get to the airport. Everyone was up on time and really enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel that included many different Dutch breakfast items as well as several options for beverages. Hot chocolate seemed to be the hot item of the day. After breakfast, we all gathered in the hotel lobby for a brief meeting to discuss the agenda for the day. First, we took two cabs to the Schiphol Airport for our hour and ten minute flight. We boarded a less than full plane which gave us room to move around and be more comfortable. Just over an hour later, we arrived in Billund, Denmark and were met by our outstanding guide Andreas. He drove us to the school and secured a fantastic Danish lunch in the Hilltop dining room. We then were able to relax and unpack and learn some of the finer points of the educational system in Denmark. Then it was off to the bowling alley for "Beef and Bowl", which includes a great buffet after a few strings of bowling. We had two teams made up of some Danes and Americans on each team. Everyone had a "ball"!!! After filling ourselves with the necessary nutrients as well as a few bowls of ice cream, we headed back to the school for some free time. A couple of the boys participated in Hilltop party and the rest hung out with the Danish boys talking and playing video games in their apartment. All had a great time and were actually a little disappointed when we told them it was time to turn in for the night, but they relented and got some well-needed rest for our full-day trip in the morning.
Friday, June 7, 2013
After a late breakfast, due to some extra time sleeping, it was time to explore some of the city with our rented bicycles. Prior to this excursion, we had only traveled by bus and taxi on the main roads. The bikes allowed everyone to get a much better perspective on some of the Amsterdam neighborhoods. Larry took a few of the boys on an extended ride and happened to find an interesting Turkish cafe. Surprisingly enough, they enjoyed the Turkish pizza (Armenian lamajun) that is prepared with a spicy lamb mixture. Tomas and I went on a marathon walk to the main train station in search of some more "traditional" American fare which consisted of a bacon cheeseburger, a candy bar and the very Dutch Chocomel. After all of the exercise, we all decided to relax a bit before deciding on dinner. Everyone enjoyed the bike rides so much, they all decided to head back out for a bit before heading upstairs to pack for our 7 am departure from the hotel. Everyone had a bite to eat and headed upstairs early for the 5:45 roll call and breakfast prior to our next plane ride and beginning of our adventures in Denmark. Off to Hilltop!!
Thursday, June 6, 2013
After a good night's rest, we were all able to get in a good breakfast and some time to relax before taking the bus back into the city. We did some sightseeing and shopping before a light lunch at several of the marketplace shops. Everyone enjoyed the cheese shop where we were able to watch the cheese making process and sample many different kinds of Dutch cheeses. Of course, we left there with several souvenirs that I'm sure won't make it back to the states. Then it was off to our own guided canal tour in an electric boat. Our informative guide showed us many interesting buildings and answered many questions we had about the canal system and the locks. Even though it was a weekday, there were many people just sitting on the canals enjoying some snacks and the warm sun. The boys were very interested in some of the locals that were sunning by the water's edge. After the tour, we took the bus back to the hotel to clean up and make dinner plans. We walked a little over a mile and a half to a quaint little cafe where we partook in some of the local fare. After coffee, we again took a nice walk back to relax in the hotel lobby for a while before heading up to sleep for the night.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
After a long night of travel and navigating our way around the city to the Ibis Amsterdam City West Hotel, we were able to all check in and take a well deserved power nap. The boys were incredibly excited to find a Burger King next door to the hotel... imagine that all the way to Amsterdam and the boys wanted Burger King. After a late lunch, we were lucky enough to have our own personal tour guide (Kim Paes) to the city. We took bus ride into the central station and went on an incredible adventure with many interesting sights of people, buildings and the beautiful canals. As everyone began to get hungry, Tomas decided on an Argentinian restaurant to showcase the food of his homeland. We all enjoyed our meals very much and continued to walk around the city. On the bus ride back to the hotel we were very surprised to see that it was already almost 10 pm and the sun was still out. To end the night, a few had ice cream and others went directly to bed to rest up for our next day's adventures. Stay tuned for more from Europe 2013!!!